Thursday, May 25, 2006

A tisket, a tasket

A beautiful skein of red yarn hand-spun by moi!

This is actually the very first roving I got with my very first spindle, but it was a bit of a pain in the arse to spin, so it is actually my 3rd skein of yarn I've made. I'm getting up there in lenghth, though....84 or 85 yarns! Woohoo!

Now, what shall I make with it?!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Travel spindle, single treadle and end of the red wool

What a crafty weekend I had!

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early and used a spare piece of oak I had kept for just this purpose to create my own version of a Rakestraw spinner. INstead of $35, it cost me about 50 cents :) Sure, it's not as beautiful and it's a bit uneven, but it works just fine :) I used one of my son's tinker toys for the handle and voila! a sitting travel spinner :) I'm quite proud of myself for making what I want when I couldn't afford to buy a fancy one :)

Saturday night, I stayed up a bit late watching the series finale of Will & Grace that was on my TiVo and spun the last of my red wool that I got with my first spindle on eBay. I was trekkin, let me tell you! I have it off the spindle and on my PVC niddy noddy and I have around 85 yards of it...yay! I keep creeping up in yardage with each skein :P It's actually really pretty. I'm trying to decide what to make with it. Something for myself, definately, since it was on my first spindle and my first fiber, even if it wasn't the first skein I finished. The fiber was atually sort of slippery and very long, so it was difficult to work with. But it's done! mwahahaha.

I actually have NOTHING on any of my four spindles right now : It's shocking and mildly unsettling, let me tell you....but I decided that I needed to put in a good amount of time on my shrug so I can move onto one of the GAGILLION other things I have to knit. I also just want to wear it soon :P It's so perdy *swoony*

At my spinning guild meeting this weekend, we dyed yarn with indigo. It was really interesting and fun. I didn't have anything spun in a light color to dye, so I bought some lamma/wool yarn at a local yarn shop and dyed that. It's a really pretty medium blue, well saturated and I can't wait to rinse it tonight and see what the final color will be :)

I also got the chance to try a single treadle Ashford Joy spinning wheel and I FELL IN LOVE with it! The single treadle is so much easier to work than the double treadle and I love the look and shape of it, the easy portability, the way it folds up and just how it spun in general. A woman sitting next to me let me spin on hers for a bit to try it out. Now I want one. Of course, I have to fall in love with the most expensive spinning wheel, lol...$500. Oy.

A friend in the guild lent me some carders, so I am going to attempt to card up some of the bags and bags and bags of free fiber I got a few weeks ago. It's quite a process...but it's taught me a few things. The main one being that at this stage in my life, I am too busy to process my own fiber and I need to buy fiber so I can spend my time spinning it, instead of processing it :) The other is that I am going to enjoy being able to take the fleece cut directly off the sheep (I saw it sheared, even!), wash it, pick the stuff out, card it, spin it and then knit something with it. I heard they have competitions at state fairs called "sheep to Shawl" and stuff like that and I kind of feel like I'm doing my own competition. I know I will cherish that yarn so much more because I did ever step of making it along the way ;)

But yes, after that, buying the fiber is going to be my modus operandi :)

I got my possum fiber in last week. I need to wash it, because it's quite sticky, but then I am going to blend it with some dark wool and spin it up to make slippers for my sweetie. Possum is an in-joke with us, so what better to make for his birthday present, I say.

I lead a crafty life and I love it :)

Friday, May 19, 2006


So, I set the twist on my second skein and I'm so very proud of it :)

My second skein! It's sooooooo pretty and nice and even and quite thin. You can't tell in this picture, but the single is about 1/3 the size of my first skein's singles! Yay for Mel! The Brown sheep mill ends were a DREAM to spin and this is the first yarn spun on my new Greensleeve Lionheart spindle :) I am in love with it... *swoony* It's 79 yards long. Why couldn't I have spun just a TAD more mill ends to get a nice, even 80? Ah well. I still love it :D

Okay, so this is my first skein, redone :) I didn't like how it "bloomed" after washing it, so I added twist, put it on my niddy noddy, washed it again to set the new twist and voila! A nice, even skein of yarn :) Much better than the first go-round....

*happy dance*

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Meant to be

I was in a yarn shop today. Of course I was, why wouldn't I want to buy some yarn when I have probably 10 lbs of wool and angora and mojair to spin into yarn in my home currently?! lol.

Anyway, I fell in love with this large skein of cotton called Inca cotton. It was so very soft and wonderful to feel and I could imagine all kinds of beautiful things knit up with it. However, it was $19 and I just couldn't afford it right now. I loved this pale sage green color they had, natural green cotton, no dyes! Well, I went online to see if I could find it anywhere else cheaper and OH MY GAWD!!!!

