Friday, March 30, 2007

Eye Candy Friday

I offer two examples of eye candy today. The first is 10 skeins of Spindrift in Dusk for a shawl. Perhaps I'll make Shoalwater. The second is a skein of Tofutsies...a delightful spring weather sock yarn made of 50%wool, 25% soysilk, 22.5% cotton and 2.5% chitin. Chitin is fiber made from shrimp and crab shells. What will they think of next!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Spindle Plying

As you can see I began by placing the two filled spindles in separate bags.
Then I wrapped both of the singles onto the felted ball.
When the spindles were emptied,I plyed the parallel singles by giving the spindle a spin in the opposite direction just as you do when plying on a wheel.
When the plying was finished, I wound it on the niddy noddy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Saturday Spin In

As you can see I have been doing more spinning. I'm close to building a good size cop on these two very different spindles. One is a CD spindle made out of a small DVD ,and the other is an ebony spindle I mentioned in an earlier post. I also included a felted ball. It was easily made by taking some discarded know the stuff left over when combing or carding some wool locks. I make a good size wad of the wool and stuff it in a nylon knee high stocking and throw it it with the wash as well as the dryer. My plan is to put each spindle in a paper bag or bowl to facilitate their movement and then pull the two singles simultaneously to wrap around the felted ball. Once the ball is covered with the two singles I will ply them together using a spindle. I plan to post pictures of the technique once I fill the spindles a bit more.

Yesterday I visited RI Handspun and got to visit with Marva who purchased a new Ashford Traveller from Sue. Her new wheel is a beauty, and she was spinning a lovely raspberry colored merino and tencel fiber. Lovely eye candy. Tssskk Tsssk....I didn't even think to take a picture.

Out and About Saturday Spin Ins:
Cathy's spinning merino on the Symphony and Shetland on the Schacht and more merino on the Clemes and Clemes. This is why we need additional wheels....

Grace is s winding some rose agate from her niddy noddy. Lovely color!

Margene is spinning some to die for sock yarn.

Elizabeth is displaying the neatest lamb kate with her latest fiber in progress.

Interested in Portuguese knitting? These YouTube videos were posted on the Historic Knit discussion group

Cast on:
Knit stitch:
Cast off:
And one in Portuguese:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rona's Back !!!

I'm committed!!! You know how it is; those UFO's that are lurking in your stash pile. Rona was started about two years ago due to the influence of Carol R (BTW check our her new blog). Carol M will be happy to know I'm back on track with this sweater.

I absolutely love Fair Isle patterns. I assume it is because I love petit point, crewel and other needlearts that foster delicate patterns. I also believe it links to our delight with patterns of all types. Earlier in the week I viewed and older PBS program called the Colours of Infinity; this program presented by Arthur C. Clarke (you remember 2001 A Space Odyssey) discusses awe- inspiring information about the Mandelbrot fractals. I tell you if you haven't indulged in fractals you haven't lived.

Believe it or not the existence of fractals is owed to the computer. Prior to the 1980's pictorial representations of fractals could not be generated without the aid of the computer. Of course they exist in nature in the branching of trees, the wonders of our circulatory system and the lovely creations of nature called snowflakes. Well.....let me get to the point here....the program went on to say that we as humans find patterns appealing; in fact the Mandalbrot fractal mesmerizes us. Perhaps this tie in to the Jungian collective consciousness hits us squarely in this appeal. It's all fascinating!

Comment Questions....Randi K asked about the distaff I was using in my last post. It's a macrame version of a distaff used to hold fiber to keep it away from the whirling spindle and forming singles. A dear friend, Sue made it and gave it to me. It works very well.

Lastly Sloth-Knits wanted to know how to use preserved lemons. I've been told they can be used in Middle East dishes. Perhaps other sin the blog world can share other uses.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saturday Spin In

Just dropping in to say I'm still spinning away! This time it's with my ebony Spanish Peacock spindle that spins very well. I'm spinning some Montedale roving that I bought at The Gathering last fall. I've already spindle spun some of the Montedale on my CD spindle. When I get a bigger cop on the peacock. I'll ply both of them. Thanks to Rita Buchanan I will use a felted ball to wrap the two singles for spindle plying. This assures that the singles line up perfectly for plying.

The felted ball is made easily by balling up some wool whether it be locks or roving and putting it in a nylon knee high stocking. You know the one that cuts off your circulation when you wear them to look a bit dressy while wearing your best trousers! Then add the wool inside the stocking to your washing machine with your usual laundry and voila you've got a felted ball!

I have tried plying from two spindles as well, but I prefer Rita's method. I also like creating a center pull ball of one cop of singles. After winding the ball, I take the outside and inside ends to ply it. It's incredible how much yardage you can produce with a spindle.

Out and About: Syl is spinning cotton on her tahkli. Cathy is spinning dyed and carded Shetland/silk on her wheel. Judy's spinning Bess. Elizabeth has a pic of a three ply she just finished.

Want to join the Saturday Spin In? Send me an email with Saturday Spin In in the subject line and write your blog name in the body of the email and I'll add you to my sidebar. It's been a great motivator for me. I'm doing much more spinning.

Last Saturday the RI Spinning Guild participated in a Textile Tour at the University of RI. I very much enjoyed this visit to peruse some lovely textiles. Check out our guild site to see pictures of the tour.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Norah Gaughan Visits Ocean State Knit and Crochet Guild

Tonight I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Norah Gaughan for the first time. She spent two hours discussing the impetus for her knitting book, Knitting Nature as well as showing us some of her many designs. Norah tells us in the introduction to her book that "The work in this book feels like the melding of my science-and art-loving selves, as well as the continuation of themes that have been developing in my work for years."

