Friday, April 20, 2012

Hill Country Spinning Retreat 2012

Well, it didn't start off very well but it was still a great week spent spinning and dyeing with friends. Who would have thought when I signed up last year, that I would have made so many wonderful friends? It was such a shot in the dark. I couldn't believe that I was sending such a big check to someone I didn't even know just because they said they were organizing a retreat with Judith MacKenzie. Now I can't imagine spring without this retreat!

This year's topic, "Three Bags Full". We explored so many different fleeces, their characteristics, fiber prep, optimal spinning technique. Unfortunately, I was sick the first three days, so there are not many photos. A special thank you to my DH who shared his abominable cold with me. Thankfully, he also shared his dr. friend who called me in antibiotics and cough pearls in San Antonio! I managed to make it through the week and had a wonderful time! You can get the photo experience here on my Flickr photos. I've managed to organize a notebook with all the fleece samples and hopefully will have those spun soon. But like last year, the dyeing was tremendous fun! This time we dyed with cocheneal and indigo. I made a cool indigo tie dye yarn that will be turned into a pair of socks. My cochineal (red/pink) yarn is going into a beaded shawl. Just have to decide on what color beads to use. Like last year, I was so inspired that it's hard to know just where to start! I really need more free time!

As a sneak peak, here are a few of the week's highlights!

Me, Judith, and Roddie

Our group photo in front of the yarn tree

My indigo and cochineal yarns

Me spinning Teeswater curls

The yarn tree

It's just barely over and I can hardly wait for next year!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hill Country Spinning Retreat 2012

It's only a week until the 2nd Annual Hill Country Spinning Retreat 2012. Spinning goddess Judith MacKenzie will again be returning to explode our minds with all things fiber. Last year the focus was on color and we cooked up some delicious rovings and yarns.

This year our topic is fleece. And knowing Judith, it will be everything from sheep fleece to angora bunny to musk ox down! We've all been spinning like mad women all year, inspired by all the techniques we learned last May. It's going to be really fun to see everyone's "show and tell". More than likely there won't be any updates until I get back since we'll be outside of Hunt, which only has wifi at the registration office, and cell service under a particular tree near the office. Except for one meal a day, we'll be at the guest lodge on the river.

Stay tuned!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bluebonnet Tartan Dishtowels - Finished!!

I know I should have been posting on this all along, but what can I say? 2011 was a crazy year! So in order to start 2012 off on a better footing, I'll catch you up on the infamous Texas Bluebonnet Tartan Dishtowels. After spending about 40 hours just getting the warp on the loom, I let it sit a little while to gather up the courage to start weaving. I was terrified to think that the actual weaving might be just as torturous as the warping had been! I knew that there would be tension problems, just not how bad they might be. So finally one weekend I started weaving and it actually went along fairly smoothly. After the first towel I started to get loose spots in the warp, so I used some soft pieces of foam to take up the slack.

Foam to take up slack in warp

That went along ok but by the time I had finished the third towel, I knew that they would have to be cut off and the warp re-tentioned. Since I needed at least 3 for Christmas gifts, that worked out ok. At some point in my quest for weaving books, I had bought "Warping All By Yourself" by Cay Garrett. So I cut the finished towels off ala Peggy Osterkamp, unwound the warp off the back beam, and my grandson Riley put the warp spacers in as I wound it back on. My last three towels have been fairly uneventful, except for the fact that the warp is still just a little loose just inside the selveges. Nothing that my little foam wedges can't take care of.



And here's a photo of one of the finished towels:
The finished dishtowel

Overall I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, except for the fact that the tartan pattern isn't square/balanced. In retrospect, I should have just changed the number of picks in the big squares. I think if I had been doing this in wool that I would have been able to beat it in a little more evenly. But that is just one of the MANY lessons I've learned on this project. And if you happen to be one of the lucky people who receive one of the five I'm giving away, there are not going to be any more down the line! This is a one-time project!