Playing Catch-up

Yes, this week was as busy as the last one, so I’m going to attempt to catch you up on things I’ve been doing.

Finished projects; knitting

The green hat is finished and ready to felt!

Green and gray wool hat to felt

ready to felt!

The white mohair cowl is also finished, doesn’t seem to need blocking, is fuzzy and light but very comfortable and warm. Have been debating adding some dye to it, in hopes that the pattern would show up better. What do you think? I’m leaning toward leaving it white, to go with anything?

mohair cowl

You can still see my table through two layers! That’s airy.

I also discovered a new shawl pattern, Maluka. Decided to try it, since sorting through some of my stash I had found some lovely sock yarn that I know I will never turn into socks. And one skein should be enough, so another choice to make! Of course I chose the one that had red in it. Wound into a ball it looked even prettier. On the third start on the pattern, it’s beginning to take shape. Not the fault of the pattern, but the user! This is my first time knitting from a chart for anything but color changes, so 12-14 rows in each time I realized my mistake and had to frog! At least it was a different mistake each time 🙂

skeins of sock yarn.

which to pick?

 

 

Yesterday was a family day, involving a lot of driving, time outside (in 30 degree weather) to watch a parade, some shopping, some visiting, another long drive home with some more shopping on the way (my husband found the perfect easel for his summer sketching and our son added to his collection of charms for wire wrapping) Last night I was too tired to even partake of Jacqueline’s wonderful Brunch Party, but that is still going on today so be sure to pop by and meet some interesting bloggers and enjoy her great food and music!

Last night my eyes were too tired, from driving with the bright sun in my eyes, to read blogs or even knit so I pulled out some roving that I’d obtained from a friend last summer and started spinning. Once started it went so quickly that I finished the first ball of roving and decided to  ply it with some of the mohair that I’d used for the cowl. I wound that skein off this morning (130yds) and should soon have another the same size. The mohair added a nice bloom and softness to the colors.  Now to decide, is it to keep, to sell, or to knit into something to sell ?

wool roving

red, white, and blue roving

2+ oz. of spun wool yarn

one ball spun

Thinking I was tired enough to spin a lumpy type art yarn, training kicked in and it is an almost balanced knitting worsted size 🙂 I guess I have to work harder on making lumpy yarn!

 

I’ve been making magnet prints of some of husband’s canvases and still have the regular sized prints to make (in my spare time)

Stay productive everyone and if you have a moment leave a comment about what has been keeping you busy.

This Week’s Spinning

This week on Monday at spinning guild I started working on 8oz of fiber that I had dyed last month. I spun more that night and Tuesday, by Wednesday I had two spools of 4oz each and plied them together. (Took me longer to get the pictures on my computer and edited 🙂

Woodland colors, hand dyed top

Dyed merino top

closer view of dyed wool top

dyed top, spread cross-wise and on bottom as dyed.

 

 

For the top I had chosen colors that reminded me of an early fall forest, the blue-green of spruce trees, a touch of orange for early turning leaves, and of course the brown of twigs and trunks.

top spinning into single yarn

see the color rearrange as spun

When I started spinning it, the wool transformed into more subtle, softer shades of these colors, transforming my mid-day forest into one viewed in early morning or late dusk.

single yarn and top

single on spool compared to un-spun top

 

At this point I could have chosen to ply it with a dark single to make the colors pop a little again, but the softness of the shading was asking to be kept together. I now have two skeins, one of 200yds and one of 84yds. Time to set the twist, label them and add them to my craft show inventory.

finished pliedwool yarn

finished skeins of yarn

And of course, I must decide what will be next on my wheel. Have a happy fiber-filled week.

And please leave a comment to let me know what your favorite colors of yarn are?

Wondering Wednesday #8 Dryer Balls?

Have you ever wondered “what are dryer balls?” “why/how are they used?”  “how are they made?”

Dryer balls are simply felted wool balls, that you place in your dryer. They help fluff your clothes and absorb moisture to shorten drying time. A natural product with no added scent, they are great for people with fragrance sensitivities. However if you practice aromatherapy, you can easily add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil.

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finished dryer balls

The other day, when I was playing with fiber, I weighed some extra top to make into dryer balls.

Once they are shaped, they are wet felted by agitating them in hot soapy water. When finished the soft fibers have joined together to form a firm ball.

I use two or three to a dryer load, but have used the same ones repeatedly for over a year now. (In spite of their attempted escapes, by stowing away in shirt sleeves, they are always returned.)

Before having heard of “dryer balls” a friend had suggested that I make “cat balls” to sell and described how she does it. After some experimenting, I’ve changed her methods a little, adding colored wool to solid colors and making a variety of sizes. After selling some of the regular sized cat balls for use as dryer balls, I added larger natural colored ones to my line.

Currently I make mini cat balls, regular cat balls, jingle balls, and dryer balls for my craft shows. I’m considering making enough to offer them on-line too. What do you think?

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craft show display

 

Disclaimer; No cats or sheep are harmed in the making of these balls 🙂 However these balls should not be used by small children or chewing dogs.

A Fiber Day!

Yesterday I felt like playing with color!  I started with my big bump of soft white merino top for the kettle dying.

wool fiber

white Merino top

Actually it’s about half a bump, as you can see from the missing center.

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center view of bump of merino top

 

(click these pictures for captions)

 

I decided to experiment, to see if I could capture a golden tone. The first pound looks more like a tiger, yellow,orange and brown tones.

The second is shaded, using the same combination of dyes, but I think it came closer to what I’d envisioned. After seeing them dried, I think I will spin a sample (ounce or two) of each and ply them together. (I’ll try to remember to post a follow-up picture)

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experiment #2 gold?

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some of my dyes

Since I had my dyes out was playing mad chemist, I also rainbow dyed four batches. Two of them utilized the same colors (I’d actually written them down!) that I’d used on some that sold at the fall fiber festival. (I had hoped that it would be left for me to spin this winter.)  These came out a little busier than I remember and then my husband commented that it looked pretty, like a tropical snake—eek!

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rainbow dyed and experiment # 2 gold

For the second two batches, I chose to over-dye  a soft drab olive wool with autumn shades. (I know it’s the wrong season, but I don’t enjoy spinning snow!) And yes I was a little heavy handed with the color application, so even this came out brighter than expected.  This is the last of this fiber, which I’ve been hoarding for a while. (Did I mention it’s a very soft wool, but of an unknown sheep breed, so hard to find more of it) I may decide to spin it for my own use.

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drab olive top before dyeing

 

In conclusion, four pounds of fiber gave me some to spin, some to sell, and dyes left for another day. This equals work accomplished toward one of my sub-goals and more future fun.