Friday, August 31, 2012

Navaho plied - another learning experience

Hello again.  I know I've been sparse around here.  Hey, I've been busier than normal, but not really with anything that is blog worthy.

I did get my colorfully died fiber (bought that way - learning to dye yarn will be the next thing I'm sure), spun and plied.  Someone told me I should try Navaho plying and suggested I watch YouTube videos to see how it was done.  I did.  Then I gave it a shot.  It's not perfect, but it's something I think I'd try again.

Here is the before photo - the fiber I started with:
This is a multi-colored superwash BFL Merino.  I like working with this yarn a lot.  For someone who wouldn't touch wool before, I'm sure getting to know this one well...........

So I wasn't crazy about the green in this, but I liked the brown and the blue and the red a LOT, and since there was more of that, I decided to give it a try.

Below are photos of how it turned out as yarn.  The colors aren't as bright, and I did the Navaho ply on it, which makes it a 3 ply yarn.  I had some issues (still/again) with my singles not being spun tight enough in spots, and then coming apart when I plied, so there are some spots where it isn't perfect.  But it's done and it's mine.  I'll make something out of it!

This is one small skein and one larger skein of the yarn.  It's been drying since last night.  I gave it the soaks I read about doing - hot water with a drop of Dawn dish soap for awhile, then a warm soak with water and vinegar, then a rinse in cool water for awhile, then squeeze in a towel to dry as much as possible.  Then it hung around in the bathroom overnight, then it went outside on the porch this morning.  It's VERY hot today (ick) and I'm sure it'll be dry by tonight.

Here's another shot:
Navaho Plied Yarn
Navaho Plied Yarn Close Up
The above shot is my artsy fartsy shot.

I think for not knowing what I was doing, I did I said, there are spot.  But hey, I'm a BEGINNER!

I've started spinning the fiber that was given to me by Linda at Misty Mountain Farm, where I bought my spinning wheel.  It's not dyed and I thought it would be just beautiful leaving it natural.  I'm spinning it and thinking, it's awfully plain.......I could try to dye it after it's spun.  What I'm trying to do is decide if I want to ply something into it.  A sparkly thread?  Some beads? 

I tried plying beads into the yarn in the photos above, but I failed.  That's when I tried the Navaho ply.  Glad that worked, because it's really hard to UN-ply anything!

On the other hand, this "plain" natural fiber might be really pretty once it's made into something.  The fiber is BFL superwash too.  So it should be really great as a garment.  I still think a little sparkle of some sort would be nice though.....

Well, I'm really in need of a nap (not sure why) so I'm going to go lay down.
Take care, and I'll be back with more later.

Monday, August 27, 2012

More Yarn!

Yes, I have more yarn to show off. I've been busy lately!  :-)
Here is the fiber I started with.  I finally got smart, and started taking photos of the fiber (not the kind you eat) that I start with, then the yarn that come from spinning that fiber.  It's something I have to remember to make myself do!

Spinning fiber
Isn't it beautiful?  I could only get 4 oz of this fiber.  There was only one braid of it left.  I hope to find some more in similar colors at some point soon.
This is what the fiber turned into.
Pretty Yarn!
I am not spinning very thin right now.  Even when I think it's thin, after plying and washing and drying, it ends up being quite bulky - but I  LIKE the bulky look!  I can't wait to get weaving on this.  Of course, I have to get what's ON my loom now, finished and off!

Speaking of that, I haven't been very good at going up once a day and spending an hour weaving.  I did it twice last week.  I enjoyed it.  But I didn't continue to do it every day.  What the heck?

I'm working on some new fiber - quite out of my normal color range.  It's interesting.

Multi color superwash bfl
Quite the color scheme, eh?  There wasn't much to choose from at the LYS.  It's spinning up in an interesting way.  The colors are quite blocked, especially the red and blue (almost a turquoise).  At the spinning group last week, when I started spinning this, someone asked me if I was going to Navaho ply this yarn.  I don't think I want to.  What I DID want to do, was to ply it with invisible thread, with beads strung onto it.  I tried it and it didn't work - I think because the yarn I was trying to ply it to was not spun with enough twist.  Although, hubby asked me if the invisible thread was causing the yarn to break.  After tearing off what I'd not been successful at, I decided not to try again - I hate waste!  I did spin some more of it up and made sure I spun it tighter....but I'm still afraid to try the thread and beads in the ply.  I did start thinking that maybe I had been trying to ply it too tightly, and maybe that was why my yarn was breaking as it was going onto the bobbin.  I dunno.  So much to learn yet.  But I'm getting there!

