Friday, December 16, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Painted Ladies

How many of you use those pure white styrofoam heads to either display or take pictures of your beautiful handmade products?  As my last post shows......I sure do.  The stark whiteness of these heads have been bothering me for quite a while........they actually kind of creep me out.  So I decided I would try to do something to make them more pleasing to the eye, at least to my eyes.  

My first head transformed into a art deco-ish, fantasy creation........

Then I wondered if they could be painted.  After a bit of research I found a product that seals the styrofoam so the paint will adhere to it.  I really like how this one worked out.  

I must admit, I love transforming these plain white forms into lovely, stylish ladies.  No more scary, crazy looking white heads for this girl.  I'm on a mission! 

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

I whipped up this pair for my granddaughter using 2 strands of worsted.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Simple Things

With the craziness of the holidays upon us, I thought this would be a great time to knit up some simple things.

I completed the Drawbridge cowl.......

and then moved on to Bandwidth.  Both from Westknits Book 2. 

I was planning on using my handspun  to knit these projects but after uncovering all the yarn I had stashed around the house, I decided to just use what I had on hand.

With that in mind, I knit up this hat from Kalamazoo Knits called "Just for Him" by KellyJ.  This was a really quick, simple knit.

During the black Friday sale at Your Local Yarn shop several ladies were talking about  the Mukluk Slippers by Knitting Purl & Simple so I thought I'd give them a try. 
I made this pair on Tuesday with the help of my dad.

Dad has Alzheimer's   and during my visits he likes to sit right next to me and share a blanket. At the lower edge of the picture you can see he's holding my ball of yarn.                       Simple things......precious memories.                    

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!            

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Where did all this yarn come from?

I've been doing some organizing this week and was shocked at how much yarn I had stashed around the house.  A little bag here....a bag there......the next thing I knew there was enough to fill a large tote.  Shocking!!!  So I decided I'd better get my you know what in gear and get to knitting.

I don't know what designer you might turn to but for me it's Stephen West.  Out came my patterns and books and after a couple hours choosing colors from "the stash" my knitting began.

I decided to start with Spectra
and just a day later.....

the pattern is so simple....just short rows and an incredible easy pattern repeat.  Somehow watching those little wedges appear just seems to take the boredom out of knitting this scarf.

I started Drawbridge Wednesday night at Your Local Yarn Shop knit night.  Super, super simple pattern....I'm hoping to get this done by tonight.  When I bought Westknit Book 2 my plan was to use my handspun for the patterns but since I found all that yarn......hmmmmmm you know how that goes.

On the spinning front......I had a line up of bobbins from the last couple of weekends that needed to be plied.

At the bottom of this pic is the yarn I spun at the MIAF alpaca show, the middle is the last bobbin of  coil yarn I started at Ann Arbor Fiber Expo and the top is what I'm spinning for my Stripe Your Fancy shawl.

All in all a very productive I need to get ready for a special day at YLYS for the "Opening day of Yarn Hunting Season".   Yep....yarn hunting season.  Since it's 11/11/11....everything is 11% 10 items and receive an 11th item free.....spend $111.00 and receive $11.00 in "Yarn Bucks" for future purchases....."hunt" for special featured yarns that will be hidden through out the store and last but not can have your picture taken with your "big catch" of the day. 

Sounds like the perfect way to spend the day......oh, no worries, I'll just keep up my montra........use up my stash, use up my stash....

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Ta Da

I did it.....I did first coil yarn!  I must admit it seems I got a little carried away on spinning my singles.  By the time I used up my batt and most of Wonder Whys batt, I had 2 1/2 bobbins filled.  So I plied......and plied.......and plied.... hoping to get it all on my jumbo bobbin.  Wrong!!!... I still have 1 full bobbin left.

