Oct 21

Since Sandy and I will be in Michigan October 24-25, the Dyed in the Wool e-store will go on hiatus beginning the morning of October 24th through the evening of the 26th (or until I can get the inventory updated).  This way you don’t accidentally purchase something that sold at the Fiber Expo and be disappointed when we can’t mail it to you and have to refund you your money.

With this in mind, if there is something you definitely want, please order it before October 24th so we can pull it from inventory and make sure you get it.  And don’t forget, we are running a discount code through Midnight, October 23rd for 15% off anything in the shop.  Discount Code is KIC015.

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Oct 20

kokomo2014

Saturday was the Kokomo Comic Con and the last comic con of the year for Scott and I.  We had a great day, sold several Johnny Saturn books and I got to actually sit and rest for a while.

While I sat and rested, I finished these:

maryjanesocks

These are my Mary Jane Socks and I love them.  They fit very well (I have them on today) and are comfortable.  They are made using left overs from two pairs of socks and I still have a bit of each yarn left over, just not enough for a sock.  I put them with the rest of my left over sock yarn bits and bobs and you never know what they will become one day.

missysocks1

I finished these several weeks ago, but I never showed you the finished product.  These are for my SIL, although I don’t think I am going to get to deliver them until Thanksgiving.  It was the left overs from this pair that ended up being the main body of the Mary Jane Socks.

Yesterday, I worked hard from 10AM until about 5:30PM sorting and organizing on my studio in order that I can move my bedroom down into it.  I now have room for my bed, empty shelves for clothes and soon will have a rod up to hang clothes.  The studio bathroom now has a shower curtain and a new toilet seat and will have a towel rack hung before too long.  Then I started moving stuff out of my current bedroom to make way for Kim, my oldest niece, to move in on November 2nd.  I’m about 50% done with that, but I need to find more places to put yarn and other supplies.

Speaking of yarn – does anyone need any Sugar & Cream cotton yarn?  I have too many in lots of different colors.  Obviously, they knit up into great wash cloths, but they also weave up into great baby blankets.  If you want what I have, please let me know and we’ll see about getting them to you.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and has a great week ahead.  Don’t forget that Sandy and I will be at the Fiber Expo in An Arbor, Michigan next Saturday and Sunday with Dyed in the Wool.

 

 

Oct 16

Last night at the Advanced Spinning class I teach at Starstruck Cat Studio, we got down and colorful with Kool-Ade and some protein fibers.  All in all, we dyed silk, baby alpaca, baby llama, Wensleydale, Teeswater, BFL, and Merino.  We separated everything into three sets: one to nuke (heat up in the microwave), one to sit for a day or so, and one to hand-paint some roving and yarn.

The jars we nuked exhausted the color in the half-pint jars pretty quickly and here is what we got:

koolade1

Pinkish-red is Cherry and the purple is the remaining cherry with something that was a very bright blue added in.

koolade4

That same very bright blue all by itself and Lime Lemonade.

koolade2

The yellow is Lemonade and the olive-green is the remaining Lime Lemonade with about 1/2 a teaspoon of Orange added in.  By far my favorite color of the evening.  The one in the purple bag that is still white was bamboo.

koolade3

The lighter orange is the remaining Lemonade with about 1/2 a packet of Orange added in.  The bright Orange was with yet another full packet of Orange added.

koolade5

The lighter red is Strawberry – one over gray wool for added depth.

koolade6

The really strong red is Cherry Berry Blast.  The Wensleydale and Teeswater locks took the color the best.

All of the nuked jars were pretty clear by the time we removed the fiber – except for those that had Lemonade in them.  While the color was gone, the water was white and not clear.  I wonder why.  I’ll have to do some research into what the Lemonade has in it that the other colors don’t.

The bits of fiber in the jars that didn’t get heated as well as the handpainted BFL roving I took in will get emptied and looked at tonight.  I am interested in the difference in intensity (if any) between the heated jars and the non-heated ones.  Also, I was to see what my hand-painted roving looks like.  We did heat them, but didn’t unroll them.  I know they are going to be more pastely, but that’s okay with me.

A beginner student who can’t come to the beginner classes due to scheduling conflicts was working on a batt from Lunabud.

LBfront

Here is one side of the batt.

lbback

And here is the other side.  Heather fell in love with this even before Stephanie of Lunabud had it off the drum carder and could not wait to start spinning it.

lbspun

And this is what it is looking like.  She wants to ply it with some black and knit a cowl from it for a very artsy friend.  I think that friend is going to be thrilled with this.  How fun!!!

