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Spinzilla 2017

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I had a ton of fun spinning for Spinzilla 2017!  I managed to spin 1.27 miles of yarn, this includes the singles and then the ‘ply credit’.  I am very pleased with the yarn I managed to spin, though I am disappointed that I could not get my WooleeWinder working right for spinzilla.

However the creator and owner of the company promised he would look at my WooleeWinder and see if he could figure out what is making it rattle so badly.  I just have to send my device to him, lol.  Haven’t gotten around to that yet.

I cannot wait until I have these skeins washed and ready to work with.  One of my greatest fears has been ‘ruining’ my handspun by knitting or crocheting or weaving the ‘wrong’ pattern with them.  Now after almost 2 years of spinning…I’d better do something with my handspun pretty soon, lol.  I have a 3 drawer plastic storage unit full of handspun yarn, and I love all of  it!

Recently I took the dive and purchased the pattern for the beekeeper’s quilt, and just love how simple the hexipuffs are to create.  I made 3 out of a self striping ball of commercial sock yarn, this brought about the delusion that I want to knit socks which is another problem on the horizon, then last night I took the plunge.  I knit a Hexipuff out of my handspun.  I love my little hexipuff and cannot wait to make more.  While I’m not sure I”ll make the 300+ it takes to create a quilt, I do think that these hexipuff’s might become my new  Granny Square.  My new go-to, quick to finish, project.

TIP:  I use the tip of my left index finger to push my needle through the yarn when knitting.  The tip of the needle is a little bit pointed, but not enough to stab me…However…repeated pushing allowed my skin, probably dry, to split along the natural whorls in my fingertip.  While it never bled, it did hurt a bit.  I realized that I would have to use something to prevent this from happening, and thought of a thimble.  Unfortunately I cannot feel anything through the thimble so that didn’t work.  Then I thought of some of those stick on thimble things I had seen…it turns out they’re a little expensive.  Fortunately during my search I turned up a tip, a Bandage.  Just a simple bandage, can get about 30 for $1 at a dollar store, is enough padding to keep the needle from splitting my skin.  YAY I Can Knit Again!

Happy Crafting!

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My Crafting Summer

This summer was a ton of fun, I really enjoy reflecting on it.  The classes I taught caused the months to fly by, I cannot believe it is over.  I did manage to get a bit of my own crafting done, though not that much really.

I managed to weave my first two towels, and hem them.  They turned out a bit smaller than I had hoped, but I have learned a lot for the next set I weave.  I wove my first basket in over a decade, when I was working at my first public library they offered a basket weaving class and I became addicted.  They are so much fun and the structures are amazing.

The Buffalo Weavers Guild sold off a few of their items, I managed to score a triangle loom and a 4 shaft table loom for well less than the triangle loom would have cost normally.  I don’t have the table loom pictured, but it really is neat.  I picked up a stainless steel reed for it and cannot wait to try it out.  You can see my first project up on the triangle loom, it turned out really ‘sleezy’ the yarn was too thin for the distance between the nails.  I know better for my next try.

Last, but not least, are a pair of Dodec Wheels I purchased from their creator online.  They are an adorable pair of wheels that I am trying to not despise with every fiber of my being.  I do realize that I just need to take my time, get to know them, and I will probably come to love them too.  It is just so hard when I have Lady, my Schacht Ladybug, sitting there waiting for me to spin beautiful yarn in any thickness I want so very quickly.  Patience is a virtue that I need to learn when it comes to my crafting.

Speaking of which, I loved my WooleeWinder at first, then things started going ‘rattle, clank, clack’ and now I’m about ready to tear my hair out.  Instead of this I am going to send it back to the manufacturer and see if he can fix it up.  ‘Fingers Crossed’.

That is my summer in a nutshell.  Fall Crafting, Here I Come!

Happy Crafting!

My New Drum Carder

My drum carder came!  My Brother Drum Carder finally arrived, and it is all ready to go!  As you can see from my ‘unboxing’ pictures my Brother Drum Carder arrived assembled and ready to go with instructions in a lovely plastic pouch.  The intake drum and larger drum are at the right depth, though there are detailed instructions for how to change that depth if needed.  I will admit I followed directions from another website, I cannot find them again to give them credit, and did some sanding.  I took an emery board and ran it in all directions across both drums of my carder, this was supposed to take out any little burrs left by the manufacturing process.  The emery boards were all chewed up at the end of the process so I hope it worked.  The carder itself works like a dream, but it really is a good idea to be up on your tetanus shot before working with something like this.

