Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quick and Easy Sushi Mat

I like sushi.  Fish, no fish, I like it.

A restaurant in town now has a sushi bar on Thursdays.  They make yummy sushi.  Having it brought back memories of growing up when  Dad would occasionally stop by a sushi take-out on his way home from work.  Delicious!

But, restaurants aren't cheap and I'm not super fond of having to go out to eat. 

So,  I found a grocery store (on my route home from Indy!) that stocks sushi rice and nori and purchased them.  However, I didn't have a bamboo mat to roll the sushi on.

Enter the empty rigid heddle loom.  Do you know how long it takes to dress the loom with six threads.  Yup.  About that long--a tiny bit longer if you have to do it twice because you over tensioned it and broke the first set of warp threads!  Still, it only took moments to warp the loom and weave in ~10" of bamboo skewers.  Add some knots at the ends and voila!  One sushi rolling mat--and it's a finished project to boot!

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to eat my lunch!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Handspun Doll Hair

Here's a cute photo:

  My daughter saw this little doll body in my stash and asked if she could have it.  I said yes.  The face, including the two smiling "tattoos" on her cheeks were all drawn by my daughter.  The clothes are from a fashion doll and the hair is handspun yarn.  After the face was drawn, my daughter came downstairs and requested a particular color yarn for the hair.  Luckily, something close enough was available in the stash!

Washing & Spinning Hampshire Wool

A friend gave me some of a fleece from her Hampshire sheep.  I had been reading in the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook which states that handspinners should try spinning Hampshire... and then I was offered some.  Woo-hoo!

The staple length is 4-5" as seen by this photo of the raw (unwashed) lock, but the tips didn't come clean after two washings and ended up breaking, so I cut them off, giving a final clean, trimmed fiber length of ~3-3.5".

My oldest daughter and I picked through the wool, cutting the tips and loosening the fibers, in preparation for drum carding.  It was the first time she has helped me with this and it was fun to see her interest in the process!  After a few evenings of picking, we were ready to card.

And look what the drum carder produced!  Aren't these batts beautiful!  My youngest called these rolled up batts "hotdogs" and after she grew tired of cranking the drum carder started playing with the scrap bits of wool to make her own "hotdogs".  All three kids came and helped me card.  I felt like Tom Sawyer getting paid to let his friends whitewash the fence!  Each of these batts required three passes on the drum carder to get them nice and even.  I don't think my elbows could have managed this one without my helpers!  Hooray for kids who like to help!

And, finally, here is a photo of the yarn.  I was aiming for a big and lofty yarn.  It's big, it's lofty....but it's not very even!  I spun this on my Louet S70.  The treadling action was different enough (and I probably sat in a chair at the wrong height) that my knee started complaining at the end.  I feel like my body is getting old! (My dad reminded my last night that old age isn't for sissies....dooh.  I may be in trouble over the next few years!)

 My take on spinning Hampshire wool?  It was wonderful!  The wool was springy, and reasonably soft, and a pleasure to use!  Hooray for new-to-me sheep breeds!