Spring time…….

Spring time…….

What I was spinning last night is now skeined off into 6 skeins getting ready to wash and set the twist. Do you want this yarn? GO HERE TO SHOP

Spring Bouquet Textured Art Yarn

Snapped a couple of quick pics.

Spring Bouquet Super Bulky Art Yarn

Help me name the new yarn.

What to call it? Spring Flowers. Spring Blossoms, Spring Bouquet. Comment below which one?

Spring Bouquet Textured Art Yarn
Spring Bouquet Textured Art Yarn on the Ashford JUMBO Espinner

Update: Spring Bouquet won the name! Do you want this yarn for weaving, knitting or crochet?

GO HERE TO SHOP THIS YARN

A Return to the Ashford Country Spinner 2

A Return to the Ashford Country Spinner 2

I have recently returned to my Ashford Country Spinner 2 wheel and decided to spin some rather fine singles on it.  I know that “they” say you can’t do that but I decided “they” were wrong.  It is a bobbin led wheel and as long as I take my time, I can put in enough twist and make a rather fine single.  I find when spinning on a slower bobbin led wheel as this, that the method of spinning is more important if you wish for a single that is thinner and not of bulky weight.

I carded up some art batts full of merino, silk, milk protein, Angelica, hand painted rovings, Cheviot and other various wools.  I blended these batts years ago with the thought to weave 3 different sweater coats.  I spun some of them at that time on the old Ashford Country Spinner and plied them up into a 2 ply.  Those yarns are waiting to be added to this yarn I am making.  Here is a photo of some of the art batts.  I thought they were just yummy.

Carded Art Batts

I have been using a modified backwards long draft.  By modified, I don’t take it up and way back with my shoulder and arm….that is way to painful.  I keep my elbow snug in to my waist, and instead bring the yarn out straight from the orifice, loop it 90 degrees around an index finger on my left hand and let the twist build up between that position and my right hand drafting backwards out to the side.

It is the best that I can ever hope to do for a backward long draft with the mechanics of my shoulder and neck.  It works and I can get going lickety split as well as I get such fine singles that if I am not careful they draft down to thread and break.  I have been seeing finer spinning out of me using this method in the last few months that I have ever produced in the last 12 years put together.  I know that I said I would NEVER spin fine…but I changed my mind…get over it.! bwhhaaaaa….

Ashford Country Spinner 2 full of yarn

“They” also said that you can put 2-2.2 pounds of fiber on that huge bobbin but again…..”they” were wrong.  I weighed my bobbin and it was 2.4 pds of fiber on it and it was NOT full.  I would need to buy a third bobbin if I plan to spin with the CS2 frequently, as winding that yarn of onto other bobbins to be able to ply it, is rather tedious.  I spiral plied some of the yarn with a mill spun fine 3 ply that I hand dyed…..about 1200 yards of that.  The rest of the yarn, I plied back with more of the same single to make a lovely 2 ply.  I didn’t necessarily ply that in a spiral like the other yarns and did end up with well over 450 yds of that as well.

 

I believe that I preferred the 2 ply to the 4 ply spiral.  I have a lot of this yarn that I spun up and plied into a 2 ply years ago on the regular Country Spinner.  That yarn is much thicker yarn but can still be combined with these yarns.  They were all meant for 1-3 woven jackets that I had planned.  I think I will still make a sweater coat jacket of some variety with these but I do not know if I will be weaving it.  To get the movement that I want and the feel that I want, I think I may use Tunisian Crochet instead.

