December 26, 2007

Wintery Wonderland

Christmas was wonderful. All the kids were home. We had good food, family games, the traditional jigsaw puzzle which also seems to be tradtionally missing pieces, and of course presents. This morning I woke up to see the world wrapped in frosty lace. I was able to get a few photos before the sun burnt off the fog and returned the world to it's normal winter landscape. These were taken with a lower end Sony that my husband managed to win at a golf tournament of all places. Still, it takes great photos and these were taken on the snow setting, so not too shabby I think. The frost coated Queen Anne's Lace or wild carrot is from my garden.
The wintery landscape is from just down the road. Hubby had to run out to Golf town to spend his gift certificates on the driver which he desperately wanted and conveniently was on sale. Last year's model so it was really on sale. We took the back way home and I got my little rural country life dose in. There were even animals outside.. lots of horses and even a solitary sheep, sunning herself outside of the little door to her barn. So peaceful looking.

On the fibre side of life, I've almost finished spinning the fibre for hats and mitts. I'm still not 100% on the new drafting method I've been trying, but it is getting much more consistent and the soft and lofty yarn will make up into wonderfully warm and yummy hats and mitts. It's very fast as well, although not what I'd really want to weave with.

December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas to Me!

I have a wonderful friend who lives in Tennessee. We've been friends for years and met online, on a miniature dollmaking forum. We have only been able to visit a couple of times, but she and her husband are absolutely lovely people. She has seen me through a huge doll making spree and supported me through dozens of other projects. When I get frustrated I can rant at her and she tells me all the sensible things I need to hear and even reminds me to get on the ball when I start slacking off.
I know she is an enabler. Go to her house and you end up doing all sorts of neat crafty things.. However, I didn't know how much of an enabler, until I received this years Christmas Pressie..
I got a box in the mail yesterday. When she said I could open it early, I pulled out this bag of amazing fleece. It is soft, smells delicate, isn't greasy or sticky and this pictures doesn't show the lovely fawn colour properly. It has to be alpaca since there are no guard hairs( llama) and absolutely no lanolin ( sheep). I pulled out the bag to check for a card and instead, what did I find but this bag underneath the first one. Can you believe it is softer than the first? It feels like the cria fleece we got to spin last spring on an Alpaca to shawl demo, only it seems softer and it is the same gorgeous fawn colour. All I want to do is pull out the combs and play with it.
However, I need to find space in the sewing room for my son who is coming home for a week over the holidays. Plus I'm spinning up hat yarn from the leftovers of the fleece we got from the Royal Agriculture Fair Sheep to Shawl competition. Donna, from Wellington Fibres, cleaned and carded it, divided it up and gave it to the team members. It is gorgeous. They do a fantastic job of processing should anyone want a reference for a high quality fibre processor in Ontario.

Donna thought it was probably Romney wool. I've been practicing a modified long draw to make lofty, fatter than I normally spin yarn. It is very soft and far more lofty than the Shetland I've been spinning the past while. It is a dream to spin and makes me want to try a greater variety of fleeces varieties. This drafts so well, has no neps or noils which can be a huge problem with Shetland. It is soft enough to wear next to the skin. It won't be white for long though. It begs to be dyed! Only one or two skeins more and I can play with the new fawn fibre.

December 03, 2007

Project Update

The two major projects that I've been working on this year are finished. The first was a natural dye colour wheel, representing Anglo-Scandinavian colours which could have been used pre-1200 A.D.. The plants were chosen based on archaeological research, traditional natural dyes and paleo-botanical evidence. It was so much fun and for some reason an awful lot more work than I had anticipated. There were some amazing surprises as well, like the wonderful colours of all parts of the Dock and Sorrel Plants, the horrendous smell of stewing Tansy and Yarrow and the rather uninspiring colours of mallow and vetch. I got some wonderful results from madder which made the whole project more than worth while.
The second project was taking two Shetland sheep fleeces, spinning them into singles and then weaving them into enough fabric to make myself a gown based on one of the Greenland finds. I spun, spun and spun some more. Then I had to figure out what to use for sizing the singles, dress the loom and weave what turned out to be 9 3/4 yards of fabric. It was such a lovely grey colour that I couldn't bear to dye it. The dress turned out awesomely thanks to pattern drafting lessons from my friend Truly. It hangs nicely, is comfortable and has a most wonderful swish to the skirt. Talk about a dress which makes you feel good about yourself.

Picture of the grey dress..

If you want to see the info about the above projects, go to Darc website. Then on the left hand side menu, click projects and then go to Textiles. Click on either Odette's Colour Wheel or Odette's Interpretation of the Greenland Gown. I'll get real pictures soon. Of course when I got to wear the gown in November, I had my camera in my basket and did I remember to take it out? Nope.. and missed some amazing photos of projects displayed at the Ealdormere Kingdom A&S event.