Monday, March 21, 2016

Worsted Spinning

I have spent so much time spinning cotton or woolen long draw that I almost forgot how to spin a short, forward draw for worsted spinning. This dyed Targhee top really requires a worsted spin and thought I would also try my hand at a short video on the process. I will set the camera up on the tripod and get a better shot from a higher angle at a later date, but for now, this will do.

I like to spin fine singles for lace weight and fingering weight yarn and my fingers just naturally want to draft out the fiber as finely as I can. Old habits are hard to break...

Surprises in Dyed Fiber

I had a pleasant surprise a few days ago when I was preparing a purchased braid of dyed fiber for spinning. The reason I bought the braid was for the beautiful blues and because I love spinning Targhee. As much as I love blues, I love greens even more. So imagine my delight at the lovely green that showed when fluffing up the top to prepare it for spinning.

This is what I ordered from Allons-Y Fiber Arts.

This is what was revealed when preparing the fiber for spinning.

This is how the fiber is spinning up and I couldn't be happier!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday

Happy Palm Sunday to you all as we begin Holy Week. May Christ lead us in his footsteps and open our hearts to the message of the Cross to allow us to draw closer to The Father this week, and every day of our lives.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Fiber Prep, Spinning, & Lung Health

After my second bout with bronchitis in four months I am rethinking my approach to preparing fiber and spinning it. Obviously there will be fiber floating about when using a drum carder, hand cards, blending board or wool combs. But simply fluffing up some commercially prepared fiber before spinning it can release tiny bits of fiber into the air. And when spinning there will also be some fiber floating around, perhaps bits that are too tiny to be seen.

I don't know that all the spinning I did during the week of Spinzilla 2015 last October contributed to the bronchitis I suffered the following month, but lately I am beginning to wonder about being more careful when handling fiber.

I've had asthma since I was a child. Pet dander is the biggest offender to my poor lungs and it is fairly easy for me to avoid being around pets,  but house dust is also a trigger. There is absolutely NO way I can avoid house dust and I used to wear a dust mask when cleaning. I believe that is something I need to do from now on. Which begs the question: If I should wear a dust mask when cleaning the house, and mowing the lawn for that matter, why shouldn't I be wearing one when preparing fiber? Good question.

As soon as I am over my current bout of bronchitis....and the weather permits....I plan on getting to work preparing fiber for spinning. I own a drum carder, blending board, and wool combs. I have pounds and pounds of fiber in my studio. There is a table in the garage. Time to get to work!

Feast of St. Joseph

Happy Feast of St. Joseph to you all. I hope you will enjoy the video and think of the foster father of Our Lord as Holy Week draws near. We have much to learn about love from this humble man.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Epic Knitting & New Fiber Source

Fini! I finally finished the epic knitting project that began in....2009. Sad but true. It's taken me that long to actually finish the bloomin thing. But I love it. This was the last of my Made in America, Lion Brand Fisherman Wool in brown and oatmeal. Still have oodles of the yarn in natural. Sadly, it is made in China now.

Finished measurement: 62" square. Will easily cover the top of a full size bed or me and the entire recliner! I love it. Perfect weight. Didn't stretch it at all for blocking. Just smoothed it out and let it dry outside on an old bedspread in the shade.

And I recently found another Etsy shop for my fiber needs: Allons-y Fiber Arts by Bethanne Elion. Couldn't resist the name of the shop. Sigh. I'm a sucker for Ten. What can I say? Following her on FB, Twitter, & Ravelry. This is what arrived in the mail today...

Gorgeous, gorgeous Targhee fiber. Can hardly wait to spin some up on Hedwig. I would go out on the front porch to spin, but.....I can smell smoke from someone burning brush ( bronchitis doesn't need that) AND the bloomin wasps are back. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Texas Weather

We are getting spring rains a bit early this year...and some flash flooding. But, it is Texas after all and we are accustomed to extremes when it comes to the weather.  Just very blessed that it wasn't hail or tornadoes today.

Good day to work on knitting and spinning and watch something on Netflix. Made it into town earlier for coffee with a friend but the water got too high for us to get to our massage appointments so it will have to wait until next week.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Re-Knitting a Sock Top

When sitting down to do a bit of mending on one of Brad's socks it occurred to me that I should just re-knit the ribbing entirely.  This particular pair of socks were knitted on a size 0, 2mm needle. For the last pair I knitted him I used a size 1, 2.5 mm needle for the ribbing. I like the smaller needle for the foot because it makes a nice, firm fabric that wears well. He really likes the way the other pair fits him and when he tried this sock on he liked the way it fits compared to the ribbing on the smaller needle. This is a cotton/wool/nylon blend yarn and can be a little more difficult to get on and off than the wool/nylon blend socks.

After re-winding the yarn prior to knitting the ribbing over, I just dropped the little ball of yarn down into the toe of the sock to keep it under control. Worked like a charm. It slid down to the toe of the sock and didn't get all tangled up as I knitted.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Back to Spinning

Finally able to enjoy spinning for the first time since the week of Christmas. Tried a few times since the incident of the pulled muscle but it wasn't until a couple of days ago that I was able to spin without any pain in my left elbow. Which is nice because I really want to spin up "Smitten" from Loop! in a fine singles for chain plying a fingering weight yarn.

The fiber wants to cling to my denim slacks so I found a piece of satiny fabric, serged the two cut edges, laid it across my lap and tucked it behind me while spinning. Works very nicely.

I've had the house open most of the day, as soon as it warmed up. Gorgeous day outside.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Anniversay Today

41 years ago this evening I married the love of my life. Somehow I never envisioned us as a 60-something couple with a grown daughter and 7 grand-children. We were young, good looking and very much in love. Not so young anymore, not quite as good looking....and more in love than ever. Thank you, God, for bringing us together all those years ago. Thank you for the only man I have ever loved. Met him when I was 16. Married him when I was 20. Life is good.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pinterest Filter?

Love Pinterest. Wish there was a filter so I could choose what pops up on my feed. For instance: I would opt out of anything to do with 'pig meat' aka bacon, ham, etc., 'paleo', 'Obama', or 'Trump'.

eta: OK. I just found what I needed. Better late than never. There are little x's in the lower right corner of the pins. That will allow me to opt out of stuff that doesn't interest me. Yay!

Knitted Throws, Spinning Fiber, & Rosaries

Decided to post my progress on the Stonington Throw. Just reached the middle of the 3rd side. Slow going, but still enjoyable.  When this is finished it will easily cover most of a full size bed as a warm winter throw or completely cover me in my recliner.

After seeing some scrumptious fiber in the Loop shop I caved and ordered 7 oz. Had to sit down and start a bobbin after picking it up at the post office yesterday. Spins like a dream. As usual. This colorway is "Smitten" (contains Merino/Tussah/Bamboo), my third purchase from Loop after "The Grass is Always Greener" and "Smoke & Mirrors". There will be more....

I finished the heels on this pair of socks and started on the legs...hoping to finish these in time to wear them for St. Patrick's Day. And since it is the first day of March I decided to get my St. Patrick Rosary out to use thru Easter.