At any rate, this is some of what I've been up to.

This morning we went and got 42 bales of hay, and we stacked it in the barn. I helped move some hay from a storage stall to the tack room, then we off-loaded the hay from the truck to the storage stall.  Time to start putting the hay in for the winter.  There is a lot in the stall that needs to go to the dump as it's not any good.  Sad.  I don't like waste.  Oh, had I mentioned that before????

I'm really tired - stayed up too late last night.  Watched Army Wives.  Only one more show left "before it all ends."  I read online that they don't know if they are going to continue the show or not.  What the heck????  Oh well, another one bites the dust.

I think today may consist of a nap............zzzzzzzzzzzz..........
Take care,

Monday, August 20, 2012


I know, I haven't been posting much lately. I really lead such a quiet life lately - not at all normal for me, but there ya go. I have been keeping quite busy though.


This is my second hand spun yarn.  The picture is partially in the sun, so that's why it's kinda bright.  I tried to take it in the shade under the overhang to the porch, but it didn't want to come out.  So I moved closer to the light source and of course, the sun had to come out!  The yarn probably isn't quite that bright.  It's a really pretty blue though.

I also went to the Lazy Kate Spinsters group on Wednesday.  Last week, it was held at Susan's house. I hadn't met Susan because she has a little boy under 2 years old, and the meetings are on Wednesdays from 12:30 - 4:30 - which of course is nap time for little boys of that age.  :-)  She was sweet and had a cute home she's renting.  Here is the group - I'm waaaaaayyyyy in the back, on the right, and I was ok there!

I guess I was pulling on my earlobe.  LOL.  I was talking instead of spinning.  I was taking a break.  But you can see my wheel back there too.  Look at the variety of wheels and there are 2 spindles there too. 
We certainly were a tight fit into the room.  What you can't see, is all the food on the table behind the photographer (Susan).  I think everyone brought something.  I have to figure out what to bring this week because it is at another person's house this week - see that woman in the far left corner with the green spinning wheel?  That's Mariane and the group will be meeting at her home this week.  The art center has had things going on, so they didn't have room for us to meet.

I was outside taking photos of the yarn, and the butterfly bush was being swarmed by butterflies.  When the sun comes out, it's amazing how many will be out there.  I just can't seem to get a good photo of all of them on the bush.  I get as many photos as I can, and some of them come out good, some don't......I have a lot to learn about my camera still I think...........

See the one below?  I have NO idea how I managed the butterfly in flight.  See the shadow under it on the ground?  COOL! 

This is the first Monarch of the season that I've seen.  I could NOT get a clear photo - I'm so mad!  I took over 100 photos....and yet, not a clear one of this one butterfly!  Grrr.

Below is a hummer.  We have 3 I think - hard to tell when they move so danged fast!  This one was just sitting on the fence.  I took the photos from between the wood rails on the porch.  Too funny because I took about a dozen, tried another setting, then couldn't get the camera to focus even when I went back to the setting I took this photo on.  Gee, I sure have a LOT to learn about my camera.  And it's not even the big fancy kind!  I'm just thankful some of them came out.

So there you have it, what I've been up to lately.
I also was able to remove the quilt stitches from the quilt I started and hated.  I know now, I'll be quilting stitch in the ditch.  I should have listened to the quilt the first time.  That's what it wanted to be.  I'm not a person that does a lot of tight, close, tiny quilting.  It just does NOT work on my quilts - and besides, I'm not good at it. 

I have some more fiber I'm spinning into yarn.  I was going to use thread to ply it with, but I didn't do a good job of it, and I spent hours un-plying it.  Ick.  I don't ever want to do that again.  I only have 4 ounces of it, not 8 like all the other I've done, so I don't know if I'll actually have enough to make anything with when I'm done plying it, if I ply it to itself.  I'm very undecided at this point.................

