Wait but There’s More

I did get a little housekeeping done. The Tour De Fleece skeins are finally washed. There was so much to wash that I just filled up my kiddie pool, added a little Dr. Bronners Castle Soap and gave them a swirl to set the twist.

 

I bought some stuff. I bought a lot of stuff (hangs head). A new to me wheel. It’s a Lendrum with a bunch of extras thrown in, including Spunky Eclectic Aspen BFL roving which I immediately spun up. I did try to vote my Ashford Traveller wheel off the island via Ravelry but no takers so I guess I’m a crazed lady with 5 spinning wheels. But, but I spin though.

 

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Oh yes, and then theirs a few spindles. I bought 2 bottom whirls one has a pewter whirl and the other is one of the illusive Ann Grout pottery spindles. It was a steal at $25 on a Ravelry destash. Then there’s the cute little Greensleeves teacup spindle and… let me just stop. But, but I spin though.

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My favorite is the cute little owl spindle I got from Woodland Woodworks. I saw them in the Inglenooks forum during Tour De Fleece then this happened…

 

I did start a new knitting project. This is the starts of a hoodie that I found on Knitty called Undercurrent.

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I did swatch…just in case this thing turns out to be a disaster. I tried to plan really. The yarn is crazy as all get out. The art batts were from Gargoylelover in the Starry Night colorway. I am adding in some white silk yarn that I’ve had in my stash forever in hopes of having enough yarn to finish.

 

Meanwhile I have some socks  lingering on the needles along my crochet Virus shawl which is slowly growing.

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A Spinners Milestone: Weaving with Handspun Yarn

I have been spinning yarn since 2005. My first experience with the luxury of working with natural fibers was after winning a gift certificate to Evelise’s Yarn Shop at the Berrien County Youth Fair . An Afghan that I had crocheted with acrylic yarn won Reserved Grand Champion.  With the gift certificate I bought my first designer yarn, a black cotton, and a pattern for a beaded crochet handbag. The bag was a success and I was in love.

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My first bag made with fancy commercial cotton yarn. Still sparkling after 16 years.

 

Unfortunately I could not afford to buy more natural yarns. I was over the cheapo acrylic and so I stopped crocheting. At college the following year I gained new hope of acquiring “good” yarn when a professor at my university did a show and tell with spinning equipment. I became fixed on the idea of spinning my own yarn.

Online I ordered a kit that came with a book , Spin It by  Lee Raven and 1oz of roving. The book had instructions on how to make a spindle out of a CD. With a pencil, CD, and the small bit of sliver I became a spinner. Shortly afterwards I learned to knit.

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The book that started it all.

I knitted a lot of lace shawls with my handspun. I love making them but that was all I would do with my yarn.  After a while I had way more yarn than projects I wanted to knit up. I kind of got bored.

For the longest time (12 years!) I was so afraid that my yarn wouldn’t be strong enough to weave with, especially my cotton. It was only safe to crochet with it.

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Crochet shawl made from hanspun cotton dyed with tumeric. The pattern is Moondrop by Lori Carlson published in Interweave crochet Winter 2016

A few years ago I had crocheted a ruffled throw with my natural colored cotton  See it here that I wasn’t all that happy with. I just kept crocheting in a round until I had used up all of the different colors of cotton in my stash. After a while it started to come apart  where I doubled the stitch count. I decided that I had nothing to lose by unraveling the throw to reuse the yarn for weaving.

I warped random colors on my Leclerc Dorothy table loom that I bought in my college days. With a simple plain weave I slowly but surely realized that my worries were unfounded. Without any special treatment I was able to weave an eclectic little scarf. Oh the new possibilities!

This week I met a new milestone. I am now using my handspun to weave!

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Finished handspun, handwoven natural colored cotton scarf. I’m in love!

Not wanting to lose momentum I decided to unravel a shawl I knit from handspun wool. I alternated a painted handspun with a natural gray that proved to be scratchy against my skin. The pattern was just mindless, uninspired blah. I wouldn’t miss it. Finding a darker grey rambouillet yarn in my handspun stash that was nice and soft  I began warping my Dick Blick Art Craft table loom. Sadly the loom sat untouched for 6 years. I found it at a garage sale in Amish country for $125 and thought it was too fine of a machine to pass up.

So far so good. I am looking forward to doing more with my handspun.

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Handspun wool weaving in progress. I am using stick shuttles because they give me more weaving space on a table loom.

 

Cotton Seeds Sown, They know what to do

Last year I planted my first cotton seeds in my kitchen one frigid February, Indiana winter day. View Post. It was a lot of fun to watch the plants mature. I learned so much and at the end of it all I had useful fiber.

It took me a while to get around to spinning it up but I did finally get to it. I’m really happy with the result. The brown skein is especially interesting because there was a lot of shade/color variation in the crop that occurred naturally. To think they all descended from one gifted cotton boll with 21 seeds inside. Now I’m debating what to make with it.

Spinning  Cotton on my Ashford Traveller Wheel

Spinning Cotton on my Ashford Traveller Wheel

Bobbin full of white cotton yarn

Bobbin full of white cotton yarn

Winding Cotton Skeins

Winding Cotton Skeins

Skeins from 1st Crop

Skeins from 1st Crop

Finished skeins from first cotton crop

Finished skeins from first cotton crop

I found a straggler! It must've opened up over the winter.

I found a straggler! It must’ve opened up over the winter.

Of course I planted a new crop for this year. The kids from the youth ministry helped. Then my niece wanted to plant some too, so we planted more. I’m sure a gardener would cringe at our methods, those poor seeds.  The cool thing that I’m finding with cotton plants is they’re really hard to kill. Those seeds just know what to do! Even if you put too many in a whole and forget to cover them.

1 week old seedlings in my kitchen. Baby nephew is loving the new hiding place

1 week old seedlings in my kitchen. Baby nephew is loving the new hiding place

These cute little guys know just what to do.

These cute little guys know just what to do.

It's been pretty cloudy so far this spring so they are stretching for the sunlight.

It’s been pretty cloudy so far this spring so they are stretching for the sunlight.

My niece helped me pot the 2nd batch of seedlings

My niece helped me pot the 2nd batch of seedlings

About 1 month in, some of the plants have adult leaves coming in.

About 1 month in, some of the plants have adult leaves coming in.

 

So far so good

Keeping Sockupied

Gosh, I haven’t knitted anything in a while. What better way to get my knitting mojo back than to whip up a pair of socks?

I have a confession to make. One would think that someone that has spun countless 4oz skeins of yarn would have made a gazillion pairs of socks by now. Nope. Not me. Master of None. I have a tendency to move on after I figure out a new technique.

Although I know how to make socks and have lots of yarn; my hand knit sock collection consists of 2 pairs of socks. One pair knit from the top down and another pair knit from the toe up. One turned heel and one short-row heel. They were knit from commercial yarn, not even handspun. No tomatoes please. I promise I’ll do better.

My first pair of hand knit socks ever.

My first pair of hand knit socks ever.

My first top down sock. This is one of only two pairs of socks I've knit in the last 7 years

My first top down sock. This is one of only two pairs of socks I’ve knit in the last 7 years

After 7 years, I finally finished another pair of socks.

Blue handspun socks in progress.

Blue handspun socks in progress.

Might as well wear them

Might as well wear them

finished pair of handspun socks..finally

finished pair of handspun socks..finally

Trying to keep the momentum going, I started a new pair

Trying to keep the momentum going, I started a new pair