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, 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. 
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