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Yay, I can spin again!

I have had a terrible time with my hands this winter. If you’ve ever had skin cracks you’ll know what I mean. If you don’t, it is where your fingertips get dry, frayed and split where the nail meets the pad. They feel tender like you are covered in paper cuts and it makes folding underwear, wire wrapping and spinning impossible.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The FO!

Finished Object, that is! I decided to finish it as a scarf. I usually think of a scarf as a large swatch, a good way to try out yarns, gauge, etc. and to test finishing. Well this is one is a keeper. Once I got it off of Scott long enough to wash and dry it, I could see that it didn’t need any other finishing. It is squishy and soft and has a nice hand. I think this fabric would make a very comfortable vest or jacket.

Lessons learned:

I love the raddle for warping.

I need real lease-sticks. The wood I am using worked fine for the cotton warp but is not smooth enough for sock yarn.

Be careful with your tension as you wind warp onto the warping reel. Sock yarn is stretchy and I’ll bet you could end up short if you would it tightly.

Beat gently and with an open shed. I had a lot of trouble with my selvedges in the beginning until I figured that out. The boucle acts like velcro and won’t slide in the shed at all.

I love my Baby Wolf!


My Latest Project

I just started the new weaving project and it is beautiful, Robin picked a twill pattern for me and showed me how to tie up the treadles. You can’t really see the twill pattern unless you get really close (see pic) but it makes the fabric feel different than plain weave. I love the color and how supple the material is even before finishing. I had planned on a stole but maybe I’ll just get some more sock yarn and make the jacket out of Small Loom and Freeform Weaving since my width is just right.

Read the rest of this entry »


The orange warp is exhausted

The warp is exhausted but I am ready for more! I made two scarves, a table mat and got a bunch of nice “ties” from the loom waste. Since Robin had me tie up the treadles 4, 3, 2, 1, I was able to discover two techniques, weft floats and inlay on my own. I later found a blog describing the same treadling pattern and calling it Moorman Technique. What is cool about it is that it leaves the sari silk on the top layer and the cotton makes a smooth backing, see pix of table mat below. Next up I will try a stole. The warp will be dark grey cotton with dark red boucle as weft.


Weaving!

I warped my Baby Wolf loom all by myself this morning which means….Robin is a really good teacher!  There are six main processes that have to be completed before you can weave:


The Dye-In

I had a great time at the NwRSA dye-in this weekend hosted by The Pines Farm in Maple Valley. Betty Crotchitt and I went together. The farm is beautiful and the outdoor dyeing studio that Lin has set up is something I’d love to copy for my own backyard.  Those of us who weren’t dyeing gathered under the big trees to stay out of the sun. It was quiet, pastoral and every once in a while a sheep would come up to the fence and baa at us. Too cute! Betty dyed some yarn in a dark grayish-green and roving in a bright sapphire blue while I visited, spun some baby camel and tussah silk fiber on my drop spindle, and ate too many cookies.

I brought the raffle basket that I won at the last spin-in filled with a mix of exotics to spin. I didn’t get a picture but I included hand-dyed bamboo roving, hand-painted sock yarn and baggies of tussah silk sliver, cotton, angora from Rosie, and mulberry silk. I also slipped in a packet of stitch markers I made, lavender tea light candles and some fancy French chocolates. I hope the winner enjoys it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

I was looking for a way to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Meán Geimhridh and Kwanzaa in July and I finally decided to stick with tradition and have a holiday sale!  Not very imaginative, I know, but I am offering free shipping on everything in my store. I don’t have any stitch marker sets listed yet, but I will be making some for sale soon. Click here to visit Dunthor Design on Etsy.


A Perfect Saturday

What a fun day! Betty Crotchitt and I went to the NwRSA “area 2030″ spin-in at the White Center Library and had a very enjoyable get-together.  I like what a multicraftual crowd this is, while most of us were spinning, someone was making a rug, one was knitting and another was weaving a basket. The carrot cake was awesome and I won the monthly basket raffle. The basket contains a knitting calendar with some great patterns, yarns and spinning fiber. She who wins the basket gets to refill it for next time and I am already gathering things for it.

When I got home, we took the angoras out into the dog yard and let them play in the sunshine. They live indoors so this was a big deal for them. I brought them one by one out into the fenced dog yard right off the kitchen, without the dog, for now. It is the first time the cinna-buns have officially met little Freya. Their crates are next to one another but they’ve not been loose together. They loved the sun and once they got the pecking order established they all ran and played together. There was a bit of mounting-behavior but that was all between Ivy and Angus, the littermates. Rosie spent a lot of time grooming Freya’s ears and Freya teased Angus into chasing her. They chewed some elm leaves and lemon balm and dug a few holes. It was great to see them relax and play since they are still kind of nervous in general. I was surprised that it wasn’t as hard to round them up as I thought it might be.

We finished up with pot roast and turnips for dinner, a long dog-walk and The Golden Compass. Just ducky.

Video of Freya on her first backyard outing

1st backyard outing for the bunnies


Wool in the Woods

We just spent the weekend at Wool in the Woods, the annual conference of the NwRSA, the Northwest Regional Spinners Association, at Pinelow Park in Loon Lake, WA which, by the way, takes the record for the longest distance I’ve ever driven a vehicle.  This was a larger event than I expected — a lot of people, mostly women, attended and my fellow spinster from the Alaska cruise was there with her district as well as a few members of mine. The weather alternated between rain and sun and the temps were the same as we have been having in Seattle. I had signed us up for a tent-site because dogs were not allowed in cabins but the camping area was too soggy so the management allowed us dog-people to have them in the cabins after all.

