Friday, August 23, 2013

Custom Blanket

I have been rummaging through the stash recently.  I came across a couple of cones of 4/2 cotton in some yummy colors for my baby blankets and couch throws.  One of the colors is wine.

I tested the color for bleeding, and it passed the test!  Not a single bit of color loss in the sample skein.  I quickly notified a client that was wanting a blanket, I let her know that I had found what we had been looking for!

She approved the color, and Wednesday I began weaving her couch throw.  This yarn is a little bit thicker than the 8/4 carpet warp I have been using.  I don't know if it is because it is a little softer spun or what, but I will be adjusting the number of repeats I do accordingly.  I am running the tape measure along the side to keep track of how long this one is going to be.  Normally,  I just keep track of how many pattern repeats I have done, but I will have to pay attention to both repeats and length this time.  Next time, I will be back to counting pattern repeats.  Better a little too long than too short!

I like how it is looking so far, I can't wait to get it finished and  
hemmed and washed.  I love it when I finish a custom order and get back to production on my terms!

But it isn't all work around here!  Anytime I have a few spare minutes, I am making a dent in the Jacob roving I unearthed a couple of weeks ago.  A few minutes here and a few minutes there really add up!  I have over 1000yds of 2ply already in skeins, with plenty more to follow.

I use spinning as a reward, like when I finish weaving for the day, or when I finish a chore, or when I am waiting on something, for example, a load of laundry to finish.

There is always time for spinning, and at my house there is plenty to spin!

Until next time, Happy Spinning and Weaving, Tina

Friday, July 12, 2013

TdF update!

I have been plugging away, a couple of hours everyday, sometimes more!  We are 2/3 of the way through the Tour, and here is what I have already finished.

A whopping 928 yards of 2 ply!  1 skein of the shetland that I hand dyed 344 yards, 1 skein of the Jack sparrow brown shetland, 358 yards, 1 skein of the white shetland lambs wool, 134 yards and 1 skein of white rambouillet, 92 yards.  As I am writing this, I am planning to finish plying the last of that hand dyed shetland, which will be another 350 yards or so, and then I will spin another single of the Jack Sparrow to ply with what I have left over from the last  batch, maybe another 350 yards as well.

Beyond that I have started to card the batt of short stapled Rambouillet into rolags, to use on the great wheel in the hall.  I think it will flow much better, so maybe I will be able to get another 100 or so yards of that done before the end.

I will be missing the last few days of the tour, we will be camping with my daughter and her family for the first time.  We are all excited over the time together,  the grandkids will sleep in our tent, and there will be hiking and campfires and everything.  (Oh, yes, we won't be far from Gatilinburg, and the Smoky Mountain Spinnery, so us girls just may need to take a "hike" on our own, that second afternoon!)

I have been amazed at how much I have been able to spin in these last 2 weeks.  It really does encourage me to keep spinning, maybe not at this pace, but a lot more than I had been doing.

Keep Spinning!

Until next time, Happy Weaving and Spinning, Tina

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Skein for the Tour de Fleece!

I have been spinning for 4 different teams, 30 minutes a day for each one.  It is really paying off too!  I thought that I had prepared enough fiber to last me the whole 3 weeks, but I haven't got near enough ready to spin.  I will be addressing that tomorrow!

Today however, I broke from my plan and concentrated on only one team, Team Ashford.  I am spinning up some wool that I dyed with Wiltons food color, 2 blues and 2 greens.  I had already spun up the turquoise single and it was time to tackle the multi-colored batch.  Once I got started I couldn't stop.

I split the top into 2 batches.

 I pre-drafted quite a bit, and then rolled it into this ball.
I spun the first ball, and then I couldn't help it, I just kept on spinning until the fiber was finished!  

Then I was go excited about it, I plied it!  

I even lost track of how much time I put into this. I am estimating 5 hrs.  I have the fiber set up to repeat this skein, I am thinking a shawl would be wonderful with this color combo.

Tomorrow will be a light spinning day, since it is the 4th of July!  It happens to also be our anniversary and our Daughters Birthday!  It is always nice when the country throws us a party!

