Shaker Village

Craig just shared a link with me that I wanted to pass on. It’s a Flickr slideshow of a Shaker style village at Pleasant Hill, in America. There are some stunning photos depicting a very simple country lifestyle with some fantastic shots of people making brooms, showing spinning wheels and also weaving. Gorgeous woodwork throughout. 

Link

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Not happy with Ashford

I really wanted to get down to some weaving today, discovered that there was no easy way for me to warp up my Rigid heddle loom to do the tea towels I’ve been wanting to do for months, in the craft room, so decided to warp it up in the lounge. It was supposed to be ok, it would take me a few hours and then I’d be out of everyone’s way. That was until I discovered that when the Ashford Book of Ridid Heddle weaving says that you need 8/2 cotton white 150gm, 8/2 cotton navy 20gm for the warp it lies. My warp is 220cm long and I am just about at the end of the first cone of cotton which is a 200gm ball and I’ve only done about 53 or 198 ends I need to do! I need almost 4 balls, and that’s not including the weft thread. I had been a fan of Ashford, but I think it’s just because it’s a brand so close to home. I’m really disappointed with the DVD I got (actually I had to send the first copy back as it didn’t play), it lacked any real information and was more a promotional video then anything else, their cotton isn’t very nice to the touch, but perhaps it will be different when woven up and washed. The rigid heddle book isn’t clear and complete. It misses information about the types of yarn they use and most of them aren’t supplied by Ashford and there is no listing on where or how to get them. 

Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! I have no way of getting the cotton thread today or tomorrow, none of the shops that sell Ashford products sell this thread (or at least none of the ones open). I can get onto my usual supplier of Ashford products but then he’s not going to be able to post it till Monday so it could be Tuesday or Wednesday before I get it! So what the blazers do I do with this warp in the mean time? I can’t leave it set up in the lounge room for 3 days as it’s utalising the dinning table – apparently I can, Craig say’s we can work around it and Kain says we don’t need to eat at the table – but that’s not the point! Things just aren’t going my way today. I did attempt to spin some newspaper this morning, which was an interesting experience that I think I’d really enjoy, if I had a spinning wheel with a larger orifice, like the ones for novelty yarn spinning (which I guess this is).

 

Candles

Candles

I was hoping to use this for my candle bundles that Ines and I will be taking to markets, unfortunately she doesn’t like the look so we have to find something else.

And now I’m simply feeling like I’ve spent far too much time in front of my computer today and haven’t actually achieved anything *sigh*

Spinning Bug

I had a serious spinning bug recently, my wool still hasn’t come back from Jumbuck Carding so Rochana gave me a bag of green Romney from Tally-Ho. Buffie laid her eyes on it at declared she loved it, which is lucky ’cause I’m intending on knitting her socks with it 🙂

Green Romney

I’m impressed with my spinning at the moment. I’m starting to turn out a much more even thread with very few slubby bits. I do need to find another method of feeding out the wool though as my RSI likes to flair up in my left hand and when it does I can’t spin, crochet or knit (or squeeze a drink bottle). So anything I can do to lesson that particular motion would be good. (I know have 2 completed bobbins of this wool ready to ply).

Navajo Plying

I’ve been playing with navajo plying today, plying one of my white singles as a test run. I’d like to use this technique to spin up the wool a dyed a few weeks ago as I only had 1 bobbins worth, I’m hoping there will be enough for a pair of fingerless gloves. The benefits for using navajo plying include:

 

  1. I only have 1 bobbin to work with
  2. No wastage
  3. The colours will stay spread out rather then blend together more
I’m told that this does make for a slightly weaker yarn then if it was a normal 3 ply, but I’m cool with that. My test yarn seems to be strong enough, it’s currently drying after being washed and and whacked.
And pictures:
Close up of Navajo ply you can see some of the loupe like structures in here (I think that’s from where I’ve started new loupes.) One of the things I found with this was that when your yarn is good and strong plying is a dream, if you have week points in the yarn then it’s a real bitch to ply as it breaks and you have to rejoin the yarn – which is kinda messy if you ask me.
Hanging to dry hanging out to dry.
And last but not least, a photo of the 1 completed Craig sock:
Completed sock I’m really rather pleased with myself. I’ve finished the ribbing on the second sock but I’m afraid it’s been almost a week since I’ve picked it up to knit since *bad me* I did take it with me on a few occasions, only to discover that (as usual) I had left the fourth dpn at home! I was really expecting this to be a lot harder then it was to do.
I’ve been making more bread this week also with great results. I’ve turned the fan off in the over, going for a hotter oven with a bowl of water in with it, this gives a MUCH softer crust which is fantastic. I really didn’t like the hard crust on the first batch of bread. I’ve found that my recipe does 2 large loaves and 6 rolls (which I burnt the tops of because I had them way to close to the top of the oven and forgot about them).
I’ve also had my loom out this week and finished off a small section – about half an hour or so worth of weaving, not much, but at least it’s something. I really want this project off the loom so I can start on my dishcloths, but I must finish it, even if it doesn’t motivate me. I’m using short lengths of weft so about ever second turn I have to start a new length, it’s just tedious. The fabric itself will like nice when it’s done though I think.
What else… Craig is busy in the garden when he can get a chance, planting broad beans, garlic and onions, building raised beds and generally getting his hands dirty. The driveways are being poured, the guys have been busy, not as busy as some of us would like and the seem to have a fear of getting damp, but certainly things are progressing and more then halfway finished. I’d say providing it doesn’t pour down rain everyday, they should be completely finished by the end of next week – yay! Earthsong is really starting to look less and less like a building sight and more and more like lush eco-neighbourhood. 

 

Spinning and a new Lazy Kate

My un-tensioned lazy kate just wasn’t cutting the mustard and I could evenly tension it so Craig made me a new one *grin* (and yes I know I’m spoilt).

As you can see from these pics, the tension works the same as for the spinning wheel with a spring and a tensioning nob:

You can see my second and third finished bobbins of yarn in these pics too. For my fourth attempt, Rochana and I split some roving she had dyed prior to yesterdays fun:

Such gorgeous ocean colouring – keeps reminding me of mermaid hair.

 Still some work to do on getting an even thread but I think I’ve come a long way. I’m planning to use the “Navajo” plying technique to turn this single ply into a 3-ply. I watched the following video today and had a quick attempt and it was so easy. I’ll do a practice run on an entire bobbin of my second spinning attempt before trying it with this small bobbin of ocean.

A day dyeing

I had a fantastic day today playing with dyes at Rochana’s. We started the morning carding some of the washed fleece and moved onto painting it with Ashford dyes. 

1) Carder + washed fleece (more on the washing method later when I wash a little more ) 

2) We soaked the carded bats for about half an hour in luke warm water until it “bloomed” (I still don’t know what that really means). After soaking we covered the bench in cling wrap and pulled out our mixed Ashford dyes. Using paint brushes we painted strips of colour (teal, green, black and rust) until the entire fleece was painted

3) We wrapped the painted bats up in the cling wrap and placed them outside in the sun to keep warm then put them in the oven on 100 degrees Celsius for several hours.

4) the end result drying 

5) dried bats, as flat as crepes 

6) I pulled the bats into strips and put them back through the carder and they all fluffed right back up

7) I split the roving to make slivers for spinning (*note to self, take photos and show how Rochana taught you to split the bats)

I’ll update with photos of the spun wool in a few days.