Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ashford 12" Knitter's Loom Review

I purchased this little rigid heddle loom last year with the thought that I would use it primarily for sampling before putting any project onto a larger loom. It is small and easy to transport from room to room, and that is nice when I want to sit down and work in my living room rather than in the studio, or perhaps out doors. The entire loom and stand break down easily, and fit into this tote bag! Another plus. After having woven on it a number of times, I have noticed that the warp beam in the back can ride up a bit, and require tightening of the knobs where the loom folds up. A little fiddly,  but overall, a great little loom for the price, and the portability and small size far outweigh the minor engineering issues. I ordered 2 reeds so that I could use 2 at a time, thereby allowing me more flexibility for warps with closer setts. I ordered the reeds in a variety of sizes, for sampling purposes, as well as the double heddle reed support blocks to accommodate them. We have since acquired a camper, and I am pleased to say, this little loom is perfect for,camper travel. Small, lightweight and portable in its tote bag, it is perfect 
to grab and go when we are ready to take off for any road trip. 


The blues are most undoubtedly from indigo dyed cottons, used in the original clothing. When they became ragged and worn out, they were cut up into thin strips and rewoven into new cloth which was then made into new garments. They are beautifully textured, and subtle in their color gradations. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Current Sewing Projects

Tumbling blocks quilt pattern, in a vintage color way called "Betty Dear", although I don't remember the  name of the fabric company that puts it out. I purchased the fabric as a jelly roll, but it did not have a good range of values, so I had to go out and purchase some additional lights and darks to round out the selection. This will become a small bag.
The next photo shows a beautiful complementary color scheme of blues and yellows, in a reproduction Civil War cottons designed by Jo Morton of Andover Fabrics. I cannot wait to try some civilwar era patchwork quilting projects with this. 

July 2014 Handspinning Samples

LThese handspun yarns were created with Ashland Bay Corriedale Top and Cheviot Top. Both tops were blended on my Ashford blending board, with various blends, ranging from dyed wool top, dyed mohair, and Sari silk ribbons that had been cut into flecks and added directly onto the blending board. Some samples were core spun using fine sewing thread in coordinating colors, and/or blended with bits of dyed silk noil. Some plied, some singles.....this was so much fun, and a serendipitous creative venture! It was a spontaneous mixing of colors and textures that yielded terrific results! I will probably use these yarns for Saori weaving, or maybe some fine knitting--the yarn is well suited to scarves or shawlettes.  I am thinking of a linen stitch, perhaps, that would show off all the color gradations, but there are many other options I could try!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Romney Lamb Fleece 2!

Here is the lambs fleece, after scouring. An unwashed lock is on the far left for comparison. The washed locks are in the middle, and the flicked  (combed) locks are on the right. I will be spinning these worsted style, to get good stitch definition, probably something in a sport weight size...I will spin up some samples, and see what ideas they suggest. As spinners we are so lucky because we can design the yarns we want for the intended end use. Sometimes you see a fleece, and immediately know what you would like to create with it, based on its characteristics. Other times, you buy a fleec just because, and you start experimenting with its possibilities, before coming up with an idea. At this point in the creative process, now that I have a sense of what the washed fiber feels like, looks like, and how it behaves, I am thinking about scarves and has great springiness, bounce and elasticity, due to the crimp in the locks, and it is next to the skin soft, perfect for scarf wearing. A worsted prep will give me great stitch definition, perfect for color work, or knit and purl patterning, which is probably what I would like to do with my knitting. The characteristics of the fleece suggest certain paths to follow in the planning of the end product. I love all the possibilities at my fingertips!

Romney Lamb Fleece...(finally!)

This fleece was purchased a year and a half ago, at the New England Fiber Festival in Springfield, Mass. And I have finally worked my way through a long list of fleeces awaiting scouring, to finish up with this lovely Romney Lamb fleece. It has beautiful, consistent crimping, the locks are very well maintained, and the fleece is a fairly consistent length throughout. I decided to sort it by whiteness/brightness and fineness. Even though it is fairly consistent throughout, I came up with 3 grades as you can see in the photo. The finest, cleanest wool is on the far right, the courser and dirtier (more yellow) is on the far left. The bag in the middle is the fullest, and although a bit more yellow than the prime wool, it is still very soft and fine. My guess is that it will wash up fine, but it may be a bit more on the creamy side, whereas the prime wool will be a bit more on the white side. This fleece is a very clean one to start with, no VM, and no dirt. My guess is that is was a covered fleece, although it did not say so on the label. The weight is 3.5 pounds, and I paid $30 for it. A steal, if you ask me! The white tulle in the photo is for scouring. I will wash this fleece and maintain the lock structure by layering the fleece pieces in between layers of tulle netting, and tying the bundle with string to keep the butt ends all lined up. I will be spinning worsted style, so this is the prep routing I will follow. You can see the washed fleece in the next post.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

More from NH Sheep and Wool!

Here are photos of the things I found at the Festival in NH...from Ellen's Half Pint Farm in Norwich, VT, a beaded lace shawl knit and pattern in a soft springtime color way....pinks, greens, lavenders, grays and yellows, with dark pink seed beads, and a very interesting book on knitting beaded jewelry and other small items. Can't wait to get this one started.
The next photo is a beautiful dyed BFL 4 oz. hank of wool top for spinning from "Friends in Fiber" in free, eggplant, turquoise and mustard....
AAnd some dyed BFL roving 4oz. Each, for spinning from Painted Knoll Farm in New Hampton, NH. This is very silky feeling, and would make beautiful shawlette a in a lace pattern. The colors are very rich.