Multi-Craftual

I need to keep my hands busy…mainly to keep me from placing them around certain people’s necks & squeezing till their eyes bug out…Suffice it to say with the Summer Holidays and currently all 4 of us in our 750sqft house I’ve been keeping myself quite busy.

The frantic sewing pace I had going for a while has slowed down as other projects took over.

The months started with Tour De Fleece (yes, I know that is a 5 year old link, all organizing of Tour de Fleece has now moved to the Ravelry forums) prep. I have a rather large collection of batts and braids of hand dyed or hand blended fibers and decided it was high time to deal with them. Before I started spinning, I needed to find a pattern to use up as much of the eventual yarn as possible. I figured an afghan was a good idea, but didn’t want to have to lug around a massive bit of knitting! I needed small bits of knitting that would later be seamed together. May I present The Barn Raising “Quilt”. I’m not at all concerned with the squares being symmetrical.

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After 2 weeks of near constant spinning, I was running out of space for all the singles I had spun as well as bobbins. I am currently waiting on the delivery of a bulky flyer and some extra bobbins for my wheel so I can continue to the second stage of the process by turning the singles into 2 ply yarns or possibly Navajo plying to keep the long colour repeats in some of the fiber.

As I wait for the delivery, it’s going to be a bit as my local-ish spinning supply store (Gemini Fibres) are on vacation…So I moved along to another project… crochet.

Cal Patch has recently put out a crochet rag rug tutorial video on Creative Bug which was well timed as I had a lot of left over fabric scraps from my sewing binge.

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I worked on the rug for about a week…then had to stop as my right wrist & shoulder were SCREAMING at me. Clearly the previous two weeks of spinning and the week of crochet had not been ergonomically correct…Stretches were done, things are less stiff and the rug was ripped out to be given a new life as a woven rag rug.

The floor loom was dusted off, a warp was wound off, then I lost the cross while warping the loom…a frustrating learning experience…One cannot have too many ties on their warp! The kids acted as Loom Minions and helped me get a very arsed up warp onto the loom and then I was off…

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Abi even asked to be shown how the floor loom worked!

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My progress on the rag rug was briefly interrupted yesterday by Liam having a play date…3 boys between the age of 6-8 don’t need strict supervision, but a parental presence in the room acts as a deterrent for the occasional wild idea. Thankfully, the rigid heddle loom was in the living room where the boys were playing and it had a very near complete project on it. I say “Had” as I was able to finish the Rothko shawl. This was the painting that inspired it.

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I woke up this morning filled with a bunch of ideas for more weaving projects which will also help in getting the assorted stashes of fiver & fabric under control and give my shoulder a nice break…

 

 

And then there was plying!

Last night I finished plying the Sweet Georgia BFL/Silk…It’s quite lovely! And as suspected Abi tried to claim it for herself!

I’m very pleased with how it turned out especially as it’s been a good almost two years since I was able to get at my wheel. Once I track down my WIP tool, I’ll be able to get a rough estimate of the WIPS, but currently the yarn is a balanced ply that’s between a Sport to Worsted weight. Going to skein it off and give it a soak in the tub before I figure the final yardage and then what I’m going to do with it…

Oh and this weekend…I made a spinner

Busting out the Wheel…

In a spate of fiscal responsability, stash management and a bout of creative whatever-you-want-to-call-it, earlier this week I unearthed Viktorya (that was done on purpose and is not a misspelling), located all her bobbins and located the misplaced flyer because; Dudes, I was going to spin!

Viktorya has sat idle for almost two years thus causing my hard learned spinning skills to go fallow, meanwhile my fiber stash was seeing semi-regular deposits thanks to two different year long batt of the month club memberships I had received as gifts. NOTE TO PARTNERS OF SPINNERS: Batt/fiber of the months clubs are wonderful gifts for your beloved. They will get colour/fiber blends they would not normally have chosen which will expand their creative horizons providing they are open to the experience. There were also a few additions I made here and there when something caught my eye, needless to say I have quite the fiber stash that’s just bursting with creative potential, some days there is a little too much potential which makes the decision making a bit difficult!

So this is where I found myself the other night, I was not feeling the knit love but wanted to keep my hands busy (bad things happen when I’m idle…walls have been know to go missing in my house during such moments), while looking through a box of stuff for something completly different I found this:

Two 100g braids of Sweet Georgia BFL+Silk in the Summer Dusk colourway…luscious ain’t it? My Dad will be pleased that Sweet Georgia is a Canadian Company and that I bought it at my local yarn store. He’s all about the buying Canadian, local and supporting the small business owner/artists.

I divided the first brain in half, fluffed it ever so slightly, poured a cup of tea and got to work…

BFL + Silk is a great fiber for acolyte spinners, it’s a bit slippy, a bit grippy, quite forgiving and all around dead sexy! Highly recommend it!

I spun up the first half of my braid onto one of the bobbins ten called it a night, unfortunaly due to the work schedule I havene’t been able to get back to it and it’s KILLING ME! Just look at that yarn!

I’m aiming for my final product to be a 2-ply Worsted weight yarn with enough yardage to knit Sweetgum or one of the shawls in my Ravelry queue.

In the words of Depech Mode: Enjoy the Silence

Quiet nights are a rare thing once you have sprogs. Quiet nights where I can get some crafty happenin’s going are rarer still at the moment. But I had one last week when Chris went out last Thursday night to Dueling Grounds fight his little metal men and some stuff got accomplisehd! Sort of as I ran into a bit of an issue.

The Cricket got warped so I can get going on a scarf that’s been in my brain for a bit…using the honeycomb weave structure I learned at my weekend away with Our Denny in Howell, Michigan where we basked in Ms Beth’s fabulous hospitality and took a workshop with Ms Jane Patrick on how to rock a rigid heddle loom!

