Rolags, Blending Boards and Textured Yarn Spinning

Rolags, Blending Boards and Textured Yarn Spinning

I made a new colorway on my blending board of my Rolag Hybrid. I am calling it Silver Gray Sparkles.

Silver Gray Sparkles is a smooth sparkling rolag batt. No locks or chunky bits….just tons of sparkle and various smooth fibers. My Rolag is a hybrid of a layered batt and rolag.

Silver Gray Sparkle Rolag

I layer my fibers on my blending board without packing them down into the blending board teeth. I use the dowels to roll up the rolag without drafting through the inner fibers. I only draft at the end of the roll to secure the rolag closed. It is best spun from the end in 2-4 inch rolled up sections pulled off the roll while still rolled up. Picture taking a BIG piece of a jelly roll cake…but still rolled up. I have found sections larger than that a bit much to handle in my hand. If temperatures or humidity is high, there is a risk of felting that is possible while holding a large rolag for a longer period of time.

On the blending board

I let the rolag sit for a while trying to decide if I wanted to spin, felt or sell them. I decided to spin these all up this week into 2 large skeins. Each skein is a 2 ply and spiral plyed. Each skein has one of the plys as this silver gray sparkle rolag hybrid. It is a blend of numerous fibers such as Merino, Black Dyed Tussah Silk, Gotland, Masham, and White Firestar.

Each of the 2 yarns is one ply of the above rolag with the other ply being different in each skein. The lighter color skein was plyed with a 2 ply fine silk thread and done as an extreme spiral yarn. The darker skein was plyed with a handspun bamboo ply. Both skeins are a textured yarn with that homespun feel.

Dark skein
Light skein

I am a bit stunned how intensely different the two skeins look and feel. The darker skein with the bamboo ply is very heavy weight wise. And with so much bamboo in it, it took forever to dry! I have been staring at them for a while now trying to decide how to use them.

I need help. What do you think?

I really think I want to weave a wider scarf on my 16 inch rigid heddle loom. But past that I am stuck.

I think if I use one skein for weft and one for warp that the difference between the skeins will be lost.

So do I warp up with :

1. A white warp and weave strips?

2. A white warp and weave 2 separate scarves?

3. A white warp and weave 2 scarves alternating both skeins and afterwards seam 2 scarves together and make a shawl?

4. A white warp and weave 2 scarves with just one skein in each. So have a light and dark scarves than seam those into a shawl??

5. A dark warp and than where the heck do I go?

6. Just keep staring at them and weave nothing?

See why I need help?? Comment below your thoughts.

Inquiry Cards

Inquiry Cards

Inquiry cards are a deck of cards of beautiful six-sided mandalas, each with a question printed on it. We tend to look outside ourselves for answers when the answers are already within us. Sylvia Nibley designed the Inquiry cards and I just adore them.

The purpose of the deck is to help us practice looking inside ourselves for the answers to the questions of life…big or little. The answers of course will be specific to each of us asking as the answer “lies within” us already.

Inquiry Cards by Sylvia Nibley

There are various ways to use the cards. Various games and layouts to try. I decided today to try the layout explained in the booklet that came with my deck called the Chakra Layout.

I shuffled my deck with the cards face down and drew 7 cards. I placed them in a vertical line with the first card at the bottom for the Base Chakra and going up to the Crown Chakra.

After laying the cards out, I turned them over and asked the question in reference to the chakra it was pulled for. These are my cards today working from top (Crown) down to bottom (Base) Chakra.

Crown-Higher Consciousness: What energizes me? Creativity and Healing. Crystal’s in many formations. Large standing stones, mid size boulders, and hand held rocks take my breath away with their solid earthy beauty. Crystal singing bowls have me absolutely fascinated. Music and Brainstorming ideas about what is possible. The earth and particularly the forest has my interest. I have been out walking in our forest much more recently. I have noticed the water flowing, how it looks and sounds. And I have seen the animals tracks. Sometimes I see the animals that leave the tracks. Gigha walks with me in the woods frequently and she notices everything.

