Archive | March 2013

A Quiet Day

For me, discovering something with spinning is like eating chocolate. You know, the stuff you get at Easter. Oh, and we can’t forget that velvety stuff found in Kawartha Dairy’s Moosetracks ice cream. It is just so darn delicious. I savour it, enjoy it, prolong it. And then the sugar rush kicks in. I bounce around for awhile and then I end up crashing, content with a huge smile on my face.

That’s what happened to me last night after I spun that denim yesterday. I’ve also been helping Mom out for the past three weeks (she had radiation), so I haven’t spent a whole lot of time at home. My couch and DVD set of Golden Girls were very appealing today. My kitty, Charchar, also felt that I needed to make up for lost snuggling time.

I did manage to knit up some of the stuff I spun yesterday. I think I’m going to make it into a purse. I’m going to have to spin some more because there wasn’t enough of what I did spin. I think I’m going to line the purse too and perhaps put a little pocket in it. I don’t know when the assembly part will take place though because the upcoming week is filled with wrapping up loose ends. I think Thursday afternoon will be the soonest I could get to it *sigh*

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I have to say that I am totally in love with this yarn (I guess it’s yarn, right?). One thing I will say about it is that it didn’t work very well on the crochet hook. But with that said, I’m also one to avoid working with eyelash/novelty yarns in crocheting. So if one could handle those, this yarn would work. I ended up getting the knitting needles out and it was a lot more pleasant to work with.

I decided to try crocheting some dishcloths. My knitted ones are a big hit, but in all honesty, I lose money on them. I’m an experienced knitter and it takes me from an hour and a half to 3 hours to make one dishcloth. Unless somebody wanted to pay $35 for a dishcloth, I’m not even getting minimum wage and covering my material. I have made them for those close to me, but it’s certainly not something I’m planning on stocking in my inventory. I know that I can crochet a lot more efficiently than knitting them, so I figured I would give it a try. I didn’t time myself too closely (I’m just chillin’ today), but I do know they work up a lot quicker than the knitted ones. Now to take them for a test drive. I have a feeling these ones will actually work better than the knitted ones. And I hope I can make them faster too.

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As I mentioned earlier, I have a busy week coming up. Of course I’ll still be working away, but I don’t know how much posting I’ll get to do. I’ve been enjoying updating my blog because it’s a great way for me to keep track of my productivity. I’m done with those days where I’ve worked my butt off and don’t think I accomplished anything. From now on when I feel like that, I’m going to take pictures of what I did that day and post them!

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A New Spin on Old Jeans

After much discussion about wanting to do this, I dove in today. I picked up a pair of legs cut off from some jeans that were turned into a purse and cut them into spin-able material. I spun it and then I plied it with commercial yarn. This is what I got:

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I don’t usually pat myself on the back, but I actually broke into a full-blown happy dance with the result of this experiment!!!! I have this crazy love of denim and I’ve been collecting jeans for a couple of years now. I guess I know what I’m going to be doing! hehehe

The picture below is “The Colour of Happy” plied with some blue. I did this on the fast flyer. I was pretty excited about it too (until I spun the denim LOL) I still love this though and I’d love to see what it looks like worked up.

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A Pretty, Angry Purse

My “daughter from another mother” put in a special request a few weeks ago. She told me that she was going to an Angry Birds party in early April. I asked her if she wanted me to make her a hat. She said she would rather a pink purse. I told her I would do my best.

I scoured the net to see if I could find a pattern. Sure, I could make it without one, but with one would save time. I was only able to find a knitted Halloween bag. So I guess I was meant to do it from my head in the first place. Here’s what I came up with:

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I sent these pictures to her mom and she wrote me back. She said she loves it! I wish I could be there when she gets it. She is a kid who truly appreciates handmade items (as is my son). So I will move mountains if I have to to make something for her when she asks.

Spinning Challenge: The Prep

Earlier this year there was a challenge put forth in the spinning group I belong to. A fleece was divided up amongst the group and we are to prepare it and spin in. We also have the option of dyeing it after photos are taken of it in it’s natural colour. The next step will be to make something out of the yarn we have spun. I’m so excited about all of this! It will be so much fun to see what the other spinners come up with.

The sheep whose wool we’re working with is named Blue. He’s a Texel X.

This is the biggest spinning project I’ve taken on in my young spinning life. The fleece was washed, but that was it. The following pictures show what I’ve had to do so far. I’ve done my best to explain what’s going on. My terms may not be right or there may be better ways to describe what’s going on in the picture. I’m still learning, so if you’re reading this, you know your spinning stuff and you think something is incorrect, there is a good chance you’re right. Seeing as I’m always looking to learn new things, feel free to drop me a note in the comments if you have different information.

