Sunday, July 29, 2018

I love my drum carder

I got my drum carder several years ago for a song. I didn't realize how much of a song it was until I got home and priced them.  Mine does not have the manufacturer label except for a part that says "made in Canada".

Several members of my Guild, the Fiber Guild of the Savannahs (we have a beautiful new website, I'm happy to show it off), have been active in Tour de Fleece this year. It seems appropriate to blog about it today as it is the final day of the Tour de France for 2018 today, therefore the end of the Tour de Fleece. I often do better finishing a project with deadlines so I got some serious spinning done!

When I first got my carder, I was thinking that is was mostly for prep for raw fiber. Then I went to a workshop at SAFF with Esther Rodgers and learned a bit more.

Having some dyed roving around, it seemed appropriate to blend with the carder. I do find that spinning blended colors is a little more interesting...
Here are some process and results photos

Here is the resulting yarn. I'm not sure what type of wool it is, but it's pretty soft. I got the roving as color samples and used the "cool" side of the color wheel all  together.  It's pretty soft though. Spun on my Ashford Traditional and plied on my Louet. I use my Louet s15 mostly for plying but I should use it more for spinning. It has a very sturdy feel to it. 

Here is another yarn finished for the "Tour."  This is merino plus silk done in a single. Obviously, this is the other side of the colorway! You can see bits of turquoise silk noile.  Diana Twiss taught me to use the silk noile in handspun last year at Olds College Fibre Week. (She also helped me use the color wheel to think about my blending process). I can't wait to use this yarn for a shawl.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Llanas Casa Rosada in Bogota

Naturally, in visiting Bogata in January I needed to find what might be a "local yarn store." Celia and I tramped through downtown Bogata and off of Septima, the major city thoroughfare, we found this lovely spot,  Llanas Casa Rosada

Here I am with my spoils...actually there was another bag as well...

Cotton yarns

Disregard the sign, these are dyed wool rovings

cotton fibers

beautiful woven tapestries

fique (sissal) fibers here mixed with cotton

 and these...squirrel tails; something I've never seen before in a yarn store, although this was really a fiber store

I loved this creative use of a tire rim to make a yarn winder...

 There was natural sheeps wool as well, I asked what kind of sheep, the shop owner whose English was limited joked and said "Colombian sheep," but here is a link for more information. where the sheep are

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sewing Adventure...Alabama Chanin

I went to a friend's house on Saturday evening. This is the same friend I mentioned in my last post. She had another acquaintance there who was transporting antique spinning wheels (Don't worry, it wasn't between state lines...OK that was a spinning wheel collector joke).  Anyway, we had grand fun.

I got to spin on a 200 year old great wheel from the Shakers in New Hampshire. This was pretty exciting because as I mentioned in a previous post, I am a descendent of New Hampshire Shakers.  There was also a Lyle Wheeler wheel that I got to try. Mind you, my one handed drafting skills required for the great wheel is basically absent so it was mostly "park and draft."

Anyway, we wound up the evening watching Craftsy and I was very taken with Natalie Chanin's swing skirt class.  Have a look at her website,  very exciting, wonderful making ideas

I have done little knitting since then, and have been practicing applique and embroidery on old tee shirts. For this one I used a stencil to paint the gingko leaves on a red tee shirt with SetaColor Opaque then stitch onto an orange one, then do "reverse negative applique" cutting away the red fabric. (I love this).

Anyway, the above was done in  anticipation of receiving this in the mail

Here, our new addition Louis helps me wait till the fabric is done in the washer...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Long Gone Sweater

I was recalling a sweater a couple of weeks ago  that I knit probably 30 years ago. Something brought it to mind, perhaps the mention of "hen knitting" on "National Knitting Night" on Netflix. If you have not watched this program, I suggest it; it is a 6 hour "slow tv" program.  More on "hen knitting" in a future post.

Anyway, I was fondly recalling this sweater of old, and maybe wishing I still owned it. I tried to recall the pattern and wool, no luck with a Ravelry search.

THEN  at my last Guild meeting, my friend Ruth put out some old magazines for sale.  I mean REALLY how many old knitting magazines are there? Thousands at least.  

