Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Stitch Markers!

I finally got around to making myself some decent stitch markers. After dealing with pipe-cleaner or scrap yarn ones for over 2 years, it was time to dig out the wire and beads and take 20 mins to twist some up!
Here's what I did:

They fit up to a size US11 needle. I have some ridiculous glass fruit pieces waiting to become markers for my size 13-17 (or 19 even?) needles.
Here's my new markers being evaluated by the cat, Subi:

I believe they passed inspection and were deemed sparkly and distracting enough for general use.

I'm currently working on another Glampyre minisweater!

This one is made with only one small change to the pattern so far (i'm only using one of the puff-sleeve increases/decreases). It is made of "Banana Silk" yarn made from banana leaf cloth. It is shiny and slubby and unfortunately quite heavy. At least it's just a minisweater and not a whole sweater :P I wanted to try some more interesting patterning with this yarn, but nothing shows up in it, hence the basic stockinette shrug. I have some black summer dresses that were just begging for a red silk shrug :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Navajo Plying!

As you can tell, I've been doing a lot of spinning lately :P I spun up that wonderful angora-merino-silk blend bats I got from sheep and wool, but I wish I'd gotten a different color than the blue. It's a lovely blue, but I really don't LIKE blue much. Orginally I was going to spin or ply them together, but scrapped that idea.
I was able to spin my finest and most even single from this blend! The fibers drafted soooo nicely :) I want more of this fiber! I only bought an ounce of each color (one bat), and got a fairly long single from it.
The other day I found a video of Navajo plying using a drop spindle! (video is HERE) So I got right into that, and made a very soft, springy yarn that is about 13-15 yds long, of each color. It's not much, but it's a substantial yarn, I'd probably knit it on a 10, maybe even an 11. I'm thinking of making some goldfish-inspired wrist warmers, since this stuff is sooo buttery soft :)

On to the yarn!
This is before setting, fresh off the spindle. I think I plied it too tight, I got a little carried away :P Navajo plying is FUN!

close ups:

mmmm that orange is sooo yummy! I can't get over it! I've just been buying little bits of all different kinds of fibers to play with, but I'm definitely getting a taste for the more expensive! Next experiment will be the merino-tencel I got at sheep and wool!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

BrownHeather yarn

More spinning!
This time I experimented with plying DMC craft thread with a thick and thin spun cardinal wool in chocolate, reds and blues. I had some difficulty with the wool, which was strange since the red-multi spun up so nicely. This one wouldn't draft evenly, so I had many times when I had to re-attach the fiber after it pulled out too much. Also, I didn't have enough of the craft thread in the right color to finish the skein, so I had to use purple for the last bit.

Here's the orginal single, pre-plying so you can see the colors:

I wanted to emphasize the turquoise, so that's what I used. The thread is varigated:

and here with the purple:

New Fish!

My fishtank finally cycled so I was able to buy more goldfish! yay!
I bought two Lionheads (the round ones with no dorsal fin, my favorite), One calico Ryukin, and one little baby calico fantail who I couldn't resist.
Here they are!
That's Hermes the big red one in the back left, Hilo in the middle, and little Kyo on the right.

Here's anotherpicture of Hermes (big red) and Juno, the red and white Ryukin I had before.

And one last one showing Juno and Gypsy, the calico Ryukin. Sorry some of these are blurry, I didn't have quite enough light.

I'm so happy to hav a full fishtank! It was empty for sooo long! Fishies make me happy :)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Even More New Yarn!

More Handspinning! I can't stop! I've been spinning 2-3 oz per night (guess).
This first is some camel (tan) plied with brown..I think it was merino. I should have steamed it instead of wet-setting it though, it fluffed up a lot.

This next one was cardinal wool in a red-multi I got in a mix bag from Annie May on ebay. I plied it with some silver beading thread. I really like how it came out!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Tree Flower

There's this big, tall, tree by my apartment that has the craziest flowers! I've never seen a tree with flowers like this before, or at least, not outside the tropics! Spring here is gorgeous :) I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
I took some pictures :)

I will have pictures of new yarn soon as well!

Monday, May 08, 2006

I made REAL YARN!!!

WHEeeee!! My first real yarn! I spun it and plied it all by myself on my drop spindle! The wool I got from Annie May's Spin and Wool ebay store. The orange was wool carded with raw silk slubs, which you can't really see in the photo, but it made a speckled yarn. plied the orange and the undyed wool together, which was new for me, I've never plied anything before!
I think after seeing more at sheep and wool festival this weekend, I'm definitely going to buy a spinning wheel, it looks so easy compared to the clumsiness of the drop spindle.
My yarn, drying after being soaked to "set the twist":

I hung a shampoo bottle in a plastic bag from it to weight it down.
Here's a closeup.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

MD Sheep and Wool Festival!

The MD Sheep and Wool Festival is just a few miles down the road from my house, so of course I got the boyfriend to drive me out! He was SO surprised at what a big deal it is! I knew if I went with my knitting friends instead of him I'd spend my whole bank account, so he kept me on track :P
I was going to take pictures at the festival, but when I got there I found out we left the memory card at home! So all I have is pictures of my finds!

My absolute two favorite booths were Tess Yarns http://www.tessyarns.com/ , whose website does them absolutely NO justice. They had some of the most beautiful yarn I have ever seen! Gorgeous luxury fibers, silk and merino and cashmere oh my! In the most stunningly vibrant colors. I wanted everything, but the one thing I couldn't live without was a skein (200yds) of the Cultured Wool/Silk in a color that looks like spun spring! It looks to be about a heavy-worsted weight. It will be a luxurious scarf for ME to go with my new Bittersweet Orange canvas peacoat for fall :) I really really wanted the silk boucle too, but at $30-50/skein I had to refrain.

Here's my silk and wool!

Next I bought some interesting fiber to play with on my drop spindle. I don't feel quite comfortable enough with it to buy a lot of anything, but I like trying out different fibers and textures. Soon I hope to learn how to ply, but I may need to get/borrow a wheel.
From Misty Mountain Farm http://www.mistymountainfarm.com/ (the text on their site doesn't show up well for me). I got some Merino-Tencel roving that is softer than silk, but may be hard to spin. It has a lovely metalic sheen to it. I got dark teal and silver:

And I got some very affordable angora-wool-silk blend dyed and combed top from Wild Meadow Angora www.wildmeadowangora.com
Hopefully I can spin this separately and ply them together:

We then went and viewed all the differnt kinds of sheep, and went on a quest for Lamb, Lemonade, and Llamas. While I stood in line for Lemondade (the line for lamb was way too long), Joe went off and found the Llamas! (and Alpacas). There were at least 6 long-necked domedaries at the festival, and we were happy to see their cute furry faces :).
While walking back in the direction of the car after visiting the llamas, The Brooks Farm tent caught my eye.. and held it for the next 15 mins or so. It would have been longer if Joe wasn't starving and bored. They had some of the most beautiful colorways I have ever seen! And the yarns themselves were amazing! Mostly mohair and blends, which I don't usually like, but I fell in love with one :) The tent was suitably crowded, and once I had decided on my treasure (a $35 400yd hank of mohair and wool/silk called Harmony) it took me another 10 minutes to check out. They're stuff was totally worth the wait though, I wish I could have spent a lot more time and money in their shop! Too bad they're in Texas! Good thing you can now order online! http://brooksfarmyarn.com/cart/

Overall a successfull trip, without breaking the bank :) I will be dreaming about Brooks Farm and Tess Yarns for days to come though!