The nice thing about having spun that much helped me get a good rhythm going for making the coils.  The down took me 2 1/2 hours to do the plying.
 6.7 oz and 160 yds 
In these close up pics, you can see I have various sizes of coils.  Not actually the look I was wanting but now I have a better understanding of how I should spin my thick and thin singles.  Some were to small and some to large but I love how the two separate colored batts helped give extra pops of color to the finished yarn.
                           mostly my batt                                                                                Andrea's batt

I don't have the last bobbin plied yet because my husband volunteered our services for the MIAF Alpaca show last weekend held at the Delta Plex in Walker.   We worked in the South West Michigan Alpaca Association booth with Tim and Jane Talbot/Grand Alpaca Company talking about alpacas, our organization and spinning. 
Nope, this is not a pic of Tim and's my husband, Jim and Jane taken by Tim. Tim seems to be one of those behind the scenes people.  We didn't get 1 picture of him the entire weekend.
It was amazing how many people I spoke with about spinning over these two days.  You can see my coil spun yarn peeking out next to the pumpkin.  It turned out to be a favorite with the ladies....I could have sold it 20 times over before the weekend was out.  Just goes to show I might be headed in the right direction with the art yarn.

Since art yarn spinning takes my full concentration, I decided I'd better take something mindless so I could spin and talk at the same time.  I took a blend of Suri, Silk and Merino which I spun thin so I can have a fingering yarn when it's plied. I started with 3.5 oz and got it all spun but haven't decided if I'm going to ply it back on itself or with something else. I'll have to wait for inspiration to strike.

Beautiful Suri's from Wind Walker Ranch in Middleville

It seems I've been a little spinning crazy the last two weeks.  This last pic is of the new "kids" on the farm.......
Jim traded an alpaca fiber boy for these two pygora boys.  Oh boy, oh boy...... new fiber to learn about!

 Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Coils

Well at least I'm attempting coils....only time will tell.  I've been devouring my Intertwined book and decided I'd have a go at coils.

Since I was helping Miss Wonder Why Gal at the Fiber Expo last weekend, I thought this would be a good time to try this technique.  I took a couple of my hand carded batts using suri, merino, silk and angelina intending on mixing them together.......

but when we were setting up the booth out came this wonderful Halloween batt that Andrea had created.

How fast can you say SWAP?.......I couldn't say it fast enough!   Andrea's batt is a blend of alpaca, merino, bamboo, silk, nylon and glitz.

Hmmmm....don't they look like their getting cozy?

So off I started on my new technique......what a challenge this turned out to be.  The only way I could make the thick parts was to completely stop spinning, draft out a larger amount and then start spinning again.  But I figured whatever works, right?  Actually this gave me the perfect opportunity to explain to people that even if you've spun for a techniques can still be a challenge.

A fellow spinner, who'd stopped to watch, told me it would be easier if I was spinning from top instead of batts.   Oops..already committed....

First bobbin complete

I was hoping to get both bobbins filled so I could try core plying them this week.  Didn't meet that goal...working shows can be sooooo exhausting.  But this is what I had spun by the end of the show.
I thought no problem...I can get that second bobbin filled in no time.  As luck would have it, while unloading the car, my drive band got stuck on my suitcase and snap went the band.  Of course I didn't have any bands on hand so there sits my almost filled second bobbin.  Hopefully, the new bands will arrive today so I can get this bobbin filled and move on to trying my hand at core spinning.  With luck I will have my yarn complete by next week so I can share.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ This and That

This is the best way I can describe my week.  I was determined to finish up some projects that somehow just kept being put on the bottom of my list.  So out came my UFO's.......

I started these Jammies by Chris de Longpre' KnittingAtKNoon back in April as a store sample for Your Local Yarn Shop.    I used Fixation yarn by how the variegation worked out in the top.  Happy to have them finished!
The Key to Warmth was a project I started to use up some of my hand spun.  The darker color was one of my first carded batts from a couple years ago that I paired with a commercial yarn.  I've done several of the KellyJ patterns in her Key series because they work up quickly and are a great way to use up smaller amounts of hand spun.  Their a win, win situation.

My last two projects were not in my knitting basket but just as persistent in wanting my attention.  Neither one is finished but their moving along nicely now.

My first skein spun for my Stripe Your Fancy shawl.  Finally got my second bobbin filled on my Ashford and plied it (drum roll please) using my new Lendrum.  Love, love, love the Lendrum and it's jumbo flier.  The skein measured 290 yds....not one knot....yeah!  Now to finish the last of my  batt and then I'll need to start working on the accent yarns. 

and last but not least....... 

my bead embroidered bracelet.  I'm pretty sure all the accent areas are complete.  Now all I have to do is sew on the back ground beads and attach it to the cuff blank. 