Once things slow down for me a bit, I am going to go back to exploring dyeing, but with the natural dyes that I have in stock.  I have some interesting ideas I want to test out.

Oct 13

Well, today should have been Dye Day, and it isn’t. I am a bit sad, but relieved at the same time (for one, it is rainy). As much as I enjoyed it, it was a lot of work and could be rather expensive to do, but I did enjoy them. I still hope someone, one day, will decide to pick this up and carry it forward.

This past weekend, I taught a three-day weaving workshop at Starstruck Cat Studio in Greenwood, IN. I took Thursday off work, finished getting everything ready at home (had one more loom to warp as well as gather the rest of the equipment together), and then Scott and I took everything down to the shop and got the classroom sat up.

Friday morning, I arrived and finished organizing the last items, got the bobbin winder attached to someplace for use, made sure that all of the looms had a kit box, folder with handouts, and a 3-yard warping board.

I had three students for this class, and it was a good number. We could have fit a 4th loom in there, but it would have been tight. As it was, there was room to move about without knocking something over. When the students arrived, they were assigned a loom, and we got down to the business of learning. I start each student with a fully warped loom (100 ends of 3/2 perle cotton in white) and the first thing they learn are the parts of the loom, what the equipment is called and terms associated with weaving. Most of it is over their heads at this point, but hearing everything the first time means it will sound familiar when they come across it later and by the end of class, they know what everything is.

By noon, they were weaving on their samplers, learning how to make tabby and twill, how to place the weft into place (rather than beat it in) watch their selvedges and all of the fine points of weaving. I think drummers should make good weavers, because they are used to having every limb doing something different.

By the end of Friday, there were three very tired weaving students, but they each had a nearly complete sampler, had picked out the patterns for their scarves and had gone through the math on calculating the yarn needed for a specific project. Very good for a first day!

Saturday morning, I brought in three end-feed shuttles and let them play with them finishing up their samplers. Needless to say, they all fell in love with them, and a couple commented that, even at $100 each, they were worth the expense.

pulling off samplers

They removed their samplers, and knotted the “fringe” to keep them from unraveling while they each soaked in pans of hot water.

measuring warp

Then they were ready to begin their scarves. Each had a 3-yard warping board and they learned how to measure out the warp for their specific patterns.

warp for log cabin

Brenda chose to do a Log Cabin pattern for her scarf, and I love how the warp looks at the cross for this design.

Usually, each student has very different colors chosen for their scarves from the other students. This time, though, they all had variations of purple. It was pretty funny. Brenda had a red purple with a really light purple with wee pops of color in it. When viewed as a whole, it just looked like a pale purple, but when viewed up close, you could see the bits of color through it. Rhonda had a blue purple with a gray-taupe as her contrast. That gray-taupe was interesting because under fluorescent light it looked taupe, but under natural light it looked more gray. Pat’s choice was a light purple paired with a magenta – very striking and will be a welcomed bright spot this winter.

rhonda sleyed

Rhonda’s reed sleyed and the heddles ready to be threaded. She decided the reed should be called the “dragon” because you sley it. Groooan! :)

By the end of Saturday, they were all warped up and had begun weaving on their scarves. All were questioning whether they’d actually get a full 2 yard+ scarf woven off, but I assured them, they could get done. I knew Rhonda would be done with time to spare because as a retired air-traffic controller, she really knows how to focus. Brenda was using the LeClerc Nilus Table Top loom and they are a little slower to use since you have to use your hands to push levers to raise and lower harnesses, and with less loom waste, her scarf was going to be a bit longer, but Brenda also knows how to focus and finished it with no problem. Pat’s scarf was wider than the others, and she had the Dorset, which is good about having less loom waste as well, so I was a bit concerned. I shouldn’t have been. She, too, took home a finished scarf at the end of Sunday.

brenda log cabin

Brenda’s colors and Log Cabin pattern. I can see why everyone loves Log Cabin. It looks complicated, but isn’t. It does take a bit of concentration while weaving it so you change colors just right, but as just a tabby weave, the treadling is as simple as it gets.

rhonda houndstooth

Rhonda’s colors and 6-thread Hound’s-tooth pattern. Hound’s-tooth usually comes in a close second on choices for my students. Since I require a two-color warp and a two-shuttle weave structure for their scarves, this one is a good choice and is so pretty with a simple twill for the treadling.

pat's houndtooth

Pat’s colors and 4-thread Hound’s-tooth pattern.

