family, knitting, living

knitting stuff

Second update, Knitted farmyard

Today was craftapalooza at our house…..so named because I had five extra girls and one mom at my house to make valentines.  Yes, you heard me right, I had a total of 7 girls 5-9 and another mom and Henry at my house today.  The picture to the left and the picture below show my dining room table covered in the various and sundry items used in making the valentines.  The girls all go to a school where they are to make the valentines…no store bought crap for this crew.  So, I felt like we would take the opportunity to get a jump on the Valentine making since I had to keep two of the girls today anyway.  The girls had a blast.  Besides the Valentine making, the girls helped make pompoms for the knitted farmyard as evidenced later in the post.  They had more fun making them for themselves, but I did get a few out of them for the farm.  They also had lunch, hid in the back bedroom and whispered, ran around like nut cases and had various little girl dramas all day.  All in all, it was a lot of fun.

This is the photo of our dinner.  I made homemade French Onion soup and used my homemade bread for the toast layer.  Mycah had two bowls, so did Henry.  Grey had a bowl and a half.  It was a big, big hit.  Henry was a little suspect of the idea of French Onion soup.  He likes it, but everywhere we have the soup it is way too salty.  I knew his objection because I have the same one, so Mycah and I both tasted the soup BEFORE adding salt and then added a little at a time until it was perfect.  Henry had bought me these little crocks the other day when I mentioned for the second time that I sure would like to have them.  The girls loved having their own crock with a lid and everything.  I used the Mark Bittman recipe out of How to Cook Everything.   Lori turned me on to him a few months back and I bought his book.  It is great.  The recipes are really good and he discusses substitutions for seasonality, explains lots of things I had not know and give lots of variations for most of the recipes. i also bought How to Cook Everything Vegetarian based on my happiness with the other book and it is a winner too.

These last two photos show the progress on the knitted farmyard.  Henry made the little hay bales for the field of hay. I love them.  I have pinned down the additional fabric for the hay and the grass. The blank spot will be the only latch hooked area as latch hooking doesn’t agree with me.  The pompoms are little bushes.  They are not sewn down yet.  That will be one of my last things.  I have made one chicken and am still working of the dad.  The knitting part of the knitting farmyard should be the easiest for me, but it has turned out to be the slowest and most fiddley.  It’s well on its way to being completed, so I will soldier on.

Have a great, crafty evening and love to my family across the pond, in the burbs, on the ridge and in the hills of GA!

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Picture of my first plied handspun

I have finally gotten around to taking decent pictures of my first plied hand-spun.  Here’s the scoop.  My first hand-spun was a little iffy…if you know what I mean.  I don’t remember if I even posted a picture or not.  It was a merino tencil blend (50/50) that I had fell in love with at the Fiber Festival in Murfreesboro a few months ago.  My friend, Jan of Daily Fibers, had dyed it and I had to have it.  She was a little hesitant when I told her that I was just starting to spindle spin yarn, but finally let me have it. I will say…this… it was not the right fiber for me to start spinning with.  I did not use my spindlelyn, but started on my wheel.  It was a little slicky and the fibers are pretty short, so it would get thin and I would compensate with too much fiber.  This went on back and forth until I took it off the bobbin and tried again. The second time was more successful, but still really not what I was hoping for.  I feel like I wasted some gorgeous fiber. 

Anyway, I backed up and spun some shetland.  This was some pretty rawish fiber I got at the festival also.  The farm is in White Plein, TN, I think.  Anyway, it was cleaned and combed but minimally processed.  It was a beautiful full, dark chocolate.  There was no dye, it was completely natural.  This was so easy to spin that I thought I was some sort of spinning savant.  I got a really nice fingering to light fingering weight yarn.  Here’s a picture of what is left after I used most of it to ply. 

Then I spun some Louet Blue Faced Leicester.  This was a little tougher and while I wound up with a respectable single, it was a little thicker than the Shetland.  I did not get a photo of that alone.  Anyway, I was itching to try my hand at plying.  I haven’t had a class and am relying on a couple of you-tube videos, so I hope I did it right.  I am actually pretty happy with it.  The nice thing is that I plied the dark brown Shetland with the ivory BFL so I could really see what was happening wile I plied.  The yarn is balanced and does not twist back on itself now that it is plied.  Here’s a shot of it after it was wound.  Wendy hand wound it for me because I made my PVC Niddy Noddy so big that the hank was too big for the swift. 

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This leads me to the PVC Niddy Noddy.  I found a diy on   http://www.doctordirt.com/blog/niddy.html  .  I used her directions to make myself and Wendy a NiddyNoddy.  The total cost of the two together was about 3-4 dollars.  I decided to make the PVC one rather than getting a wood niddy noddy because I wanted to wet set the twist in may yarn as I had been reading.  The PVC can get wet without it deflecting or eventually rotting.  The brown and ivory yarn above was wet set on the noddy and it worked like a charm.  The only problem as the above mentioned trouble with the size of the hank.  I originally made the main portion of the noddy 18 inches long as suggested, but that proved to be too big.  So, I went back down to the basement and used Henry’s chop saw to cut it down to 12 inches.  This makes one full wrap around the noddy equal to one yard, which is handy and makes the hank manageable for my swift. 

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The next set of photos is 4 ounces of BFL hand painted by Jan of Daily Fibers.  I plied it with itself and am not as happy with it as I would have like.  My singles were a it over-spun and then the plying is a bit under-spun.  I think it will be fine once the twist is set and I knit something with it.  It is just not as good as I thought it would be after I felt like a super genius on the first plying adventure!  I have wound it onto the niddy noddy for its bath.

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I sat this morning and pun 4 ounces of Daily Fiber’s Wensleydale top.  It was tougher to spin, but easier to spin than the BFL (I know I contradict myself).  What I mean is that the fibers truly want to be together, so they grab onto each other with ease.  The hard part is that they are so grabby that I have to be sure to do some heavy pre-drafting to make sure I get the weight of yarn I want.  It took more time, but I really like my single. I am thinking of plying it with a commercial yarn.  I have some black lace weight that might be nice.  I have seen people ply with thread, but I think yarn will be more my speed. 

Oh…here’s a photo of my little spinning space.  I spin in the living room in the front of the house.  It is usually pretty full of light and just cozy.  I love it. 

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One other thing….does anyone have any idea what these things are?  Henry claims his mother used them to wind yarn.  I’m not really sure about that. I would love an expert opinion….anyone…anyone?

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