I probably won't get much further on these last two project in the next week.  Our farm is taking part in an Arts and Eats Tour on October 15 and 16 from 10am - 5pm.  If your local, please stop by and meet our alpacas (and my husband's pet goats) and introduce yourself.  I'd love to meet you in person...bring along your wheel/knitting/felting and join in along with some of my friends who will be demonstrating through out the weekend. 

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Making progress

I've slowly been making progress on spinning my yarn for the Stripe Your Fancy Shawl.  Last weekend, I was invited to demonstrate spinning at 4 Musketeers Alpaca Farm during their Alpaca Farm Days event.

Oops...I spent all my time spinning....okay.... and talking, and didn't take even one photo.  What was I thinking?  I did manage to get one bobbin filled and about half of the companion bobbin.
You can't really tell from this photo but the bobbin I'm currently spinning has a lot of bling, bling in it.  Of course, it really doesn't help when I try to take pictures on overcast days like today.  My plan is to ply these two together on my new Lendrum.....I can hardly wait to try it out!

Alice also comes and spins with me at the 4 Musketeers.  She is a fabulous spinner.  She usually only spins for her enjoyment but for this event she brought both spun yarn and some finished goods to sell.    She spins very, very fine singles and then likes to ply 3..4..even 5 singles together.  Her yarns are clean, uniform and just plain awesome!  I fell in love with this one......
It's 793 yds....3 ply natural colors.... in fingering weight.  Yep...fingering weight.  I find this just unbelievable and could not leave without it being mine.  As a friend said when I shared this with her...just imagine how far this skein would reach if those 3 singles were placed end to end?....  unbelieveable!  I'm not sure what project I'll will be making with it...but for now I'm just enjoying looking and touching it.  Whatever it will be a wonderful memory of a weekend spent with friends.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.....Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ A New Spinning Wheel

Yep,  I actually did it, I bought a second wheel!  New?....actually used....but that certainly doesn't make it any less exciting.

During the Tour de Fleece I really got excited about learning to spin art yarn.  I have an Ashford Traveller and felt that this wheel, with just a regular bobbin, might be a little limiting after seeing some of the awesome yarns on Ravelry and Etsy.  Off and on for the last few weeks, I've been debating whether to get a different wheel or buy a jumbo flier for my Traveller....checking out pricing...talking with friends about their wheels....wheel vs. flier..hmmmm?

As luck would have it, the decision was made for me when I received an email from a friend who asked if I knew of anyone who might be interested in her Lendrum.  She had purchased it used but found she just didn't use it as much as she thought she would.  After some conversation, I found she had all the accessories and even though she had bought it about 4 years ago she had hardly used it.

Well what's a girl to do?.....I just couldn't turn down this awesome deal.....right?  Tuesday I picked it up and now it's mine!  I was thankful for this awesome deal and she was happy to know her wheel was going to a good home.  Thank you Rita!!
Tonight I'm meeting with friends again for a night of spinning.  Now I'll have to decide which wheel to take.  I never thought this would happen to me!  I was sure when I bought my Traveller 7 years ago it would be the only wheel I'd ever own.  Laugh away.....I can just hear your least I made it 7 years.

Here's some other things I've been working on this week....
Yesterday I cleaned and set up an area in my studio for taking photos. So I gave it a go....color vs would my set up work?   I spent about 3 1/2 hours taking photo's.....editing...editing....did I mention editing?  I can't believe how much time I spent in the editing process!    I think my new set up is going to work out wonderfully and am hopefull I'll be able to cut down on the time involved with time and practice.

My beads have also been calling....I started working on a bead embroidered bracelet and thought I'd share my progress even though it's not really a fiber related project.  Well...that is a fiber based background I'm working on so maybe it counts?.....

and last but not least.....I've been working on getting my etsy shop open.  With some guidance and help from a little birdie, hmmmmm I wonder who that could be?  I'm happy to esty shop is now open!  Just a few items for now.....more to follow.

After this very busy week, I'm soooooo looking forward to relaxing  and spending the day reading about all your Fiber Arts adventures. 

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!....I hope every one has a wonderful weekend.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Spinning project

Recently I talked with some ladies from a local spinning guild and was told they were doing a challenge called "spinning with a purpose".  They are all spinning up yarn for a knit a long they will be starting in January.  One of them had the newly published book knit, Swirls! and they were picking out which one of the patterns they wanted to make.  If you haven't had a chance to see this book, you need to check it out.   The photo's are stunning!

