Experiments and a Q&A

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Today I experimented with wet felting my coopworth fleece, real (pressed) leaves, and beeswax. Not a total failure, but nothing great either. I have an art piece due in a couple of weeks and hey, guess what, I don’t have one ready to hang. I might have to fall back on knitting, as it is the one medium I feel I have mastery over. I do still have time to knit something, but I am lacking a strong vision.

So how about a Q&A from nothingbutknit2?

What is the first actual craft you remember doing as a child? (Not coloring or finger painting. Something more special that you didn’t do regularly.)

Embroidery with my grandmother. I also remember some really great crafts at my hippy dippy primary school. We made those ice cube candles and sand candles, and batiked our own t-shirts. I made a Wild Cherry design on mine. (Enjoy.)

What is the craziest craft you’ve tried?

I can’t think of anything crazy. I made corn dollies for a short while. It was fun and easy and I was good at it. The hardest part was sourcing the dried wheat.

What craft would you like to try but you know you’d be bad at it?

I would love to try lost wax casting my own jewelry. I probably would be bad at it because I’ve never been a good sculptor. It was the one art class I didn’t take in college. Although, if I am being honest, I’m not sure that’s relevant. I did take painting, and I’m a horrible painter.

If you had to give up your crafting how would you spend your crafting time?

Probably still sitting on the couch watching horror movies but not knitting. I would like to spend more time hiking, though.

What craft isn’t your thing? Have you tried it or do you just know you wouldn’t like it?

Macrame. You would think it would be my thing, all fiber arty and really trendy right now. But I guess I have some old memories of the 70’s lurking in the back of my mind and some resistance to trying it. I have seen some beautiful jewelry made with macrame.

Knitting Q&A

You know I can’t resist a Q&A! This one is from nothingbutknit2.

Q. You’re given a magic yarn bag that will supply one skein at a time as needed. You reach inside and pull out a skein. What is this yarn? Be specific or not.

A. Cerulean Wool DK. It’s similar to a yarn I’m working with now. I almost said cashmere, but cashmere is too limp and floppy. I like my yarn to have some body. Also I prefer a local yarn. So maybe Targhee, although I don’t know that much about sheep. And maybe a tweed with some flecks of navy, olive green, and burnt orange.

Q. When you enter a yarn store how do you work the space? Does it vary if it’s your regular store or a new to you store?

A. I will head directly for the worsted. Then I will backtrack and go up and down the rows. If it is a new-to-me store I will stand in a place with a good view of everything for a minute to assess the layout, then do exactly the same.

Q. Have you ever knit or crocheted something that you swore you never would? What was it? Why did you never want to make it and why did you?

A. Yes, big knitting. It was that big knit ruff/cowl. I think that big yarn is absurd and not fun to knit with. But that particular yarn was so scrumptious I really wanted to make something with it. Also, I really wanted to knit something for my favorite then nine-year-old and I didn’t have much time.

Q. What is your next project going to be? Do you have a planned queue or do you make whatever strikes your fancy at the moment?

A. I’m going to cast on for that Carbeth in the red Targhee soon. I also have socks in blue Knitting Goddess yarn that I haven’t started. I was going to make them plain but now I think I’m going to use a pattern from this Hunter Hammersen book that feels like it was created specifically for me:

Knitting and plants and vintage botanical illustrations! I haven’t picked a pattern yet.

I’m also going to knit another Brassica hat out of the same yarn as before, but in green:

I over-edited this photo in Snapseed in an attempt to make you feel as in love with this color as I am.

As you can see, I mostly plan my projects, but sometimes I linger over the planning stage because the fortuitous unexpected will happen, like the Hunter Hammersen book. That’s fun to say! Hunter Hammersen.

A Wool Gathering

Hi! I went to A Wool Gathering with my friend Mystic Llama Shop (Sara) and brought home some new yarn. This llama loved having his photo taken and would pose like this for you when you raised your phone. He really needs a bow tie.

