Monday, December 22, 2008
STARRY NITE SCARF II
I finished the second of my Starry Nite scarves using Lynne Vogel's newest pattern. I had a group of skeins that I had spun from merino/cashmere rovings that Lynne had handpainted a couple years ago in Southwestern colors. I had taken these rovings, along with my spinning wheel, on vacation to the Sierra Nevada - June Lake in September 2007 and I spent my evenings spinning. I loved these handspuns and never found the perfect project for them until this wonderful scarf came along. Unfortunately, my photos never seem to do justice to the colors in the handspun, but I am sure many of you will at some time see this scarf in person.
A couple close ups of those cute little swirl squares.
So much more colorful in person!!
And here's a full length picture. I used a cool shawl pin in this picture -- one that I bought at Strands and Stitches in Laguna over the weekend, by Perl Grey in Nova Scotia.
And I so love my new model but she hasn't a name yet. My son, Dana, thinks I need to name her. This lovely pattern is available in Lynne Vogel's Etsy shop: www.LynneVogel.Etsy.com
Saturday, December 20, 2008
TIME FOR PROJECTS
I was so excited yesterday after finding a dress form for sale on the local Craig's List. Yahoo! I did not have to order online and wait 4 to 6 weeks. I drove 20 min. to Lake Forest and picked it up. So, I've been photographing some of my scarves on the form since I don't have a live model. When I last posted, I totally forgot that the week before, I had knit another Morning Surf Scarf. Yes, my fourth one. I'm addicted to the way the colors of my handspun shake out in the knitting. An excellent project for handspun -- do you hear me, Jerry of the size 15's?
Here are the rovings from which the yarn was spun. One ply was my "Wine Country" colorway and the other ply was "Wine Country Marl". The fibers are oh, so, yummy -- merino wool, cashmere and angora. It doesn't get much better than that.
And here is another scarf pattern that I highly recommend. It just knits up beautifully -- the Buttonhole Scarf that was featured in the Fall 2008 issue of Vogue Knitting, project #37. Being a weaver, I was drawn to this pattern, because it almost looks handwoven, like a basket weave. I used some handpainted merino wool yarn that I purchased from Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Co. of Henderson, TX, when I attended the Taos Wool Festival. Unfortunately, they don't have a website. Their booth was packed, though. Great color sense.
And, finally, yesterday, I started a second Starry Nite Scarf, one of Lynne Vogel's Etsy patterns. (www.LynneVogel.Etsy.com) The yarns I am using are, of course, my handspun yarns and mostly merino wool and cashmere. I spun these yarns from a grouping of 5 rovings handpainted by Lynne herself, in colors of the Southwest, including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Abiquiu, Faux Autumn Leaves and Taos. I plied the colorways in different ways and ended up with some lovely skeins. I'm also including some other yarns from my handspun stash.
Close up. These little four corned stars, with the swirl in the middle, just make your handspun colors come alive.
Here are my beautiful skeins.
This year, I have not gotten into the Christmas shopping frenzy -- guess that is why I have been in a knitting and spinning frenzy -- avoidance of mall situations. Come to think of it, I never get into a frenzy over it, but I have been very lax this year. I think it's the economy, among other things. When your wants and needs are primarily fulfilled, it's hard to just go out and buy stuff for the sake of buying, especially when there are so many people who are losing their jobs. And our family decided to go low key this year, but . . . alas, my husband and I decided we needed to do a small bit of shopping today. The bad part is that this is going to cut into my fibery endeavors. Drat!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
LOTS OF SPINNING AND KNITTING
We've been having a lot of rainy weather, lots of cold and wind. It snowed in the hills above Malibu - can you believe it! And piles of snow in the high desert and our local mountains. This is just the time to be inside knitting and spinning cozied up to a fire in the fireplace. I've been getting lots of yarn spun and much knitting. I just finished knitting the most beautiful scarf from one of Lynne Vogel's patterns. This is the "Starry Night Scarf" and it is way cool not to mention that it is a wonderful project for using up all of those very precious little balls of handspun yarn that we all have left over from other projects. I sat down with a basket of my handspuns and just drew from the basket as I finished one ball after another. And miracle of miracles -- they just all seem to flow together -- one of the amazing things about handspun yarn. Here are some photos. As usual, the pictures just don't do justice to the beauty of this scarf. It is AWESOME! (www.LynneVogel.Etsy.com)
And I have been spinning many of my handpainted fibers. Here's a skein of merino/bombyx silk (50-50) in my "Tiger Lily Marl" colorway. This skein has 670 yards and is a light fingering weight. This pretty skein has already found a home and should make a beautiful project.
Here's the beginnings of another skein of merino/bombyx silk (50-50). This one is "fandango" and I am spinning it into an almost laceweight. This yarn may end up as a pair of fingerless lace gauntlets.
