Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Treadling X2

1896 Singer treadle sewing machine!

I did a lot of spinning in May. In June I took a break and knit another felted bag using Log Cabin Wool. (the soft fuzzy one in the middle)

There were 2 skeins of white all ready to make another bag. Except I think I'll make mittens! I dyed one of the skeins with blue and green food color. I really like the color it came out.
You never know what you're going to get!!

I may have a "bag problem"! They are addictive to knit and although I've given a couple away...   
I seem to have a few on hand.

I finished plying 2 "Fine" singles inspired by the latest issue of PLY.  Sara gave me a birthday gift of fiber from One Lupine. And a baby lamb! Stuffed :)
It was very nice fiber and I did my best to spin thin. So different from the fat fluffy 3 ply I was getting into a spinning groove with recently. Probably a good idea to change things up. The other fiber is Mohair. Yikes! Never tried that yet and may procrastinate a bit longer.
Since July I have spun 5 more skeins of  the grey Romney from Log Cabin Wool. I finished carding the last of it into 4 batts but set it aside last night to begin working on the 2 Tunis fleeces from Montana!

Meanwhile . . .

I've had my grandmother's Singer treadle sewing machine since Aunt Vena gave it to me in the 90's. I got so far as buying a new belt for it but gave up trying to get it to work when it didn't just GO! and moved on to other things. In June I started oiling all the moving parts (and wiping down the dust).
In July it sewed stitches for the first time in about 50 years!!
It still needed some work as the bobbin winder was seized up so I had to wind it by hand. The wire spring on the tension knob was pretty much nonfunctional. I ordered a new one. It cost $1.69 plus s/h. Plus there was a $3.50 minimum so I ordered an oil bottle.


I have since fixed the bobbin winder.
With a hair dryer!
When days upon days of oiling failed to budge a thing someone on Ravelry suggested a blow dryer. It was like magic after just a few minutes of heat I had a perfectly functioning bobbin winder!
(Also worked to loosen the stitch length knob. ;)
I have now sewn 16 twelve inch crazy squares and am now deciding whether or not to use my new-fangled vintage Viking 960 with its nicer selection of feet attachments . . . 
or keep treadling!

In June I decided to rip out our old patio stones that had begun disintegrating from winter rock salt and build this new walkway. Tom helped me collect rocks from the woods with the ATV.  I spent 2 weeks putting the "puzzle pieces" together. My brother made me the bench!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

February became March

AND winter stayed...

(and stayed!)

Photo is first day of spring.  
It snowed again a few days later.

I'm ready to complain about the heat & black flies!!


I went to my first Spin-In February 21st. 
In Newport there was a room filled with spinning wheels and people spinning them. 
I was there by myself - a little frightened - when some lovely ladies welcomed me into their group.  They all raised angora bunnies and were the friendliest bunch! 

Lots of vendors were there selling fiber.
I came home with a roving in fall colors, some alpaca, llama (that I won) and some green dyed locks (which I would have left had I known how awful it was.)  Almost impossible to pull apart. Felted. Cotted? Don't know! Whatever it was... it kind of sucked. I managed to get 2 skeins spun of 3-ply by spinning thicker and letting the lumps and bumps go by.  Sort of. It's not really in my nature to let that perfectly awful clump stay put. NOT stopping every few inches to pick it off was a challenge.
It should be good for making some more felted bags and I'll consider it another lesson in not basing purchases on "ooh pretty!"  
I really need to be more picky when buying fiber. 
What I really want is a fleece fresh from a farm. Cut out the middle man and do it all myself.  Some WARM weather for drying it outside would be nice.
I finally got brave enough to try food color dyeing!
I also learned "pretty colors" blended together can make muddy, not quite what I expected colorways. It looked like a copper penny while spinning it, but the green of one of the plies really took over. 

I found a free felted bag pattern that I followed the 2 color striping sequence for.  
They are really quite addictive.  I've made 4!
I've been using some of my early handspun including the 20 year old stuff I practiced with. 

I also made one of these bags in fleece from the 2 Lagrange farms locally. 
Picture to follow next time camera is out.

I crocheted a bit...made 2 bunnies with requested purple sweaters. One still needs the face finished.

And I cast on for a sweater out of handspun. Hoping it fits.  A free pattern until the end of March.  My sweater attempt has become a UFO about to be ripped out as a bad idea. Not to mention freaking boring.

(hope it begins soon ;)


Sunday, February 01, 2015

January Review

Finished things . . .

There's a beast in my Yarn Bowl!

I kept busy for the month of January and got lots done . . . more than I thought before I gathered pictures of things to blog about.

