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  • knitting1105 1:45 pm on September 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Prepping my first fiber 

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    It is not that I do not have enough yarn, or already prepared fiber.  3 years ago, I went to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Festival, and I stayed overnight in Grayslake, with the intention of visiting Gretta’s Goats at Prairie Crossing, where they part of an incubator farm at the time.  They have since purchased a new farm, a couple of hours west of here, with a lot more goats too.  While getting the tour of the goats, Gretta had this fiber for sale, 1st lamp clipping from Violet, a Pygora (Pygme/Angora cross breed) who produced the wonderfully soft fiber that I will process and spin (hopefully)..  I purchased it, and it has been sitting in a bag ever since.

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    Last year I took a spinning class from Deb Robson in Wisconsin, and she gave us this scouring and wool wash.  I have been keeping it until I could put it to good use.

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    So, I know that I most likely did many things wrong thus far.  I did have the fiber pulled away from the running water, but now know that I should have had multiple bins of water and transferred the fiber over.  The scouring soap worked well, getting out a ton of dirt.  There is still some VM in there, but carding will hopefully take care of that.

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    When I set it outside to dry, I was afraid that I had totally ruined it, seemed felted.   I tried pulling the fiber masses out.  We left for dinner, and I woke up this morning thinking that this was an expensive mistake.

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    However, it is a gorgeous day, probably the last really warm day of this year.  The sun and air are drying it nicely and it seems to be fluffing up.

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    My drying rack is my sweater screen suspended between 2 outdoor chairs.  If I do pursue this again, something more suited would be good.  PVC rack perhaps?  I do have my Mom’s old PVC quilting frame in the attic, that just might work…

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    I also need to make a plug for Gretta’s Soaps.  I absolutely love them, and often gift them to others.  Give them a try, check out her Etsy shop.

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    • Diane Hamilton 10:36 pm on September 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I am so amazed how much work goes into dying and spinning the wool. Thanks for sharing and I hope this turns out the way you want!

  • knitting1105 12:48 pm on September 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dyeing, marigolds   

    Inspiration 

    My mild foray into dyeing yesterday inspired me to look at what I had in my own back yard.

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    This was not the year for tomatoes.  But kale, green beans, swiss chard, and our Heritage Marigolds all did splendidly.  My husband is a sucker for a plant that says heritage, and planted these marigolds to help with keeping the bad bugs at bay.

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    Normally, they would be the small version, these top out at about 4′ tall! Beautiful, but they are shading my tomatoes and peppers.

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    We have had such great pollinators visiting first the native plant gardens, and now the marigolds.  The Monarch butterflies have loved the marigolds also.  Notice the pollinator on the left side in the next photo.

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    So, when you have lots of lemons, make lemonade.  When you have lots of marigolds, cut the flowers for a future dyeing experiment.

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    I have some others drying in the sun right now.

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    Taking advantage of the now open space in the back planters for this experiment.

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    I will continue to collect them for the rest of the Fall, dry them, and save them in a paper bag for a winter dyeing project.  Hopefully with a little help from Maggie!

     
    • Deb 10:57 pm on September 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Marigold makes a lovely dye; one of my favorites. Enjoy your dyeing.

      • knitting1105 1:12 pm on September 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, I will be collecting the flowers the rest of the season, then trying it. I was also looking at Black-eyed Susan’s, of which I have many, may try that too!

        • Deb 1:14 pm on September 29, 2014 Permalink

          If you have tansy or goldenrod in your area they dye wonderfully as well.

  • knitting1105 1:47 pm on September 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Dyeing Naturally 

    My friend Maggie, of Industrious Anarchy was demonstrating natural dying of fabrics and yarn at the location of the soon-to-be Sugar Beet Coop.

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    She had a great board showing natural dyes on different fabrics.

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    People brought in fabrics and clothing to be dyed.  First the fabric was wetted.

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    Then immersed in the indigo dye vat.

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    It comes out looking green, but as she let the areas become exposed to oxygen, they turned the beautiful indigo color.

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    Here is the raw silk fabric that I dyed, we used clips to keep parts of it from accepting the dye.

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    And also at the event was Martha, whom I had met at YarnCon earlier in the year, teaching about spinning and fibers.

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    If you want to find out more about what Maggie is working on, check out this exhibit that she is working on.

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  • knitting1105 5:33 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Poodles and Paris 

    A great birthday this week, including 3 dinners out, 3 lunches with friends and this great collection of gifts.

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    My husband got me this lovely sheep pin:

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    A friend gave me these plates (Michigan is my beloved home state), these will become our regular appetizer plates.

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    And another friend gave me these beautiful soap, lotion and lavender from France of course!

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    Poodles and Paris are two of my favorite things, my birthday twin from Ravelry got it spot on.  Every year a group of knitters born on September 22nd come together to trade names and buy each other gifts.  These are my favorite packages to open, as other knitters truly get it.  This year was very special indeed, my partner zeroed in on the theme of Poodles and Paris.

