Friday, November 20, 2015

Kindergarten Lies

I don't remember much about Kindergarten, apart from not being able to learn to tie my shoes,  but I think that is where my grasp, such as it is, of colour theory started.  Mixing paints.    All colours mixed make an ugly brown, that's very true.

But somebody lied to me,  red and white do not always make pink.

This is a blend of  Fuchsia dyed  roving, white wool, pink bamboo silk and a single of pink bamboo silk.

It should BE pink, it isn't.

An optimist at my guild commented hopefully that it might knit up more pink.
Not pink roving blend

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Vivid and Neutral part 2

Judith McKenzie choose to combine these four colours, a blue, green and purple and that very vivid yellow green.  I spun and plied them and spun and plied the gray that shows in between the bright colours, that gray is my neutral.

I registered for Madrona Fibre Arts Festival and one of Judith's classes, I missed out on the dyeing for graduations and the Spinning for Cowichan Sweaters, sob, sob.

Now I want to knit something to wear at Madrona from this fibre.

Couple of years back when Sally Melville's L'envelope pattern first came out  I wore one to a class at Madrona she was teaching.

Me, Sally and a Class mate

Monday, November 9, 2015

Calgary Fibre Arts Fair

The 2 nd Annual Calgary Fibre Arts Fair was last weekend. I did not buy any yarn and proud of it. Sorry lovely yarn sellers  But this is my attempt to control the Stash.

Above is 250 grams of Dream in Colour, Superwash Merino for my dreamed of Baby Surprise Jacket.
Here are 3 mohair.  From a local breeder of Angoras, Mountain Sunset Angoras in Pincher Creek. Kindly and ethically raised.  they don't have a web site so I can't hotlink them.  Google them for contact info.

150 Grams

And 200 grams of soft, soft Alpaca from KathFish Fibre Arts

150 grams of Corridale

750 grams into the stash.

But if my yarn and blended fibre sells well at the Heritage Weavers Sale at in the Art Point Gallery that might be as much as 3154 grams out of the stash.

Into others peoples stash but that is not my problem.

I am unfortunately for me,  of the generation and location that switches between grams and the old imperial measurements, The 20 lb challenge is 9 kilograms and some.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Vitals and Neutrals Part One

The last time I was at Madrona I took a class from Judith MacKenzie.  Before the class started she was choosing and arranging colors in a fabulous blend of luxury fibres.  Asked what she would combine with the bright yellow green, she choose the other 3.

I bought the bag partly as a beloved souvenir and it has remained in my stash.

It's a problem, small amount, difficult, demanding but vital colours.  What would I do with the resulting yarn and the dreaded Will I have enough.

Neutrals, Neutrals are the answer.

What Are Neutrals?

In general, neutrals include black, white, gray (mix black with white and you've got gray) and different shades of brown. Nowadays a color can be called a neutral based on how effectively it can blend in with other colors. Basically, they match with all colors and color combinations - and don't create much of an emotion.
Examples are: Navy (where would we be without our blue denim jeans?), cream, camel, olive, silver and gold. These go with anything and you can never go wrong with wearing them for various occasions because of their sleekness factor.  Quote from chic fashionista

Far be it from me to disagree with some one who is chic cause I am not,  but not all neutrals work with all colours, white can be a very difficult colour.

This summer I bought 600 g of that lovely gray in the background.  It's close to the same fibre blend and should spin to a very similar yarn, and I will have enough.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Half way to Graduated Swirl

Graduated yarn shows better in wound cakes than in the skeins.  I have more than 600 grams of this blend which might or might not be enough for a Swirl,  but that is not a problem.

I don't want to use the graduated yarn on the sleeves, it will pool much differently from the body of the sweater knit in the round. 

I will blend some of the remaining fuchsia with gray aiming for a tweedy solid for the sleeves.  

The skeins are lovely too.

This is another 4 lbs towards my self challenge of spinning 20 lbs before the next Fibre Week

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Planning (somewhat) spinning for a Project

My Guild was having a contest, the Orange Challenge,  the items on the person and the wall are part of that.  They will be exhibited at Art Point. And many of them will be for sale Nov 14 at our annual show and sale.

I don't like orange much,  I didn't have much orange yarn or fibre, so I decided to use up what I had.