 

Plied Yarns Hanging to Dry

Altogether, I did enjoy spinning on the Country Spinner 2 again as a regular wheel versus using it for a plying wheel or for art yarns.  I did lament that it was so slow at the top speed of 5:1 and wished it had a few speeds higher, but during this spinning marathon of several weeks I did realize that I truly do prefer a bobbin led wheel.  And I prefer a wheel with a large bobbin that I don’t have to stop and change out all the time.  I prefer not having to fiddle with Scotch tensioning and all sorts of other adjustments that just slow me down.

a bit of a catch up……

a bit of a catch up……

It has been ages since I have posted to my blog.  There is a reason.  I had an accident in February that crushed my head between and beneath about 40-50 pounds of wood, ice and snow.  I dropped the wood box lid with all the snow and such on my head when my head was in the box.  It crushed my head in between, hitting me both in the back and front of the head, broke my nose, split my face open and required stitches and an emergency visit.  That has all healed up, but the head injury part did not heal as quickly.  It has been a long hard six months but I am starting to feel better and starting to create again.  Before this it was very hard to be on the computer, type, text, talk on the phone ect.  Just too much input causing too many headaches.  That is why I have been absent….along with a smart phone and internet that has refused to play nice….or smart!!

Dry laid stone dykes

This last week, we have been building stone dyke walls outside around the flower beds.  Dry stacking sand stone and doing some in round field stones.  It will make it much easier to strim and mow.  I have found that all my lovely plants do not always obey and stay in their beds.  Some of the plants like Lily of the Valley in particular, like to wander out of their beds all over the yard.

Beautiful Lilies

We have had some super fab lilies this last week pop their flowers.  I love my double and trumpet lilies.  For a week, every time I walked past the studio the scent in the evening was almost over whelming.  Their blooms are past now and I am finding I am missing their scent.

Sunflower

The Sunflowers have started to bloom.  I planted a lovely variety of RED sunflower that I am still anxiously awaiting to open.  They are sooooo close.  The birds however, planted loads of Black Oil Sunflower seeds absolutely everywhere and those have been blooming ….well…everywhere!!

I have been working on my final project and should have it finished shortly.  The Fiber Face piece is complete.  The backing is sew together, hemmed, pressed and sewn to the front Fiber Piece.  I have to add two more tabs to finish out the top and steam block it.  Than it is done and photos will follow.  I stitched the entire backing, tabs, and hems with my new to me 1954 Singer 99K.  I adore this sewing machine and with it being a hand crank, I can go as slow as I want to.  It is wonderful.  I have been afraid of sewing for years and avoided it since my childhood.  It is so good to be creating and making things that I want to.  Isn’t this machine gorgeous?

1954 Singer 99K

I found two lovely hand cranks.  This 1954 Singer 99K and also a 1957 Singer 15K-80. Charlie has used the 15K-80 to sew himself a felt quilt padded pouch for his new lap top that is too big for his old computer bag.  We went to the Hen House on the east side of the state and met a lovely group of ladies that were quilting.  One explained to Charlie how to do a “french seam” and he did it for his first piece.  I didn’t pay any attention to them as I was more focused on sewing a regular seam somewhat straight and not my fingers included.  I thought he could show off if he wanted to.

I did get several other sewing machines as well.  Five all total.  I already showed you and told you about the 1926Singer 31-15 treadle.  She is an industrial sewing machine.  I also got a 1941 Singer 66 treadle.  I will use these two once I want to go faster than my hand cranks allow.

Last but not least, I got a 1949 Singer 15-91 electric for when I want to go really fast.  All told I bought five vintage Singer machines and have plans to get my sewing, weaving, and spinning nook sorted soon.  Currently they are spread out all over the place and it looks like a fiber and sewing shop exploded in the house.

Good News: we finally located my brand new never been used Juki Serger and the box of all the threads.  We haven’t been able to locate it in the storage units or semi for the last two years.  I was convinced that it was in a specific storage unit which was the only one of our units that was broken into last fall.  I was correct and it was in that unit but was not stolen thank goodness.  It was just very well buried and hidden….enough so that in about 4-5 trips both Charlie and I couldn’t find it.  It is found now so more progress and learning is on my horizon.

Goat Kidding Spring Season was in May.  We had five kids total born this May, with three being sold to new homes.  Fall Kidding season is about upon us.  I have several goats getting ready to kid at the end of August and into September.  Sweet Pea had a single doe in June and it was a hard one for her.  Her milk didn’t come in as good as it should have and the doe kid was very weak.  I was out there when she delivered so I sat with the kid wrapped in a towel zipped inside my carhart for hours.

