affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
The big excitement this week (both in general and for my fiber hobby) was the Jefferson City Fiber Retreat this weekend. I went with K, who is becoming my favorite fiber buddy. I took four classes, one which was excellent (shibori dyeing), two of which were vaguely OK (spinning dual coat fleeces in the grease and fractal spinning), and one of which I almost strangled the instructor (spinning fun yarns). It was a cheap conference, especially since you could bunk at the 4-H grounds for $15 a night and they provided all of the meals. Sadly, this was the last year of the fiber retreat, as their location (farm extension for one of the universities) is starting to charge for use.

It was a little weird because K's mom passed away Friday night. It was not unexpected, and K is the type to have everything organized, so she decided to continue with the conference (which was nice for me, so I didn't have to figure out how to get myself and my stuff home, or back and forth between the 4-H grounds and the farm). I mostly asked her how she was holding up and made jokes.

I'm glad I took today off of work, to give myself time to like people again. I unpacked my dirty laundry and washed it, and unpacked my purchases and logged them. On the way home, K and I talked about going to Fiber U in July and maybe someday going to a master spinner class.

I also made good progress on March's project. I'm into the striping down the body. I'm afraid it is going to be a bit long, but I think I'll just plan to wear it over skirts. I also made stitch markers to match. I've been using a pair of split rings (with string tied on the end of round marker), but today I sat down with wire and pearls (in honor the pattern name). I still haven't grafted the under arms of February's project.
affreca: (Craft)
Spring in Kansas. It was crazy windy all day, and had a strong but quick line of storms blow through this evening. Hopefully pressures will settle down, they haven't been playing nice with the light cold I'm fighting.

February's project isn't done, but almost so. After fighting with the last bit this weekend, I just finished binding off the neckline. I still have to graft the armpits, but I'm not up to learning the kitchener stitch tonight. So that, then block. I can see all the problems other people have had with it, but it worked out in the end. The neckline is wide in the shoulders, but it isn't enough to continue futzing with.

March's project is coming along. I've changed the neckline to a v-neck, and I think it is working. I've got the back, left front and half the right front shoulders done. The arms are a new style for me, so we'll see how that works out. I haven't made a new set of stitch markers for this project, which is probably wise. The selection of split rings came in, and I've been some of them.

I finished spinning the BFL/silk. I still need to set the twist, but I did get enough yardage out of 8 ounces. It will probably be April's project. I will use the rest of the top I bought for another project. Possibly the grey sweater.
affreca: (Craft)
Well, I did not manage to finish February's project in February. Changing patterns twice will slow a woman down, and February is a short month. I did finish the lace portion of the yoke today, so almost done. Due to the heavy yarn, once I connected the body and arms, it got to be to heavy to take with me to work and I've been only able to work on it in the evenings. And then I spent two evenings celebrating my birthday and Lawnchair's promotion..

But since I couldn't take February to work, I've been taking March's project with me to work this week. I actually knitted a full sized guage swatch (4" by 4"), and cast on the back shoulders today. I shall knit a project with different colors! I mean in the same project. Considering it ranges from purple to green, not actually different colors than I normally use. I carded several random braids into 10 different colors, and spun them up. Hopefully I estimated corrected how much of each color I need. I'm still trying to decide if the stripes are going to go in order (purple, blueish purple, purple blue ... to green) or out of order (purple, purplish blue, green blue, blueish purple ... to green). There's also a bit of black for framing stripes.

Next up is finish plying the white BFL/silk for a Melusine shawl. And dig through the stash for some fiber to send. And inventory the KAWS door prizes.. and everything else.
affreca: (Craft)
I have managed to get through the tricky part of February's project's sleeves, now onto lots of cabling. The honeycomb pattern does not thrill me, and I'm worried that the yarn is to heavy. This is going to be a damn warm sweater, and wear like a leather bomber jacket. It might even turn knife attacks.

Thursday was the monthly spin in at Yarn Barn, so I started back spinning the yarn for the mermaid sweater (hopefully March's project). The combination of not loving honey comb and touching my wheel got be excited about the mermaid yarn again, and today I finally finished carding the wool for that project. I'm pretty pleased by the color gradation.
affreca: (Craft)
I'd told myself that I'd read a couple of documents for work this weekend. Like everytime I tell myself that, I get to Sunday evening hating the idea. And I'll be out of the office most of the next two days...

