Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gary's Sweater??

When Gary started looking at the Dale of Norway sweaters, this is one that he kept going back to. It's called the Lake Louise 2001. I told him that it wouldn't be any more difficult than the one that I made for me, but that he better make sure it was one that he liked because, 1) the kits are expensive. $195.00 to be exact, and 2) there are a lot of knitting hours in one of these sweaters. I'm guessing well over 100
He was all set to order the sweater, and then we went to a Christmas party and one of our neighbors had this exact sweater on.
The sweater in really life was a bit of a disappointment because the white yarn was more of a cream and the black and red didn't pop like the picture.

I think he has lost interest in it now because I haven't heard him mention it, so until he sees my sweater again I think this project had been delayed until further notice.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Morning

After the presents were opened, Gary and I walked outside to see the presents that Mother Nature had left us. The weather has been a little different this year. We would get a good snow storm, and then it would warm up and rain. After the last little warm up it got quite cold and we had some wind. As the drippy snow began to freeze in the wind this was what was left on the trees for us to admire.

I think this was my favorite Christmas present this year. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Whole Summer In One Post

Okay, after looking over the pictures that I took over the summer and didn't post, it might take 2 posts to get caught up.

Here it goes.

Do you remember the little oxen calves from last summer? Well it's almost been one year latter, and look how they've grown. Gibbs and Booth are in their yoke and are being run through their paces.

Becky is helping Troy with the boys today. I think that Troy was trying to train both the oxen and Becky on the ins and outs of oxen driving.
Potty break. Hey everyone has to go sometime.
Now it's the other one's turn.
I really didn't mean to take the boys picture at such a private moment. In fact I didn't know they where "going" until I put the pictures in the blog. But they still look good, and so do Becky and Troy.

It's Finished!!!!

I finished it!!!

I finally pulled this sweater out of hibernation. I had finished knitting all the pieces last May, but by then I was so tired of the sweater that I had to bag it up and put it away. Besides, I knew that I won't be able to wear it for a few months anyway. My husband reminded me of it so, on Monday I pulled it out of time out and attached the sleeves and the zipper. Shazam, in two days I had a gorgeous sweater that fits great.

My husband was so struck with the sweater that he now wants one for himself. He has been studying the Allegro Yarn web site and I think he has made his decision.

Want a sneak peek????

Check tomorrow

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Spinner's Retreat

Ahhhh retreat, this was just a wonderful week end up at Park City Utah. We meet in a small meadow with a grove of large trees, and just relax.
I am a member of the Wasatch Woolpack Hand Spinners Guild, and this is our once a year get away. As you can see we do a lot of spinning and visiting. It was heaven. The retreat started on Thursday, but I didn't get there until Friday night. There was about 50 women and a few husbands.

This is my bed, Cherly Stratton was kind enough to allow me to share her tent. It was a very roomy tent, I think she said it was a 10 man tent but for the two of us it was perfect. Yes I did bring an air mattress, and under the sleeping bag there are real sheets. I get to confined in a zipped up sleeping bag.
The outside of the tent.
It did rain on us a couple of times but we stayed dry inside our tent.

The restroom area.
Further back behind the potties in the trees is where everyone had their wheels and canopies set up.

The kitchen area.
What was really nice for me was that the meals were already planned out. I didn't have to pack any food except for some drinks. When I arrived at the meadow I was asked to sign up to help with one meal. That's it !! just help with one meal. After meals were finished everyone washed there own plate and utensils, placed them in a mesh bag, and hung it in the trees to dry. No stacks of dishes to wash.
When everyone had finished eating and cleaning up a bell rang, and that signaled "Prize Tent" time. Everyone lined up and as we walked by the prize tent we were handed a prize of some sort of fiber related gift. Of course we all contributed to the prize tent. I had many items that I had bought. It was a simple matter of cleaning out my stash. I had some things that I thought I would get right to but after 3 years if I hadn't spun it up then it needed to go. So into the prize tent they went.
A couple of our members dye roving and sell it. We always love it when they show up with new colors and fibers to spin. Yes I bought a lot to help support the cause.

