FO & Classes

Sat down with the owner of my LYS today and worked out my teaching schedule through December. And since I was the first one in, I got all the dates and times I wanted. Hooray! Now I just need to finish making the samples and get them in the shop before the middle of August.

The (not)Beaded Wrap is finished and had its photo shoot today. I've made it before with the beads, as per the pattern, but this time I wanted a simple shawl to wear with jeans. The alpaca is a little prickly, but overall I'm pleased with this.

I also finished another woven felted scarf in class Tuesday night.
I got it warped, woven and half the fringe twisted in the 3-hour class. Rigid heddle weaving is FAST - and so is the felting. This was in the washing machine for only 3 minutes - I had the stopwatch out, checking the progress every minute - and the scarf itself is well felted. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite long enough to thoroughly felt the twisted fringe. I'm debating handfelting just the fringe in a sink of hot, soapy water. I love how soft this scarf is . . . and hope the recipient will like it too.


New Toys

Nope, not a laundry cube. I've wanted to improve the quality of my crafting photos for awhile but Tour de Fleece brought it to a head. I wasn't happy with the colors/quality I was getting - I take most of my photos at night or in the late afternoon when the light is iffy at best - and I was also envious of some of the more professional photos being posted on Ravelry.

So today we went shopping for a light tent (from Dexters Camera in Ventura; great store, helpful people*) -
and also brought home an Ott floor lamp that will serve as a light source for both my photography and my weaving.

To try out my new set-up, I photographed the ring I made under Ginny's tutelage on Saturday -
my first ever beaded object. The colors are pretty accurate, at least on my monitor. And here's my first ever Kumihimo braid, made in a morning demo during Saturday's Guild meeting. I've avoided Kumihimo in the past because I thought it would be very technical and difficult. It's not. Easy as pie and just as much fun. Can't wait to do more. Last but not least, this is all the yarn I spun during Tour de Fleece. I need to work on the lighting and wrinkled background but I'm very pleased with how the colors show in this photo; much more detailed than the ones I've done before - especially since this was done at 9 tonight.

Next up on the spinning wheel.

* We went to the big box stores before heading to Dexters, which is where we should have started. The clerk said 'we don't have any light tents in stock . . . oh, wait, we have one in a kit that we're going to send back because it's missing a light bulb . . . I can take the tent out and sell you just that if you want'. I want! And I got it for a better price than if I'd bought it online. Hooray for local stores and helpful employees!



As le Tour de Fleece 2009 comes to an end, I present my last two day's work: 120 yards of Judy's Novelty Wool in 'Henson Reunion' (merino 3-ply)and 202 yards of BFL in 'Blue Ridge' from BeeMiceElf (also 3-ply).So what's up next now that the Tour is over? Weaving! I bought a stand for my new-to-me 12" loom and love it. This will be another felted wool scarf - with a twist. The white yarn? Cotton. Which doesn't felt. Just need to twist the fringe on this and toss it in the washer tomorrow. Can not wait for the results!


Almost Done with the Tour

Sunday is the last day for the Tour de France and I'm definitely going to miss it. I've spun every day for the past 20 days - and have the yarn to prove it.

During today's ride, I finished spinning and plying the BeeMiceElf Blue Ridge (photos tomorrow when I have some daylight to work with) and started on the New Zealand Romney I bought from Rocket Yarn.

Romney is a coarser fiber, not nearly as soft as the BFL and Falkland I've been spinning, which is why this ended up near the bottom of my Tour queue. I shouldn't have waited. This stuff is nice. The colors are deep and rich - my favorite shades of red - and it drafts and spins like a dream.

I also finished crocheting the supposed-to-be beaded-but-it's-not wrap and blocked it this evening.
I changed the border edging from chain stitch loops to 5-dc shells. Very pleased with how it turned out and how the blocking opened up the stitches. I'm still planning to wear it tomorrow to my spinning guild (please, please don't let it be 100 degrees. . .) More photos tomorrow.


