Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spinning Cotton

This is my newest obsession (other than a baby sweater for a friend that I can't stop knitting). All the items you see in this photo were part of the generosity mentioned in my previous post. I've been doing alright using a support spindle, this brown cotton seems to lend itself to lumpiness - that could be result of me learning how to card as well.

For those of you who are not familiar with spinning cotton it is a very short fiber so the support spindle allows me to spin it without putting weight on the fiber which would cause it to break apart. Also cotton fibers don't grip each other like wool fibers, they are slick and slide off one another - these are the challenges to spinning cotton, but I'm enjoying it.

I have also been learning about the natural colors of cotton that are being experimented with. I have yet to research it, but I have some green and brown and I hear that there is blue. If you have any interesting info on this please feel free to pass it along.

So as I make progress on this project I will share it with you, but here is what I am hoping to make once I spin enough cotton (a little less than 2 100 gram skeins) - Ribbed Lace Bolero. So cute, right?

All for now, have a great day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The stories behind my spindles

Within the past week I have received so many gifts from fellow fiber lovers that my cup runneth over! For today I will share with you my spindle love.

Some of you fellow knitters and crocheters may be familiar with Ravelry. In one of the forums on that site we were all sharing sharing photos of our spindles cause, well, we're addicted. I shared my photo and mentioned that I am in the market for some new spindles, possibly to spin some heavier yarn. A fellow spinner sent me a note saying that she would like to send me two of her spindles that haven't gotten much use since she began using her wheel. From her generosity I received the lovely top whorl spindles with the gorgeous stripes of green, maroon, and yellow. She also generously included some Targhee wool, so squishy, I love it!

The plain spindle you see on the far left is my first spindle, a student spindle. This one I received from the generosity of a fellow Etisan who read that I was interested in spinning. Basically I bought some wool and she threw in the spindle at cost - a dollar something, oh yeah!

Lastly, the two small spindles on the right involve my current project, which I will tell you more about later this week. These two small support spindles are cotton spindles. In our local knitting group and fiber group there is this lovely woman who knows everything there is to know about weaving, knitting, dying, and spinning - needless to say she never gets much done with all of us asking her questions.

Well, last week as we were knitting hats for the hospital I asked her how to spin cotton, and from that conversation she said that she may be able to help me out getting started cause she had a spindle that I could have. I thought - sweet! So Sunday I went over to her house to learn how to spin this short staple and I was blessed beyond my imagination!

Not only had she prepared a basket for cotton spinning which included beautiful brown cotton, carders, card cleaner, a flicker, two support spindles, and boiling tubes to set the cotton, but there was a whole other basket! This other basket over flowed with wool, cotton, an antique carder, and by the end of the visit it also included a swift, a yarn drying rack, two books on natural dyes, AND lichens and onion skins for dying!!!! I forgot to mention she also gave me a whole fleece and gave my friend a loom!

I share this to say I am so overwhelmingly grateful to these women for encouraging me and proving me with the tools to learn more and improve my craft. I am always amazed at how the "crafting community" rises up to support one another and others in need.

I hope this inspires you to reach out, share, and teach others the craft that you so love.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

the new Hand Bag

It is here! You asked for it - tah dah. I have completed the recycled silk purse. You may remember awhile back I shared the lack of motivation to complete this bag (and another, which I haven't touched), well on Sunday afternoon I bunkered down and said I couldn't leave the couch till it was finished.

I am very happy with the result, though I don't think I will make another one of these bags. I realize that means I could list it as OOAK, but I always want to leave myself the option to make it again down the road. The bag isn't lined, but it isn't an extremely loose knit so purse items won't be poking out all over the place.