This conversation made me realize I had not spun for a very long time with a project in mind.  The last couple of years I've spun with the intent to sell the finished yarn and during the Tour de Fleece, I devoted my time to learning to spin art yarns. 

So this week I went through my patterns and found, Stripe Your Fancy by Alexandra Tinsley.  I love the look of this shawl and thought it would knit up well in hand spun.  In August, I purchased a Patrick Green Big Batt carder so I decided I might just as well mix up my own blend as well.
This batt is a mixture of suri, merino, silk and white angelina in colors of brown, beige, white, pink, purple, mauve and eggplant.  
Once I had this done, I decided to card a companion batt using more pink tones of fiber as well as lots angelina in pink, purple and dusty mauve for additional bling bling.
My plan is to spin the two into seperate singles and then ply them together.

I started spinning on Wednesday and tonight several of us are meeting for dinner and a night filled with laughter and spinning fun.
Thanks for stopping by......Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Breaking my silence

I'm back after what seems to be months and months of missing out on Fiber Arts Friday.

I would like to say "Thank You" to everyone who stopped by my booth at Michgian Fiber Festival to chat and support me on my fiber journey.  Words cannot express my thanks to Linda and Kelly (Your Local Yarn Shop) for all their help.......I am so blessed to have so many amazing friends.  I know...sappy, sappy but sooooo true!

Then I was able to attend Stitches for the first time.  What an experience that was!!!!  I must admit it was a little overwhelming so my only purchase was 4 oz of roving and some fun little scissors from HiyaHiya called Puppy Snips.

Over Labor Day weekend we were off to Lama Fest at MSU for a weekend of camping and vending.  What a hot, hot weekend that turned out to be.  Jim and I had a good time getting caught up with friends we havn't seen since last years show.

So...I don't have to much to share in the way of fiber goodness.  I did spin during Lama Fest and managed to get two bobbins filled and plied after getting home.

This is a blend of Suri/Merino in natural colors of white and fawn.

KellyJ asked if I would make a sample of a pattern she designed for Kalamazoo Knits called The Anne Shoulder Wrap for a new photo shoot. For the bottom and shoulder shaping she had me use one strand of ShiBuiKnits 100% alpaca DK with a strand of Giada trends.  The Giada has lovely little sequins throughout which adds a nice sparkly touch.  The main part of the body was done using 2 strands of the ShiBui.  I just love the way it turned out and the orange color is stunning.

Oops, gotta husbands new Kingquad was just delivered and he needs help geting it out of the crate.  He said "don' forget to bring your camera so you can take pictures for me"!.... so sweet.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Count down to Festival

Festival, what festival?........the wonderful Michigan Fiber Festival of course!

I have just 9 days left to get everything done before heading out to Allegan.  Oh, and I must not forget to mention,  you really need to check out the festival's awesome blog....helpful information....beautiful pictures....great inspiration!  This blog was created by...... drum roll please.......none other than the amazing "Wonder Why Gal".  Really...what does she not get involved in? does she find the time? 

I don't know  the answers to these questions but she's done a fab u lous  job on the festivals blog.  Hopefully you can find the time to link over and check out her awesome posts.   And of course..... don't forget to sure don't want miss out on all the happenings. 

So this week has been full of bagging and tagging.... roving, art batts, hand spun art yarn, suri locks..... not as much fun as making everything but (sigh) still a task that must be done.

Since I've been doing these mundane tasks, the only thing I really have to share is a pic of my finished Tour de Fleece challenge art yarn.   I love, love, love how this turned out!  I spun 59 yards with lots of beads placed between the core spun mohair boucle.  Oh, how I love my beads!
Because I only had 59 yards, I decided to spin up an additional 190 yards without any beads.  This way the beaded yarn can be used as an accent.
That's about it for me.... so if your able to attend festival, please stop by and introduce yourself.  I'll be in the Delano barn, booth D9 and to all those who are attending.....Happy Festival!

and Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ and the Tour de Fleece ends

It seems really strange now the race is over.  I got so involved with spinning and posting in Ravelry I feel I'm being a little bit lazy.

I did manage to get a few pictures of our meet up at Lady Peddler on challenge day before the batteries died in my camera.  Don't you hate when that happens!

Just look at that smile on Ms. Wonder Why's face.  I would have a happy face too if I had that much finished yarn! 

