This side of the Morning…

One of my Facebook friends, Andrew Thornton, recently challenged his friends to blog more again, he had always enjoyed blogs, but had noticed that many of his favourites were not blogging as often as they used to. I’m terrible at keeping up with mine, but I thought it might be fun to try posting about what I’m working on, especially as my focus is changing a bit. I hope you will visit Andrew’s blog too, his work is gorgeous:
http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/

Ewan and Jeremy were away with our friends Tim and Henry over the weekend, so I had my first day where I could just do my own thing in the studio for months. I wasn’t working towards a show, or anything for a website. The last thing I wanted to do was bead. sometimes when a hobby becomes work, then something else has to take its place when you need something to both relax and inspire you.

A lot of my recent crafting time has been spent either knitting and spinning a sweater, or sewing I think I’m becoming addicted to French seams, it hides all the gubbins and loose threads inside the garment! I want to learn to make more of  my own clothes, so I have a few patterns I want to work on over the winter including 2 shirt patterns and even some underwear. If I want basic plain black and white it is fine, I love my Marks and Spencer’s basic t-shirt bras, but my size is difficult to find, in anything other than those colours. Most companies skip right past it, or they are over $40 for a bra if I can find them.

Stop the World, I’m Getting Off…

With everything going on around the world in recent weeks, I found the one way to stay calm and to unwind was to spin on my new wheel. I’m now finished with the singles for my shawl for the Windy City Knitting Guild challenge. I have plied about 2/3 of it and will do some more tonight. Now I have to decide what to make with it. Do I design my own, or do I pick a pattern that would be suitable for this gradient yarn?

When I got into spinning a few years ago, I started with a Purple Heart wood supported spindle from Wanton Woolies. I love this spindle for very fine, short fibres, but sadly this company don’t seem to be around anymore, so I can’t post a link. The little bowl I use for spinning with this spindle is a little sauce bowl, I have a bead crochet project sitting in it just now, waiting until I have the concentration to work on it.

My second Spindle is a Rosewood mini Turkish spindle from Subterranean Woodworks. This one is tiny, it fits in the palm of my hand and weighs 0.56 oz when empty, but it holds about 1oz of fibre if you layer it on well. I love this one when I go traveling as it easily fits into my lovely knitting bag that my friend Doris made for me. I have some white alpaca on this spindle just now.

https://subterraneanwoodworks.wordpress.com/

My third was a Scott Snyder Turkish spindle, this one is about twice the size and weight of the other Turkish. It can spin various weights of yarn and I love it for plying as well. I will often take 2-3 turtles from the smaller spindle and ply them together on this one. At the moment I am spinning some hand dyed silk hankies on this one, but this photo shows a previous spin of a Merino silk blend from Ashland Bay:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SnyderSpindles

Denim Blues

My fourth spindle is a beautiful drop spindle made by Mike King at Spanish Peacock. It is both beautiful, light and very easy to use. I love it for lace weight singles as it spins like a dream! This photo is from an older project, some of my own rolags I’m spinning up for a woven scarf, but it shows the steampunk style design quite well.

http://www.spanishpeacock.com/

IMG_20161119_152145

In my next 2-3 posts I will post about some spinning and knitting podcasts that I love and I’m thinking of maybe adding a little bit about one or two books that I love – note, these mini reviews will be based on books that I have bought with my own money and have found helpful, or I have enjoyed unless otherwise stated.

The title of the post comes from the lyrics of this Stone Roses song, so don’t be too worried! Sometimes I need to take time to zone out, to work on something that feels comforting. Is there any of the things that I do that you would like to hear more about? Knitting, spinning, beads, crochet? I want to get into more regular craft blogging, but ideas would be welcome.

New Year, New Wheel and Groundhogs…

I started spinning a few years ago, at first on a supported spindle and I now have two Turkish spindles and a drop spindle as well. I love them for their fine spinning and their portability, but I also wanted to buy a wheel. When I started working again this summer, I started putting away the money I earned every month, in order to buy my wheel.

Jeremy, my Mum and Dad and Margaret and Peter all gave me Christmas money this year and so I was able to go up to the Fold in Marengo, Illinois to buy my wheel. I can recommend them to anyone looking to buy a wheel, fibre or a loom as they were very friendly and helpful and let me try it out before I bought it.

http://www.thefoldatmc.net/

I had originally intended looking at three wheels – the Schacht Ladybug and Flat Iron and the Lendrum DT. They got out the Lendrum first and I didn’t even try the other two, it just felt right straight away. They gave me a big bag of fibre to try the new wheel out, I chose some white BFL, brown BFL and some light sand coloured Shetland, I haven’t tried spinning Shetland yet, though I have knitted with it.

