Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oh, it just hasn't been a good week to finish my vest....

Our spinning and weaving guild is celebrating our 30th anniversary this year, and the first of several displays will be mounted in May at my local library. I've been trying to knit a simple vest from the Winter 2011 Spin Off magazine with my handspun. This was my starting yarn:

Cherry Divinity yarn

I needed 2 accent colors and choose a deep red heather top and a charcoal heather top, spun the yarns and started knitting. Ran out of the charcoal. I knew I needed another entire skein as the charcoal would also be used for the neckband, and so I spun up a bobbin early in the week, plied and washed it, and started knitting again.
The vest back

I've now run out of the deep red yarn--just 3" from being finished with the 60 stitches on underarm portion of the back of the vest! Ack! Drat! Dagnabbit! sigh.....

Not nearly enough yarn there.....

So it's back to the wheel today, wash the yarn tonight and hopefully continue the knitting tomorrow. It's so frustrating when I keep running into problems on such a simple project, but I suppose it's my own fault for not guestimating my yarn requirements correctly. Live and learn.....

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Article about my batts in Yarnmaker magazine!

Well, I can finally stop keeping secrets! The latest issue of Yarnmaker, a spinning magazine published in the UK, contains an article about my batts entitled "Beautiful Batts and Husky Hats". Elizabeth Lovick, who is a wonderful designer/spinner, purchased some of my Siberian Husky blend batts, spun them up and knitted a great hat. I've known for some time that the article was coming but couldn't say anything until press time. I'm just so excited about this! And now I must go card more batts......

Friday, March 23, 2012

Getting ready for classes

It's officially Spring! Nice weather means that I can dry my yarn and dyed articles outside where they dry much faster and there's little chance that the cat will 'help' by pulling wet skeins off the drying rack. I typically don't dye much because I just don't like the mess, but I also can't resist making colors. So I end up doing some dyeing once or twice each year.

Since I wanted to show my students at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival a few fun things, I'd purchased a few little bags of fibers I didn't have in stock, including tencel and cotton nepps . Monday was the perfect day for dyeing them. The tencel presented no problems as it wetted out quickly and absorbed the dye nicely. Since the cotton nepps were still floating in the soda ash soak (even with the addition of Synthrapol) I let them soak for another day. On Tuesday most of the nepps were wetted through so I decided to go ahead with dyeing even though the dry nepps wouldn't absorb any color. I let them sit in the dye until last night to make sure that the color took on the little cotton bits. The cotton is still sitting on the drying rack but the dyes are exactly the same color as the tencel so I haven't bothered with photos.
Clumps of tencel, which become individual tiny balls of tencel once they dry completely.
Since I was already making a mess of the laundry area with dyes and chemicals, I decided to dye the wool/cotton yarn I'd spun years ago. My expectation was that the cotton clumps in the yarn would take the color while the wool would remain it's natural color or become tinted with the dyes. Imagine my surprise when the wool also accepted the fiber-reactive dye! I've rinsed the yarn till the water ran clear, but the wool still retains the dye to a stronger degree than I'd expected.

Fiber, it's all a learning experience and so much fun to explore!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Another long gap in posts, but I'm back again

Phew! I've been dealing with family medical issues, renovation on in-laws house so we can sell it, lining up my teaching schedule and working with our guild to celebrate our 30th anniversary--where did the time go?

1. Family is all well now, and my neck is feeling much better after many visits to the chiropractor's office. A note to my friends--pay attention to neck injuries, they can lead to arthritis or worse later on.
2. Renovation on my studio is finished, renovation to in-laws' house is almost finished, yah!
3. TEACHING COMMITMENTS 2012: I'll be teaching Spindle Spinning at the Waynesburg (PA) Sheep and Fiber Festival, May 19 & 20. On May 26 & 27 I'll be in Wooster, OH at the Great Lakes Fiber Show. Saturday's class is Spinning Textured Yarns, and on Sunday I'll be teaching Spinning Knob (Knot) and Slub Yarns.
4. The Butler Spinners and Weavers Guild has 3-4 shows lined up in different venues during 2012, and one lecture planned for the fall. The first show will be held at the Shaler Library during the month of May. The remaining shows/lecture plans aren't completed yet, but stay tuned. Folks in the Pittsburgh & Butler areas might want to set aside Oct. 20 for something special.

And of course I haven't gotten my pieces for the May show finished. I had enough main color for the Color Blocks Vest in Spin Off, Winter 2011 but needed to spin up the accent yarns I wanted to use. Here's a shot of all 3 yarns and another of the swatch to test color sequence.

While I was at the wheel, I decided to ply the linen I'd spun during Penn's Colony festival back in September. I ended up with 110 yards, just enough to knit a Farmer's Market Bag (pattern on Ravelry, can't find it on the web)

Outside light source

Inside light source