Sunday, October 31, 2010

Felted Soap Class

Yesterday the guild sponsored a class on making felted soaps with Lynn Williams of Lynn's Texas Fibers. We had a great time, and actually came up with some cute soaps to take home. This is a great gift idea with the holidays coming up and my aunt has already commissioned me to make some party favors for her! You just take a bar of soap, pat wet fiber around it, and decorate as desired. But there is a LOT of patting involved. Most of us had planned to hang around for the afternoon class, but were "patted out" by lunchtime! Below are the three soaps that I finished, and you can see more photos here.


After fortifying ourselves at BJ's Brewhouse, Roddie and I headed over to Sugarland Yarn Company since I hadn't been there before. Plus, they were having a big halloween "boo bag" sale. Not that that influenced us in any way! We were actually pretty good and resisted most of the impulse buys. I found some nice grey alpaca for a new cardigan to replace one that was unintentionally knitted in superwash yarn, which I hate. And I bought some really pretty yarn for a baby gift. All in all, a very fun and fibery day.

First Yarn from the Peacock

Thanks to being able to spend a whole day spinning at WC Mercantile recently, I was able to finish my first yarn spun on my little Peacock wheel. It's a little rustic looking, but by the time I finished all 8oz of fiber, I was getting pretty comfortable. And I was able to treadle with either foot. The left was definitely more clumsy for a while. The fiber is handpainted BFL superwash (blue-faced leicester combed top). I bought it on my first trip to Yarnorama in Paige, TX. The colorway is called "Remembering Bozo". I thought it would make good mittens for the boys, but the red blended a lot with the white so it's kinda girly. So now I don't know what I'll do with it. I forgot to take photos of the fiber before I started, but here's the finished product.

1st yarn from Peacock wheel

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cotton Sampler Finished!

Since I had a couple of unplanned days off, I managed to finish up the cotton sampler I started during Ravelry's Tour de Fleece. The main objective was to weave a scarf using singles spun from my home-grown cotton on the Bosworth book charkha. When I started, I was not very encouraged that I would ever get this project off the loom! I was throwing away as much, if not more, cotton than I was spinning. The charkha definitely had a BIG learning curve! I'm normally pretty confident in my spinning, but this was a real challenge. After a lesson from Susan at Yarnorama in Paige, I was finally getting the hang of it with only a little waste. As I neared the end, I could spin and weave an entire bobbin in an afternoon. The singles are pretty "rustic" (ie, thick and thin) but they make for an interesting scarf. At least that's what it is for the moment. I may cut it up and make coasters out of it.

In the photos below, the navy warp really sets off the colored cotton. The white came from seeds that I got when doing a spinning demo at the Burton Cotton Gin Festival. The brown seeds came from my friend Carolyn. And the green seeds I bought online for the exorbitant price of $12.75 for 10 seeds!




Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kay's "Yarn Shop"

Despite the crummy wet weather today, I had a wonderful time with friends Roddie and Kay at her house in the middle of the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. I thought for a moment that I probably should have taken the truck, but the dingy made it just fine. Kay has a great craft room set-up over the garage with loads of room for her yarn and knitting machines. The funny thing about yarn is its ability to multiply. It kind of expands to fill every nook and cranny no matter how large the space. That's why mine is currently contained by a storage unit!




While there, Roddie and I got to take one of the knitting machines for a spin. This would be a real timesaver for those boring stretches of stockinette. Kay is able to make them knit some beautiful fair isle and lace, but I don't think I'm ready to dive into more equipment - yet.




While down there, we had lunch at the Marlin Marina. Great burgers and fantastic homemade potato chips!! It was definitely worth blowing my diet! I don't think any of us left a single crumb.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Woo-hoo! The podiatrist cleared me to ditch the big boot in favor of my running shoes! August is not a good time to have a big chunk of foam and plastic stuck on the bottom of your leg. So I get a two week trial, then x-ray, then hopefully all done. I can hardly wait to get back to my weaving project!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Phat Fiber Workshop

Spent a great Saturday at WC Mercantile taking a workshop by Phat Fiber on how to set up an online etsy shop. Jessie was so thorough, and really encouraging to all of us fledgling entrepreneurs. I came home with a binder full of suggestions and pitfalls to avoid. So now that our house is getting a little more orderly, it's time to buckle down,get the ball rolling, and start working on baskets!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tour Update

I was cruising along in the Tour de Fleece and actually getting a lot of spinning done, despite a sore toe. I also warped the loom with some navy 10/2 cotton and started weaving the cotton I had spun on the charkha. When about 75% of the way through spinning the merino/tence roving, I found out that my sore toe was actually a stress fracture. So I was booted by the dr. and my spinning and weaving came to a sudden halt. Here are the last photos of where I ended up, well short of my original goal.

As you can see, I managed to weave one bobbin of white, and was almost through a brown bobbin. That gave me one empty bobbin to refill. And since the charkha is hand-driven, I can spin on that. Guess I need to order more bobbins. There's always something I need...

Day 13 in the Tour de Fleece">
This is about 75% of the orange, and I still have all of the brown left to do. When I get through, I'm going to ply all three colors together.

I did have one nice thing happen though. At the end of the Tour, I won a prize in the Team Lendrum drawing - 4oz. of beautiful hand-dyed BFL roving from Playing With Fiber. Now I just have to wait until the 10th to find out if I've healed well enough to lose the boot.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tour de Fleece 2010

Joined a big group of spinners on Ravelry with the goal of getting as much spinning as possible done during the Tour de France. So far it's going pretty well, but I'm kinda having knitting withdrawal. I've really got the bug to start something lacy after a long hiatus. Just going to have to wait. My projects for the TdF are to spin 12oz of merino/tencel on the Lendrum into a 3-ply fingering weight yarn for a yet to be determined project; spin enough white, green, and brown cotton to weave a simple scarf; and to finish dehairing the qiviut. Today is day 7, and I've posted some photos of my progress below.

The honey bobbin is finished, and just getting started on the rust. Sure has a beautiful sheen!

Day 4
3 bobbins filled on the Bosworth book charkha. I'm going to have to do something nice for Susan at Yarnorama for getting me started.

Walnut shuttle
Bought this beautiful walnut shuttle from Jonathan Bosworth of Journey Wheels that holds the charkha bobbins. Woo-hoo! No winding off! Just pop it in and start weaving!

Photo showing the 3 cottons I grew for this project

Ahhh! Luxury! Can hardly wait to get through cleaning this so I can start spinning!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

It's Charkha Time!

On our way from Austin to Lexington yesterday, I talked James into stopping at Yarnorama in Paige so that I could look at weaving yarns for some dish towels. What a great little shop! Knitting, spinning, weaving, dyeing - Susan has it all. We got to talking a bit about spinning wheels and I mentioned that I had bought a Bosworth charkha, but just couldn't seem to get the hang of spinning on it. And plying had been a total disaster. So she pulled hers out, and in about 5 minutes I was ready to rush home and give it another try. She also showed me a weaving shuttle that holds the charkha bobbins, so I can just use my singles to weave and there's no need to transfer them to another bobbin or ply (unless I just want to - not!). Woo-hoo! So guess what I'm going to be doing this weekend!