Wovenflame

A fiber-crafts fanatic who lives to create. Lately I've been knitting and sewing to clothe resin ball jointed dolls. I'm also "Wovenflame" on Ravelry, Flickr, ETSY, DoA and yahoogroups.

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Capricorn, Married with grown children.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One Stitch Cardigan

I haven't yet mentioned a WIP I've had going for the last little while. This is the One Stitch Adult Cardigan by Lion Brand. I started it during our last road trip. By the time I had returned from that trip I had the pockets in and was working my way upward.

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I've only worked on it a little since that time as I was kind of saving it for my next little road trip which starts tomorrow. This ALL garter stitch cardigan is much too boring to knit unless you are confined to a car for long periods of time. My husband likes me to "enjoy the view" while he is driving. I like to knit. I think of this as a compromise, something I can knit without looking at so that I can still "enjoy the view".

The pattern calls for each front and the back to be knitted separately but I put them all on one long circular to knit as one piece so that I wouldn't have to seam garter stitch. This pattern has a somewhat dolman shaped sleeve that is knit by adding stitches onto the sides of the front and back pieces. A few inches above the pockets it starts getting wider and wider. I have a lot of stitches on the needles now!

I'm knitting it in "ACKrylic". Phentex Worsted to be exact. I wanted an easy to knit, plain, comfy cardigan, one that I could frequently throw in the washer and dryer.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Novice Weaver At the Loom

The weaving of the "Keep It Simple Towels" from the ebook, "Top Ten Towels On Four Shafts", is going well.....not perfectly, but well enough for my liking. I have a few streaky spots where my beat changed as I varied my technique. I wasn't sure if I should beat while the shed was still open, beat after it was closed, or beat after changing to the next shed. I chose the latter....mainly because it prevented me from packing the weft in too tightly.

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In "real life" it doesn't look nearly so loose and see through as the photo makes it out to be. I am getting the correct number of PPI (picks per inch).

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Oh, and those twisted warps at the back? I have found I can keep moving them back along the warp as I wind the warp forward (I reinserted the lease sticks for that purpose).

Sleyed and Tied On

The next step is complete. The warp is sleyed through the reed and tied on to the apron rod. Look through to the back of the loom. See all those scary twists in the warp? I don't know what went wrong, but it seems to be weaving okay. So far at least.

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I've woven six inches or so since taking this picture. The warp is white and the first tea towel has a green weft. There should be enough length in the warp to do four altogether and one of the others will be blue. Pictures tomorrow of the weaving in progress.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Corelle Shrapnel

You know those "Corelle by Corning" plates that rarely ever break? I broke one. I was unloading the dishwasher and accidentally bumped the plate on the bottom of the cupboard. It went off like a bomb flinging extremely sharp shrapnel over a huge area.

On the counter and in the dishwasher.....

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.....all across the floor

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.....by the back door,

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.......even into neighbouring rooms!

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There was some in the cupboard,

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.....the sink,

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......and even the dog's dish!

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Even after what was left of the plate was laying scattered about my home, it continued to pop and ping and crack into smaller pieces!

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I was glad I was the only person within the line of trajectory. I was hit in the hands, forearms, neck and face by many of the tiny shards. I felt like I had been handling Fiberglas insulation. Some of the deeper scratches actually bled.

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Corelle has a guarantee about no breaking or free replacement (or money back?). I really like my Corelle dinnerware. It has served me well for many years. I've had many of the pieces for almost three decades. In that time I recall only two incidences like this. The other was with a bowl that was dropped. So I'm left wondering......Do I return all these razor sharp shards and ask for a replacement? Or do I return all the remaining dishes and purchase a different brand which will be more likely to break easily, but into fewer pieces and without the explosive force?

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Beamed and Threaded

I've been meaning to weave tea towels for quite some time now but the whole warping process is a nerve wracking journey for me. I love the weaving part but struggle with the warping. I'm expecting a book on warping back to front but it will be at least a month before it arrives so I've decided to go ahead and take a gamble with this one.

I measured the warp quite some time ago and it's been sitting in my "play room" ever since as I mustered the courage for the next step. Friday I struggled through the beaming process. Today, in fits and starts throughout the day, I got the heddles threaded.

