Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New-to-me technique

I recently got hip to a spinning technique called "Ply on the Fly." Essentially, you spin up a few feet of singles with your spindle then immediately Navajo ply. That way, you don’t have to spin up ALL of your fiber into singles before plying -- you ply as you go, hence, “ply on the fly.” It's very efficient, and a lot of fun.  Here's the yarn that I've spun using this technique:


This pretty stuff is from The Spinner's Cottage, and is 60% wool, 30% alpaca, and 10% silk noil. 

This is a bit of Gotland fiber that I got from a friend.  It's a wool I hadn't spun before.
I haven't done much sewing or knitting or anything else lately.  Life has been happening, but there's always one project (or a ton) in progress.  I started a new sweater this weekend -- nevermind that I already have 2 of them on needles.  What's one more? :-)

Hmm.  Perhaps I will knit a few rows on one of the projects and move it that much closer to done!

~mz

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Wait a minute...

... how did nearly a whole entire month go by so quickly? I've been up to a lot of fun stuff! (Beware, this post has a lot of photos)

I bought some fat quarters to make some aprons. There is a shop nearby called Quilts & Kreations that I've been dying to go to for years.  Finally got a chance and bought enough fabric to make 2 of these full-length aprons from KateWares. I want to try making them fully reversible, with a pocket on each side. Pretty fabrics, huh?




A coworker has given me (so far) 4 big bags of vintage fabrics, which belonged to her mother.  Here are some of my favorites:


The fabric below, with the cherries, is one of the vintage fabrics that my coworker gave me. I'm using it to make an apron for her! Lots of new skills to learn, including sewing with bias tape and making buttonholes.


Because of this new hobby obsession, I've also spent some time carving out a new sewing room in my house.  Here's the fabric storage:

 
... and the cutting/sewing table. Check out Tippy (my dress form) posing for the camera:


Knitting has been happening, too. I'm working on a pair of knee-high socks.  Nearly finished with the first one:



Fun times!  What have you been up to?

~mz

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What I learned today

#1:  My friend Jan showed me how to ply yarn on a drop spindle.  Looks pretty cool, huh?



This is the Bluefaced Leicester wool that I got from the Wooster fiber show a few weeks ago.  I think this yarn will become a hat for MrJ.  

#2: I found out that thrift stores are good places to search for sewing supplies.



On a whim, I went to the local Goodwill and found a pair of pasta-themed cafe curtains that would make an awesome reversible apron, or maybe 2 if I make them non-reversible.  I also found a couple unopened packages of bias tape and a package of twill tape.  Both of these would make nice finishing touches or apron ties, don't you think?

A huge self-healing cutting mat and rotary cutter on the way to me.  Yay internet!  Got them on sale from joann.com. (Psssssst! Rotary cutting tools and mats are currently 50% off.  AND there is a coupon code that you can use to get $1.99 flat-rate shipping.)  I'm already daydreaming about spending some of the weekend getting my brand new sewing loft organized. Squeeeee!

~mz

Monday, June 09, 2014

New obsession


Yesterday, I pulled out my sewing machine for the first time in about 6 years or so.  I took an old pair of jeans, cut here, stitched there, and pretty soon* I had a new apron. The back of the jeans became the front of the apron.  The legs became the upper "bib" part.  A snazzy piece of grosgrain ribbon with silver skulls on it became the neck strap.  There are a ton of rookie mistakes here, but hey, it works.



I have a new fascination with aprons, and have been stalking the internet for patterns.  Plain, fancy, full or half, doesn't matter.  My strictest requirements are that the patterns are free, and that the aprons have pockets. I've even asked my husband to hang a rack in the kitchen for the growing apron collection (he has a couple of his own, too).  I only wish that I had kept that small stash of fabric that sat unused in my closet for years.  I gave it all away recently, and that would have been a goldmine for apron materials.  Oh, well.  I will use what I have, and whatever I can find. That is part of the beauty of "making."

~mz

* "Pretty soon" is a relative term.  It took what seemed like hours to remember how to thread the machine, wind a bobbin and get going.  



Tuesday, June 03, 2014

2014 Great Lakes Fiber Show, part 3

I forgot to mention one thing:




This pile of Nature Spun worsted weight yarn is destined to be a sweater ... one day.  Better start browsing my ever-growing Ravelry queue!

~mz

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

2014 Great Lakes Fiber Show, part 2


Here's the rest of the story:

I picked up some fantastic buttons from Small and Beautiful Beads, who is a distributor of Kazuri beads.  These buttons are just screaming to be added to a sweater, don'tcha think?

If you don't know about Kazuri, read all about it here.  I will forever be a fan and a supporter.