3rd Eye-Intuition: What’s the next step? I have some online courses I have been doing currently, a few free courses about sound healing. I have numerous courses I want to take starting in the late spring. All of them will make me stretch and grow which seems to be what I need. I think I am ready for that now. I have a few handpans and singing bowls I want to sell. And I have a new handpan and crystal singing bowls to buy. I want to get my sound studio set up in our sunroom and get the outdoor tent up and ready for outdoor sessions once spring is truly here.

Throat-Communication: What if I were more powerful? I want to speak my truth. I am starting to find my voice again. Both literally in my singing voice but also what makes my heart sing. Expressing that to others is no easy task. I want to learn to temper my tone and delivery to a manner that is peaceful calm and soft.

Heart-Love: What am I attracted to? I am drawn over and over to animals, nature, trees and forest, flowing water and the earth under my feet. The color in my yarns, music in my sound, and bells in the wind all have my attention. I have been noticing my tubular windchimes more and more these days. The tone of my tea kettle. The ringing of my handpan when one of the dogs bark and it vibrates. Little sounds and singing of things all around me.

Solar Plexus-Self: What needs to change? I need more learning and instruction. I want to take a few courses and learn to apply a business approach to my holistic practice. I want better focus and direction to my plan. This has made me realize I have a completely different mindset and business model that I want to pursue. I do not want a product based business anymore, but rather a service based business with some occasional products. I want to move more and self care.

Sacral-Creative Center: What am I committed to? Bringing my healing holistic self out from the box that I stuffed her into 7 years ago is a top priority. Facing my grief and moving past it is also a necessary step. I want to bring music back into my life on a daily basis. I want to get a large set of crystal singing bowls and let my music take flight. It is wanting to burst forth from inside…dare I say it….burst forth in song!

Root-Survival: Where is my joy? My joy is in what I do….in my creating and healing. Music is my creation and my healing both.

This has all been something to really think about and absorb. I am changing. Change can be difficult but it is also good. Look for my changes as they come.

White Sands Handspun Textured Yarn and Weaving

White Sands Handspun Textured Yarn and Weaving

White Shifting Sands Handspun Textured Yarn is a new colorway I started to create. I decided to try something different using a photo for my inspiration for this next new art yarn. A whole back story and idea created before starting the project.

Inspiration Photo

I blended these highly textured art rolags all night long. This is the prep before the spinning and weaving. I made a huge batch of hybrid rolag art batts. Somewhere between 40-50 as I planned on this being a bigger amount of art yarn.

White Sands Rolag Art Batts

Spinning took quite a bit of time. I have been working on it for a while already and have 1.75 Country Spinner Bobbins spun up into singles. Each of the Country Spinner Bobbins on the Ashford Jumbo Espinner can hold as much as 2-3 pounds of fiber!

Part way there

I am done spinning for a while now but over the next few days, let the next step….the plying magic begin. I enjoy plying the best I think. A spiral yarn that is handspun and just a joyful textured yarn. It is where I start to see the real structure and character of the yarn come to life. Little runs of sparkle and glitz, with delicate curly locks popping out here and there adding in texture in between all the lofty softness. If you use a silk thread or fine yarn for spiral plying as I did on this handspun yarn, it just gives an extra pop of sparkle and glam to your art yarn.

After spinning it, I washed and set the twist and let it dry by the fire for several days ….which turned into nearly 2 weeks. I stared at tthis homespun yarn thinking of what to do with it next. I spun it originally as a new art yarn for the shop. But after spinning it all, I just wanted to keep some of it….most of it….alright, all if it! Trying to decide if I want to share or not. My Precious!

I finally decided about how to use a little bit of the White Sands Textured Art Yarn that I handspun. A small wall hanging! It has been a long time since I wove a wall hanging for myself, a bit of wall art for my house. I plan to keep this one but there is some yarn listed in the shop if you want to weave your own textured yarn weaving. Not too much left but you can get yours by shopping HERE.