That green color I want is called OZ!!!!!!!

*squeal with the meant-to-be-ness of it all*

I collect Wizard of Oz stuff, I have an Oz tattoo....I am sooooooo gonna buy that cotton on eBay when I get paid next month!

It's mine!!! Mwahahahaha!

Oz. I swear, I about wet my pants when I saw that :P

Monday, May 15, 2006


This Saturday marked my first time witnessing sheep being sheared. It was also my first time up close and personal with half a sheep fleece, LOL :D

My butch and I went along with a local spinning guild to a day at the farm in San Ramon. I spun and spun and spun. I got a ginormous bag of fleece I acquired for free assessed and deemed fit to spin. I watched a woman churn butter and bought three tiny hand-lathed wodden bowls for $1 each. And I watched a LOT of sheep get shorn. It was really pretty cool, the ones that they were able to get the fleece off in one piece :D

The more experienced spinners scoffed at the free fleece, dubbing it poor quality for spinning, but was free! So, me and another spinner there split one. My butch ran to the car to get a bag to put the smelly, dirty, poop-filled fleece into and then we carted it home in the trunk. I washed it three times in the large kitchen sink (boy, was I thankful for my massive double farm sink in the kitchen that day!) and then spun it in the washer to get the water out and then left it on baking cooling racks in the tub for a day and a half to dry.

I am now the proud owner of a lump of fleece full of sticks and burrs and grass and other unknows that I have to go through little piece by piece and pick out : Then, I have to get it carded somehow and then I can SPIN it!

and then I can never ever think about getting a raw fleece again :

But won't it just be the most amazing, cool thing to have a knit item that comes from the yarn I spun myself, which came from the fleece I cleaned and prepared myself, which I saw shorn off the white wooly sheep?! I think that is just about the most cool thing ever and I will have to implode once it's done :D

In other crafty news, I have a spindle full of beautiful thin yarn that I am going to put on my niddy noddy tonight and wash and see how much is there :D I am quite proud of it- expect pictures soon :P

I also bought 5 wool sweaters at the thrift store last night and washed them in really hot water to felt them. They went from sweaters that would fit me to sweaters that would fit my 4 year old, and it was DAMN cool!

Now that it's felted, I can cut them up and use it as felted fabric or make purses out of them. I'm so psyched, they're beautiful patterned sweaters and one has great cables on it :) A bag in the making for sure!

Yes, I know. I have too many projects going on. And I don't care :P

Sunday afternoon, I sat in the back porch with a saw and a hammer and nails and started making a small gauge loom to make dishcloths on. It went well, but my drill was low on juice, so I only got about 6 holes drilled before it wimped out on me. If I get home tonight before dark, I will go in the backyard and drill the rest. Yay!

So many crafts, so little time *whistful sigh*

Friday, May 12, 2006

Secret Pal Yarn Swap

Yay! I got my secret pal info for the One Skein yarn swap :)

She sounds like a totally cool chick, I would want to be her friend in real life, lol. I'm scouring her livejournals to get insight into what sort of yarn she might like. I hope I do well, I am not really up on all the "cool" yarns out there. Being poor and all, I can't buy the stuff I fall in love with, but have to stick to the stuff at Wal-mart and Michaels lol. Ah well, for a secret pal, I'll splurge a bit :)

You know, I have some pink and maroon and mauve dyed fiber I just got for free....hrmmm...I wonder if I can spin that up in time to send it for the July skein?...Pink is her favorite color and all.....hrmmmmm....I'll have to think on that one :)

Oh, I forgot to mention that I acquired FOR FREE almost a whole fleece, two large bags of angora and one large bag of mohair yesterday. Yes, I said FOR FREE!!!! *squeal* A woman posted it on freecycle and I was the lucky recipient! There's oh, 15 or so gallon-size ziploc bags, 3 of beautiful dark brown wool, 6-8 of varying shades of off-white and tan and grey and several that she had been playing around with dye, some pink/maroon/mauve mixture and some greens mixtures. I am taking some of each kind to the spinning festival tomorrow to see if anyone in the guild can help me figure out how to process it. I'm sure they can, lol. I think it just needs a good washing (she already washed it once, but it has been in her garage for over a year) and then carded. I know there are places to send fiber to be carded, but if there was someone in the guild that had a drum carder that I could go over and pay to use it, I would prefer that.

It's such beautiful stuff and I am just agog that I got it for free. My sweetie and I were in a craft store last night and I kept veering over to the yarn and she finally said, "Step away from the yarn! You have a whole friggin' sheep in the kitchen, you can't buy more yarn!" I tried to make her understand that there are yarns I need to BUY, that I can't MAKE...but I don't know that she bought it :D

Ah well, I'm in fiber heaven and I get to spin with spinny folks for several hours tomorrow, so I will be in spinny heaven!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Spin Nirvana

Two days ago I got a Greensleeve Lionheart spindle in the mail. My first nice spindle.