My feeling is that life is about synchronicity.  Looking at the table of Ruth's items, I found this

OMG!  That's it...what are the chances???  Published in  1983

I riffled through my photo stash (way too big) and found these from 1987

Worn with a big corduroy skirt. I don't wear these paler colors anymore.

Thanks for the memories, Ruth!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

FO: Reyna Shawl

When I was in Copenhagen a couple years ago, I bought some lovely Handmaiden Casbah, actually a sock yarn made of merino, cashmere, and nylon. I purchased it at Sommerfluglen. It travelled (of course!) from Canada  where it was made, to Denmark,  to the US.   It was supposed to be a scarf of knitted broomstick lace, which I found too fiddly. I also don't wear scarves that much.  So, I found the Reyna shawl. 

I may have expounded on this in the past, but I do believe that sometimes yarn must "steep" in the stash before it tells you what it wants to be. (Maybe this belief is a result of buying yarn without a project in mind.)

I often spend time searching on Ravelry for the right pattern for purchased yarn, and it is not unheard of for me to try yarn with a pattern and reject the pattern.  Reyna won and you can see why! 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Arhuacu and Wayuu Mochilas and a bit on how to crochet your own.

I am always lucky when a vacation includes some fiber adventures. My first day visiting with my good friend Celia in Bogata, Colombia included a workshop for two on how to crochet a mochila, or traditional shoulder bag, which have a woven strap.  The word translates as "backpack" but they only have one strap. Men and women both use mochilas.

There are basically two done by the Arhuaco, and one by the Wayuu.   From what I have researched, I learned that Catholic nuns taught the indigenous peoples how to crochet, and it remains a very popular hand craft, much more than knitting from what I observed.

Below is a map of northern Colombia showing where the two groups originate from

The Arhuaca people live near the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. They crochet beautiful bags from fique, which is a plant fiber derived from the fique plant that lives in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru; in the US we call it sisal.  Here are some bags that I saw in a market; the bottom two rows are natural colored Arhuaca mochilas. Here is some more info from wikipedia. These mochilas may also be cotton or wool.

The other sort of mochila is done by the Wayuu, who originate in the Guajira Peninsula in the North of Colombia and northwest Venezuela.

These some photos are Wayuu mochilas from the Museo de Trajes Regionale in Bogata

These mochilas are obviously more colorful and often seen with contemporary themes.  Patterning can also resemble those of traditional molas, (more on molas in a future post).

So how are these made? Well, first one finds a teacher with exacting standards. For us, this is Celia's friend Elisa.

 If you want some fun, try learning to do this with someone whose Engish is nonexistant (as is my Spanish for something this complicated).  Luckily, we were in a cafe where a friendly English translator could be found... that would be Celia's daughter Whitney, who runs the bakery/cafe.

We began with a trip to the ribbon store, which carries cotton crochet yarn, similar to Aunt Lydia's only with much more twist. A no 4 crochet hook is also required, I think this is the US sizing.

Then, after climbing the hill back to El Nido (and working to keep up with Celia and Elisa), Elisa instructed us to crochet a 6 stitch chain, and connect it, then single crochet 10 stitches into the loop. Did I mention that this is all single crochet? Continue crocheting in a spiral, Elisa had us do one SC into one stitch then 2 into the next.

I have actually worked on crocheting something round in the last couple months. (This). The increase ratio is different from Elisa's. With my mochila,  however, I experienced the potato chip phenomenon (too many stitches so it's not flat) as there were too many increases, so of course Elisa had me pull some out and reduce my increase ratio.

I did not get too far, but I think that the next step is to stop increasing. Then the hard part starts...crocheting in the pattern. I'll see where this goes! It's a bit potato-chippy so far

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Afghan, an FO

My son asked me to knit an afgan for a friend and his fiance.  He chose the Hue Shift Afghan

I bought the kit from Knitpicks. The yarn is their Brava Sport.  Synthetics aren't my favorite but I wanted it to be machine washable. I thought it was going to be quick, but it took all year, in my piecemeal knitting fashion. I had many, many ends, and wound up using fraycheck to be sure they were secure. (That was good a good idea and I may use it again).   

The happy couple were happy with the result, done in the "decor" colorway. I delivered it to their home only a month late. It did indeed match their decor!