Thursday, September 22, 2011

Autumn, How I Love Thee

Autumn - the word conjures images of swirling dry colorful leaves and brisk chilly air. Sounds lovely, and many parts of the country experience this when the season changes in late September.

Not us - we still have temps in the upper 80's, high humidity, and green leaves firmly affixed to trees. We won't experience much in the way of Autumn until late October, and perhaps even early November.

So I wove some Autumn instead. :) Here's a lovely scarf I finished this week, handwoven on a Schacht Flip rigid heddle loom. It's 70" long, 6.5" wide, with additional handtwisted 3.5" fringe on each end. Warp (lengthwise yarn): Enchanted Knoll "blissful" yarn (merino/silk/tencel) in "Sunflower Sampler". Weft (widthwise yarn): 8/2 tencel in "spice".

It's available in my Etsy shop.

I'm attending a weaving workshop with friends this weekend - we're weaving finnish-twill breadcloths in cottolin (blend of cotton and linen). I've not woven with cottolin before - I look forward to learning its unique quirks. I hope to end up with some Christmas gifts for family, and if I love the material and the structure, a new item for the shop. We'll see!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Custom Confetti, and Another Scarf

Remember when I talked about designing a handspun yarn, specifically the rainbow yarn that my customer friend requested? Here's the resulting yarn (remember, she chose the "confetti" option):

Rainbow colors with black accents. I'm happy with the way the two skeins coordinate, considering the original braids of fiber were slightly different. They're 400 and 380 yards of 16wpi fingering weight 3-ply.

And I finished another of those fun scarves on my Cricket loom - this one is the mirror image of the Rainbow Waterfall scarf, which had a purple center that flowed down into red fringe. Instead, this Rainbow Cascade scarf has a red center flowing down into purple fringe:

50" long, with additional 4" handtwisted fringe on each end, 6.5" wide.

I'm really pleased with the way these scarves turned out - they're soft and drapy, colorful and fun. I see more in my future!

Today is World Wide Spinning In Public Day - I'm taking my Matchless to the library. We have a guild meeting, which is usually just us sitting around a table discussing weaving/spinning and passing around FO's. Today I'll demo for passersby and see if we can't attract some new members!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Handwoven: Rainbow Waterfall

How cute is THIS??? And so much fun to weave. The warp yarn (Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport) does all the work - its regular repeat gives the illusion of faux ikat without cutting and tying individual strands.  I direct-warped it on my Cricket loom and wove it off with a bright red 8/2 tencel.

50" long (not including the handtwisted 4" fringe on each end), 6.5" wide, fully reversible.

And did I mention "cute"????

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


"I love this yarn, but I need more for my project!"

"Do you have a second skein of this lovely silk yarn?"

I often get requests for larger skeins of yarn, or more yardage of the same color blend.

As a spinner who loves fiber and color, I'm in several fiber clubs, plus I scoop up delightful colorways in Etsy updates - my fiber stash is quite large and quite lovely. These beautiful offerings are almost always packaged in 4 oz lots, and since I enjoy variety, I rarely purchase more than one lot of any single colorway.  A skein of yarn spun from 4 oz will be limited in yardage. The limits depend on several things: the grist of the final yarn, the ply structure of the final yarn, and the method of spinning used.

The grist (the wpi, or wraps per inch) refers to the thickness of the strand. Knitters think of this in terms of "bulky, worsted, sport, dk, fingering, lace" and weavers think of similar weaving yarns, such as mop cotton, carpet warp, 8/2 cotton, 22/2 cottolin, 20/2 silk, and so on. The thicker the yarn, the more fiber it consumes in its creation.

The ply structure deals with the actual number of threads that make up the strand. For instance, most handspun is either singles, 2-ply, 3-ply, or navajo-ply (chain-ply). The more plies involved, the more fiber is used.

The methods of spinning include worsted (the method, not the yarn weight), woolen, and variations between the two. Worsted spinning methods keep the fibers aligned as much as possible, making a denser strand that takes more fibers per inch to maintain structural integrity. Woolen spinning methods jumble the fibers to greater and lesser degrees, making a lighter and loftier strand that takes less fibers per inch while retaining structure. My preferred spinning method is more of a woolen technique, giving loft and softness. Worsted-spun yarns consume more fiber in their creation than woolen-spun yarns.

On average, from a 4 oz lot of fiber, I can expect to get:

75-175 yards of bulky (depending on the thickness)
175-225 yards of worsted weight
225-275 yards of sportweight
275-350 yards of fingering weight
350-425 yards of sock weight
425-500 of heavy lace
500-700 of finer lace

Now, for special spinning projects, like my ongoing supply of Black Magic Woman yarn, I special-order larger lots of fiber. My Black Magic Woman yarn takes 6 oz of fiber, so I order it in lots of that weight from Josette at Enchanted Knoll Farm on Etsy. I take requests, too - if you find fiber that you want custom spun, you can order it in a larger lot or purchase two or more and I'll spin it into a larger skein with greater yardage.

And occasionally I will combine two coordinating yet different colorways or dyelots to create a larger skein with greater yardage. I did one a few weeks ago, combining two different colorways to create "Autumn Sunset" in superwash merino - 580 yds of sportweight 2-ply:

 I produced another one this week - I combined two 4.5 oz dyelots of the same colorway to create "Confetti" in merino - 520 yds of worsted weight 2-ply:

 I loved the challenge of getting all 9 ounces of this yarn on one giant bobbin, to make one continuous skein with no knots:

I could almost hear the bobbin saying, "I can't believe I ate the whooooooole thing!!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thankful, With Cupcake

The storm is still in our area, but mostly it's passed on to the northeast. Tropical Storm Lee hung around a long, long time, moving at 2mph and causing us great concern for flooding. Historically, when a storm moves very slowly over us, it dumps more rain than our pumps can handle, and we have street flooding and home flooding. We were fortunate this time - the storm's bands had enough breaks between them that the ground was able to absorb the water and the pumps were able to clear the streets.

We're so thankful, and hope that as the storm moves away, it doesn't hurt anyone else, either.

And now the cupcake. My daughter made cupcakes this week, with a Harry Potter theme. She made this adorable owl with Oreos and M&Ms for eyes, sliced almonds for feathers, and a piece of a Starburst candy for a beak. He's sitting on my Glacier National Park mousepad - the view is of Lake McDonald.

And yes, I ate him.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Everyone Likes A Discount, Right?

I'm nearing my 150th sale in my Etsy shop, and that's exciting and humbling at the same time. I'm so appreciative of the support that's been given my little indie spinning and weaving venture!

I've decided to reward my friends and customers (and I'd like to see that 150th sale, too!) so I've enabled a coupon code through Labor Day (September 5th) for 10% off any purchase in stock, on all items including handwoven scarves. I originally intended it for Ravelry but am pleased to extend it to any blog readers as well.

Enter the coupon code RAVLABORDAY10 on checkout to get your discount.

And shipping to the US is always free - and reduced to international addresses.

Thankful for the kind support! ♥