This book is more than a book of patterns; it is a way of looking at the world's patterns in nature and knitting. It certainly has provided me with inspiration. Fractals,Phyllotaxis and Pentagons are the essence of her creations.

Luckily for our guild Norah divides her time between Peterborough,NH and Providence, RI. Because of Norah I must seek out the book: The Self Made Tapestry by Phillip Ball. We must continue to feed the well of inspiration.

On another note..........if you haven't heard, another knit designer has bloomed. Eunny Jang is the new editor of Interweave Knits!

Have you seen the new spring edition of Knitty?

Monday, March 12, 2007

If Someone Gives You Lemons.....

My friend Mary spent last Friday afternoon preserving lemons. I even got to cut a few slices, but that didn't last long as I had to photograph them. If you want the recipe, let me know....

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Finished Product

Here are the pics of my finished sweater. I'm going to block it again to make it a bit wider.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saturday Spin In

I'm delighted to say that I've been spinning this week. I am continuing to spin the creamy mystery fiber you all saw last week. I do want to mention that I'm working with a squeaky bobbin which is very annoying. I've oiled it and any adjacent parts, but still no luck. Perhaps the inner passage of the bobbin needs to be reamed. The kicker is I have a number of bobbins for this Country Craftsman wheel and I HAD to pick the noisy one...sigh. I'll have to label it! I could change the bobbin,but I have enough singles on it to make the noise bearable. What we spinners put up with in the name of fiber.

Benny looks to the east while sitting on my favorite gray shawl....................

Hopefully I can get someone to take my picture while I'm wearing my finished cardigan.

Friday, March 09, 2007

John Inman

I was going to post my pic for Eye Candy Friday, but decided instead to devote this post to John Inman.

Perhaps you know him as the British actor who became famous for his role as an eccentric shop assistant in the BBC comedy “Are You Being Served?”. He diedThursday. He was 71.

He will be missed.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Of Woodpeckers & Buttons

See the woodpecker in about the middle of the picture? He was tap, tap, tapping at my neighbor's tree this morning while I was sewing buttons on my finished sweater.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Oh Ye of Little Faith

What a difference a blocking makes!!! I spent the last two days sewing up the Reynolds cardigan I made with a mystery fleece that Judy and I bought from the NH Sheep and Wool Festival a couple of years ago. You know how we agonize over our sweater making:

Did I spin enough yarn?

Should I have made the larger size?

Should I sew the seams using a backstitch or do the mattress stitch?

Did I use the best yarn for this pattern?

Am I sewing in too many ends into a particular seam?

Will I like the sweater enough to wear it?

Well..................I want to report that I think I'm happy with the sweater. The sweater is drying as I write this post. It 's not too small DD; looks like mama can wear this baby!

Here she is:

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mom and Daughter Knit

Thought you'd enjoy this from the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Creator: Bracquemond, FĂ©lix, 1833-1914 -- Etcher

I'm sure Marcy would approve! Go and check out her sheep.....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Spinning for Sock yarn

Yesterday in the comment section Grace said:"I am having a problem getting my yarn fluffy like yours ...... I want to make some sock yarn for me so i can learn to knit socks. I think my own yarn is way to thin.. any ideas on plumping it?"

Please know that I am not an authority on spinning, but I have spun for some ten years. Here's what I have learned about "plumping yarn." If by this you mean making it thicker, I would suggest making a three ply. I've done this with the yarn you see from my last post by Navajo plying the singles I created. But making a three ply using three singles is perhaps the best way to make a plumper or more rounded yarn especially for making socks. For durability I would spin each singles worsted and not woolen since the latter will produce a sock yarn that is less durable.

I have made two ply sock yarns as well, and I very much like a wool/mohair blend. I also have heard that others have made them out of Romney or Border Leicester. I avoid Merino unless it's a superwash Merino. Short fibers like Merino can pill when knitted up as socks. Although if spun properly, even Merino can make a great sock yarn....think Koigu yarn.

Jeannine Bakriges
, who is from Vermont, has a great post on her website about spinning sock yarn, but be sure to scroll down the page. I took a workshop with her at WEBS last fall which was very helpful in learning how to spin a thicker singles.

I also noticed that Holly Shaltz has a good description of how to spin sock yarn.

Check out Elizabeth's Saturday Spin In. Some wonderful fiber there!!!Spin on!!!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Saturday Spin In

It looks as though this Saturday Spin In idea is working for me!!! It's a reminder to try to spin at least once a week; this is causing me to get back in the spinning groove with some regularity. Above you can see I've given you a picture of and old spinning project. I'm sure I've already spun most of the 3 lbs of fiber. I've forgotten what fiber it is....some commercial roving which I want to say is not merino, but a soft creamy wool I just love. My plan if I ever get to it is to knit an aran sweater.

One of our spinning guild members spun this same fiber and knitted an aran which I had to make. She used a Patons pattern....well you know the rest! I just had to hunt down this pattern. I was lucky to find it on ebay because it was out of print. Now the question is do I want to make this pattern or have I fallen out of love with it. This is a problem when you have too many projects and become a pattern cheat...LOL.

I can see that Cathy has done some spinning, Grace has made some very interesting yarn she calls reconstruction art yarn. Margene is spinning with the gang as well. Hope she shows us what fiber she has chosen to spin. If you want to join our Saturday Spin In email me with Saturday Spin In in the subject line and tell me your blog name. Are you blogless? Don't me your spinning picture and I'll post it on my blog. Get your fiber mojo working.