Monday, May 13, 2013

Carding, Crocheting, Lasting Shoes, and Sun bonnet Sewing

 A few of the things I have been doing lately:

Drum carding.  I call this particular blend the "how the leopard got his spots" blend.  It is two different types of wool.  The pale, grey longer wool and the dark brown, short & curly wool.  The goal with this blend was to get spots of color in the final yarn.  I made a sandwich with the grey wool as top and bottom layers and placed the bits of dark brown wool directly onto the large drum of the carder.  The top layer of grey was added via the licker-in drum and a streaky batt  was the result.  The yarn spun up nicely.  I am always amazed at how quickly I can spin two ounces of worsted weight yarn compared to the time it takes to spin two ounces of lace weight yarn!

Spots of brown on the bottom layer of grey wool
Top layer of grey shows some brown streaks,
Two ply yarn from the grey & dark brown wool sandwich.

Crochet Motifs.  I picked up a book by Edie Eckman  called Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs.  I've been using my stash of handspun sample yarns and trying out different motifs.  This is #99.  My first sample of this motif was crocheted in a multicolored yarn.  It's on the bottom in the photo.  It's cute, but it didn't make my socks go up and down (That phrase comes from one of my husband's programming professors at Purdue.  Apparently he would say, "If that doesn't make your socks go up and down..." referring to a particularly wonderful bit of coding.)  At any rate, I pulled some other yarns from my stash and before I knew it, I had four cute little flower motifs with grey centers.  Then I got to thinking that a dark accent at the center would look even better, so I made a few more!  Here they are put together into a headband with a dark, knit underlayer.

 Shoe lasts.  Some of you may remember that I have dabbled in making shoes.  I discovered that making shoes takes work and practice...and there are lots of things I have yet to learn in order to make good shoes! One of the helpful things for making good shoes is a pair of lasts or shoe forms.  I don't have any.  However, today I took a step towards making my own.  I placed a light weight plastic bag from my groceries into an old tennis shoe (it was laced at the time) and poured plaster of pairs into the bag.  After an hour or so, the plaster had set enough to remove it from the shoe.  Voila!  An attempt at a home-made shoe last.  Now to make some more shoes and test it!

Sun bonnets.  I was able to volunteer on the grounds at Conner Prairie recently and got to dress in costume.  From my corded petticoat to my bonnet I was costumed like I was from the 1830's.  It was fun!  I came home and discovered that my oldest daughter had been working on a sun bonnet with the girls at church that were preparing for a pioneer trek journey.  Only the sun bonnet was tiny.  It's little brim would have left my girl's face burnt to a crisp.  So, I went looking for a better pattern.  And found this one at a Mormon Pioneer Trek site (  The pattern is simple--it's just a rectangle with  one end trimmed to a curve.  The curved edge covers the back of the neck.  The rectangular edge gets stiffened with slats.  Add a set of ties to  the back to keep the neck cover from flapping and a set of ties on the inside to keep the bonnet on the head and it's done!  I must admit that I cheated and used modern materials for my slats.  The pattern calls for cardboard or wood slats.  I had neither.  Instead I used some needlepoint plastic that has been hanging around the house for years!  Hooray!  I didn't have to buy anything new, I used something that I had on hand, and I won't have to worry about ruining my bonnet in the rain!
My sunbonnet.  Now I know the pattern works, I'll help my daughter make her own.

1 comment:

EGunn said...

I love your leopard spots yarn! I'm sure that will knit up into something fun. The shoe lasts are also an interesting idea. (Repeating to self: I do /not/ need to learn how to make shoes, I do /not/ need to learn how to make shoes...)