So I knit. I finished my January project (Campbell & 2nd using my handspun in purple and greys) today, except for weaving in ends and blocking. It is a couple of days early, but I then cast on for February's project. This will be try number two to use the yarn I spun for the sweater that got ripped out after sitting unfinished for two years. It's a two ply, roughly aran weight, in Ashland Bay's English Garden merino. I love the color (in fact, the sweater I finished at Christmas is the same fiber and colorway, just spun finer). February's project (subject to change) is a free cable sweater (Lempster), and we'll see if I can make it work. Thankfully there are enough people who've made it to explain the corrections needed.

Soup of the week is a triple batch ofmeaty lentil soup, made with ground beef. Last week's potato leek soup was OK, but I ended up freezing over half. Hopefully I'll like it better when I need fill in soup.
affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
Knitting: This is the year of knitting. Which is just my way to focus my efforts on one art. My goal is to knit at least one row per day. My first project is a pair of socks (my first). I'm now at the easy part, the leg. Getting the heels done took me a week of tries until I got it right. Whee! I'm doing both at the same time, toe up on two needles because I don't want to come back to them. My biggest problem now is the laddering on the sides. I'm pretty happy with the purse that I've repurposed as my knitting bag and have been throughing it in my work bag so I can knit on my breaks.

Spinning: Not as much since I'm not making the effort to spin every day. The current project on the wheel is my sport weight merino, in English Garden. I bought more roving than I should at Wamego Wool fest, so I have plenty keep me busy.

Reading: I finished Ann Budd's Getting Started with Socks earlier this week. It wasn't a useful as I wanted since I started my socks the other direction, though it increased my confidence in not actually following set instructions.

I'm currently going through Elaine Eskesen's Dyeing to Knit. I'm eh about it, but that might be because I've read lots of dyeing books, and find the discussion of the color wheel and nature inspiration repetitious.
affreca: (Craft)
Reading: I'm halfway through one of my latest purchases, Respect the Spindle by by Abby Franquemont. Which is good timing, because I'm teaching spinning with a spindle at next month's guild meeting, and I'm not actually a great spindler.

Spinning: I'm trying to finish plying the merino so I have bobbins free for Yarn School and then Spinzilla. I'm working on the second pair of bobbins because I still can't find the broken end on the first pair I was working on. Still not sure how I'm going to deal with that.

Weaving: Apparently, Lawnchair doesn't think I have to many looms because he bought me another one while at Walnut Valley Festival. He was going through the craft area, taking pictures for the website, and became fascinated by peg loom weaving. I've read the instructions, and it seems such a weird way of doing things.
affreca: (Craft)
Reading: I finished Spinning in the Old Way and Start Spinning by Maggie Casey, and started on the Fall 2015 Ply magazine. The focus this issue is on texture, which really isn't my thing. And I'm not sure what I think about the new organization of the magazine.

Spinning: Making progress. I'm now plying the merino, which is going to take forever.

Last Tuesday, I received a tester bobbin from Akerworks. They make 3D printed bobbins and spindles. It's pretty, but doesn't work well on the Traveler. It binds and so pulls hard. It works fine on my Hitchhiker. I should post my results on the ravelry thread.

I made a small test sample of the alpaca/silk before starting plying the merino, and then knitted some of it. I really like the look, but tempted to replace the silk ply with silk thread, like orenburg lace.

My local yarn/spinning/weaving shop has a team for the first time, and somehow that was enough to actually sign up for Spinzilla this year (first week in October). And that spinning is my focus this year, and I'm up for dropping everything (except work and sleep) and spinning for a week. And it's the week after Yarn School (three day spinning workshop). Then I realized that Ann Leckie and Kameron Hurley's latest novels drop that Tuesday. At least I get 20% off spinning fiber at Yarn Barn until then.

Dyeing: Through guild, heard about a variegated yarn dyeing class, so last Saturday I drove out to a nearby alpaca farm and made pretty colors. I successfully held my tongue most of time when the instructor said incorrect things (mordant does not come from the latin word to open, neither does mortician). I learned some interesting things (people who go into alpacas ususally have more money then I do) and have two pretty skeins to do something with...
affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
Reading: Finished the fall Spin-Off, so back to Spinning in the Old Way. Very nice and clear, and making me want to more on my spindle. But the wheel is so addicting..

