Thursday, December 30, 2010


As 2010 comes to a close I am feeling thankful. Our family has settled back into Seattle smoothly. My husband and I are both employed. (That's something to be thankful for these days.) Although I am exhausted from my job, I love it very much and I'm ready for what 2011 brings my way. After my birthday and Christmas this month I have an abundance of fiber and fiber supplies to work with in the coming year. This inventory consists of the two whole fleece above (Christmas present from my husband) plus a Cotswold fleece (birthday present from my co-worker). I have mounds of roving to spin. I have a long list of knitting projects that I'd love to do. Now I just need some free time to dive into all of this fiber.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dyed Roving

There's been a lot of dyeing going on at my place. I've dyed about 4 lbs of various roving with the intent to open up an Etsy shop. Yes, I'm jumping on the Etsy band wagon. I'm working on photographing the roving in a way that reflect the actual colors. I've tried taking the photos inside, outside, with a flash, and without. So far I haven't gotten it quite right, but I'll try again tomorrow. Above is a photo of one of the piles of roving. I have to decide what to sell and what to spin myself.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Brown, Yellow, and White Skein

The Thanksgiving roving has been spun up. I doubt if I'd ever use this color combo again. A little too dull for me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Woo-hoo! Free Time

What a weekend! I've had so much free time for fiber projects. I finished spinning the purple batts. I began spinning the Thanksgiving-Colored roving. (Yes, Thanksgiving has a color.) For a knitting project I started Cold Mountain, but frogged it after 13 rows. Tonight I started it again and finished 4 rows with no mistakes. And last but not least, I started warping my table loom for my mother-in-law's Christmas present. It was great to be a homebody this weekend!

Cold Mountain, I will conquer you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Look What's Cookin'

Getting ready for Thanksgiving. Fixin' something in the kitchen...
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yarn Make-Overs

BEFORE 100% Soysilk. Problem: color too close to "dusty rose".
AFTER Solution: Over-dyed with purple. Now that's a color that I'll enjoy!
BEFORE Hand spun wool yarn. Problem: It's orange.
AFTER Solution: Over-dyed with red. Ooh La La. Much better.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Making yarn on this cold cold day

27° / 14°
Snow showers

There's several inches on snow on my picnic table. That's where I usually lay my skeins when I take a photo, so today I took the photo in the snow. This yarn was spun from a roving that I dyed. It's 50% wool/50% silk.
Now I'm spinning some wool that I prepped a long time ago. It's Corriedale that I cleaned, dyed, and carded into some fluffy batts.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Your Cup of Tea?

My daughter and her friend, Bina, were hanging out in my room when I said I needed to get my computer to update my blog. Bina ask, "You have a blog?" My daughter told her I've had it for over a year. (It actually been over 2 years now.) I told Bina that it's "not your cup of tea" and that it's about wool. She said, "I love wool" and promptly took out her knitting. Very cool!
I attempted to use some hand spun yarn to weave. The warp is a variety of random strands. I used a dyed gray for the weft. My yarn was much weaker than commercial yarn and some of the warp broke and I had to fix it. I had planned for a scarf but it's too dense to actually wear as one. I didn't take the time to make a sample, of course.
Now I'm spinning the gray-blue wool silk blend that I dyed last time I did a "dying day".

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pain-free Warping

I've returned to the loom with a new attitude: easy does it. No more long hours of warping. I'll just do an hour here and an hour there and eventually get it done. This way I won't kill my back slumping over trying to tread the heddles. The last rag rug was a good learning experience. It's stiffer because I used 12 epi and a wider strip of fabric. It has lumps because I used the existing seems in the cotton pajama pants I cut up.

Not only does craftypuppylover make awesome rally signs (see last post), she also makes beautiful Batts! Check her out on etsy.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Enjoying the Sanity

The Seattle Rally to Restore Sanity was lots of fun this morning. I enjoyed most of the home-made signs that people brought. My favorite was, of course, "Keep Calm and Carry Yarn".

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Back to Knitting

I'm back to knitting due to the incredibly sore lower back that I've acquired. It started at work, but has worsened from weaving. The giant loom is sitting there half-warped and taking up space. It's so frustrating that I can't weave, but bending down to tread the heddles will send me over the edge.

The last chance I have to go to a Sounder's game is on Oct. 31st. Since I'm a fan without "gear" I've decided to knit up some Sounder's colored accessories. I've started a hat then some type of glove or mitten will follow. I'm pretty much making it up as I go.
My other knitting project involves a yarn that I made several years ago. I had bought a whole colored fleece and washed and spun it into a 2-ply. I actually didn't get all the grease out but it feels okay. The strands are too thin so I'm knitting with a double strand. The sweater is definitely home-made looking. More photos to follow...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Danish Shawl

A while back I saw a pattern in Spin-Off for a traditional Danish Shawl. I finally got around to knitting it. I used hand-spun yarn from my stash and chose non-traditional (not Danish traditional) colors. The edging took the good part of a day to crochet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Meet My New Loom

Ah, here she is--my new loom! She takes up a lot of space, but I love her. My work-space is the dining area--it has good light, but it's a tight fit to squeeze behind the loom when I'm warping.
This time I made 2 rugs from the same warp.
The warping goes slow, but the weaving goes fast. After I knotted the ends, I had 2 rugs... out of cotton scraps...
...and one out of wool. Now I'm ready to put on the next warp and make more!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My First Rag Rug