Aileen around a week old in the barn yard

She was so weak she would have died had I not taken her into the house for two days.  She is now fat, sassy and running around every where.  A blue eyed blue pinto roan off one of my best does.  Her name is Aileen, which is Gaelic for “sunbeam”.  She is Sweet Pea’s last kid as we will be retiring her and finding her a pet home for her golden years.

All the llamas that we gave away have all come back to the ranch.  We decided to get two of them back around Thanksgiving and let the other two go for good.  However, those two also recently came back to the ranch.  All of them we think may well be pregnant.  So we are watching them as certain ones are getting rather plump and heavy.

It has been very busy here on the ranch.  Trees coming down, walls going up, flowers being planted, weeds being dug up, goats coming and going, llamas coming back.  So much activity.

I have started to learn how to sew with a vintage hand crank machine.  I did my first quilt bit that I made to be a pad under the dog’s water dish for drips.  I have been spinning.  Finally I have made three scarves with the Broomstick stitch in Crochet.  I had planned on doing that several years ago but moving state and injuries got me side tracked a bit.  Now that stitch is super fun!  I have woven for the first time with a bulky weight single ply as my warp and silk hankies shredded and used for weft.  There has been so much going on I forgot to tell you all about it.  I know that this is a feeble catch up for so many months of silence but I will do better as I am able to put in more computer time.  Off for now…..

Fibery Goodness Module One through Seven Yarns

Fibery Goodness Module One through Seven Yarns

 

Here is a little photo gallery of all of the Module yarns from One to Seven in order.  Enjoy.

Mod 1 – Basic Go To Yarn

Mod 2 – Chain yarn

 

 

Module 1 yarn is my Basic Go To Yarn that I spin easily without thinking.

 

Module 2 is a Chain yarn made up of 4 plys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mod 3 – Gimp Spiral yarn

Mod 4 – Beaded Spiral yarn

 

Mod 3 is a Gimp Spiral.  One ply is 50% smaller than the other ply.

 

Mod 4 is a Beaded Spiral.  Beads are fresh water pearls strung on a silk thread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Module 5 – 4 Variation Spiral
1. Basic Spiral
2. Spiral with extra tension on one ply to make it a stronger spiral
3. Beaded Spiral
4. Super Coil almost core spun extreme spiral

Mod 5 yarn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Module 6 – Basic Go To Yarn revamped

Changes: 2 plys spun even, thinner and tighter. One silk ply with garnet seed pearl beads. Silk ply trapped between two merino plys to correct a previous problem of silk ply loosening off and beads getting caught and broken out of yarn

Mod 6 yarn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Module 7 – Slubby Flame Spiral

One ply tight, even and thin. One ply wild, slubby with huge changes between thick and thin. Fat uneven ply spiraled around tight ply to create a balanced strong and fluffy yarn

Mod 7 yarn

Fibery Goodness Module Six Yarn

Fibery Goodness Module Six Yarn

I have had my Module Six yarn spun now for several weeks but hadn’t taken any photographs of it.  I know….I was slow.  It is a 2+ ply hand spun yarn of the 15.5 Micron Merino.  Natural white with a 3rd ply if you want to call it that which is a silk thread with garnet seed pearls strung on it.

Mod 6-3

I have spun some beaded spirals in the course but was having troubles with the merino shrinking and fulling a bit in the setting process with the silk thread staying the same.  The end result was that the thread hung loose with the beads on it and would get caught and break…. losing beads.  This made the yarn super fragile.  I wanted to make my usual go to yarn that is a medium weight 2 ply, mostly evenish.

Mod 6-1

I decided to spin the 2 singles a little bit finer and try for a much more even yarn with a tad bit more twist in the final plying to give it more strength than usual.  I trapped the silk thread with the garnet seed beads on it in between the two merino plys to give it some added strength.  I was going for a 2+ ply that was 2 plys for strength and softness, and 1 ply for bling and character.

