Spinning

June was a busy month!

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What have I been up to?  There’s so much to tell!  While you haven’t been hearing from me I took lots of pictures and thinking “that would make a great post!”…and then not posting it.

20140603_191616All of the expensive things seem to have happened at the end of June.  We got our house painted and then both DH and I had dental work.  Of course, about that time is when his vehicle needed over $1500 worth of car repairs.  Oh boy.

As for the fun stuff, the first quilt you haven’t seen was absolutely darling.  I got a couple of photos of it while it was on the frame, but forgot to get photos of the entire quilt.  How does THAT happen?

20140608_173021I met a new friend, Maryon, at a Quilters’ Schoolhouse quilting class put on by Boise Basin Quilters and we made an awesome string quilt for donation.  We had a heck of a time deciding on which border to add, and we eventually chose the dark green one.

20140608_141012I was contacted by a new quilter, Katie, to quilt her first quilt.  She thought she was picking an easy project, and she did a GREAT job, but I told her that was NOT an easy project!  Do you see all those straight lines she had to keep in place?  And that color arrangement?

We picked a blue and yellow variegated thread, which looked 20140616_210130awesome, but I hadn’t realized that it was a size 17.  Why would I have something different in my thread stash?  Let me just say that size 17 is about the size of a rope, when it comes to thread, and I ended up picking out an entire bobbin’s worth of quilting.  That took about 4 hours.  I ordered some King Tut thread from Superior and it turned out beautifully!

20140704_103940I also finished the spinning project I started while I was at Mom’s house over Memorial Day weekend.  It sure turned out differently than what I expected.  I’m really proud of myself because I actually finished a project!  Not only that, the yarn is balanced, which means it’s not twisting back on itself when it’s hanging on the hanger.  And this is only my third spinning project!  I’ve been asked “what are you going to make with this?” and the answer is “I have no idea.”  I just picked it because it was pretty. 

One aspect of finishing a yarn is to set it by soaking it in hot water.  This means the twist in the fiber won’t come out and the wool “blooms”.  It’s pretty cool!  I checked on mine this morning and it’s still a little damp where the cotton yarn is holding it together so I’ll be hanging it outside today.  Boise has been close to 100 degrees lately, that should do it.

Day1_TDF2014And yesterday, I started Tour de Fleece 2014!  This is my first TdF, and I’m using Gritty Knits LeGrand Boucle merino, which arrived yesterday afternoon.  In case you’re unfamiliar with Tour de Fleece, it is an online spinning event that mirrors the Tour de France, including rest days.  They spin, we spin.  A real spinning-themed spin-along.

My goal is to spin at least 15 minutes a day.  Since I’m on vacation over the 4th of July weekend, and we were watching a movie, I spun for about an hour and a half yesterday!

I’m having trouble making a consistent single because I’d used my jumbo flyer to spin the singles on my previous project (I won’t do that again!) and have changed back to the traditional flyer, but after about an hour of spinning my normal technique is starting to come back to me.

20140705_180255This isn’t a colorway I’d normally pick. The red/orange is on either end of the braid and the brown/yellow is in the middle. I decided to alternate the strips of color in my spinning, we’ll see what happens!

New Year’s Day!

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What are you doing this New Year’s Day?  Me, I’m spending it with a group of fiber people!

You know, I never gave that description any thought when I started hanging out with spinners and knitters because of the company I was in when I said it, but outside of that community I’ve had lots of funny looks from people and then I realized they thought I meant “fiber” as in dietary fiber!

Today I’m taking not only my spinning wheel and new jumbo flyer so I can finish up the roving I’ve been working on, but I also made the bodies of 3 hats on my Singer HK-100 bulky knitting machine yesterday so now they just need to be sewn up to finish them.  That’s the part I dislike the most, but I’ll be able to finish them up in no time because I’m going to concentrate on them today, and someone there might even have an easier way to sew them up than I’ve been able to figure out so far, too.

I’m also going to take those over sized Fuzzy Feet slippers I made with me so I can finish the toes and then get them into the wash to felt them.  I have to say, I’m quite pleased with how they’ve turned out and I’ll be taking a toe-up sock pattern with me today so I can start learning how to do those, too.

I’m also taking a Coca Cola Chocolate Cake.  I’ve never tried it, or made it, before but I’ve never made socks before, either.

So, today it sounds like a lot of “finishing” going on!  That sounds fabulous to me, because they say that whatever you do on New Years Day is what you’ll do the rest of the year.   And by “they” I mean the gals I’m getting together with, and who knows who they got it from! 🙂 

I’ve really been  looking forward to our get together, I seem to come back calm and centered after spending a day with them.  There’s food, laughter, conversation and lots of creativity and support..

Next weekend, I’ll quilt.

Happy New Year!

Handspun Yarn!

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20130713_182527Today I met with the Emmett Spinners at the Triangle Restaurant in Sweet, Idaho and my friend, Cheri, showed me how to ply singles.

The pink is from Fiber Train 2012 and the dark brown is from Fiber Train 2013, held over Memorial Day weekend in Nampa, Idaho.  The photo of the yarn on the bobbin looks black, but it’s really a wonderful color of  dark brown that has a tint of cherry to it.

