Sunday, December 23, 2007

New Toys

I'm such a happy camper right now! My husband took my inkle loom plans and turned them into reality! Look at this little guy! The maximum warp is about 40", the minimum somewhere around 20". I think this will work great! (That's my test band on it from last night!)

There's a good you-tube video out that starts with the phrase, "When I first started weaving although I had no room, I got me a second hand loom." Well, I am adding to my collection one loom at a time. This one is cool 'cause it was built for me! (Here' the "Twelve Days of Weaving:

And here's a photo of another project--pj's for the entire family. Whew! I think I finished just in time!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Dangling What?

Add this to my list of loom experience...I forgot to latch one side of my back beam after I warped. It didn't cause any trouble until I adavanced the warp, then it skewed my warp slightly. Dooh! At some point I stood up and looked at the loom and realized that the brace wasn't on it's peg, and fixed the problem, but the lining of this little bag suffered from severe tracking issues!

Here are the rest of the bags I've been working on. They are all gifts, and I've finished them just in time!

The fabrics, with two exceptions, are samples or scraps of handwoven fabrics. Anyone recognize my curtains? The black-ish bag near the center is a new piece woven just for this bag project. The solid blue at the left is a recycled sweater sleeve (from one of my favorite old sweaters).

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Camera? What camera?

I thought I reverted to my pre-digital self and didn't take pictures of my work. Fear not! I really didn't forget!

This is my handspun warp of many colors. It is made up of three different skeins of yarn (all hand-dyed)--forest green, lime green, pink, burgundy, a touch of yellow... I measured each warp on the warping board, sprayed it with spray starch (these are singles. I was worried they might not hold up to the tension required of warp threads), and then warped front to back.

My sampling to date has been uninspiring. The white diamonds looks good on the reverse, but it's too different on the two sides for a nice scarf. The black...I like some of the black, but again it has two distinct sides. The third and fourth colors (added after this last picture) are a handspun natural tan/grey and a commercial wool/acrylic blend. The blend looks terrible. The tan looks ok--in fact the tan shows off the warp colors the best. But I'm not excited about spinning more yarn to do this project!

I may be taking the yarn out of the reed and using it as a card weaving warp. At least that way you could see the pretty colors in the warp!

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I met the owners of two alpaca farms recently. Beth Sheets owns Heritage Farm Alpacas ( and JoAnne Skelton owns Fuzzy Faces Alpacas, LLC--both near Flora, IN. Beth and I spoke a bit about spinning and she sent me home with some of her alpaca roving. It is a dream to spin! I loved it! It's the white fiber in this photo. --Interesting to note, it spun up as a faintly tan yarn. My two main "white" wools both have faint color to them when spun--the Cotswold has a slight blueness, and the Romney tends to be a yellow-white.--The other roving, the black, is baby alpaca roving called Handspinner's Dream. I took the picture of the two of them together because I hated spinning the black and I've been trying to analyze the difference between the two.

Thing one: there are two different types of alpaca fiber, Suri and Huacaya. Suri is slippery and high sheen. Huacaya is fluffy. Check out Beth's newsletter for more details ( I think her fiber is Suri. It matches the animals listed on her web page, and my experience as I was spinning. (Also, I'm pretty sure that JoAnne's "Fuzzy Faces" are the Huacayas.) I don't know which type of alpaca is in the Handspinner's Dream. It just lists is as "baby alpaca".

Thing two: the black alpaca is a thick roving, the white is thin. I know that this shouldn't make any difference. I enjoy reading Abby Frankemount's blog (, including her rant about being able to spin from any preparation. I believe in being able to spin a fiber regardless of the preparation...but I couldn't control the black roving. It was like a tug of war between the fiber in my hand and the pull of the wheel. I switched to spinning from the fold (and dividing the width of the roving) and it was much less of a fight. But I didn't have any of that struggle with Beth's alpaca fiber.

I don't have any "real" answers yet to the difference between these two. But I know one thing--I'm going to spin more of Beth's alpaca fiber!

Cotswold yarn

This is my latest Cotswold yarn. It's a fine yarn--fine enough for lace knitting...but I don't see myself wearing a shawl this color. It may end up as the socks I intended (or should I weave with it? Hmm.)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Steeking Success!

This is a close up of the sewing job I did on my daughter's sweater. If you remember, I chose to knit it in the round to avoid color/dye lot issues. I knit 4 stitches in the armhole space, then did two rows of straight stitching with the sewing machine on each side of the 4 stitches, and then (gasp) cut my knitting!

After the sleeves were knit (I picked up stitches around the armhole and knit the sleeve onto the body) I trimmed the yarn around the machine stitching.

Then I picked up more knitting stitches and created a little cover for the "fringe". This photo has about two rows of knitting on the needle. (I forgot to take a photo as I picked up the stitches!)

And this is what it looks like after I knit 4 rows, cast off, and sewed the cover down. No more fringes on this sleeve!

All that's left now are buttons and the afterthought button holes. I have no idea what kind of buttons to use! Any suggestions?