Saturday, December 21, 2013

An End and a Beginning

A new visitor in our garden.

Finally! Here are the completed slippers I've mentioned before. I knitted them twice and tried felting them by hand in the sink. The washing machine was the key to shrinking them down. Now they're all ready for tromping around the house!

And Winky and Dobby helped us model them.

I've started dressing Sophie with the cotton I got from Glimakra. I've made towels out of so many different cottons. Many of them are too soft to be as absorbent as I'd like, if they're absorbent at all. We'll see how this one works. I've heard good things about it. 

I've never done waffle weave before. I'm having so much fun with it!

This one is a five shaft from Simple Weaves.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Work of our Hands

Since I've been on a sock hiatus, I've been working on this sweater. The yarn is Columbia from Imperial Yarn and the pattern is Fuse Cardigan from Brooklyn Tweed. This was the first time I saw a pattern in a yarn store, paid for it and it was delivered to my e-mail to be downloaded onto my tablet. How far we've come!

My hubby and I went to the Designing Weavers show and I almost didn't get past the front porch. I was fascinated by the weaving Trudy Sonia was doing on her inkle loom and she was gracious enough to explain and show me what she was doing.

She designed this pattern for a leash and collar. It's pick-up. And now I'll know what pick-up means the next time I read about it. 

Some other woven goods that caught my eye.

I wish I'd gotten the names of the artists. There were so many beautiful things there, I didn't know which way to look first!

I wish I'd taken my camera out sooner. There was so much more!

This woven sculpture is beaded.
Now, back to my projects, this is the beginning of a tallis (prayer shawl) for my daughter's boyfriend. This was quite a family affair. They said blue, green and a little brown. My mom and I figured out how to Skype and chose the colors together. Winky decided she wanted to help sley the reed.

I ordered this yarn from Halcyon. It's a cotton, rayon, and hemp or flax blend. I used the same yarn 13 years ago for my daughter's tallis. I sett it at 24 epi. For a little, a very little stash busting, I used two strands of 10/2 cotton for the design. 

It's a summer and winter.

My younger son helped with knotting the fringe while my older son was our photographer.

My sister did the counted cross stitch. I wove the fabric for the matching bag and sewed it all together.

Then, we had a lesson on tying the tzitzit. If you look closely, you can see the reinforcement corner that my sister embellished.

Here are my daughter and their friend working on the other corners.

A little break for other pursuits. My daughter has been working on one of the needlepoint canvases I got from Solvang this summer. I needed a project for traveling, so I was knitting a hat for her.                We also took time out to felt the slippers I'd made for my daughter and her boyfriend. Big mistake! They don't have a washing machine, so we tried using their kitchen sink. For an hour. We tried. Really we did. We ran out of hot water and had to boil some. Our arms and hands got tired. Jokes were made about working in a laundry. We had an hour of trying and hoping and hilarity, but no go. I ended up bringing the slippers home. Cross your fingers!

This was the big moment when we celebrated my daughter's boyfriend with him wrapped in the work of our hands.

And here's my daughter in her new hat. The pattern is a freebie I found on Ravelry. It's called Volkstricken, Neon Ski Bonnet. The yarn is Royal Alpaca by Aslan Trends. I bought it at my LYS.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Weaver's Weekend

My husband said he wanted to skip his bike ride to take me down to Vista, California, in northern San Diego county. If the traffic's light, it's a two hour drive. He wanted to take me to the Antique Gas and Steam Museum. The idea of any kind of engines is not very motivating for me. I would say that trying to get me out of the house resembled fighting the inertia you push against in prying a rock from it's bed. But he had seen an ad in one of my magazines for the Vista Fiber Arts Fiesta. Luckily, my hubby was willing to push. It was WONDERFUL!!! This one building held about 50 looms!  

Look at the works on top of this loom!

It fascinated me!

Punch cards.

Each of the individual heddles hanging behind the shafts had it's own weight hanging from it.

And the yellow strings went one to each of those heddles.

I wanted to have a visual record of the way this Glimakra countermarch was tied up. It's upside down from the way I learned.

Such pretty colors and work on this dobby loom. But I wanted to take note of the temple. She used bent j-hooks from knitting...

then added a pulley and a bottle of sand.

I know I don't have room for a great wheel, but...                                                      Then, on the way home, we stopped in San Pedro at Crafted. My eyes, followed by my feet, went straight to the giant countermarch loom. It's 10 feet in the reed.  

Dana, it's owner, is a textile artist. We spent a delightful hour visiting both under and in front of the loom. I look forward to seeing what she produces on it.                                   The day after all this fun, I had a visitor, Robin, who's contemplating purchasing a Glimakra loom. She wanted to have the opportunity for a little hands on before she made her decision. It was perfect timing. I have a sample on Sophia (the countermarch Standard) and napkins on Julia (counterbalance), so I didn't mind someone else weaving on them. Besides, I was so full of excitement about the previous day's and week's activities, I wanted to share!                                                                      The week before all of this, I spent watching and learning from the dvd, Dress Your Loom the Swedish Way. I hope both ladies will forgive me for babbling on about everything I learned from the dvd. Because I learned to weave on a jack loom, tie up and set-up on my countermarch has been a struggle. And I don't learn by reading. So, to finally get Sophia dressed with ease was a pleasure. And now she's weaving as comfortably and smoothly as I knew she could. I can't stop grinning!  