I've decided I'm going to change the way the website works. I need to make my products, and I need to sell just those that are made up.  I'll be working on printing out some cards, and making card sets.  I'll be printing out some photos on paper and putting them on the canvases. I'll also put my quilts that are done up there, and lower the price of the one that is already there. 
Then I have to figure out how to drive more customers there.
I started it in January, and I'll renew it for at least one more year.  After that, we'll see.

See, even if I don't come around often enough, when I do, I try to make it a good post!  :-)
Time to make dinner.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My first hand spun yarn

Here is my first hand spun yarn (Lendrum Spinning Wheel).  It is a Polworth/silk blend, 85/15, in Chianti, from Misty Mountain Farms, in Amissville, VA.
I'm pretty proud of it.

It is purple, but the dye has not set. I  have rinsed the yarn twice now, and the second time I rinsed with a tiny bit of vinegar.  It didn't help, maybe because it wasn't enough.
I love my yarn. I know what I need to do differently now - more twist - waaaaaayyyy more twist.  Some of it broke at the joins when I was plying it (adding 2 singles together).

I know, it doesn't look like your "traditional" yarn.  That was on purpose. I don't do much that's traditional. I've lately found that I have a lot more fun if I don't try to be too traditional, or too perfect.  Trying to be perfect in my artistic endeavors makes it no fun for me, and I'm all about having fun with this stuff!

I am having a LOT of pain in my left forefinger joint.  I think I strained it and I think I might have arthritis in it, and it's been very painful for 3 days now.  I haven't spun anymore because of it, which makes me sad.

Hubby and I went to see the movie "Hope Springs" today.  It was mainly set in Maine.  Yeah, I know, I made a pun. Haha.  I love Maine.  I miss Maine.  I miss New England in general.  I don't know why.  Sorry, I digress.  The movie was......good.   A bit more sex than I thought it would have for being rated PG 13.  The story was very good, and it really resonated with me in ways I won't go into.  Meryl Streep is just an amazing actress and I always believe her characters.  She has aged gracefully, and the rolls she takes are amazing.

Today was pretty weather-wise.  The humidity is lowering, and tomorrow is supposed to be really sweet.  Maybe we'll get some outside things done tomorrow...........

I didn't sleep well last night.  Not after 1:30.  Storms rolled in, I was awakened by hubby going to the bathroom, then the thunder and lightening.  I was restless after that, and I kept waking up.  I will sleep well tonight, because I'm tired.

Thanks for letting me share my new yarn. I think I will weave with it because I'm not sure it's sturdy enough to knit with.  It will only be enough for a nice scarf.  I will have to rinse it really well after weaving because of the dye running.  Meanwhile, I can do some research on how to get the dye to stop running!

Now, it's time for ice cream.  Yum!

Take care.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ketchup. Catsup. Catch up!

I need to catch up!  I've been MIA again.  This week was a bit busier than my life has been recently. 
This morning, I'm supposed to be brushing out my Papillon, and giving him a bath.  Today is volunteer day at the hospital.  I didn't do any days last month, and this month, I signed up for one.  I was hoping it wouldn't be too hot, maybe overcast to keep the car from getting too hot while we're inside. Well, we are having rain right now, and the weather people are saying we could have severe storms later.  I guess I got my wish for overcast skies!  If it storms before I'm to go, I will call and cancel.  Meanwhile, I'm procrastinating about my duties for bathing the dog.  I also need to bathe the other dog while I'm at it, my little Maltese.  She needs baths more often. She gets food on the ends of her ears because she won't eat out of a bowl, she only eats off a plate.  (rolling eyes here).  She hates her hair to get too long and she almost acts depressed when it is!  So she may get a haircut today too - depends on my energy level after 2 baths!
I just had to go back and look at my own blog, to see where I left off.  I don't want to be repetitive!
I guess I posted some quilts last.  I also posted previously about spinning on a spindle.  Well, that didn't go so well.  I ended up with a really BAD case of tennis elbow.  Luckily the massage therapist I used to go to once a month (but haven't gone to in a year and a half), told me to get a BandIt band.  I ordered it on Amazon and it works GREAT!  I highly recommend it to anyone that might be having this issue!
Anyway, I was really enjoying seeing fiber become yarn, so hubby and I went to a local woman that sells various types of spinning wheels.  I tried a couple, but really loved the Lendrum DT (double treadle) wheel.  It's not too modern looking, yet it's not very traditional looking either. It's pretty easy to figure out and it folds up if you want to haul it places.
 Yes, it tilts forward.  I like that - I can see the bobbin and it reminds me to move the sliding hook along so one part of the bobbin doesn't fill up too much. 
Side view