I had a wonderful time. The only regret is that I didn't go up earlier. That won't happen next year. I plan on taking time off work and going first thing Thursday morning.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Busy Summer

I thought I would give you an update on some of the projects that I've been working on.

Here is the first one. I did a dye pot last week using Coriopsis flowers. The wool is even brighter than it looks in the picture. I was really surprised by how bright the color was just by using a natural dye plant and citric acid for a mordant.

I wanted to make a fabric that was a common home spun in the 1800's. This is what I came up with. It called Linsey Woolsey. The warp threads are 20/2 linen and the weft is my handspun wool. I dyed the wool as roving and there was variegation to the wool, so I decided to spin it as was and got a very pretty blue variegated thread. When this fabric is finished I hope to make a blouse out of it.
On the other loom I decided to use up some of the handspun wool from last year. So I put on a cotton warp and chose a weft faced pattern to make a shawl. The colors are hard to see in this picture so I'll just tell you that there is grey and then greens dyed from yarrow and dock. I have some yellows that will be added to the fabric as well. So far it seems to be working up fine.

This project in on my loom at home. I wanted to make some more dish towels and see if I could use up some odds and ends of other threads. I remembered this pattern when I took my weaving class so this was how I used it. I really like the pattern, it's any easy treadling, and I can use up my small amounts of warp. I plan on making more of these.

And now for the last of the big projects. About a month ago we had the sheep in the village sheared. I got a call from Lynn at Spinderella's and she let me know that my order was ready. This is Sam's wool all spun up and drying. (I needed to wash out the spinning oils) Bella and Lottie's wool looks much the same. I'm very happy with the results, and I can't wait to start knitting or weaving with these yarns.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Sheep

Okay, so it's been a while since my last post but that doesn't mean that I have just been slacking off. I've been very busy. About a month ago a family donated 4 sheep to the village. There is a corral at the back of the my site so, since I deal with wool this is a perfect match. Let me introduce you to my flock.
This handsome 6 year old Columbia whether is Sam. He is very gentle. The baby in my arms is my granddaughter, and even though she is not to sure about Sam, he let her sit on his back.
As you can see it didn't take long for her to warm up to him. Here they are looking for the best grasses in the lawn.

The next sheep in the flock is Lottie. I think she is a Columbia - Suffolk cross. She was a little more skittish around strangers, but she has warmed up to me, especially if I have grain in my pockets.

When the sheep arrived they had not be sheared for the year, so we made arrangements for Mr. Will Cory to come up and take care of them.

The sheep that he is working on here is the next ewe of the flock. This is Annie. She is a Dorper sheep. She was not bred to be a fiber animal, she is a meat variety of sheep. She has very course hair, and not much wool, but we still gave her a trim.

The last of the flock is Bella. She to is a Columbia - Suffolk cross like Lottie. She is also a gentle soul, but every once in a while she gets that look in her eye, and you just know that she is up to something. Usually that means she wants to get in my garden.

When all the sheep were sheared I took the fleeces of Sam, Lottie, and Bella to a local fiber mill here in Salt Lake. The name of the mill is Spinderellas. Since there was so much wool to be done, I thought I would let her wash, card, and spin it up for me.
So that is my flock. So far I have had a great time working with these four and learning about their individual personalities. They have really brought new life to my site.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Hope Summer Is Here To Stay!!

Remember on the first day of spring season, I came to work and there was 4 inches of snow on the ground? Things are finally looking like spring has come. The apricot trees that where covered with snow now have small apricots, and lots of them.
My garden is looking very green as well. The plants all survived the winter except for one of my Hollyhocks, but the rest are coming up and growing.

