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A Little More Abstract

Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

Month

April 2016

Rigid Heddle Loom

Recently Ashford came out with a 10″ Sample-It Loom.  Previously they had an 8″ Sample-It Loom I was thinking about getting, the 10″ was only $7 more than the 8″ and already comes set up for a double heddle experience, I could not resist.  I have not taken any real classes on the rigid heddle loom and, since there is not as much information available on the Kindle Unlimited plan, I have not read as much as I would like on the subject.  Despite these limitations, I managed to watch a few movies and am in the middle of reading “The Weavers Idea Book” by Jane Patrick, I did weave a piece of fabric that I enjoyed creating.  The warp was my Corriedale in Summer Days along with a bit of a wool mixture I carded up.  The weft started with some crochet cotton then I used a commercial blue yarn.  The picture below is before I washed  the piece to finish it.  Once I washed it the energized yarn that made up the wool mixture activated the twist causing the fabric to ruffle a bit.  I like the effect for a beginning piece and can imagine how it could be used as a weft to finish off the edge of a piece or in the warp of a much larger piece.

My First weaving

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Corriedale in Summer Days

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I purchased a 4oz roving of Corriedale Sliver in the Summer Days colorway by WoolverineFibers.  I had spun up tiny bits here and there playing with my tahkli and the rich colors found in the roving.  To pass my idle time, I work several part time jobs so idle time is made the most of before sleep, I pre-drafted the remainder of this roving into fine strips that would be easy to spin.  Boy were they easy to spin!  Before I knew it I had spun up half of the roving and the results were beautiful.

Since I had half of it spun and many of the articles I had read expounded upon the joys of 2 ply yarns I decided to create this yarn as a 2 ply.  It is not perfect, but to be honest it isn’t garbage either.  I had to deliberately twist this into a hank since once it was taken off of the niddy noddy it did not twist back on itself.  This is the pre-washed skein and it might shorten up and twist more when it is washed, but for now most of a 4 oz section of roving created 148 yards of 2 ply yarn.  I spun it in a worsted manner, occasionally trying a long draw but mostly succeeding with a short forward draw.

Washed and sampled materials will be posted later, I hope.

Happy Spinning!

Rolags

Ever since I got my spinning wheel I have been spinning like a madwoman.  Prior to this I had purchased a variety of fibers from various sources, many from etsy, to try out different fibers.  One of the sources that I purchased little quarter ounce bags of various colors from was The Ross Farm.  They are a farm trying to preserve rare breeds of sheep, an amazing aspiration that I am happy my purchase went toward.  I bought some of the roving from the Chevoit’s they raise.

The colors were rich and beautiful, the hand was rough with short fibers.  If you like spinning and are good at spinning cotton then this is a great fiber for you to spin, if you want to get to know how to spin cotton then start with Cheviot.  I decided to use this fiber to practice my carding, I blended it with some Corriedale I purchased during the last Spinzilla sale.  The results were these beautiful cottony clouds, mom says they look like cotton candy.  They really do, they also spin up like cotton candy.

I had created about 9 rolags or rologs, and then spun 3 rolags onto each of 3 bobbins.  The picture about is from when I took a break, the resulting singles are just beautiful.  I cannot wait to ply them.  Unfortunately wait I must, not only because I already have another project on my bobbins, but because the singles need to rest a bit before I try plying.  I still have a few pieces of this Chevoit that I cannot wait to card up to spin another day.  Now that my leg has healed from my first attempts at carding (Always wear jeans or have a tough cloth on your leg when you are carding, ouch!).

Happy Spinning!

Pencil Roving on a Spinning Wheel

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I had purchased some pencil roving in white and grey/black from Woolery.  This was a great medium to begin my spinning with.  Most articles that you read and YouTube videos that you watch, Craft Daily videos, etc, will recommend that you begin by getting a feel for your wheel and just treadling for a while to see how little effort it can take to get your wheel going and keep it going.  This is great advice, that I did not take.  After assembling my wheel  I dove right in.  I had this pencil roving sitting around from a previous attempt at a project.  It is, to be frank, outerwear roving.  Now that it is spun up and in a 3 ply I will have to figure out a project that I can use it for.  Since it is so rough I would rather not make it into a scarf, but I might try weaving with it to see if I can make some kind of warm outer shawl with it.    I really enjoyed working with this roving and my new wheel.  It is truly amazing how little effort it takes to keep the wheel spinning and how little twist needs to be put into this roving to keep it together.  This is unwashed, there was a third skein but it was my first time using my new Lazy Kate and I didn’t do a very good job keeping the strands separate.  There are pigtails everywhere, even a couple of big globs of pigtails.  If you never do anything wrong, then you are never doing anything!

Happy Spinning (the other skein might make it into a blooper reel I am not sure yet).

Big News

My new Spinning Wheel a Schacht Ladybug, and the fiber I’ve managed to turn into singles already.  With my tax refund I managed to order this Ladybug.  It was so simple to put together I was through almost before I had started.  I took it for a brief test run last night, going against everything that we are told to do and starting with some fiber to spin with.  It worked like a dream.  I need a different chair so I can sit comfortably while I spin, and I probably need something to act as a dropcloth but those are just details.

I have some exciting news on the weaving front as well.  A friend of mine, a non-traditional student that goes to the community college I work at, is going to be moving out of state and she has a couple of looms she wants to get rid of.  She gifted me with my first rigid heddle loom earlier this week, the heddle is missing a few bits but I think it is a Beka 24″ heddle so I can order a replacement.  I am thinking about trying to warp it up and play with it, but I do not think I can tear myself away from my wheel for any length of time in the near future, except for laundry…I have to do laundry tonight!

Happy Crafting, more on the spinning and weaving front to come!

Teaching Knitting

The knitting class that I taught was amazing.  There were certain aspects that I did not realize were as difficult as they are!  Everyone was able to create a slip knot quickly but trying to get the stitches cast on was very difficult for 2 of my students.  My third student was simply being reminded of how to knit, she had done so years ago and just needed reminders.

For my new knitters we put the slipknot on the needle and then began trying to stitch the cast on, by not telling my students how important it was to keep their needles crossed as much as possible in addition to keeping the tail held firmly against the needle I set them up for failure accidentally.  Their stitches kept spinning around on the stationary needle while they were trying to get the third stitch cast on, this meant that the second stitch they made spun right off of the needles.

Once we had the rhythm down (for the 11 year old I had to do the cast on for her) my students took off!  They were stitching their hearts out, the older woman managed to create a sampler swatch and cast on a second piece, my re-learner finished her project and cast off!  My 11 year old managed to do about 5 rows and she is hoping to keep this going until next week when we will work on her cast off!

By reminding my students that this is not something that gets picked up in five minutes, encouraging them to take the time to learn the process, and exampling what to do (and taking the time to figure out what they are doing to get the results they managed), all three of the students managed to pick up on the skills.  I am very happy and find the entire process very rewarding.  I look forward to Thursday when I will see my students again and hopefully we can progress on our way to crafting success!

Happy Crafting!IMG_0602

Still Crocheting

Crocheted washcloth

Look at each one of those weird structures.  Each stitch looks like this little weird star like knot of 4 strands of yarn that shouldn’t cooperate, should certainly not stay together, and yet they not only stay together but you can build on them and eventually create clothing (if you want) or a toy. Depending on your yarn and hook they can be huge and loose, small and tight, etc. One of my colleagues at the Community College at which I work stated that a stuffed bunny my mother crocheted (named bunbun) looked water-tight.  (He is former Navy).

That’s my philosophy for the day.  A hook and some fiber and you can conquer the world, right after I finish this next row.

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