I was all set to weave when I discovered a fly in my ointment. My plan was simple: warp loom with Louet Gems Sport in Taupe (a really great neutral yarn that helps all sorts of colours POP!!!) weave for an inch or two then use hand spun to create the honeycombs. While I was winding up the handspun I discovered that there is no way I’m going to have enough to weave a complete scarf…Merde! Good thing I have a collection of batts and rovings!

After a little bit of rooting through bins in the basement I came up with two options:

the June Art Club batt Raspberry Truffle

and the Colorways Club Batt from March Mud Season

I also came to the conclusion that I need to reorganize my yarns and fibers into some semblence of order next time I have a day off with no little ones around to “assist”. In the mean time I’m spinning up both batts and will decide later which I think will work the best, but I’m already leaning towards the Raspberry Truffle for the scarf and using the Colorways batt for the yoke of one of Shannon’s Faux Fair Isle Sweaters

Spinning doldrums

I’ve been in a bit of a spinning slump and have been avoiding the wheel like the plague.

For a while I was blaming my wheel, but in reality the problem was the fiber I was forcing myself to spin up. It was (emphasis on the “was”) a nice Lincoln fleece that I had sent out to be processed and the particular mill didn’t do such a hot job as a fair amount of the fiber is felted/matted which makes it a complete PITA to spin. I was a really green spinner when I bought the fleece and sent it off to be processed so the less than stellar processing wasn’t obvious to me at the time. I tend to not spin up fiber unless I have a specific project or technique in mind so the fiber was left to “mature” in the basement until recently when I had the brilliant (read: demented) plan to knit an old school Leafs hockey jersey from yarn I had spun up and dyed blue with woad. The sweater is one of my favourite stories…But I digress and this fiber has turned into a complete dog to spin, I’m hating it something fierce and glare at my poor wheel every time I walk by it, but my “can’t let it go to waste” upbringing and very stubborn James personality is keeping me from pitching the whole lot. Until I come up with a decent plan the fiber is back in the basement serving double duty as insulation (or so I tell Chris) and I’m still annoyed enough that I’m having a spinning pout. Not the most mature attitude I know, but it was working for me till the post lorry stopped at my door an the Postman handed me a box that contained this:

My May Colourways Club Batt… Le Sigh, I see some spinning happening once I’m done mopping the floor!

And just because I’m a terrible enabler and even worse at remembering to take photos, you can look at the previous months colourways and projects here.

Further proof that I am a Spinner and not someone who spins.

I’m listening to the CBC radio noon hour phone in show today and one of the topics is about wether or not scientists should “raise” a wooly mammoth from some DNA the have found.

So as people are giving their opinions all I can think is:

Yeah that’s all well and good…but CAN YOU SPIN IT!!??!!

Don’t act like you aren’t thinking the same thing!

Begging of the Chores

I’m blatantly ignoring some chores (except the grocery shopping as we are low on nappies and bananas) and the Holiday Knitting for this:

Those bins of laundry to be folded in the background just lend some street cred to my refual to acknowledge the cleaning that I should be doing.

I rented the Victoria from Lettuce Knit last night and MAN! I do loves me this little wheel! It’s small, fits perfectly in my small house and best of all it’s about as close to kid proof as I can expect from a wheel. The fact that the carry bag converts to a backpack is just the type of gravy I love. I NEEDS me one, and as of the other day I’m one step close to sharing my home with one…the Sonata has gone to a new home where it will be loved by another and as soon as the Kiwi is gone one of these babies will be MINE!

But enough of my crazy decluttering attempts to live a simpler life, let’s have a closer look at that fiber:

GOR – GE – OUS! Fantom Fibers mohair (sadly or perhaps thankfully no website). I have three bags of their lovely stuff that I’m cherishing like Gollum and that Ring (possibly an unhealthy comparison but you get my point). Next Rhineback (oh yes I’m going to go even if I have to walk there!) I’m going to head straight to their booth (presuming they have one as I don’t think they were there this past year) and buy more! This stuff spins with no drafting and the colours are so pretty! I just love how the mohair pulls in the dye and makes it shine!

Return of the Mojo!

Somewhere around the end of winter I lost it but now it seems to have returned form a nice vacation all refreshed and rearing to go!

My spindles are going strong: I’m spinning up fiber for two diffrent shawl projects and there are three more spindles going with various beautiful yarns that will more than likely  be turned into gifts of hats and scarfs. Unless of course I love them too much to let them go.

I finally finished spinning up the Shetland fleece and want to get it dyed with cochineal in the next few weeks. I see a backyard dye fest being planned! Who’s with me? Denny? Jen?

And finally Twist Collective, what can I say but I have some deep love for Lily and Wisteria.  I even found the  yarn called for in Lily at a rather nice discount and bought some in a lovely charcoal. As for Wisteria I’m uncertain as to what yarn I’m going to use, I don’t have anything suitable in the stash but was thinking Nature Wool might work but I think it’s a bit light so I’m going to have to figure something else out.  I have also lined up a few other sweaters for myself and some knitting for the kids which I need to get a move on. Luckily my returning to work will give me a nice 1.5 hour round trip commute where I’ll be able to get a fair amount of work done on some of the smaller projects I have in the queue.

Tour de Fleece update

Some might say I have fallen off the proverbial bike, the right side is still on strike but it’s feeling better after Pilates class. I have adjusted my goal accordingly and now just want to finish spinning then plying the Shetland because there are plans to try some natural dyeing soon.

As we are in the midst of a heat wave I’m taking full advantage of my A/C and will be spending a chunk of today inside warping baby blanket 2 of 4. At some point soon I will need to leave the house to get some more yarn for the other two blankets and some groceries and Mummy Pop.