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  • knitting1105 2:13 pm on March 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fiber, , , , , ,   

    Reef Shawl 

    Work has been steadily progressing on the Poppy Shawl by Brooke Nico.


    If you decide to knit this pattern, look for the errata.  I found a mistake in the first row of Chart 3 and in the repeat width (it is 8 not the 9 std boxed out). When I emailed Brooke to ask if I was correct, she concurred and issued a correction on Ravelry.  It is a lot of knitting of the same pattern repeat, which is fairly straight forward albeit a bit boring at times.  I am very intrigued with the shape which is 3 triangles separated by 2 narrow rectangles (those are the sections with the nupps).  It should sit nicely on my shoulders and have lots of fabric to wrap.  One thing that I would like to change is the ending, rather than just casting off.  I have plenty of time to mull that over, still not finished with the first skein of yarn, my spinning was wound in 2 sections.


    The colors are so gorgeous on this fiber, that I had to go back and see what the inspiration photo had been.


    Which generated this colorway:




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

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

    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 5:28 pm on May 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fiber, ,   

    Fulling Singles 

    From the Farmer’s Market which opened yesterday.

    I finally finished spinning my SAL from Loop, color is Kaleidoscope Eyes with sparkles.   This was the photo inspiration for the colors:

    And this was the resulting batt (photo courtesy of Loop):

    It seemed like it took forever to spin this batt.  It was a different preparation than I have ever tried.  I am not sure how she makes these, but the end result is a center pull batt that needs no pre-drafting.  It was very pleasurable to spin.  When I wound it off the bobbin I had over 1,000 yards of single ply.

    I decided to try to “full” the single ply skein rather than trying to find something to ply it with, and my Navajo plying is not very good at the moment.  To do that you first take the singles off the kniddy-knoddy—a scary thought as you will see below:

    See what a mess this is with the plys trying desperately to wrap themselves back on each other. Then, fulling is essentially felting the individual ply on itself, being careful not to felt the entire skein into one big blob.  This is accomplished by fist immersing the skein into a pot of VERY hot water

    Then a pot of ice water, and repeating this with agitation until it has just fulled but not felted into a big blob.  Then lots of thwacking.

    I almost had a big blob.

    I was a bit distressed, mostly at the time that I would have lost, and instead of photographing the process, then spent my time trying to make sure that the fibers did not permanently felt to one another by stretching it out, pulling the fibers away from one another, and ultimately letting it dry stretched out on my swift.

    Then, through lots of pre-recorded shows on the DVR, winding it into a ball and unweaving any messes that I created.  Then I wound it onto my skein winder and was good to go.

    Pre-fulling I had over 1,000 yards.  I am not sure how much the felting process took away from my yardage.   Plying may be more in my future than fulling, as this was a stressful process.  I recommend trying it on a much smaller scale the first time!


    • LaurenS 7:17 am on May 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wow – I’ve been spinning a long time … and thought I’d tried everything … I’ve never heard of pre-fulling before and I now will have to try it. Thanks for an interesting post.


      • knitting1105 8:36 am on May 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        You are welcome! My recommendation would be to try it on a much smaller scale first.


  • knitting1105 5:18 pm on April 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fiber, Flax   

    Greencastle continued 

    This is the second post on The Fiber Event at Greencastle.  Not only did we find some great fiber, but we met some really interesting people also.  Our favorite by far was Gee Gee, a 72-year-old who sewed the most amazing aprons on her 1918 Singer.  She had aprons from period patterns, and the story behind each style and why they were making them at a period in time.  These are from the 30’s when women were concerned about conserving fabric, and would use smaller scrap pieces for the pockets, or neck-band, and not a lot wasted in flaring out or gathering of fabrics.  The blue one was purchased on my second visit as a gift.

    Gee Gee was just so cute that I had to get a picture of her with Andi.  She was very flattered.  She is a hoot, saving her money to buy a computer so that she can research the history of aprons and also read some of her favorite books.

    We went back twice, and I got this early 40’s bib apron for myself, the gathering indicates that there was more money available, and they were able to use extra fabrics.

    I also got myself this 1/2 apron, a 1950’s “Party Apron” design that uses full 1/2 circles of fabric to create wonderful drape.  I want to have a dinner party  just to be able to wear it.

