Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Trickin' Out My Ride

I can sure tell that winter has been around way to long, so to bring some light heartedness into my day I decided to make this. . . .

That's right, it's a spare tire cozy. My co-workers and husband think that I have to much free time on my hands, and I would have to say that they are right. The pattern is really a knitted doily, but when you use bulky yarn, and size 10 knitting needles you too can make a stunning, eye catching, tire cozy. Some of you might recognize this pattern from Jared Flood. It's the Hemlock Ring Doily Throw. I made it just as the pattern instructed, but then added loops around the outer edge and wove in 1/2 inch elastic.

Also, last Wednesday was the fiber exchange at my spinning guild meeting. This is the eye candy that I brought home. Everyone was really intrigued with my sheepdog fiber and many came back and traded more of their fiber for another ounce or two of it.

I just love the vibrant, blue, jewel tones of the these. I think I will be spinning it up very similar to what I did with last years exchange, but I do have a pattern in mind for this fiber. Hopefully with the full two pounds I will have enough to make it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Toys

Here are my two newest toys.

This first little beauty is a box tape loom. I purchased it new, but it was made to replicate ones that would have been made in the 1800's. These were common in households to make narrow bands of woven fiber. If you ever needed something to tie up a bag or use as a strap you would simply go over to the box loom and cut off what you needed.

The body of the box is made from green popular, with maple trim. And the reed, is made from canary wood.
It is a very simple loom to set up, and you can weave when you have time, and then either wind the finished tape on the dowel behind the reed, or let it gather in a basket on the floor. I think it is going to be a fun little loom to have up at work this summer. I think I might even let guests try it out.

The maker of this loom put these cute inlaid hearts into the loom as well. This heart lets me know that this is the back of the reed.

And since it's going with me to work I needed to make sure that it had my mark on it as well.

New toy number 2.
I thought having a small table loom that would be easy to carry around and do demonstrations on would be a good thing to have. So I went on Ebay and found this little beauty. This one is not a replica, but I'm not sure how old it is. When I did some research on similar looms I found that these were made as children's looms to learn how to weave. The size is 12" high, 15 1/2" wide, and 14 1/2" long.

The wood was very dirty and needed to be cleaned and oiled, so that was the first step in the restoration. The string heddles were also in very bad shape, so I threw those away and made new ones. In the above picture you can see that it is missing the dowel to tie your warp to. That also was an easy cheap fix. The reed however was in very good shape. No rust at all. Many of the other little loom like this one had very rusty reeds, and the wood on them looked like cheap balsa wood.

Here is my new loom all clean, oiled, with parts replaced, and all warped up.

I also did some light sanding with a fine sand paper and steel wool. The wood is now smooth so as not to snag the fibers, and it works as good as it looks.

I already have two demonstrations to do this week, so I'm happy that I bought these looms.

Monday, March 7, 2011

2011 Fiber Exchange

It's that time of year when a splash of color gets added to a long grey winter. Next Wednesday is the Wasatch Woolpack fiber exchange, and this is what I did. First off as a reminder of the rules, the president of the guild decides on a color or technique. This year the color is "Hues of Blues." If you choose to participate, you dye 2 pounds of ready to spin fiber, and then divide it up into 1 ounce bundles. The bundles must have your name, type of fiber, and color of dye.

So this was what I started with, 3 colors of blue dye.

Two pounds of some unique fiber. I like to call it my "Sheepdog" fiber because it's 50% Malamute dog undercoat, and 50% Corriedale sheep wool. This has been in my stash for long enough, so I decided to use it for the exchange.

The fiber is soaking in a pot of water with some vinegar.

As the water and fiber begin to heat up, I sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of each dye onto the fiber. I don't stir or move the fiber in anyway at this point.

As the temperature begins to heat up, the dye melts into the fiber. Still I don't stir or move the water in anyway.

After the water starts to steam, I then cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes. After that time I carefully flip the fiber over in the pot to make sure all the fiber gets some dye on it.

After the fiber has cooled, I rinse it out and hang it up to dry. Then comes the long boring part. I then weigh the fiber into one ounce bundles, and put my tag on them.
And here is the finished product. Two pounds of fiber ready to be exchanged.

And since I had a little more than two pounds, I decided to spin up the left-overs to see what the yarn would look like. Not bad, and did I mention that blue is my favorite color.

I can't wait to see what everyone else has done because I already have a project in mind for this years fiber exchange roving.