Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
But I still have two major "armchair projects" requiring attention. The Bushfire blanket is all finished, except for one of the fringed edges. I can do that as soon as I manage to clear my big table. Clearing the table is a challenge. The fringing is easy enough. The Engagement Gift blanket needs a few more rows of crochet. I'm not sure how many because I have plenty of wool and I could really go on for ever. I need to decide how big is big enough. Then it too needs to have the fringes tied and cut. That project is going to wait for the next cool morning. Meanwhile, I could pull it out and measure and plan how many more rows it needs. Maybe I could do that when I have the big table clear . . .
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Yes, and Yes!
Here one pic of the intact irises:
The purple ones are in my dye pot on the stove as we speak. From my hurried research, I'm doubtful of getting a good colour from them, but what the heck, it's worth a try.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I'm pretty much guaranteed a conversation with a stranger when I knit on public transport. At the very least, a glance and a smile, or an enquiring look. Yesterday was a bonus. A young man got into the tram a stop or two after me. I was sitting, knitting away. I felt him watching my knitting and caught his eye. How to describe him? I'm guessing, in his early twenties; hair: half pitch black, half fire-engine red, style: straight up!
"What are you knitting?"
"It's a little cape. I've started from the top and I'm knitting down, increasing as I go", I said, holding it out for him to see. Somehow his 'what are you knitting?' question sounded knowledgable.
"Oh," he said, "I like to start at the bottom, and do my shaping with decreases"
"Mmmm, yeah,", I said, "except this is a handspun yarn and I have no idea how far it will go."
Intelligent nod . . . "Did you spin it yourself?" . . .
. . . turns out he's a spinner too. By this time the tram has reached Lygon St and we're just about level with the Guild rooms.
"Do you ever come to the Guild?"
. . . I told him about our Experimental Spinning group and invited him along. As he was about to jump off the tram, he confessed, that he has a loom as well.
I kept on with my knitting with a smile on my face.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
If you're wondering about my weaving sample, rest easy. I finished the threading yesterday and have started the next step. I seem to have mis-counted the number of warp threads, so I'm checking and double-checking as I go along. Worst case scenario I can just drop off some extra warp threads at one end of the weaving. I guess mistakes like that is one reason to do sampling--better make the mistakes now than with the real thing.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I guess it's a question of approach. My basic training is in science, so before I set up my experiment--sampling--I wanted to test my theory on paper. I'm planning to make a double-weave tube. My goal is for the folds between the two layers to flow seamlessly. So I spent several hours yesterday with pencil and paper drafting out the weave structures for my top and bottom layers and checking how they interact. I think I've got it. Now it's time to test my hypothesis on the loom.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
But first, I have an appointment at Filous for a quick Birthday breakfast with my friend, W. Coffee, chocolate and then weaving. I'm off!
Friday, October 23, 2009
- I didn't want to measure and mark the placement of beads;
- The neckline was already as low as I'm comfortable with;
- I wasn't sure how the fabric would cope with the extra weight of the beads;
- When I had a good look at the pleats already sewn into the neckline, I found they weren't quite evenly spaced, so I didn't want to emphasise them.
I decided to just attach a single row of the blue seed beads to the seamline between the neck edge and the body of the t-shirt. I used a back stitch in black polyester thread and stitched through each bead twice. I'm hoping that will be enough to secure the beads. I plan to wash it by machine--gentle cycle in a lingerie bag.
You can come to your own conclusion about the beads in the centre. That pleat of fabric is attached around the neckline, so there were 6 thicknesses of fabric there. That gave me scope to add a few more beads, but I was still not feeling like doing any planning. I started off aiming for a heart shape,but it ended up a bit random. I think I can live with that.
I wore the t-shirt yesterday--we had a warm day. It passed my main test: I didn't have to think about it after I put it on--no fiddling or adjusting. I've still got enough beads left to make a matching pair of earings. The whole project took about half an hour after I'd found my materials. That's simple enough for me.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I have been shopping for clothes. As usual the number of items that suit my body shape, budget and colour preferences are limited. So when I found an affordable black t-shirt which made me smile, I bought two. One can stay plain. the other will get the bead treatment. The necklace is one I made a year or three ago. It's just the wrong length for me. I've never worn it. Now I'm planning to just stitch the beads along the edge of the neck band of this black t-shirt. Then I'll have one plain and one pretty one.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
- weaving in yarn ends
. . . all the little things that need to happen to make an item ready for use.
