Friday, September 18, 2009

This week I decided to experiment a bit with some of the other Habu yarns in my stash. I put a warp on my loom sett at 15 epi and 9 inches wide. In both the warp and weft, I used Habu overtwisted wool crepe (white) and Habu wool and stainless steel (black). I alternated these yarns in one inch sections, both warp and weft. I used a very light hand in weaving to create a gauzy fabric. Here is the scarf just off the loom -- very gauzy and black and white squares.
A close up view.
After taking the scarf off the loom, I laid it out and painted it with some dyes and then steamed it to set the dyes. As soon as it was out of the steamer pot, I placed it in some cold water and then hot soapy water and agitated it vigorously to full it. Here's the finished scarf. Quite gauzy, artsy and light as a feather. I like!
I am really having fun with the unique and unusual Habu yarns. Excited about trying more of them.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I finally started working on a sweater with the yarn I spun from the gray CVM fleece I bought at Taos Wool Festival last October. Ever since my very first handspun sweater, I have been wanting to reproduce that sweater again, mainly because my spinning has so improved since that time. This is the "Lori's Jacob's Windows Sweater" that appears in Lynne Vogel's "The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters" book (pg. 68). Using Lynne's diagram and her great knit-to-fit workshop list, I am knitting the current sweater on size US5 needles instead of US8 needles, so I have had to make appropriate adjustments in number of cast-on stitches, rows, etc. I have also made the sweater somewhat longer and am thinking of adding a shawl collar to this sweater. Here's the progress so far.
Here's a close up.
This picture shows the other handspun yarns I am using for the windows. The apple green is from the natural dye workshop I took with Darlene Hayes and is a yellow (mullein?) yarn overdyed with indigo. The white was spun from a Foxfire Fibers cormo wool/silk roving. The other three yarns were spun from my own handpainted rovings of merino, cashmere, angora, and silk.
The other project this week has been handpainting a new sock yarn that I will have available at the Torrance Fiber Fest on Sunday, November 1st. This is a fingering weight superwash bluefaced leicester yarn. Takes the dye beautifully.
This pattern is the "Waving Lace Socks" pattern from Interweave's "Favorite Socks" book.

Because this yarn is a bit thinner than the superwash merino sock yarn I dye, I knit this sock on a US1 needle, which seemed to work quite nicely. For a lacey scarf project, I think a US4 might do.

And I am getting excited about attending the Taos Wool Festival again on October 3rd and 4th and our week-long visit to northern New Mexico. We will stay two nights in Chimayo and five in Taos. I signed up for a two-day workshop with Luisa Galanter, owner of La Lana Wools in Taos. It will be held at her dye studio and the title of the workshop is: Native Dyes: Consider the Flowers of the Field. Oh my!! does that sound like fun or what? I can hardly wait. We'll also visit some of the weaving shops and the Espanola Fiber Arts Gallery and Tiera Wool Works.

We're still squeezing the last drops out of summer. Headed down to San Clemente State Park beach yesterday afternoon -- me with my knitting basket and Paul with his boogie board. He spent some time in the water and said it was quite warm. We spotted some tremendous whale spouts out a ways off the coast. They were very high and columnar -- and we're pretty sure they were from blue whales. Yes, we do get blue whales off the coast here and especially since this has been deemed an El Nino year. Quite exciting to consider that the largest mammal in the world was so close.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Yesterday, I wove the second scarf off the warp I had put on my loom. This time, I used a hand-dyed variegated wool yarn from Plain and Fancy Wool Co. This was a laceweight and in their colorway "Stained Glass". I bought this yarn at the Taos Wool Festival in 2008. I wove this one longer so it was 92" long before finishing and 8" wide.
Here is the scarf just off the loom -- very see through and gauzy.
After fulling it, I have set it out on the rack to dry in the warm breeze.
After fulling, this scarf shrunk to 82" in length and 6" in width. It has a nice drapey hand.
Here is a close up.
I just love weaving with the Habu yarns with stainless steel in them. And so . . . I'm off to warp the loom again, but with some other Habu yarns in my stash.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Well, I finished weaving the first scarf off the loom. It was 8 1/2" wide and 76" long when I took it off. I wanted to full (felt) it to make it shrink some, so I put hot water with Dawn dish soap in my laundry sink, threw the scarf in and began agitating it with my hands. I wrung it out, balled it up and threw it many times onto the counter. Here it is hanging on a rack drying.
After fulling and drying, the scarf ended up 5 1/2" wide and 65" long, and because it has lots of merino and angora in it, it is soft and drapey. Here are two photos, one with the flash --
And one without the flash.
Here's a close up that shows the little windows of Habu silk and stainless steel yarn that didn't full but puckered.
Tomorrow, the next scarf. Haven't decided what color of handspun to use -- maybe something darker, purples.
My fascination with creating felt continues. Here are a couple of new pieces I have done this past week. This is more than fun. The first one is a shawl.
I have been having a great time making a felted piece and then adding stitching and needle felting. It's almost like painting with fiber.
The next one is a scarf and also includes some stitching and needle felting.
A lot of the handpainted roving used in these two garments were from my stash of Chasing Rainbows merino/bombyx rovings (by Nancy Finn up in Mendocino County). Nancy's colors are different than mine and they worked perfect in these garments.
Here's a close up of silk gauze that was felted onto the face of the scarf and fringe which was prefelted and then needle felted onto the edge.
Another goal for this past week was to warp my loom. At Golden Gate Fiber Institute in July, I wove a scarf with my handspun yarn and Habu's silk/stainless steel yarn. I was so taken with the result that I have been wanting to do this again. I hand-dyed some of the Habu yarn in violet and hand-dyed some Toots Le Blanc merino/angora in sour greens. The chunky skein in the picture is handspun yarn, which I spun from one of my merino/silk/angora rovings in a colorway I call "Violets Marl".
Here is the woven piece in progress on the loom -- 9 inches in width. I warped the loom for two scarves and this is the first one. I will probably use a different handspun color for the second scarf. This is woven with a loose hand so that when I "full" the scarf, there will be room for shrinkage.
Stayed tuned for the finished scarves -- hopefully they will be completed in the next few days.

It has been hotter than hades for the past week and a half. We are all sick to death of the heat. My husband and I have been going down to the beach in the evening and taking dinner with us. Here's a parting shot of one such evening sunset. It was divine.
Don't forget that we have our Common Threads spinning group down in Encinitas on Friday, September 18th -- 10:00 a.m. until about 3:00 p.m.