Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spinning lesson #2.

So, this week's spinning lesson was, yet again, predictably wonderful -- the above photo is only my second attempt at the wheel, but I can't even begin to tell you how much more smoothly it went! Of course, only using three colors instead of a dozen helps to make it look a bit tidier, but I swear the whole operation felt less like a 3-ring circus. It's funny, and fitting, that when you are plying the single yarns together to make a two-ply yarn, you are twisting the beginning of your efforts (in this case rather lumpy and cumbersome) together with the last work you've done (surprisingly consistent!). You can see this result in the center of the photo, where you have the natural/light pink with the dark pink. I like how it balances things out...kind of a compromise?

The second part of this week's lesson was learning to use a drop spindle -- the most affordable piece of equipment I've purchased in ages. I won't get into explaining this method of spinning, because you can look up any number of videos on youtube that would do the trick more efficiently than I could, and a visual helps (here are a few of varying quality). I found it much easier to get a consistent yarn using this as a beginner, because it's a much slower process. Really, really slow.

My greatest excitement about learning this skill is it's major portability! I bet it's the perfect travel companion, though it would open the door for all sorts of annoying conversation (which you could in turn spin your way through, so...perfection?).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spaghetti Western.

Bad joke, I know.

This was a birthday gift (many months late) for my friend Adam who is a world class bicycle mechanic. I had thought to hand embroider something on the yoke, but it's hard to improve on the Campagnolo logo (and I was already moving at a distracted snail's pace).

I had completely forgotten to photograph it before sending it away, but lucky for me, Becky Drolen took a few shots somewhere along the journey! She is a fabulous photographer and also runs a very charming vintage shop on Etsy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Autumnal styles in procrastination.

I got caught up in a novel bit of weaving yesterday, while I'm sure I could have been doing something more productive. This leaf was done on a simple cardboard loom with an upholstery needle, some carpet warp and dyed wool. Oh, and one stick from the yard.

However, in the spirit of multi-tasking my distractions, I also watched a great Bette Davis movie called "Deception" while I wove. I recommend it highly -- she's so fabulous!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spinning lesson #1.

So, (no surprise) spinning is pretty hard and totally amazing -- this is my very first skein! I'm sure it looks frightful to someone who knows, but I love how it turned out (it's quite small and took ages, of course). I used the fleece that I dyed this weekend, some natural and a bit of this great purple that just happened to be around. Apparently, I did okay for my first time, but it felt like kind of like a vaudeville routine, with everything spinning and pulling and curling up out of control. Sarah (Noggle, my fabulous teacher) told me that it gets harder to achieve that random look when you get good, so I am embracing it. Now I just need to get a spinning wheel, so I can obsess at my leisure....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Walnut husks.

And, of course, walnut husks -- sweet memories of childhood messes (a much stronger association than doll hair).


The marigold was the subtlest, obviously, but I'm fond of it. It reminds me of a color I exclusively associate with doll hair.


This one was the most impressive -- the pokeberry:


I got a chance to get do some more experimenting this weekend, this time, with plant dyes. I'm set for a spinning lesson this week, so I dyed fleece to use for yarn. Here's the indigo:

This picture to kind of dark, but I dyed a bunch of other stuff indigo and got a great variety of blues. Perhaps, I'll get some better pictures of those. I dyed a warp and weft for some really simple ikat weaving, which I'm looking forward to trying.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Recycled sweater scarves.

Here are some of the scarves that I've made from the sweater yarn that I've been tirelessly (tiredly) unraveling the past couple of months. I put a couple up on my Etsy site and have more on the loom currently. I am really happy with the results! It's so satisfying to be able to produce something you're happy with without introducing more new materials into the big mix. This has always been one of my greatest crafting dilemmas and I've been spending a lot of time trying to figure out my way around it -- yet another point for weaving (I'm so smitten).

More dyed wool...mmm, autumn.

I'll post an actual, complete project again soon, but here's more for the list of "things I'm excited to start messing around with when I get done with...".

I spent quite a lot of time thinking about sheep yesterday and turning my hands kind of grey. Enjoyably.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I don't know. I'm just feeling it today.

Yarn forests (or waves, perhaps).

I've never been much of a photographer, but I have been so crazy about taking close up weaving and yarn photos lately. It all looks like something to dive or get lost in. Not a lot can go wrong at that short distance, I guess.

(This is the warp of recycled sweater yarn that I'm putting on the loom this afternoon.)

...and the blanket.

I was trying to tack several, good-sized pictures onto this post, but either the site or my computer wasn't being very agreeable, so I had to settle on this one tiny picture. This is the blanket that appeared from the same warp as the sleeping mat below (which is delightful to sleep on). I am continually surprised and pleased at the variety of looks you can get out of a warp -- these things look nothing alike. This one's cotton, mostly chenille, with the green stripes being something more cord like (I don't know what you'd call it).

So, this blanket is a little short because, amazingly, I broke the loom while I was weaving it and had to cut it off -- the screws that connect the gear-looking crank thing to the beam completely sheared off! Fortunately, it was fixable (because it was not my loom either, yikes). It's a very nice loom, but it has seen a couple decades of serious action.

This did, however, make me feel like I was some sort of crafting powerhouse. Meaning, it made a big cracking noise and the crowd went wild.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm weaving to move into a yurt.

Well, I wish -- wouldn't this sleeping mat look good in a yurt? Maybe weaving it is the first step in making that move a reality.

Um, anyhow...this was my very first double weave project (it was kind of exhausting)! It's woven out of cotton rug warp and stuffed with that green foam that you stuff into things. I haven't tried sleeping on it yet, but the cat seemed into before I even finished sewing up the open side. (Yes, just a weak excuse to talk about my cat. He's handsome.)

I used the same warp to weave a cotton chenille blanket that I'll post as soon as I put the binding on -- it's interesting how completely different they look.