    And then we met Stephen Bowman, the bobbin lace man.  He runs the Bedford College of Lacemaking, we plan on getting a group together in the Fall to take a weekend of classes.  Loved his business card which stated:  “Running naked with scissors and plotting world domination on a shoe string budget since 2007!”  

    Just before we left we met this wonderful couple who are reenactors at a historic village in Indiana and were there demonstrating spinning Flax.  The first process is Retting, which is essentially soaking the fiber for a period of time.

    From Wikkepeidia Flax article, here is the description of how Flax becomes Linen:

    Dressing the flax is the term given to removing the straw from the fibers. Dressing consists of three steps: breaking, scutching, and heckling. The breaking breaks up the straw, then some of the straw is scraped from the fibers in the scutching process, then the fiber is pulled through heckles to remove the last bits of straw.

    The dressing is done as follows:

    Breaking: The process of breaking breaks up the straw into short segments. To do it, take the bundles of flax and untie them. Next, in small handfuls, put it between the beater of the breaking machine (a set of wooden blades that mesh together when the upper jaw is lowered, which look like a paper cutter but instead of having a big knife it has a blunt arm), and beat it till the three or four inches that have been beaten appear to be soft. Move the flax a little higher and continue to beat it till all is soft, and the wood is separated from the fiber. When half of the flax is broken, hold the beaten end and beat the rest in the same way as the other end was beaten, till the wood is separated.
    Scutching: In order to remove some of the straw from the fiber, it helps to swing a wooden scutching knife down the fibers while they hang vertically, thus scraping the edge of the knife along the fibers and pull away pieces of the stalk. Some of the fiber will also be scutched away, this cannot be helped and is a normal part of the process.
    Heckling: In this process the fiber is pulled through various different sized heckling combs or heckles. A heckle is a bed of “nails” – sharp, long-tapered, tempered, polished steel pins driven into wooden blocks at regular spacing. A good progression is from 4 pins per square inch, to 12, to 25 to 48 to 80. The first three will remove the straw, and the last two will split and polish the fibers. Some of the finer stuff that comes off in the last hackles is called “tow” and can be carded like wool and spun. It will produce a coarser yarn than the fibers pulled through the heckles because it will still have some straw in it.

    And finally spinning it, and after being spun, it becomes linen.

    No part of the flax plant is wasted, from animal bedding, fiber for your musket, and seeds which make linseed oil.

    I will definitely go back next year, and try to encourage more to join me.  April 19 & 20, 2013.  Did I mention that this is also the covered bridge area?  We did not even get to those.

    • kathytny 12:37 pm on April 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Again, a great read, the photos were great and I am green with envy. I collect and LOVE aprons! Some of her aprons looked like my grandma’s ! My grandpa was professional baker and I even have his white apron………. they are so much a part of history! Sounds like you had a wonderful time!


      • knitting1105 2:58 pm on April 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for all the wonderful compliments. I was also drawn to the apron lady, as my Grandmother always wore an apron. I inherited one of her aprons and it hangs in my pantry, I always think of her when I see it (she was much smaller than I so I cannot wear it).


  • knitting1105 10:52 am on April 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fiber, , Yak   

    Not a fan of Yak 

    I FINALLY finished spinning and plying the Yak that I had purchased from Fiber Optic Studios.  I must say that I felt like a beginning spinner again.  I had tremendous difficulty with this fiber, the staple length was so short, and I was constantly breaking my feeder line and having to reconnect.  I wasted a lot of this precious fiber (twice the price of a regular braid).  I know now that I am a slow learner sometimes, after all of the spinning classes that I have taken, the light bulb finally came on and I realized that I needed to handcard lengths of the fiber and make rolags.  This Worked!  I no longer had short sections of fiber length, it was all mixed up and pulled its neighbors out nicely.  Once I started spinning this way, the rest went smoothly.

    The color is stunning with great depth, and it is very soft.  This fiber is destined to knit up into Fair Isle mittens along with some camel that I have yet to spin.

    265 yards 2 ply, 40z.

    • Rae 3:28 am on April 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      That color is very vibrant. I am new to spinning & love hearing others talk about the various fibers that spin.


