Saturday, November 30, 2019

Belated Thanksgiving greetings

I hope you all had a satisfying Thanksgiving Day. My daughter hosted, cooked all the family favorites (and then some), and I left in a food coma. My SO was sick with the flu, so he missed out (and we missed out on getting exposed to his germs). My ex was there, weird as ever, and my son and his girl friend. Then there were my daughter's husband's family, who mainly kept to themselves because we were hogging the dining room table. No drama, no angst, which made it perfect.

Knitting: Turned the heels on the socks; now they will remain mostly dormant so I can take them to the hospital as an activity to keep me occupied between physical therapy sessions. I am almost back to the shaping part of the L-Bag, and I am liking it much better.

Spinning: I waffled about what to spin next, decided it should be something luscious and fun, so today I started spinning some Shetland top (from Jamiesons via Little Shop of Spinning). Yum! So smooth with a nice long staple. I have about a pound of it, plan to spin an ounce a day, then buy more. Shetland is supposed to be pill-resistant.

Needle felting: My granddaughter finished decorating the felted xmas tree ornament; the bunny Peep has some sparkly fuzz now but needs details. Dill is coming along; I'll finish the core and then my granddaughter can add the color.

Still not back to weaving. And there is a fleece sitting in a big plastic garbage bag not far from this desk, just waiting to be flicked and carded. I don't understand people who claim retirement is boring - there is so much to do!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Slub, slub, slub

As I have mentioned before, I have been playing with spinning slubby yarn. New spinners have no trouble doing this - it is what beginning spinning looks like, fat and thin. But try doing it on purpose! And in a not-random way! It is not easy.

"They" recommend using top for this endeavor, but I stubbornly stuck with some roving I had on hand, a "Montage Medley" which is a fancy term for "mill ends". I think it was made by Ashford. If I decide to make more slubby yarn in the future, I will use top and see just how much easier that is (and whether the result is better) .

While spinning some of the slubby, I wrapped it at the same time with navy thread. To do this, the thread has to be held above the twist, so that it wraps. In a way, it is like spinning and plying at the same time. I also spun some plain singles from the Montage Blend, to ply with the slubby singles.

When I tired of spinning slubby, I still had a lot of the Montage Medley left, so I tried spinning some with white silk and some with navy Kidsilk Haze. The idea was that the silk and Kidsilk Haze would be mostly buried in the MM, so I held it below the twist, with the fiber. My results varied, with the silks showing some of the time.

There was plenty of single yarn, so after plying the slubby single with plain single, to create a two-ply, I three-plied the plain single, silk single, and Kidsilk Haze single. Of course, I ran out of one of those singles before the others, so I made a two-ply with the plain and Kidsilk Haze until I ran out of the latter, then finished with a two-ply of just the plain.

A new (to me) thing I tried was steaming the finished yarn instead of soaking it, to set the twist. My SO had loaned me his handheld steamer and I watched a couple of YouTube videos in preparation. I guess it worked okay - my yarn tends to be rather balanced once I am done plying, but it did feel fuller when I finished.

I ended up with a lot of yarn:
  • 3-ply plain/silk/Kidsilk: 136 yds (176 g)
  • 2-ply plain/Kidsilk: 20 yds (16 g)
  • 2-ply plain/plain: 18 yds (11g)
  • 2-ply slub/plain: 136 yds (111g)
  • 2-ply wrapped slub/plain: 64 yds (59 g)

So what shall I make with all this? The roving is soft so the slubby yarn is soft, so it might be a nice woven or knitted scarf. The yarns with the silk and Kidsilk Haze has a tougher feel, though. I will have to let the yarn "age" a bit while I consider my options. Any suggestions?

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Everything is an ordeal

Sometimes just getting off the couch takes a humongous amount of effort because of my bum hip. I've been trying to keep up with everything, but balls keep dropping. The weather is not helping, as the dogs drag in fresh dirt which quickly cancels vacuuming and mopping efforts. Last minute grandma duty saps my energy. At least I have an excuse for the holidays this year; I decided it is time for me to be invited to Thanksgiving, not do Thanksgiving.

Knitting: I'm up to the heels on the socks. They are my traveling project, but I have to turn heels in the quiet of my own home. The L-Bag looks better with a stripe of pale tan between the walnut and henna bands.
Spinning: I finished the Montage Medley spinning and plying (separate post pending). I tried something new to set the twist: steam.
Needle felting: Trying to make progress on the fairy house from the last class I took, but I'm a bit stuck on getting the roof on. Today my granddaughter and I collaborated (new vocabulary word) on the xmas tree ornament and her bunny Peep. She is also fixated on Pickle the Dinosaur, which of course is sold out, so we've been needle felting Dill, Pickle's little sister.