I need  to sneak in some fiber prep so that I don't run out!

Until next time, keep your head down and stay hydrated,  and Happy 4th of July!   Tina

Friday, June 28, 2013

Not Quite What I Expected!

I took a road trip today.  I had seen a great wheel in a relatively near by city, and was intrigued, but I did not think about it too much until I saw it again on an online group I belong to.  I took a second look that starts the, want to have it, ball rolling. 

Someone else was interested in the wheel but she lived quite a ways away, so I was given the go ahead to go get it.  So I did!  I have to say, however that on closer inspection, she has some condition issues.  Number one she is as dry as dust, and then painted black!  The drive wheel is cracked really badly, but she has all her spokes, and I have a friend that might be able to do something about the wheel.  We shall see.....

For $50, I may just have a second Great Wheel without a drive wheel!

Until next time, Happy Weaving and Spinning, Tina

Friday, June 21, 2013

Farmhouse Facelift

We moved into this old 1870 farmhouse back in April of 2001.  That means that we have been here for a little over 12 years.  In that 12 years we have done a lot of renovation, though we did not have to do the electrical or the plumbing, and most of the windows and the vinyl siding had already been put on.

One of the first things we did was to pull up a house full of  pink carpet and paint the whole inside of the house, from pink and beige, to soft yellow and blue with white trim.

Then we put in hardwood floors throughout the lower level of the house, leaving the plank flooring in the upstairs bedrooms.  We also painted the walls again, all blue this time!

Outside,  Dear One has taken the original skimpy grass to a whole new level!  It is growing so well, he "has" to mow 2x a week!  We have revitalized the flower beds and also planted a few dogwoods, with new flowerbeds under their spreading branches.  Tulips, daffodils, peonies, black eyed Susan's and stella d'oro are plentiful!

Impatiens are a special favorite of ours, as are iris' and zinnias too!  We surrounded the house with evergreen bushes to give some winter interest.

We even planted a couple of azaleas last fall, and they rewarded us this year with a small but colorful show.

We tore down the old barn that was right behind the house and ready to fall in, and built a new bigger barn out in the field, for the goats, chickens and dogs.  Now, the new fencing is almost finished!

This last winter I noticed that the porch roof was leaking, and we figured that it was probably true of the roof on the rest of the house as well, since they were the same age. (unknown!)

We had a friend come out, who roofs for a living, on Wednesday and give the old girl a face lift!  Since the roof was going to be looking so fine, Dear One and I decided to pull the shutters and paint and replace them.  On the picture at the top of the page, we had already taken most of them down, and even got the lower left one painted and replaced!  (Watch out for wasps if you ever decide to do that!)

We are very proud of this old place.  The roofer said that the old roof had been on there for 70 or 80 years.  Looks like we won't have to worry about replacing that again in our lifetime!  Oh, the roofer said that the old roof was indeed leaking, the metal had not failed, but the gaskets around all those little nails that hold it down had worn clean away!

So, the old girl got a face lift, but not a modernization, she looks just like she did in 1933 when the last roof was put on!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Spinning and Living, Tina

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rug Revision

I have taken the second batch of  T-shirt rugs off of the loom.  I have hemmed them photographed them and given them away to the people who gave me the t-shirts!  Pretty cool huh!  I learned a lot this second time around, and it was in the photos once again!

 I feel like the twill stripes are to narrow, and I would like to widen the rugs a bit without adding to the warp.   I decided, therefore, to change the twill bands to 10 epi from the 12 epi it was originally!

I started by figuring how many spaces I would need to make the shift, and I placed a marker so that I wouldn't mess it up!

 I began...

Slowly I made my way across, spreading out the warp as I went.

Almost there!

One side complete, and you can see by comparing to the left hand side, (the marker is still there!) just how much wider the rugs are going to be.

I have finished the revision, and I have woven the hem for the next rug, but that is as far as I have gotten.  I got sick this week and didn't feel up to cutting the fabric!

That is it for now,

Until next time, Happy Weaving and Spinning, Tina

Friday, June 7, 2013

Training for the Tour

I have been training for the 2013 Tour de Fleece this week.  For those of you who don't know, there is a world of spinners out there who have committed to "ride" on their spinning wheels/spindles, on the days that the Tour de France cyclists ride their bicycles.