Spinning: Almost done with the lilac merino, maybe by Friday? So I spent to much of today plotting the next spinning project instead of working. Thin two ply with one ply done in variegated silk (misty theme of lilacs to blues, to be dyed during the dye day at the end of the month), and the other using dark grey alpaca I bought at Woolfest (and blended grey angora from Lisi for the last ounce or so). Plan would be to use it to knit a shawl. Or I could dye the silk dark greens.

Knitting: Alpaca hat finished, nothing new started.

Weaving: So I chickened out on giving the blanket away at the baby shower. I wasn't happy with my sewing, and not in the mood to undo/redo right away. Blanket shall be shipped.
affreca: (Craft)
But I have a really good excuse for being late - it was that time of the quarter again. See, I have a couple of meetings every quarter. And one of them starts at 6 p.m. in a town on the other end of the state, so I don't get home until after my bedtime. The good news is that since they won't pay overtime, I only have to show up for three hours of work on Friday, so hopefully I have time to sew the edging on the baby blanket before Saturday's baby shower.

Reading: Finished The Whole Craft of Spinning by Carol Kroll. Woot! Not that it was a bad book, just that I didn't seem to get through it quickly. Blogging about it every week affects how I think of the pace of my reading. I should remember that the goal is to read some, not to finish a specific amount. But there were some interesting things that I haven't seen in other books. She seemed to be in the spin everything crowd, including dog and cat hair. And corn silk and thistle down. Pretty sure I'm not in that crowd. (this in comparison to one of the first spinning books I read that recommended possum fur. Turns out the author was in New Zealand and their possums are a very different creature from the opossum's that raid my trash. Creatures with soft fur).

So I started Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, which is focused on top whorl spindles. Gorgeous line drawings, and I like her focus on traditions of the wider world. A little evangelical that her way is the best, though.

Then the Fall Spin-Off showed up, and I started reading those articles instead. I should figure out what I'm doing about the Summer issue that never showed up (I emailed Interweave and was told they were going to extend my subscription, but the completist in me wants the Summer issue).

Spinning: Still on the merino, as I spent last weekend weaving. You know, spinning fine takes forever for the same weight of fiber.

Knitting: Three rows to finish the alpaca silk hat. Then what? Maybe try for socks?

Weaving: Started weaving blanket with light blue yarn and hated the look. Experimented with multiple yarns in the stash and decided it needed a dark blue weft. I had luck with mill ends at Yarn Barn, and found a dark blue cotton yarn of the appropriate weight and bought twice as much as I needed. After weaving the blanket, I wove about 12 inches of the remaining warp with a random ball out of the stash. I think that length will go to work on my plant shelf. I decided to sew binding on all the edges instead of tying fringe as apparently babies chew and choke on fringe.
affreca: (Craft)
Reading: Since I was out of town for much of last week, I didn't get in a lot of before bed reading. Therefore, despite its size, I'm still working through The Whole Craft of Spinning by Carol Kroll.

Spinning: I'm still in the first 2 ounces of the merino singles. I did take a break and spun some of the second color and plied up some mini test skeins to see how I wanted to deal with the two colors. The two ply of the same colors ended up looking like a regular two ply, while have different colored singles in the two ply leads to the chain look.

I packed my Turkish spindle with the silk so I could spin while traveling. I really didn't do much more than five minutes each night, so not much new. But it counts for the spin every day goal.

Knitting: I'm almost to the decreases in the alpaca hat. Not sure how much I like the pattern.

Social: KVFG meeting tonight. Showed off my projects, scheduled dye day for end of September. Showed off my projects. Some new ladies, we'll see if they keep coming.
affreca: (Craft)
Reading: I finished The Spinner's Book of of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns on Wednesday. I then started Step-By-Step Spinning and Dyeing by Eunice Svinicki. I read the first few chapters but skipped the chapter on natural dyeing (last year's focus) and projects because... See this book was so very 1970s, and that's not my aesthetic. Currently reading another skinny one, The Whole Craft of Spinning by Carol Kroll

Spinning: Continued the green woolen practice. I'm out of batts, so the next bit will be carded off the a variety of green rovings.

I also plied the merino/tencel into a cable/cord/(different books name it different - 2x2 plies z s z). I'm surprised how little green you see (only one of the four is green). It's a weird looking yarn, especially with the shininess of the tencel.

Sunday I started some singles of Malabrigo Nube merino. This is my first time using this roving, and I'm finding a lot of nubs. Which is annoying, because I'm trying to go even finer than the last project. The eventual plan for the singles is another cabled yarn, this time for socks. Spinning this fine takes forever.

