Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mystery Roving

Well, I've been saving this mystery roving that I bought at a wool festival, and decided to spin it up Sunday afternoon. It has a nice progression of colors throughout the whole roving, and you can see two bobbins of it here. My plan was to slightly over spin the singles, then ply it with some silk thread. That was a disaster. The silk obscured the lovely subtle color shift and made it look like coned yarn from a bargain bin, that nobody wanted!!  I hope I can find a solution. Maybe I will try some finer thread in a better color, and try some core spinning. I'll post the results ASAP....                               

Monday, March 3, 2014

Winter Color Palette

It is March 3. Dreary, overcast, bone chilling wind, and the temperature can't be 20 degrees. I felt a touch of the winter blahs this morning, and to ward off having them get any worse, I jumped in the car and took a ride. As dreary as it is this time of year in New England, I looked around at the world that lay before me as I drove along, and I noticed some subtle, beautiful colors in a wonderful range of tints and tones. When I returned home, I pulled out my deck of Color-Aid papers, and put together this winter palette. Perhaps a handwoven table runner, or a scarf or shawl. Or, maybe a small art quilt. Hand dyed, handspun woolen yarns knit up into a cowl, or a pair of mittens would be nice, too. The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mohair Locks Dyeing 2

Completed mohair dyeing session! This fiber is so lustrous, and takes the dyes so well. Can't wait to spin it up. Lots of possibilities!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mohair Locks Dyeing

In about 30 minutes, I dyed these mohair locks. I think they will look beautiful blended with other fibers, such as Border Leicester, on the blending board. I would like to create a pair of wristers, and a shawlette with these fibers. The mohair has taken the dye very well. I used a low water immersion dye bath on the stovetop with a 9x13 metal pan on 2 burners. A bit of citric acid was mixed into the dye stock, then poured over the simmering water and mohair mixture in the pan. Once the dyes strike, or attach to the fiber, the water runs clear. This occurs around 160 degrees, at a simmer. The fiber was soaked in a couple tablespoons of Synthrapol, before placing it into the dye pan. I have all my dye stocks premixed and stored in the basement in a plastic tub, with all the dye equipment as well, so that I can dye at a moments notice, and all my materials are "grab and go". I think organization is key, when you don't have a dedicated dyeing workshop! The greens are very intense, and will lighten up considerably when I blend the with the white Border Leicester wool fleece I have in mind. The resulting yarn will be a soft pastel variegated. Can't wait to try it!

Lace Shawl Progress

Here I am inserting a life line, so that if I make a mistake further on, I can rip back to the life line to find my place, and continue. This is a humbling experience, but I am learning a lot about how to read my knitting, so that I don't make mistakes so often. The other big thing I have found, is that you need to count your stitches to be sure you are on track. Stitch markers have become my best friend! I hope I can be considered an expert knitter after the project! At least, proficient! With lace, anyway! I am finding that there are so many techniques and ways of knitting as there are cultures in the world. I want to learn as many as I can! This is a lace shawl project, my first.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Inspiration on the Road

We just purchased a Rockwood Mini Lite camper. I have been longing to hit the road, take in the sights, and commune with nature. Time for a little balance in life. We work so hard, restoring our 18th century home--there are ALWAYS big projects to do around here. Teaching elementary school is very demanding (as much as I love it).....SO, this camper will serve a very important purpose....aside from fun, recreation and relaxation when we need to recharge and regroup, I will have the added bonus of getting that needed artistic inspiration to fill my creative well. I'm already planning ways to pack along my art materials, spinning wheel (my Ashford Traveller Wheel is the perfect size for a camper) and other  textile projects. The great thing about the camper, is that I can create on the road, I don't have all of the demands of home awaiting my attention! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mohair Progress!

Here is the freshly made skein of mohair/wool! It is a roughly 65/35 blend. The skein appears darker than the rolag. The photos show the charged carder, the attenuated rolag, and the rolag, before it was removed from the carder. I decided to roll the rolag off the carder, from left to right, maintaining the direction of the fibers so they would orient vertically in the rolag. This gave me a more consistent backwards draw, for woolen spinning of this yarn. It is a joy to spin. The black Romney wool is very soft, and takes some of the itchiness of the mohair away. I will knit up some samples, patterns that are light and open would be best to show off the halo in the yarn, and produce a lightweight finished product. The yarn is about 10 wraps per inch, spun Z, plied S, and about 8 twists per inch..it approximates a worsted weight yarn.