There are hundreds of teams on Ravelry, there are even prizes too!  This is my first year participating, and I have joined 2 teams.  One of the teams is for those who have Ashford Spinning Wheels.  The second team is for those who are going to use a spindle in some way shape or form, either a hand spindle or a spindle wheel.

I keep waiting for the e-spinners to get a team going, cause I can seriously to some yardage on that baby!  In fact that is the "wheel"  I have been spinning on this week.  For some reason, I feel like I need to finish up my current spinning projects, so I can have brand new ones for the "Tour"!

 This is the last bump of  roving for this project.  I only have one bobbin for the e-spinner, so I have been winding off the finished bobbins onto the spools from my sectional warping rack.

There are really only the two colors!  As the fibers compress they darken.  I have gotten 2 spools from each bump, and I think I am going to use 1 strand of the dark brown and 2 strands of the lighter brown and make a lovely 3ply with it.  I will probably borrow my daughters wheel for that, it has such huge bobbins!

I am now making my plans for the "Tour 2013" projects, nothing quite final yet, but I will show you when I am sure.  Now, back to the looms!

Until next time, Happy Weaving and Spinning, Tina

Friday, May 31, 2013

Nother Rug

Life has really been busy these last couple of weeks!  That means that I haven't really spent any quality time up in the Studio!

One thing I have been able to do is to take some of the T-shirts a friend gave to me, and start a rug for her.  I picked out 6 shirts, and tried a new way of processing to get balls of striped rags.

I really love the way this is coming out!  This then is my second
template for T-Shirt rugs.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Friday, May 24, 2013

Things that go round!

I went someplace today that I haven't been to in a long while.  I used to go there quite frequently, in fact weekly, or when the kiddos were in diapers and we were still in student housing, multiple times a week!   I remember putting my son in his carseat, in the buggy right in front of the dryer so that he would go to sleep by looking at all the clothes go round and round in the dryer!  That is right, I had to go to the laundromat today.

I haven't used my dryer, since it began to sound like a jet engine, that would be several years.  Usually that is not a problem, I am used to hanging out our clothes out on the line or inside on the drying racks if the weather is looking iffy.   This time, however, I needed the magic shrinking properties of the dryer to get me going on that t-shirt rug again!

I have dutifully unwoven back almost to the beginning.  It was a slow but necessary task, made all the more difficult by a head cold that  hit me like a ton of bricks on Tuesday!

 I put the fabric strips in a skein and tied them really well.  I also gathered all the gold and blue shirts that needed pre-washing.  I ran them thru my own washing machine, then I packed up and went to the store and then to that place.
 I knew I would have some time on my hands, and there were many things I could have chosen to take with me for my 30 minute sojourn.  I could have taken a book, or listen to one on my phone, I could have taken some knitting or tatting to work on, but I settled on spinning.

I have been spindle spinning a project recently.  I have several ounces, probably 4 of this soft luscious dark brown shetland cross, that I have confidence will all fit on this spindle.  I am using this spindle in a supported manner, that is, not letting it hang from the yarn I am making, but putting the point of the spindle in a small bowl, in my lap or even on a table.  (They don't call it a drop spindle for nothing!  Don't get me wrong, I can do it, but with this much yarn on the spindle, it is really getting heavy!)

I had seriously considered taking this project, because I am so close to finishing this part of it, but I didn't!

I took this one instead!

I stuffed the shirts in the dryer, and got them started.   I took a quick survey as I entered to find the nearest electrical outlet, because.......

 I have my little Clemes and Clemes E-Spinner in its case, and several ounces of a lighter colored shetland cross to use in the same project as the yarn above.

I hadn't used this beauty in quite some time, and last week, I just pulled it out and spun up a sample of something.  I, once again am intrigued with it!  (Actually, what got me thinking about the e-spinner is the upcoming Tour-de-Fleece, sponsored by Ravelry!  It is a fun competition where spinners spin wool, while bikers spin their wheels in the Tour-de-France.  I have never participated before, and I think I may throw my hat in this year!)