I found this gorgeous locally hand spun merino in my favorite color. It is a deep blue with specks of violet. I’ve already cast on for Purl Soho’s Sweatshirt Sweater.

Another local yarn, this gorgeous red Targhee is for a Carbeth. I may go ahead cast on for that too. I love starting new projects!

And this linen and cotton is for a simple shift top. I’ll wait until spring for this one.

I recently saw a post on Instagram about being a monogamous knitter. I thought, that’s nice. I wish I could do that. And gleefully cast on my second sweater.

What about you? Are you a monogamous knitter?

Wool Painting

I finished phase one of my artwork for This Inspired That at Open Door Art Studio. I find fiber arts are often a mystery to people so I took a time lapse video of the wet felting process.

This still needs some work – at least a little needle felting to secure some of the rosettes, maybe some stitching (I haven’t decided), and then a hanging system of some kind. But I’m pleased overall with how this is coming out.

New Sock Yarn!

I decided to embrace being an “over the pond” knitter and buy my sock yarn from over the pond. This blog post explains why long fiber, tightly spun wool makes the best 100% wool sock yarn, so I went for it. Plus it’s such a pretty blue!

I’m still working on my WHW club hat. I’m almost to the crown. I may need to redesign it so the pattern works with the decreases. I may not be able to enter the contest, but that’s ok. It’s been a good exercise.

I signed up to participate in an art show. It’s the first since 2015. I’m planning a felted piece. I’ll blog about that later.

Valentine’s Day Field Trip!

This field trip had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, other than I wanted to go, and Bob came with me. He’s a real trooper and a keeper. ❤ Are you ready for a treat? We went to Ohio Valley Natural Fibers!

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I have a Coopworth fleece I bought at Great Lakes Fiber Show many years ago. It is still dirty, stewing in its lanolin in a box.

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I think it’s pretty, though.

I did hand wash, card, spin, dye, and knit a small amount of it (just to say I did it). I kind of lost interest after that. It’s a big job! A job for professionals. So we took a little day trip about two hours south to Sardinia, Ohio.

The rooms were filled with gorgeous old equipment. It was like a step back in time.

The picker is from the 1880s, and the carding machines are from around 1916. The belts are made from buffalo hide! When they need parts, they ask the local Amish to make them, because everything on these machines is irreplaceable. I know they look like antiques, and they are, but Richard, the gentleman who gave us the tour, fired one up for us!

Here is the web, which is divided into what looks like yarn, but is actually tiny rovings, which are then plied.

This yarn is 3ply, as you can see if you look carefully. The machine is from post WWII, and was also used for plying parachute cord for the Vietnam War.

After plying, it can be wound onto cones. This machine is from the 1960s.

The yarn can also be put up into hanks. They don’t have a date on this machine, but Richard thinks it may be from the 18th century!

Here he is telling us how it works.

So we left my fleece and in 8-12 weeks I will have some nice clean batts ready to spin! I don’t have enough fiber for a yarn order. And, unfortunately, I sold my spinning wheel during the great studio purge. I am thinking about getting a new drop spindle. I was never very good at it, and it might be time to pick it up again. (Honestly, I was never very good at the spinning wheel, either, but I did make some beautiful thick and thin yarn.)

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Here is Diane, the owner and a local sheep farmer, with two hanks of yarn from her own Icelandic sheep. I bought these two, and they might be perfect to make the new West Highland Way design! Talk about synchronicity! I will swatch it and see how it knits up. Now I wish I had bought another hank, but I could order it and ask them to pop it in the mail to me.

We had such a wonderful time, and want to thank Richard, Diane, Sean, and Renicia for showing us around and starting up machines for us. I particularly enjoyed Sean showing us all the different kinds of fiber people asked them to process, like husky, cat, and elk!

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After the tour, Bob and I had a nice lunch at La Cascada and a little hike at Rocky Fork State Park, which was beautiful.

I hope you have a nice Valentine’s Day, if you celebrate! If not, Happy Wednesday!