Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post Christmas 2011

I do hope you all had a very nice, good, pleasant, wonderful Christmas!

As for me it turned out very good - I had visits with my kids & new grandchild, though way too short in duration. There was an issue with one of their cars, and the winter weather arrived so when I was looking forward to sitting with everyone, they were on the way out the door & going home.

I didn't get to hand out my knitting. Oh darn!!!

The food was plentiful & tasty.  I think everyone was satisfied in that department.
Having everyone together was wonderful. So until next year....

But really, if I had the opportunity to skip Christmas I just might take it. My stress levels sky rocket, but enough of that.
Here is some of the fibre things that have been done. There are things that don't make it to the blog, like the rugs I weave, socks & hats knitted and all the mittens that I felt.

I've had the opportunity with a few days off to also visit with some dear friends. And now since this is probably my last post of 2011, I want to say thanks for visiting and I hope everyone's coming New Year is better than the last & you have wonderful things coming your way.

And take some time for yourself to enjoy whatever it is that you enjoy doing with spare time you may find. All the best to you.

Felted mittens & hat. Woad dyed & handspun Suffolk.

Silk Hankies, dyed for mitts. Knitted without spinning.

Megan's Sock Monkey

Megan's hat & mitts

Finished 2 ply yarn w. dyed roving (Falkland).

Dyed roving & spool of one of the single ply from yarn in picture at left.      

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November's New Spin & Knit

Custom handspun for Kim. 55% wool, 35% pomeranian, 10% kid mohair. 12 wpi. 230yds. before wet finishing.

100% Shetland toque. handspun. 11 wpi. natural colour in a very dark brown.

Merino/tencel. Shawlette with broken edge. Needs repair.
These are the projects lately.  The hat I was hoping would be more masculine, but I'm afraid it looks 'girly' because of the patterned knitting. In the photo it is hard to see, but it's destined for one of the fair maidens here. The shawl needs more work. Since I ran out a few inches from the end in the last row & also because I ripped an edge when I was spreading it out for drying after wet finishing I must now do something with the edge all around it. Or maybe I will just rip back an inch & finish it prematurely.
The yarn at the top was not my favourite project because I had dog hair all over me. It does not behave like wool & I am afraid it might smell funny if it gets wet at all. Anyway, I am glad it's done and it did actually turn out very pretty.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Checkerboard Mitts

Just a few minutes ago I finished a pair of double knit mittens for this year's line up of Christmas mittens. This is a pattern from Robin Hansen's 'Favorite Mittens' book.

Two different colours of yarn were used - one being walnut dyed British Milk Sheep (BMS) blended with 18% natural brown llama and the other 100% Suffolk wool in a natural off white. The photos show the mitts before their finishing soak.

The Suffolk was spun from the Fibre Gardens' rustic roving which I believe comes from a mill in Western Canada from Canadian sheep and the dark brown BMS was from a raw fleece I prepared myself which I drumcarded & blended.

Here is the technical info about the spinning:
BMS blend: 12 WPI. 4 TPI. 25 degree twist angle. Prep: drum carded & blended. Wheel: Lendrum 7.5:1 ratio for single. Plyed on Lendrum plying head on 6.5:1 whorl. 2 ply. Semi woollen. Short backward draw. Hot water soak & dry before knitting.

Suffolk: 12 WPI. 4.5 TPI. 25degree twist angle. prep: drum carded & blended. wheel: Lendrum 7.5:1 ratio for single. Plyed on Lendrum plying head on 6.5:1 whorl. 2 ply. Semi woollen. Short backward draw. Hot water soak & dry before knitting.
Checkerboard Mitts. Nov. 2011.

Walnut dyed. BMS & LLama blend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 2011

I've had some fun & a few setbacks with this, but it's finished & most definitely wearable. More than wearable - it's a pleasure to wear. Now I just need a couple more in different colours. That shouldn't be a problem as it is a quit knit when all goes smoothly. And here it is...
Sweet Afton Vest
The Sweet Afton Vest. Handspun by myself in British Milk Sheep. Spun semi worsted. Indigo dyed. 2 ply. 12 wpi. This was a 'test run' on the new to me Elizabeth saxony wheel I picked up this fall.

