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.

Mozzie, the Moswolt M1 Spinning Wheel

Mozzie, the Moswolt M1 Spinning Wheel

Last week I test drove a unique old artisan spinning wheel. A Moswolt M1 Spinning Wheel. Meet Mozzie…..

Moswolt M1 Spinning Wheel

Mozzie is a bit clunkity and talks and chatters, but he is a workhorse beast. It is the first single treadle wheel I have ever owned. He has one speed ratio of about a 4:1. His orifice is a half inch and my lockspun bulky yarn just slide right on through. The flyer has hooks all down each side and surprisingly my lock spun yarn rarely caught on any hooks. It seems one does not HAVE TO HAVE a giant orifice or sliding ring guides to spin bulky lockspun yarn. One has to have smooth hooks with no burrs or sharp bits.

Big bobbin

His bobbins are super big, holding approximately 10-12 ounces of yarn. The take up is strong and most times I spun with the brake off. Even at this slow ratio, I was able to do a modified backwards long draw down to a rather fine yarn. It felt faster than my Country Spinner 1 which is also a 4:1 ratio. I was able lockspin finer and backdraft long draw, which I just don’t seem to be able to do on my CS1. So being all things equal ratio wise, I have no idea why I can spin fine on Mozzie. I guess he did not read the spinning book rules and has his own ideas.

Mozzie Art Yarn

Mozzie really shines doing a 5 Bulky Art Yarn. The strong takeup creates a bulky weight lockspun art yarn quickly. I spun up a bobbin of my favorite locks and than thread plyed them off with a lace weight angora yarn. I had approximately 69-70 yards of Mozzie Spiral Art Yarn. Not too bad for a first Art Yarn skein.

Mozzie Textured Lockspun Art 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.

The REDS.

The REDS.

 

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I have been creating a lot of soups and stews in the crock pot recently. Mostly because of A. working outside and B. because it smells fab when cooking and C. because by the time I am actually hungry later on, I can’t be bothered to cook anything. Charlie usually pesters me to eat. I realized the other day that my fiber world has overtaken my culinary world.

No, I am not putting bamboo and silk in the soup, but I am color coordinating the ingredients.

Really?

 

My First Color Coordinated Soup. The Reds.

The Reds:

1/2 cup dried RED lentils ( if you want it thicker, increase to ¾ cup)
1 15 oz can organic Navy (WHITE) beans rinsed
1 15 oz can organic Pinto (BROWN) Beans rinsed
1 15 oz can of Organic RED Fire Roasted Tomatoes diced
1 32 oz can of Organic RED whole peeled tomatoes
2 WHITE onions chopped medium size
1 RED onion chopped medium size
10 WHITE cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 cup bite sized chopped organic Orange baby carrots
I Red Sweet Potato peeled and diced (could increase to 2 if your slow cooker is large enough)
½ to 1 cup of chopped Rutabaga (WHITE flesh once peeled)
1 pound of thick sliced from the butcher bacon with no msg chopped small size ½ inch or smaller
1 cup of White cauliflower if you have it lying around
Pink Himalayan Sea Sat
Boiling water to cover

Throw it all in the slow cooker, making sure the bacon is the last thing and on top. Pour boiling water over the food and bring level up to about top of food and a little under lip of slow cooker top. Put the lid on idiot…I mean you didn’t forget that did you?

Our Smeg

Put the slow cooker on high and leave for 4-6 hours, than turn down for 2-4 more hours on low eating it whenever you feel like in that later few hours. If you are going away, I would put it all together before you get ready for the day, leave it on high while you get ready for work, than switch to low for the day until you get home. I didn’t try to colour coordinate it, it just happened.  Is this what you call Hand Dyed Soup?  Or is that Hand Painted Soup?

 

I threw this together with whatever I could find lying about the Smeg and China Cabinet. I made it about a week ago so I think that was what I put in it….more or less…probably…most likely…..yeah, of course that was what I put in it.

Oh by the way, what is a Smeg you ask?  Here is my Smeg.  We finally got it this fall.

