Sunday, May 31, 2009

If I wait for pictures, I'll wait forever.

My daughter frequently nags me about feeding the blog, and I say, "OK - but I need to take some pictures first." The problem is that I don't LIKE to take pictures. I do it out of necessity - someone really wants to see a specific item, or I have a yarn ready to put in the Etsy shop - but I don't enjoy the role of shutterbug.

Lest May get away from me without a post (as April nearly did), I thought I'd just type and see what happens.

My weekends have been full lately with required re-certification workshops for the daycare (where I am head of the infant department - 8 sweet little newborns!) but I did manage to squeeze in a wonderful spinning/weaving retreat in Lake Charles, Louisiana last weekend. It was sponsored by the Spinning/Weaving Guild of Imperial Calcasieu (parish) and was held at the St. Charles Retreat Center in Moss Bluff, about 3.5 hours away from me. I went with Cheryl (my weaving mentor) and 6 other fellow guildmembers. We spent 4 days relaxing, spinning, weaving, laughing, and learning. The retreat center had a conference room for us to use 24 hours a day - we made "nests" with our wheels and spindles and RH looms and fiber piles, then played whenever we wanted and rested back in our rooms when we were tired. You could go spin at 3am if you were so inclined. Heaven!

I finished Jessica's Opal Magic socks, and started 3 more pair with handspun - all Spunky Eclectic. Two are Club (Soul Windows and New Day) and one is Panda Emerald Isle. I firmly resolve to take and post pictures for you when they're finished. :)

I've been spinning and knitting this past month, with no attention spared for the loom. Ezara has inspired me, though, with her descriptions of warping her Baby Wolf. I have sleyed the reed for the Monk's Belt towels on the Macomber - but they need threading, and that's what I plan to do today. There, I typed it, so now it will come true!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Squeezing A Last-Minute Post Into April

Time gets away from me... How did I manage to miss most of April? I really mean to update much more frequently - it's a hard habit to get into, but apparently pretty easy to break.

Lest I allow the entire month to pass without a post, let me give a quick update:

I've been spinning

and acquiring new tools

The loom has been neglected lately. I want to remedy that - I have a warp for some monk's belt towels that is 3/4 sleyed through the reed. A few hour's attention will get it finished and threaded, and then I can start the weaving. The colors are lovely spring shades - I need to get going on it, so I can enjoy the process!

Thanks to Ezara for reminding me that the blog needs care and attention, too. ;-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Winner Is Me!

Cyndy of Riverrim asked if anyone could guess the weight of her spindle with the cop on it, and my guess was closest - so she sent me this wonderful prize. It's a handmade wooden button - isn't it beautiful?? She offers them for sale in her new Etsy shop. She suggested that I use it as a closure for a woven bag - now I will have to plan the perfect bag to go with the button!

Her packaging is beautiful as well - I wish I'd thought to take pictures of how carefully it was wrapped. I suspect even the string is handmade, as Cyndy is a flax-spinner. Thank you so much, Cyndy - this is such a treat!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

She Followed Me Home!

This is the wheel on which I learned to spin: a Country Craftsman saxony wheel, the guild's loaner. She's beautiful and smart. She needs repair, though - her footman is damaged, her leathers need replacing, her drivewheel is warped. While I'm ordering repair parts, I'll go ahead and order a few extra bobbins (she came with 4, and a 4-bobbin lazy kate).

She was languishing in a storage shed, with stuff piled on and around her, neglected and unloved. The guild is wanting to sell some unused equipment, including this wheel. (They now have a new Schacht Ladybug for loaning to new spinners.) I have great sentimental attachment to her, and will spend the money to fix her myself.

Isn't she lovely?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March-ing Along

The Opal socks are march-ing along, albeit slowly. I am not a fast knitter, and I would much rather spin than knit, if truth be told. Still, I have made progress in a few minutes here and there. The gusset is almost finished, and soon I'll start decreasing the heel.

I finished some handspun this week - two batches of Spunky Eclectic Club corriedale fiber 'New Day'. I received the lighter one as my Club shipment, and I traded with a friend to get the darker one, too. The lighter version is a 2-ply sportweight, the darker is a 3-ply fingering weight. I just loved spinning this, and it reminded me how much I love a 3-ply - I really enjoy seeing the colors meld.

Also got a new spindle (I know, I know!) from Amy - this one is a Greensleeves Lady Barbara, 28g of delight.

I need more hours in the day!!!
(Not less, thankyouverymuchDaylightSavingTime.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Her Feet Are Cold - Sock Emergency

My daughter came in Monday night, sat down, and gave me the pouty face. Complete with pouty lip. She has only 2 pair of handknit socks to wear - neither pair was clean. And her feet were cold. What's a mother to do? (Never mind that said daughter is 29 years old, and should have learned by now to knit her own socks...)

