Monday, November 29, 2010

How I Spent the Weekend

      With the onset of the colder weather, I've been hearing lots of comments about cold heads. Since the much lamented departure of his hair, these comments start every year about this time and then the hunt is on to find what is left from last year's head wear. Since his six month stint in the Yukon, it appears that toques are in short supply around here so I took this past weekend to make my dearly beloved a special and very warm wool hat. 
     I have very recently received a pound of lovely long grey locks that have been overdyed. My friend Linda in Ohio thought they were a bit coarse but good for outer wear so she sent them to me to practice my spinning. They are a lovely mixture of lilacs, reds, greens and blues. Don thought he might like the greens and blues so I picked them all out, and spun up a fine two ply. The yarn was beautiful with such natural looking tones. It reminds me of the forest floor .. or moss growing on  rocks. Very inspiring. 


      It knit beautifully into a hat and I thrummed the inside with some plain undyed fleece for super extra warmth. He's quite thrilled with it and loves the warmth from the thrums. A special thanks to Linda Koch for just knowing I would love this wool. The yarn has a lovely halo as the locks are quite curly. I'm going to begin spinning up the reds and lilacs for the same purpose so if anyone wants one, let me know and we'll talk. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Delicate Wool Scarf with Beads

     Here is the finished scarf. The knitting part was pretty easy once I got onto the pattern. I think this was the first triangular scarf I've ever made. 

     Many thanks to the Troll from Norway for modelling for me. The husband flatly refused. Once it was washed and pressed out, it hangs really nicely. 

     The beads stand out and although it's very hard to photograph the effect of the crystals .. they're there and glitter like crazy when the light catches them just the right way. 

       It certainly was a lot of work to spin all those beads into the yarn. I think the end result was worth it. Not sure it would be a practical item to retail though ... as the hours involved are great and it's only a scarf so I can't price them highly enough to make it worthwhile. They will remain on my " special commissioned items " list and will be made only on request. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Beaded Yarn

A little blurb about the yarn I'm working on. I started with some lovely Corridale roving in a solid medium grey color. I pulled off little whisps and, using a needle threader, I added #8 seed beads and 4mm crystals.

     I added the beading roving wisps to the first single ply, trying to keep it as fine as I could manage. The seeds are placed every meter or so, and there is one crystal for every 10 seeds. It's shown here on the bobbin. 

     I also finished painting my wheel. Cute eh? There are some flatback crystals on it as well ... you can sort of see them here. They glitter like mad! 

     I made another plain single ply from the same roving and plied both singles into a double. Shown  here is approximately 120 yards of fingering yarn on the niddy noddy made by my husband. 

     This is the yarn wound into a ball and all ready to knit. 

     This is the yarn knit into the pattern I selected for a triangular shawl. Now, I just have to do all that two more times and I should have a very nice shawl to add to my inventory. Keep in mind it has to be washed and blocked out to get it to drape and hang properly. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stepping Back

     Yes, I know I've been very tardy with the blog but I really have been rather busy. We just wrapped up the In Hants Christmas Craft Show this weekend. We both pulled a shift in the canteen and had to just generally be around in case there was a need for more staff. The show itself was a great success. The revenue was flowing again this year. That's such a good sign as last year was pretty much a dismal bust for some sellers. My husband didn't do very well with selling his woodworking, and another gentleman was practically giving away his intarsia pieces but they weren't moving either.  All my small needle felted sculptures sold. I have a bunch more that need to be made right away too, as I have an order for Colorado, and I need some on hand for next week in Dartmouth, so I'm thinking of getting started on some of them this evening. I have to make a bunch of small birds and a couple of Woolfins. I'm up to G with the names of the Woolfins, so I'm thinking of a fishing outport kinda guy named Garge and a female named Hilda. I haven't dreamed up a persona for her as yet. 

     The spinning has been going very well and I have a great stash of wool yarns for my felting projects, as well as some for knitting mittens. I just love to knit mittens. My next plan with the wheel is to make some laceweight beaded yarn for a drapey triangle scarf/shawl. I using grey Corridale roving and size 8 white opalescent seed beads. There will also be a generous smattering of 4mm Bermuda Blue crystals throughout. I'm hoping the project will turn out a very elegant piece. 

