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!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ Tour de Fleece week 1

Whew... what a week its been so far.  I started the tour with a small batt of white & beige suri blended with teal and blue merino.

I haven't decided what to do with this, so for now its just going to hibernate on the bobbin until something comes to mind.

Next I carded up some white and beige suri with blue merino top.

 and on days 3 & 4 spun it up......

I really liked how this turned out but again I only had about 4 oz.  So I spun up some merino/silk top into lace weight

and by the end of day 5, I was set to start plying. 

Wednesday afternoon, while I was spinning the lace weight merino/silk, I decided it would be fun to put in beads and sequins.  So before I went to knit night at Your Local Yarn Shop, I stopped by JoAnne's Fabric to see what I could find.

Woo hoo, I found sequins and a bamboo crochet thread (Aunt Lydia's 100% bamboo) that I thought would work to string the beads and sequins on.  So after spinning at knit night, I spent the evening with my beading needle stringing 1 bead 1 sequin.

I used size 8 seed beads and a small size sequin and they threaded very nicely and quickly onto the bamboo.  So..... in my mind plying these 3 yarns together was going to be a breeze.  Oh my goodness how wrong I was.

I put my two spun bobbins on my tensioned lazy kate and put the spool of bamboo on the lazy kate on my spinning wheel and started plying.  I was plying along moving a bead and sequin up periodically and the remainder of the beads were sliding right down the bamboo thread as I imaged they would. 

I thought all was going nicely until, all of a sudden, I could not get the beads to slide down the bamboo any longer.  I looked down to see what the problem was and what a mess I had.   Between the spool and the beads, the yarn was twisting the whole time I was plying and sliding the beads down.  I had a tangled mess!  Of course, my camera wasn't anywhere in sight so sadly I have no picture of my mess to share.

As you can image, it took me quite a while to untangle the mess and then I just sat for a few minutes staring at my hands trying to figure out how to continue.  I finally realized I would need to put some tension on the spool of bamboo.  How was I going to manage this?

Jim was outside working, I had just untangle the mess and didn't want to put it down for fear of it getting messed up again.  So....not having enough hands I stuck the bamboo yarn between my toes and said to myself, what do I have to lose?

Image my surprise when it actually worked!  As long as I kept tension on the yarn between my foot and my hand  I could slide the beads down quite easily.  It wasn't a fast process but it worked.  This time I wished someone was video taping me.  It had to be quite a sight!  Maybe we should start a series titled "How not to Spin".

As luck would have it, I grossly missed judged how many beads and sequins I would need to complete this project.  So I had to cut the yarns and today I will be stringing more beads and sequins in the hope of getting the rest plied this evening.

Here's a peek.....

I really like the feel of this combo of yarns together but who wouldn't?  Suri alpaca, merino, and bamboo....what could be better?   Oh, maybe

Now it's back to stringing beads and sequins for me..... hope every one has a wonderful Fiber Arts Friday!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tour de Fleece

Jim and I were invited, by my sister-in-law Julie, to join in a family weekend away at Escape to the Lake in Hesperia, MI.  

What does this have to do with the Tour de Fleece?  Well....... both events started on July 2nd. 
So here I am starting my Tour on the deck of the "Big House".  My brother took this picture for me after shaking his head in disbelief that I would bring my spinning wheel on vacation.  I actually spent quite a bit of time educating fellow vacationers about spinning and raising alpacas.  Two subjects I just love to talk about!

This is the first year I've joined in the Tour de Fleece and I'm looking at this not only as an adventure in spinning but also a learning experience in carding my own blends.

I drum carded these 3 mini batts using white suri alpaca with merino top.  One was dyed a bright blue and the other a teal.  
Lesson 1....don't over card.  It was amazing how just two passes through the carder blended these 3 colors together.

I started spinning on July 2 and finished this colorway on July 3rd.  

Julie's dog Marley was very interested in this process. 
Lesson attention to what else appears in the picture.  Marley...... cute, my feet....... mmmmm maybe not so cute.

My mini batts totaled 3.4 oz before spinning so I decided to just spin it all.  I'll leave it as a single for right now since I don't have anything in mind and hope inspiration will come later in the Tour as to what to do with it.

My second mini batts are a blend of just the bright blue merino with white and beige suri mixed in. 
Once again, I put this batt through the drum carder to many times.  It dulled the bright blue quite a bit so I seperated the batts and then put them through the carder just once more with the bright blue.  This saved the day.  The batts turned out having a wider range of colors.....oops, I forgot to mention I also put in some bright blue bling, bling. 

This is how it's spinning up. 
This batch totaled 4.1 oz before spinning.  Again, I'm planning on just spinning it all up and waiting for inspiration to hit.   After all, this is all about the spinning, not the finished project!

Just a few more pics of Escape to the Lake.......

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday ~ On Your Mark...

...get set...... GO!

 I've spent this week getting ready for my first Tour de Fleece with the Team of Wonder. 

Spinning wheel ready....check

Empty bobbins...check

To begin my spinning adventure, I carded up some 100% white suri, a blend using suri/merino in blue, teal and white and a blend of suri/merino blue, fawn and white.
In order to have some empty bobbins, I decided to ply up some of my singles.  Now I have some wonderful hand spun already completed.


I'll be thinking of all my fellow team mates tomorrow as I start my ride.......Peddle on everyone, peddle on!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!!