Sunday, October 23, 2011

MAWS - 2012 Conference

June 8-10th, 2012
Post Conference Workshops -June 11-12th
Hosted by Missoula Weavers Guild

The 2012 Conference will be held on the beautiful campus of The University of Montana in Missoula. The inspiration for the MAWS 2012 conference will be centered around the community built - Carousel of Missoula. While planning your fiber projects this year - please use the Carousel Ponies as your inspiration.

For more information and updates:
Web Link
Facebook Link

Monday, September 12, 2011

Strut Your Mutt Sept. 18, 11 am

This Sunday, Sept 18, starting around 11am, is Strut Your Mutt charity event and dog walk at Whittier Park (near the Civic Center at 2 Park Drive in Great Falls, MT). There is quite a bit of foot traffic there for our demonstration.

Last year, in the rain, Lisa and I spun up Bouvier (dog)/Shetland yarn. Carole knitted the yarn into a cute dog sweater for the auction. This year’s weather forecast is for sunshine. I’ve staked out some turf under the trees.

I hope to see you there!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Over-Dyeing Fiber

The yarn or fiber comes out of the dye pot and just didn't turn out. Rather than throw the fiber away, there are solutions.

The dye company Cushing & Co. has a webpage article by by Joan Moshimer that details the colors changes for over-dyeing. I've used this site many times - my dyeing practices aren't perfected, yet.

Cushing & Co. OVER-DYEING for Beautiful Hooked Rugs

Monday, July 4, 2011

New (old) Wheel - "Wee Peggy" Denise

The transaction is final and I have my new/old wheel. I ended up selling one of my Louet wheels, but it was worth it for the Wee Peggy wheel. These are hard to come by.

It has the capability for double drive and Scotch tension. The ratios are somewhere around 5:1 and 7:1. While this may not be stellar, this is quite good for my purposes. I am currently spinning laceweight at somewhere between 48-51 wpi singles for the Orenburg lace scarf.

It needed a bit of beeswax polish as the wood was rather dry, the leather for the flyer needs some extra oil, and the bobbins need a bit of extra sanding on the inside so the threads don't catch. Other than that, she is fantastic!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So, here's my finished shawl...some weaving mistakes are there, but all in all, I'm pleased with the results. Next time, I won't weave when I'm tired.


Friday, April 15, 2011

My newest weaving project - Lisa

This is a lacy shawl, in bamboo...can you see the pattern? It took me forever to find the time to measure the warp and dress the loom, but now the weaving is going very quickly. I plan to enter it in the Montana State Fair.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Although these are English type combs, the idea is the same for handheld combs:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spinning for Orenburg Snowflake Scarf - Denise

I have a goal in mind. I am going to spin my yarn for the Orenburg Snowflake Scarf as seen in the Interweave Piecework Magazine.

It calls for 2 skeins of Windy Valley Muskox Quiviut Luxury Blend yarn (45% quiviut/45% of merino/10% silk). The balls are about 218 yards/1 oz. They run about $65 each. It called for 2 balls or 436 yards.

I can spin. I don't have muskox, but I do have yak down ($35/#). I don't have extra fine merino, but I do have Cormo. I do have Tussah silk.

OK, now for the mighty math skills. For the 2 ounces, I need ratios of 45%, 45%, and 10%. I used the metric system since it was more accurate. One skein is - 12.7 g of yak, 12.7 g of Cormo, 2.8 g of silk. Multiply that by 2 and I have my amount.

Now, how fine do I spin. I searched the internet for something to help. Nada. I remembered I downloaded SpinTech on my Droid phone for $1.99 (If you have an iPhone probably use iSpin). It has a calculators and tools that allowed me to play with the numbers to get the right yardage with wpi.
  • Singles - 49.5 wpi
  • 2 Ply - 35 wpi
Wow! Now, before I panicked, I realized that this was for wool and not yak. Yak is lighter than wool. This means I'll need to do some sampling before I get spinning.

So far, I've used the hand carders to sample [I've given you the link to see how I've done it] and my Turkish drop spindle to spin. I want to get the feel of the fiber, see the twist.

The first photo [right] shows my sampling so far. The speckled skein [top] is the ratio with silk noil. I wanted to see the effect. I like it, but it won't be appropriate for a lace scarf. The bottom skein is just yak and cormo. Nice, but it lacks an extra bit of shine and softness. I'm spinning up the proper blend right now. I'm trying to get a fine and strong yarn with enough twist to hold it together but still have some bounce to it. Before I wind on I test it to see if it looks right as a 2 ply. It's pretty close [right].

When I go full scale, I'll use Twosheep's method with the drum carder. As with any spinning project, its best to measure and spin up more than you need. Murphy's Law will strike and you will run out. The probability is determined by how difficult the yarn is to get or spin.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I've Dropped an Edge Stitch - Denise

We've all done this, or maybe this is your first time. The panic sets in and you see the long loops at the edge. What to do?

First take a deep breath. The worst thing that will happen is to rip out. Before that happens, calm down and take a look. Look at the stitches and the large loop(s). See the pattern? First, if you’re not up to fixing it, get a locking marker and stop the ladder from running further. If you are up to it, follow the directions below. This can be fixed in Four Easy Steps.

"From The Knitter’s Companion: When an edge stitch drops and ravels, there is no “ladder,” just large loops extending from the edge above a small loop.