     On the wet felting scene, I've taken a step back to catch up with some bookwork. I purchased Uniquely Felt and I'm not making anything else until I read it all, cover to cover. It's an amazing book and I'm now going to be able to correct bad habits, do things the correct way and have all the methods and reasoning right at my fingertips. I can't believe I was muddling through the process so awkwardly. I'm hoping all this knowledge will be making the felting process more enjoyable. A couple of projects are stewing away on the back burner of my brain just waiting for a chance to emerge and evolve into 3-D tactile objects. Stay tuned for more creations. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Learning to Spin (Trials and Tribulations)

     It took several days, but I think I've got it! Finally and not without some pain and frustration. Ok, the first thing I did wrong that was of any major significance, was to not realize that my feet were creeping forward on the treadles. It was a new thing to me ... trying to coordinate both hands and both feet at the same time. There was a lot to think about and I just forgot that my feet were not in the correct position, until my left big toe slid over the front of the treadle and under the frame. That was a major shock to the system. My husband found it terribly funny and kept asking me to demonstrate the "emergency brake" again! Thankfully, I wasn't going too fast and the toe is fine ... it didn't even bruise too badly. 

     After a few bobbins full of junk, I finally got the tension and twist to a place where it was acceptable. Here is the two ply I spun from some long curly locks that were dyed by my friend Linda Koch from Ohio. It's a fine weight ... almost a lace weight but not quite. Lace weight was what I was striving for so much more practice is required. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happiness is .... A New Kiwi!

     Feeling like I've died and gone to heaven, my head is still spinning just like this new Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel. I've been searching all over for a used wheel but all I could really find within a reasonable geographic distance were old antiques. They aren't suitable for today's modern fibers and techniques. Well, last Wednesday, my sweet darling hubby decided it was a wonderful day for a drive so where would I like to go for a day trip? My answer was quick ... Gaspereau Valley Fibers.
     I had previously done business with these people and wanted to see their shop, so off we went, headed for Wolfville. It certainly has a great location. It's in the cutest valley I've seen in quite sometime and the property is adorable. The shop is a converted garage and so rustic, yet inviting with tons of restoration. The original wooden interior is a perfect spot for wool. It's roomy and well stocked, with a large open area for their workshops. The lady waiting on me was friendly and helpful and much to my amazement, my darling hubby was convincing me I really had to have that Ashford Kiwi that was already set up. We tried to rationalize the cost and Don was insistent that since my birthday was fast approaching and Christmas too near for comfort, that the spinning wheel would cover all those and more quite nicely. Well, it certainly gets him out of gift shopping. Who was I to argue and I've been in wool heaven ever since. You can see that I've painted my wheel. It still needs to be varnished, but it hasn't been still long enough. I'm simply having a blast with this thing and wonder why I never did it sooner. Mind you, I've been getting lots of help from internet friends, which is very welcomed at this point. My skill sets have been improving and I've progressed to the point where I can turn out a fairly decent knitting yarn in a two ply. 

Monday, November 1, 2010


     Some of the "in progress" pieces my husband, Don Karney is working on in preparation for the craft show. These still have to be varnished and have a base attached. 

Spun Out!

     This is the finished product. A nice neck warmer scarf with a matching brooch closure. It's the zig zag scarf pattern from Lion Brand Yarn ... a very fast and easy knit. I used size 8 needles since the wool was still rather bulky. It's very eye catching, to say the least. Microwave dying with food colors produces a very bright color when used full strength. Watering down the coloring will produce more muted tones so perhaps next time. I still have at least seven pounds of this local wool and carding it is a lot of work. Unfortunately, it wasn't washed properly, so it's very hard to card out. Some tiny bits aren't usable for anything other than embellishment on other projects and lumps of texture. However, most is good if somewhat time consuming. I'm going to use it all as free is free and I'm not letting it go to waste. I also whipped up the beaded brooch to match this wool.  Once it's pinned on, you can just slip the scarf on and off over your head if you aren't worried about messing up your hair.