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Wait, I thought when someone told me that fiber arts guilds are alive and well, I can spin and knit and geek out and get to be in something called a GUILD???

Yes, my friends, it is true. There are three fiber guilds in my geographic region (how did I not know this?), and today I went to my first meeting.

Read more... )
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This week I’ve been spinning MOAR BFL from that 1 lb. bag I got from a local farm. It is SO SOFT I WANT TO SQUISH IT ALL THE TIME. I am going to be spoilt for other fibers I tell you.) I also spun the last ounce or so of some alpaca I’d gotten at, of all places, a garden market. (The farmers were there with their alpacas and I marched up to them and went, “Do you have fiber for spinning?” It was great! They did, obviously.)

Then I dyed the fiber I spun, some of it with natural dyes even! All was attempted with natural dyes, but the avocado did not cooperate, so that yarn got dyed with other dye I had on hand. Oh well, one can’t have everything.

Four hanks of yarn, two dyed shades of pink and two shades of cream/beige.

Four hanks of yarn, two dyed shades of pink and two shades of cream/beige.

The beige one on the left was dyed with paprika, which the website I found said would result in a “pale orange” color. Well, I was not expecting *that* pale an orange, but it works for me. The beige one on the bottom of the pale on the right is still wet; I dyed it with yellow day lilies from my neighbor’s garden. I was expecting a slightly different color, but it works with the others so I’m happy.

 
Cut for length and 2 more photos )
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What I'm spinning Wednesday: Undyed Blue-faced Leicester

A hank of undyed blue-faced leicester on a sea of buttons with a backdrop of green sari silk, next to a pair of knitting needles. It was going to be a photo outside, but it has been RAINING for DAYS.

I *may* have gotten a pound of undyed BFL from a local farm in Virginia. I may also have gotten a pound of merino and a pound of Finnsheep.

Do you blame me?

They, um, kind of take up a lot of room, so I’ve been spinning like Rumpelstiltskin (is that a phrase? I have decided it is now) to try to make them into nice compact hanks of yarn. Um, yeah, at least that’s what I tell the others in my housemates.

Really, I just can’t stop touching the super-soft blue-faced leicester.

Here’s a pic of 79 yards of it. Luscious.
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I made a previous post about plying handspun yarn and machine-spun lace weight. Here is another thing you can do with handspun yarn and lace weight (or any weight): knit with one of the yarns “held double”:

work in progress

Teaser work in progress photo of cream blue-faced leicester (bfl) handspun held double with teal, pink, and purple cotton lace weight yarn.

I have now woven all the ends in and finished blocking, but alas the light today is not good light for taking photographs. As I can’t show you the finished object in all its glorious splendor I don’t want to tell you, but can you guess? What do you think this is?

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I learned how to untangle thread, although I didn’t know it then, when I was about three or four. I used to go over to “Grandma” Rosie’s house after preschool; she volunteered at my preschool and agreed to help look after me when both my parents were at work.

Her embroidery was stunning. She never did counted cross stitch or anything that required her to follow a written pattern, instead preferring pre-printed patterns on soft cotton. She said anything that required so much counting was “for the birds.”

She would patiently allow me a chance to try my hand at embroidery or cross stitch, and inevitably I would pull the thread too hard and it would tangle.

So I pulled the thread harder.

It took me years to understand her wise advice that if – as with a Chinese finger trap – you moved the two twisted bits of embroidery floss together, then you can ease them apart.

Now that I’ve learned how to spin, I don’t do much embroidery or cross stitch these days. However, I did do a little bit of embellishment with some of my handspun yarn the other day. I thought of Grandma Rosie when my yarn got tangled and I used her lesson to free it; I hope that she is at peace.

Hand knit business card holder

Red and pink garter stitch business card holder closed with a purple button; embellished with cream handspun yarn making an animé-style smiley face. The business card holder rests on a sea of buttons, with some remaining yarn above.

Note: posted to Wordpress in what was technically the middle of the night, did not have the spoons then to cross-post.
There is also another post about my dog's illness which I will not be cross-posting here, as I have spoken about it elsewhere.
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Earth handspun shawl hand knit
triangular shawl hanging from a fence gate. The shawl is knit from chunky handspun with a brown/white twist as the main color and a few stripes of a white/multicolor twist and a brown/multicolor twist.

Driving back and forth to the beach, I finished knitting a glorious shawl made from my handspun yarn. (I should clarify, I was not knitting and driving.) It is a warm and snuggly triangular shawl with stripes of three different 2-ply yarns, which are blends of some of the same fibers.

The main color is a yarn I dubbed “chocolate Escher,” and is a thick-and-thin 2-ply blend of imported British Black Welsh Mountain sheep’s wool and local Virginia Finnsheep. The two contrasting colors are plyed with an “art batt” from a Loudon, Virginia, USA farm cooperative that is labelled “mostly wool” (but contains some small amounts of acrylic and other yarns for texture and color, please be aware if you have any allergies). The cream/art batt blend is an ultra-soft Targhee sheep from the Montana/Wyoming area. The chocolate/art batt blend is more of the Black Welsh Mountain sheep and the art batt.

I had a lot of fun knitting this yarn because it was all from my hands, and from the hands of farmers and from the wonderful animals who provided these fibers.

I hope you like it as much as I do.

(For the curious, it’s on Etsy. I decided not to keep it because I already have All The Shawls. Moar photos on Etsy.)

October 2013

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