Friday, September 24, 2010

New Yarns

There comes a time in every handspinners life, when you look into the closet of yarn and think, "Did I spin ALL that????!!!!" And you think to yourself, yep, you sure did. Sometimes there is more than you can ever possibly knit, crochet, or weave in a lifetime.

So, what do you do with it?
Well, some put it right back where it came from. One spinning friend I had put it in a book case with glass doors, to decorate her home. Some, like my friend Fibergeek, layed it all over her living room floor to figure out how best to use it. She already has a woven ruana finished!

Well, in sorting through mine, I thought that I might list a bunch of it in my TerrificCreations etsy boutique. So, I have been doing just that. It is great yarn and I love it all. I have had fun spinning it, too.

I have discovered something really cool. If I am emptying out the bins of yarn and fiber, there is room for NEW STUFF. :) So, that is a wonderful idea. I will be working on new yarns now and refilling the bins and refilling etsy.

Here is one of those handspun yarns. I purchased the handpainted roving from CordovaStudios and spun it into a great yarn.

Next is an upcycled, recycled, eco friendly, or whatever term you like to use. I took silk fabric and cut it and spun it into yarn, then I dyed it the luscious teal green color that you see.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fair Isle Knitting

Fair Isle knitting, or changing colors in the row as you knit, can be a bit of a challenge. If you don't know how to knit in the continental fashion, you may wish to learn it, after you see this video. The gal is holding one color of her yarn in her right and one color in her left hand. Watch and see how much easier the knitting is that way. I have done fair isle knitting with only my right hand, but when I learned to knit continental, I was surprised how much easier it became.

This video actually shows you how to catch the loop of the yarn being carried. It is a simple thing and I have done it this way and love it. So, when I saw this video I thought I would put it on the blog.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Ultimate of Spinners, Spins

Meet Zippedie and Doo-Daa, master spinners.

One day, I went to the door in my studio and looked out. There was Zippedie. Spinning away on a web. I was, at first aghast at the size of the spider and the web, but then I realized that it was what is commonly called a Zipper Spider, and since they eat mud daubers and wasps, amongst other things I decided to just watch it for a few days. Not a bad spider to have hanging around a house in the woods. However, her new home has hindered my coming and going of this particular door. So, Zippedie will probably be moved, not killed, just moved off the door and into the woods.

These spiders are very intriguing, as they spin a web, with a zigzag in it. That part is much thicker than the rest of the web. I read that it is one continuous strand too. But, this human spinner is not going to check that out. Sorry.

Here's Doo-daa. Doo-daa, is over by the pool. The lighting is better for Doo-Daa and Doo-Daa is smarter than Zippedie, cause I do not have to move this web. It is nicely placed out of the walkway, however, it does sort of give me the creeps when I walk by it. However, I read that the Zipper Spiders are not aggressive. This I know to be true. They must have read on their spider computers that most humans are not aggressive toward them, because they don't even move, when I get within 2 feet of them. They just sit there. Maybe they are thinking, "Oh, good, if she gets stuck in my web, I'll have food for a long time. Maybe she won't notice me." Who knows, but they aren't aggressive.

Here is some scientific information on the spinners of all spinners, taken from the Dirt Doctor's website. For more info, follow the link, if you want. :)
Common Name: The black and yellow argiope is also called banana spider, yellow garden spider, zipper spider, golden orb weaver and writing spider. The largest orb weaver in our gardens is the black and yellow argiope (Argiope aurantia). The female is large, the males being much smaller by comparison. Although big enough to deliver a bite, these spiders are not poisonous or aggressive.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Down With The Old and Up With The New

So, imagine. It is about 3 a.m, and pa and ma are tucked in their bed, he with his hat and me with my bonnet(or whatever). So sound asleep, that neary a word is heard. When what do we hear and see in our sleep? Not Santa, not reindeer, nope, but a quick flash and a bang, right in our room.

We wake with a start and ma grabs for her glow in the dark flash light, which tumbles to the floor and under the bed, retreiving it, they comment on what in the world was that flash and bang. It isn't storming and it isn't raining..... On goes the flash light and they see the fan over their bed has stopped.

Aack, what caused that? Pa pulls on the string and it is dead. Ma tries the light string and the light works. Of course, pa didn't appreciate the bright lights in his face, but he recovered. :)

Pa says the fan is dead. He feels the fan, it is cool, and says we'll deal with it in the morning. Ma is agast, "What, the morning??? It is the morning????? What if it is a fire, what if... what if..... " Pa shakes his head, touches the fan and mumbles something about the armberture(which mom doesn't even know how to spell, much less what it means). He lays down and falls back to sleep.

