Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ashford Kiwi Spinning and Ma Cherie

Last summer Ashford announced an additional flyer and bobbin set up for the Kiwi Spinning Wheel. I was really excited with this flyer and bobbin, called the Super Flyer. It was designed with art yarn or just plain thick yarn in mind. It turns this wonderful scotch tension wheel into a bobbin led wheel.
My experience in spinning art yarns on my Ashford single drive/scotch tension wheels has been disappointing, only because I couldn't get enough take up  onto the bobbin. That causes a loosely wound bobbin, meaning that I was lucky to get 35 or even 50 yards onto one bobbin.
This flyer and bobbin solves that issue!
The bobbin holds 500 grams(17.636 oz) of fiber, the orifice is 1 1/8 inches in diameter, allowing beads or even feathers through it, and the there are free flowing sliding yarn guides allowing fat yarn or bulky items to spin onto the bobbin.
Ashford designed this flyer to set right onto your existing Kiwi. It attaches easily and will pull off easily when you want to use your scotch tension/single drive again. I am in love. :)
The yarn I have on the bobbin is a bulky weight yarn, with beads spun into it.
If you have an interest in purchasing this, I do sell Ashford wheels and parts, you can contact me through etsy or my Ravelry page.

Doing some stash knitting. I had this great super bulky art yarn that kept calling my name and saying "Knit me into something." I decided to knit this yarn using my Ma Cherie pattern. I love the lumps and bumps and how it has the boho chic appearance to it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lake, SpinOff and Baby

Here's my show and tell, finished project. We are awaiting the arrival of our 4th grandchild and we are really excited! Because they live in northern Florida there isn't a lot of need for warm wool sweaters, with a June delivery date.  Don't get me wrong, there is a need for sweaters, and I have made some. I will show them another day. (When the sun comes out and I can get decent pictures again)
This outfit is a crocheted sundress and a knitted shrug. The pattern for the sundress is from Deborah Norville using her Serenity yarn. I found the pattern as a tear-off free pattern, one time while at at JoAnn's Fabrics. When I was done with crocheting the sundress, I decided that baby needed a shrug to go with it. So, I wrote the pattern for the shrug and knit it.  The sheep is for me. It was a gift to me, since I like sheep and I like putting it in pictures.
I mentioned about the sun and needing it for some pictures. We are having TONS of rain in Texas. I think I heard it said that it was the rainiest May on record. I have also heard people pondering whether our state had moved to Seattle Washington, or Louisiana, over night and we didn't know it. :)
The ground is squishy and just saturated. It is safe to say the drought is over, cause our lakes and rivers are at their limits. There is a large lake near me, which is over its banks in some areas.
BUT, behind our home, is a pond.  It is full. It doesn't get higher than this, because it will flow over its dam at the far end.  I wanted to show the picture of it. The neighbors dock, across the pond, is sitting in the water.

SPINNING!!! This issue of SpinOff magazine, is all about using up your stash! What a great idea.

I do have quite a stash of fiber. So I went through it and found enough that would coordinate together that equals just over 2 lbs. That is enough for a sweater. My granddaughter came to visit and wanted to photo bomb my picture. LOL!

We spent part of the visit splitting up Gramma's wool. We started with the blue on the top, and actually weighed it out into 3/4oz portions. We ended up with about 35 of those. Then we equally split the rest of the colors into 35 pieces. We didn't weigh these. We just folded rovings in half and split, folded, split, folded. When we were done we had piles of wool all over my studio floor, we were dancing in the tulips, so to speak. :)  We took each pile of coordinated fiber and rolled it into a ball for safe keeping, until I can card it on my Ashford drum carder.

The neat little balls on the left are before it is carded and the one on the right is a ball after all the fibers have been carded together. I will be carding off and on for a while. But, meanwhile, let the spinning begin.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Knitting Patterns are a Tool and A Granny Shrug

I am here today to set you free and help you realize that a pattern is a tool, your tool, do what you need to do, to make it easier for you to understand and use. :)
I wanted to share how I made the directions for knitting my Astor Jacket work for me. You see, when I was knitting on my Astor Jacket, I found part of the directions difficult to use and a bit confusing. One issue that I encountered was that I needed two different pages at the same time! 
This meant I was constantly flipping back and forth, and back and forth, between the two pages. I had a paper clip on the pages, because one page was the first page and the other needed was the third page. Even then it was still aggravating.
What I did to remedy that problem was that I took the two pages, ripped them up and cried!  Hahaha! Nooooo, I didn't really.  ;)
What we have to remember is that the pattern is a tool, our tool, your tool, my tool.  Make it work for you. For this pattern, I was able to fold each page in half lengthwise, lay them on my copier/printer, so that the areas I needed could be on one page. For another pattern, I may have to fold the directions differently to do this, but for Astor that was my solution.  You see before you the one page.
The next issue that I had with the directions had to do with the cable pattern on the center fronts.
On the right hand side of the paper below, you see the cable pattern itself. Then on the left side of the page you see the two rows, that you repeat over and over, for the remaining stitches on the front. This actually was part of what I was having to flip back and forth for.
I decided to color code my rows. When I worked the orange row, on the left, I knew to go to the orange row for the cable pattern and then again for the yellow highlighted rows.
I also, write on my patterns, any hints to make knitting easier. That is all the scribble that you see. This pattern is written saying, "make left front same as right front, reversing all shaping." So, many of the scribbles, are helps for that. I marked which cable row, I added the pocket, which cable row that I started the armhole, that sort of thing. Basically, any thing that I thought would make life easier.
After all knitting is to be fun, right?  And relaxing, right??? 
While I was working on knitting my Astor, I would put it down for an easier project. That was my Granny Shrug.  This is a free pattern that can be found here.

I decided to use stash yarn and I had several balls of Lion Brand Thick and Quick hanging around. Because my yarn was thicker than the pattern designer's, my shrug is much bigger, which I figured it would be, and that is what I had wanted. 
The idea of using up my stash didn't really work, though.  I ran out of yarn and had to go purchase more to finish the shrug! So, now I have the same amount left in my stash........