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Tomorrow if nothing else comes up, (I live rather spontaneously), I will be sleying the reed and tying onto the cloth beam. There are some rather scary looking twists in the warp. I have no idea how they got there! I don't have enough experience to know if it will be a problem later or not.

Wish me luck!

Friday, May 26, 2006

And Another

So here is the second scarf. Again a hand rolled hem.

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I knit the Shy Sheep Vest in handspun that is a tad on the scratchy side. The only place I really notice is at the sides of my neck if I am wearing a collarless shirt. This scarf will be the little bit of protection I need in that area.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Rose Print Scarf

All knitting and spinning has come to a standstill while I get a couple of "quick" sewing projects out of the way.

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Actually this first one wasn't quite as quick as I expected. Although I didn't time myself I do know it took several hours. Some people can sew entire outfits in that amount of time!

I decided this scarf needed a HAND rolled hem, rather than a serged one. My serger requires quite a bit of fiddling before I get a rolled hem just right and I had no extra scraps to practice on. I bought just enough of two different fabrics to make a lightweight scarf of each.

Although I don't consider myself a dressy, scarf wearing kinda gal, my jacket has an open neckline that needs some kind of filling when I'm wearing a low or wide neckline top with it. The jacket is black with white trim and this scarf will be perfect.

The second scarf should be finished later today.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Shy Sheep Vest DONE

I'm done! After much fleece washing, dyeing, combing, spinning, plying and knitting I have now finished the Shy Sheep Vest. And it was worth every minute. I love it.

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I made a bit of an alteration to Mabel Corlett's pattern. I carried the I-cord edging all around the entire vest rather than stopping at the front points. I think it looks more finished this way.

Pattern: Shy Sheep Vest
Designer: Mabel Corlett
Yarn: hand dyed, hand combed, handspun (click HERE for the dyeing technique)
Started: dyeing, combing and spinning in February 2006, knitting in May 2006
Finished: May 21, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

Family Visits

We're back from our mini-vacation on Vancouver Island. My husband and I spent a couple of days in Nanaimo, mostly visiting my relatives. I saw my dad, and completely forgot to take any pictures even though I had my camera with me. We did remember to take a few pictures of my brother and his daughter. This is about the only one that turned out though. We were about to board a little "ferry" boat that takes passengers to the Dinghy Dock Pub, reportedly the only floating pub in North America.

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After dinner we went for a walk on Protection Island, the little island near the pub, and my husband captured this lovely picture:

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Sheep Blocking

Progress is actually being made! Yesterday I got the Shy Sheep Vest blocking

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Today I sewed in ends, joined the shoulders with a 3 needle bind-off, and purchased buttons. We're heading out tomorrow morning on a little mini-vacation so I likely won't have a chance to work on it again until the weekend.

Tonight I need to pick out my travel project(s) between doing laundry and packing a small suitcase. Will it be a sweater? Socks? A teddy bear?

Yes. Probably all three.

Happy Mother's Day

I had a wonderful Mother's Day. All three of my children (and a son-in-law) all came over for dinner and, of course, that was the best present of all. I was also given other lovely gifts.

My husband gave me this:

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I call it my "Pattern Stand" although it looks identical to a standard, collapsible music stand. I am so tired of my knitting/cross-stitch/needlepoint patterns slipping off my lap while I am trying to work on them! This works great. I used it to do the final 10 rows on the main part of the Shy Sheep Vest. I'll have photos of the vest blocking tomorrow.

My youngest daughter arrived with this fantastic mug and a cute little book about the child/mom relationship.

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My oldest daughter and my son are going together to get me this book. It hasn't arrived yet. Hopefully when it does I will finally get that tea towel warp on my loom!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sheep To Shawl

Yesterday I spent the day in Surrey participating in my very first competitive "Sheep To Shawl". There were only three teams. Ours, "The Spinning Jennys", came in second.

In four hours (with a 30 minute lunch break) we took a washed fleece,

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prepared it by "flicking" or "combing" it,

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spun it, plyed it, and used it as weft in a shawl that had to measure no less than 20 inches by 72 inches.....

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.....while our spokesperson answered the questions of the judge and entertained the public in a friendly and knowledgeable way.

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Here's the team, minus one member who had to slip away a bit early. As you can see by all the smiling faces, we really had a good time!

