Monday, January 30, 2012

Nifty things I've recently learned about

So, of course, along with making yarn, I also use it. Go figure right?  I've been a very basic knitter, and a basic crocheter for years.   I'd love to weave, on a "real" loom, with heedles, and shafts and such, but not yet.

I have however learned a few really cool techniques I hadn't heard of until recently.  First, is knooking!  it's a really cool way for crocheters to get a knit look!  Check out this simple video of the knit stitch:

There is, of course a purl stitch too:

and of course you are going to have to cast on:

I can't wait to try this out!  I suppose first, I'll have to get a crochet hook modified!

And then there's the new (to me) method of the purl stitch, when you're knitting continentally, the Norwegian purl:

I can throw my yarn, and can knit continental, but I think will stick to continental when I figure this move out!  Think about how much quicker it will go!  It will probably convince me to knit more too. 

Alright, I hope this is all helpful to someone else out there! 


Friday, January 27, 2012

Hiccups and Happenings

Well, I would say using the Of Mice and Men quote has cursed me.... Or something along those lines.
There were a few weather days last week where I had the oldest home to, so I needed to entertain 3 instead of 2.
I've gone and signed up for a craft/small business Bazaar, that is in mid February.  Which I've been felting up a few scarves and cowls, and have plans for more felting...
I've gone to a conference that took an entire day.  It was on Children and Behavior.  It was brilliant.
And of course the Flu, that you all heard of already.

But what does this mean of my homework?  It means my homework has not completely stopped, but slowed down.    Which is terribly sad.  Though I'm happy to say that I've gotten 6/10 breeds done. Here's my "Organizational system".  I still hope to have all my homework done by March 1st.  I can do it!  Can't I?

Organizational system
I've also got another side by side shot, again of two very different fibers.  Shetland and Southdown.  It's basically the exact same illustration as the last time, but it continues to amaze me!

Shetland vs Southdown

And finally, my wonderful, amazing, fabulous sister bought me 2 books for Christmas.  Unfortunately, they were both books that were to be released this January!   They both finally came!  I also borrowed the Fleece and Fiber Source book from the library. So, here is my reading for the next little while.  

Reading Material

So, that's what I've been up to.  Off to spin up some more glorious Shetland!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wool type matters

Well,  I caught a tummy bug that took the life right outta me for 3 days.  I'm only now, 5 days later, feeling like I can do much of anything.  It was ugly.  But no details because, well,  eww.

The really sad part was it set me back quite far back in my homework.  Do you know how much washing I could get done in those 5 days?  4 breeds.  I could have pretty much had my breeds all washed and ready to go.  Oh well, I suppose this is the point of the 'Of Mice and Men' quote.
Anyway, before I got sick I managed to get a worsted merino, woolen merino, and a woolen teeswater skien spun.  And the knit swatches of the merinos.  I only managed to get a picture of the woolen teeswater and woolen merino side by side.  It's what I find to be most interesting anyway.  Check this out:

Left: Merino; Right: TeeswaterLeft: Merino; Right: Teeswater - with the merino stretched

Now, let me explain.  Both skeins were originally wraped around the same part on my niddy noddy, both were finished by fulling, and both were hung without weight.  Look at the first picture.  LOOK!  Isn't it cool?!  That crimp, the energy in the merino, makes the merino look that much shorter, but look how much it stretches! (in the second photo)  So cool, I say.
Now, some may wonder 'why does this matter?'  The finished fabric made with these wool types is going to be infinitly different.  Take a pair of socks for example.  Make a pair of merino socks, they will be stretchy and snug.   Make a pair of teeswater socks, and those babies are going to sloutch, and not stay up very well.  They'll be silky and nice but it you don't like slippery socks, then don't be spining them teeswater.
On the other hand, make a big flowy shawl for something like a christening or wedding.  You're going to want the teeswater, as this breed will give you the drape you are after.   Merino will be bouncy and would work too, but the teeswater would just look nicer, given it's lustor.
I suppose this is why we do the breed study.  To see these amazingly interesting differences in breeds.  It brings out the Sustanabilityist in me. It makes me wonder why we need extruded fibers, chemical fibers, fibers that cause polution.  Why do we need those things, when we were given wool, from many different breeds of sheep, that suit so many different purpose.  And lets not forget other natural fibers, like silk, cotton, and linen.  Heck you can spin nettle too, if you know how to get at the fibers in it's stalks.
... Mother Nature is amazing, isn't she?


