Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Some More Sampling

I'm trying to find the best way to take pictures to get the truest color. Taking them outside (but not in direct sunlight) with no flash helps, but as you can see here the background can work against you.

The colors are good, but the mesh table distracts. The three knitted swatches have (from left) 0%, 25%, and 50% undyed fleece in the blend. Despite the middle swatch looking so red (I just eyed the amounts) I think that's the blend I'm going with.

I tried a piece of white poster board, but it was too glossy and gave off a blue aura. I like your idea, Ellen. Maybe blankets would be a good thing for this wool. The kids like the Bartlett blankets and this wouldn't be any scratchier.

Didn't I tell you the white coopworth was glossy? It just glows - you can barely make it out in either picture.

The kimono warp is on the loom. More about that tomorrow.

Monday, May 30, 2005

I Didn't Just Fall Off a Turnip Truck

Yeah, send the fleece to you. Good try!

I carded and combed a sample of the white coopworth lamb. It spins like a dream and I could see no noticeable difference between the two preps, so carding will be easier. I think I'm going to spin this all before dyeing. As pretty and glossy as it is, I don't really need another sweater that can't touch my skin. Too bad I've never done tapestry, because this is crying out to be woven. Hmm, I did have a private lesson in cut pile in the SOAR parking lot, so that's a possibility too. Maybe I should actually figure that out before I spin.

Now the corrie - that is baby soft and I'm dyeing this before spinning. I started dyeing 200 gram batches of fleece in my oven roaster Saturday night. I sat down with my sample book and picked out some recipes. I thought using 2% DOS would be better since the fleece ranges from almost white to charcoal gray. What I didn't think about was that my samples were done on white 8/2 wool yarn. My dye stocks were a little old, too, so that might have made a difference. Nevertheless, I'm happy with the results.

I did a preliminary run through the Louet roving carder, which has coarsely spaced teeth, to open the locks. Next weekend I'll blend them on the Duncan. I sampled the gold, rust, and blue separately then equal amounts of each blended together. I added varying amounts of the undyed and made little sample skeins and knitted up a few. It's too dark for a good picture of those.

Starting on the left is red orange (25% Washfast Red/75% Yellow), gold (50% Yellow/50% Mustard) it has a greenish tinge to it, blue (30% Bright Blue/70% Mustard) I expected olive according to my samples!, and in front was supposed to be reddish brown (25% Violet/75% Mustard) - what was I thinking dyeing a gray fleece this color? Oh well, it adds to the blend. There's 200 grams of that too, but I wanted to get a picture before it got too dark.

Keep the song suggestions coming! I'm gathering them all and I'll go through them one by one this summer.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Any Advice?

I've got about 3.2 lbs. of washed Coopworth lamb. The locks are about 6" long. It has a beautiful glow and is soft, but not next to the skin soft.

It could be a rustic cardigan. Maybe a rug? Do I card or do I comb? Dye now or after I spin it up?

I know I'm going to dye my gray corrie and card it on the Duncan. That's on my list for this weekend. I'm looking over my samples now. I think I'm going to do three batches and blend them while carding. I'm going back and forth between closely related colors for a heathery look or three colors further apart from each other. I'm giving myself until tomorrow night to decide.

I'm having so much fun working on my top 100 list. I agree, Cathy, definitely Cream. White Room is good - I like Strange Brew, too. Right now I'm stuck in the late 60's - 70's with lots of Led Zeppelin, CCR, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and Santana. When I think of my freshman year of college all I can think about is In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida! The girls across the hall had the arm of the changer set to repeat and the freakin' thing played over and over again. I have to tell you, though, 1975-1985 is a blur. If it wasn't Sesame Street or Raffi, I can't remember it! My younger sister will have to fill me in. I have over 400 songs on my iPod so far. I also have them all in a spreadsheet. This weekend I'll be weeding the garden and the playlist.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

My Quest

I was listening to John Sanford's latest, Broken Prey, on my brand spankin' new iPod (a Mother's Day present) this weekend. In the story, his wife gives him an iPod and a gift certificate for 100 songs, but he hasn't downloaded any songs yet because he's trying to come up with his own list of the top 100 rock songs. At the end of the novel, he presents his list. The gauntlet has been thrown. Stay tuned.

I was too tired to work on my warp tonight, but that gave me time to finish spinning, then ply, the reconfigured Lampspun batt. I agree, Lisa, the blues (shades of royal and teal) look great with the natural brown alpaca. The skeins are drying as I type.

Monday, May 23, 2005

It's All a Haze

Check out the haze this little bundle of merino, alpaca, and silk made when blended on my Duncan. When I picked it up at SOAR (from Lambspun) I liked the colors, but when I went to spin it the three colors were actually pretty distinct rovings and didn't want to spin together. Then I remembered my poor neglected Duncan and this is the result.

