Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monthly Meeting - March

I, Denise, helped two people remember how to spin on a drop spindle. Their efforts were fantastic! It didn't take them long to get the hang of it again and get into the groove. Part of the process is pre-drafting the fibers so it is easier to spin. With time, they may or may not need to do this. With compacted fibers, it is always wise to do so.

Cosy showed us her double-knitted bookmarks she is knitting. She teaches classes. Excellent artistry. I didn't get photos, but will next time.

Dawn brought in her crocheted afghan. She has bobbles and cables on it. The cables are single crochet. They look cool.

I was lucky to try and model Lisa's shawl. It is soft and snuggly. I really didn't want to give it back. My dog Max is in the foreground.

My cat Ginger helped me knit. I was working on simple dishrags that day. Her "assistance" is invaluable, as you can see.

Carol worked on her knitting, Marion brought her "Wee Peggy" wheel and spun up some beautiful roving.

We're thinking of having a natural dyeing outing during the summer. I've located some noxious dye weeds with help from the Weed & Mosquito Department. They bloom did to late summer.

My other cat Gracie did not appear until the end. She rules the house, but is fearful of strangers. This is a photo of her favorite activity.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lisa: Dyeing for a drink

Actually, dyeing with a drink. Drink mixes, that is. Kool-Aid, Drink-Aid, Crystal Light, food coloring, they all work.

Here's some yarn:

And here's what I made with it:

Lisa: Fiber Processing on Flickr

A picture paints a thousand words. I posted 33 pictures on this subject, so that's a grand total of 33,000 words. Pretty impressive! So, if you are looking for a way to scour your wool in locks, for flicking, and not get overwhelmed with doing an entire fleece all at once, check it out:

Fiber processing - a set on Flickr

If you have questions, email me: fiberfrontier@aol.com. I don't get to my Flickr site too often, so I might not see a question there for quite some time.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bobbin and Plying Tension - Denise

I've heard of people spending lots of money on stand alone tensioned lazy kates for their spinning wheels. Call me cheap, but I have an on-board lazy kate and a piece of cotton twine for mine. A simple figure-8 is all it is. Be sure not to tie the knot too tight.

Another idea I had was the problem holding the plying threads even when plying. Too often one is uneven and the balance is off and looks...well, wonky. Like a tension box, the yarn threads go over and under the fingers. The yarn doesn't zip in too fast, you have better control over the speed. Use as many or as few fingers as you like.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Equipment on a Budget - Denise

Equipment doesn't have to be expensive. I made my blending hackle for under $20. It takes a 2x4, some hair picks, and some self-tapping screws.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This is my "Prairie Shawl"...a point twill from handspun yarn. The dark brown and the light grey (musket) are natural colored Shetland and the red is dyed Merino. A warm, substantial shawl for chilly prairie nights, Friday evenings at a football game; perfect for any abode, wonderful as a gift for anyone. 25" x 66". $175 plus shipping. Lisa

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gilligan's Fleece

Denise - Last night I finished combing Gilligan's fleece. He's a nice Columbia sheep. I got only 1/2 (about 7#) from Lisa.

I had tried the Fermented Suint Method of washing. I didn't enjoy that. To read more, please click on this link on SpinOffmagazine.com. The fleece survived in spite of everything and came through with glossy whiteness.

He is destined for a weaving project. I'm spinning up worsted style singles to ply. I think it will become a blanket or a throw. I'll need to dye the yarn, but haven't decided yet. I'm thinking of maybe M and O, or a point twill. I'll probably change my mind several times. Who knows what the wool will want.

Dad's Sweater

Denise's - I finished my Dad's sweater in time for Christmas '09. It took a while, but task complete. I bought the Lincoln/Targhee fleece from Cory Simpson. I sent it to Going to the Sun Fiber Mill for processing since I had about 4 fleeces and little time.

Total time from spinning to wearing was about 1-1/2 years. I had to take a little bit of time off to have my finger heal from a cat bite(I'll not share those photos). New cat and "helpful" dog ended poorly for me.

Let it be known that while my dad chose the pattern, he had no real idea how challenging the cables really were for me. He always wanted an "Irish Rover's" sweater. I tried to guide him towards an easier one. He had his heart set on that sweater. For me, the mere thought of the cables gave me heart palpitations.

While I spun up the fleece, I had the chance to think about my approach. I charted out each pattern on a separate page. I made my charts in color. Soon, I was ready to go.

After a few rounds of crosses, I realized that the extra cable needle was cumbersome (my kids and cats really liked that thing). I researched on the net and found out how to cable without a needle. I really made progress.

I tried out steeks for the first time. Knitting them was easy. At the end of the torso, I prepared for the cutting and tacking. This too went well.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Prayer Shawl

Denise's -
I finished my prayer shawl. I used roving from The Sheep Shed Studio.

It was my first chance to weave a Huck lace pattern on my rigid heddle loom. I wove a 3/1 lace pattern with the pick up stick.

The shawl measures about 72" x 14", 10 dpi, 12 ppi.

In this photo you can see the two sides of the cloth.

I showed Carol Lee of Sheep Shed the photos. She loves the shawl!

Vicki, one of the founders of Prayer Shawl Ministry, wanted the pattern posted on their website.

In The Beginning...

The LOW-Down is a small, informal group in Great Falls, Montana. We are interested in spinning, weaving, knitting, basketmaking, crocheting and other fiber arts. By invitation only for now.

We'll be blogging about our projects and get-togethers, and we'll post pictures as well.