It's amazing how time consuming yet engrossing needle felting is. I keep thinking of new things to make using wool and a barbed needle. So many projects, so little time!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Shoulda swatched

When I reached the shaping portion of the pattern for the L-Bag, I discovered that I had lost two stitches somewhere along the way. That, plus a couple of other things I did not like, led me to ripping back to almost the beginning. The two things I did not like were the two rounds of green around each band of yellow - rather have just one round - and the lack of any break between the walnut and the henna - so I'm adding a round of light tan. As I type this, however, I am wondering what one round will look like vs. two rounds once the bag is felted. If I had swatched, I might have the answer. It is never too late to swatch, so maybe I will just do it.

Knitting: See above for status of L-Bag; the socks are about halfway to the heel (I knit toe-up).
Spinning: Yes! I am spinning again, even though the studio is not completely put together yet. I've been working with a montage of mill ends, practicing slubby yarn, silk reinforced singles, even Kidsilk Haze reinforced singles.
Needle felting: My granddaughter and I messed around with needle felting this week. Her thing morphed into a bunny Peep; I was trying to make an xmas ornament using a cookie cutter as a pattern, with limited success.
Weaving: No actual weaving occurred. However, I am planning a fall banner of sorts that will include some of the things I learned at the dimensional weaving workshop.
Fiber prep: At this week's spinning guild meeting, we practiced blending colors using drum carders. I blended blue and white to create a light blue, red and blue to make purple, and red, blue, and white for lilac.

Both my guild meetings in December are xmas parties, which I am planning to skip. Hobbling around is getting more and more difficult. This past week, my "caregivers" and I attended a pre-op information session for hip replacement surgery. I am SOOOO ready!

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Help me, help me

I'm used to being independent. Ordinarily, I find it difficult to ask anyone for help. While awaiting surgery for hip replacement, though, I have been forced to lean on others, literally and figuratively. Yesterday my granddaughter mopped my kitchen floor, today my SO weeded the area where my wonderful gold mop grows. He is being very patient with me as our dates devolve to lunch and running errands; he's particularly helpful at Costco where they seem to move products around, especially this time of year when they need more room for xmas crap.

My daughter and son-in-law and SO came over last Sunday to finish moving stuff around, but I have made no more progress on the new fiber arts studio because, frankly, the rest of the house is a pit. The living room and dining room are now under control; next is the family room and kitchen. Maybe THEN I will get back to the studio. I miss spinning.

Knitting: Progress has been made on both the socks and the L-Bag. The latter has reached the shaping phase, but of course the stitch counts are not coming out right.

Weaving: The yarn arrived and is exactly what I need. Now to just get going again.

In an attempt to uncover the coffee table in the living room, I have designated the recliner as my "knitting station", complete with Ott light to show the way. My daughter pointed out that until I have a place for everything and everything in its place, I am a Marie Kondo FAIL. I will get there someday.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Best laid plans

I wanted to turn one of my spare bedrooms into the exercise/TV room. Toward that end, I got rid of the double bed in there, replaced the aging carpet with laminate, painted the walls, etc. and planned to move the sofa bed there. My house is well built but it has a few design flaws, and one of them is the configuration of the bedroom doorways. My daughter and her husband came over and measured and discussed and decided there was no way to get the sofa bed into that room. So onto Plan B: swap the fiber studio with the exercise/TV room since the sofa bed was already in the studio.

So that is what I have been doing this week. With the help of my SO, we have been schlepping stuff back and forth through the house. There are only a few 2-person items left to move (TV and its stand, elliptical, desk) which should be taken care of today. Then I can rearrange the old bedroom/new studio and get back to work.

I actually think this arrangement will work out better. One thing the bedroom has that the old studio does not is a closet. Crap expands to fill the space available, but now I can hide most of that crap away. Also, I was not sure what to do with the elliptical, but there is plenty of room in the old studio/new den.

Knitting: Bought the yarn I needed for toes and heels at Simply Socks, knit the toes (one twice), and am ready to forge ahead on the next pair of socks. Still working on the L-Bag.
Weaving: While emptying out the old studio, I found the missing ball band! I ordered the necessary rug yarn from Yarn Barn of Kansas, so now the woven bag project can progress.
Dyeing: Even though pokeweed berries are not a good dye source, I like to play around with them. I have been harvesting some (and leaving plenty for the robins and bluebirds). They are too soft to pick, so I tried freezing some on their stems but drying them on screens in the garage seems to work best.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Yarn needed

What sometimes happens when I am knitting/weaving/spinning, I hit a snag of one sort or another. Sometimes I need more yarn, sometimes I need more knowledge, sometimes I am just disappointed in how whatever I am working on is turning out. The latter is the worst because then I am torn between just finishing it anyway or permanently abandoning the project. Any suggestions?

Knitting: Finished the socks; can't start another pair until I find some matching yarn in a solid color for the heels and toes. Started an L-Bag, using some of my naturally dyed yarn (walnut, onion skins, henna).
Needle felting: still working on the fairy house.
Spinning: Plied the remnants from the gradient project, just to empty out the bobbins.

Tomorrow I am dropping by Simply Socks to find some yarn for heels and toes. The bag I am weaving is held up because I need more of the dark brown but can't find the ball band with the colorway information. I don't usually throw ball bands away but this one is definitely MIA.