White Sands Woven Wall Hanging

I just wove several other wall hangings last week featuring some of my other handspun textured yarns. Weaving this White Sands weaving led to me pulling yet another all nighter. This was the 2nd or 3rd this week alone. ….but I have been creating and can’t stop!! My head is exploding with ideas right now.

When I first started weaving and spinning, I never dyed my fibers. I was obsessed with natural color wool for years. There are so many sheep and goats with lovely natural colors I did not even want to expierment with dyeing wool for years. Even now with all the dyeing that I do, I am always drawn to some natural wool every few weeks or month. I never seem to really tire of the wide range of natural colors and tints in fibers that animals grow all by their own without our interference. I did raise angora rabbits and angora goats for a while. And the color variances with them was incredible.

White Sands Handspun Textured Art Yarn

The small weaving that I wove used some of the White Sands Textured Art Yarn and a few other handspun yarns. I also wove in some prime kid mohair locks, and added fringe on the top instead of the bottom which is the normal location. I wanted this to be very textured and a super tactile weaving. So tactile, that you would want to ignore a hands off sign just to pet the wall art.

White Sands Woven Wall Hanging
Music has always been in my life

Music has always been in my life

I personally have been involved in some form of music since I was a very small girl. I sang in church every week….it was by far the part of church that I enjoyed. I performed “special music” at church as well rather frequently. Sometimes I played my flute in a duet or trio with 2 friends that played the violin. Other times I played my flute solo. I would sing in the congregation but I do not recall ever singing a solo in church….or even in the church choir.

School and later college were both a different story. I sang in choir and was in the school band at school from middle school through graduation. I also was in the college band my freshman year and in the choir for all my college years.

In school, I played the flute and was first or second chair all the time. It was between my good friend and myself depending on who was doing better at that precise time. We took turns back and forth, but I did occupy the first chair position frequently. Was I great….emmmm…not really. I was good for our little school but I expect it would have been much different had I been in a larger school.

The last few years of high school, I started to play the oboe. Our school had been gifted a decrepit old thing that was in a sorry state of repair. I practiced, but an oboe at it’s best can be squeaky and working with one that wasn’t really working optimally put me at a very big disadvantage. An oboe may look like a clarinet but it is a double reeded instrument that is it’s own force.

I remember one particular Sunday at church. I was the special music with my oboe. I practiced and warmed up during the congregational singing but thought something had happened with my reed. When the time came to play, I found my reed had indeed broken and I could get not a squeak out of it. The church seemed to appreciate my humiliating attempts to play and didn’t hold it against me. It did not help my confidence though I can tell you that.

I sang soprano through middle and high school. Our little choir sometimes traveled and performed outside of school. One year, we had a musical we were doing. I auditioned for a smaller role and was surprised when I got one of the lead roles. I never thought I was very good and it terrified me to think of speaking or singing solo. Our class as a collective wasn’t doing well with memorization and our director lost patience with our approaching deadline. We did not manage to learn our lines as a group, so we switched to a different production. There was a larger musical that we had all been working on and a play that was silent as well. Three different productions at the same time. We were performing them at our local community center. Dropping the serious musical we focused on the larger production musical and the silent comedy.

Two narrators telling the story, with the cast acting out silently. Now that was a leading lady role I could get into. No speaking or singing required. Just over the top acting and facial expressions. It was a sarcastic comedy … just up my alley. Being I went to a small Christian school, the dramatic and musical opportunities were limited. Had I been at a larger public school, I may have excelled and been better prepared for college and the “big lake”.