It fits in the living room just fine, when I'm spinning I sit on the loveseat and spin away.  The dogs still get to sit next to me, and I get to do something while we're watching t.v.  I'm hooked.  When I'm not spinning on it, I put it next to the t.v. and it's right next to the front door.  It doesn't take up much room.

The next thing I did was make a carrying bag for it.  Not easy, considering I used heavy Duck material and my little home sewing machine was NOT ready for all that work.  The poor machine will need a good cleaning before I do anything else on it.


The front has a large pocket that holds a LOT.  I don't really know how to do pockets on something like this so I just made it up.  It now has small buttons and loops that I made for it.  The buttons are out of shrinky dink plastic, with a photo I took a few years ago, of a black Swallow Tail butterfly on a lilac bush that no longer lives in our front yard.  It got destroyed by the heavy snows a couple of years ago.  I did a pretty danged good job on this thing though, and the wheel fits inside.  I should have padded the back better though, because the wheel pokes me in the back.  I would NOT go backpacking with this thing!  However, it does protect it while getting it from point A to point B.

I even put binding on the seams inside so they would not unravel.  Duck is a really heavy fabric (have I mentioned that before???) and it was interesting!
Backpack inside w/binding

I had gone to the store the other day, and I walked past a sale rack.  I saw this sitting on it, and picked it up and checked it out.  Originally $44.00, it was marked down to $20.  I could NOT pass it up.  I can think of all sorts of uses for it.  I thought it was a scrapbooking case, but no, it's a sewing machine case, on wheels.  I was thinking sewing machine when I picked it up, but didn't look closely at the tag till I got home. 
It has a pull up handle, and wheels.  I can put fiber in it, I can put all the spinning wheel bits in it, I can put my sewing machine in it - I can use it to travel (in the car) with and put just about anything in it.  It's one big space inside, and a generous front pocket and 2 side pockets with Velcro.  Very handy!  For $20 ???  I could NOT pass this baby up! 

I have some photos to post, but I will do that in a separate post.  I also have my first yarns done.  I plied them last night.  Problem is, my spinning wasn't great on some of the singles, as it was all a learning curve.  Therefore, the yarns are a bit wonky - I mean, I'm not looking for perfect, but while plying, I ran into some broken bits on one of the skeins.  As I said, learning curve.  Now I KNOW what I need to do, how much twist it really needs, and the next bits I'll do better.  Photos to come as I rinsed the yarn last night in hot water, then gently squeezed it out, let it drip dry in the shower.  This morning it isn't quite dry, but it did leave purple streaks in the tub.  I hope they came out when hubby showered.  I haven't been in there yet.  I still have to bathe dogs, so I will check it out then.  The color running worries me a bit, so I will have a go at rinsing them again and letting them drip dry during the day today.  I'd hang them out to dry, but I'm afraid they might not considering how wet it is out right now.  Maybe I'll put a fan on them in the bathroom.  That might help them dry faster.  This is my first time working with anything wool.  Learning! 

Off to take care of the dogs.  Then me.  Then if I have energy, I'll be doing a little spinning before hospital today.
Oh, and I'm thinking of quitting the hospital.  I've been doing it a couple of years, I don't do it but a couple of times a month.  That's a good thing as I have commitment issues.  I don't do anything else with the dog group as I think they are a bit snobby, and I haven't ever felt I fit in.  Besides, poor Evan doesn't like the other dogs, and as he's grown up, he's gotten issues about other dogs being in his space.  Therefore, I don't do anything with the rest of the group as it stresses him out.  It's hot in the hospital and I feel like I don't enjoy it as much as I used to.  I'll give today a try, then decide for sure.

Take care of yourself, do what you love, live life today.  Don't live with regrets, it's not worth it.