All of the students have yarn left over enough to knit up matching hats and mittens to go with their scarves, so they are going to having something to wear this winter that will be the envy of all their friends.

rhindahemstitch

Rhonda was the first to finish her scarf.

rhondacounting fringetwists

And was the first to use the fringe twister. 1-2-3-4-5…

Starstruck Cat Studio has a washing machine and dryer in it, and we got to use the washing machine to full the scarves. This was great! Each student was able to leave with a completely finished, if slightly damp, scarf. Thank you Susan for letting us use the machines!!

brenda hemstitch

Brenda was the second to finish her scarf, twist her fringe and full the scarf.

pat'sknots

Look how close Pat was able to get to her knots on her loom!

pathemstitch

And here is Pat finishing up on the loom.

And for the moment we have all been waiting for – the finished scarves!

rhonda's scarf

Rhonda and her scarf.

brenda's scarf

Brenda and her scarf.

pat's scarf

Pat and her scarf.

I am very proud of each of my students. Not only did they complete the class within the time constraints, but their very first woven projects are lovely. I used some of the things I have learned as a Sheep to Shawl judge at the Indiana State Fair and evaluated the scarves for them. Each was concerned about their selvedges and draw-in, but they all did very well with not one being more than a ½ inch different from the beginning to the end in width and very consistent and straight.

So, what did I do while they wove on Sunday?

maryjanesock1

I finished the first Mary Jane sock for Soctober and got quite a bit done on the leg of the second one.

yarnbombwheel

During lunches and when we needed breaks, we go to help yarn bomb the old spinning wheel that sit outside the shop.

We all had a great weekend!

Oct 9
All is ready
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The three looms, student kits, warping boards and the rest of the accoutrements are in place and ready for the workshop to begin at 9:00 in the morning.  I took today off work to finalize things and transport everything to Starstruck Cat Studio.  Scott helped me load Laurel, unload her at the shop and set everything up.  Also, he helps me with the winding on the warp part and is invaluable to me. I love that man!!

So, you know where I’ll be the next three days.  I’ll take pictures.

Oct 8
Total Lunacy
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Last night, I read about the total lunar eclipse that was to take place this morning and saw that in our neck of the woods, it would start soon after 5 AM.  Since that is not long before my normal get up time, I decided to get up and watch it.  And I asked Scott if he wanted to join me.  Surprisingly, he said yes (it’s his day off and normally he would sleep in).

So, at 5:08AM, Scott and I were sitting outside, tea mugs in hand and started watching the show.  It took an hour and a quarter to go from full to eclipsed.  Up front, I will apologize at my camera’s quality, but I had to try to record it somehow.

lunar1

Lovely full moon.

lunar2

A bite taken out of the moon.

lunar3

A bit more.

lunar4

About half-way done.

lunar5

By this point, Scott and I started noticing more stars.  With the full moon glowing brightly in the sky, only the brightest stars could be seen.  At this point, you could see quite a bit of the Milky Way.

lunar6

And the blood moon.  I tried to get a picture of the whole, red moon, but my camera just could not get it.  Too bad.

The last time Scott and I watched a lunar eclipse was on our Honeymoon down in North Carolina.  Since that was nearly 30 years ago, it’s about time we did this again.

Oct 7
Just a quick update
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The only things I have on the needles that are actively getting knitted at this point are two pairs of socks.  The first is pair are my before bed-time knitting socks, and I am making them up as I go.  They include left overs from the two previous pairs knitted.

MJ sock

Obviously, these are toe up and I decided to do the toes, heels and cuffs with the left over dark green Kraemer Sterling sock yarn.  But because I am using Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel, and after each wedge, you have to work in pattern across the instep, I ended up with a dark green stripe that reminds me of a strap to Mary Jane shoes.  I tried them on last night and they fit great and look so cute!  The mate to this sock is ready to start the leg, so once I get this one to the cuff, I’ll knit the leg of the mate and do the cuffs at the same time to make sure I have enough of the dark green to finish them both.

The second pair of socks are my lunch time knitting project, so they are going much slower.