This is Sally Melville's Universal Vest a wonderful garment,  it has pockets and is becoming to all body types.  It also shows off handspun very well.  Notice the brown stripe on the front and the edging on the collar.  Didn't intend to knit this, I planned to do L'enveloppe and I know roughly how much yarn it takes, 670 g. garter stitch takes a lot of yarn. 

 This is the fibre I started with, red, yellow, orange and brown, some Angelia glitter Copper.

I choose to use the neutral brown, to darken the blend and to bridge to useing brown if I ran out of the blend.
 That's the batts, though they look different they actually have the same amount of each colour roughly, the difference is created by the layering in the batts.  Love drum carders.

Spun the yarn from the batts across the top, which blended the colours nicely.

First skein, 2 ply both plys Orange

Still thinking I don't have enough fibre, I spun brown singles and plyed with the all orange.

By this time I have changed the project I wanted to knit and I was in a hurry,  I didn't weight these skeins.

Then I looked at the Pattern,  what can I adapt to allow for running out.

Sally writes to knit one pocket first, I didn't, I did the pockets last. In solid brown, they don't show.

The vest is knit from one side to the other, I used a couple of the orange skeins on one side, and the back then I did the the other side useing the brown and orange and joined then useing a Cowichan cast off in the 2 ply brown,  that's the brown stripe.  It makes a good decorative element.

Saved a skein of the orange and brown 2 ply for the collar, That collar is ideal for playing yarn chicken,  It could be done with something quite different if you wanted.

But I still ran out of yarn, I could have stopped when I ran out,  an other yarn chicken method but I wanted the full, full collar, and next time I will knit it even longer.  Cast on enough stitches to give the width I wanted and garter stitched all the way to the other side of the collar, Knitting 2 together to join. Then I did the pockets.

Using the Brown in the orange blend, and then in the 2 ply orange and then by itself as a 2 ply  works, draws the whole thing together.

Total weight is 650 g or 23 OZ,  I don't know how much the metallic fibre added to the weight.

I wish I had weighted the parts, fronts, back and collar,  the proportions would be handy to know.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

East Side Studio Crawl

 Last Saturday's East Side Studio Crawl was a joy and delight.  Weather was good, the Guild had more than 150 people though the doors.

We did demonstrations and exhibited our work.

Above is a felted hat in progress.
And felted items finished.
 The new peg loom was shown off and used.  This new weaver taught by Siri, was completely enthralled.
 Of course we had spinners showing off our skills.  One of the things the public was very interested in was the source of all our fibres,  yes there are sheep in Alberta.
 There items from the Orange Challenge were exhibited, beautifully displayed.  And got a lot of interest.
 This is a Ruana, it has an open front, done as part of this summer's weaving workshop.
Lucille is teaching Tapestry this fall but not at the Guild, maybe some other time.

People were very interested in the simplicity of this loom and the process.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Planning a demonstration, In Pink

Sept 19 is the East Calgary Studio Crawl and Heritage Weavers my fibre guild is one of the open houses.

I volunteered to do a demonstration of colour blending on a drum carder,  I love doing demonstrations, or spinning and knitting in public.

But before demonstrating something it is a good idea to try it out.

My dyeing, 30 gr of  fuchsia on the left, 5 gr of silk, 5 grams of mohair, not dyed by me, and 5 gr each of dark and little gray, dyed by the sheep. 50 gr total.

The pinks were blended evenly across the drum, and light gray on one side, bottom of the picture, dark on the others side.

Dizzed off to make roving nests.

Two nests make a 100 gram ball of 2 ply graduated from light to dark.
It's more red than I thought it would be  and the shade change is less pronounced.

I have 2 lb of the the fuchsia wool, A lb each of the 2 grays,  My limiting factor is the silk and mohair.

The goal is enough to knit a swirl and that's a lot.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Carding and spinning for graduated yarn

 Wish I could say I carefully planned this but I didn't.  Started with a crowded crockpot with Navy Blue and Forest Green Ciba Washfast Dye and 16 oz. of Romney Lambswool and 8 oz of Alpaca.

The thrice accursed crock pot would not heat up, so I dumped it into my big pot and heated it outside, lost most of the colour variations.

