Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fresh Off the Wheel

I'm in the midst of a summer cold which has settled into my head in these last few days of August.  So, sitting here in my favorite chair (one of those Poang Ikea bent wood chairs in case you're wondering) resting, I look over to my spinning wheel and the half finished yarn being plied and I think "I have enough energy for that".  I then sit and pedal my way through finishing the skein of yarn.  It's a lovely blend of merino wool, which is the white ply, and a plant dyed mixed fiber batt in pastel  tones.  The skein came out a worsted weight with only about 140 yards.  It's destiny will be knitted cats and gnomes I think as I'm just not quite ready yet to sell my yarn as well, yarn.

This is the completed yarn wound on my Ashford Jumbo Flyer Bobbin.

And here it is wound on to a Niddy Noddy.  I count how many wraps to determine yardage.


Lastly you see it wound into a skein form.  Lots of winding in making yarn!

Now the yarn is still not ready to knit with and must go through a soak with a little soap to set the twist and let the fibers "bloom" or puff out so to speak.  Then I'll rinse it and hang it dry.  When it's dry I'll take the skein and place it onto a swift and use my ball winder to wind it into a center pull ball ready for knitting.  After I started spinning yarn I have deep appreciation for the amount of effort goes into each skein.  Of course, mainly machines do these tasks now, but still the amount of steps really is amazing.

Joining Linda on Creative Friday on a Thursday :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Naturals Gang

Let me introduce you all to the new cats in my shop - The Naturals.  As their name implies, they are made with un-dyed all natural fiber knit up with my own hand-spun yarn in a variety of fibers.  The cream kitty is made out of Shetland sheep's wool.  Domestic sheep's wool (this mean it's from the USA and is a mix of many breeds of sheep) and Alpaca fiber (the Alpaca's name was Chip - cute no?) make up the cream and caramel model.  While the dark brown cat is made out of Shetland wool too, it's a completely different shade do to the breeds variety of colors.  Lastly, we have a sweet little gray pussy knit in a sheep's wool/angora mix from a lovely local angora rabbit breeder.  So soft!

I am always amazed at the variety of expression that occurs upon completion of this simple pattern.  Some look feisty, some a bit quirky, but always cute don't you agree?  Should I make an all caramel alpaca too to round out the color selection a bit?  What do you think about matching knitted gnomes?  Maybe angora knitted bunnies with little white angora pom-pom tails?  Hmmm...  I definitely have toy making on my mind today!

Joining in with Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On .

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Look!

Hello again.  How have you been?  I haven't visited this space for some months now, but as always I am going to try and be more regular about posting.  Here's wishing me good luck!  

So, you may have noticed I have a new look on my blog, Etsy shop and Facebook page.  My amazingly multi-talented friend Emily designed them especially for me.  
Isn't she just the best!  Check out more of her artwork here

 Some little ad buttons for advertising on other blogs.

The change began as I learned to naturally dye and spin my own yarn.  Both processes are truly trans formative and so exciting that they have turned the direction of my work.  I will still be making knitted and felted toys for babies and children, but will discontinue making magic wands and garlands.  Instead, I will be offering items made from my hand-spun yarn as well as skeins of both hand-spun and mill spun naturally dyed yarn.

Progress may be slow or fast depending on how this year of homeschooling my 1st grader progresses.  I'm super excited about both endeavors and will be sharing them here in this space for you to follow along.  Have a great rest of your week!