A Strange Thread

There is a strange thread in the web of the universe connecting each of us to the places where we best belong. Sometimes it vibrates and attracts our attention, sometimes it pulls us along, slowly, inexorably to our Place.

I have made many journeys buying and selling wheels and looms, finding new friends, and new fiber adventures along the way. Sometimes a picture of a particularly beautiful object will stay in my head, or a comment on some thread in Ravelry, will just keep looming in my mind; turning itself into a desire before I am even aware.

Talia made a comment a while back about focusing on tapestry, I saw a beautiful tapestry that Dawn made and thought “I should do that” .  There was a Schacht student tapestry loom up for sale on Ravelry, for a very good price, and I hesitated.  Someone made a comment in the Weavers Market place FOD about a Crisp student loom, again I missed that opportunity, but kept surfing Ravelry – another comment (this time by Talia) surfaced about a loom on Ebay, and before I knew it, I was arranging to adopt Ruthie, a Crisp 45” tapestry loom.

And … so … another adventure begins!

Here are some pictures of the New, Improved, Weaving Studio, complete with the Tapestry loom, front and center!
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I SCANNED the original paper work (which was hand typed) and have the links below.  Feel free to download them if you need information on the CRISP RUTHIE Tapestry Loom.

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I LOVE my Loom

I love my HD 8 H 10 T Loom!!!

After weaving on Kromski RH looms, Ashford Knitters Loom, a Leclerc Counterbalance, a Schacht Floor Loom and — yes a Norwood — I LOVE my Harrisville Designs Loom.

* It is JUST the right size for me — no reaching when shooting the shuttle.
* The treadles HIT the floor, and I know I’m where I need to be
* The shed is consistently good and the warp threads don’t ride up (unless I get lazy and forget to advance the warp)
* My shuttle FLIES to the other side — and never gets caught up, or tries to fall out of the warp.
* It is EASY to advance — I can reach the crank and the brake — no problem.
* It is painless to warp — no shoulder pain!

I tried all these other looms in my quest to find just the perfect loom for my retired husband, who wants to learn to weave. I figured “big guy” “big Loom” — so I looked for 45, 46, 40″ looms. Go figure — we are getting a 22″ 8H Harrisville designs to complement the 36″ 8H Harrisville Designs Loom I already have!

I haven’t woven on this loom in over 2 years. It spent some time with a friend while she learned to weave. I never realized how much I missed it, AND how easy it is to set up — I dressed it this morning, and started weaving by noon.

NOW I’m happy, and I’m just gonna sit here — bein’ happy.

🙂

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The Next Generation

My, my — what have I been doing???  Making plans, calculating changes, shifting paradigms.  I can never stand still for long it seems.

I have been contemplating — for a while, what I want to do with the business end of my fiber passion.  I have decided that whatever fibers I process, create or dye — they should be ones that I would want to use myself!  Now that my sweet husband is interested in learning to weave, my eyes have turned to projects that can also help him to move into this very satisfying hobby.  I DO have a lot of handspun, and well ….. I bet we can turn out some lovely handwoven items, for us, for family, and for sale!

I have a LOT to accomplish this Summer, and the first goad was accomplished at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival — sell off all the EXTRA FIBER I have!  Yay!   I have 11 raw fleeces to prepare, a new electric drum carder and plans!

Part of this shift was selling off extra equipment, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get a Cherry Matchless Spinning wheel, and a Pat Green Triple Picker!  We had planned a trip out to California to be with our son and daughter-in-law and my beautiful, sweet, yummy grand-daughter.

It seems that Sophia does have an interest in Spinning — sitting on my lap and watching the wheel — she looks quite contemplative.

Of course, I have been busy making little knit items for her.  I have started a project of 4 dresses — 1 was finished for her first birthday — and she looks so sweet in it too!  

We are great pals — Sophia and I!  I’m sure we will have many exciting adventures together!

 

 

 

We had a grand time together this month.  Playing, shopping, laughing and just hanging out together.  I might be just another proud grandmother, but I think this little girl is the sweetest, prettiest, funniest little mite in the entire world.  Where was there ever such a sweet girl???  She loves to laugh, and her laughter fills me with boundless joy!

I suppose I should be blogging on this site more!  BUT I’ve been trying to keep up with the month – to – month changes in Darling Sophia!

 

Eight bags full — my cup is full!

You never know what is going to inspire you, and where it may take you.  That’s the FUN of living, and I’m starting to rediscover that life can be fun.

I happen to see an excerpt of a DVD Called “Three Bags Full” made by Judith Mackenzie, this inspired me to buy the DVD.  The day it arrived I watched it.  Judith was showing us how to select raw fleece, and how to EASILY wash it.  All you really need is a pot of hot water and a good detergent (well — I’m going to add rubber gloves to the equation).  Hmmm, maybe buying raw fleece is not such a bad idea — once it’s washed, it is pretty easy to deal with, and I DO have 2 drum carders, after all.