I only have standard sized bobbins so I had to break it a part and ply them on 2 different bobbins to use up all of the brown singles.  That means I don’t have one long hank of yarn and I joined the ends with knots.  I chose knots for now, because I have no idea what this is going to become and I just want it held together all in one skein.20130713_185318  Oh, wait, I still have more of the pink to ply with brown before I will be completely finished.

I also got instruction from Rhonda on how to set the twist on the yarn.  I was so excited about having come this far I didn’t want to stop, so after I left the get together I went to Puffy Mondaes and bought a PVC pipe niddy noddy.

20130713_182919During the winding process some of the twist came out of the yarn.  Eventually I cut that part out and re-worked it and then added it back in with another knot.  Purposely adding knots isn’t ideal, but it was either that or lose out on precious yardage.  It only weighs in at 3.8 oz.

Also, I was on the phone with my brother and didn’t have the patience to wait until after the call to research the problem on YouTube or post to the forums.  I really don’t have any patience, despite what I hear when people look at my quilting!20130713_204652

And now I have yarn hanging in my bathroom!

I had planned to spin more of the brown roving tonight, as I didn’t have the same amount of brown singles as I did pink singles when I started today but I’d forgotten my bag of goodies at the restaurant that included the very item I needed to accomplish this task.  So, it’ll have to wait for another time because I have a lot of quilting to do tomorrow!

I can’t believe I finally plied something!

New Year’s Day Goodness

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DSCF6221I was invited to spend New Year’s Day with a group of die hard fiber enthusiasts….knitters, spinners and weavers…who quickly became new friends.

We were hosted by Mitzi Meyer, at her home in Sweet, Idaho.  I am ashamed to say, in the 8 years I’ve lived in Idaho, I’ve rarely been outside of Boise; I didn’t even know there was a town named Sweet! I truly enjoyed the drive, it reminded me of my native Montana surroundings, and the next time my mom visits I’ll definitely take her out that way.  Their home was absolutely beautiful and perfect for this get together.

Of course, I took more projects than I was able to work on, but my motivation was to take advantage of all of the expertise in the room to get advice for completing several UFOs including:

  1. A 27 year old sweater that has been in “time out” (more on that later)
  2. A spinning project that stalled last year
  3. Instruction on how to ply my newly spun yarn

I showed off the hat that I started a couple of months ago for my DH, which is almost finished but didn’t make my knitting-machine-baby-blanket-samplerChristmas deadline…and got a good laugh from everyone because it’s absolutely gigantic!

My knitting machine sample got some attention as well, and I spent quite a bit of time talking with Angie, who is also trying to learn more about how to work her own knitting machine.

It was obvious that this is a close group of friends, but I felt welcome and included and look forward to spending more time with this unique and talented group.

Mitzi also runs an online store, Mitzi’s Yarns for Weavers and Knitters, where she sells mill ends and closeout inventory, and of course, we were able to peruse her wares. Mitzi had earlier showed off a scarf/shoulder cape she’d made, and written the pattern for, with a fingering-weight-closeupcombination of two strands of yarn that I thought would work perfectly to keep me warm this winter.

I’ve been looking for this sort of pattern and I was able to get enough yarn for the pattern to make 3 different color options using a mohair /wool /acrylic blend. I’ll pair one of theses colors with the black wool blend yarn and see how it turns out before I decide on what I want to pair the next one with. If it goes like I think it will, I might already be ahead of next Christmas’ gift season!

This might be one of those projects that is the knitting equivalent of a PSQ though, since this is a lace weight yarn (I think) and I’ve never worked with something so small!  However, I had an idea that I might be able to ply these two yarns together using my spinning wheel and treat the resulting yarn as one strand.

I’m back to my quilting this weekend.  I hope you all had a great holiday and got time to spend with all of your wonderful creative toys.

My (apparently) Monthly Post

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My goal really is to post at least once a week, not once a month!  And yet again, once more I’m saying… can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted anything!….

So, what have I finished while I haven’t been blogging?

Jessica’s quilt!

It’s a super cool modern scrappy quilt that I just love, butcropped I can’t post the photos of the finished quilt until she sees it first…that’s only fair!  But here’s a preview, as I loaded it on the frame… I loved it the moment I saw it, and I can’t wait to share it!

While I was working on Jessica’s quilt, I had a lot of trouble with a cone of YLI cotton thread.  It’s the second time I’ve used this cone, and I thought that it was the new batting I was using the first time.  This time was very difficult also, and I was not very happy with the tension on the back.  And then…I was almost finished, only 1 1/2 rows left to go on the panto and the thread kept shredding, every 3 inches or so!  Not only that, when I checked the stitches on the back of the quilt, they were almost railroad tracks in some areas….oh, great….NOT!!!  So, I decided the easiest way to remove almost an entire row of stitching would be to remove the quilt from the frame and work on it while on my lap.  Not only that, I didn’t want to take a chance that something else might happen on this quilt.

Note to Self:  do not remove the quilt from the frame and expect to be able to line it back up properly later.  Yes, Self, even if you have a trick for it.

