Sunday, December 14, 2003

I wove my first twill pattern shawl. This is also the first time I used hand spun yarn too. The yarn is spun from Ashland Bay McKenzie merino and silk. The shawl is for my mother.

Here Gabrielle is modeling the shawl for me. It shrank quite a bit in fulling, but since my mother is about 5'1", I think it will be fine. It really turned out much prettier than the camera captures. (I'm starting to have some problems with the digital camera. Uh oh.)

I also wove up a couple of 3 foot shawls for Gabrielle and one of her cousins who is about the same age and who will be having a birthday while we are visiting. Gabrielle has been wanting a shawl since she saw my Creatures of the Reef shawl. Gabrielle's shawl is a twill weave, while her cousin's shawl is tabby. The tabby shawl also has a flower design embroidered with the same yarn at the bottom point. (Subtle way to tell which shawl belongs to which child.)

It is a little small and Gabrielle told me she wants a bigger one next.

I made these with Lion's Brand Homespun so that they would wash up easily.

I finally finished Gabrielle's bobble sweater!!!

She wanted it for our trip to Las Vegas and I just got it done in time! Now the question is do I dare start a second "bobble hell" sweater for myself???

Sunday, December 07, 2003

I am getting closer to the finish line with Gabrielle's bobble sweater!!!

She told me she really wanted it for our trip to visit our families over Christmas so I've made it a priority. I've finished all of the pieces, have joined the back and the front and am knitting the collar. Then I'll have to attach the sleeves and sew her up!

The bobbles on this sweater made it a real pain in the neck! But. . . it is so pretty that I think I want one too. . . Of course I'd want a tunic length one. Sigh. It doesn't look like 2004 will be bobble free even if I do finish Gabrielle's sweater in 2003.

Of course I have already committed to knitting a stranded sweater for my 6'2" husband next. 2004 very well COULD BE bobble free!

I'm trying to hurry and finish my first handspun triloom shawl before we leave. It is a gift for my mother and we will be heading west in a little over a week!

I am worried that the fabric may be too open. I actually pulled it off of the loom when I was 1/3 of the way done to check and it seemed like it might be okay with fulling. I'm still worried. Here is another angle that better shows the weave structure:

I attempted a twill pattern. I'll turn into a weaver yet!

I started another pair of socks. I'll bring them on our trip. They should be great for car knitting.

I haven't done as much as I should because I have been distracted by involvement in a wonderful new yahoo group Christian Artisans. The group is full of born again Christians who also enjoy fiber arts and/or sewing and we're all having a great time bonding!

Yesterday was Gregory's 7th birthday!

I got these pictures as he was eating his cake and ice cream.

This was a special birthday celebration for Gregory because he is taking enzymes that help him to digest gluten and casein. While we haven't be able to eliminate his special diet, we have been able to occassionally let him have "normal" food. The cake is gluten free, but the frosting is "regular" penuche and that is real ice cream. He seems to tolerate casien better than gluten.

Monday, November 24, 2003

I completed my second tri-loom shawl and this one is very unique. It is plain weave in blue Lion's Brand homespun yarn.

Despite compelling advice to the contrary, I embroidered a large floral design on the back of the shawl and it turned out great! I used the mega-hoop on my Designer I sewing machine and lots of water soluable stabilizer.

The flower design picks up shades of green and purple from the woven fabric. Here is a closer view:

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of glare from the flash on the design. However, you can see by using water soluable stabilizer on the top as well as the bottom of the fabric, the design stays on top of the yarn.

I suspect there will be more embroidered shawls in my future. This one is for a friend who is going through a difficult time right now. Hopefully she won't see my blog before she receives her gift later this week!

I've been working on spinning thick and textured yarn for my next tri-loom project. I'm struggling to get it bumpy enough for my liking.

I can't believe how fast I "forgot" how to make slubby, beginner's yarn!

On the knitting front, I finally screwed up my courage and conquered my first stranded, two color project!

Kurt brought home some wool yarn from the thrift store for me and I thought I'd make hat for Gregory. We plan to go home for the holidays this year and Las Vegas is colder than Florida! I thought both of my children could use a wool hat. Gabrielle's is next. I want to knit her a tam, but she wants one like her brother's. I think she likes the pom pom Gregory insisted I put on the top. Perhaps she will like a pom pom topped tam?