It is easy to spin on this little beauty, I have the speed set at medium for now, and I suppose that if I was spinning with something a little smoother, like top,  I could turn it up a little more.

It is very fast spinning, the only thing that would make it faster is if I could get one of those "Wooly Winders" that load the bobbin evenly without having to stop to change hooks.  I don't even know if they can make one for this double drive wheel?

It is a different spinning experience, you don't have to coordinate treadling and drafting at the same time, you can set your speed as slow as you want and then concentrate on drafting!  If you are trying to learn how to spin, and it isn't happening, see if you can borrow one for a little while.  Mine is always available to try, for those of you close at hand!

I think I may go ahead and order a couple more bobbins to go with the one that I have.  It would certainly slow me down if I have to unload the bobbin each time, before I could spin up a new one!

The fabric was tumbling in the dryers, the little e-spinner was humming, and I am still a little foggy with that head cold.  I would have totally succumbed to a nap, just like my son used to do, if it hadn't been having so much fun spinning yarn!

Until next time, Happy Weaving and Spinning, Tina

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Learning the easy way!

I was in the middle,(literally) of weaving that rug from the last post, when I read a post from a blog I follow,  Hilary, the author. was talking about having to reweave a rug because the knit weft she had used in one section, had shrunk during the washing process, differently than the woven fabric that the rest of the rug was made of.  I realized that though most of my t-shirts are used, therefore washed and dried multiple times, I had a batch of  blue and a batch of gold t-shirts that were left over from an event, therefore they had not been washed!

In fact it is that gold right there, getting ready to load onto the cloth beam!  On the other side of the beam, already rolled out of view is the blue I am talking about.

I have decided that I am going to listen to Hilary, and I am going to unweave this rug and wash and dry the offending t-shirts and strips, all so that I can know that this rug will behave when it is washed!

That is a lot of unweaving, but I think it will be well worth the time and effort to produce something I can be proud of!  Luckily, I have only made one other rug using those colors, I will have to let the couple, that received it as a gift, know to watch out for that little problem!

I am so glad I read Hilary's post before I finished and cut off this rug!  I like this way of learning!

Until, next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Friday, May 10, 2013

In Production Mode

In the main Studio,  to compliment the full lace hand towels I am already doing, I have decided to do some hand towels and napkins in mostly plain weave with just a border of Swedish lace,.  This is a picture of a hand towel in blue cotton flake.  I love the texture that the flake creates.  Unfortunately, the lace border pattern I settled on, was already on the cloth beam so I couldn't get a good picture of it!

Here is a shot of the yarns that I bought today, from R & M yarns.  I posted more about them on the Tuesday Weavers blog.  I am going to use them for the same white warp you see above, hand towels and napkins.

In the Studio overflow room across the hall, there is another rug on the Reed Cambridge, using the black and white Hollywood rug warp.  (As I was getting started on this rug, I noticed a threading error that had slipped by me for the last 2 rugs!  At least they were gifts and nobody but me will notice it!)

 I had been thinking about weaving a rug using bold colorful stripes like what you might see on the old Hudson Bay wool blankets, and wouldn't you know it, one of the girls brought one in on Tuesday to show and tell!  That clinched it!  I did not look closely at the blanket, and I am using the colors I had left over from my last rug.

I pulled out the adding machine tape and planned out this rug so that the rug would come out symmetrical.  I love how the t-shirt material packs in nice and tight so that the warp pattern shines!

I will be making a red stripe next, then a wider white center section, then I will reverse the strip pattern.  I think that this may be one of  my rug templets. I have many more white t-shirts than any other color, plus they are easier to come by!  I also have loads of this yellow and  blue, I can replace the red with other colors when I run out.

  In the flower gardens I am working on reclaiming the borders!  The grass wants so bad to take over everything!  Dear One is working on creating a couple of Wildflower gardens,  they may not look like much this year, but they will look wonderful  next year!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Spinning, Knitting and Gardening, Tina

Friday, May 3, 2013

Shirts and Strips

This week I have spent a lot of time cutting t-shirts apart!  I have finished the yellow stack and the  gray stack, the greens and some of the blues.