My husband loves wearing hand-knit socks, so I almost always have a pair on my needles for him. Seriously ... I think he has more hand-knit socks than I do. At this year's show, though, I bought him 2 pairs of socks with alpaca (which is warmer than wool), acrylic and nylon.  He was teasing me about how much he deserves socks made of 100% alpaca. But 100% alpaca socks would not hold up  to being worn in shoes and boots.  However, one of the pairs I bought him has 80% alpaca, which is the highest alpaca content I could find.  The other pair, shown above, is (only!) 50% alpaca.  I hope he likes them, once it is cool enough to actually wear them. Maybe one day I will knit him a pair of 100% alpaca socks, just because I can.  He's worth it, even if it won't be the most practical pair of socks in the world. 

The kitties also got a pile of felted catnip balls.  Some of which are already shredded to bits.  No point in photographing those :-)

All in all, a successful trip this year.  Now, let's see how much of this fiber I can spin up before next May.  Some of what I spin up will be entered into the skein competition.

~mz

Monday, May 26, 2014

2014 Great Lakes Fiber Show, part 1

This year's show was extra fun, and boy did I come home with a great haul!  I missed last year because I was on vacation in the Cayman Islands, but this year I totally made up for it.

The plan for the first day was to browse through all four barns and see what all the vendors had to offer, then make purchases after lunch. After all, no one should shop on an empty stomach, right?  All was going according to plan until we entered the last barn.  All day, we saw people carrying these awesome market baskets, and the first vendor we saw in that last barn we went into was the one who had them.  

African Market Baskets from River's Edge Fiber Arts

By the time we got there, the baskets were mostly sold out, but I loved the pink one and bought it right away.  Her booth was the first one I went to on Sunday and there were only 2 baskets left and the purple one called my name.  This vendor will be one of the first ones I visit next year.  These fair trade African Market Baskets are hand woven in village co-ops in Ghana, West Africa and, according to the attached tag, the purchase of these bags helps provide healthcare and school supplies in support of the weavers, their families, and their villages."  Happy to help the cause, plus these baskets gave me a place to carry all of my stuff.  Keep reading.

We also meet a group of ladies from the Trading Post for Fibers.  They were a hoot and I bought a bunch of great fiber from them on Saturday and again on Sunday:  
  • 100% Polwarth wool top roving from Frabjous Fibers in a colorway called Dunedin (shown here with an AWESOME drop spindle I picked up from 7 Yaks Design):
This is one bad-ass spindle!
  • 2-Tone Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) from Abstract Fiber in the Fade to Black colorway, shown with another fantastic drop spindle that I got from 7 Yaks Design). This fiber will be spun into yarn that will become something warm for the Mr.  Maybe a winter hat.  Or something. 

The spider's web design looks pretty mesmerizing when it's spinning. Fun to watch. And SHHHH! I might have just bought /another/ spindle from her on Etsy ... 
  • 2 pounds of Falkland fiber which is (I think) destined to become a 3-ply sock yarn and also a 2- or 3-ply sweater yarn:



  • Look at this ridiculously beautiful fiber, also from Abstract Fiber.  It's 50% yak and 50% merino and is soooooo soft!


  • This pile of pretty stuff is on my wheel right now, and is on its way to becoming my very first sock yarn.  It is 6 ounces of superwash merino from Gypsy Girl Creations in a colorway called Orchid Petals. I am planning for it to be a 3-ply but I'm not sure yet whether it will be a true 3-ply or whether it will be Navajo plied.  Either way, it will be pretty awesome. Might take forever to spin, though...
I just LOVE this color combination.
I am not sure what to blame for my rekindled love affair with drop spindles.  When I was visiting the Trading Post booth on Saturday, the owner was spinning on a spindle so I asked if I could use one to test out some fiber.  I kept saying how much I hated drop spindling but I just couldn't stop.  I pretty much abandoned drop spindles when I got my spinning wheel a few years ago, but this weekend totally got me hooked again.

I also got 4 ounces of Rambouillet but I don't remember the vendor's name.  Almost bought a few ounces of angora but decided against it.  Maybe next year. 



This year, I decided to focus on buying fibers that I have never spun before ... and more or less stuck to it.  but there are a few more things that I didn't mention in this post.  Those will have to wait until tomorrow, or later this week.  Bye for now!

~mz

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A knitter's truth

It is a truth universally acknowledged (among sock knitters, anyway), that knitters who know people with feet -- want to knit them socks.  And so I did.



This is the Tom and Ethel pattern that I showed y'all a while back, and they are for my grandmother (whose name is Ethel).  They are still a bit damp, but they will be dry soon, and I'll send them off to her for Mother's Day.

I am REALLY tempted to start something else but ... since this is supposed to be #finishorfrog2014, I better stop starting stuff and start finishing stuff.  So I've picked up the Madman with a Box socks (sorry, no picture yet. But soon!).  Hmmm ... maybe I'll go knit on them now.  Until later, friends.

~mz

... this has been a QuietStorm production, dahling ...