Yesterday I got my 1 lb box of mill end roving in the mail. Gorgeous stuff, mostly dark brown and some off white with dark brown stripes.

Last night, I was in spin-nirvana :D It's amazing what good tools and some nice wool top can get you. It appears I've become a much better spinner overnight, thanks to the new spindle, which spins forever, and the roving which drafts like it WANTS to be spun up.



I am definately addicted to this spinning stuff :P

Monday, May 08, 2006

Craft goodness

I adore my crafty goodness. I don't have enough time in the day to get everything done that I want to! *pout* But I love doing it all, nonetheless. I decided to share some pictures of some of the things I'm working on :)

This is the finished product of my first spinning. My first plied skein of yarn! Yay! It looked a gagiilion times better before I wet it to set the twist...then I got to learn allll about the concept of "bloom." Apparently, my fiber had a lot left :P Ah well, I still love it *caresses the wool yarn*

Now, I'm working on this yarn. I bought this spindle and roving on eBay. The fiber is really long, so it isn't a joy to spin like the fiber above, but I am persevering and going to finish it. I've been using the drafting method of folding a piece over my index finger (not sure what that's called) and it helps A LOT with the drafting of such long fibers. It may be a pain in my ass, but I do think it's pretty. I don't think I'm going to ply this one, just use the singles as a very thin, lightweight yarn. I bought some PVC pipes last night to make an immerseable niddy noddy so I can wet the singles to set the twist and keep the tension on the yarn by keeping it on the PVC pipes. *proud of myself*

If you could spin love, this would be it. These colors SOOOOO aren't "me," but I love it nonetheless. This is silk. Silk hankies, to be exact. I love spinning them' it's so easy and fun and the colors are so brilliant and deep and shiny :D It is a bit difficult, though, keeping my hands moisturized enough. It does tend to such them dry. I can't wait to finish this and ply it - it's going to be deliriously beautiful :)

One knitting project I'm in love with. I'm taking the idea of the convertable from and making a long shawl that can be converted into a shrug with a few well-placed buttons. I am IN LOVE with the way the pattern is coming out. It's knit on the yellow Knifty Knitter (as you can see in the picture). It's Caron Simply Soft Grey Heather yarn purchased on a whim cheap at Wally World and I'm simply doing 4 rows of mock crochet stitch and then 6 rows alternating knit and perl. It's such a glorious, lacy, light summery feel to it and I love the color. I'm about 1/3 of the way done and I can't wait to finish it and wear it. I have to find some great buttons to make cufflinks with so I can wear it as a shrug (I think that's going to be it's main function, with the shrug option being present in case I want it that way.)

Yay for craftiness!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

To knit or spin, that is the question...

I have been on the spinning bandwagon lately. Currently, I'm working with some gorgeous but long and slippery red wool roving on my ivy spindle. It's slow going, but I'm having fun. I learned a new technique at the Spinning Guild meeting I attended last week where I pull a thick piece of roving about 6-8 inches long off and fold it over my finger and draft from the point of my finger. It works OOODLES better with this long slippery fiber - yay!

I'm also spinning some GORGEOUS silk hankies on my cd spindle. Oh my gosh, the fiber is stunning in it's beauty once it's spun. I never would have guessed from the blotchy hankies that such beauty would come :) I have to get some pictures of what I have thus far so you can see it as well! It's a bit of a hassle spinning it, though, because it SUCKS the moisture from my hands and I have to really lotion up my hands to start with or the silk starts sticking to my hands as I spin. But it's worth it for the beauty of it all :)

A few days ago, I bought 1 lb of mill end top *bouncy* I'm so excited to get it and see what colors/types of fiber I will be like christmas! I also ordered some possum/wool fiber yesterday (just a few ounces to mix with some of the mill ends - dayum that stuff is expensive!) to make Possum slippers for my sweetie. It's an inside joke :P

Today, I found a used greesleeves spindle that I purchased and I am SUPER excited about this. I have heard over and over again that Greensleeves are really great spindles and well, it's gorgeous and I am saving about 10% off a new one by buying used. Yay for me :)

Can you tell I'm in love with my spinning?

Well, I started to feel badly about my poor looms just sitting there, projects abandoned and lifeless, lol. So, I started making a lovely lacy medium grey shrug last night. I think it's going to be all one color, but varying textures to bring some interest to it. It's also going to be quite loose and baggy and scrumptious, if I do say so myself ;)

*sigh* Never enough time in the day to do everything I want to, craft-wise. Poor me!

Why won't my work pay me to knit and spin? I just don't understand it :P