Thursday, March 24, 2016

A requested video of spinning Semi-woolen from commercial top

This is a somewhat crude video of me spinning semi-woolen from commercial top. There was a discussion on Facebook where someone was asking if this can be done easily. I gave it a try and this is the result.



video

Monday, November 02, 2015

Do you listen to the fiber or do you have your own voice?

I have some amazing fiber that tI bought some time ago but I bought it with the thought of a soft semi-woolen yarn and now I'm seeing a two color semi-worsted yarn.



The fiber is extra fine merino from Susan Forbes AKA Fairy Yarnmother, WWW.fairyyarnmothers.com. I love the softness and the color she created. So rich and dimensional in the depth of her dye work.

The fiber is so cool because of the way it appears to be made. From what I can see, it looks like it was dyed, deconstructed, carded or combed, and run through a dis. Just enough to striate the colors but not enough to blend them together. I have played in the deconstruction arena with some hand dyed fiber but she took it somewhere I haven't thought of.


I normally spin uber thin lace weight semi-woolen soft singles but I want to break out of the box and spin worsted two ply and then use it in my first color-work project. Do you listen to the fiber or do you have your own fiber voice? 

Knitting, a little more sewing and a lot of learning.... Some ice ahead on the slippery slope....

Hello all, I'm trying to blog a little more instead of the hit and miss blogging.

First of all I'm still knitting on the Red Seater for my Dad.
If you are a knitter then follow the link to the pattern and here to my Ravelry Page, if you aren't a knitter I think you will enjoy the link but it may not mean as much. The body is finished sans the shawl collar and the button band.  Working on the sleeves right now with about 4 more inches to go. Here are pictures from a month or so ago of the sleeves. Yes, two at a time on circulars.


I've slid into the quilting pool a little by trying a simple quilt pattern. The quilt is a gift so no pics or too many details


The quilt has 7 different fabrics of my choosing and will be my choice of location as well. This is me watching as they cut out the fat quarters nearing closing time at the shop. The was on Monday last week. 

Fast forward to Sunday and where am I? At another quilt shop in Amana Iowa buying more fabric, this time for a really cool knitting project bag. 



This is where the learning comes in. My "sewing teacher" Susan,  from the last post and I are going to make the same bag but we chose different color palates. I washed the fabric last night and will try to take a picture of the 7 different fabric choices for this project bag. I love it because it has a zippered pocket on the outside and one on the inside. a hidden pocket on the outside as well. New skills for me to master while creating a new one skein project size bag.

Last week I realized that my credit card points can be applied to Amazon so I picked up a few tools to help me in the recent increase in sewing.
After a few nights worth of research I decided on these.

Kai 7250 10 inch Professional Scissors. I used to have a pair of Ginghers but they are gone, so I went looking for what I think are superior shears and found the Kai brand. 

A True Cut Rotary cutter with special cutting guide
And my own pair of thread nippers. I didn't think much of this until I realized you snip 4 threads for each seam you sew. 

Its fun to shop when you have points to use as money on Amazon. 


Life is Good

Saturday, September 05, 2015

a little sewing thrown in for good measure...

I've been spinning some lately and I wanted to come up with different way to hold my fiber when I spin in public. The yarn shop bags are fun but not very personal.

I've had some fabric for a few years but never thought to make a "transport/storage" device with any of it until today.

In the past I've talked about docents and mentors, today I had a chance to learn from my sewing mentor. We each have our own strengths and today I'm the student. After describing my idea for the bag, Susan said we could make a draw string flat bottom bag to hold the batts I often spin from.

Yes I've sat behind a sewing machine a few times in my life but I want to start learning the art of sewing, not just how to run a few stitches over some fabric. So I made the suggestion that we walk through the process and then she suggested that she will make a miniature bag side by side so  I can look, learn and then reinforce by doing.

The fabric was a red to pink ombre rose pattern.