And finally, I'm still messing around with this handspun conglomeration. I am having such fun! I must knit something with this and soon. I will probably use these as embellishment and combine it with some other yarns, because there's not enough yardage to make a whole scarf.
In case I don't have time to blog before the holidays, I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday and New Years. Drive careful, don't overeat and definitely don't drink and drive.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
In my last post, I mentioned that I had been doing a lot of spinning lately because it does make me feel so relaxed and good. So I have been logging some time on the wheel and, as you will see from the pictures below, I seem to have developed a split personality. On the one hand, we have the totally anal control-freak spinner and then we have the fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants free for all. I actually enjoy doing both and am having such fun with the artsy skeins.
Here's a skein that I spun from one of my "marled" rovings -- "Violets Marl". This is a fingering weight yarn and it is so soft, having been spun from a merino/silk/angora blend -- one of my very favorite fiber blends to spin and knit with. 440 yards in this little lovely.
I think this next skein probably takes the prize for the largest (yardage wise) skein I have ever done -- one continuous strand -- no knots. And believe it or not, I got all of this plied onto one of my regular size Majacraft bobbins on my Rose wheel. (I forgot to change to the plying bobbin before I started plying.) Towards the end of plying, I was sure it was going to start slipping off the sides but it didn't. Ta! Da! 882 yards and 7.4 ounces. Yessiree, on one bobbin. Needless to say, this is fingering to lace weight. And the colors -- well, now that's another story. I'm thinking holidays, Christmas. Margie just rolled her eyes. She sees pink. Well, it's festive. This skein is a 50-50 extrafine merino/bombyx silk blend. One of the plies was from a roving I purchased from Red Fish Dyeworks at the Torrance show in November and the other ply was from one of my randomly dyed rovings.
And then I've tried another artsy skein, this time using some natural colored fibers as well as dyed ones. I'm loving this fooling around, just feeding fiber into the wheel without giving a lot of thought to what I am doing.
And I ended up with a whopping 30 yards. Of course this is a chunky yarn and would probably be used as embellisment and on 13 to 15 needles.
So we've got some very gloomy weather here today in Orange County, just the perfect day for a fire in the fireplace, some knitting and some spinning.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
It has indeed been a while since I blogged what with my husband having been in the hospital, then recuperating at home and other things taking priority. Even with other things going on, I have been doing fibery things, like lots and lots of spinning and dyeing. Anyone who spins regularly knows that it really gets you centered and relaxed in stressful times. So, it's not surprising that I found myself drawn to my wheel every time I walked by it.
I have had a couple of "play dates" with my friend Michelle, who has motivated me to step outside the box. My usual spinning is very controlled and my handspun is more often than not, a very beautiful fingering weight. Michelle and I have been playing around with odds and ends of fiber and other funky (but really nice) stuff. She has perfected the art of spinning chunky novelty yarns, which can be seen and purchased in her Etsy shop. Here's the site for her store. www.lovecraft.Etsy.com
Inspired by Michelle's young, hip, quirky and artsy ways, I tried my hand at spinning some of these novelty yarns and here's what came of it. My first try was with lots of rainbow colors.
Second try was with lots of greens, teals, dark greens, rusts, oranges and purples.
I actually spun some thick and thin chunkier yarns after spending time with Judith MacKenzie McCuin at Golden Gate Fiber Institute last July. I have to admit, I am having loads of fun with this. It's like, okay, we're going to throw in everything but the kitchen sink (almost) and see where this goes.
And speaking of Golden Gate Fiber Institute, I was so very disappointed to get an email from Morgaine the other day saying that the Winter Intensives were being cancelled -- not enough enrollment to warrant going forward. I had signed up for a week of Kathryn Alexander. That would have been so over the top fun. Talk about energetic and inspirational!! Well, maybe she'll agree to teach in the summer.
My friend, Margie, has been stopping by each week to warp my big loom with her handspun yarn. She is making another handwoven blanket. We finished rolling the warp on the loom the other day and it looks magnificent, so organized. The next step will be tying onto the front of the loom and then she'll begin weaving. The wonderful thing about this blanket is that she bought the raw sheep's fleece, washed it, carded it, dyed some of it, and then handspun all the yarn. This is taking it all the way from sheep to finished blanket. Here's a picture of progress so far.
And, I have been so happy that my Etsy shop has been keeping me busy, busy. So many new customers and lots of great repeat customers. If you have not visited my shop, here's the address: www.CapistranoFiberArts.Etsy.com
Among other great Etsy shops is Lynne Vogel's. She's got some great patterns, including two that I just purchased, "Starry Night Scarf" and "Superruffly". Lynne's shop can be found at: www.LynneVogel.Etsy.com
So, now it's Saturday afternoon and a good time to get my wheel and do some spinning.