Ma is wide eyed and lays staring into the black night.

Can you relate? Basically, the motor on the ceiling fan seized.

When day time arrived, Pa and Ma went off to Lowe's, the friendly hardware store. They purchased a new fan and a remote. Ma was told she can control this remote! She actually can control a remote!!!!! Not the TV remote, but a remote all the same. LOL!

So, on Labor Day, my wonderful husband labored not only with some "honey do projects," but he took down the dead fan and put up a new fan. Isn't he nice????? I think so and to think, I have control of the remote........

The old dead fan.

The new fan.

KNITTING! This is the Chill-Chaser Shawl. This is the pattern that I have had a bear of a time designing. But, in the end it is done and what a fun pattern it is. The pattern uses either sock yarn or worsted to bulky yarn. Directions are given for both.

You knit it sideways and then pick up for the ruffle. You can use different colors or the same colors, but I recommend, using the same weight yarn for the shawl and the ruffle. I tried it with the different weights and ripped that one out.

This one is a worsted weight cotton.

This one is black mohair, which is labeled bulky. I purchased the black mohair yarn in La Samaritaine, a large department store in Paris, France. I have started purchasing yarn as my souveniers, when I travel places. The teal was some mohair, that I purchased from Cindy at Jacob's Reward Farm, as ecru, and dyed it for the ruffle.

The nature of this shawl, is that it can be used as a scarf if needed, but when you get to where you are going, if you are chilly, use it as a shawl. OR, use it in the summer when you are going to an air conditioned building to chase away the chill. :)

The blue and purple shawl was made from my handspun yarn, a finer yarn, like sport weight. It is gathered together, then wrapped around the neck and the ends pulled through the loop.

The teal and gray one was made by Mary at Fancy Fibers Farm. She used her worsted to bulky weight handspun. The fiber she used to spin the grayer portion is sari-silk, which she sells. She blended it with the teal as she spun.

The pattern, Chill-Chaser, can be found on my etsy site. Terrific Creations .

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Finished Projects

Now that the studio is done being remodeled and I have moved back in and hung up the pictures on the walls, I was able to set up the sewing machine on its desk and get it going again. It was a bit shocked when I turned it on, and we had to introduce ourselves to each other again, but in the end we were friends.

Before we had even emptied the room out, I had a pattern and fabric to make myself a spinner's apron. Actually, I had 2 patterns and couldn't make up my mind. So, I made one pattern and took it to spinning and it sold that day. :) Then I had a commission to make another one, that was nice! So, back to my apron, I had the 2 patterns and kept tossing it around. Well, the day came and the decision had to be made. I decided to go with an old Daisy Kingdom pattern that I had kept for years.(See a stash can be a good thing!)

Below is the pocket close-up, because I was hoping you could see the sheep. Spinner's apron/sheep, right?? Oh, I didn't use the pocket from the Daisy Kingdom pattern, I used a bigger pocket, cause spinner's can have lots of stuff to put in that pocket while spinning.

This is the whole apron. It crosses in the back, so you have to put it on over your head. If you aren't a spinner, and even if you are one, you may be wondering why I wanted an apron for spinning. Well, I am just tired of wearing my clean clothes to spin in and then having them covered with wool, mohair, bamboo(especially bamboo) and the other fibers that I work with. I do carry a lint brush, and that does help to get the fibers off of my clothes, but I thought this might be a good idea. It is worth a try and I love blue! :)

Finished! My Mr.Greenjeans sweater, made from black yarn. It fits and it is done, so that I can wear it when our temperaturs cool off. I am so glad to have it done. I used Ashford Tekapo yarn for it and I love it.

The pattern for Mr. Greenjeans is a free pattern on Ravelry. The designer named it such, because the color of yarn, that she used, is named Mr. Greenjeans. I did change the pattern a little. The neckline was very wide and I didn't want a sweater that would be falling off my shoulders. The sweater is knit from the top down, so when I cast on, I used the smaller needle called for. When done, I tried it on and it was still too wide, falling off shoulders wide. While picking up for the center front ribbing and back ribbing, I picked up across the back in 3 sts and then skipped 1. Thus, having 3 sts for every 4 across the back. It worked! I am very happy with the fit.