Journey for the Golden Fleece Fiber Creativity Certificate

Journey for the Golden Fleece Fiber Creativity Certificate

I just signed up to take a new course.  Journey for the Golden Fleece Fiber Creativity Certificate.  I haven’t done any recent schooling as with the move and all been way to busy.  This course will take about 10 months to finish and will be focused on Fiber and Weaving and everything fuzzy and fun.

Majacraft Course Loom

I will get a cool new loom designed by Majacraft specially for this course and a neat coloring book as well as the 8 different Modules.

Images of the Journey Coloring Book

 

I am excited as I haven’t done anything like this for a while.  I am also worried that it might be one to many To Do things, but at least it will be an enjoyable To Do thing.

 

We get our first module on November 15th and will have 6 weeks to complete each module.  It will involve spinning and weaving and probably other fiber art things as well as reflection and thinking.  Are you going to expand your creativity and take this course?

 

 

Michigan Update

Update on our move to Michigan.  We have been overwhelmed with getting things done, unpacking, getting the property secure for the goats and llamas.  Several of our plans have changed such as our building project will have to be postponed until next year as that entire budget will now be shot on taking down trees.  We have numerous old poplar, white birch and scotch pine that are dying, dropping and falling and need to be cleared to ensure the safety of the buildings.

Gazebo

I had a tree fall on the lean to a few weeks ago.  Thankfully it did not crush the lean to as that is where the VW bus is housed and Charlie would have been crushed had his bus been crushed.

To date we have had about 30 trees taken down.  The house is secure for now and the trees that were tangled in our power lines are now down as well.  Since we won’t be doing our building projects until next year, we didn’t really have a location to unpack our last semi to.  We ended up buying a 53 ft long white semi trailer to park in the drive and unpack our things to.  Wow is that looking very redneck.  I did not want to do this and told Charlie is it only temporary as it is NOT staying and had an expiration date.  It was the most economical way to store the last load as the storage fees that we were paying would have been half the building fund for next year.  It is logical.  I know that.  I do NOT have to like it.

The trees around the semi that were dangerous are already down as well. More trees will be coming down in another month or so.

Raised bed with blueberries

Charlie has the front gates up and has started on the fencing.  He is starting on the hay barn tomorrow as we need a place for storing hay that is more than just 40 bales.

We have also done a fair amount of gardening and planted about 20 trees, 25+ bushes and various other loads of plants.  Our garden is coming along and we are slowly fixing many small things that need doing.

I have finally unpacked the fiber store mostly and am getting ready to so some spinning and some dyeing in the next week or so.  Stay tuned for photos of fiber fun.

Pretty Flowers

In the mean time, you can enjoy some of the photos that I took out in the garden and gazebo area today.  Isn’t it looking marvelous?

 

Parvana Creations

I have been watching a fellow fiber artist now for a while.  Nicole does amazing felt shawls and scarves.  The other day she put up a shawl that she had “felted on a whim” the night before and my heart about stopped.  OMG this was beyond stunning.  I have been chatting back and forth with her about this particular piece and various felting ideas and she agreed to let me write about our conversation, this particular piece and to include some stunning photos.  Are you ready?

Felted Capelet

1. What is your favorite fibers to use for felting and why?

My favorite fibers are silk and Merino. Specifically the 50/50 15micron Merino and mulberry silk roving that I use. It is so luxuriously soft and has the perfect shimmer. The high silk content is hard to felt with but the results produce a very beautiful drape in the finished product.

2. What fiber arts do you do and what draws you to each?

I am a felter and also hand dye almost everything that I create. My favorite is to take the white roving and turn it into a beautiful scarf or shawl.. then when the piece is done it’ll tell me what color it should be. Dyeing after felting gives me a better sense of control for where I want the colors to go and how they will combine.  

3. What is your felting process. You mentioned that you use the dryer exclusively. Explain how you used to do it, what has changed and why. Folks that don’t felt need to know that hand injuries can cramp your style but a dryer opens your world back up.  I struggle with hand and back injuries daily so that is important to me.