I have also stripped some of the whites, but it takes more time than I would like!  There are still many more to do, and I would like to have them all cut and ready to strip when needed!  (Though I should really like to have them all cut into strips soon!)

This week, I have also taken advantage of the fact that I have the little Leclerc Alice loaded with the white warp for Napkins and Hand towels.  I can sit and weave whenever I have time, and it doesn't take long to finish either one.  In a short time, I have 8 Hand Towels already on the cloth beam!

In the out of doors, I have gotten a few tomato plants tucked into the garden, and I will probably put in a few herbs as well.  We do a very limited garden these days, there are many other things to keep us busy!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Alpaca and Hand Spun Wool Shawl

It has been quite some time that the Alpaca and wool shawl has been on the loom.  It might be because it isn't a production piece, but something I was weaving for myself.   The last week or so, I have been weaving on it in 15-20 minute spurts.  You know, a little here and a there, and before you know it, it was time to hem stitch.

I started hemstitching last night, and if the truth be told, I had to unwind the cloth beam to see how I had hemmed the first edge!  I stopped about half way through, when it was time for us to meet some friends for dinner.

This morning, after I had walked the dogs and fed all the animals, I took some time and cleaned out all the winter bedding first from the chickens, (though I don't leave that all winter! Yuck! )  The chicken bedding has it's own pile, that I will add to all summer.   In the fall, when the garden is done, I will spread this nitrogen rich compost over the whole garden, where it can rest all winter, and be ready for the plants come spring.

I  then started on the goat stalls.  The first layer of mostly dry waste hay went to a pile in the garden.  I will use that as a final mulch in the garden around the tomato plants.  The next layer in the stalls, was a little more composted, that went to a second pile that will be used before that final mulch after the plants are in the ground, around the plants.  And finally there was the black gold, compost!  I spread this all over the garden, and we will dig that in just a little bit.  Lou Ann had asked me for a little of that wonderful stuff, so I saved her a 5 gallon buckets worth.

After all that grunt work, I hit the shower, and I was ready to finish up that shawl!  I finished the hemstitching, and cut it off the loom.  I tied the fringe in big knots to protect the ends, and set to work on a little needle weaving.  There wasn't too much, just a couple of skipped threads here and there, but you really have to look closely to see them sometimes, and don't forget to look on the other side too!

Lou Ann showed up right about then, and got to see and feel the shawl, pre wash.  I had woven to 100 inches in length, since I did not know how much shrinkage I was going to get with the alpaca.  I figured I could easily shorten it if I needed to.

I set up a bath of hot water and Euclan, and unceremoniously plunged the shawl in, and let it soak while I took Lou Ann on a tour of the clean barn!  She had a good visit with the goats Mopsie and her daughter, Snickers, and with Captain Marshmallow the Great Pyr LGD. 

Lou Ann headed for home after we loaded her bucket full of black gold in the back of her van, and I headed to the kitchen to work on the shawl.  I emptied the water into the sink and squeezed out as much water as I could.  Then I took my two thirstiest towels and one after the other, I rolled the shawl in them, until it was still just a little more than damp.

Then I set to work, I gathered it up and slammed it down on the counter.  I worked on it for about 20 minutes.  I did this because I want it to full a little bit, and become a cohesive fabric, rather than the separate strands of yarn criss crossing.  

 It worked to some degree.  I lost 2 inches in the width and 2 inches in the length.  I would have thought that I would have lost more in the length, but there you have it!  (I may have to shorten it a bit, but I will wait on that!)

I haven't decided how I am going to treat the fringes, I really liked how they looked in their protective knot for the washing.  I will have to play with that a little to see what looks best.

You know I did not notice the darker stripe down the center of the shawl until I looked thru the view finder to take this picture!  That is not the first time something like that has happened to me. ( Take a picture and get a new perspective!)

Once it is dry, I will rough it up a little more, to loosen it up, and play with the fringes.  I will be bringing it to the Appalachian Arts Crafts Center next Tuesday, for the show and tell segment of our day.  It has been a little while since I had something new to bring!

Now back to my regularly scheduled day!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina