Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Seeds 2

The rest of my seeds came today, Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy. Finally some hope of spring from this very cold winter. I my self am not a winter person I like warmer weather. I would be perfectly fine with a nice 70 degree temperature all year long. I know I lose the wonderful seasons or I could just move some place that had a nice even temp. range all year long.

I do have a list of all the seeds I got for you all to look at below have fun.

Broccoli, Basil, Beets, Snapdragons, Cabbage, Parsley, Henna, Phacelia, Celery, Oregano, Woad, Zinnia, Pickles, Rosemary, Indigo, Cerinthe, Paprika Pepper, Sage, Dyers Broom, Kiss me over the garden gate, Cayenne Pepper, Thyme, French Marigold, Zucchini, Eucalyptus, Fullers Teasel, Nasturtium, Spinach, Soapwort, Hummingbird Plant, Egg Plant, Weld, French Marigold, Sun dry Tomatoes, Bachelor Button, Amish Paste Tomatoes, Sweet Pea, Tomatoes, Jacobs Cattle Bean, Tri Pack Snap Bean, Yin Yang Bean, Garbanzo Bean, Carrots, Lettuce, Cauliflower, Rice Pea, Pomegranate, Sesame

Tableware 2

I didn’t forget about the table runner, weaving it was a little difficult. So it took a little longer then I wanted. The trim I was going to do was Solomon’s trim I have used it before but my mind was not hem stitching the correct number of warp threads together. So that’s not going to work for this one.

In stead I have decides on something else that is pretty cool too. I’m using three different fringe treatments. Before you all go WHAT. I thought it would be fun to use three different fringe treatments. The first one is the half hitch alternating, five finger braid and the last is the square knot. I’m doing one of each then repeating that order all across the selvage.

I was only able to do a small amount today but will finish it in the next couple of days and blog the finished piece.

Cables and Arans

One of my goals for this year was to practice knitting. I have a very large book of 250 Cable and Aran patterns. This book is rightfully called Cables and Arans 250 stitches to knit, edited by Erika Knight published by Interweave Press. When I saw the book I new I wanted it and saved up to get a copy. I will say I have had it almost a year and haven’t really done much out of it.

Until now that is, I finally got time to start knitting from the book. My goal is to knit a new sample each day; I wasn’t that successful last week so I only have four done. None the less that is a start and in fact I will probable only ever be able to get five done in a week. Two days are days of running around with friends or resting or both depending on how the day goes.

I will try to blog my weekly knitting achievements for you all to look at and I will also try to get it up to seven days a week.

Monday, January 19, 2009

To dye or not to dye

These poor socks have seen better days. So why not over dye them and give them a new look. That’s a wonderful idea I said to my self so off to the dye pot I go.
After cooking them for a couple of hours in an alkaline solution to scour them, in to the mordant bath they go. I’m trying to achieve a black so an Iron mordant should do the job. But wait there not at all rust color but purple. Now what did I do wrong, well we’ll just let it simmer for an hour and continue any way.

Time to rinse out the socks and dye them, into the dye bath they go. Wow did that turn black real fast, I’ll let them sit for a while and check them in a bit.

Oh no just a light grey, not at all what I’m after. Let’s raise the Ph of the dye bath that may do the trick. O heaven for bid now it’s a red brown not at all what I wanted so well leave it in and check back later.

When I originally dyed these socks I dyed them with roses. I had done some experimentation and roses with iron on cotton came out black. Roses must have a lot of tannin. That isn’t what really happened; they came out more of a dark brown. Not a bad color for socks I was just trying for the black thing.

So this time I decided to use pomegranate rinds, I herd that with iron you get a black so I thought I would give that a try. To my dismay that is not what you get with pomegranate rinds on cotton with a high Ph, at least not wqhen I do it.

Ok let’s take them out of the dye bath and oxidize for a while then we'll rinse them. Well they came out dark after the oxidization but lightened up when they were rinsed. So here they are in the drying stage, they are better looking then when I started. But there just not the black I was looking for I guess I will have to try again another time.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Farm, Fleece

I got the chance to go too the PA farm show on Wednesday and had a wonderful time. The reason I go on Wednesdays is that’s when they have the sheep to shawl contest and they have a fleece auction after the contest. One of the other things I like to check out is the butter sculpture, (Yes I said butter). They carve life size or close to life size humans and of course a cow out of butter. It takes a lot of time sculpt this and a lot of cold air to keep this sculpture from melting so they have it in a glass cooler so it will keep thru out the show.

The sheep to shawl contest is an amazing feet to produce a shawl in 2 and a half hours. What helps is the looms are already warped, but still you have a lot of weft to spin up to make a shawl. After the winners are announced the shawls them selves are auctioned off. This year there was a State Farm record set when the sixth place shawl went for $3400.00. All the shawls were beautiful and any one of them could have won. I am sorry I was not able to take any pictures of the contest or the shawls. I was to far away.

I was able to get a fleece; this year is a second place winner. The entry tag says it’s a Hampshire-Suffolk, Shropshire-Southdown Ram fleece. So what I was doing yesterday (besides many other things) was spinning up a sample of the fleece to see how it spins and washes up. It spun well and washes up very easily, the only thing I was unaware of when I got it was how scratchy it is. So this fleece will not be used for anything to be worn close to the skin.

I also have a lamb fleece that I never made a sample of. So I decided to make up a sample of this one as well and that came out just like the ram fleece just much, much, much softer.

Well I guess I have a lot of spinning I have to do. So I best get to it.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Today was seed ordering day; I do realize that it may seem that I’m jumping the gun a little bit. But in true reality nothing can be further from the truth. You want to order your seeds as soon as possible so you are garneted you will get the seeds you are after, especially if you are some one that likes to pick up some rare seeds.

This year I was able to order a whole assortment of seeds from heirloom veggies, cooking herbs, dyes plant, fiber plants and flowers, of course because no garden is complete without some flowers.

If you are a gardener and haven’t ordered your seeds I suggest that you may consider doing so. Not only will you get the seeds your after you may also chase away the winter blues with the hope of the upcoming spring.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Table Ware

I’m sure everyone has those projects that they will eventually get around too. This is one of those projects; I had this really cool idea for a table runner in a rep weave. Well time and other obligations got me sidetracked and it never happened. Until now I have finally made it a point to make the table runner.

The idea was to have a main color with some stripping (Yes I know I’m on this strip kick). Not a lot of strips and more spread out, the picture should explain what I mean.

The rep weave that I’m doing doesn’t have a real thick weft. In reality the warp is 10/2 cotton. The weft is 10/2 and 5/2 cotton. This is how I get the rep effect not dramatic but it does make a nice fabric. The picture shows what I mean.

This is a closer view for you to check out.

The one other reason that I wanted to make this, it’s for a special trim that I would like to use on the loose ends. I’m not going to tell you what that is yet, so you will have to wait and see when I have it all woven and the trim done.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We have a vest people

Yeah!!!! Woo ho!!!!! YES!!!!! Happy dance!!!!!!!!!! I love it when things work out the way they are supposed to. O if you are trying to figure out what is he talking about my vest is done and it fits. Happy, happy, happy.

Front of the vest.

Back of the vest.

My main concern after it was washed that it would shrink too much. The way it did for the first two wool vests. The actual shrinkage for the vest is a little off from what I used by 1 % for length and no difference in the width. Never the less it fits well and looks good and I like it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Getting Closer

I got the fabric for the vest done. I took off yesterday so I finished weaving it today. For anyone that is unfamiliar with loom fitted garments that means the vest is one piece of fabric. That way you have very little to no cutting and have only side seams to sew. This is how a lot of clothing first got created and in some places in the world still is.

These pictures are of the fabric still on the loom from Saturday when I started weaving it.

This picture is the fabric done and off the loom.

Now I have it soaking in wash water to wet set (shrink) it. Before I did that I draped the fabric over me to see if it was wide enough and long enough and it was. Since this is made of a hundred percent wool I have it in cold water so there should be a normal amount of shrinkage I’m hoping. After I finish washing and drying the fabric I will finish off the vest. So hopefully I will have a wearable and fitting loom fitted vest. I will let everyone know hopefully tomorrow.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Try, Try, Try again

So here I go at trying this project again. Last year I tried my hand at making a loom fitted vest. I wove it, washed and dried it and then I started to sew up the sides. Well guess what it was to short. So I tried it again this time it wasn’t wide enough. The third time I had tension problems and the fourth time I some how miss calculated the warp and didn’t have enough. The picture is of the first four attempts.

So I try and I try with no success and what do I do I try again. That is what you are supposed to do, so I here. In total reality I really thought it would be cool to have a vest that was loom fitted and I won’t let this stop me from achieving that goal.

What am I doing about it? Let me tell you, I have gone a head and warped the loom for the fifth try. Since I have learned from my past mistakes and have rectified them. I do believe that this vest is going to work.

The picture below show the warp of the vest, it’s mainly green with blues, purple, neutrals, black and a little burgundy. I placed these colors randomly throughout the warp so there wouldn’t be any formal striping. Just stripes that are heavy then thin a little and return after a little sea of green. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like that arrangement but I do. So as I get it woven I will post some more.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year

Happy New Year to everyone, for this New Year I decided to become more discipline in my work. So hence the blog, I figure to have a blog you need to blog about some thing. In my case it’s weaving, spinning and natural dyeing (with the occasional gardening, nature and fun stuff). So as simple minded as I’m being I decided the blog will force me or at least won’t hurt me to do more work (put me on a schedule so to speak).

I also hope to make some friends from the blogging world, help anyone that I can through the blog and learn from those that have been at this much longer than myself. So the way I see it it’s a win win situation all the way around. That works.