For my challenge, I worked on spinning a white/beige blended art yarn.  I had several types of commercial yarn I was planning on using as well as silk rods.  As it turned out, after getting every one's opinion,  I decided to use just the white mohair boucle yarn.  So I cut varying lengths maybe 3 to 5 inches and core spun them on my single.
I really enjoyed using beads in my spinning during the Tour, so I decided when I plied I would add in beads.  I strung beads of varying sizes and very subtle shading on a separate strand of commercial bamboo yarn.  While plying, I placed  3 to 4 beads between the areas of core spinning.
I must admit I have not spun this week, so I haven't gotten vary far with my plying, but I think it's turning out very interesting.  I'm really liking the mono chromaticness (not sure that is really a word)and I'm loving all the texture.  Isn't it exciting when what you had in mind actually works out in the end?

This week instead of spinning, I've been working on getting some art batts carded.  My focus now needs to be on getting ready for Michigan Fiber Festival.  This 3.8oz batt is a blend of different colored wools, suri alpaca and bling bling. 

I also carded up a 2 oz batt of gray Corridale.  This is the first time I've ever started with raw sheep fleece. It sure handles differently than Suri  but I wanted to try my hand at making a batt completely from raw.  I plan on using this gray to blend with my suri and of course some bling bling.
That pretty much sums up my week in the fiber arts it's off to see what everyone else has been doing.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Tour de Fleece Week 3

Last Wednesday I was able to spend the day at Curlytwirlybirds for a lovely day of fiber fun.  After working on some things I wanted to accomplish, she asked if I would like to try making an art batt.  Of course I said "YES", so she started pulling out fibers of all kinds and colors to add with the fibers I had brought.

Now for those of you who know me personally, you know that I can be a bit anal (no laughing).  So the use of all these colors just randomly thrown together was quite a change for me to say the least.  I think I actually had the look of a deer in the head lights on my face and kinda of just starred at her for a couple of seconds.  In my head I was thinking, you want me to do what???... as my heart started racing.  Really, just start putting on fiber with no regard to color??? still my heart.  Well, I must admit, Melissa did have to get me started but after that I threw caution to the winds and jumped right in.

For those who follow Curlytwirlybird, you know that she is also mad crazy about bling!  I haven't used much bling in the years I've been working with our alpaca's fiber but she quickly won me over.  Well, that is after I would put some on and then look at her with a questioning that enough?  Oh no she'd need to add more.  Towards the end of that batt I was using bling, bling and more bling with wild abandon!

She also wanted to show me how to pull the fiber off the drum carder into roving instead of leaving it as a batt.  That was way cool.  In the end I had 4.3 oz of this beautiful roving......
Can you see all that bling, bling?

this is the art yarn I spun from it earlier this week....
I've spent the rest of the week spinning a blend of Merino/Silk in a lovely blue and using this as a time of reflection on today's TDF challenge.
For this challenge, I knew I wanted to try spinning a monochromatic art yarn.  So I carded up white and fawn suri with white merino, white bamboo and some white bling bling....yup, lots of white bling, bling.
mmmm, I'm loving these fibers together. 

Then I started going through my stash to see what I could find to add to get the art yarn affect.

I found some white brushed mohair yarn, a fluffy white yarn called Ricciolo, a cone of a chenille type yarn and white eyelash yarn. 

I wasn't sure how I was going to put this all together but then, as luck would have it, I found an awesome booked called Intertwined, The Art of Handspun Yarn at Lady Peddler.  This is truly an amazing book!!  There was an art yarn in the book where they had used silk rods.  Have you ever heard of silk rods???...well, I'd never had so I asked Jill if she knew what they were.  Not only did she know but she also had some.  I left the store with a new book for inspiration and a bag of silk rods that I thought would be awesome with the white/fawn fiber.  Maybe sometime I will try dying the rods but for this challenge I'm going be using them in their natural color.

So my thought is to spin the white/fawn fiber and then add in the above mentioned items to create a unique art yarn.  Then I'm thinking of plying it with this beautiful yarn from Ironstone Yarns called Bouquet of Colors Mohair/Brushed in a color called Snowflake/5014.  It has beautiful shades of white and light tan....

I love it when things just seem to fall into place.  Now all I have to do is start spinning!!!!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday and good luck to those who are taking part in today's TDF challenge.  Peddle on...we've almost reached the finish line!