I am having an absolute blast playing with my new drum carder.  I am experimenting with corriedale, merino, and some other colored wools.  I will post later today or tomorrow about my new batts!

Happy Crafting!

Christmas Presents

I have ordered a Brother Drum Carder for myself for Christmas.  (mom is getting a set of stacking boxes with clear doors for her yarn stash, shhhh don’t tell her).  The Drum carder I have ordered will have 90 tpi, suitable for carding finer wools without damaging them yet coarse enough that I can card almost anything else I desire.  In an effort to get into the carding spirit I also ordered a pound of undyed wool.  I have played with Kool-Aid Dye in the past, causing the co-president of my guild to think I only like primary pinks and blues, but I have been hearing a lot about dying wool with Wilton and Rit Dyes.  Due to this desire to experiment, I am doing some research about other peoples experiments with this dye.

The first mentioned Rit dye and a few ‘glugs’ of vinegar.  Her experiment went well!

Love Knitting has an article about Wilton Food Dyes; Start by soaking the fiber in a vinegar bath, 1/4 cup to about 4 oz of fiber, for at least 20 minutes.  Pour the fiber, vinegar, another 1/4 cup of vinegar into a pot.  Add the color a tiny bit at a time and agitate to disperse the dye.  Start on low and heat up your pot of fiber, when it is at a simmer just before boiling take it off of the stove and let it cool down.  Rinse with lukewarm water until the water runs clear, then hang up to dry.  There are also some tips about painting yarn, I particularly find it interesting that sponges (along with a vinegar dye mix) can be used to paint the yarn/fiber to create gradients and variations.  Heat is still needed to set the fiber, so the author steamed the yarn for about 40 minutes in a steamer basket.  Though they mentioned that it is possible to microwave for 1-2 minute bursts for about 5 minutes to set the yarn.

Both the RIT Dye site and Wilton Food Site have information on how to use their dyes for coloring different materials.  I cannot wait to begin experimentation!

Happy Crafting!

Rebecca Mezoff’s Class

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I enrolled in Rebecca Mezoff’s Little Looms course, and then had to obtain a little loom to take advantage of the course, lol.  I tried to order a Hokett Loom from Woolery but ran into stock problems, one 10 day wait I can handle but when the items from the first wait came in they were sold out of something else in my order and wanted me to wait another 10  days!  That wasn’t going to work for me so I cancelled the entire order and picked up a Stash Blaster from another source.

I decided to warp this with some soft cotton twine I had lying around to see what it would do, unfortunately with the yarn I decided to use the results are closer to a balanced weave than a tapestry weave.  Oh well, it is really pretty and a good first try so I will finish my mug rug and try for a tapestry next time.

Happy Crafting!

Spinning Silk Class

A week ago I attended a class on spinning silk with the Enchanted Mountains Weavers Guild in Bradford, PA.  It was amazing.  I learned about spinning silk from the fold, I sort of knew about that already, and using cowboy magic to keep my hands supple for spinning.  I think they use the detangler and shine while I purchased the conditioner.  As far as I can tell, since they both have silk proteins in them, mine should work just fine.  (It certainly makes the silk slippery enough, lol.)  The bobbin on the left is the 1/2 oz sample of silk I purchased to practice with, I’m not sure what the colorway is called but I think it looks like Monet’s “Waterlily Pond” painting myself.  I am shocked at how fine I can get my spinning to be when I concentrate and cannot wait to see what this will look like when it is plied!

Happy Crafting!