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    This pattern for Poodle themed mittens

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    This pattern for Eiffel Tower mittens (along with an Eiffel Tower miniature and Eiffel Tower note cards).  Both mittens came with Daletta yarn from Dale of Norway to knit them up with (one of my favorite yarns).

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    And then there were 2 skeins of sock yarn, a skein of lace weight yarn, almonds, and chocolates of course.  No need to ask why I love opening these presents.

     

     
  • knitting1105 4:22 pm on September 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Back to Spinning 

    It seems as if I have taken a summer hiatus from spinning.  I think being gone a lot, coupled with the really amazing weather where I would rather be outside, kept me away from my wheels.

    I finally finished plying up this fiber from Julie Spins.  I initially started the spinning mid-March, and am just now finishing. I had put this on my Spin-the-Bin challenge.  Not sure that I will finish everything, but I am making progress.

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    I ended up with 534 yards of 2 ply from a 5-6 ounce braid.  During the plying process, I was afraid that it was all going to be muted blues.  But when skeined up, it took on these beautiful subtle colors.

     

     

     

     

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    And I finished spinning AND plying this Merino/Bamboo/Nylon from River’s Edge Fiber Arts, it is so incredibly soft.  198 yards of 2 ply. This was purchased 3 years ago at the Wisconsin Sheep & wool Festival, about time it was spun up.

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    This yarn is to coordinate with Baby Ria’s sweater.  The plan is to put the iCord edging on with this pink.  I thought that using the variegated from the body would not look as good.  And, I should have enough to make a cute matching hat.  The sweater had been on hold until I finished spinning this edging yarn.  Need to get it out before she grows too much more, we measured her late July.

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  • knitting1105 12:45 pm on September 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Let’s try this again 

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    This beautiful handspun 3 ply, spun from Woolgatherings fiber, was first attempted to make the Totem jacket, like I am knitting for my beautiful niece Ria.

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    Not long into the project, I realized that my gauge was way off, and most importantly, I would not have enough yarn to make the sweater.  Yet, I loved the way this knit up with the garter stitch, and so posed the question of a good top down garter stitch pattern that I could use.  My friend Jane suggested the February Lady Sweater.  It is knitting up nicely, and I recently took it off the needles to test for size, easy since this is a top-down sweater, and opted to add some more increases and then the straight rounds.  When I get to the lace bottom part, I will use the semi-solid shown above, with the garter strip banding continuing in the variegated.

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    • andresue 8:06 am on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      That is GORGEOUS yarn! It really is very beautiful knit up in the garter stitch. I am coveting your yarn and project right now. lol.

      • knitting1105 3:51 pm on September 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. The knitting is going slower than I would like, but I am enjoying it. I do hope it fits!

    • floofymoose 9:49 pm on September 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I LOVE their fiber. Lovely colors and high quality fiber!

      • knitting1105 3:52 pm on September 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        It was very nice to spin, and they were great at making the semi-solid coordinates for me after the fact. I wish that I had fractally spun the variegated, that would have made the colors more evenly distributed.

  • knitting1105 8:25 am on September 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Fessing Up 

    Last weekend was my trip to the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival.  I had a great time seeing all of the sheep, and taking my class on dying sock yarn.  But, not to be overlooked, is the amazing vendor halls at the fair.  Hard to go home without something, although I have become more selective.  It helps that I have a stash at home that needs attending to, and have acquired many of the necessary tools for spinning and knitting.  The booths are like a candy store for me.  So, here goes.

    My first stop, as always is Jennie the Potter.  She does amazing pots, buttons, mugs and yarn bowls.  I already have 2 mugs which I use for coffee every day, and a beautiful yarn bowl.  Limiting myself to one purchase from her each year.  This year, I chose a cute little cow with a scarf bowl to use for notions.

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    Here it is next to Louie for scale (Louie is big though).

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    And, she had a new, hot off the presses book that I knew would come in handy (books don’t really count anyways).  I will post a review of this later after I have had an opportunity to delve into it more.

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    Stopping at River’s Edge Fiber Arts booth is always a must.  The owner Carol, went to high school with my sister Marilyn (who passed when she was 21); other than family I have never known anyone who knew Marilyn, and Carol always remembers me.  This gives me great pleasure as it keeps my sister alive in some manner.   This year she had these amazing gradient packets.  I was hooked, Seacell and Bluefaced Leicester Wool, 4 ounces.

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    And lastly, I stopped at the booth that had me petting their bags of wool when I first walked in.  I love Shetland wool, and this was so beautiful with 3 colors mixed together in the roving.  When I checked out, and realized that it was Psalm23 Farm, I remembered that I had purchased from her 2 years ago at The Fiber Event at Greencastle, that time a dark blend.  I still have it, and can’t wait to incorporate the 2 into a beautiful sweater.   8 ounces here.

