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  • knitting1105 1:23 pm on August 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Feeling Crafty 

    I have been on a binge with new crafting ideas (inspired by my sewing /knitting room which is coming along nicely). My latest trials were making soap with felted wool around it. Easy peazy.

    First find a nice bar of soap, I used some handcrafted ones, and some colorful roving. Note it cannot be Superwash, and must be wool to felt properly.

    Next wrap the soap tightly with some of the roving in one direction, not too thick, not too thin but making sure to overlap the edges.



    Using as many or few colors as you would like, wrap the other way around (i.e. turn the bar 90 degrees and wrap).

    The first time I tried instructions which stated to hold the roving firmly, have hot and cold water drizzling, add a bit of hot water and some soap. Rub vigorously with the finger on your other non-holding hand, and it will start to felt. Alternate between hot and cold water sparingly and rotate around the bar. Squeeze out the excess water and set to dry.


    Then I tried an alternate method. Wrap in the same manner, but put the roving wrapped soap bar inside a nylon, and I used my Grandmother's washboard. This is an all wooden one from WWII that she had, note the V for Victory, not using any metal. My dad was flying over Germany when she washed her clothes on this. I can only imagine the fear and anxiety with which she scrubbed her clothes. It is worn and well used.

    Just scrub vigorously under a bit of hot water with soap for agitation, rotating the bar around. Squeeze out the excess and set out to dry.

    These are my first few trials, Sofia is being my product tester.



    • Joan 6:53 pm on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I hadn’t seen the washboard version before. I love felted soaps!


  • knitting1105 1:30 pm on August 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Braid, , , , shepherd's rug   

    Rug test 

    Having finally found the Shepard’s Rug book, I was anxious to try making one.  I decided to make a ‘rugette” to practice my braiding, felting and sewing.


    First I gathered my roving.  My inspiration for wanting to make these rugs is 3 boxes like this of roving (see this post).  All you newbie spinners, heed my advice and do not randomly take wool from the person who has a friend who has some sheep.  The staple length on this was not great, nor was the crimp, and I was not enjoying spinning it when I tried it.  The wool is from Suffolk and Hampshire lambs.  Options were to give it away to the school perhaps for an art class, or to try to find something that I could make from it, I had paid for the processing after all.


    Start by picking your 3 strands, all should be of different workable lengths, and secure the end with a rubber-band, clamp to a secure surface and start braiding, making sure not to twist.  When you need to stop, secure it with a clothes pin.  Overlap at joints when adding a new section of roving, remember this will all be felted so will become secure.


    Use a chair back to collect the braided roving (my example had a very small amount)


    Braid the  length you need and then secure the other end with another rubber band.


    Put into a bag tied shut and wash in hot water for at least one cycle (I used a pillowcase and added towels to the cycle to help bounce it around).


    When it comes out, sew on a flat surface; you will need a wax-coated lined thread.



    And voila!  I see that my beginning section was sewn too tightly so it puckers up a bit.  This was a great first attempt, and it is pretty easy.  My instructions here are very rudimentary, I would suggest getting the book if you want to try this.  The book has much more detailed instructions, great drawings to illustrate every step of the process, colored photos of finished rugs, and information on several different sheep breeds that they have used.


    Here is everything that you will need to make this project, in addition to your roving.  A clamp, rubber bands, an awl (for hiding the knotted join in the thread), a spring clothes pin, waxed lined thread, a large sharp needle, and a flat surface and a chair back.


    Now on to making a big rug!!!

  • knitting1105 9:44 am on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Michigan Fiber Fest, ,   

    All the Colors 

    Finally, here are my purchases from our day last Friday at the Michigan Fiber Festival.  But I must interject that the name is confusing to those non knitters and spinners.  My friends had more than one person ask them if it was about eating fiber, and why would there be a festival for that?!!

    Taking the Spinning the colors of Shetland class, while it was not too interesting, inspired me to spin up the many colors and knit the hat by Kate Davies, Sheep Heid.


    With that in mind, I bought these 3 colors of Shetland wool, after I got home and read the pattern, I realize that it wants 9 of the colors, so I will have to do some more shopping at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool.  I have these 3 so far, and might use one of my other breeds of white as one of the colors.  This will be my first attempt at spinning for a specific project.  Fair isle apparently looks better with a 3-ply vs. a 2-ply (has to do with a round yarn versus the flatter 2-ply), but I will have to see how finely I can spin this up.