Oct. 22, 2011 was the Woodstock Fleece Festival. Once more it was a lot of fun & just full of colour, fleeces and ideas. I have been wanting to get my hands on some Suffolk fleece for spinning for mitts, etc. I came home with some as well as some Jacob, Clun Forest and Icelandic. I found some pygora that came home too.
Next year it is going to be held on Oct. 13, 2012.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Some Knitting & Spinning

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 found me at the KW Knitters Fair in Kitchener at Bingeman Park. Every year on the second Saturday in September the KW Knitters Guild has a very large gathering of vendors and a few classes. The day itself was a beautiful fall day & from what I saw the turnout was excellent.

The blue knitting in front left is super wash merino/tencel, lace weight, being made into a shawlette for a Christmas present. The lavender on the right front is being made into custom socks and they will have a lace cuff.

Back left is a single homespun in E. Friesian & mohair wool waiting to be knit into socks. Back right is some homespun done with domestic 56's from R. H. Lindsay wool merchant. It's a very soft carded sliver, one of several samples of sliver that arrived on my doorstep last week. I am spinning it with a short backward worsted draw. More on that later. I plan on two more spools yet.

Must get to work today - have to leave in a couple of minutes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What Can Be Done In One Day OFF Work?

Well...quite a bit I think.
This is the first day's beginning. Since I rarely (almost never) buy store bought treats I always spend some of my time cooking. My hubby loves my poppyseed rolls which I prepare almost exclusively for him. This is what they look like.
2 Poppyseed Rolls
Then I felt like we should have some fresh bread. It looks like whole wheat, but for 6 c. of flour
, only 1 c. is whole wheat flour.
It's as good as it looks!
Then I thought bran muffins with dates would be good for breakfast:
Bran Date Muffins
Meanwhile by the time the bread had its first rising I was able to get the laundry finished washing & out on the line. How can you tell we live in a rural area? I like it that way!

When I was living the life, the sunflowers just kept growing & growing. I believe they are Russian Mammoth. They tower over my husband. We have groups of them planted all over the place.

Sunflowers 2011. The tallest one is 10' plus.
This is tansy, aka Bitter Buttons. It is another very tall plant with lacey leaves & small velvety flowers. I dyed some British Milk Sheep fleece with it to see the yellow I would get.

Br. Milk Sheep Fleece in Tansy vat.


Tansy yellow on BMS fleece
Tansy yellow w. white fence for comparison
I had to fit in a little knitting too. These heavy work socks are now done. Started last winter, then ran out of Briggs & Little wool. Soon to be on their way through our mail system to Nova Scotia.
Briggs & Little boot sock. Heavy, oh ya!!
I kept the dye pot of tansy & added the woad leaves after I had removed the indigo from them & left it to simmer for an hour. Then I added alum mordanted Br. M. S. fleece and got an interesting result - it's on the right. The fleece on the left is a delicate aqua on Br. M. S. fleece. I made a mistake & added ammonia to the vat when I should have added the thiox. Oh well. This is all the woad from this year. I will have to try again next year.
Woad dye on left. Exhausted woad leaves in old tansy vat on right.

