Fiber Addiction

Well, it has been quite some time since I have been here to blog about my addiction as a fiber artist, and today is the perfect day to catch up. The  Sun is shining with a slight blow of northward bound winds, here in Bradenton, Florida. Of course, the squirrel friends have been around today for their daily dose of peanuts. And; as most of my friends know, I have been up to purchasing all kinds of fiber, and those fibers include such fleeces as Shetland, Icelandic, Targhee, Border Leicester, Merino and many more. Like most fiber artist I have a stash of fiber that is more than the average fiber artist can possibly spin in one year. Is it the smell of the fiber? Is it the color of the fiber? Is it the feel or textures of the fibers? As a practicing fiber artist I can honestly say it is all of the above that we all as fiber artist collectively crave….and the need for more  fiber seems to be endless. Some may laugh when I tell them of my secret…my secret of having an entire room dedicated to bins-upon-bins of fiber stacked high enough to reach the ceiling from the level of the floor and then when space runs out, my secret stash is stuffed into space-bags de-aired and compressed to make room for more savory fibers to add to the stash. Lately, I have spent a great deal of time dyeing fibers with Jacquard fiber dyes  and then spinning these beautiful fibers into glorious yarns ready to be knit with.   Today I decided that I should share some of the fibers that I have been spinning with you. So, I have enclosed a short slide show for your viewing. You will be viewing two of my new yarns Diamond Head (918 yards) which is a fingering weight yarn and LakeSide (259 yards) which is a bulky weight yarn. Enjoy….as much as I do, and be certain to come back for more.  And, yes I certainly promise to return soon with more to show you.

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Razzmatazz is a new hat pattern that I have designed to be an absolute color explosion. Merino wool was used for this exciting project.  The Merino wool was  hand dyed, hand-spun and hand knit for this FO with just a little lace here and there.  A chunky Art yarn was created in such dazzling and bright colors, and at times I was uncertain that the color scheme would work. Once I began to knit the color scheme began to fit perfectly and I suddenly realized that I actually liked the boldness of the colors.  Razzmatazz is one of two projects I am working on at the moment. It just happens that this project was the one chosen to be finished first. The other project is a much bigger project and the details of it will be discussed in a later post. Hope you enjoy seeing Razzmatazz as much as I enjoyed creating her.

Spunky The Electric Spinning Wheel

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A couple of years ago I designed my electric spinning wheel out of need. I wanted an electric spinning wheel but the prices were far to high, and I didn’t want to invest that kind of money. So, I did some research and came up with my own idea for a design. It’s simple, but it works. I can easily say that I have gotten a lot of use from my electric spinning wheel, and still to this day use it. I am posting it again, because today is the day that I have finally painted her and given her a name. Well, Tina Sanders…I finally finished hooking “Spunky” up. I think she’ll do….don’t you? Note: If you’ll click on the picture you will get more views of “Spunky”. THESE PLANS ARE FREE WITH THE PURCHASE OF A PATTERN FROM MY ETSY SHOP.  ALL OF MY PATTERNS ARE PRICED AT $2.25 AND WILL REMAIN THAT PRICE. E-MAIL ME TO GET A FREE PDF FILE E-MAILED TO YOU.

What Color Merino

Well, ended up with 949 feet of a single ply yarn from spinning the Merino fleece. I had wanted to ply it into a 3 strand Navajo ply. The single ply was too thin and kept rolling back upon itself. Hence, I decided to go ahead with a 2 ply yarn. The end result is beautiful. I like how Merino has that spongy kind of bounce to it and when put into more than a single ply you get more bounce for your money.  Now I must decide what color to dye this skein of yarn and what I will name it. I was thinking maybe  a color in the red family, and then I was thinking perhaps something in the purple family,  and then I thought of yellows and reds that blend into oranges. The possibilities are endless. Will come back and finish this post once I have come up with my final decision.

OK, I’m back and after setting the twists in the 2 ply yarn I have finally put dye to the Merino and come up with a name. This baby is named, “Simply Scarlet”. The Merino yarn took in all the dye as noted when removing the yarn from the bath. Bath was completely clear of dye and the coloring of the dye gave the yarn a slightly variegated look. Though, when hand-dyeing yarns how fibers will take on dye is sometimes very unpredictable. If there are kinks in the yarn, an area tied to tightly, or even a slight difference in spinning technique of the same yarn, all can effect the outcome of dye color.  Now I wish I had spun more. This would make a beautiful sweater or cowl. The good thing is that I wrote everything down, and can reproduce the dye bath. Now the unveiling of “Simply Scarlet”.