I haven't put any photos of it up yet, but I got a floor loom a few weeks back. My first project on it was this rag rug. I'm going to give it to my mom when I see her at Thanksgiving (hi mom, if you are reading this). As soon as I starting thinking about rag rugs, I became obsessed with them. I have purchased 3 books and have started following a few blogs of rag rug makers. The piles of fabric scraps are growing! To me rag rugs are a combination of weaving and quilting. The thing that I love about quilting is using up scraps of fabric. It appeals to the recycle-er in me. I'm going to start warping for my next project: a wool rag rug.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweetgrass the Movie

Sweetgrass is a documentary without narration. The sounds from the natural surroundings and the occasional voices of men and women make up the soundtrack for this film. Amazingly, I was hook-in to this story by just the visual footage. The pace is beautifully slow. If you are watching it with young kids, be aware that about 3/4 the way through the film you will hear a string of obscenities lasting several minutes that would be beyond a "R" rating. Personally I think using the tortured sounding cuss-fest of the herder is brilliant, patched into this quiet film. Furthermore, it's shot in Montana so there's a special sentimentality for me.

While watching this film, I kept thinking that people need to see where their wool comes from. For those who are appalled by the harsh treatment of these animals, just know that this kind of ranching is considered more humane than what's happening in Australia.

I found Sweetgrass on Netflix and it's a "watch instantly" movie.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Remember the '70s?

Someone recently said that orange is liked only by those young enough not to remember the '70s. I remember the '70s and that's why I'm thinking about over-dyeing this 3 ply yarn that I made.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shallot Skin Dye

The other day I was in the Asian Grocery and I saw a giant bin of shallots. The outer papery skins had all fallen off. I scooped up handfuls of the skins and put them in a bag and paid for them by the pound. I have no idea how much they cost--I wasn't paying attention because I was buying other produce. I told the lady at the check-out that I was going to try to make a dye out of the shallot skins. She told be that in China they made a dye out of onion skins to color eggs that were then given to women to eat when they were post partum. Interesting!

At home I poured hot water over the skins and let them soak for over a week (because I got busy). Then I added some Alum and a sample skein to the dye and left it in the sun for another week or so.
Here is the color I obtained. I'd never heard of anyone using shallot skins for dye. I'm pleased with the outcome of this experiment.
This is the second weaving project for my class. The yarn is silk/seacell and again I used mostly a plain weave.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Project from Weaving Class

Here is my first actual completed piece from the weaving class that I'm taking this summer. It only took a few hours warp, weave, and finish. The yarn is from my stash---the thrift store score of Silk/Seacell. I did a simple plain weave to show the variegated yarn. After this one, I warped the loom today so I could start another scarf. The next one is similar, but longer. I'll put a photo up on the blog tomorrow.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Orange you glad I got rid of the Teal

News flash: teal does not go with orange. When I dyed this roving in the oven the teal dye seeped out of the plastic wrap and leaked into the orange---yuck. After it was dry I pulled the teal parts out.
I have decided to spin the orange Blue Face Leicester into a 3-ply yarn---and then knit it into a sweater of some sort. I have spent more time looking for a pattern on Ravelry than actually spinning this yarn. Speaking of Ravelry, one might think that I have an Orange/Teal fascination.
The knitting part of the Danish Shawl is done and now I have to weave in all of these ends!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Enjoying Hand Knits

Here's Baby Cora enjoying her new hat by putting it her mouth. Yummy!
The wine-colored batts are all spun up. This is quite a bit of yarn so I'll be able to make something like a vest or use it as a base color in a sweater. One more week left of vacation...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

what I'm doing on my summer vacation

I'm taking a break from work and enjoying the summer. I took a trip up to Vancouver Island and Vancouver (the city) last week. I figured I'd be blogging more, but I haven't actually sat down to focus on this yet. I've been doing a little bit of everything in regards to crafts. My knitting project is a Danish Shawl. This project seemed like a good one for using up my vast collection of hand spun yarn.
My spinning project is the wine-colored batts that I dyed and carded last summer.
When I went back and looked at my blog to see what the fiber was (I didn't record it), I noticed that it was exactly one year since I made these batts. I started spinning them on July 25th. They are spinning up nicely even though the fiber only had one pass through the drum carder and then it was stored in a plastic bag in the closet for a year.
Of course my weaving class has been keeping me busy. Soon I will have to produce projects for the class and I'm thinking that I'll have to give all my free time to that. For now we are just trying out different patterns for our homework.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Live to Dye

Yesterday was another one of my crazy dyeing days.
I got up bright and early and began with the cool tones first.
The silvery blue roving is a wool-silk blend.
The teal-blue mass is a giant lump of silk scraps apparently left over bits from a mattress factory. Who makes silk mattresses? I'm not so sure about the story, but it's definitely silk and definitely scrappy. It's really soft and I like the colors.
Lastly, I dyed about 2 lbs of BFL top. Sadly some of the teal dye seeped out of the pan in the oven and left big spots on the orange top. I plan to pull out all the teal spots before spinning this.

Dyeing is one of my favorite things to do. It makes me so happy. Seeing this, my husband said that in our next house (we can't live in this rented apartment forever) he'd help me make a dye studio! My husband is really into multiplexes and he had the idea of using one of the apartments in this future house of ours to make more bedrooms for the kids and a kitchen could be easily turned into a dye studio for me! He is brilliant!