Opal Magic, in shades of blue and white. Toe-up, magic loop, 2.75mm needles, on 72 stitches. I'll throw in a 3/1 rib, nothing fancy. Second sock knitted first, to avoid SSS. ;-)

Must knit quickly! After all, it'll be in the upper 70's later in the week, and her feet won't need them. Until the weather changes again, probably next week, and it's freezing once more. Silly weather.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Last Yarns of February

I finished spinning the lovely birthday gift batts from Sherie. The yarn is 500 yds of 20wpi 2-ply softness - lighter than air and super-soft. I'm going to knit the Twilight Scarf/Stole from 'A Fine Fleece' with it... someday. :)

This is 200 yds of 9 wpi 2-ply bulky yarn I spun from Polwarth dyed by David of Southern Cross Fibre in his Teresa colourway. Very squooshy and soft, and for sale in the Etsy shop.

Currently spinning Amy's Spunky Eclectic Club offering for February: 'New Day', in yellow/orange/red/brown corriedale. Very nice - I'm aiming for a heavy fingering or light sportweight, and a lovely pair of thick socks. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I thought I'd show the cloth beam of my loom with the blanket wound around it to illustrate the usefulness of a temple. Ellen posted a link to this DIY temple (free - just use household items), but you can spend $$$ for a good sturdy stretcher-type if you like. You can see that the cloth started to draw in, but after I applied the DIY temple to either side, it stopped drawing in and remained a constant width. I used a paper clip, some cotton string, and some large brass nuts. It did distort the cloth a bit at the insertion points until by trial and error I figured out a good weight.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mail From Oz

I got off early today - it's Lundi Gras, and many of our parents were off work today, so they kept home their children. (I am the lead teacher in the youngest infant class in a local daycare.) We only needed one teacher in my class - my assistant drew the short straw.

The mailman arrived right after I got home, and brought a package from Oz - the first monthly installment of the Southern Cross Fibre Club. It's gorgeous and soft - 115g New Zealand Polwarth, colourway "Love Over Gold". David also included a lovely silk bag dyed in the same colours. It will be a nice spindle bag.

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, and I have the whole day off. We don't celebrate or go to parades anymore, not since the children were younger, but we do enjoy a nice quiet day at home.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

This and That, Weekend Edition

Finished twisting all the fringe on the Sister Blanket, and am working on the crocheted edging. I plan to do some sampling in double-weave for next time - I really don't want to seam panels together to get a wider blanket in the future, and there is no room in my budget (and home space) for a wider loom (yet!)

Today I'm warping for a pair of kitchen towels in "monk's belt". It's a pattern from Handwoven's 'Design Collection 18 - A Treasury of Towels'. It calls for cottolin, but I'm using cotton. The warp is 10/2, the weft is 20/2. Using a 12 dent reed, 24 epi, with 24 ppi in plain weave areas and 48 ppi in pattern areas. I can't wait to see how this turns out - if it's really nice, I plan to weave more for gifts.

Spun up another skein of handspun for the Etsy shop - 'Grape Juice', superwash merino, 160 yds, 10wpi. My camera has a hard time with purple for some reason - I'll post a picture when I have some better light.

I'm halfway through the lovely orange polwarth/camel/silk batts that Sherie carded for me. I call them "Pumpkin Spice" and I'm hoping for enough 2-ply yardage for a lovely shawl. Spinning the singles at 30 wpi, looking for a 20-ish wpi.

Lastly, I scored some gorgeous fibre in David's 'Southern Cross Fibre' update - woot! Polwarth and Shetland - yum!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sister Blanket

This blanket is for my sister. Fresh off the loom, not yet wet-finished or fringe-twisted. She asked for a woven blanket to keep her lap and legs warm while watching tv.

30" x 85". 8 epi/ppi. Used LB Woolease so she can throw it in the washing machine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gifts From More Dear Friends

I was so very pleased and delighted with the generosity that was showered on me last week. So I was flabbergasted to open my mailbox today after work and find two more packages. Obviously my mailman wanted to space out the presents and lengthen the celebration. (Or he was hoarding the packages for himself - in which case he's in deep trouble.)

First, from Josette/Farm-Witch of Enchanted Knoll Farms, a beautiful ounce of Tussah silk roving in her gorgeous ‘Johnny Jump Ups’ colourway. It's so lovely - the spindles in my spindle vase are eyeing it and jostling for first dibs:

And from David of Southern Cross Fibres, 4 ounces of Polwarth (my new obsession) dyed in his beautiful ‘Snow Gums’ colourway - the subtle shades of green and blue and grey are delicious:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Fibre friends are the BEST.