After that we went for lunch. As the Illinois Railway Museum we often go to was closed for the season, we took a trip over to nearby Woodstock. Woodstock is where they filmed many of the scenes in the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day. Woodstock’s square stood in for Punxsutawney and Gobbler’s Knob:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog_Day_(film)

We went to Ethereal Confections for lunch which is wonderful if you love chocolate, everything is made in their kitchens and they have gluten free options as well:
img_20170101_112028

https://www.etherealconfections.com/

Then after that we took Ewan to the Volo Auto Museum. I think he liked the Ghostbusters Ambulance best, followed by the Batmobile:
img_20170101_125622

We didn’t get the wheel assembled until the next day, when we had got home from Woodstock and the car museum, I had just wanted to nap.
img_20170101_184622

img_20170101_200748
This was my first try, using the white BFL. Thick, thin and decidedly wonky, but the second try was better and by the third I was able to replicate the singles I had been making on my spindles.
img_20170101_200807

img_20170109_151803

Ewan and I had dyed some fibre on the last Friday of his school holidays, he dyed some Corriedale with food dyes and I dyed some Merino with my Dharma and Jacquard acid dyes, some of them will become a shawl for the Windy City Knitting Guild shawl knit along:

img_20170110_141333

I n-plied my first batch of singles last night on my drop spindle. I was a little bit unsure of plying on the wheel yet as I haven’t had much of a practice run, but it came out well, I now have to spin some more over the next week, or so. I’m hoping I will be able to post an update over the weekend, if I can get some more spun up.

img_20170111_085640

 

 

Lumpy Bumpies part 1…

My brain is a bit scrambled with everything that has happened in the last few days, so I made today a weaving day to clear my head.

I’m trying out something called collapse weave using some of the lace weight yarn I bought with my birthday money and some hand spun wool singles made from the merino Ewan dyed for me with food colouring a few weeks ago. It was a bit pale, so I blended it into some rolags with some other shades of wool, spun it up and now I’m weaving with it.

Collapse Weave Experiment

It won’t look the same once washed, it should form pleats, or gathers as the wool shrinks, while the cotton stays the same, in a similar way to a seersucker fabric would. It could be a disaster, who knows! Part of the fun is just trying it out for the first time. If it works out, I may try making a few scarves for the shop.

Collapse Weave Experiment

Studio Day #1

Wednesday is always a day when I can get a little bit of time to work on some jewellery, or a craft project. My son goes to a childminder every Wednesday to give me a day to work on personal projects.

Today I worked on two things, the first is a scarf for Jeremy, I did intend this as a Valentine’s present and he does know about it, but because I am hand spinning the yarn it is taking a bit longer than I had hoped, but that is because I have to fit it around everything else. I am using some Humbug BFL for the warp, this is what I have so far. It doesn’t look like much just now, but I reached about the halfway mark today. Jeremy is 6 ft tall, so I’m aiming for a finished scarf that is around 6 -7 ft long before I add fringe.

Scarf for Jeremy.

The Second thing that I worked on after dinner is the Crystal Bay shawl by Rosemary Hill, from her book New Lace Knitting. This is the second thing I have knitted from this book and I have only had it for a few months, I can see me making quite a few patterns from this book. I have completed the body of the shawl and the first two edging repeats. I would like to have both of these projects done by the end of the month if possible.

Crystal Bay Shawl #1

It has been a while…

Quite a long while in fact. I haven’t been sure where to take the blog in quite a while. I don’t get as much time to bead as I used to because I’m a full time stay at home Mum to a 3 year old. My knitting weaving and spinning are all easier to do on a consistent basis around my son, so I want my blog to be more of a mixed media, textiles and jewellery blog to reflect those changes and my interests. I will tag the posts with whatever craft I’m working on so that if you are not interested in those crafts, you can skip them if you like. 🙂

At the moment I have quite a few UFO’s of all crafts. I’m spinning and weaving a scarf for Jeremy from some undyed humbug BFL, knitting a Fair Isle sweater – definitely a long term goal as it is on US size 2 needles and I have a couple of crochet rope necklaces in the works on the bead board! Maybe I need some smaller, less complex projects like some earrings, or stitch markers as well, as they seem to sell best in the store along with the rolags.

I’m working on a fibre study as well, though again this is a long term project involving lots of sampling and dyeing. I’m teaching myself to use acid dyes just now and there is a learning curve with those. This is some merino wool I purchased from Halcyon Yarns that I have dyed using the Dharma Trading’s own brand acid dyes, I really want some more colours and fibre now!

Merino # 1 Victoria