I finished another paper tonight so with any luck I'll get the kimono warp presleyed tomorrow night. Sara, the last 76 ends of black with a little red-violet will be the band. I'm using black weft to keep it from looking too stripey. We'll see what it looks like after it gets on the loom.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Time for a Perk Me Up

and color does it every time! I wanted to make the kimono (the same one that Caroline is doing in overshot) in Sara Lamb's Warp Painting Plus. If you don't have this video, you are missing out. Sara and Mollie Freeman walk you through painting a warp, making the kimono, and color sampling for future projects. I think I bought mine from Victorian Video. I bought a bunch of mercerized cotton for warp painting (10/2 and 5/2), but haven't had time to wind the warp, let alone paint it. Then I remembered the leftovers from the Lunatic Fringe color gamp a couple of months ago. I wound a warp 6 yards long with 16 colors, about 24 ends each, some colors ran out at 22-23 ends. I finished up with *10 black, 4 red-violet* (repeat 4 Xs) and finished with 20 black - this will be for the front band. At 24 epi this will give me about 19" in the reed. The warp is 10/2 in black.

I have my eyes on the end of school. I teased up some lovely, soft corrie. I want to sample it before I decide if/how I'm going to dye it. If I can finish my paper tomorrow night I'll have three free weekends with no classes. Whoppee!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

You Gotta Know When To Fold 'Em

Finally, with lots of concentration, I was able to get through another 10" when much to my dismay I saw the center blocks were all distorted. What now? The back rod had come loose and was bowed allowing the center to become much looser than the sides. See for yourself.

That's when I decided to cut this dog loose. I didn't have enough warp left to get a blanket out of it and quite frankly, I don't the patience right now to for a braided twill. (Of course, I could change my mind after I wash this up.)

With no weaving on the loom, I cut out two pairs of pants. Some cool
olive green twill
, cotton with just a touch of lycra. The lycra gives it a slight stretch on the lengthwise grain. The other pair are from gray Tencel. I have class all weekend, but I may get a chance to get through a least one pair.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

It's Looking Better

Luckily, the misthreading only involved four threads. This was a short warp, with only a 1/2 yard for playing around (or getting it straight, whatever) so I wound forward and cut the loop around the back rod, rethreaded and hung them over the back beam. I did three more pattern repeats (72 picks) and things finally look good. You can see a slight distortion where I rethreaded right now, I need to find something a little lighter for the weight. The little zigzagging about an inch up from the breast beam is where I will serge off and turn under. So much for sampling other treadlings. I'm hoping to get back down there today (after a little gardening) - I was planning on giving this baby blanket on Tuesday! The rubber bands on the treadles will help it go fast.

Josh left at 3:30 yesterday morning. I thought I could go back to sleep but the thought of the paper (the first major paper in over thirty years!) hung over my head. Why not get up and do it, then I'll have the rest of the day to play? Yeah. At 4:00 I was rearranging stacks on my desk. At 4:30 I was looking for my blue highlighter. By 5:00 I was cleaning my keyboard. At 7:30 I called Josh. He was around Richmond. Can you see the pattern? Finally, I finished at 4:00 PM after spending much of the time looking out the window at the absolutely gorgeous day I was missing! I just have to double check my citations today. Once I got started it went pretty well. Good thing, since I finish another course next weekend and have to go through this again. Another mature woman in my class told me the first one was going to be a bitch.

I spun and plyed some mystery roving. Damn, I wish I knew what it was. I'm sure there's some silk in there, maybe some alpaca too. It was from a little thank you bag I got at SOAR last year for lending them some equipment. It was a dream to spin. Hopefully there's enough for a little lacy scarf.

Josh called at 7:30. He was just getting to Port St. Lucie. Sigh.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Some Success

Catherine gave me a tip - use rubber bands on the treadles. So I put rubber bands on treadles 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. Then I realized that I had the third treadle tied up wrong. Then I saw that there were two twisted threads. Finally I was able to weave several repeats and things were looking good - or so I thought.

How could I have missed that mistake? I'm too tired - it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Braided Twill

I got started weaving the braided twill tonight. I haven't got the treadling down pat. The warp is wide and I need to reach over to lift up the floating selvedge which causes my foot to lift off the treadles resulting in me losing my place. Maybe I need to number the treadling sequence and say it out loud as I go. Maybe I just need to get some sleep and try it tomorrow - I've already found two mistakes!

Sunday, May 01, 2005


It wasn't even a turtle's pace. I didn't get back to the loom until last night. Although it was a 24 end repeat, it had a logic to it and didn't take as long as I thought. I began sleying but pooped out before I finished. It's probably a good thing - that Softball sure does throw the lint. I swear I sneezed out a cotton ball! No picture until I get a few inches woven.

You know, fiber pursuits play a large part in my life, as they probably do for you. I have a hard time articulating why I enjoy so many of these activities, but Valerie does a wonderful job in her Thoughts from the sewing room ...

I've got two more of these weekend classes to do before school gets out, then I switch to week long classes. I think the worst part about taking the weekend classes is going back to work Monday without feeling recharged. I need all the recharging I can get for this week. My youngest son is moving to Port St. Lucie on Saturday. As sad as I am to see him leave, I know how much he's looking forward to it so I'm am really happy for him. How's that look? Think I can hold it all week?

Talk about drifting from subject to subject! Good night.