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This is what the fleece looked like when we received it. It has been washed, but as you can see there is still a lot of work to do

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This is after the locks have been teased out (separated) and most of the debris removed (ideally… I’ve done my best although I’m sure there may be tricks I don’t know about)

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Theses are hand cards. After the locks have been teased out, they are placed on the carders and brushed. The purpose of this is to get the fibres going in the same direction. This is a very tedious task… Unless you’re lucky enough to have a drum carder!

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This is what’s called a roleg. This is the result of hand carding. It’s not ready to spin yet!

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Mmmmm… Donuts…. Yes, this is a donut. No fat content in these ones! Once you finish a roleg, your wool will be too wide to spin (at least this is my experience… I’m sure there are methods I don’t know about). The next step is to CAREFULLY redirect the fiber to make the piece you’re working with narrower. I know there’s a name for it, but it’s escaping me right now.

Well there you have it. That’s what I’ve got done so far. I haven’t decided what weight I’m going to spin it. Seeing as I got a fast flyer the other day (thanks Dad!), I’m probably going to spin something for socks. I want to get working with some food colouring to perfect my technique. Hopefully I’ll be able to turn this into something bright and rainbow-y. So much fun!

Stay tuned for the next part where I get it on the wheel. I’m not sure when exactly that will be, but I will make sure to title and tag it under “Spin Challenge.”

Meet My Friend: Kimberly & Co.

I’ve been chatting back and forth with Kimberly for about a year now. She is a wonderful friend and has become very near and dear to my heart. She is very supportive in whatever whim hits me on any given day. I think if I had a cheering squad in my fibre work, she would certainly be head cheerleader!

Kimberly had asked me to spin her some yarn last year. I told her that I’m still learning, that I really don’t know if I’m ready to sell it. I told her that if she bought the roving, I would spin it for her at no charge. Just as long as she gave me some feedback. I was so excited when she took me up on my offer. I get so excited to spin yarn, but to spin it for somebody else? And to see what they will do with what I have created? What an honour!

I was sitting in a restaurant with my guys, enjoying my birthday dinner. I received a picture message that just sent me into tears of joy:

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I was blown away! First of all, I don’t think she had the yarn home 2 hours and look what she had made LOL The really touching part is that both of our love and energy went into this beautiful piece!

After that, she had requested some more yarn. Of course I was happy to oblige. I’m going to share some photos of the spinning process right to the finished product.

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The grey is spun, blue on deck

For Kimberly

On the bobbin

And what did she do with this?

She made a beautiful cowl!

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Kimberly is in the process of giving her business a new look. You can find her Etsy shope, Kimberly & Co., by clicking this link. Drop by and have a look around. Beautiful work to match a beautiful soul!

Pattern Testing Galore!

It’s been an exciting, busy week around here. In addition to spinning, I completed three different pattern tests (well, 4 if you count my booboo of missing the size posted that I was asked to work on). I really do enjoy testing patterns! I also made a bunny hat for a sweet little man for his first Easter photo shoot. He totally stole my heart!

Victorian Bonnet 3_6mthsVictorian Baby Bonnet by Crochet by Jennifer

Chantilly Bonnet 3_6mthsChantilly Baby Bonnet by Crochet by Jennifer

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I have another test for Crochet by Jennifer as well. No time for mischief here! hehehe

Fast Times at the Hali Museum

Today was Spinning Day again! Oh yeah, my favorite day of the month!!! Today we had a spin-in at the Haliburton Museum. It started at 10 and we wrapped up around 2:30. That’s the longest one I’ve been to and it was amazing! I love the spin meetings because I always come back refreshed and armed with lots of new information.

Today Wendy asked if anyone wanted to try a fast flyer. I was nervous because of the name. I figured it would pull the yarn up faster than I could keep up. But I shoved that fear aside and dove in because this was the perfect place to try something new.

Let me tell you, I fell in LOVE!!!! It certainly didn’t do what I expected. With the fast flyer on, I was able to spin really fine yarn. I NEVER thought I would be able to spin that fine! While I was spinning it, I keep thinking “I see sock yarn!” The other option was “I see Bazinga mitten yarn!” hehehe

I’ve also decided that I HAVE to take the spinning course in the summer. So I stopped by the college on the way home to pick up a course calendar and a bursary application. I really want to learn as much about spinning as I can. And what’s more, I would REALLY like to be able to teach people to spin. I want to keep this art alive. It’s brought me so much joy in the little time that I’ve been doing it. I love it!

Wish me luck!