Close up of fibers in the before felt stage

My first step in the felting process is laying out my bubble wrap. Next I lay out my fibers.. deciding if it’ll be a nuno piece, a cobweb, etc. After I am all done with the design I wet it down with cold soapy water, I almost always use cold since I usually use a silk/wool mix and you don’t want the fibers to felt too fast. Then I place a thin piece of plastic over my work.. I prefer this instead of netting, as netting tends to felt into the project. It is the rolled up in two towels and tied together with stretchy pantyhose then put into the dryer for four ten minute increments. I used to roll by hand, hundreds of rolls.. but as I have a bad back it was too difficult and I wasn’t able to produce as much or as fast as I’d like. The dryer has saved me back pain and time! 

I understand not using the netting.  I have always thought that the netting would end up being felted in and that was not something I wanted.  I would use that plastic myself as well as I plan on using a power sander to do some of the fulling process and need that plastic barrier between the electric sander and my WET felt! haha

4. What inspired you for this whim? It is different than the other pieces I have seen on your page recently. I love it and wondered what inspired you to leave your comfort zone and try this?

Close view of the mohair locks, just stunning!

I think I was inspired by the mohair itself. I was looking at it and wanted to create something very organic and decided that since I didn’t have enough to make a full length shawl, a capelet would be perfect! It was my first time making one, I am hoping to create more.. getting better with each one. Sometimes I have to push myself, even though you worry you are going to waste time and fiber (which I have done before) the only way to become a better artist is to consistently put yourself out of your comfort zone.

5. How long have you been into fiber? How long doing felt?

I started off crocheting in 2009, just the basic stuff.. and using the normal yarn you would find at a craft store. I wasn’t satisfied. It didn’t speak to me in the way that I really wanted it to. One day I saw a felted piece on Etsy and instantly fell in love. From that moment on I researched and watched videos.. anything I could get my hands on to learn how to create fabric with just wool fiber, soap and water. Two years ago I bought some supplies and have never stopped felting. It’s hard to describe what felting means to me.. it is apart of me now, part of my soul and it makes my heart so happy. 

6. Can you tell me about banana fiber? What is it? Why banana fiber? What does it do or not do for felting?

Banana fiber yarn is made from banana stalks. It has incredible shine and is so soft, you can dye it any color you’d like, but you can’t use acid dyes since it is not a protein fiber. I really enjoy using it in my work, when it felts it scrunches up and gives great texture.

7. This piece from your description seems to be a medium to maybe a smallish large. How big is it when you start out?

Hmm, I can’t remember the dimensions exactly (this is what happens when you work late into the night and forget to write stuff down!). But, it did shrink quite a bit. At least 40%.

8. Merino from my own experience really felts up and shrinks. I sometimes have a 40% shrinkage on my warp when I just Full a piece. Does silk shrink as much? The shine comes from the silk, the soft as well but what does silk give to felting that just a different wool would not?

Yes, Merino does shrink a good amount, I have set dimensions I use for my shawls, but even following the dimensions they sometimes come out different sizes. Felt has a mind of its own! The silk that is in the blend will shrink with the wool, so I find the 50/50 mix will shrink just the same as if I used pure wool. The silk just allows the product to have a very nice drape, it allows the fiber to “bend” more and not be so stiff (As long as you don’t over-full). Also, when dyeing, the silk produces brighter colors so your over-all piece is more vibrant. 

9. You mentioned that you do your felting by dryer, but your fulling by hand. Why can’t you full by dryer too? Can it all be done in dryer? Fulling by hand is still the rolling correct? What about those that are disabled and have a lot of pain. Is it possible to not do by hand or do you lose too much control that way?

You know, you might be able to do it all in the dryer. I have always fulled using my hands. After something is done felting I take the felt and rub it between my hands, sometimes smacking it down onto the table, as long as it’s not supposed to be a delicate piece. My technique is felting THEN dyeing. So a lot of the times I only full a little tiny bit because I find when I dye the piece after it’s going to full on it’s own from my moving it around in the dye pot and heating it up in the microwave. At the end when it’s all dyed up I take it and shock it in cold water, which again does more fulling for me. I have learned when to stop fulling and leave it be, it has taken sometime to figure it out though. 