Spinning Cotton

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The linten spindel by Babe’s Fiber Garden is just phenomenal. Easy to put together, and once you get along with its quirks, it is very easy to use. As you might remember I was hoping to use this as a bobbin winder and it isn’t a great bobbin winder if you just put the bobbins on the knitting needle that makes up the spinning tip. Babe’s Fiber Garden does sell extra spindles in groups of three at a $60 cost, which is still half the price of a bobbin winder but since the Spindel already cost over $100 I am spending a fortune to save a bit.  I did find out while trying my hand at spinning cotton (I’m not good yet) that once I managed to spin an itty bitty cop I had enough fiber on the spindle that I could jam two different sizes of bobbins down and be able to wind onto the bobbins. Essentially the bobbins need to stay still on the spindle so that they twist when the spindle twists which is how the fiber winds onto the bobbins.  The third brand of bobbin just seems a bit too large for this device, but I will try a few other options. Of course now I’m afraid to spin any more cotton lest I lose my proper sized cop, lol. I am using my iPad with heavy cover, it’s five years old do a much heavier version, to weigh down the wheel since I am quite enthusiastic in my spinning.

Since I wrote this post yesterday, I couldn’t resist spinning more cotton.  I watched the Building Blocks of Spinning Part 2 with Sarah Anderson and she mentioned mentioned 8 ply cabled cotton makes good wicks, so now I am interested in making a bit of cotton and cabling it before Spinzilla starts Monday Morning.  To my way of thinking if I get this spun and cabled between today and tomorrow I can start my cotton fresh to create a cop to hold my bobbins for spinning.  I must admit if I make even half of the yarns I have pictured then I will have accomplished quite a bit this upcoming week.

Happy Crafting!

Back at the Destash

I picked some more wool up from the Destash group, different breeds to try this time.  Clun Forest, Fine X breed, and Border Leichester.  They were a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed carding them and discovering what the different fibers were like.  As can be expected from a destash group they were not the finest examples of their fibers.  It is probable that I should have combed the fibers to get rid of the short second cuts (but since I don’t have the combs or the $100 it would cost for good combs that was not an option).

Despite the second cuts, or maybe because of them, these fibers are spinning up into lovely skeins that can be used for a nice outerwear project.  Maybe a throw rug since they are in similar colorways.  It is certainly not soft enough for next-to-the-skin garments but ti is very pretty anyway.  I am pleased that I was able to experiment with these different types of fiber and look forward to more opportunities to explore!

Shuttle Bobbins? What?

I was watching “Get More Spun: Part 1” by Abby Franquemont on CraftDaily.com video subscription service when Abby mentioned storing singles on several bobbins to ply from later.  She stated that storing singles on several different bobbins and mixing them up before plying will help to even out some uneven spinning.  I saw the bobbins she was storing them on and it clicked, those are shuttle bobbins not spinning wheel bobbins!  I will admit to still having some apprehension about how many joins might be needed for these yarns, but my excitement is far outweighing any misgivings.

This did bring about another potential sticking point, I do not have a bobbin winder.  I picked up an attachment for my cordless drill but between my underpowered drill and my inability to get the bobbin far enough down the shaft so that I feel comfortable putting pressure to wind a nice tight yarn onto the bobbin, my winder is not going to cut it.  I looked at bobbin winders, over $100 each!  Fiber tools are so very expensive, and often for something that can only be used for a single purpose.  As Alton Brown would say, “Unitaskers!”

I sighed, pouted, and decided to see if any of the sites online (Ebay, facebook fiber tools groups, etc) had a bobbin winder that I could get at a price I was willing to pay.  In my travels I looked at the charkha a tool used for spinning cotton that Ghandi popularized in India to help free his people (it really is a fascinating subject that I intend to dedicate at least one post to in the near future).  The Ashford version looked sort of like an amped up bobbin winder, but at almost $400 it would be an even sillier investment than the Unitasker!.  However, there was another option a Babe Linten Spindel Charkha Wheel. At $150 it is not less expensive than buying a bobbin winder, and it could be argued I could get a book Charkha and a bobbin winder for about the same price, I am very happy with my purchases.

Babe’s Fiber Garden was amazing at helping me figure out if using their wheel as a bobbin winder would be a reality or not.  They even offered to send me some bands that are used for animal castration thinking that these will be a good size to keep my bobbins on their spindle.  I really look forward to playing with my new Mulit-Tasker as soon as it gets here!  I have some cotton left over from last year when the Cotton Clouds kit was on clearance from Woolery, but this playing might have to wait until Spinzilla is over!

I may even get time over the next year to tell Babe’s Fiber Garden that their new Garden loom looks like it would be good for Sprang!

Happy Crafting!

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