Mod 6-2

I do not usually spin fine or even like this so this was rather outside my comfort zone.  Probably not even in the room where my box was….that is was soooo far out my box.  I am over the moon pleased with this yarn.  I really like it.  I spun the Mod 6 yarn in the morning and the Mod 7 yarn in the evening.  They are two very different-night and day yarns even though spun from the same white 15.5 micron merino wool.  Look for Mod 7 yarn coming soon.

Mod 6-4

Fibery Goodness Module Five Yarn

Fibery Goodness Module Five Yarn

I have finished Module Five yarn, set the twist, photographed it and wove a circle weaving with it.  This module was supposed to focus on mastery.  Specifically mastering a spinning technique spun previously, showing several variations in small yardage skeins.  I did not find the module enjoyable because I personally hate doing small yardages, samples and other assorted test your technique stuff that many people do.  I personally find it annoying and a waste of time as I tend to want to just get on with a project and spin or weave.

Mod 5 yarn close up

Since I have been focusing a lot on Spiral techniques in this course, I decided to spin 4 variations of a spiral yarn.  In order to really show off the technique, I still followed my previous outline which was using the same commercial prepared combed top preparation of 15.5 Micron Merino wool in white.

All the photos have the basic spiral, extreme spiral, beaded spiral and super coil core spun style spiral in that order from left to right.

Module 5 yarn

 

I spun a basic spiral, a extreme spiral holding one ply with tighter tension to create more spiraling, a beaded spiral with a silk thread and freshwater pearls, and a super coil almost core spun version of a spiral.

Module 5 yarn

 

 

 

 

 

I accidentally did the super coil core spun sort in a different module but this time wanted to do it on purpose and see if I could over come the original design problem of so much twist that the yarn was coarse feeling and darker in color.  When I spun this super coil core spun sort of version this time, I did keep the softness and loftiness of the merino fiber as well as the white color and I just loved it.

I am finding that with each module I have a large amount of yarn spun up that I don’t use in the final project weaving.  I think that I will be weaving some circular and square wall hangings as I have had requests for more baby room wall art, as well as some scarves and maybe shawls.  You will find those on my shop on Etsy.com so keep an eye out for Alba Ranch’s shop and some new projects.

Fibery Goodness Module Four Yarn

Fibery Goodness Module Four Yarn

Module Four Yarn.  Another spiral yarn with some added construction.

Mod 4 yarn beaded spiral

I chose freshwater pearls strung on a silk thread plied with the hand spun 15.5 micron merino single that I have used in similar construction spiral yarns.

I have never spun a yarn with beads before so it was interesting even learning how to string the beads, let alone how to spin with them as well.

Mod 4 yarn beaded Spiral

 

 

This yarn is so very pretty, elegant and super soft.  I am really pleased with it and can’t wait to make more beaded spiral yarns.

I was up late about 1:30 am spinning this yarn.  I could hear the goats starting to call me in the baby monitor as I hadn’t been out to throw them any hay that evening as I was way too immersed in spinning with these pearls.  I decided to run out quick and throw the hay, check on Bernie an expectant goat mom who was pregnatn for her first time, and come back in to string the last of the beads on and finish the spinning.  Out I went, threw the hay, checked on everyone, locked up the kids that I am starting to wean, checked on Bernie and there were no babies.  Came back inside and started to string the beads on.  Was only in for a few minutes and Bernie started to scream.  Now mind you, this goat screams all the time.

Bernie and 10 hour old twins

I don’t pay attention most times as she always screams.  But this was definitely different.  Her tail tendons and ligaments had loosened off completely and she had been super quiet which for her was an out of body experience, so the screaming I took as she was in labor.  I only had about 30 beads to string so I calmly threaded them on and put the beads up high and walked out to the barn just in time for the arrival of twin does.  One had the sack off her head and was already crying and trying to stand.  The other was stuck with the sack on her head, and Bernie standing at the other end of the pen looking at me in terror.  I am evil.  She appears to be terrified of me for some reason although I told her yesterday we WILL be friends and she gave me that wide eyed you have got to be joking look again!!  I grabbed a towel and went in the pen to get the sack off the babies head as I could hear her sucking it in and about suffocating.  Once it was off and she was breathing and crying normal like, I stepped back and Bernie ran past me to attend to her new babies. I helped her dry them off a bit more, checked and saw that I had two girls and left them alone since it was a nice warm evening and both kids were trying to stand already.  I have included a photo of Bernie with the twins at 10 hours old.