Because I had played the oboe the last few years in high school, I did not feel I was in good enough practice for flute with college. There were many girls that played the flute and many were better than me. So I decided to play the oboe for the college band. They gave me an oboe to play that was in excellent shape and it was so much better with a properly working instrument. I was not very good and my heart was not in it. I never mastered it and left the college band after one semester. The level of expertise of the other players was miles above what I could do with the oboe and a fair stretch even above my musical flute abilities. I had left the little pond of high school and jumped into the big lake. It was sobering to a newly minted college freshman.

While at college, I also auditioned to be in the choir. There were two choirs. The one was a serious choir and more exclusive. Since I sang soprano, I knew it was a fair chance I would never get in. Freshman Sopranos never made it to the serious choir in their freshman year. Remember the big lake vs little pond, and my belief that I wasn’t very good? I knew I could sing, but I had zero confidence or expierence singing solo because it terrified me. I never took singing lessons..just sang in choir for 7 years and church for 15 years. Imagine my surprise when the director spoke to me after my audition and told me that freshman Sopranos never got into the exclusive choir. He had to listen to the other auditions. He said that depending on what he heard, I might get in even though I was a freshman. If not, he said he wanted me my sophomore year. I left that audition with stars in my ears. He said I was good. He was impressed with me. I was glowing. And…still terrified of singing solo. The audition nearly killed me.

I auditioned and got a first soprano position in the other bigger choir. I remember watching the serious choir sing through that entire year and not really enjoying the songs they sang. It was a serious choir. They sang a lot of Latin. Our choir I thought was pretty good and we had fun. We traveled and sang at various places year and I enjoyed it very much. I began to think it was better to not be in the serious choir.

My sophomore year I spent in Peru, South America. I sang and played my flute there a lot as well. Never sang a solo, but my choir was more like 4 of us and that was it. I changed colleges after returning to the USA, our local community college and sang in that choir. Once I graduated from there, I went to Grand Valley State College. I again sang there as well. I took private voice lessons one semester. That was a different experience. I had a pretty serious car accident part way through the semester and found it difficult to practice but managed to finish the semester without taking an incomplete.

I learned a lot during those lessons, including that formal training wasn’t all bad. I wished maybe I had more of it growing up. I had taken private piano lessons for years ever since I was 5 years old. I had a brief stint with some private flute lessons to improve a few thing in my technique. But I had never taken private vocal lessons. I think that should have been different.

After that, my musical performing took a vacation. The next two decades was my singing in the car, shower, to the dogs and animals on the ranch, in front of my husband but not many others. I did still sing, but not as much. I went through a very dark time that second decade and lost my joy in music…in singing and playing the piano. I still listened to music, but very dark melancholy music. I entertained the thought of joining a singing group locally because I missed the group singing on a regular basis but never did it with the remoteness of our property and extremes of our weather.

My baby grand piano

Coming forward to now, and I am singing again. Starting to vocal tone for healing, starting to throat sing, kulning, and overtones. The ability of a vocal instrument that most of us have…the capabilities we can reach with our voice, has me singing again. Soon there will be more song pouring from me and maybe I will even let someone hear it.

Hygge Collection What is Hygge?

Hygge Collection What is Hygge?

Hygge Collection is nearly finished. Are you ready? Want to see a few? Part is live in the shop already. So….. what is Hygge?

A light in the woods…my backyard

Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. There is no direct translation in English, but hug and cozy are a start in the correct direction.

Sitting by our French Doors, having a moment with my Sassy. My Hygge!

Pronounced “hoo-guh,” this Danish expression is an attitude towards life that emphasizes finding joy in everyday moments. Rather than drudge through the winter, hygge is about celebrating coziness, warmth and family, as well as practicing mindfulness.

All snuggly and cozy. Scarf is in the shop.

I have always tried to have this sort of mindset being I usually have lived in locations with rather inclement weather. Born in Michigan, as a child I was mostly bundled up and outside building snow forts, burrowing tunnels through the snow. In the summer, I built my forts out of blankets and climbed up the trees and to the roof of our buildings.

Wrap up. Hygge Collection.

