Sunday, August 27, 2017

Spinning My Wheels, In a Good Way

I've been spinning my wheels, in a good way. My hubby and I got back on the road for what turned out to be 9400 miles of driving (his wheels).
My wheel, Gingie, and I kept ourselves busy.  
Starting by spinning some black bamboo, I then plied it (twisted it together) with the Dark Matter 50/50 SW(superwash) Merino/Tussah Silk I'd spun on our last outing. Then, Gingie and I spun and plied the 60/40 SW Merino and Tencel. The color's a lot more of a medium greenie-turquoise than it looks here.
And, what? You thought that was it? Nope. It was a Long trip. I alternated spinning with knitting an afghan on circular needles. (There's that theme, again.)
 Don't ask. OK, fine. Ask. ...Sigh. I've been designing a double knit (two-sided) afghan on paper. But, when I got this far, I didn't like the way the corners looked. I couldn't leave them the way they were. So, I just ripped them out and re-knit them. ("Just", she said.)

We made a side trip to the Amana Colonies in Iowa and watched a basket weaver at work with her home grown willow.

We stopped to poke around at this mill in Frankenmuth, MI. If you have a fleece that needs cleaning and carding (organizing all the fibers so that they run in the same direction), this is the place.

In Pennsylvania, along the side of the road, we saw a sign for "handwoven rugs". We ended up chatting with the Amish weaver and his mother here in his workshop for about an hour. It was delightful!

He had recently obtained this all metal loom in pieces. Rebuilding it has been a challenge, but he's looking for a loom that doesn't require treadling. If they can figure out how to make it work, it'll give his legs a break. If anyone has any info on this loom, I can pass it on...?

In our discussion, they mentioned a weaver in an antique store down the way, called "The Nut House". We saw the sign and stopped in. The weaver showed me some circular---there it is, again!---weaving she's been doing and gifted me with a hoop and instructions so that I could give it a try when I got home!

All roads lead to Vavstuga Weaving School in Shelburne, MA. No time for classes, but I called about an hour before we got there. Tonya unlocked the door and let me browse. I opened my pocketbook...
You'll be shocked that I left all of this behind. I did, however, make inroads into their books, baskets and tools.

It looked like everything there was handwoven. If it was cloth, it was handwoven. I want my linen closet to look like that. No store boughten silliness for me!

We spent a day at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI, and probably an hour chatting with the weavers in the weaving shop.

Look up! Max showed me this two-story jacquard loom.

Like a player piano, one sets up the pattern by arranging the cards which you can see along the left-side of the loom and photo. Once everything is set up, just press the treadle, throw the shuttle, beat and repeat.

The next loom is set up with a fly shuttle. Do you see the handle hanging onto the cloth? If the shuttle is on the right, pull the handle towards the left. If the shuttle is on the left, pull the handle towards the right. Pulling on the handle makes the shuttle "fly" across the loom. This way, the weaver doesn't need to reach far over to the side to throw the shuttle on a wide warp.

Here's a counterbalance loom being threaded

This machine is a loom that was last used to weave cloth for cars' interiors. They rarely turn it on and use it now, because it's just Too Darned LOUD!

Here's a wool carder.

If you look Very closely, you can see the silk being reeled off of the cocoons onto the wheel at the back, one fine thread at a time.

Now, from Greenfield Village, inside to the Henry Ford Museum.

Drool.

I remember seeing this, or something like it, when I was a girl. It's a kitchen from the 1700's, and a walking wheel.

Heading west, towards home, these beautiful woven articles were being shown in a store at Mesa Grande, CO.

And it all comes back around to Gingie and me, spinning some more bamboo as we wheeled home.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A couple of months ago, we took a week away. We started out with a serendipitous find at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, an exhibit on weaving:
I thought this top was knit until I got up close. It's a reproduction of a woven (called Sprang) shirt from approx 1300CE, found in Arizona.


And this is the real thing! Imagine! Someone actually wove this some 700 years ago!