This is the first time that I've been able to see Coreopsis growing for two seasons in a row. Figured it out last spring when the rabbits kept eating this plant down to the ground. A little chicken wire and some stakes helped keep the plants safe, and this year I will have golden yellow dye from the flowers.

This is a Rose of Sharon. It has some lovely periwinkle blue flowers on it. I haven't had enough flowers to dye with before, but maybe this year I will get enough to see what color I can get from them.

This is Yarrow. It grows like crazy, and it is the most beautiful soft green right now. I've used this plant as a dye before, and when I use copper as a mordant I get a very pretty green.

This week I'll be planting my annual plants. I have two colors of Marigolds. I've already planted the Zenia's and Sun flowers. I'm also going to plant a tomato plant. Not for dyeing, but for fresh tomatoes to eat. I love BLT's with home grown tomatoes

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Looms Are Like Potato Chips

Yep, like the title says, looms are like potato chips.
You can never have just one.
When I first started weaving I noticed that many of the weavers that I met had more than one loom. I couldn't understand why you would need more than one loom. A floor loom can do many things and other than not being portable you can do most any weaving project on one.

Well that was a nice dream.

Then just when you're not looking, wham it hits you, the bug for another loom. Well this is my latest purchase. It's a rigid heddle loom made by the Schacht Spindle Company. It's called the "Flip" and it's wonderful. This little loom makes it so easy to play with my weaving. I can warp it up in about 30 minutes instead of hours. I can play with different yarn combinations. And best of all this little loom folds up even when it's warped, and goes into it's own travel bag.
This is the result of my latest play time. I was curious to see what would happen if I spun up some kettle dyed roving into long color sections. I then set the yarn without plying it in order to keep the color changes true. I then warped up my loom, and wove with the same hand spun yarn.
You know how something looks really good in your head, but then when you try it it doesn't work? Well that was what I was afraid would happen with this idea, but it didn't. The colors softly change thoughout and the scarf turned out beautiful.
This picture was taken before the fabric was washed. After washing the open weave of the fabric closed up, and made it even better.

Love my newest loom.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Faith, Hope, and Charity

I've been busy inside this last week setting up looms. This takes a bit of time, especially if you're not really sure about a couple of really old looms.

This first loom was donated to the village late in the season last fall. From what I could tell about the loom, it was built in the early 1900's. It had been in someones barn or shed for many years, and was in bad condition. The loom came with a warp still on it and rugs from the last person that wove on the loom. The old warp was very dirty, and you could see where mice had been all over it. Needless to say that had to come off. The reed was very rusty as were the headles.

This spring I decided this would be my first task in the house. As I was working on this loom I thought how much faith I must have in this old loom. It did after all come with warp on it, so I knew at one time it worked, but would it work for me? I wouldn't know until I had put a new warp on it. So that is how this loom got it's new name, Faith.

I replaced the reed, and the headles, and warped it up with 5 yards of yarn, and holding my breath I slowly opened each shed. Yeaaaa, I had a clean shed on all 4 shafts.

One more hurdle to overcome was that this loom is a counter balance loom so now I had to attach the treadles and see if the balance was correct. If the shafts aren't balance you won't have very much luck weaving.
Again my faith was rewarded and I was able to weave on this old Cambridge Loom.

This is the other loom that is in my house. This loom was built in 1885, it too is a counter balance loom. We did a little weaving on this loom last year, but it wasn't set up correctly. So I am now working on this loom, and I hope that I can get it up and running again. So the name of this loom is Hope. I found several missing parts in the upstairs of the house, so instead of a two shaft, I hope to restore it back to it's original four shaft glory.
Now, I know what you're thinking, you can't have Faith, and Hope without Charity, so meet my dependable little spinning wheel Charity. She has never failed me. She is my go to wheel, and she has always spun up a mighty fine yarn every time I've sat in front of her.

So there you have it. If you're ever in Salt Lake come up and visit Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm Back !!!!!