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From left to right we have Ann, Babe, Jenny, Marilyn, Jenny, Marlene (me), and Carol. And below is a picture of Vonny, before she rushed off to another event.


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There are many more pictures to see, including ones of the finished shawl. Check them out at the Chilliwack Spinners and Weavers Guild photo site.




Saturday, May 06, 2006

Monkey's New Buddy

Monkey has a cuddly new buddy. I may have to make one of these in the future. You know, after all the other half finished projects around here are done. I have the yarn. For two.

I will not cast on for a new project.
I will not cast on for a new project.
I will not cast on for a new project.
I will not cast on for a new project.
I will not cast on for a new project.
I will not cast on for a new project.
I will not cast on for a new project.
I will not cast on for a new project.
I will not cast on for a new project.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dyeing To Spin

Okay, so I'm cheating here using some old pictures, some you may have seen already.

Today on Canspin Erynn asked a question about the list members dyeing techniques. She wanted to know if the spinners dye their roving and then spin it or dye the fibre and then card or comb it before spinning, or wait until the yarn is already spun and then dye it.

As a relatively new spinner (about one year) I have only done ONE of these techniques. I dye, comb, and then spin. If I wanted a more uniform color I would have to approach it differently but I rather like the "controlled randomness" of the colors when using this technique.

I start with the fleece of course,

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First I wash it, then I set to work dyeing it. I like the "by guess and by golly" nature of sprinkle dyeing as taught to me by Sandi. Like Forrest Gumps "box of chocolates" you never know (quite) what you are going to get.

In this particular experiment I was aiming for a varied grass green effect for the background of the shy sheep vest. The little containers on the counter contain several concoctions of green that I mixed up (dry) ahead of time using Ashford dyes.

My technique (if you can call it that, it really is an inexact blundering) is to fill my "designated for dyeing only" crockpot about 7/8 full with hot water. How hot? Um.....about "tap hot" (yes, that exact). I add about 3 tablespoons of vinegar and dump in enough fleece (dry or wet) that the top bits start sticking out of the water a little. Then I sprinkle on the dry dye powder, (go lightly here.....three quarters of a teaspoon is PLENTY) poke it a wee bit with a plastic "wooden" spoon (also used only for dyeing), pop on the lid and set it on low for an hour or more. The time varies a LOT. I did a black batch yesterday and it took many hours to "exhaust" fully. You are done when the water is clear and free from color. If you've put in too much dye you may need to add more wool to get the water to clear.
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I then let it cool until I can handle it, pop it in a mesh bag and spin it at high speed in the washer (with the water turned off) to extract the excess water. I take it out of the bag, spread it on a sweater drying rack and leave it until dry, ending up with a large fluffy pile of fleece of varied color and intensity.

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Over the course of many days/weeks/months I gradually comb it all using my mini combs. (Photo is of UNdyed fleece being combed and wrapped in their little coiled "nests", but you get the idea).

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I don't spin ANY of it until I have it all combed because.......

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.....the bundles vary a lot in color, especially between one dye batch and the next, and I want to pick and choose what order the colors will appear in my finished yarn.

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When it's all combed I dump the whole lot out on the floor and begin arranging.

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I line the bundles up on the floor in the order I want them to appear in the finished yarn and then I string them together with crochet cotton. You want your stringing yarn to be smooth so the combed wool doesn't stick to it as you pull the nests off. I use a long darner/doll sculpture needle for the task.

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Then it's a matter of spinning the little nests one after another.


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I like to Navaho Ply the resulting singles into a 3 ply yarn where the yarn variations are kept as separate and "pure" as possible. (ahem....excuse the rather shoddy Navaho plying. It was my first attempt and I had no one around to show me how it should be done).

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And there you have it, my dyeing method for the wool I'm using in the Shy Sheep Vest.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Illusion Knitting

Now you see them,

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Now you don't.

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Through the magic of illusion knitting we have sheep dancing in and out of view. This is the start of the Shy Sheep Vest. I'm using my own handspun wool for this. The natural color is spun from rovings purchased at Seabird Island reserve. The green is that unwanted fleece I picked up for $5 through the guild. I sprinkle dyed it with Ashford dyes, combed it using mini combs by Ray, spun it on my Little Gem wheel and then did a Navaho Ply to keep the variations in color seperate. Both yarns are approximately a worsted weight.