And here's more of the exhibit on fiber and handwovens.


At Casa Grande Ruins National Monument museum in Arizona, there is a small exhibit on spinning and weaving.

While we drove, Gingie and I worked with "Dark Matter", an Anzula fiber colorway.



And I finished making up this sweet pillow. The pattern is from Purl SOHO. The bobbles are made up of my first ever handspun!

At home again, I got Sophie dressed in stripes. The colors were so striking, I didn't want them to wash out. So, I sett the 10/2 pearl cotton ends (threads) at 40 epi (ends per inch--think sheet thread count), closer together than I normally do.

Because I don't weave as much as I'd like, I don't get much practice setting up the loom. This is the same problem I had a year ago. There's only supposed to be one shed (see the opening to throw the shuttle through?), not two. Thanks to some generous support on Ravelry.com, I got this straightened out.

...and got to weaving some satin yardage! Look how the colors stand out! And with the warp  threads so close together, the weft is almost invisible.
After all that weaving, out came the scissors. Yikes! Then, thanks to some math miscalculations, I had enough cloth to sew two aprons and two pillow cases. My SIL says this will be her winter apron. Note to self: this density of cloth would work well for tote bags.

A minute here and a minute there, I've been spinning with Suzie and her stylus. This is silk from Chasing Rainbows. The color is called "crocus".

Every non-workday morning, I've been in the front yard as soon as the sun comes up. About a month ago, we put in a few vegies as place holders until I decide what belongs there. Since this picture was taken, we've gotten about 25 cucumbers and the cantaloupe and corn are coming along.


Further down the way, I've been digging up the roots from one of the trees we had taken out. The space longer than the length of the car was filled with roots...

...until me! This must be the reason I go to the gym!


And indoors, I finished painting the room that is to be our guest and my sewing room.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

COLORS!

Before I start writing a new post, I like to look at the pictures and try and find a common thread. This time around, what I see is COLORS!

I really liked an advertisement for a very similar bracelet to this, in the colors of the rainbow! But after several recent, frustrating, online buying experiences with other companies, I decided not to chance it and made my own instead.

This year, I heard quite a bit about the "color of the year". This is not it. I chose two colors from my stash that were as close as I could find to the colors on the Pantone webpage, and I dressed Julia in a rayon-chenille, scarf warp. This checked design was what I'd planned on, but the color and weave design is almost lost. 

So, I unwove it and went for a simple, vertical stripe. It's achieved by changing weft picks (pink, beat, green, beat, repeat...).

I haven't been playing with my Suzie, spinning wheel lately. I finished this BFL(blue faced leicester) and silk blend, but can't decide if I want to leave it as is or ply it. So, she and the yarn sit...

...while I go back to knitting socks, again. We say that "socks are knit in the round". What that really means is that they're knit in a spiral. Once around and you find yourself just above your starting point. (Picture a spiral staircase.) That means that striped socks have a "jog" in them. In this picture, it only shows on the right toe and left ankle.  

But I made these socks to practice "jogless stripes"...
 
...and so I could make silly jokes about "pussyfooting around".

Sometimes (read "often"), I can't figure out what to do with my handspun. This project feels like an "undo"-ing. I had some bits of fiber that were too rough for much other than rugs and not enough for that even. I spun it up, made the yarn into balls, put the balls into an old pair of tights and ran them through the washer and dryer to felt the fiber so that they'd keep their shape.  
Now, I can use them to bounce around in the dryer instead of using fabric softener sheets!

I showed this blanket as finished in my last post, but I don't think it was complete until it was gifted with love to this little doll!

My LYS asked me to knit up the Brahmin Moth Scarf kit by Annie Modesitt before our yarn crawl.

I wasn't a fan of the colors until I saw them in the flowers and poppies in my backyard!

Look who my friend found hiding in the lilacs back there!

The front yard's got color, too. Check out the artichokes and wisteria!

And the Roses!!!