Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rambouillet Wool

 This morning I finished carding my washed Rambouillet wool.  The stuff is springing and fine. The cotton handcards were just the right tool.  Two hours later, my bobbin was no longer empty, but my rolag bag sure was!
I was spinning a medium weight woolen yarn.  The rambouillet was smooth and easy to spin!  I can't wait to do some more!

Holey Yarn

 Check out the hole I discovered in my yarn!  The hole is huge--3/16" across!  This is yarn that was balled years ago and has been stored in the open in my craft room.  When did some bug eat its way in --or out--of this ball?  Your guess is as good as mine!

As soon as I discovered the hole, I put the ball in a ziploc bag and put it outside in the freezing weather.  After a day or two I brought it inside and started unwinding the ball to see what I could salvage.  It turned out that the hole was about a 1/4" deep.  I unwound from the center of the ball and had a lot of usable yarn.  I'm saving the external wraps (the ones that have been chewed) and may be able to use them as texture in some handspun yarn.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Color Block Vest

The last issue of Spin Off Magazine had the pattern for Susan Douglas' "Color Block Vest".  The idea behind the vest was that Susan often spun only bits and pieces  and never had enough handspun yarn for a sweater.  Rather than change her spinning habits, she designed a sweater vest to use bits and pieces.  Pretty cool!

I was feeling extremely selfish over the holidays and cast on a project for me.  The sides and edges are a purple; the back and fronts are a variegated purple & green yarn.

The back (which isn't visible in this photo) is beautiful!  The color repeats in the yarn change nicely with the variations in the stitch pattern.  The front, well, I don't like it.  The color changes are ok, but the overall effect doesn't have the slim, trim image of the original.  Right.  My body is not the same as the mini dressform used for the original photo at the top.  My color choices are not as well chosen as the original either.  I think the dark stripes on the front provide accents in in-opportune places.

On the other hand, the vest blocked nicely on my duct-tape dummy.  It's the first time I've used the dummy.  It was nice to have it!

And, a last, interesting note...This vest weighs a ton!  The yarn must have been spun in my typical, dense, worsted style.  It has given me a good reason to practice spinning lofty woolen yarns!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Fleece Blanket

After our wonderfully warm and cuddly Christmas blanket got put away for the season, my husband requested a warm and cuddly replacement blanket.

I just happened to have some fleece in my stash and in a few days pieced together this sunshine blanket.  It has been a hit!  It's warm, it's fuzzy....and if it falls to the floor I don't complain (as opposed to my nice, handwoven blanket that I dislike finding on the floor!).

We love sunshine!

The yellow rays are machine stitched to the red background.  The last piece was the central yellow disc.  The back is plain (no rays) with a second yellow disc.  The red fleece started life as a poncho for my father-in-law. Apparently it didn't work right for him and it was given to me (with neck hole nicely finished).  The sun does a great job of covering the neck hole (I did cut off the finished edging) and no one is the wiser--except you and me. :)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Color Inspiration & Blending on a Drum Carder

I stumbled across a new-to-me website where four dyers have created a "Color Co-op".  Each of the four artists use the same photo as inspiration and interpret the photo with dyes on fiber and yarn.  Members of the co-op receive yarn or fiber from the different artists over time.  It sounded really cool!  

The top photo is the inspiration for their Jan.2012 colorways.   It inspired me!  In fact, I was already to hit the dyepots when I remembered that I had some blue wool in my stash.  "Some" turned out to be an understatement!  I had number of batches of blue in my stash!  The two main colors were  "brilliant blue" and an "aqua/turquoise" blue.  Instead of the dye pots, I pulled out the drum carder.

My first step was to identify some of the colors from the photo.  I used photoshop and the "eyedropper tool" to pick five colors from the photo.  Then I made a swatch where the amounts of each color were proportional to the amount of each color in the photo.  I created another swatch where I added a few more colors in the light range and then started my blending.

The basic blends are:

Sky blue:  pale pink; aqua & brilliant blue, white.
Med. blue: aqua & brilliant blue & some white.
Mountains blue: magenta, brilliant blue, and dark grey
Black: dark grey plus a bit of magenta & brilliant blue for visual depth
Water blue: aqua & brilliant blue, dark grey

Each roving was carded to open it up and make blending easier.  The weight of the wool for each color was calculated and the component colors were weighed.  Then the colors were blended (big sections like the sky and water were separated into multiple batts to fit on the carder).

The direct comparison between the original photo and the photo of my carded wool shows a marked difference in overall color.  The photo is much more uniform, almost monochromatic, purple/blue than my wools.  Aside from that, I am pleased with the variation in colors that blending produced.  I can easily imagine sky, mountains, something dark (a road perhaps) and then water from the wools.

December Quilt Block

December's quilt block is the "Ohio Star".  I snuck in some of the fabric left over from the original quilt for the points of the stars.  
Here are the twelve blocks together (in no particular order).  I will be working on finishing the tops in 2012--I plan on setting the blocks on point and adding some sashing between them--and maybe, just maybe I'll start some quilting too!