Here's how it looks on my ironing board:
The piece on the right has been hemmed, washed and pressed. The piece on the left is as it came off the loom. I wanted to see how much shrinkage there would be. It's whole centimetere narrower now.
Today, I really should try to do the threading for my Summer and Winter sample. That's well and truly overdue, but there are a few other things to distract me. I'll see how I go.
Monday, October 19, 2009
As for the weaving, you might recognise the Huck Lace in cottolin from a while back. It's my contribution to the class Round Robin exercise, and the loom has come back to me with a fair bit of warp left on it. It seems a pity to let it go to waste, so I'm weaving it off this morning. When that's done, I can start sampling for my personal end of year project.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
- dyes--check--I could do with some more greens, but there's enough to get on with;
- dyepots--check--I even washed and put them away after my last batch of dyeing
- fibre--check--there's always plenty of fibre!
- kitchen sink--uh oh!
So instead of a batch of dyeing, I did a batch of washing up:Now I have a kitchen sink. Maybe today or tomorrow I can do some dyeing.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I'm looking forward to the possiblity of a couple of warmer days early next week. I'm going to have to do some serious weeding before I can do anything else in the garden.
One thing which has survived is this parsley plant. It's in a pot near the front door and it's sending up seed heads like this one: This is one plant that's determined to survive. I'll need to replant most of my herb pots, but this one has earned it's right to go forth and multiply. Plus the colours are tempting me to pull out my dye-pots. We still have a couple of days of cold and wet to get through, so there's no reason not to take advantage of the opportunity to play with colour while I'm stuck indoors.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Experimenting is always fun, but they always recommend sampling when using a new yarn. Oh well, what they don't know won't hurt them. I usually end up experimenting (sampling, if you like) on something that can be used. And I'm happy enough to change my plans to suit the way a particular fibre wants to behave. In this case it's behaving beautifully.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
- lovely tweedy texture in burgundy-orange
- lovely thick yarn, which will hold it's shape nicely
- lovely: 70% silk, 30% cotton
. . . need I say more?
Thankfully my loyalty points balance covered about half the cost.
I can't say I regret being ambushed like that. The beret is already half made. It feels good in my fingers. I expect to finish it today or tomorrow. That will leave plenty of time to make its cool weather companion. And the forecast here is for more rain and temperatures in the mid-teens, so I needn't worry about the weather slowing me down. Where E lives, the forecast today is for 32! She's going to want a warm weather hat.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Of course humans love to experiment and humans love to categorise. The result is Stitch dictionaries . . . I had no intention of picking up another knitting book when I went to my local library the other day, but when I saw the Vogue Stitchionary on display, it had to come home with me. So far I've just had a bit of a browse and smiled at it on my table. The "101 Stitches to Knit" was a birthday gift. I picked up the "Encyclopaedia of Knitting" at a book clearance and the "Harmony Guide" was an Op shop find. I love them all. Meanwhile, I've only done a couple more rows on the capelet I started last week--that's pretty much stocking stitch for the next little while. There's crochet and weaving waiting for my attention too and the house is even more of a mess than usual. I wonder how many combinations and permutations of procrastination and distraction there are in the universe . . .
Sunday, October 11, 2009
The yarn I've chosen for my end of year weaving project is a tightly spun high lustre silk. I bought a skein months ago just because it was irresistably gorgeous. It's also infuriatingly slippery, as I discovered when I tried to wind it yesterday. Gerlinde suggested using the umbrella swift. I own one--not as big nor as lovely as the one at the Guild. What I hadn't realised is that when it's set up sideways like this, gravity helps to hold the skein in place and winding becomes much easier. That was a happy discovery.
