Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's all in the bag.

Vintage fabric, with a twist spun into it...
Cotton warp, hand spun yarn, leather, wool fabric, silk sari-scrap yarn, cotton fabric strips...
...a leather bottom and wool fabric straps.  It's a mixed textile tote.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Busy Knitting

 Although I haven't been blogging, I have been busy knitting.  First I made the Basket Weave Cowl out of a two ply hand spun.
 Digging through my yarn stash I found a 3 ply yarn that I died with Cochineal.  I made up a cable pattern and knitted a little hat. 
 This floppy hat is made from hand spun hand dyed merino.  I used the basic beret pattern called One Day Beret Recipe and modified it with rounds of purls to make a little ridge every so often. 
 Using the same beret recipe, I've started another hat.
 A few months ago I got this half-made hand knit sweater at the thrift store.  It still had the knitting needles in it!  I ripped it out with the intent of recycling the yarn.
I used the recycled yarn to make a hat and a pair of fingerless mitts.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stinky Finian

Who's Finian and why does he stink?  Finian is that little Shetland in the photo.  I bought his fleece last summer.  I washed it with really hot water and Dawn using the top loader method.  Then I dyed little batched of the fleece on the stove with various dye stuff.  And guess what! You can still smell his stink.  I don't know why.

The yarn samples above are from Finian's fleece dyed with marigold with alum as a mordant.  I ran the locks through my drum carder just once.  The staple length is so long that it barely worked to card it that way.  I was trying to decide between a 2 ply and a 3 ply yarn.  I'm going with the 3 ply and plan spin a whole skein now.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Natural Dyeing - this time with iron

For the next batch of natural dyeing I used iron as a mordant.  I'm pretty sure that I used too much because the wool feels somewhat sticky.  The purple-blue grays were achieved with logwood and the light khaki green is from marigolds.  The wool is Shetland.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Natural Dyeing

This weekend I got out the old dyeing pots and some natural dye stuff that I've been storing. I used the Shetland that I washed in a washing machine a few months back.  It's still stinky so I figured dyeing it will at least change the smell---hopefully for the better.  I used Alum for the mordant for all of the colors above.  The dye materials consist of logwood, madder, marigold, cutch, and red onion skins.  As I spin this fiber I will label it so you can see which dye stuff I used for the individual color.  For now it's all drying on the deck while the next batch is on the stove. 

This one skein took all week to spin.  It's the Polypay I mentioned in a previous post.  I flick-carded the locks then spun right off the little individual pieces.  It's a two-ply. I want to dye it and make something lacy, but I really don't have a project in mind.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

FO - Cold Mountain

Last spring I started Cold Mountain, a Knitty pattern.  It was my first real lace project.  I used baby alpaca yarn--two skeins that I bought at Weaving Works--I didn't keep the label.  It took 5 months to knit.  Then it sat in a box during the move to the new house.  I finally blocked it and took a few photographs. Here it is...

Friday, September 16, 2011


Last Christmas my husband gave me a whole Polypay fleece.  I finally got it out and washed it. Now I'm flick carding the locks and spinning a worsted yarn.  If you are not familiar with Polypay, let me tell you it's really nice to spin.  It's soft and durable at the same time.  Apparently it's a breed created in the US in the 1970's. It's a cross breed of Dorset and Targhee with Rambouillet and Finnsheep.  My husband bought this one from Maplewood North. I have purchased several fleece from these folks and I've been pleased with the product every time.
I'm spinning without a planned project.  I love spinning that way because as I spin I can contemplate what exactly I'll do with the yarn.  This time I'm thinking ",, something, socks".  I have to admit, I don't even know if this is going to be a 2-ply or a 3 ply yet...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Barn

The land lord called it the "Cottage". My husband called it the "Yarn Barn". I tried to call it the "Studio". What is it? It's the free-standing shack connected to my house by a deck. There's no running water, but there is electricity. There's two rooms--one for sewing, carding, and spinning and the other for weaving. There's enough room for all of my stuff. I've had it for a month now and I'm just settling in. I tried to call it something cool, but in the end the words "The Barn" just come out of my mouth when I tell my family where I'll be. "I'll be in the barn." This is ironic, because in my neighborhood there are no real barns to be seen. For those who live in Seattle, and know my area--Judkins Park/Rainier---you will know that this is not "barn" territory. None the less, it's my (yarn) barn.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I moved to a new house.

