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