  1. Insert a crochet hook into the small loop, from front to back, then hold the large loop with some tension as you pull the lower part of the large loop through the loop on the hook to form a stitch.
  2. With the hood in the stitch just made, pull the upper part of the large loop through this loop to form another stitch. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as many times as necessary.
  3. With the hook in the last stitch made, pull the working yarn through this loop.
  4. Place the last stitch on the needle, making sure that the leading leg is in front of the needle."

image title

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Finished Columbia Blanket - Denise

As promised, here is the picture of my finished blanket. I added the satin binding. This is a light-weight and warm throw blanket. I've already had to kick the cats off to use it.

  • I had to be careful of a few things.
  • The nature of Columbia fleece is a bouncy. It is crisp and soft at the same time. This made the weft quite stretchy.
  • When I added the binding (non-stretch) I had to be careful no to distort the fabric. Before beginning, I hit the ends with a few quick shots with the steam iron. If anything was stretched, this brought it back into shape.
  • I carefully pinned and overlapped the ends with the satin. I used a simple zig-zag stitch to attach.
I used the Toothbrush nalbinding stitch using a large yarn darning needle. It makes a nice, clean, strong edge
  • After attaching and looping around my thumb twice (it will be hidden by the binding) I picked up the stitches.
  • The shot of warp thread (I had some long spaces that I needed to pick up 2 warp threads),
  • the last stitch made (2nd loop - it will appear after you make it. Just do the 1st stitch twice),
  • then under the thumb. Be careful not to pull the stitch too tight or it will pucker the entire fabric.
  • It is easier to use manageable lengths and spit-join the pieces. No one will know.

I do have mistakes in this blanket. Some I cleverly hid. Others I left so I will remember.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A bit quiet - Denise

It's been a bit quiet here, not on purpose. I had a bit of a set-back. On Tuesday, I had stomach pains. That should have been the first clue. Wednesday, the pain hadn't gone away. I called my husband away from work to take me to the Clinic.

I had high white blood cell count - an infection of some kind. After a CT scan (I'll spare the details) I had an emergency appendectomy late Wednesday night. I'm good, healthy, and strong. My pets have snuggled in. My husband has taken time off work to care for me. The kids are quiet - ish. I have some time on my hands. The boredom will get to me first.

As for Un-Finished Projects, I've completed my woven blanket. I put the satin binding on and added a nalbinding edge to the sides. I'll post photos shortly and describe the process. It does make a nice finished edge when one isn't there already. I used the samenalbinding stitch as the Toothbrush rag rug.

I knitted another cuddly bunny blanket. It's a Lion Brand bunny blankie out of handspun alpaca. I modified the pattern a bit. I don't like the directions. Because I am more experienced as a knitter, I do feel comfortable changing things.

I watched Margaret Stove's video to prepare locks and spin lace.

I'll finish threading my loom later. Maybe the loom faeries will do it for me...

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Toothbrush Needles

I went to Dollar Tree and found they had 5 packs of toothbrushes with the holes in the end. Now that I have a few made, I am happy with the effect they have on my rug making. The needle slides through the fabric easily without binding.

Modifying these is easy if you have the tools. Luckily, I have them here at the house. If you don't, you may consider looking around your neighborhood and asking for some help. You may barter something for use of the tools (scarf, hat, mittens)
  1. I used my bolt cutters to cut off the top. This did a better job than tin snips or any other cutter. The plastic didn't shatter. A plus in my book.
  2. I took my file filed the tip down over the garbage can. I'd stop periodically to check my progress. I wanted a more pencil-like pointy tip so I filed at an acute angle. It took a bit longer, but was worth it.
  3. I took some 150 grit sand paper and sanded down the edges, rounding down the edges. Don't forget to sand down the butt end as well. Your fingers will thank you.
  4. I used some 320 grit sand paper to finish the process and get off all the rasp marks. The end product looks pretty good. I have 3 done so far.

Yes, this is one of my cats. She makes sure my rugs and fabric strips don't float away. She helps my needles go through the holes or loops depending on what technique I'm using.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Next Get Together - Learn Toothbrush Rag Rugs

We’re looking at January 15th as our next get together at my house. Let’s start around 10’ish. Toothbrush Rag Rugs don't take long to understand. The challenge is starting. The stitches are repetitive. Don't worry, you'll get it.

We’ll make “needles” made from Popsicle sticks unless you want to go online and buy one. Just Google Toothbrush Needles and you will find some. They cost somewhere around $4-7. You’ll need to bring your own cloth. I used some old sheets I ripped up into strips (kids helped – it was fun). You can use anything: old t-shirts, dress shirts, blue jeans, silks, leather (don’t ask me how), any material. Hit sales or the 2nd Hand Stores. How wide? Well, I measured with my first 2 fingers. For me that’s about 1½”. A 2” strip will get you a 7/8” stitch. A 1” strip will get you a 5/8” stitch: roughly ½ ratio.

We’ll use Amish knots to connect the strips so you won't need to join the lengths with anything. If you want to put slits in the ends you can – you don’t have to. To do so, just fold over the end about a thumb width. Snip a bit lengthwise down the center so there is a slit. Depending on the thickness of the fabric, I do two ends at once and then wind them onto a ball to manage them better. My cat loves this craft. If you don’t want to do this, we can do it here. Some people like to do prep work, some don’t. I’m about ½ and ½. My kids helped quite a bit so I did more prep work, faster.

This is a kind of nalbinding. It passes the time. I’m making one for my dad’s birthday right now.