The stats on “Simply Scarlet” are as follows:

WPI: 18

Weight: 1.9 ounces

Ply: 2

Yards: 158


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The Crocheted Fantasia Hat

I have been spending time at the spinning wheel of recent happily spinning Merino fleece while barefoot in my comfortable chair in the early morning hours of the day, spinning sometimes into the wee hours of the night. Merino spins so easily, and there is nothing like the feel of soft spongy Merino as it passes through your fingers winding onto the bobbin shaft. It is almost time to Navajo ply the current bobbin of Merino that I am working on, and as you all know, once I get distracted with an idea, I am on to creating another FO. This time as I sat quietly spinning Merino, Sari Silk began to call my name, and I immediately decided to crochet a hat with Sari Silk yarn. The texture of Sari Silk creates a really pretty crochet project loaded with color-upon-color, and the end result is not known until you get there. The single crochet and the double crochet stitch marry to create intricate lacy patterns combined with a shell stitch pattern, here and there. The colors are jewel toned, bright, vibrant and inviting to any wearer. The look is sassy, fun and radiant. Makes me want to shout…and run around the house barefoot and fancy free.  OK, enough. So, here are the pictures of my latest FO. And, FYI this is the introduction of my stand in model, Feebie. Don’t laugh at her….well I did.

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Almost Lime Almost Peach

After deciding that  I should spend some time spinning I closed myself off in the spare bedroom and did some carding and spinning of a beautiful silky Mohair fiber that was a gift sample to me along with an order that I had placed for Wensleydale fleece.  This gift sample came from Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms out in Temecula, California and was several different colors.  I decided to blend the colors by carding and see what the end result would be. Well I blended the fibers on my carder until I was pretty much satisfied with the results and took the fibers to my spinning wheel. I used several different spinning styles such as spinning from the rolag, spinning from the fold, and spinning from pieces of the batt from different areas of the batt until I obtained the blend in fibers that I was happy with. Mohair is a very soft, slick and silky long fiber. It also has a very curly loc formation that sometimes has the appearance of tight ringlets of hair that has been tightly set on sponge rollers, and requires a great deal of work to obtain the results you seek. My goal was to spin a yarn that was worsted in nature, but still maintain the softness that Mohair fleece offers. I was very pleased with the results and ended up with two skeins of fiber that are what I would like to call Almost Peach & Almost Lime. The two color combinations in my opinion are quit awesome and the process I used on the fiber retained the silky sheen that Mohair has naturally. After spinning the fibers I heat-treated the fibers to set the twist even further after letting the fibers rest on the bobbins a half day or so. Again, I am very pleased with the results, and this is what I got for my final result.

Note: This is a similar sample of fiber I received with my order from Namaste Farms owned by Natalie Redding from Temecula, California. The fiber in the plastic bag is what I started with. The picture credit goes to Namaste Farms.

Note: After processing this wonderful sample fleece this is how I spun the fleece into such a beautiful yarn. Love the resulting colors. This is a 2 ply yarn.

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Just A Little Lace Hand-Warmers

Well, winter is upon us. And, it seems as though the dam has opened and the creative juices are flowing faster than I can design and knit. Once again, I have put my vest aside and decided to create a new pattern for a pair of hand-warmers. Over the years living in Florida I have never really thought about wearing them. But, on second thought I couldn’t think of any reason not to. So, after doing the math and calculating my stitch gauge for an acrylic yarn I have on hand I came up with a hand-warmer that is partially lace that still gives the hand enough coverage to stay nice and toasty warm. Dragging out the stash of Teal acrylic yarn I have yet to use all of, I cast on the needed amount of stitches and created my pattern as I knit. Took me an afternoon of knitting, and after weaving in the remaining end, happily I slide the hand-warmers on to each hand and hoped for a perfect fit. With a sigh of relief I was very happy to see that the pattern worked with the math I had previously figured out. They fit just right, and I really must find something to knit that will take up the remainder of this Teal yarn. Well now that the hand-warmers are complete I can make my way back to the spinning wheel and spin my yarn for my upcoming vest pattern. I pray in secret that I shall not be side tracked again, as the pattern is in my head just waiting to be knit.

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