As an adult while living in Scotland and later in a cabin in the Colorado mountains, I snuggeled down into sweaters, layers of clothes, blankets and scarves. I loved a bowl of popcorn while all wrapped up in a blanket, or a mug of hot cocoa with extra marshmellows please! Puppy dogs all around and snuggeled with me….pure Hygge.

Wrap yourself in some Hygge.

Apparently, I have been living Hygge all of my life….before I even knew what it was. Older now, I try to make a point to Hygge. As adults, sometimes we forget to live in the moment. Breathe, relax, take pleasure in every day simple, appreciate, to be grateful…. To Hygge. This is what the Hygge Collection means to me and what I felt while creating it.

Golden Lemon Lock Spun Textured Yarn

Golden Lemon Lock Spun Textured Yarn

Golden Lemon Lock Spun Textured Yarn. New and just listed in the shop.

Golden Lemon Textured Art Yarn

This particular colorway is subtle and gentle gold. I hand dyed these locks using the Greener Shades Dyes. There are Leicester Longwool, Teeswater, and Border Leicester x Gotland locks mixed in this blend. The Border Leicester x Gotland locks in particular are a crisper more defined lock that has created a lot more curls in this handspun yarn.

Look at those curls and texture

I really like the texture of this handspun. A bit crisp and still soft makes for a very interesting textured yarn.

Golden Lemon Textured Art Yarn

I kept several partial skeins for myself to use in some weavings. I can’t wait to play with this lock spun yarn.

Golden Lemon Textured Art Yarn

This is the first colorway I spun completely on the vintage Louet S71 Single Treadle spinning wheel I picked up about 6 weeks ago. It sure was fun to spin this art yarn. I know it will look wonderful in your next project. Go HERE to get some while it is in stock.

Selling My Used Spinning Wheels

Selling My Used Spinning Wheels

I have decided to sell a few of my spinning wheels. I don’t use these three very much and gathering dust is not what they were meant for.

Update: The Ashford Country Spinner 2 is the last lightly used spinning wheel that I have for sale. All the other used spinning wheels have been sold. The second hand Ashford Country Spinner is boxed and ready to ship to you.

  1. REDUCED PRICE and boxed for shipping. Ashford Country Spinner 2 for sale. Barely used. 1 bobbin. Assembled and nicely finished with wood butters and light wax. Boxed up and ready for shipping from 49446 at buyers expense. Wheel is still assembled. Bobbin was the only piece dissasembeled which uses just 4 screws. Instructions included and in the box for the wheel and the bobbin both. Reduced to $550 down from $650.
Ashford Country Spinner 2

2. SOLD – Majacraft Little Gem Spinning Wheel package with Extras – SOLD

-Double Treadle
-Seven (7) bobbins
-Quick change flyer
-Ratios: 4.5:1, 6:1, 8.5:1, 10.5:1, 12.75:1
-Weight: 10 lbs.
-Wheel diameter; 8.25″
-Orifice height is adjustable 26″ – 28″
-Delta Orifice
-Sealed bearings (no oiling required)
-Sliding flyer hook, both regular and jumbo
-Sensitive scotch tension
-Custom Designed Shoulder Bag in Silver
-1 extra bottom drive band
-2 extra top drive bands
-All the instructions and papers
-Spins like a full-sized wheel with an easy rolling treadle action
-Separates into 2 parts, packs into its bag and fits in a suitcase or overhead bin locker while flying
-Compatible bobbins and flyers with Majacraft wheels and accessories
-Brand New Never Used High Speed Whorl on the Gem: 10.1:1, 12:1, 14.5:1, & 19.5:1
-My Ashford upright lazy kate, which works with both this bobbin size and the bulky/jumbo.