    • kathytny 7:56 am on April 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Talk about making a purse out of a sow’s ear! Wow, you preformed a miracle with this roving and I love the color! Show us the final finished work when you have it done!


    • Diane 1:59 pm on April 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Gorgeous colors–glad you figured out what needed to be done.


  • knitting1105 9:34 am on June 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fiber, , polwarth wool roving,   

    Yarn Pride 

    I am so proud of this yarn.  I finally feel worthy of spinning up some of my better fibers.  This was a destash from a fellow Raveler, 4.2 oz of Polwarth from Woolgatherings, no colorway listed on the sleeve:

    I split the roving lengthwise 8 times to get a better drafting fiber:

    So, when it was plied, the colors are very blended.  I love how it came out.  And 554 yards!!!  Let me repeat that, 554 yards.  Enough to make a shawl for myself.  I love the colors.  There is only one section where I have a blip of larger spun singles.  I chose to just leave it in, as I think that it will even out in the knitting, and give it that handspun look.

    It is also a well-balanced yarn.

    Now for a great pattern that uses that yardage…

    • Mimi 6:44 pm on June 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      So awesome! You did such a beautiful job on this. Can’t wait to see what you knit up with it!


  • knitting1105 1:14 pm on June 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fiber, , , ,   

    Festival Purchases 

    Okay, this is the post where I fess up to my recent Midwest Fiber and Folk purchases.  Thank goodness I also don’t have to sneak them in the house, as my husband is a great supporter of my knitting and spinning.

    First, something for my husband, the backyard, and the beautiful birds in our Magnolia and Pine trees.  A bag of fiber for them also.  I need to get a suet feeder to put this in, birds apparently love this concoction.

    This is a beautiful dyed roving from a young woman, new to this, from Urbana, IL.  By the end of the second day, she was sold out of many things, so hopefully she will do well.  The thing that I liked about her product was that everything was tested to be reproducible, and you could call her anytime in the future, and she would be able to make more of that color-way.  We all know how valuable that would be.

    4 oz. 100% Merino, color: Mediterranean.  Expertly Dyed is the company.

    This is 1 ounce each of 2 colors of Llama, with the guard hairs removed, so incredibly soft.  From Sugar River Llamas in Lyndon Station, WI.  I only bought a small bit to see if I would be able to give it spinning justice.  I was drawn to it the first day, and kept returning to pet it, so felt I really needed to sample some first-hand on the spinning wheel.  I wish that you could put your hand through the computer and feel how incredibly soft this is.  And, if I love it, I can order directly from them.

    From from the Illinois wool and Fiber Mill, the first is a 4 oz. mix of several leftover fibers, as we would affectionately call it in our house “Swept off the Floor Blend”.  Was cheap, mostly Shetland, and seemed like a good practice fiber.  I spoke to the owner of the mill, which is apparently all brand new, and she said that we can take a group up for a tour of the mill, and to see the sheep and lambs.  I am looking forward to that.

    And from the same vendor, some natural Shetland wool for part of the upcoming Breed Studies that I am participating in, and for the Tour de Fleece (more about that later in the week).  4 oz. of the dark fiber, and 2 oz. of the light fiber.

    And lastly, my Achilles heel at the fair was the booth for Fiber Optics.  I was in Kimber’s fiber club this past winter, and loved the colors.  Even though I have many here to spin yet (my spinning is almost “Kimber worthy” in my book), I couldn’t resist.  Much of her work is sold out as soon as it is posted, and it is always better to see it first-hand.  The first is a 100% Shetland, also to be used in the Breed Study and the Tour de Fleece.  4 oz., color: Aubergine (actually more dark and intense in person, but this was the best I could do with my camera).

    And then, how could I resist this when seeing it first-hand.  85% BFL and 15% Silk.  Color:  Mad Monet done with Dye Break (not exactly sure what that means, she is a Chemist and you need to read her own description of the process).  Apparently spins up with colors like an impressionist painting.

    And, lastly after seeing Kimber’s beautiful shawl creation (I forgot to photograph it, but look at her project here), I had to get this gradient fiber, but wanted a different color-way.  I got 2 packages of this, and am dreaming of a big shawl with softly switching colors.

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