Monday, January 9, 2012

Phat Fiber Sample Box: Fiber Fancy Angora giveaway!

Phat Fiber Sample Box: Fiber Fancy Angora giveaway!

just a linky. couldn't help but share this one. I'd love that grey angora!
I had a thought.  Instead of posting my homework progress without pics here, I'll put quick updates over on twitter and big weekly homework posts with pictures and such here.  You can still get the little updates on the right sidebar there, where I have my twitter feed, if you aren't on twitter.  Of course, if I come across something fun, I'll still post it here.   


Friday, January 6, 2012

Homework update, now with pictures!

Scottish Blackface - Spun Woolen:

Woolen spun  Scottish Blackface
Scottish Blackface - Spun Worsted:

worsted spun Scottish Blackface
Scottish Blackface - side by side comparison:

Side by side comparison - Scottish Blackface
Man was this a fun one to spin.  Not.  It kept getting caught up on the hooks on my flyer,  it was coarse and hard on my hands.  But I see it's purposes, and I still might use it for my final project, if it's a rug.  I'll knit up the swatch for the woolen today and add it later.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Homework progress, part1

I'm doing it!   I'm making progress!   I've started with the dreaded blackface, as I'd planned.  This stuff is coarse!!!  I think it would make a really sturdy rug, or something like that.  You wouldn't want to rub it on your skin or anything, unless of course you want some extreme exfoliation.  I've still got the woollen preparation to spin up, but I thought I'd update you on the homework front.  I think now I'll take a break from spinning and reasearch the Scottish Blackface breed.


p.s.  I'll add that I washed a chunck of merino fleece as well.  I think I at the rate I'm going, I'll get two breeds done a week, which would have me done the breed study by the end of the month, the beginning of Febuary.   Yay!  Go me!

p.p.s.  I have more then 15 yards.... lots more then the 15 yards required.... oops!

Monday, January 2, 2012

"The best laid plans...

...of mice and men often go astray."   Or at least that's how the original quote goes.  But I'm not a man or a mouse, so this wont apply to me when I make this list of things that need to get done, right?

 The List, the big list of what I need to accomplish before March 1.  Why March 1?  March 1 is the day registration opens for Fibre Week 2012.  I'd love to finished the homework I'd planned on being completely completed by now before I sign up for Level 2.

  1. Wash all the wool -  well, most of the wool.  At least the amount of wool required to complete the workbook requirements.  All of it would be nice, but that's like 10 pounds of wool...
  2. Spin my homework-  not the stuff I bought that would be sooooo much fun to play with.  I need a big electrified barbed wire fence to surrounding my "for fun" wool.  Temptation is the Devils best friend, don'tchaknow?
  3. Proof read and type up the written assignments-  that doesn't sound all that hard, right?  But for me that's probably going to be the hardest part.  Good to know though, that a friend who is a teacher offered to proof read them for me.
  4. Mount my dyed yarn samples-  on the nice black 12x12 scrap book paper I bought just for this purpose.  
  5. Pull together all the stuff and create the final version of my Workbook-  This is the big finale. I can do this.  Right?  right.
  6. OOPs! Nearly forgot.. Nature Dye a bunch of yarn-  That I spun.  Likely for my final project.  Speaking of final project... socks?  scarf?  rug?  hrm.....

Sounds do-able right?  To be honest, it kind of makes me nauseated to think of it all.  And that I have set this 2 month time line for myself.....

Who wants to hold me accountable?  Who's going to poke me in 2 weeks, and say "Hey,  are you doing your homework?  Better be."  Because honestly I think I'll need it.  I'll keep you all updated on my progress of course.    

So here I go, to clean the kitchen so I can get at the sinks and wash some wool....  The dreaded Blackface will be first I think....  ... Apparently AFTER I feed the kids, and get the not-so-baby-anymore-baby up out of bed.