Wild Thing by Susan Claudino is a pattern for sale on Ravelry. I made one before Christmas in thin sock weight yarn on size 1 needles. 
A couple of weeks ago I decided to make one in thicker yarn on size 3 needles.  CUTE! 
I followed the pattern a little better the 2nd time around. He's the beast from the children's book Where the Wild Things Are.
I got LOTS of spinning done - 7 skeins of 3 ply during the month of January!!!

My drum carder got a good workout. 6 of the 7 skeins were fleece I put through the drum carder. The light gray was some I hand carded last fall from the Common Ground Fair.
I got it all washed this morning to "set the twist". 
It's drying on the back of an old easel.

I found a free felted bag pattern with a braided strap that I'm thinking of making with the brown/gray Tom gave me for Christmas.
Except it's only in German! 
Think I got it figured out with the help of a group on Ravelry. Once I studied the numbers and the picture it sort of makes sense even without understanding all the words. 
(That's what she said! We'll see.)

I enjoyed spinning with fiber from my new drum carder better than just about any I've purchased so far.
Very happy with the decision to buy one.

It did need a bit of unexpected maintenance. Fibers had built up on the inside axles of the drums.  It started turning harder for a day or two and then it wouldn't turn at all. There is so little space between the frame I had to remove 5 screws  from the side panel in order to get it cleaned out. 
I had remembered seeing the diagram for taking it apart  when I first took it out of the box. 
Hoping not to have to do that too often!

AND. I've KNIT 2 pair socks already!
Okay... Size 5 needles with thicker yarn goes faster than a fancy pattern in size 1's. 
BUT they're from my own early hand spun yarn!
One pair was dyed in Orange, Red and Yellow Kool-Aid. They're a little scratchy but not sure if it's because of beginner spinning or maybe 20 year old fleece?  BOTH!

The market bag is a UFO I dug out of hiding. One of my 2015 goals was to finish things I've gotten bored with and left sitting around. PLUS:
Knit with hand spun.
Finish processing fleece I own ... before buying more.

So far so good!


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Another New Year ...where was I?

Spinning and other things.

Mostly spinning!

I make pretty good yarn now :) 

Yarn I don't mind knitting with - although deciding what to knit takes ages as I seem to go round in circles deciding what would make a good match.  
Is there enough? (usually NOT!) 
Is it too thick or too thin?  
It's been thick & thin more often than not. But it's getting better.

I started AND finished a pair of socks this week in some merino I bought from Bountiful last April. They are really more like croc socks or slipper socks as I spun it last summer and was still doing 2-ply. Not sure how well they will stand up with wear. They should make nice, warm spinning socks as I don't wear shoes EVER while treadling my Ladybug.

I decided to save towards a drum carder for Christmas 2014. 
My beautiful daughters took the $400 I had built up and added the rest. It came a week before and I dutifully left it right in the box until Christmas day.
Once again I chose a piece of equipment sight unseen. I had never touched a drum carder but I decided I wanted one. Once I picked which one a family friend tried to talk us into driving several hours away to test some out. 
It's winter in Maine and driving tends to suck quite often. There were blizzard like conditions at the time and so I convinced the girls NO.  
I want what I want! 
(Free shipping, no taxes if comes from out of state AND there was a sale!)

I've spun 3 new skeins in 2015 already. 
Two of them I processed through my new Ashford Drum Carder!

I was afraid it was beginner's luck or a fluke that my first test run through the carder was spinning so nicely. The next batch is spinning nicely as well. 

I  had grabbed some dyed purple locks from One Lupine and after finger picking and putting through the carder it was like spinning cotton candy!  I told Tom I wanted 4 purple sheep in whatever breed it was. Turned out to be Romney. I didn't to ask at the time I bought it but a quick email solved the mystery.  

Tom gifted me with 2 big bags of washed fleece also from One Lupine. All he remembered was that it was washed once and came from a farm in Lagrange. I bought my first half fleece at the Common Ground Fair in September 2014 ... also from Lagrange.  Turns out the lady farmers are next door neighbors. I WANT TO BE THEIR FRIEND. Or volunteer apprentice :)

I also discovered NEEDLE FELTING a couple of months ago! Lots of snowmen were made, complete with knitted scarf and hats.    
And the frog from Woolbuddies.  I borrowed the book from the library and decided it was a keeper. Sara gave it to me for Christmas!

I have made a few New Year Goals including reviving my African Violets (down to 2 trays) and blogging occasionally. PLUS Finishing more of the things I've started. 
More to come...  Happy New Year!