I wanted a very dark blue green so I used lots of dye.  And got a nice dark colour.  Did not exhausted the dye bath, which I hate, so I went looking for more fibre to dye and found another lb of the Romney and weighed out more of the alpaca. Got a batch with much lighter colours.

 Out of the pot and dry,  the wool took the dye best, the alpaca is lighter in both batches.

Another picture of my basket, with Queen Anne's Lace.

Ripped the slightly matted fibre apart with coarse cards,  channelling my inner Norman Kennedy.

Then I drum carded 30 grams of each shade,  then carded again dark on one side and light on the other.  Dized it off in 60 grams roving nests.  60 grams is about as much as I can get on my drum carder.

Spun singles, and plied.
Love my Ashford Country Spinner 2.  Ended up with giant skein dark to light to dark. 224 Grams.  

Notes for next time,  don't just put the 2 shades on either side of drum carder blend in the middle more, the graduation quite abrupt.  

Norm Kennedy is one of the four vastly skilled fibre artists on a video called How to Card Wool, Four spinners, four Techniques, Interweave press 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Drum Carder, the Diz and Me

 I have an old Pat Green Drum Carder,  It isn't anywhere on this site, they don't make them anymore.  I got it from a friend whose mother in law was a spinner,  The drive band was so old it wouldn't move.  The plastic cracked and broke.

Our relationship was uneasy,  new drive band, lots of oil,  it didn't seem to work the way I thought it should and I was never sure if it was me or it.
 I took some classes, watched some experts, It realized it might be replaced and started to work with me.

Suddenly I could not only blend lovely batts but I could diz roving off the carder as well as nice batts.

This fibre is 1/3 alpaca and 2/3 Romney, dyed by me.  It was supposed to be orange and it's a warm, soft peach, such are the perils of casual dyeing.

This is the Diz, only it's not a diz,   It's Kale Stripper Unfortunately I don't know any gorgeous people named Kale.  And I haven't tried it on the garden kale but it's a great diz

Below are more roving nests

Monday, July 20, 2015

Progress and Dyeing Project

Two more ounces towards my 20 lb challenge,  this is a bobbin clearing, one bobbin of a fancy wool silk glitter mix and plied with dark gray Icelandic.

It is unique and so a problem to use, but the dark grey Icelandic 2 ply could used.
Now I have to find a sweater pattern for these gorgeous skeins.  Icelandic light and dark gray, some plied as a solid and some barber pole, then about half dyed navy blue.  So 2 colours and 3 tones, 32 oz.

Lovely fibre from local supplier and local sheep.  I love this kind of colour/tone combination starting with a coloured fleece.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Four lbs done and more

   I set myself a goal of spinning 20 lbs by the middle of June next year, that seemed like a lot, but if a person spins 3.5 hours watching the Tour everyday, and 3 to 4 hours watching football, that is a lot of spinning.  It's to hot to knit.

This is 4 lbs of fibre spun and washed.  Five different projects in the planning and spinning stage.

Two L'envelopes one in orange and one in greys.

The skein at the end is a 3 ply made from a lot of bits on bobbins, Now I have empty bobbins and some yarn for mitts.  Done in 3 ply to produce a balanced yarn despite variety of singles,  It worked.

This peach dye project is alpaca and wool intended to be orange,  Isn't.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

20 lb challenge

    Back to blogging after a long gap, a basement destroying flood and a year long major illness will do that to a person,  My basement studio is back better than ever, and I'm fine.

    Just got back from Olds Fibre Week, missed last year.  Wonderful.  As usual I went a bit crazy at the Merchant Mall  BUT I did keep to my resolution. Only fibre, no yarn.

     But piled on the hotel room bed is roughly 20 lbs of glorious fibre, so now I have a new resolution, before next year, before I allow myself to purchase any more fibre, I have to spin 20 lbs.
Not the same 20 lbs, fibre from the stash counts but 20 lbs.

     I thought about resolving to knit 20 lbs but that might be a bridge to far.

    It's very hot here and spinning is cooler than knitting, plus the Tour De France is on, my favorite spinning entertainment so I have made a good start.

Started with these 1 lbs bags from a great and local supplier, the sheep are all raised close by.
Two colours of Icelandic, Shetland, Romney and far right a Jacob.

Pin Drafted Cotswold utterly lovely
 from a mill no longer in business