I would say for someone who really can’t use their hands.. maybe put it in the dryer for extra time, so it shrinks really well, then take it out and gently smoosh the felt in your hands and shock it using cold and hot water. 

Thank you so much for you thoughts and insights on your creative process, the things you have learned and what you like to use for felt.  I love this piece and it is currently for sale HERE in Parvana’s Etsy Shop.  You can also find Parvana on Facebook and follow her there if you want to know more and see more stunning felt work.

For anyone that has ever admired, drooled over, and wanted to know more about felting but never thought they could… Nicole has broken it down and let us in on how she has adapted around her physical limitations.  I know that I have been planning on felting for months now, have all my tools and fibers gathered and will be starting soon.  I had a spin job that needed to be finished first and because I was a little scared.  After chatting with Nicole, I think I am going to get over being scared and just go felt.  You might even seen some creations here soon.  Ta for now!

Artful Women’s Exhibition with Zonta in Canon City, CO

The international organization, Zonta, has an annual fund raiser.  This fundraiser is for their scholarship fun and local and international service projects.  It is called the Artful Women’s Exhibition.  An Art Show that has 3 categories.  Drawing/Painting, Photography, 3D and Fiber.  I have 3 pieces that will be in the Fiber category.

Pastels

We will be having one or two fiber artists from Ft Collins, Colorado judging the 3D and Fiber category.  I believe this is the first Art Show that I have entered any Fiber Entries that will be judged by actual Fiber Artists.  Most times, the judges are NOT fiber Artists so I have never been able to understand how they could JUDGE Fiber.  I am looking forward to this.

The opening night is October 5, 2012 from 5:30-7:30pm.  The show will also be open October 6 and 7, 13 and 14th, and the 20th.  It will be at the old Sunflower Bank Building at 531 Main Street, Canon City, Colorado.  Admission is $5.00.

I plan on getting to know more about the Zonta Organization and the local chapter.  Their mission statement is:  To empower women to improve their status through education, economic stability, health and wellness, to serve our community through local and international projects and through contributions, and to further the mission of Zonta International.

Bits and Bobs

This is a good thing and I hope to find out more about them.

The 3 pieces that I am entering will show hand spinning, hand painting and dyeing, spinning from carded art batts, spinning from locks, crochet, weaving on a rigid heddle loom and free form crochet.

Beehive Art Yarn Shawl

My three entries are Pastels, Bits and Bobs, and Beehive Art Yarn Shawl.

Pastels is an 8 ft triangle shawl.  It was woven in continuous warp method on an 8 ft triangle loom from yarn that I hand painted.

Bits and Bobs was hand spun from art batts, rovings, and various other bits and bobs of fiber received over the years.  It has alpaca, merino, wool, angora rabbit, angelina for sparkle and glitz, and other assorted fibers that I have no clue about as they came in art batts.  I hand wove panels on my rigid heddle loom and free form constructed this jacket.  I also wove a bag that I later felted for extra durability and wove a panel to be used as a wrap skirt to complete the outfit.  This outfit has not been exhibited in Fremont County.  It was my entry into the Art Prize Competition in Grand Rapids, Mi in 2011.

Beehive Art Yarn Shawl was spun from locks and hand painted in vibrant colors.  The yarn is extreme chunky and bulky.  I used a crochet hook that is much bigger than my thumb and free form crocheted this into a unique OOAK shawl.  Ribbon was added for a nice touch and to close the front of the shawl.

I am looking forward to this exhibition and hope to see you there.  Come Look for me 🙂

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Update:  “Bits and Bobs” won Third Place in the 3D and Fiber Category at the Artful Women’s Exhibition.  The judge particularly liked the different textures, colors, and seeing the “hand” of the artist in the weave and spinning.