July 27, 2007

More Morning Glory Spinning and Ideas

Here is my first skein of Morning Glory yarn, 250 yards and 2 oz. I'll be happy if I end up with 500 yards of the blue. It is a little heavier than fingering weight, and it is nice and fluffy! Just what I was aiming for.
Now the rest of this is all Cary's fault. Ever since she said that the blue reminded her of morning glories, it has been downhill from there! I have all sorts of ideas bouncing around in my head for morning glory patterns is lace and in stranded knitting. Since I didn't want to try to match the colors in the blue morning glory blend, I made a leaf blend instead. I used bright green, emerald green, and just a touch of green and yellow firestar, with the same 50% BFL, 25% silk, and 25% alpaca base. I really like the way that these turned out as well! I am trying to decide if I want to use beads in this design or not. We'll see how the swatching goes, and I may need to save some of the ideas that I have for when I have a bit more time to play with them.
I'm also working furiously on my Sockapalooza socks, and am nearing the toe of the first and hope to finish it and cast on the mate this weekend. I'll have a picture of them when I'm finished!

July 22, 2007

Morning Glory Batts

Last week I dyed up some fibers to blend on my drumcarder. This is the first full batch of blended fibers that I have worked on, and I'm really pleased with my results. I started with 4 piles of fiber, each one containing 1/2 oz. BFL (blue-faced leicester), and 1/4 oz. each of alpaca and silk. The BFL and alpaca had some purple as well. I had hoped for a bit of a darker color, but since it was my first time dyeing as well, there was quite a few areas that didn't get dyed. It made me glad that I used light grey alpaca instead of cream! I think that it added a bit of depth to it. I also added a sprinkling of blue and bright pink firestar in the last pass through. To blend the three fibers and the colors, I started with one pile of fiber and carded each one in the same way. I started with a thin layer of BFL, then I made a "sandwich" of alpaca, then silk, topped with BFL, and fed that in all at once to keep the silk from bunching too much. I carded each pile into two batts, and then split them in half and carded them with each other. Then I took one of these batts and blended it with half of a batt from one of the other batches to make sure that I had a fairly even blend. I added just a hint of dyed firestar (a few grams) to the last pass to give a bit of depth and shine.
Cary saw a picture of these batts and said that they reminded her of Heavenly Blue morning glories, and I just love those, so the name stuck! I ended up with 8 batts and have spun half of them, and hope to ply what I've spun tonight. They were are dream to spin, and I actually decided to draft from the fold, which I don't do often, to add a bit of loft to the fiber as I was spinning it. Holding the bit of fiber over my index finger didn't work as well as I would have liked, so I placed it over my thumb instead, which worked surprisingly well. I was aiming for a fingering weight, so we'll see how well I did with that tomorrow! I'll be using this to knit one of my shawls for Journey to a Shawl.

July 13, 2007

Shawl Yarn and Knitted Dollies

These are my sample skeins of my Journey to a Shawl yarn. It is grey Cormo cross wool blended with green, blue, and purple silk and angora. It spun into a great laceweight yarn, but I liked the fingering weight better because it showed the colors better, even though you can't see that too well in the picture. I finished dyeing the rest of my silk and angora today, and need to dye some more for another shawl. I am sort of in between big projects at the moment, so after seeing a knitted fish here, I was inspired. I will make the fish one day, but for now I decided to make some knitted dolls from a free pattern that is no longer available. Here is my first attempt, which I think looks like she is wearing a clown wig! I think that the fur stitch would look better in a firmer yarn, but I was using up some leftovers. I made up the clothing patterns on my own, but there is room for improvement!
This is my second dolly. I like her so much better! She has strands of yarn individually tied onto her head, and I like that much better. Although if I do this style again, I'll make the head underneath the same color as the hair so that you can't see her "scalp" so obviously! I used some leftover brown wool, and I think fingering/lace weight wool would make the best hair since it is finer and wouldn't be too full if I applied it to the whole head. She has a dress that matches Miss Peach's watermelon dress. I tweaked the basic doll pattern a bit more to my liking, and I think that there's still room for improvement. I may just start from scratch! I'm currently working on some shoes for her too. This kind of knitting is fast, easy, and fun!

Birthday Time Again

On the 9th, my baby Peach turned 3. I can hardly believe it! When she was born she had peach fuzz for hair so I called her my baby peach, and as she's gotten older, it's evolved into Miss Peach, even though she has long curly hair these days! For her birthday she requested two things, tortellini and spinach for dinner, and a chocolate cake with pink icing. Her cake was so bright that we almost needed sunglasses, but she loved it! It ended up being lopsided, but it was a hit anyway!

Blueberry Picking!

Thanks to my parents visiting for Miss Peach's birthday earlier in the week, and my daddy spending the better part of 2 days working on our computer, we have a new hard drive and I have access to my pictures again! Two weeks ago we went blueberry picking at a local farm for the second time. We hope to go one more time before the season is over! Here is Mis Peach eating and picking some berries. She usually eats about as many as she puts in our bucket! Munchkin Boy just likes to eat them! If I didn't refill his bowl quickly enough, he would grab the closest branch to pick his own, green ones and all!
B hard at work again!
This time we only picked about 5 lbs (one bucket). The first time we went we ended up with 12, but Daddy was around to help the kiddos out too. We froze most of the first batch since they were tarter and better for baking. I also made 4 pints of blueberry topping for pancakes come the fall and winter.

July 01, 2007

Dyeing and Spinning

Last week I received a beautiful Cormo fleece from Cormo Sheep and Wool Farm. The fleece is a beautiful variegated grey, and almost completely free of VM. IT is just a joy to work with! I really wanted to use this fleece for my Journey to a Shawl project. I spun the sample below and it was a bit heavier than I wanted. Then I broke out the dyes for more sampling!
I had some Romney/Dorset wool from Ewe and I Farm on hand, so I pulled that out to dye with the silk and angora for my shawl blend. I really like the way the blues and purples came out, and I know that I want a lot less green! But that's what sampling is for!
Here are the two batts that I carded, a base of grey Cormo, and a handful each of dyed silk and angora (I know, very exact measurements!). I didn't want to over card the blend because I really want some streaks of color in a mostly grey yarn, and it worked really well!

I spun one batt into a heavy laceweight, and the other into a light fingering weight. The Cormo makes a fantastic lace yarn, but I felt that the colors were a bit too muted, so I'll spin some plain laceweight at a later date! The fingering weight is springy and soft, and there were nice streaks of color too. Unfortunately we are having some computer issues, so I can't upload the photos of my samples! So now I need to dye the rest of my silk and angora, and wash up the rest of the fleece so that I can spin up 1200 or so yards of yarn that I'll need for my shawl. I don't have a pattern yet, but I'm sure that I'll devise one before I finish my spinning.