So, my silk is now wound into two neat balls. I have an idea for my project, but it's rather complicated--surprise:) So I have lots of sampling to do before I can go ahead. Meanwhile I've brought home my loom with the end of the yellow Huck Lace warp. It needs to be woven off. I also have the Summer and Winter sampler to do. So lots of weaving coming up. But today is a quiet day. There's just been too much happening lately and I desperately need some time to catch up with myself.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Today is a weaving day, and we've been promised a lot of theory. So I need to be alert, and I didn't sleep very well. I'll get some breakfast and another coffee into my system and try to hold steady through the morning. Our teacher can be a little daunting when she's excited:) I am looking forward to this afternoon's class. We're going to start designing and planning our end of year projects. I have some ideas about what I'd like to make, but first I'd better hear the details of the assignment.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
As for me, I've had at least one appointment each day this week, so I needed a take-along project too. I've picked up one of my pet skeins of handspun wool-silk. It's been hanging around the house for a couple of months now and I had no plans for it. I've started a little capelet. If I knit from the top down, I don't have to worry about how far the yarn will go, since anything longer than a few inches will work just fine. So I have the pleasure of watching the colours appear on my needles. These aren't colours I wear, so it will have to find a home when it's finished. I somehow don't think that's going to be a problem.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
It's the Suffolk Downs lambs fleece I've been looking forward to. They brought it over from South Australia for me. I now have 6 kg in the back of my car. Only half of that is for me. The other half is for my friend O, who taught me woollen spinning and sounded just as excited as I felt when I told her about the fleeces. And I do have more than enough to share with any of my fellow spinners who would like to have a go.
Meeting up with Deb and Clive to pick up the fleeces was great. Much better than getting fleece in the mail. I got to hear about the welcome rain they've had since I met them in July. I got to hear about their big win--Grand Champion Ram at the Adelaide Show. I got to tell them about the Tulip Festival. They've driven 8 hours from SA to spend a day at the Tulip Festival--there's something about country people and their sense of distance! They spent most of last week shearing and needed a few days off. I got to talk about my spinning and promised to show them some results at next year's Bendigo Show. The fleece means even more to me now that I have that connection with its origins. Now, to wash it, card it and get spinning!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Meanwhile this pic arrived in my inbox from M: The colour combination pretty much floored me. When I start to analyse it, I can see a range of colors from burgundy through orange to yellow--that shouldn't surprise me too much. Look a little closer and of course there's the green. And some of the yellows blend into the greens in the centre of the lilies. At this point I've decided to stop analysing and just stick with the Wow! factor. In my head, I'm already sorting through my dyes, choosing colours and working out proportions. The challenge will be to get the green highlights without muddying up the clarity of the red-orange colours. Of course, I could leave the green out of the dye pot altogether and add it in the form of neps in my spinning or a contrast yarn while weaving or knitting. There are so many options . . . I'm looking forward to having a go--after I've cleared the bench in the kitchen and returned M's bed to her.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Next class is all about dyeing. That's another one to make me happy, and then, believe it or not, it will be the end of the year!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
In the morning we did some basic felting--more on that in another post. It was surprisingly easy and successful.
In the afternoon Charly of Ixchel Angora Bunny and Funky fibre Art came to visit. She brought young Tribble as a bonus. Tribble is an eleven week old English Angora bunny. He coped beautifully with being handed around the class. Here he is on M's lap--he even was happy to rub noses! One friendly bunny!It wouldn't be true to say that Tribble was the prime exhibit, because Charly brought stacks of delicious fibre with her. I came home with several bags--ok, half a dozen bags--of exquisite angora blends: angora-merino, angora-silk and angora-baby camel.
But wait, there's more! Charly had prepared a thorough presentation for us. She spoke about her Angora rabbits, and their fibre; about herself and her journey in the craft; and she gave us the benefit of her experience in setting up and living a craft business. I took dozens of photos to try to capture some of her passion and personality. I don't think it can be caught like that, but it was fun trying. I find it hard to believe, but after pouring herself out to us yesterday afternoon, she'll be up with the sparrows this morning and ready to share her beautiful work with the passers by at Southbank Market.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
That's the story so far . . . we had a good chat, exchanged contact details and the Shillabeers promised to get in touch after shearing. Well now it's after shearing and they've sent me a picture of one of their fleeces. It looks great! What's more, they're coming to Melbourne next week and we might be able to meet up. Oh, I am an excited little spinner. Stay tuned for updates.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I had a particularly successful scrounge: Two good books from the Lions Opp shop:
- "Spin Your Own Wool and Dye It and Weave It" by Molly Duncan
- "Teach Yourself Quilting" by Janet Wickell
Both good overviews of their respective crafts, with lots of pictures. Molly Duncan's includes diagrams for making your own Inkle loom. That was enough to justify my $4 investment.
And another $4 investment at the Rotary Opp shop scored me a salad spinner. I've been looking for one to spin out skeins of wool after I've washed them. My new front loading washing machine has a fixed spin cycle, so I can't just toss in a skein for a quick spin for a few seconds. Besides, the tumbling action threatens to felt my skeins unless there's enough volume in the load to balance things out. So a salad spinner is just the thing.