Yea it's spring????? Can you believe this weather? It's April 13th and there is about 4 inches of snow on the ground. Spring season 2010 has begun here at This Is The Place, and that means that any type of weather can happen here in the Rocky Mountains.

This is one of the apricot trees that is in my yard. It's really hard to see the apricot blossoms, (what with all the snow on them) they where just starting to bloom. I hope the snow wasn't enough to damage the blossoms. These trees produce some of the best apricots and this year is suppose to be a good year for the trees to produce.
I won't be sitting on the front porch today. The village looks more like it's getting ready for Candle Light Christmas than spring season. My neighbor, Sister Andrus won't be in her house for another month, but slowly the houses will all start to open up, and air out after a long winter. My dye garden will have to wait a few more days before I can begin the spring planting. Many of the plants in the garden are perennials, like Day Lilies, Sage, Lavender, Irises, Golden Rod, and Madder. But I do need to plant a few annuals such as Marigolds.

The wild Canadian Geese like to come to the village as well and raise there goslings. If you listen carefully you can almost hear what they're saying.
Dear, are sure you read that map correctly?

Do you think we went to far north?

I could have sworn that the GPS told me to take that last right.

I knew we should have asked for directions at that last pond, but nooooo, you said you knew the way.

I hope you're happy now.

The good thing about getting snow this time of year, is that it melts quickly. By tomorrow it should all be gone.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yippee, Fiber Exchange

Last night was the most fun of all the guild meeting for the year. You guessed it, it was the annual fiber exchange meeting. Maybe I should change my description from Christmas to "Trick or Treating", that's what it felt like last night. No tricks just some fun, colorful, treats. When I emptied my bag out on the floor this is what I came home with.
I think the challenge of natural dyes scared some people away, but for those of us that faced the challenge head on with courage, had a wonderful time. One of the ladies liked her wool so much she didn't even come to the meeting cause she didn't want to give any of her wool away, so said her partner. We all got a chuckle out of that. I really didn't see anything that wasn't interesting or beautiful. Some of the ladies made it very difficult to choose, because they tried several different dye stuffs. I learned some new things as well. For example, Judy made a dye bath using a gallon of vinegar and several steel wool pads. She poured the vinegar into a bucket, and crumbled the steel wool up in it, and then let it sit for several days. She saw this on the DIY network for making a wood stain, and thought that if it would stain wood it would for sure work on wool. You can see her wool at the top. It's in a plastic bag, light tan with a smidgen of rusty brown on the tip. (go figure) The wheels are turning on what I can make with these little beauties, but for now I like to just look at and pet them.

If you're wondering how the sweater is coming along, here it is. I've almost finished the body. Only a couple inches, and then it's on to the sleeves. I've really loved working on this sweater. It's nice to have a big project, that is not on a time line to finish. I don't think I'll have it finished in time to wear before warm weather hits, but come next winter this sweater will keep me looking fashionable and warm.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Happy or Sad?

I received a package in the mail last month from The Griffin Dye Works and Fiber Arts company, and I've been having a ball with it. I purchased their American dye kit which contains dye materials that where used by Native Americans as well as early colonists and pioneers. One of the dyes that I used was fustic. Fustic which is also known as Dyer's Mulberry is a hardwood. The fustic came ready to soak as shavings. I made the dye pot, put in some wool and this is the color that came out. I didn't need to use a mordant, so the color that I got was a very sunny yellow. This picture really doesn't do it justice.

The kit also came with several different mordants. One of the mordants was Iron. Iron saddens the color of the dyes, so I thought I would see how sad I could make this happy yellow fiber. I used some more wool and mordanted it with the iron. I then added the mordanted wool to the same dye pot that the first wool came from, and this is the result.
The wool turned into a very pretty olive green. It's really fun to see what different colors I can get from the same dye pot by just changing the mordant. There are about 7 or 8 different dyes in this kit along with 3-4 different mordants. The kit has been well worth the cost, and it's been quite fun to learn about the plants and mordants.