Spinning (again) and Crochet

Tour de Fleece spinning - more luscious BeeMiceElf, this time BFL wool in 'Blue Ridge' colorway (appropriate since I was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee.)

And I started a new shawl with hand-dyed yarn that's been in the stash for about 2 years.
This is a not-beaded Beaded Wrap by Sharon Silverman; yarn is alpaca/tencel blend in "Violet Dream" from Rabbitworks Fibre. I taught the Beaded Wrap class Wednesday night (again; it's one of my favorites) and worked on this along with my students. They beaded - I didn't. I want to wear this to guild on Saturday; just have the border remaining, so I think I'll make it.


Bestest Yarn Ever

Very pleased with how my latest batch of handspun turned out. I think this is my best yarn to-date. (You can vote for it here if you are so inclined. Just click the 'love' button below the post. Be sure to check out the other great yarns. You can vote for as many as you like.) It's 256 yards of super soft 3-ply BLF (Blue Faced Leicester) from All Spun Up's Etsy shop. Loved spinning it; loved plying it; going to love making a scarf from it very soon.

I also finished the sample for my August crochet block-a-month class.
This is the Wool Eater Blanket (Ravelry link). I've wanted to make this for awhile and finally just sat down and did it. There are some really beautiful examples on Ravelry (click the link above, then click on the "63 Projects" tab.)

The block is worked from the center like a granny square, using a modified Katherine Wheel stitch. Very easy to do; the hardest part was remembering to put the 2 chain stitches after each corner turn. Great way to use up stash without getting bored out of your mind.


Cute Dog Picture - and spinning

Tired of spinning photos yet? Monday's a rest day for the Tour de France so I'll probably (maybe) take a rest day from spinning. I'm stilling enjoying the challenge of spinning every day, even after 16 days.

Gratuitous cute dog picture.
This is Breanne's pup, Pippi, who *loves* her Auntie E. I met Pippi for the first time when I went to see Breanne's new (first!) apartment on Saturday. Pippi has her own - very large - basket of toys, of which the frog is her favorite.Very cute, both the dog and the new digs.


More Than Just Spinning

While I've been spinning -
click to enlarge
this is All Spun Up's handpainted BFL (wonderful, super soft stuff!) that I won as a prize in the daily Tour De Fleece contest on Ravelry -

Dick has been doing a bit of woodworking. This is a redwood burl that he's been turning, off-and-on, for the past several weeks. When he started, he thought it was going to be a 'regular' bowl; then he found the burl shelf inside.
He's been gently working his way around it, trying to preserve the burl while shaping the rest of the wood. Today he added a bit of turquoise to some of the cracks. I can't wait to see how this one turns out.

Woven felted scarf #2 is also done. This is the same warp and weft as the first one but woven much more loosely and slightly less wide.
Still not exactly what I wanted but I'm enjoying experimenting. Next up: what happens when you felt a cotton and wool warp? Inquiring minds want to know.


Spinning Update

Finished the Twisted Fiber Arts 'Scorched' (70% merino/30% mohair blend) and it is just as hot and colorful as its name implies.

click to enlarge

I love the finished yarn but didn't really enjoy spinning it - just don't care for merino. Glad to have it out of the fiber stash - and into the yarn stash. And also glad to be moving on.


Same Old, Same Old

AJ kitty is getting a little put out with all the Tour de Fleece spinning. Our usual evening routine involves my sitting in a recliner, legs outstretched, with Her Highness sprawled asleep on my legs. But for the past week and a half, I've spent my evenings spinning while watching the Tour de France. I guess she finally figured if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. AJ whined at my feet until I picked her up and put her in my lap. She tried biting that interloper yarn, but when threatened with banishment, she settled down and sat on my lap for over 30 minutes, while my legs moved up and down with the treadles. I'm not sure she was very comfortable but she was determined.

Good news - the Twisted merino/mohair is all spun up; I just need to ply it tomorrow and it is done.
Haven't decided what I'm going to spin next. Maybe my prize yarn from All Spun Up; or the new stuff from Rocket Yarn; or something from my current favorite vendor, BeeMiceElf.