My Little Gem and upright lazy kate were bought in Scotland back in 2005. It is 1 of the first 2 wheels I ever bought at my first ever fiber festival. It is a Little Gem 1 which has had the Majacraft upgrade installed by a Majacraft dealer who also repairs spinning wheels. Changing the bottom drive band, is now done the same way as a Little Gem 2. So I think of my Little Gem as a 1.5. It has a lovely wood with beautiful wood grain. The flywheel is the original and is one of the prettiest woods that they used in the past. It is not warped and has no cracks.

Retails at $1200 and $270 for all the extras. At nearly 45% off Retail, it is all For Sale at $800. Will ship anywhere in USA for an additional $50.00. Outside USA, buyer pays shipping. Otherwise local pick up.

Heavenly Handspinner Spinning Wheel

3. SOLD and picked up.

Heavenly Hand Spinning Wheel with Custom Design. (Tree of Life Commission) Customized and Finished with extras.

Wheel comes standard with a spring clip weighted flyer, set of 3 super D Dooper bobbins, orifice hook and drive bland.

Extras: spare drive band, spare leather tension strap, 5 extra spring clips to allow for 3 per side of flyer if you wish to lace the flyer for finer spinning, and 3 extra super D Dooper Bobbins.

Bobbins

Three of the Bobbins and the laser cuts on the wheel I finished with chalk paint and sealed with dark wax. The rest of the wood was sealed with Dark wax to protect the wood and bring out the grain. I provided the design that was laser cut into the fly wheel on both sides. The 3 larger symbols in the center of the wheel laser cut into both sides of the wheel are Fortitude, Gratitude and Inner Peace. the symbol that repeats at the edge on both sides of the fly wheel is Passion. These symbols are the Zibu Angelic Symbols for healing.

Three of the bobbins are still left unfinished for you to choose your color and design. NOTE one bobbin slipped off and fell to the floor. It put a small crack in the end bit that was repaired by my husband. I provided a close up of the bobbin so you can see it is barely noticeable.

Repaired Bobbin

Single drive – Irish tension
Beautiful hand crafted spinning wheel, with hand-selected Red Oak, Maple and Walnut (in the flyer).
Double Treadle
Precision ball bearing wheel for ease of use and maintenance.
Bobbins that hold approximately 6ozs
Ratios of 6:1, 9:1 and 13:1
Each bobbin has a nylon 66 impregnated bearing – for no wear on the flyer shaft.
Spring clip on the flyer – for ease of even yarn distribution on the bobbin.
Weighs less than 13.6 pounds.
Orifice height is 24 inches and the diameter is 9/16ths of an inch.
Height is 28 & 1/2 x 16 & 1/2 x 14 inches

Price is $450.00 reduced down from $650.00 and FREE USA shipping to lower 48 states. I have it boxed in the original box and packaging with even extra padding that it came with.

Heavenly Handspinner Spinning Wheel
Wild Flower Textured Yarn Now in the Shop

Wild Flower Textured Yarn Now in the Shop

I just listed a new art yarn colorway in the shop. I have been working on this colorway for a while now.

Wild Flower Textured Art Yarn

The inspiration of this homespun yarn was a giveaway in honor of Honey bees and Beekeepers. It reminded me of the Wild Flowers that bees use to create honey.

On the spinning wheel

The dominant color through out the handspun yarn is honey, gold, and greens in various shades with small bits of yellow and orange. This represents the bees and their honey. There are pops of pink and white with a little pale purple and blues here and there to represent the wild flowers in a field.

Closer view of Wild Flower Textured Art Yarn

This yarn has so much texture and color. It is a Super Bulky weight, a textured yarn that is very workable on a set of needles for knitting and hooks for crochet. It would also be wonderful for use in textured weaving. I can picture this woven into a shawl, scarf or a wall hanging.

In fact, here is a scarf I wove using Honey color yarns that I dyed and a partial skein of this textured yarn. Look at the wonderful texture and contrast with the smooth lace weight yarns. So much fun.

Wild Flower Honey Art Yarn Scarf

Use it as the main art yarn in your piece or as an edging or accent for effect. Listed in the shop now and avaiable for purchase.