Excuse the cellar door being open but I'm glad the ironing board was in the shot. This is an extra tall and wide ironing board. The two machines on the table are like opposite ends of the spectrum. Susan has a Bernina made is Switzerland where mine is a the budget Husqvarna Romeo made in Sweden. Don't get me wrong, my Husqvarna works like a dream but it's like driving a luxury sports car over the functional everyday driver car. Maybe one day when I win the lotto I may buy a Bernina,, but right now I'm thrilled to have my Husqvarna. 









A little pressing to make it look sharp and a trip to Jo-ann's for some silk ribbon to make the tie. 

The example/sample on the left made by Susan that will become a single ball project bag and my "Batt Bag"  


The flat bottom helps the bag stand up when loaded. Learning a cool technique to do this from what looked like a pillowcase, priceless. 

Easily holds 7 to 8 ounces of fiber in the form of drum carded batts without compacting the fiber.
What a great way to spend the afternoon. Thanks Susan 


   Life is Good

Monday, May 04, 2015

Thinking about Christmas Knitting already.

Went on a little road trip Saturday morning up to Galena IL to have Susan's sewing machine serviced. Galena is about an hour and a half North East of Davenport and the closest authorized service provider. It's a Bernina and if you aren't into sewing, this is the top of the line in sewing machines. Swiss made and just amazing. Susan's machine is over 20 years old but it's like most luxury or high end European car or mechanical devices, built to standards that we aren't used to.  We thought we were going to drop off the machine and pick it up in a week or so but the factory trained serviceman was in the shop doing to adjustments to some of the shop floor models and they said if we could wait a couple hours we might have the machine back before closing. That brought us to what can we do to kill a few hours. Well..... Right across the street is a knit shop that has seen us more than a few times and they have a nice table in the back to sit and knit we thought why not take advantage of the time.

When looking around the shop I saw a hat mitten pattern kit filled with Classic Elite.


The fiber content is Merino Alpaca and Angora. 60% 30% 10%
Do I need more yarn? Not at all and do I have the fiber in my stash to blend this? Yes I do. What color do I want to make this? Since my first thought was a Christmas gift for my Daughter Jenn I went to a soft shell pink and white. 
I couldn't buy the pattern for the kit without buying the yarn so I passed but I thought about finding the pattern at home. That wasn't meant to be because the mittens are a free pattern but the hat is only available in the kit. 
So......
I went looking at other patterns and found this one that I like even better.

  Imagine the red in a shell pink and you have my vision. I have the fiber in the stash so I can blend the merino/alpaca/angora mix to get the right hand while gaining the warmth and halo. This will be my first project in color work and I'm excited to work the whole process. 


Lots more to say and lots of fun stuff happening but I wanted to post more frequently instead of long posts so stay tuned...

Life Is Good





Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Slippery Slope of Fiber Goodness

What do these things lead to?

 A truly beautiful Merino Fleece.

A new fiber to me, CVM/Romeldale.

No more sending the fleeces out for processing. Lightly treading has never been my style and this is no different.  Lets back up a little....  The process has always intrgegued me as much as the finished product. Having the control of the fiber processing is just one more level that I can apply. The two fleeces above are some of the latest in the "fiber stash" The CVM/Romeldale was one that I usually overlooked at fiber shows/fairs but I found this fleece in a small local guild's fiber fair a couple hours Northeast of home and it was special.  The crimp was really fine and the shepherdess who raised the flock was really enthusiastic about her wares. Her flock is raised with hand-spinning in mind so she coats the lambs to reduce the vegetable matter. She went on about the lineage and how they were breeding for near skin soft fiber. 

Cormo is the gold standard for near skin skin soft fiber in my opinion. This fiber is pretty nice. I measured the fiber after some initial sampling and found it to be slightly over 19 micron. The soft grey color is almost pure white at the base and slowly fades to a light grey over the length of the staple.

Washed locks of CVM/Romeldale

   To the typical knitter these images don't do much but when I see the fine crimp, I just see soft woolen spun fiber that is screaming to be made into a treasured FO. 