I was also able to put another warp on the knitter's loom and get it about 3/4 woven. This is the same warp/weft as the first felted woven scarf. I'm experimenting with a much looser weft placement to see if I can get a more lacy effect. Should have this finished and felted tomorrow.


Spinning Again

Still spinning for Tour de Fleece. This batch is about 3/4 done - and I'm looking forward to moving on to something else. Love the colors, especially the oranges; not crazy about the merino in the blend. I've also started another woven felted shawl using the same colors as yesterday's. I want to try different weft spacing to see if I get a more open effect.

Saw Harry Potter this afternoon - disappointed! Marie and I thought there was too much time spent on the various romances and not enough on the primary plot of the book. It's a shame since we were both really looking forward to the movie.


Creative Day

Before leaving this morning for Wenona's and a crafting afternoon, I took photos of the scarf I finished last night. I wanted a summer scarf, something I could wear for July 4th without succumbing to heat stroke. This is Tahki Cotton Classic in a lattice pattern, with 'fireworks' crocheted in what Ruthie Marks calls 'dragon curves'. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and reaction at my LYS was positive when I dropped this off today; it's the class sample for next Tuesday's crochet block-a-month class.

I signed up for a rigid heddle class about a month ago and knew I'd enjoy it; I've taken classes with Deborah before and she's a truly gifted teacher.
But I didn't know that I'd love this pattern and the finished product. Class started at 5:30 and I cut the finished scarf off the loom at 10:00. That's fast.

Warp (the long threads) is violet Lamb's Pride Worsted and weft is some of my newbie handspun that I've had stashed away for a couple of years. It's too thick/thin, over/under spun to use for crochet or knitting but it's perfect for felting.
I brought the woven scarf home, threw it in the washer for 5 minutes - shrinking the length from 57" to 43" (24.5% shrinkage) - and voila - my newest scarf. Love.It. I've got 2 or 3 more scarves planned out in my head that I hope to make before our next class in 2 weeks.
Tour de Fleece update:
Still spinning away. Yesterday I started work on this merino/mohair blend that's been in my stash for over a year. I love the colors but spinning merino is not one of my favorite things (wish I'd figured that out before I bought so much of it. sigh.) I just want to get through this a quickly as possible so I can spin more 'good stuff'.
Repeat after me - stashbusting is good, stashbusting is good, stashbusting is good . . . . .


Flutterby Day

When I saw the ad for "Butterflies Alive" at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, I knew we had to go. We've been to something similar in Colorado with Rachel and Addy, and the colors and shapes of the flutterbys are amazing.Friday we picked up Naia, bedecked in pink scarves and purple iPod, and headed out. It's been awhile since Dick and I have been here, but some things don't change - like the gigantic blue whale skeleton in front of the museum, the same one that fascinated our kids when they were little. Naia had never been here before so it was fun seeing things fresh through her eyes. We spent some time in the butterfly enclosure - with Naia acting 'scared' of the butterflies - and me taking photo after photo (of course) until my camera battery died - then we wandered through the other exhibits and nature areas. I was afraid Naia would get bored and want to leave quickly, but she was interested in most of the exhibits and led the way into building after building, chattering about whatever caught her attention. On the way home, we decided to stop at the Ty Warner Sea Center on the Santa Barbara Pier. Great decision. Dick and I had never been here before, although Naia had. It's very hands-on and kid-oriented. Naia (and I!) got to touch a sand shark and the college-age docent took a lot of time showing Naia the shark fetal sacs (backlit so you could see the moving fetus) and tiny, newborn babies. She also got to use tweezers to dig through a bucket of 'goo' freshly pulled from the ocean floor, finding a small crab, shells and other goodies. With their crawl-through underwater tunnel, life-size models of sea creatures hanging from the ceiling and do-it-yourself puppet show, this is a great place for kids. We'll definitely be going back.