Knitting: I decided to start another hat with the alpaca/silk that I keep recycling (I knitted it into a scarf, never used it, ripped it to make a hat, which did not fit, and so I try again). Similar style so, but with a different lace pattern. I've been to save it for the road trip. I'm taking another ball with me, but I don't know what I want to do with it.
affreca: (Craft)
Delayed post due to a site visit and the resultant migraine (to much sun).

Reading: Still working my way through Sarah Anderson's The Spinner's Book of of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns. I might have to experiment with oddball yarns here soon.

Spinning: Practicing carding and long draw. I've managed a bobbin's worth of inconsistent woolen singles. I like to think I'm getting more control, but..

Knitting: Finished the hat (except for blocking). I haven't decided on a new project, but I should probably pick one out before next week's road trip. Not sure if I should cast on another hat or go back to the brown scarf. Am I brave enough to start the merino sweater?
affreca: (Craft)
I have started a new project. See, I'm taking a natural dyeing class this fall and I bought a new loom that needs to be tried out (and yes, now I have two looms to sell). And I actually thought of an idea that would use yarn I already own.

I will be weaving a 20" by 2 yard scarf on my new loom. The warp threads are thin wool dyed blue, with a pattern wrapped (so the sections stayed white). The weft is mohair and wool dyed in the same indigo bath to a medium blue. Hopefully I calculated sett well enough that it will be slightly thin and airy. And very fuzzy.

I finished the dyeing last night in class. I will wait to dress the loom until it is in the craft room, which will hopefully be this weekend.
affreca: (Craft)
So I wanted to make it all pretty and working. I rubbed it down good with the wood wax and food stuff I used on the Traveler, then rubbed off the excess. Then I carefully reassembled it, scavenging a leather thong for the treadle to footman connection and carpet warp for the drive band. I oiled the moving parts, and treadled for a while. Then I tried to spin. Somethings not working right, because I have horrid take up. I'm not sure if it is a double drive issue, or a drive band issue.

More pictures below cut.
Read more... )
affreca: (Craft)
You'd think I'd have figured this out by now. But when I drag him along to see stuff I found on Craigslist, he is supposed to be my sense of reason. Apparently I'm asking to much, because he was having as much fun as I was trying to figure out where pieces go.

But now I have a bit less money and a new loom and spinning wheel. The loom is a 15" Schact table loom, in good shape minus a slightly rusty reed. I managed to walk off without any additional shuttles (honestly, I have enough).

The spinning wheel needs a bit more work, but I think I've found all the pieces minus the drive band and treadle connection (replaceable with cotton string and a leather thong). The wheel is a 19" single treadle, double drive Reeve's Saxony wheel with a distaff. I've oiled the moving parts, but still need to clean and wax the wood. There's one minor crack that I plan to glue before it grows. It came with four bobbins (which is good because I can't get more at Yarn Barn), and two pairs of cards.
affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
I had my first lost wax casting class last night. I left home early in order to catch dinner at Taco Johns first, and thus missed Lawnchair when he came home.

I needed that. The project I really want to do in this class is to make a pair of Viking tortoise brooches in bronze. However, yesterday I wanted to start on a simpler project. Thankfully, I had my craft notebook with me, with idea sketches I made for the last time I took a jewelry making class. I managed to be the only person in the class to finish a wax last night. I made a simple triangular knotwork pendant. I can go in Monday to invest it so it is ready to cast in class next week.

Meanwhile, my mind has been playing with how to do waxes of my brooches. The first part was to realize that I have not the skill or patience to carve out two 3 inch oval domes. But wax can also be molded, and at a lower temperature. So spent the rest of the night trying to think of oval dome shaped things, and bugged Lawnchair with it. So he brought me deodorant. And I bought a stick of a random brand just because it had the right shape. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to try using the inside of the cap or shape a thin sheet on the outside.
affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
Well, instead of working on schoolwork, I've been lazing about and watching anime. I can only surf for so long, so it lead to beading. Chitter about beads )
affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
The first five people to respond to this post, will get some form of art, by me, for/about them. I make no guarantees about quality or type, but I will assure that I will give it good effort and that the art will be individual to you, so if you get a necklace or knotwork it will yours, designed for you.

The only catch, of course; as with most memes, if you sign up, you have to put this in your own journal as well.

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