Tomorrow: pictures (hopefully) of the blanket I've been weaving for my sister on the Macomber...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gifts From Dear Friends

Last week I got some lovely birthday gifts in the mail from dear friends far away. Amy Boogie of Spunky Eclectic surprised me with some delicious Corriedale/Alpaca in her "Riverwalk" colorway:

Sherie from Amarillo, my dear Swa(m)p partner in the Spunky Eclectic Swa(m)p, sent me a delightful package. Inside - her beautiful scarf/stole handwoven with her handspun Pumpkin Juice (a Club fiber from Enchanted Knoll on Etsy).

Also in the box: a lovely pair of fingerless mitts, knitted by Sherie in Debbie Bliss cashmerino. They are soft and soooo warm - perfect for my Reynaud's. They keep my hands warm while typing, knitting, weaving, or spinning.

Lastly, Sherie conspired with David from Southern Cross Fibres in Australia - he dyed the fibre and she blended it - polwarth, camel, silk, and a little glitz - and she carded it into these spectacular batts:

I've already started spinning them into what will be a lovely 2-ply laceweight yarn. They draft and spin wonderfully.

I am so blessed with great friends and an abundance of equipment and supplies for my obsessions passions and hobbies. This is a lovely journey - I am certainly enjoying the ride!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's, and Guild

Spent a relaxing morning with the husband, admiring the roses and eating a nice brunch. Then I headed to Yvonne's for Spinning.

We call our 2nd Saturday guild activity simply 'Spinning', but what it means is a day of fiber-crafting and hanging out with guildfriends. Yvonne donates her home for this every month, and we bring our lunch. We meet from 11-4 and bring whatever fiber project we want to work on - wheels, spindles, looms, knitting needles, crochet hooks, fiber, yarn - all welcome. I usually bring a wheel or two, a handful of spindles, and a bucket of fiber. Today we had 3 wheel spinners (including me), 2 knitters, 1 weaver, and 2 spindle spinners (including me).

I spun up 2 oz of purple superwash merino, which I'll ply with another 2 oz already on a bobbin. I spent a little time helping Judith, who's learning to spindle-spin. She's already been taught, but needs reinforcement and practice (don't we all??). These lovely ladies are so smart and funny and sweet - they're all from different backgrounds, and we differ on religion/politics/etc. - but the fiber brings us together and gives us a common language. I try never to miss the meetings - I learn something new every time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

48 And Counting

Another year - and grateful for every one. :)

The husband gave me roses this morning, and daughter #1 gave me a beautiful addition to them:

It's a Forrester Dervish, 1.6 oz. Spins great - I'm looking forward to using it for fingering weight singles.

I finished up a skein of yarn last night - I spun alpaca and bamboo and plied them together into 550 yards of 2-ply 18wpi laceweight. It's soft and shiny and drapes very nicely.

Now we're off to dinner - Mexican food. Yum!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Each One Teach One

I got 24 spindles in the mail today. ^_^

Now, before you think I've gone completely over the edge, they're not for me. Let me 'splain.

On Monday afternoon, a guild-friend called me with an urgent spinner-emergency. Her 20-something granddaughter had come to visit for the week, and was scheduled to return to her Oregon home the next morning. She suddenly had the urge to learn to spindle-spin, and my guild-friend only wheel-spins. So I dashed over to her house with the only simple (read: inexpensive) spindle I own, and "asspinerated" the granddaughter. (She was a natural, and got the hang of it quickly.) I was glad to be able to give her the spindle to take back home with her. After all, we know that practice makes muscle memory.

That left me with no inexpensive "give-away" spindles, but an idea. I found an Etsy dealer who makes simple low-priced spindles, and ordered a boxful. They came in today. I'm going to put each one in a ziploc bag with a poof of fiber, and carry one in my purse at all times. Often, when I'm at a guild meeting or a workshop, someone will come up to me and say, "Debbie likes to spindle-spin - she can show you how!" And I could, and I did, but I could only demonstrate on my Bosworth or Golding or whatever other precious spindle that I had in my purse that day... until now I didn't have anything to give them to take home.

Back to knitting frantically on a pair of handspun mittens for a coworker whose birthday is tomorrow, as is mine. ;-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A year? Really?

It does not seem like a year since I posted here. Yet I cannot argue with the calendar.

I've no idea how time passed so quickly. I've thought about updating here, like you would think about calling an out-of-touch friend - you pick up the phone a hundred times, then put it down again because catching up would take so much time.

I'd really like to use this space, so I decided to pick up the phone one more time. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.) It would be impossible to try to catch up, so I will just pick up here where I left off. I've added another loom (a LeClerc Voyageur 4-harness table loom) and another wheel (a Majacraft Suzie Alpaca), and countless skeins of handspun have accumulated since last I posted. I'll add pictures over the next week.

I've opened an Etsy shop in the past month ('DebbieB Handspun, Handwoven') - and am offering handspun yarn and woven items.

We're getting closer to realizing our dream of moving to Montana - planning a trip to Bozeman this June to check out possible areas to buy a house.

I've put this off for way too long... Now, that wasn't so hard, was it?