Saturday, I'm have the opportunity to attend the Iowa Federation of Hand Spinners. The is the next level above the spinning guilds here in Iowa. All the guilds are represented and one of the main reasons is that they are having a spin in with Rick Reeves. 


I don't have a Rick Reeves wheel but my Schacht Wheel is a Rick Reeves design and just the idea of spinning with other like minded fiber lovers is worth the trip.

One of the classes at this gathering is a class on how to wash, comb and prepare a raw fleece specifically for woolen spinning. I hope I can pick up a few nuggets of knowlege and apply it to my ever expanding hobby. 

The combs in the first photo in this post are the new Valkyrie extra fine combs that arrived a week or so ago. Hand combing the locks saves so much of the fleece that normally is lost when you send the fleece to a fiber processor. Some purest will separate the fleece and hand wash the locks individually and then flick them and just spin from the lock but I can't see spending that much time when I want to  comb and then either drum card the clouds or diz the resultant fiber.      

  I will try to put up some i  process photos of the fleeces I'm processing and my thought process of how and why.

Life is Good

Sunday, April 27, 2014

not much being said but lots going on.

I will briefly cover the changes in my life and hopefully in a few weeks I'll go into the detail over the bullet points.

January 13th I finished school. I'm in my 50's and finally completed my degree. This had been a long off and on again process over most of my adult life. Thanks to people close to me who not only inspired me to complete this but were also there to keep me focused on the end prize. Moving to Iowa was hard because I realized how the business world was more focused on how important the degree was. Next weekend I'm going to be walking in the actual graduation ceremony with kids half my age or more but I feel like the weight has been lifted off my shoulders. My degree is in Project Management and I hope to find a full time position that can utilize my enhanced skill set. 

Second and almost as big is that I'm no longer having to drive a semi-truck anymore. I loved the driving part of the job but the time away from home and the strange hours and unrealistic expectations is beyond comprehension unless you spend a month driving. Fourteen hour days and ten hour off times that were dictated by freight schedules not your body clock or normalcy. I wont miss the driving in snowy or icy conditions that keep sane people off the roads but the expectations are that we will find a way to make the delivery.    

This leads me to the next point, I am now working in a desk job here in a local company where I am home every night. The position is just temporary while a lady is off on maternity leave but I'm back in the regular workforce. I'm working for a local aerospace company in the continuous improvement department doing data analysis. Not the greatest job but its a start in the right direction and I finally got my foot in the door so maybe I can land a permanent position. I have applied to this company many times but they wouldn't hire me because of the lack of degree but that door is now gone. I'm finding that they are also very particular about the type of degree you hold but that's another story.

I missed the regular parts of my life that people take for granted. Knit night was near impossible to attend because I wasn't home very often on Tuesday nights. Regular knitting and spinning are a reality again. When I was driving I was often so tired at the end of the day that I didn't feel much like knitting. The days off were filled with catching up on what I couldn't do and the fiber arts took a back seat to my school work most times. So I'm really happy to pick up the needles again. My Father's sweater is moving along slowly but I'm knitting most days again.

My weight has crept back up again but I've already put some things into action. Tracking my food on the app Lose-it so I have to be honest about what I put into my body. I have the fit-bit tracking my steps and I'm using Endomondo as my training tool as I begin to run again. Technology is quite fun when all the apps speak to each other. I have a training plan and I know I will slip but keeping at it.
I just wanted to share this because it struck me funny.

The shoes in my size , 15 us and 49 Euro makes them look like Ronald McDonald Shoes but they feel like no shoes I have ever worn. The raised lugs promote a mid-strike or forefoot strike as opposed to the heel-strike that causes the high impact. I had to modify (shorten) my stride and use the land - lever- lift method to propel my body.  My legs have always been the strongest part of my body but these shoes have brought attention to muscles and tendons that I have never utilized before but what a difference in comfort and ease. You can see more here and here if you want to get a better understanding.  Btw, I love Zappos, living in Iowa is fine but finding size 15 shoes is not always that easy.

