December 14, 2017

Quick project update

 The nice thing about having a few extra bobbins for your spinning wheel is that you can switch up a project with ease.   I decided that I didn't want to spin up the cotton that was the current project.  I'd been rooting through some stored bags of fibre and found this unlabeled braid of fibre I'd previously dyed.  I'm presuming it's some sort of superwash BFL, as I remember dyeing a bunch of sliver in different colour combinations and in slightly larger than 100 g increments.  This braid fits that criteria, so I'm spinning it fairly fine, possibly for socks.  It's fun to spin a bit of colour sometimes.  This is definitely colourful.

One of the cats was eyeing the red needle felted gnome.  Since it is a gift, I decided to make a second one, just in case a cat had it's way with the first one.    I'd hate to have to make one in a rush just before I needed it, because a cat had turned it into a cat toy.  I'm not sure I like this little guys puffy cheeks.    They were supposed to be part of a big nose, but obviously, I didn't get them quite properly positioned.  They would have been too big for a nose anyway, so it's probably for the best.

I made awesome gluten-free ginger cookies.  They were all eaten, so no photo but thankfully I have the recipe stuck to the fridge, so all is good for future cookie making.
I'd planned to make guitar straps for all my musician kids, their spouses, a friend and us as Christmas gifts.  Between all of us it would be a total of 8 guitar straps, 2 mandolin straps and 1 banjo strap.   I'd envisioned a big basket with the various straps, labelled with sizes and instrument for the kids to choose from.  I thought it was a smart move to buy natural cotton and dye it all the colours I wanted, in the amounts needed and whip them up on my inkle loom... Wrong!   Dyeing cotton isn't difficult, but it is time consuming.  The dark colours take lots of dye and it takes forever to rinse the colours out.  The dyes bind with the water as well as the fibre so it takes twice as much dye and I ended up rinsing for 2 days.  That was after the process of setting the dyes which is either hours in the pot with the dye, or simmering for 2 hours.   Next time I will buy the yarns predyed.  As far as I'm concerned, it is only worth the process to do spectacular multi coloured effects or if you can't get the colour you want. 

  Even then it isn't for sure.   The pretty blue was supposed to be purple.  I followed all the steps for a 50-50 red/blue blend purple, but most of the red just didn't take.  It was fine when I used it for the pink, which looked like it was going to come out hot pink, but rinsed to the colour I'd been looking for.
So how many of those straps are done for?   Part of only one!   My inkle loom is pretty but the sizing is slightly off, making the heddles, when made the way is suggested by tying over two specific pegs, too big.  This means the shed is really tiny and awkward to use.  I should have measured everything and made a little heddle frame to size once I realized this but it was in the middle of a project.   Then the fussing keeps causing the weaving to slide to the end of the pegs, so you have to keep pushing it back.  I don't know if it is a function of the loom or the width that I need to weave.  So I have 1 ugly strap made, but haven't found enough hardware locally and the piece of leather I thought I had for the end taps isn't actually there anymore.  Needless to say, I think the guitar straps, while a good idea, are for next year.   I'm thinking of trying to weave some of them up as a rep weave on the big loom.

December 04, 2017

The horses and needle felting

 It was dusk and I was collecting eggs and feeding the chooks when I realized the neighbour's horses were close to our fence.   They are a little skittish, but pretty good about me being outside, as long as I don't make any sudden moves.   There are a lot of trees along the fence line, so I imagine that if I move to quickly, it could startle them.   This time of year though, without all the leaves, they can see me coming, so they were curious and not running away.

The young ones are in their own pen.   I think these were the babies born this spring. There are three foals and this one has such a pretty face and is inquisitive.
The mares are in the field behind us.  Two came right up to see what I was doing.   Their field is full of burrs and goldenrod, so keeping our gardens free of those two plants is nigh impossible.   I was sad to see all the burrs on their forelocks.   It couldn't be comfortable for them.   This gal also had burrs on her mane and her tail.   It would take a while to comb those out, for sure!

 There was an interesting moon out that evening.  It was huge in the sky.   I figured if I ran inside for the tripod, that it would be gone before I got a photo taken, so this is it - unsteady hands and all.  It was a bit creepy, with the sky darkening to a blue grey colour, and that big moon, which was a yellowy pink colour in the sky.

I've got some cotton on the wheel.  It was unlabled and dyed with indigo.  When I grabbed it, I thought it was a cashmere blend, until I started spinning and it was definitely cotton..  I don't mind because I like spinning cotton but I had actually planned for a different project.

I spent ages looking for my felting needles.  Sadly, they were exactly where I'd put them, only the packet they were in disappeared and they were scatted about the box.  I ended up having to empty out the box to find them.

Using some bits of dyed sliver and raw locks, I made this little guy as a Christmas ornament.  He's not quite done, but I like him a lot. 

I was going to spend a couple of weeks learning some Christmas carols on my banjo, but instead I started learning another Bluegrass song.... oh well,  this song will have a longer useful playing time than the carols.  I've definitely advanced past the rank beginner level, although I'm still a beginner.   

ARgh, the washer died, hubby fixed it for the moment because we surely don't need an appliance we use regularly, crapping out right now.   Because it filled up, when I'd turned it off, I have to unplug it after every use, just as a precaution.   At least I can fill it to a large load now, so clothes are getting clean again.  When all we could do was a small load, nothing got clean.   We'd looked at replacing it and the ancient dryer, but nope, not in the budget at the moment.  It was fun looking though, at the amazingly efficient top loaders out there these days.