So why the long break from Fleece Love and Happiness? Well, I moved again. The packing and unpacking threw a wrench in my crafting time....but it's well worth it because now I have my own room---a shed really---for all my equipment. Yahoo! No more keeping the loom in the dining room.
I've set up my work table , sewing machine, and looms. I've stored all my fiber, yarn and fabric. Now I get to start some projects. Going through some bins of fiber, I found some "dyeing projects gone bad". I carded them into some multi-fiber, multicolored batts and began spinning.
The new house also has a deck so I can work outside. Today I'm washing fleece and soaking recently spun skeins to dry in the sun. It's the hottest day of summer in Seattle this year.
Life is good.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Catching Up

It's been a while since I've checked in. I have been busy with all kinds of fiber related projects. I finished knitting the Cold Mountain shawl, but since it's not blocked yet, I have not photographed it to share with you. During that long and tedious project, I made this scarf as a "side project". It was a mindless project that kept my hands busy and I used it as a "break" form the lace shawl.
I started with some BFL roving and spaced dyed it. Then I spun singles and I left it as a single. That's right. It's my first attempt of making a single (non-plied) yarn. And I really liked it. Below is my daughter's friend Maddie who modeled for me on the fly.
Recently I finished spinning all of the Jacob fleece. Some is combed and some is carded. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet...maybe a blanket of natural colored yarns.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Washing Fleece

While I was down in Salem, Oregon, at the Northwest Regional Spinner's conference, I purchased this Shetland fleece. "Finian" produced 5 1/2 lbs on his 2nd sheering, according Terry from Windy Valley Fiber Arts who sold me the fleece. This was a super stinky fleece. I decided to wash it in the top-loader washing machine. Since the fleece was so big, I wash it in two different sections. I ran hot water into the washing machine, soaked the fleece for several hours using Dawn as the cleaning agent, then I spun out the water. No agitation was used, of course. Then I ran some warm water in, soaked it again, and spun out the water again. I must say that it's still a wee bit stinky, but I 'm not willing to mess with it any more. I dried it out on the picnic table on a nice warm day.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Woolly Rug - Take Two

In my quest for a thick woolly rug design, I have made a second attempt. This time I wove 6 rows of Cotswold locks then 3 rows of Shetland yarn. The warp is black cotton rug warp set at 10 e.p.i. The rows with thick locks made the warp all wonky and crooked, then the yarn rows straightened out the warp--sort of re-setting it to be even again. This is a very heavy rug.
My first rug is on the right. I used thin locks and more yarn. For second rug, on the left, I used big lumps of wool to make it thick and squishy.
Oh Cold Mountain, you are so much work. I will finish you someday.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

More Yarn Made of Scraps

This time I went for the purple shades---and a drum carder, which I like using much more than hand cards. The lavender wool on the tray is Targhee. There's some lavender mohair there too. The wine-colored wool is Columbia. Not shown in this photo is the little bits of wine-colored mohair that was carded in.
It was fun to spin up my wild batt.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Handcarding scraps

My storage spaces are overflowing with fiber. Several whole fleece are stored in plastic bags. Lumps of dyed locks are stashed away in paper bags. My dyed roving mishaps are shoved into the bottom of bins. I need to spin some of this stuff or pass it on to someone who will. I've started with a little project of blending scraps. Here I have some dyed Targhee, dyed mohair locks, and some scraps of merino roving. I carded them together to make a nice fluffy lump of spin-able fiber. Hand carding in NOT MY THING, but these fibers will not pass through the drum carder well. So it's hand carding or nothing. I'm looking forward to the Northwest Regional Spinner's conference in Salem because I'm taking a class on hand carding. I'd like some more instruction---I'd like to learn to enjoy it.

Monday, April 18, 2011


This weekend our family stayed on Whidbey Island. Many thanks to my In-laws who rented a beach house.
I got to spin outside in the sun. We all got a little pink in the cheeks by the end of the day.
Sunglasses were necessary.
The finished product: 4oz of merino, hand dyed by me, spun into a 2-ply.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lace Weight Handspun

The Rambouillet-Polypay spun up nicely into a 2-ply lace weight yarn. The prep was mentioned before in a previous post. It is so enjoyable to spin off of locks that have been opened up with the flick carder. It makes a nice smooth worsted yarn. Now I have to decide what to knit with it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tired Hands

My hands are tired from combing and spinning. On Saturday I went to the 40th Anniversary of the Whidbey Island Weaver's Spin-in. It was in Oak Harbor. What a wonderful event! Judith MacKensie McCuin spoke to the group about spinning wheels. This was very interesting because I had never heard her speak before. I'm not sure of the head count, but there was over 200 spinners there. That day I worked on the Jacob fleece (see photo below). On Sunday I started spinning some roving that I dyed (see photo above).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Jacob Fleece

Last week while attending our local Northwest Spinner's Association Spin-in at the Ballard Library, I sat next to a very nice woman. I told her about the fleece rugs I'm trying to make, she said she had a fleece that she wanted to give me. This woman left the spin-in to run home and get it. I took one look at the Jacob fleece and told her I wouldn't want to put it in rug, I'd want to spin it! And that's exactly what I've undertaken this week...
After sorting colored sections, I began to wash the locks. I decided that I'd comb this fleece, so I carefully washed the locks between two cooling racks so they would stay aligned. This system worked well. I sandwiched the locks between the wires and then submerged them in hot soapy (Dawn) water. After they soaked for a while I submerged them in a rinse bath and Voila!--clean locks.
Here's a comb loaded with one of the "mixed" color sections.
After two passes...
The waste is on the left and the fiber, ready to spin, is on the right. I used a total of 3 passes on the combs. This is my first time working with a Jacob fleece. I can't wait to spin it!