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    She also had gorgeous black Shetland, so a 2 ounce ball was in order.

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    Not too bad, I think my restraint was good.

     
    • atangledyarn84 8:48 am on September 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Well done!

      • knitting1105 1:15 pm on September 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks! A couple of times through the market to spend wisely worked well.

    • Debbie Jarmusik 2:16 pm on September 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Your kitty cat is pretty. I like those yarn bowls too.

      • knitting1105 1:16 pm on September 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Isn’t he a cutie. His sister is grey and white, also very gorgeous. Louie often likes to help me though. The bowls are really beautiful, get something form her each year.

  • knitting1105 1:11 pm on September 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: sock dying, sock yarn   

    Dying yarn 

    At the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday, Jane and I took a class on dying self-striping sock yarn. Not being a particular fan of self-striping sock yarn, the class title left me less than enthused, but it was open, and something to do for the afternoon.  I was wrong.

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    First off, the class was taught by Nancy from Nancy’s Knit Knacks, the place where Dan got my amazing ball winder for me a couple of Christmases ago. Nancy is a wealth of knowledge, she started out quiet, but really knows her stuff, and explained all of the math that goes into dying self striping yarn.  Her samples were perfect.

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    We set about choosing our colors of dye.

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    And coming up with a plan.  I had to adjust mine, as some of the dyes that I chose were empty.

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    Then painting the appropriate sections of the yarn that was already pre-wound to the correct skein length.

    Edited for clarification:  Nancy pre-wound the skeins.  First you knit 10 rows with your yarn, and figure out how many inches that is in total. You then rewind the yarn to a skein that is that length (it is quite long).  Nancy based her calculations on a 64 stitch sock.  After you figure out what colors you want to use, you need to set up a pattern.  The “Faux Isle” portion needs to be at least 4 rows long if you want to do that.  You can do any combination of row colors to add up to 10 rows.  I chose 2-2-2-4.  Then you measure out the length that you need for each color section and dye that individually.  That section is then placed in its own plastic ziplock back, and saran wrap tied around the end of it (this was the hardest part!).  Continue dying each section and placing in their own plastic bags.  They then get put on a tray with a little bit of water at the bottom for steam and microwaved for 8 minutes.

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    After they cooked in the microwave, we hung them in the doorway to dry

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    Then we spread all of them out and talked about our skeins and what we were trying to achieve.

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    Here is my skein drying

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    And wound up, waiting to be spun into socks for me.  I am not sure that the “Faux Isle” section of the pattern will show up that much, but I like the colors.  Hopefully it will stripe properly.

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    • Selena Rea 4:05 pm on September 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This is such an interesting post. Thanks for sharing!

      • knitting1105 1:17 pm on September 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks!

    • andresue 7:59 pm on September 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve been itching to try my hand at dying yarn. I wish a class like that was offered near me. I hope you post pics of the socks that your yarn will eventually become. :) So neat!

      • knitting1105 1:18 pm on September 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I will post pictures when I make the socks. Need to finish the ones on the needle first. After reading your comment, I realized that I could elaborate more on the process, so have added some notes to the post. Thanks for reading.

        • andresue 2:04 pm on September 10, 2014 Permalink

          Thanks for adding the notes. Such a cool class. I can’t wait to see the socks!

  • knitting1105 1:05 pm on September 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Sheep & Wool 

    Yesterday, I went with 3 friends up to the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival.  The past few years, Dan and I have made a weekend retreat out of this, but opted to save that for a different wool festival to be determined.  Still wanting to get up there, I talked 3 friends into going, and 3 of us took a class.  It was a lot of fun, 2 1/2 hours each way though is pushing it a bit.

    The first part of the festival I spent watching fleece judging.  This was very helpful to me, as I know little to nothing about how to choose a correct fleece.  I think that I may watch this again next year, and then bid on one of the winning fleeces.  In the first photo, the judge is pinging the locks to see how strong they are.  He was very good at explaining how and why he was rating the fleece.

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    There were sheep shows, which I only caught a bit of…

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    And the Hall of Breeds

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    Lastly, the cutest baby lambs.  This one was born that morning.

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    I also took a class, and of course shopped, which I will talk about later.

     

     
    • Diane Hamilton 2:07 pm on September 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Looks like you had a fun day. The baby lamb is so so cute!

  • knitting1105 1:07 pm on August 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Whoooo New! News 

    My friend Barb has a really cool business, making knitting bags and purses out of old sample fabrics that designers typically throw into the trash.

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    While the sizes of the samples are not large, the packets are designed to coordinate together, and she works with that to create some truly stunning designs.  Barb gave a trunk show at my house last Fall which was a great success.

     

    Now, she has a website, go and check it out, and get your own WhoooNew! bag.

     

     
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