I learned quite a bit from this project. I learned that I need to learn how to do the "jogless jog." I also learned that decreasing in the middle of a design row is not an easy thing. Perhaps I should have used a pattern for my first stranded project instead of making it up as I went?

Gabrielle wants her bobble sweater to be finished before we go to Las Vegas. (She is quite demanding for a 4 year old!) She could use some more winter clothes so I have been a bit more focused on her sweater. I am just about finished with the first sleeve.

That leaves one more sleeve, the collar and sewing all the pieces together. Oh yeah, I will have to weave in about a million ends too. Can I do it in less than a month? I hope so!

Friday, November 14, 2003

I love to receive unexpected blessings from the Lord! I've wanted a floor loom for awhile, but knew it was WAY out of my budget! Then, yesterday, I got an email from a local weaving guild member who thought I might want a floor loom. There was an estate sale taking place today and they were just about GIVING a loom away. So this morning, I woke up the kids at the crack of dawn and we headed out.

I came home with a 1975 Macomber 8 harness, 20 inch, floor loom! Here is a picture of the identifying information:

It looks like the perfect loom upon which to learn to weave and does not require a dedicated loom room!

The wood is very nice. Anyone have any idea what kind of wood it is?

At the sale there was a pile which they called "the loom". There were other items included, like a warping board and even a couple of cones of thread for me to get started. I think there is a rigid heddle loom here too.

The rigid heddle loom has a blue warp on it and the loom has a brown warp on it.

I don't know what the flat board is. Underneath the yarn is a Schacht boat shuttle and a couple of shed sticks. I was very impressed with myself that I could name most of what is here. My first job, other than finding a more "permanent" location for the loom, is to clean it up. It is terribly dusty and there is a little rust on the two reeds.

I have already contacted Macomber and they are supposed to be sending me the written information for this loom. Pretty cool!

Monday, November 10, 2003

What a week! I have been frying my brain with information pertaining to biological interventions for autism and it feels like when I was in college/law school and just finished finals. Whew! We have done very well with dietary intervention, but it is time to take my son's "treatment" to the next level. Changes and discoveries in the field of autism happen so rapidly that it is up to parents to stay on top of the information. Few local doctors with more "general" medical practices can keep up. Too bad I went into law instead of medicine!

In addition to time with my Lord, my knitting, spinning and other fiber projects keep me sane!

I've been experimenting with spinning "designer yarn."

It has little loops of fiber throughout.

I was SO proud of myself because I figured this out all on my own. Then, when we went to Running Moon Farm, I saw many skeins of the same kind of yarn spun by Margrett Stretton. She even showed me a video demonstration for spinning this kind of yarn. Oh well, like the bible says, "there is nothing new under the sun."

I started a new shawl on my tri-loom.

I am using a pretty oceany blue Lions Brand Homespun yarn.

I finished Kurt's "sleeping socks."

I used my own homespun yarn from some Shetland fiber I got in a trade. The yarn was pretty lumpy, but the socks will keep Kurt's feet warm while he sleeps. He likes to wear socks to bed and these will be better than the little cotton ones he has been wearing.

Before I spin up any more sock yarn, I thought it might be good if I actually saw the real thing. So I broke down and bought some.

I'm planning to use a basic sock pattern from my Vogue Socks 2 pattern book. Sock yarn sure looks different than I imagined it. I guess I'll have to alter my spinning of it!

My kids love to play in hand soap and have been driving my husband and I crazy with it! They can go through a bottle of liquid soap in a couple of days. They love to squeeze slippery bar soap out of their hands and all over the place. So I formulated a plan.

I obtained directions for felted soap from the Mielkes Farm website and Gabrielle and I made a few felted bars of hand soap.

Now the soap is no longer slippery, the kids are not so inclined to play with it and we are not going through hand soap as fast as the water that goes with it! YAY! This was a great project for using wool that I didn't really want to spin into yarn.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

I finished my first woven shawl!

I have a couple of pictures because it is tough to see the black.

I used the Lions Brand Homespun yarn for this project. Alisha, my step daughter, picked the colors as this was for her.

This shawl was done with the 5 foot insert, which was the perfect size for Alisha.

She looks great in the shawl and we both loved how it turned out!

There was some left over yarn so I knit up a tam to go with the shawl.