The place was really nice — the setting was beautiful, the showers were clean, the beds were comfortable but the best part, of course, was the conference itself. I took classes on spinning angora, silk, slippery fibers and a technical class on twist, tension and wraps per inch. The other offerings were knitting techniques, basket weaving and classes on dyeing, including indigo, persimmon and other natural dyes. When I wasn’t in a class, I was usually at the seemingly 24hr spin-in going on in the main lodge. There were more wheels than I’ve ever seen before — whole herds of Lendrum and Ashfords and fiber and tool vendors. Scott somehow neglected to bring along one of the many hats I’ve knit him over the years and ended up buying a felted wool hat from Thistledown Shetlands and he surprised me with a beautiful yarn-bowl made by Sarah Alderete. I won a table swift provided by Paradise Fibers as a door prize and I bought a drop spindle from Spindlewood, a little maple one-yard niddy-noddy that matches my Journey Wheel from The Bellwether, some silk from Dyelots and some pure white angora from Margaret Gisselberg, the woman who taught the Angora class. She had sheep-wool, angora fiber and bunnies and yup, we have a new bunny. Her name is Freya and she is a 9 week old German-Satin hybrid. She is calm, poised and extremely well socialized and sat in my lap for hours each night while I participated in the spin-in. I may need to change my Etsy store name from Dunthor to Angora Addiction.

While I was doing all that, Scott and Rob were taking long walks in the woods and along the lake, taking long naps, loitering on the bench outside the lodge greeting everyone who went by and just hanging out together. Rob didn’t want to leave. I had to lift him into the truck — he wouldn’t jump up on his own. Little Freya rode about halfway home in the big crate next to Rob’s inside the truck canopy and the rest of the way in my lap. That makes her the only beast, besides Mom’s Freddy, who has ridden in the cab of my truck — everyone else rides in the back. Freya has her own bunny crate at home and is getting introduced to the cinna-buns very slowly. She is getting her exercise in the kitchen and I think she’d like Rob better if he’d quit tossing toys on her. He really wants her to play so he scootches up to her in a play bow pose and then lobs stuffed animals at her, LOL.

Video of evening spinning session – part 1

Video of evening spinning session – part 2


Welcome to Lagomorph Palace!

We have adopted three angora rabbits from Rabbit Haven in Gig Harbor!

Yes, they are fluffy.

Yes, I am going to spin their fur. Actually, I already have.

Yes, you can come and see them.

They were part of a batch of 80 animals that were dumped outside Kitsap Animal Control in liquor boxes and left all weekend. These three survivors were taken in by Rabbit Haven. A friend who has adopted rescued rabbits before told me that they had three strikes against them: 1. they are angora, 2. they are matted angora, 3. there are three of them and Rabbit Haven wants them kept together. Well, Scott and I took that as a challenge and called to take a look at them. I think Sue was stunned when we said we’d take them. She even warned us that they are the messiest  rabbits ever! Their names are Autumn, Spring and Summer and we decided to call them Rosie Autumn, Ivy Spring, and Angus Summer. He is named after our Angus Kitty, click the link for a pic.

I got some library books about angoras and rabbits in general and some angora fiber to take on our cruise, since I had never spun any before. It turns out that they are Satin Angoras, a breed much prized by spinsters, and prime angora fiber exceeds the per-ounce-price of silver.  I was not at all surprised to find that angora is my new favorite fiber to spin. It is silky, warm in the hand and requires no preparation. That means that every 12 weeks or so when they are shedding, you can sit with a rabbit in your lap and pluck and spin their fur directly. I love it when they are all standing up listening and they look like baby wallabies. Scott says they are picking up messages from space with their rabbit-ear antennae.

Cartoon: From a Rabbit’s Point of View.

Stay tuned for part II


Home Again!

Boo-hoo, our cruise ended. It was wonderful! If you are thinking about taking one, by all means do it. What a great time — we saw unbelievable scenery, the Sawyer glacier, the islands, the inside passage itself. We saw whales spouting, eagles, seals, otters and a school of dolphins followed our ship and played in its wake. The service was amazing and I took pictures of the towel animals our room steward left on the bed each day.  The food was fantastic and anyone would be able to find meals appropriate to their diet. We were able to find low-carb options the whole time and saw other people looking equally happy with plates full of chicken strips and fries. We ate four meals a day and didn’t gain a pound.

I brought my spinning wheel and met another spinster the first day out. She is from Eastern Washington and this was the fifth cruise she had taken with her husband and spinning wheel. It  turned out that we are both NwRSA members and will both be at conference in June.  We met every day of the cruise at one or another of the great view-spots on the ship to spin and whale-watch. I finished spinning and plying some wool/seacell and an ounce of angora. I also crocheted 8 bunny egg-cozies and 6 bunny finger puppets that I am going to list in my Etsy store  as fundraisers for Rabbit Haven Shelter. We stopped in ports along the way and,  I found yarn for my bunny puppets and a few stones to wrap at Mission Street Arts & Fibers in Ketchikan, hand dyed wool  and a mystery batt at Skeins Fine Yarns in Juneau, and a packet of exotic fibers at Changing Threads in Skagway.

I highly recommend Norwegian Cruise Line. We were well taken care of and I love the multinational backgrounds of the crew. Each crewmember has their country of origin on their nametag and I can’t think of anyplace that was unrepresented. Hmm, now that I think about it I don’t remember seeing Greenland. Do people live in Greenland? I only wish they gave a complete tour of the ship. I’ve heard that they used to do a whole day tour that included lunch with the captain but that it was discontinued after 9/11.

We arrived home early on Saturday to a very happy dog. Rob obviously had a wonderful time and was well cared for. The rest of Saturday was spent traveling to Gig Harbor to pick up our newly adopted bunnies. But, that is another story…. >^..^<


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