While mulling this over, I noticed while peeking at “friend” activity on Ravelry, that Trina had made a dandy version of the Aranami Shawl using Jacob fleece that she hand prepared.  Can you just see the little wheels in my mind start to turn???  I was already making plans to attend the 2013 Maryland show — EARLY Saturday for the fleece market.  But really, 7 months into the future, could I really wait that long?  (NO)

Time to call in Google and Internet searches.  I found a place near by (just an hour or so away) called Barking Rock  and another site called Three Fates Farm, in Illinois.  I called Colleen at Barking Rock and arranged to come out.  I picked Punkin’s Lambs fleece.

 It did have a yellow stain, but hot water and soap would ensure the fleece would remain undamaged (but still yellow) — I have to say that the yellow cast makes for a lovely wool, I wouldn’t change it for the world! I will be making Jared Flood’s Quill with this super springy yarn.  Washing was easy, there was a lot of VM so — carding was a bit messy — I did not clean the downstairs until I had gone through all of it!  It is a bit of a bumpy spin — an extra run through the drum carder would have been a good idea.

I emailed Karen at Three Fates Farm, and she sent pictures of fleece from 4 different ewes.  I already had a mostly white fleece, so I was looking for color variation.  Calliope looked just perfect for me, so I bought her 2011 and 2012 fleece.  When the box arrived and I pulled out the first fleece, I was amazed at how very little VM was in the fiber!  I test washed some of the dark and some of the white, and it was wonderful — soft and springy.  What fun.

 

Sorting:

Washing:

I separated out 4 distinct color groups from Calliope’s fleece.  Each went into a storage bin.  For the next 4 days, after work I washed one group at a time.  HOT water, textile detergent, BIG pot and rubber gloves.  It took 2 hot water washes, and 2 rinses.  Then into the spin dryer and hanging in a net bag with a fan on it.   This was EASY.

Carding:

I wanted this to be well carded, so I developed a little production line.  Using my hand cards (again each evening after work) I carded through the color group — just a few passes at a time — to get any VM out and to open the locks.  The next phase (on the weekend) was to run the opened locks through my Louet Roving carder, and then 2 of those into the Louet Blending carder.  The result was a nearly VM free 1 ounce batt.

Spinning:

I need five shades, but there are 2 light greys and 2 darks — one more grey one more black.  So it should work out fine.  I placed all the greys with a “parter” of nearly the same shade for 2 oz 2 ply skeins of yarn.  The triple carding is really paying off — it spins like butter, is very clean, and will make a super elastic, full of air, nicely fuzzy yarn.  Just what you need for a light weight, but warm shawl.

 

I had not even finished with the first fleece from Karen before I decided that I had to have more — so I bought all she had from the other 3 she had sent pictures of, Norah – 2 Fleece (Calliope’s mother) Freya – 1 Fleece and Thea – 2 Fleece.  It is now sitting in my basement, waiting to be unpacked!

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What am I going to do with all of this fleece?  I do have a plan!  Of course, I will use all the Jacob that I want (I have at least 2 shawls planned, possibly a third)  THEN I am going to spin the yarn and make up a few kits for a local yarn shop — Jacob My Shawl kind of thing.  THEN I am going to offer batts of sorted, carded Jacob fleece for spinners!  When those clever little wheels start turning, all kinds of good ideas take root.

It’s Fall — Color Me Walnut!

What do you do to enjoy the Fall colors?  I start cooking up all the walnut hulls that have been generously donated to me by my friends.  I like to let em get good and steamy (they’re pretty black and a little mouldy by the time I use em!).  Makes the color better.bushwalnut-1

Then — into the cook pot to make a rich, almost black dye liquor.  How does it smell??  Not bad, really, it has a nice earthy smell.  I feel like such an Earth Mother when I’m cooking up walnuts or dandelions (that’s the Spring blog!).

I use yarn and roving in the pot, sometimes together.  They seem to rub along together quite nicely — who would da thunk!

There is this new trend in shawl making to use hues of the same color in your shawl.  A few great examples are Brooklyn Tweed’s Quill, The Aranami Shawl (I’ve also seen this done with Jacob Fleece) — and The Yarn Harlot’s project shawl with Jacob Fleece and the Damask Pattern.  Really you could take ANY shawl pattern and apply a graduation of color to it, but it looks especially good when the pattern has a shift in texture — time to change colors!  Keeping it all in the same family makes a stunning piece.

Walnut dyeing is pretty cool.  I swear it almost conditions the fiber.  It feels softer to me, maybe even happier.  You WANT happy yarn — then when you pick it for a project, you get the maximum cooperation and a flawless execution of form, color and texture.  Remember — happy fiber is good fiber.bushelofwalnuts

This year I took my walnuts — gosh I had almost forgotten them — collected last Fall and sitting around in my garage for – well – almost a year (oops).  Cooked em up, and Dyed some Wool superwash roving from the Sheep Shed Studio (Brown Sheep Wool over runs), some super fine lace weight wool from the Cleveland Woolen mill (he told me it was Merino) — we’re talking 5200 ypp here folks, and some lovely superwash Merino Lace weight (2000 ypp) from Henry’s Attic.  There were 3 different batches.  The original strength and cook for 45 minutes, soak over night in the left over, and another batch after that — cooked for about 30 minutes.  I have 3 very nice shades for each fiber, and YES they all took the dye slightly differently — each according to their tastes.  It IS a wonderful life, isn’t it???

Check out the Gallery below for more pictures!