I ended up retiming the machine, then ran into more trouble, and eventually the machine jammed on me!  I mean HARD!  The needle hit the metal casing and everything!  Of course, it threw it out of time again….so that made me REALLY nervous about putting Jessica’s quilt back on so I decided to test it out on another one instead.

Lynn’s quilt!

teddybear-smThis is a quilt that our small group put together when one of our members had been having health challenges.  I made 2 of the 15 blocks, which I’d mistakenly thought I’d posted photos of because I thought they turned out so darn cute!

Once we got the top together, I quilted it using freehand echo quilting around each of the 12″ blocks.  There are feathers in the borders and a heart motif in the sashings.  Feathered hearts with cross hatching are in each of the four corners.  Quilted with Wonderfil’s Tutti Frutti thread on top, So Fine in the bobbin and Warm and White batting.

Lynn absolutely loved it, as did I!  If you’re interested in getting a closer look, I’ve posted photos of the individual blocks on my website.

Tracey’s quilt!

DSCF3554I was lucky enough to receive another modern design to quilt in a lovely pink, yellow and zebra stripe.  It got a large overall meander, and I used Brytes 30# in hot fuscia pink in the bobbin, which I’d never done before.  This was after all of the jamming and tension problems, so I was nervous that would be a problem, but it Modern_pink_zebra-back-smwasn’t.

The back was made specifically so that the quilt could be turned down to coordinate with the sheets and other bedding.  The blocks weren’t perfectly centered in the back, but I liked that they could make a coordinating trim at the top, if desired.

Crafting Related

As if I didn’t have enough to do, I joined Dishcloth Mania, which is a knitting forum on Ravelry.  I’ve been hopelessly behind on that challenge ever since!  But talk about some beautiful patterns!  Since I’m not big on applique, I take this with me to work on at lunch or other down times.

On the spinning front, I bought some Corriedale wool roving and started practicing, and think I might have figured out the motion!  This was after one of the great gals at Puffy Mondae’s took a few minutes to show me how to use a drop spindle, and it was very easy to apply the motion to my wheel….enough to fill a bobbin full of a strand of various thicknesses!  firstyarn-smNow I’m considering having them tune up my wheel and glue the sides onto two of the bobbins that have come unglued.  They also had a large bobbin on consignment when I went in, and I’ve been wondering if I should snatch that up…hmmm?

Techie Stuff

…and sidetracked, yet again, by another project, which is that my website needs updating…again…

I’ve Had an Amazing Day!

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DSCF3286Wow…I learned a new skill today!  Spinning!

I am so proud to announce that I bought a 40 year old Ashford spinning wheel on Thursday night!

I’ve oiled it and tightened up the screws, then buffed it out this morning.  It still makes a bit of noise when spinning, even though I oiled every place I can see or think of!  All I can say is ..more oil is needed…somewhere!!

I spent the morning with my friend Diane, of DSCF3296Russet Lodge Knits, who has given selflessly of her skill and passion for knitting and spinning, learning the basics of spinning yarn from a raw fleece! 

Seriously, the woman should write a book!

She even worked a bit of my raw fleece for me on the carding combs her husband makes, so I could practice spinning!

Of course, being true to my nature, I gave her an opinion on what she should have in the to-be-determined book!  Hee hee!  I would totally pay full price for such a book!

I haven’t gotten the hang of spinning just yet, but getting close…I *might* be a left handed spinner, even though I am right handed….and I seem to want to spin counter-clockwise, to form an S-curve, rather than the Z-angle clock-wise angle.  Maybe that is the machine, maybe that is me….I do seem to do everything backwards!

Now, I am going to ship the fleeces I bought on Craigslist.comDSCF3069 to a professional processor, Spinderellas.com,  for cleaning and carding.  I’ve heard that they provide a good service and the product that comes back is very nice.  I spoke with them on Friday; being a newbie, they answered all of my questions and even gave me some idea for blending one of the fleeces I purchased to enhance it, something I hadn’t thought of previously.  They have a lot of great information on their website, so I would highly recommend looking at it if you are interested in processing fleece.

Diane writes knitting patterns, and even has a sock Knit-Along going, using a pattern she wrote herself (she has several for sale on Ravelry)!

I SO want to learn to knit socks…but then, knitting cuts into my quilting time!  Oh, that, and the fact that I keep reversing the sides of my sock, so that I have reversed sides in the outside of the sock …sigh!  I blame the sock affliction all on my friend Christine

Yes, I could process the wool myself…but as I keep reinforcing to Diane, I am a Quilter who knits, not a Knitter like she is, (yes, with capitals!), and I can have it back in 2-4 weeks and keep quilting!  So, I plan to have my fleece boxed up and in the mail on Monday!

I have been considering bringing my Bronco quilts to several of the summer markets, as well as the spinning wheel, to work on some of the yarn production there, if I don’t have a quilt related project I can bring.  Bown Crossing is a possibility, which is a part of the Indie Works project, or  maybe the Eagle Market, but I haven’t contacted them yet (I’ll post the links later in the week)