I would have finished the yarn before bed but by that time it was 2 am.  I opted to finish the spinning and setting the yarn the next morning….or should I say later that same morning.

Yes.  From merino, fresh water pearls and silk out to the barn to hay, dirt, amniotic fluid and blood.  This is my life.

 

Disconnection from Social Media

I have made a decision to try disconnecting from social media.  I have noticed with using both Twitter (although very little since I started with FB) and with using FB, that most of the other ways that I used to stay connected have fallen by the wayside.  My productivity has fallen as I am spending more and more time on FB.  My husband and I watch TV together and we both read FB at the same time.  We go out and I have said to him more than once, can you get your nose out of FB!  He has looked at me in exasperation when we need to go somewhere or do something and I say “oh just finishing this FB thing”.  It must stop.  How can someone be so connected via social media and still so DISCONNECTED in real life?

I think it can be very fun to get the up to minute status updates of your friends and family, but I have also noticed that less and less actual communication occurs as more and more status stuff happens.  With many of these new locator apps, folks don’t even need to do a status update. They can just click a button and it updates to the entire world their exact location via GPS and satellite.  Talk about being on an electronic tether.  Do you ever think about how EVERYONE knows what you are doing all the time?  It has been said that you can control what you put on social media.  Although this is true to a certain extent, the real addiction is that to truly experience social media as it is designed to be you are involved all the time.  You become an open book, with your “knickers” so to speak hanging out there!!!

I realized that I don’t like this.  I want my private stuff private, and my personal things for friends and family for them, and my public things for others on my blog.  I wish to control my media.  FB has repeatedly changed their privacy settings so that I need to continually check to make sure that my private stuff is still private.  I have had to turn on the notifications that I have specifically set for various people and businesses back on repeatedly because FB turned them off yet again.  The amount of times that I have had to specifically turn back the notifications for my OWN HUSBAND because FB shut them off escapes me because of the sheer number of times I have had to do this.

It has been said to not punish those that do wish to stay connected with me because of FB bad behavior.  If I can not control FB, which no one can even control their own profile and you are delusion if you think you can, than my only way to “rebel” against the liberties FB takes with my information and photos is to DELETE FB and NOT engage.  THAT IS THE REAL CHOICE.  FB has said that it is free and will always be free.  They are giving special priority to those updates that folks PAY to have boosted.  My views on my Fan page plummeted when FB started that procedure.  My friends will update their status with a comment and photo and I will see the comment but can’t see the photo even when I go to their profile page and LOOK for it.

All of this is frustrating.  It creates tension.  It creates negative energy.  It creates time wasting as you search for ways to get that information back that you had before and FB took away.  Have you ever tried to search for something that you posted on your own timeline a year or so back and couldn’t remember the exact date?  Good luck trying to find it.  It is so much easier to look for it in my blog or my calendar.

I don’t have time to spin, weave and dye fibers because I am on FB.  I don’t even watch any of my TV shows or a DVD with hubby because I am on FB.  I don’t hang out and walk the dogs like I want to (OK in all fairness that is a lot to do with being eaten alive by skeeters more than FB right now).  I don’t make cheese, soap, lotion or even cook the way that I want to because I keep getting sucked into FB. I am going to return to real life, ranch life, holistic therapies, fiber arts and just breathing.

Have you noticed how FB and FaceBook have now become both a verb and noun.  REALLY?

I haven’t deleted either my FB or my Twitter account, but I will not be posting or tweeting. I will not check them and I will be sharing my adventures here, or by phone/text, letters the old fashioned way with paper and pen, or……shock horror….FACE TO FACE!!!

*I reserve the right to change my mind if I find that I can’t live without FB and am freaking out.  This is why I am not deleting the account right this minute.  But FB be aware, the writing is on the wall!!*