Zero to 60 in...

Well, it seems like I've gone from zero to sixty. Being ill this summer brought my activity to a screeching halt. As soon as I had a little energy, I started back on my needlepoint seen here. It's already about two thirds done. But I had to slow down, because my hands were starting to hurt from too many hours working on it. I did get to work on a few other projects:

I finally finished weaving those !#@$% mohair scarves and took them off of Sophia. I'm not at all impressed. The light blue is not as washed out as it looks here, but they're still "eh". I sent them to my daughter and suggested she either claim them, find a friend in need or donate them to the first homeless person she comes across. 

I finished spinning up two ounces of this supima cotton from Chasing Rainbows that I bought at my favorite candy store, Village Spinning and Weaving. The colorway is called Morning Glory. As usual for me, I didn't quite get an accurate picture of the colors. The pinks and purples get all the way to almost an orange. Exquisite! I'm spinning it on the stylus on my Susie Professional and getting a nice fine yarn. I'd love to be able to use this as singles on the loom, but I'm not brave enough. I have another two ounces that I'll spin up next to ply with this. 
A couple three years ago, I gifted a chenille scarf to a friend. I had it back to repair some of the twisted fringe that was coming undone.

Since I was lucky enough to have it in my possession, I took the opportunity to photograph it.
No, it's not your eyes. The picture's blurry. This is one of the sweaters I knitted that I actually finished. It's from a denim cotton. I got the pattern from a book, but I can't remember where I put the book after I copied the pattern into my Kindle. If I find it, or someone really wants to know, I'll go looking. The other sweater is just a shell. No pictures until I finish the edges. I'll get there.

And then there's Big Foot or Yeti. I bought the pattern as an e-book, Cryptozoology, from KnitPicks. Because I do Nothing the easy way, I knit up one and a half slippers before I decided to do a test swatch and wash it to make sure it would shrink and felt enough. ...Um. No. ...Sigh. I had to go to the yarn store and buy another yarn that Would felt. I made two pair of these to gift to both my daughter and her sweetie. They are under orders to photograph the feet once they are nicely shrunken.   

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Stash Busting Gone Awry

Well, my stash busting has gone awry. My husband and I went to a wedding on the fourth of July that took us through Solvang on the way home the next day. We stopped in Thumbelina, the needlework shop where I'd purchased this in the end of April. It took me a month and a half. 

No more needlepoint. Right?! Well, we made a side trip to Thumbelina, again...just to look.

This was labeled as marked down from $99 to $49. Okay. How could I resist? But there was another canvas that grabbed me. It wasn't priced. Hmmm. The owner said that since I'm actually purchasing to do the work, $50 for this one, too.!!!!!!!!

It's about 38 x 20, and it's done in a style called "tremme" (sp?). There's a diagram of it here, but it's not labeled as such. Just look for the black and white picture under terminology on the linked page. It'll be fun to try something new...but, when?!                                  I'm still spinning a beautiful cotton with my Majacraft stylus and weaving that MISERABLE...I mean magnificent...the pendulum swings...mediocre... Okay, let's stop with the adjectives while I'm ahead, mohair scarf. I have one sweater that's knitted and ready to assemble. And my current knitting project is another sweater. I'm at the elbow on the first sleeve. Once the second sleeve is done, I can sew it together and be done with it, too. Pictures to come, I'm hoping by the end of the week. That is, if I can stay away from the roses...?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Road Trip and Stash Enhancement

My husband and I took a road trip from southern California up to Vancouver, BC, Canada and back. That means driving time for him and knitting time for me. In Abbotsford, BC, I made a detour in the first of many yarn stores, Birkeland Bros. That is where I saw this 100 year old beauty. They'd just finished carding some fleeces and were in the process of some clean up.

This sweetie was one of the hand-raised sheep in the front yard at Imperial Yarn and Stock Ranch. The entire enterprise is run with an emphasis on sustainability, check their website.

Jeanne Carver, the owner with her husband, Dan, was gracious enough to give us a tour of some of the historic buildings. This old house is now the headquarters for the wonderful yarns and fibers. I spent some time lightening their inventory.  

In Salem, OR we found an old woolen mill.

I'd never been up close and personal to the industrialized production of fabric. We were given a key and sent to open doors and wander through.

I wish I could have seen this in motion. I can't imagine how it works.

Thanks to Imperial Yarn, my stash has been enhanced. I don't know what the wool fiber is going to be, but I already have patterns for the yarns.

And to round that out, a few other fibers, too. This should keep me busy for a while, don't you think?!
There was one other historic mill we stopped at in Eagle Point, OR. I came home with 10 lbs of bread flour, 5 lbs whole oats, and a few other dry goods. I just made this buttermilk, whole wheat bread. What a difference freshly milled flour makes!