30 August 2013

Minty Fresh Lace and two new projects

Happy Fibre Arts Friday! Sorry I missed posting last Friday, I was running from pillar to post and by the time I thought about it it was late and I hadn't taken any photos. Anyway, I've got a few things to show you this week.

I have been playing with my mini combs, these are the fibre nests I made with baby wool and alpaca, both dyed some time ago.
These nests were so easy to spin, I was able to get a lace weight with ease. I love hand combed tops!

I started on two new projects this week, yes I know, I should really work on my WIPs but it's more exciting starting new ones!

The first one is Tric by ├ůsa Tricos, this is the adult version of the little Trici jacket I was making for my goddaughter. I run out of yarn on the Trici and my friend is trying to get more of the same yarn, so in the meantime I cast on for the adult version for her.
The yarn is the Bendigo Woollen Mill's Murano with long colour repeats. Sorry about the picture, I missed the daylight again so I had to cope with the terrible indoor lighting. The most tricky part of the pattern is the beginning where you start with one half of the collar band then work your way back to knit in the opposite direction for the other half of the collar band, then you start working on the back, and pick up to work down on one front side and followed by the other, and simultaneously working on the sleeve caps too... phew! just talking about it makes me dizzy, I'm about half way through the sleeve caps which means the complications are almost over!

The second project I started is the Rosemary Cardigan by Cassie Castillo, I'm using Country Silk by Cleckheaton which has been in my stash for a couple of years. The needles are square which should be interesting, I've never used square one before. This project is a treat for myself, but I suspect it will take a while as other projects will no doubt take precedence, but I'm in no hurry :)
Now what have you been up to this week?

Thanks for dropping by, there is more fibre arts fun at Wisdom Begins in Wonder. Indulge your creative side and join the party!

16 August 2013

Exotic Fibres :-)

Happy Fibre Arts Friday! This week I don't have much productivity in any of my crafts, well there are a couple of knitting projects I'm working on but I don't want to bore you with WIP pics, so I thought I'd share with you some of my recent fibre acqusitions :D

First up is this gorgeous Suri Alpaca fleece, it's supposed to be purple brown but it just looks brown to me, but I love it anyway.
It's a very clean fleece, there's hardly any VM, the owner said she just spins as it is then wash. I've never tried suri alpaca, it feels heavier than Huacaya and the fibre is quite long... I know there are a few alpaca experts who visit my blog, your expert advice will be greatly appreciated ;-)

Next I have some samples of Baby Llama and De-haired Yak:
On the left are some baby llama samples all in natural colours, on the right is the de-haired yak. I was so surprised at how soft these fibres felt, the llama has a silky feel, almost like angora; the yak is super soft, almost more so than merino. I can't wait to spin this up, but I'm debating with myself whether to spin each on it's own or to blend with something else. Hmmm...

And the last but definitely not the least, it's Humpty Dumpty :D
This is a blend of 80/20 merino and bamboo, I just love the colours, should have got more!

My wheel is still kaput, only just received a reply from Ashford this morning which asked me to refer to their website to identify my model and check the relevant assembly instructions. I have already done that (maybe I didn't make that clear in my email to them), frankly I don't find it that helpful. Perhaps I shouldn't vent about these things until it's resolved, let's hope more helpful advice is forthcoming.

Meanwhile one of my spinning buddies, who is also my spinning classmate, just lent me an old Ashford wheel (~ I love fibre people!) which I picked up today, it's missing the drive band but I've got it in the maintenance kit that I bought sometime ago. So hopefully I can get it up and running this weekend.

By the way, it's been almost exactly three months since I ordered my Little Grace Special, which means there are two more months to go, I am so excited!!

Thanks for dropping by, there is more fibre arts fun at Wisdom Begins in Wonder. Indulge your creative side and join the party!

09 August 2013

More on playing with sticks, and onion skins :-)

Happy Fibre Arts Friday! Last week I talked about playing with sticks and strings in my new fad backstrap and tablet weaving, this week I have been playing with sticks of a different kind :-)

I made these DIY turkish spindles during the Tour de Fleece when I had to be on the road for a few days, then I just neglected them after I got home. But recently my wheel has developed a clanking noise and I can see that the brackets holding the spokes are becoming loose, I sent an email to Ashford asking for advice but in the meantime I daren't use it in fear that it may get worse. So I'm back to these sticks, the one on the left was made of cardboard decorated by Elli my youngest son:
I've been spinning on these interchangeably, the theory is that they will finish around the same time so I don't have to wait to ply. As you can see the progress is not great, especially when you are used to the speed of the wheel. But I'm perservering, not that I have much choice at this moment... I think I'm about halfway. The spinning is quite fine so I'm hoping for a nice lace weight :-)

Now you all know I like to play with all kinds of stuff that can be used for dyeing, this week I'd like to share my latest experiment with onion skins. I've been wanting to do this for quite some time but kept getting distracted, I was prompted by the fullness of the little tin I used to collect onion skins - that was a couple of weeks ago.

At that time I happened to have some leftover white wine on hand... how can you have leftover wine you might ask? That's because I prefer red, but I use (cheap) white for cooking. Remembering reading somewhere that alcohol could enhance the colour in dyeing, or was it for mordant? anyway I chucked the leftover wine in the soaking pot and left it for a few days. The colour/pigment gradually came out and got stronger each day, I then drained the juice and marinated my yarn (alum mordanted) in it, and just left it... Oh OK I forgot about it... a week later I suddenly remembered about the yarn marinate and was surprised to find the water clear. So I gave the yarn a rinse, no colour came out, and ta da!
Who could have thought a handful of brown onion skins could give such vibrant colour? I didn't even need to use heat, just some time... it must be the white wine ;-)

That's me for the week, what have you been up to?

Thanks for dropping by, there is more fibre arts fun at Wisdom Begins in Wonder. Indulge your creative side and join the party!

02 August 2013

Sticks and strings make beautiful things :)

Happy Fibre Arts Friday! As you may know that I was bitten by the weaving bug recently, not content with waiting until January to lay my hands on a Cricket Loom I started searching for things I could do right now and I found just the thing - backstrap weaving :)

Backstrap weaving is an ancient craft that is still practiced in many countries around the world today, especially in South America and Asia. I found a very good online resource for getting started on this ancient craft on WeaveZine - it's written by a wonderful lady called Laverne Waddington, otherwise known as warmi on Ravelry, who has been learning, documenting and teaching this technique for the last 20 years.

So, with the help of her article and Ravelry group I started making my own backstrap loom. The first step was to make a backstrap...

I found that the poles on my "fibre cave" was perfect for warping:
And if you have a son who does army cadet he can be very useful for securing poles to table legs :)
Here's my very first woven piece - a backstrap, and my backstrap loom is complete (I bought the different sized dowels from Bunnings and they cut them for me).
The backstrap is far from perfect, the two ends are not of the same width and the edges at the beginning look like they have been chewed by a dog, but nonetheless it's a functional piece, so I'm fairly happy with it.

Then I got a little adventurous and tried tablet weaving, where you use a pack of cards with holes to make patterns. An explanation of tablet weaving (or card weaving) can be found here.

I started with a thin band:
... then I got a bit more daring:
Tablet weaving is a lot of fun, even though it can be tricky to thread the cards correctly and keeping to the correct turning sequence, there is so much learn and I'm eager to explore more.

On the other hand I really should go back to my knitting and finish some WIPs so that they don't become UFOs... And that's me for the week, what have you been up to?

Thanks for dropping by, there is more fibre arts fun at Wisdom Begins in Wonder. Indulge your creative side and join the party!