    Not just natural colors were on my mind.  Mimi and I both were attracted to having this Jamieson’s color chart, so we are now both proud owners of this wonderful inspiration. One day, when I have knit up some more of my stash, I will make a trip and purchase a multitude of colors for an Alice Starmore sweater.


    IMG_1585 IMG_1586

    The last item that I have to show you was the one thing that I wanted to take away from this festival, The Shepard’s Rug book.


    In trolling the market, I was on the lookout for this book, but not successful.  Then, we went out to the barn to see some of the animals, and  in the sheep area, there was Letty Klein with her rugs, and braiding away!!! I was thrilled, and she sold me the book, the coated linen thread, and then gave me a mini lesson on how to braid for these rugs.  I have been pouring over the book since.



    All-in-all, a great time, and I have no guilt about stash enhancement.

  • knitting1105 2:04 pm on August 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Michigan Fiber Fest 


    I went with friends to the Michigan Fiber Fest on Friday, and spent the weekend in Michigan at a lovely lake house.  Jane and I took a spinning class on Friday morning, Spinning the Colors of Shetland, which was not really worth the money.  No instruction, no history, just 9 of the colors, some of which were not well processed.  It did get me thinking about making this hat with my handspun using natural colors of Shetland.


    Taking a class on Friday morning got us moving early to the fair, looking at animals and shopping the market (goodies for tomorrow).





    Look at the puffs on these ears!!!



    Right down the street from the summer-house that we were staying at was an Alpaca ranch.  We spend a few minutes petting and feeding the mommas and babies in the maternity pen.  Love some of the hairdo’s!




    And the beach was lovely.  All the better with a good glass of red wine and knitting.



    • stefaniegrrr 2:03 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      So many cuties! Thanks for sharing your awesome photos, it looks like it was an awesome event!


  • knitting1105 6:50 pm on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Trying to be Monogamous 

    I have been cleaning up my knitting and craft area, I am so excited to be able to show the finished space soon. And as my last post stated, I have been trying to clear up my spinning bobbins. The same problem afflicts my spinning as does my knitting, too often distracted by the newest colors and fibers, I quickly abandon a project part way completed. I am trying to remedy this fault in my behavior. On that note, here is another long languishing fiber from the CAT spin along in January-March. It is Shetland Wool Top from Southern Cross Fiber, color is Storm's edge. 770 yards of 2 ply. Spun on the small whirl on my Jensen. The yardage is not quite as good as I get with a Merino/Silk, I had trouble drafting it fine enough. However, I am pleased with the result.


    This is definitely one of the fibers that I liked more spun up than the dyed hank. I think this is beautiful. The colors seem to be a bit off, the yellow is more green, and the teal a bit darker. The thought at the moment is that this will become a winter scarf for Dan.



  • knitting1105 5:20 pm on August 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Cleaning up 

    I have been busy cleaning up bobbins of old projects on my spinning wheels.  It seems that I have been a bit ADD with my spinning, starting the newest exciting colors before finishing something that was already in progress.  There always seems to be an excuse, a spin-along, Tour de Fleece, new arrivals…

    This is Emily, a pencil roving from Fiber Optic, 70% Superwash Merino, 30% Seacell; 340 yards, so good enough for a short pair of socks for myself.  The Tour de Fleece prompted me to finish spinning this up and ply it.


    Leftover Emily with some leftover purple/green fiber on the bobbin.


    This was spun for the Tour de Fleece, Fiber Optic gradient Honey to Fig.  It is 80% Merino, 20% silk.  1150 yards of 2ply.  My average these days for 2 braids of FO is around 1200 yards, that gives a good amount for a shawl.



    And I finished spinning the singles of this Shetland from Southern Cross Fiber, the color was a custom for the CAT spin-along in the winter, and I started it but too many other things got in the way.  The color is Storm’s Edge, 8 ounces.  This Shetland did not spin as finely at the Merino/Silk blends, and I know that it is uneven, need to start plying.



    On the knitting front, I have been working on a new baby sweater, Baby Ull from Dale of Norway of course.  Love these colors together.


    The thing that has been taking quite a bit of my time is organizing the basement after some new cabinetry is getting installed.  Here is a sneak peek, it is really messy still and a bit to go, but I am so excited!


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