I actually finished this in ONE AFTERNOON! I surprised myself and Alisha with my speed.

Alisha left this morning for the airport wearing her tam and shawl. She had the shawl wrapped around her waist and secured with a pin. She looked great! Unfortunately I was so distraught at her leaving that I forgot to take a picture. We are sure going to miss her, but I am so grateful for her visit!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

WOW! What a week! Alisha (my step daughter) arrived from Belgium (Europe) for a too-short visit and we all just returned from a weekend at Running Moon Farm. Our "primary" purpose in driving the 7 1/2 hours to western Louisiana was to pick up my Christmas present.

A new Running Moon Farm Tri-Loom! We decided Alisha would get the first shawl from the loom. Too tired to do much, we did manage to run out and pick up some Lion Brand Homespun in a marbled black color for Alisha. It is weaving up much nicer than I ever expected! We are using the 5 foot insert here.

The whole family had fun this weekend. We got to see the baby goats and lambs.

Ever since we planned this trip Gabrielle only talked about petting the babies. The animals had other ideas however about my energetic youngsters. The children had fun anyway.

I can't say that the animals had as much fun as the human children. They were definitely wary of the children. The children were oblivious to it however.

We also made a trip down the road to Nightsong Farm. We got to see goat milking and a variety of other farm animals as well.

The geese were less wary of the children and in fact Gabrielle got nipped through the fence.

You can see the goose eyeing its target. . .

Running Moon Farm is a spinner's paradise!

Margrett didn't have too much wool left when we arrived and I managed to further lighten her load.

I had fun poking through the dyed mohair.

And the new bunny fiber too!

But the hardest fiber to resist was the freshly sheared and dyed mohair!

This reminded me of an artist's palette and I had a tendency to wander over to blend pinches of different colors. I did end up with a combination I liked enough to bring home!

The Strettons are wonderful people with kind and generous natures. Margrett is a riot and kept us laughing the entire weekend! She also shared her vast knowledge of fiber arts with me throughout the weekend and more than once I wished I'd brought a tape recorder!

Margrett spins the loveliest yarns! She is especially good at putting together great designer yarns which weave so well on the tri-looms. She showed me that even a broken fleece could produce a lovely designer yarn with the right spinning technique.

Margrett opened my mind to a vast world of weaving possibilities on the tri-loom. She is an awesome weaver!

She taught me how to weave with a "regular" warp and weft technique on the tri-loom for a denser shawl. Since I love to spin lace weight yarn, this will be perfect! She also showed me her collection of floor looms and planted another seed in my fertile mind. I think I might see if I can trade one of my Husqvarna Viking sergers for a floor loom. Can't hurt to try, right?

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I finished my first new outfit this week! Boy did I need it too.

This is the top and pants. I also made a skirt to go with it for a change of pace when I need one.

The shirt is embellished with squares of "anchor" fabric I will soon use to make another pair of pants. These squares are outlined with gold braid. Finally, they are backed with a larger square of the material I used for the pants and skirt. The portion of this material extending beyond the gold braid was unraveled to create a fringe. I like the way this dresses up what would have otherwise been a plain tee-shirt. I love to make comfortable clothes that look nice enough to wear out and about.

I FINALLY finished my skein of MacKenzie lace weight yarn.

This is a really nice teal color with depth created from the gentle play of maroon, blue and white as well. I intend to use this for the Peacock Shawl. Unfortunately, our digital camera did not capture the beauty of the color here.

I received a nice surprise in the mail yesterday from the Spindlers' (Yahoo Group) Fiber Fairies! A while back I spontaneously demonstrated/taught spindling to visitors during a local spin and weave day at Everman's Natural Food store. I was a visitor to the event sponsored by or local Spinning and Weaving Guild myself. Many things were being demonstrated, but no one had spindles. For furthering the art of Spindling I received this:

It is so beautiful I mentally put "weaving bookmarks" on my "to do/ to learn" list!

I thought I'd take a picture of some of the school materials we are planning to send to Geeta in India.

This is about one-third of the total we have accumulated so far. I also have bags of workbooks and other "kits" of materials based on different themes. I think I even saw a box of costumes in a set called "Promise Keepers for Kids" or something like that. I want to thank those of you who sent postage funds! We will be sending the first boxes out in the near future!