So do you like it? You can find it here in my shop.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

To Dye For

I know, crappy title, but sometimes you just have to make a pun. So this is the last of the H&M sweater (70% acrylic, 30% wool) that I have been recycling. Now to decided what to make. Last night I got about three inches into a chunky lace hat with the lavender, and realized I had not near enough. So I am thinking the lavender may become to-go cup and mug cozies. The yellow will become a chunky lace hat for spring/summer, and maybe you'll see it around the cozies as well. What other ideas do you have... what would you like to see from these colors? I'd love to hear it. Happy reading and browsing!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gets Better and Better

So I continue to fall in love with spinning. I recently learned about Fulled Yarn. I asked around on Ravelry about the process and such and then decided to go for it! This Muted Spring skein is the result - hooray!

As I dyed this roving I was unsure of it. I didn't really like how the colors mixed and once I spun it I felt it was just "okay". I decided it would be a good skein to test this new technique of making fulled yarn. The process involves agitating the wool in hot and cold water and the absolute best part is whacking it all around. I'm sure my neighbors thought I was mad as I whacked this yarn full force on my front step, but it was oh so fun.

I have just listed this skein in my Etsy shop and I titled it Muted Spring.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Gloves are Done

It's true they are! But you're probably wondering why there isn't a picture... well, last night was knitting group and I taught a Citizenship class so all photos fell by the wayside. Never fear, I decided to post some photos from my weekend hiking to entertain you for this Thursday.

The photo above is me and my hubby as we started our hike into the gorge. The photo on the left is this amazing rock with a piece of drift wood lying in it. There were some amazing rocks on the shore of the Rio Grande that clearly had spent much of their time under water. This photo on the right is me panting for breath as we climbed the gorge the first time. We live at about 7,200 feet, but this hike got us a few hundred higher. Now, here is a job for you, name that flower... I'm guessing they are crocuses, what do you think?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fingerless Glove Progress

Today I thought I'd share a little progress I am making on a project for myself. I'm getting there. I have come to the conclusion that I won't have enough yarn. I know, I know, you are thinking - "Isn't that what she always does?" Well, not always, but yes it happened with my leg warmers too. I will have a little supplemental yarn that is left over from my hat. The yarn left from that project is from the same roving but has a lot more white in it. Still, I'm hoping it is enough to complete my glove. If not, what ideas do you have?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Presenting the French Press Cozy

It is finally here! I have had request for this through a Business Ideas thread in Etsy, through my own personal use, and from a poll here, but it took me awhile to get it right. This project was started about three different times, yes that's right, three times.

Now you might not think it would be so difficult to gauge out a SQUARE, but for some reason I struggled. The first two times I got at least four to six inches into the project because I was doing some lovely patterns, and it was with the Bright FairyTale yarn that you see throughout my shop. Then I decided to sell some of that lovely yarn in a skein so I started with this hand spun blue and white wool, which is wonderfully warm. With this yarn it only took one try and it began to come together.

I love the look of this cozy because it is intricate, yet simplistic and could really go with any style home. Also this wool is very thick and the the cozy covers the length of the press which will keep the coffee nice and hot. Also I think people will appreciate the window by the handle where you can see if your coffee is brewed to your liking.

Thoughts? What else would you like to see in these cozies? Ideas? Thanks for stopping in!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Purses to Finish

Please don't think I have ignored the poll request for more purses in my shop, I haven't - I just can't seem to get them done! I have two in progress and one in my head. I'm most excited about the one in my head that will be made from a flour sack, but I have decided I am not allowed to begin sewing until I finish these knit ones.

Let me walk you through these pictures a bit. This first purse, the red one on the right, has a lovely celtic

cable for the front panel and it is being made from upcycled yarn. I plan to line it with a dark chocolate brown, and have a button loop closure. The strap will also be knitted and make the purse some what rectangular. Can you see it?

The recycled silk bag will have a button closure as well, but will be a bit different. As you can see from this smaller photo it opens large at the top
so I plan to have it button closed across one direction and have the handles on the opposite sides so that it brings it all together like the top photo. I realize that is hard to picture, but I thought I'd at least try to describe it.

So which style do you like best? Any ideas to add to these bags? I'd love to hear from you!