Kethyr sock 1

I am into the third repeat of the lace chart on the first sock of Spilly Jane’s Kethry pattern.  The pattern calls for two repeats before starting the heel, but that would have made these socks too short for my taste, so I am doing a third repeat.  Once I get down to the heel on this first one, I’ll do the leg of the second one.  I am seriously considering doing a modification on this pattern, though.  I have knit lace socks before and the lace has continued down onto the foot.  I just find this such a waste of the pattern to be hidden in a shoe at all times, so I think I’ll just do a plain stockinette foot on the foot portion of these.  We’ll see how I feel when I get to that point.  What do you guys think?

Other than that, I am nearly prepared for the weaving workshop this weekend.  I hope everyone is having a great week so far!

Oct 6

Saturday was a day of running errands and attending a meeting.  I left the house at 8:30 that morning and didn’t get back home until 7:30.  Whew!  The meeting I attended was for the 2017 Midwest Weaver’s Conference which will take place in Indianapolis, IN.  I am on the planning committee and am in charge of the goodie bags.  I have some ideas about how I want to do them.  I want people attending the conference in June, 2017, to leave thinking this was the best Midwest Weaver’s Conference ever.  All I can say at this point is that it’s a good thing I have a bit over 2 years to get what I want to do done.

Sunday, on the other hand was spent prepping for the beginning weaving workshop this next weekend at Starstruck Cat Studio.  I measured off the warp for three looms, threaded two of them (I need Scott’s help getting the Baby Wolf into my studio before I can get it done), gathered the items for the student kits, pulled together everything else I need for the class, and cleaned on my studio somewhat in the process.

So, it was busy and I am nearly ready for the class.  I’ll thread the Baby Wolf tomorrow night (gotta cook tonight) and Scott can help me wind the warps on Wednesday night.  Thursday, I’ll take everything down and set up the class room.

I can tell it is going to be very busy in the near future for me.  I like being busy. :)

 

Oct 3
Taking a deep breath
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This week has been a bit on the quiet side, but that is good.  Starting tonight, that will change.

Next weekend, I am teaching a 3-day Beginning Weaving Workshop at Starstruck Cat Studio in Greenwood, Indiana, and this weekend, beginning tonight, is the prep for that workshop.  For example, this is what I need to do:

1. Measure out the sample warp for the looms and warp all of the looms (about 5 hours total)

2. Put together all of the student kits, each of which include: Tape measure, 12″ ruler, 2 shuttles, at least 6 bobbins, scissors, pad of paper, pencil, calculator, pins, and binder clips.  I find it just is easier if each student has their own set of stuff and it is easier at the end of class to make sure I get everything back.

3. Put together the folders of patterns, hand-outs, and other information needed for the class – one per student.

4. Put together the kit that the students share (yarn for the samples, bobbin winder, scotch tape, books, swift and ball winder).

Most of this sounds easy, right?  Well, now remember that I have moved my studio since the last time I taught a complete workshop and not everything has been organized and put away.  In fact, very little has.  So, while I am getting everything ready, I will also be sorting, organizing and putting things away in my studio while looking for all of that stuff (where are all of my shuttles???).

Yes, it’s going to be a very busy weekend.  Oh, did I say I had the whole weekend?  Well, I really have tonight, a couple of hours tomorrow and Sunday to get all of this done.  It’s a very good thing I rested last weekend.

Sep 29
Hibernating
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This weekend was one of rest for me.  Saturday morning, both Scott and I woke up tired.  The busy weekend before, a long week at work, and being at the half century mark all added up, so we decided to take it easy.  So I knitted most of the day and did little else.

I finished the socks I knitted for my SIL (and forgot to take pictures of them all done), but did not feel I had the thinking capacity to work on my Kethry socks.  So I look around to see what I had.

what to do

I had left overs from my Disco socks and Missy’s socks.  Quite a bit of left overs actually since that bottom right ball is a full one.  And they seems to go together.  Hmmm…

twinkle toes

By the end of the weekend, I had this done.  Both toes and feet and one had the first wedge of Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel done.  Don’t let how short they look fool you.  The box stitch I am using for the tops of the feet squoosh down quite a bit, and it did measure to the 5.5 inches I needed before starting this type of heel.  I know I have enough of the green to do the toes and heels of both socks, and I’m betting I can get both cuffs done as well.  The little bit you see here of the colorful one is left over from my SIL’s socks and I still haven’t touched the full ball yet, so I will have plenty to finish them – and probably left-overs as well.  I’ve always wanted a pair of socks with the toes, heels and cuffs in a different color, and now I am going to have them.

So, these are going to be twinkle-toes (and heels and cuffs) socks.  :)

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