This is the indigo dye result (powdered indigo) used in last year's woad vat I kept. The green is over dyed with indigo on Golden Marguerite.
I have some acid dye, red, yellow, turquoise on the stove right now that are ready to come off. I'm using fleece from Ille de France sheep.
Ciba Acid Turquoise

Ciba Acid Yellow 
Ciba Acid Red (?)  Looks like orange.
There's more, but that's all I'm doing for now.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dye Garden 2011

The flowers of the Golden Marguerite (a.k.a. Dyer's Chamomile) were put in water & simmered for 1 hour.  The drumcarded batts of Br. Milk Sheep I soaked for 1 hour & mordanted in alum, cream of tartar & water for 45 minutes. This is the result:
I also dyed some scoured fleece with the leaves & stems of the plant. The result was the same; I could tell no difference in colour.
I have some other dye plants in the dyer's garden:
Yellow Bedstraw



Coreopsis, Early Sunrise
I let the woad from last year remain in the ground for the winter in order to gather some seeds for next year. When the plant went to seed it did not at all resemble itself from the first year. So many seeds were produced (which was very alarming) that all but a couple of plants we destroyed. When the seeds turned black & dry the stalks were cut down & laid out to finish drying in the barn.
I have planted a few of this year's seeds to see if I can get anything this year for dyeing. It might be too late in the season though.
Woad seeds

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lunch Bag__Deluxe

Grey Shetland with drying British Milk Sheep fleece not yet dyed.
This is the result of the spinning & weaving of some grey Shetland fleece.  A naturally coloured dark grey 2 ply Shetland wool for the main part of the bag. The orange is a coreopsis dyed East Friesian wool and the teal is of British Milk Sheep breed I dyed with a synthetic acid dye. All 2 ply.

The weaving is a 2/2 twill, completely lined with a very thick & stiff fusible Pellon interfacing. Closes with a snap closure; handles taken from my old bag. The bag is lined with a simple cotton lining.

Lunchbag in grey Shetland June 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

May & June 2011

I have been tending a little to my garden & very much enjoying my beautiful iris collection. We are at the end of a very dull & cool spring & about to leap into summer next week. Spring started wet with a couple of very warm to hot days, but for the most part it has been sweater weather. For the last week I have been wishing for rain.
Here are just a few of the things I have on the go. Sox in a gorgeous to me colour of turquoise, blue & black in a barberpole ply. They come out as mottled & I used a lace ribbing for decorative effect. These have to have been on the needles for 6 months at least.
I have been amusing myself with a new gas range. No electronics to break down on this beauty. Cooking & baking are very important to me & I love using good tools. Have a look.

I recently got some really big bags of British Milk Sheep fleece in white & black. I'm working on getting the white scoured a bit at a time. I used it for dyeing with Coreopsis leftover from last year. The colours always impress me. Alum & iron mordant. The third batch the dye was pretty well exhausted so I added a little leftover cutch. Beautiful warm yellow.
Br. Milk Sheep. Coreopsis alum, iron. Coreopsis w. cutch.
A Lervad 36" countermarche loom has found its way into my studio. It was once owned by a Danish woman who moved to this country with her loom. She has passed away, but she left samples on her loom which are pictured below.

The materials used are unknown.
And here is the Lervad loom. I replaced tie up on it and washed the heddles and polished it up. It is waiting for the dark grey Shetland wool I have been spinning for a bag.

Lervad countermarche.
This wool is not yet processed since spinning. I will full the cloth when woven. I'm thinking of using a 2/2 twill. I have about 400 yds spun. That's more white Br. Milk sheep fleece drying in the background.
Must get on with my day now. I have been sewing a few new summer tops I need to renew my wardrobe.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Posting

I have been doing a lot since the last post which is coming onto two months, most of which will not be pictured here right now. Just because I need some time to just chill and hang out with my hubby.
I've made some towels as seen here.
I've spun & woven my spinner's workbook project. Photo to follow.
I've spun a Shetland fleece in preparation for a woven shawl. Photo to follow.
Yesterday I finished spinning up some E. Friesian that I will use to weave a shoulder bag. About 400 yds. of 2 ply @ 12 wpi.
I had some fun with it this afternoon & dyed the weft. The warp is going to be left a natural off white. This was the first wool I have dyed that was not a nature dye.

While the weft was left to dry overnight, I wound the warp & beamed on. Tomorrow I will thread the loom & start weaving. It will be interesting to see the finished project.