Next post I'll show an update of the sweater I'm knitting for my Dad.

Life is Good

Friday, May 17, 2013

What comes first? The project or the project bag?

Look, I'm blogging again LOL

Today was my first day of planned unemployment. I'm starting my new job next week but I'm enjoying the few days off.

The yarn I ordered for my Dad's sweater arrived yesterday but when I saw it....  Not what I thought. It looked more orange but in real life it was more brown. The one thing my dad asked was that the yarn wasn't brown or gray. So, I called Webs and ordered his other choice and will return the other yarn tomorrow.

Starting the project is exciting but learning to make the project bag that I will use to carry the WIP will be just as fun. Today was the trip to the fabric store to pick a pattern, then the fabric and notions.
 The aubergine linen rayon fabric on the top is going to be the outside of the bag. The pop of color is polyester taffeta for the lining and the black linen blend is the contrasting color to masculine up the bag just a skosh. 
 The pattern I chose was the one on the right with a minor mod to change the pocket flaps. It's hard to make a bag that won't look too much like a man purse but I'll try. 

Life is Good

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fun Fiber and Imports from Sweden

Hi everyone, lots going on lately.

Lets start with I'm starting a new job soon. Same industry just a better company and they have a benefit package. The biggest difference is that I'll be driving a day cab and be home each night instead of the sleeper cab and being on the road for a couple days at a time.

School is going well, in fact I have 5 classes until the degree is finished. Trucking and online schooling sounds OK but you need a much higher level of commitment to stay on top of your work and work when you can. During the interview for my new job the hiring manager was impressed and when I said I was going to continue and get my Masters. He said that he would like to make room for me on his staff when I'm ready to find suitable work that applied to my degree.

I'm loving my wheel and wish I had more time to spin but I will make time. Last week when I was off for a few days I managed to photograph some of the recent fiber acquisitions. The few highlights are 7 ounces of processed Paco-Vicuna

 and a fleece from another Paco-Vicuna.

 The other big acquisition is one pound of Qiviut.

Other notables are camel, polwarth, rambouillet-yak blend, three colors of yak, CVM corri blend, and a 30 pound bump of Rambouillet. here is a link to enjoy more.

Next on the mental list is I'm in the planning stages of making my Dad a sweater. What sweater you ask? The Textured Argyle. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/textured-argyle-cardigan 

  I ordered Cascade 220 superwash from Webbs who has the yarn on sale through the end of the month. I sent my Dad an email with a link to Webb's and let him chose the color he wanted. He chose colorway Ginger but that looked brown in person so we went with Christmas red heather.



 This leads me to the next thing. Last month on Craigslist I found a Husqvarna. If this were the mid 70's I would have been coveting this.
The Husqvarna motorcycle. Popularized by many of the top European riders of the day and Malcom Smith. You may ask who is Malcom Smith? In 1971 the movie "On Any Sunday" featuring Mert Lawwill, Malcom Smith and Steve McQueen. Mert was a short track racer for Harley Davidson, Malcom was a legend in the motorcycle community and yes the real Steve McQueen was featured in the movie.


Mr Newman was a real stud in the day. He was shown on the cover of Sports Illustrated shirtless.







Malcom Smith opened a Motorcycle dealership in Riverside California that is like a museum for motorcycle fans like myself. He has a few of his bikes that he won certain races on display in amazing condition. I know by this time I've lost most of the knitters but for those of you who are still here there is a payoff.


I wish I had the money to buy a Husqvarna motorcycle but I was talking sewing machines. Why buy a sewing machine you ask? I want to sew and design but having a basic machine to learn on was first. The first project is to make a project bag for my Dad's sweater. 




It's a Romeo model, not top end but in great condition. Craigslist is wonderful when you look hard for the gems. Made in Sweden, now residing in Iowa. Now I get to find some "fun" fabric for the sweater project bag.

Life is Good