A Little More Abstract

Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation



Started in September

The first of my Fall Crafting Classes is complete.  I cannot believe that the summer is gone and fall is beginning, c’est la vie.

A couple of my students finished their tapestries form the end of the Wooly Wednesdays, and several students made considerable progress working on their plastic canvas patterns.  I am so excited to see how far my patrons get next week, we are supposed to start on the counted cross stitch then, it will be fascinating to see their progress.

Happy Crafting!



Dodec Wheel!

I received my set of Dodec Wheels from Porter Threads today.  I purchased these spindle wheels for my Wooly Wednesday Workshop Series at the Public Library I work at.  These are a very inexpensive version of a spinning wheel since they lack the bobbin and flyer component.  There are also free plans for building your own wheel, which I lack the carpentry skills to create.  I was able to buy two wheels, with four spindles and assorted parts, for less than $200.  They arrived in two separate boxes taped together.  Each box contained the wheel, two spindles, two drive bands, two pieces of paraffin, two crescent wrenches, and the wooden components that are easily assembled.

Since it is raining today waxing or otherwise staining these wheels will have to wait.  Assembling the wheels is as easy as taking the part with the pedal putting it on the ground, take the part with the wheel and slide it into the appropriate slot in the base.

Dodec 4.JPG

Each wheel also came with 2 spindles and two drive bands.  Installing the spindles is a matter of unscrewing the rectangle of wood sticking out of the front, I am going to call it the front maiden, and installing the spindle.  Finally screwing the front maiden back on.

Then before you know it, you have the spindle installed and since the bulky portion acts as your flyer to turn the spindle you have that installed as well!

Dodec 9

Once you have the drive band stretched over the flyer piece and the wheel, hook the treadle to the drive wheel and you are ready to go.

All of this took about fifteen minutes!  I cannot wait to get started spinning on the spindle wheel to see how different it is from my Ladybug!

I look forward to reporting how simple this is for my beginning students to learn this after their drop spindles.

Happy Crafting!

First Class Down, 13 more to go!

My First Dyeing class was a runaway success.  The techniques and materials were simple enough that the students had no problems following along.  Everyone’s wool turned out bright and beautiful, the results were phenomenal.  I hope that every class is as enthusiastic, cheerful, and helpful.  The questions being asked proved that the patrons were there to learn.  I am so excited for the rest of the Classes.  Dyeing Wool Handout contains the methods that I taught to dye fibers easily using materials found in a kitchen.  There are a million other ways to dye fiber, so do not take this as gospel.


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!

Babe Tapestry Loom


Just last night I received my Babe Tapestry Loom (they call it the Garden Gate Loom).  This loom could not have been easier to put together, the instructions were very clear and easy to follow.  I love that I will be able to create a tapestry that is quite long once I have finished my sampler piece that I am using as a starter piece.  The inch marks are my own addition but the holes going up the sides came with the loom and allow me to adjust the device to any size I wish.  There are metal pins that allow me to keep the loom at whatever height I wish and create adjustments in warp tension, I imagine.

As you can tell I have started weaving my sampler piece, planning to see how shades of blue interact with the white warp as well as sampling different weights of yarn for stability and appearance.


As you can see I have a bit of a wobble on the very edge of the piece, but a little hemstitching and some careful weaving created the first inch of my piece.  I love the 2 lease sticks and shuttle that came with my loom, they work great.  It did take me a bit to figure out the best method for me, after trying that paperclip heddle bar thing, I decided that picking up the back warps every other shed isn’t really that big of a deal, lol.  It looks like I will be weaving plain white for another inch or so then starting on the trains.  It will be very interesting to see how this turns out, wish me luck!

Happy Crafting!

Bombyx Silk

Okay, Okay, so I’m still in my silk mood.  I ordered 4oz of Bombyx silk from etsy.  It is so much fun to spin, then I might have to see what I can do about dying it.  Apparently silk dyes as easily as wool, it should be fascinating to see what colors I can create without losing the luster.  I sincerely hope that I will be able to get at least 100 yards of 2 ply silk, but whatever I wind up will should be beautiful.  So much fun!

Happy Crafting!

2 Ply Silk


On the left is my finished Monet Silk and on the right is some gold silk I  had lying around.  Both are 2 ply and just beautiful, the camera does not do their luster justice.  The Monet wound up being 32 yards and the gold just over 40 yards.  I am not sure what I am going to do with them yet though it will have to be something pretty special.

I love spinning silk, as soon as I get through this minor bout of obsession I am going to try and translate these skills to spinning my wool with a finer, tighter hand for weaving.

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!

Monday Midnight Spinzilla


I randomly woke up at 12:40 this morning, as I sometimes do, and upon realizing that it was after midnight and I was allowed to begin spinning for Spinzilla I sat down to do so.  Though my spinning only lasted an hour I managed to go through 2-4 of the rolags I had prepared and set up a nice base of singles before I went back to sleep.

This is going to be a problem this week, at 8 am when I am usually heading out the door I hadn’t even gotten dressed yet!  I did manage to get a lot spun, almost an entire bobbin, but I need to work to pay for fiber and fiber equipment, lol.  Since I usually arrive at work early I was almost ready to head out the door so I did arrive at work on time, actually still a little early.  It might be time to revise my college habit of setting timers, ‘now is when I need to shower’, ‘Now is when I need to get dressed’, ‘Now is time to leave for work if I want to get there when I usually do’, ‘Now you really do need to leave for work’, and the ever favorite, ‘Really, you need to leave now or you’re running late’.

This week is going to be a blast I will try and take a picture of my ‘before work’ bobbin when I get home and before I start spinning again.  My goal for today is to have 2 bobbins full, start my cotton so that I can wind my full bobbins onto weaving bobbins, and if I’m lucky start filling my weaving bobbins with my singles so they are ready to ply tomorrow, or Wednesday.  Since I only have 3 bobbins that work on my wheel (3 others semi work but they rattle really badly) bobbin management is going to be a big thing this week.  Also, singles should really rest a day before plying so that brings another element into things.  Oh well, I will persevere, and enjoy myself along the way!

Happy Crafting

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