Friday, August 27, 2010

Lightning Bugs In A Summer Garden



Yea, my fiber exchange project is complete! I used all the different yarn I spun to knit up this circular shawl and I am super pleased with how it turned out. I was really mindful of all the colors as I added them in, all the while wondering how harmonious the final composition would look. I was concerned that I might over play my hand in the color department, I like to see a lot of color, but didn't want it to come out looking like I knit it for clown!



Pictured above unblocked, the shawl measures 50" across. The pattern I used is called MorPork Pie, by MMario, it's an awesome pattern and an easy knit. I used large needles, size 15, to accommodate the various art yarns I used. This gave even the chunkier yarns a lacy look. I worked the pattern pretty much as written, adding occasional straight knitting rows where I needed them to help transition the art yarns. I left off the pattern at row 80 and added my own border, it was already plenty large enough!



Here I've got it all blocked out, which itself was a labor of love, morphing from one irregular circle to another as I slowly moved it into a nice circle. You can't imagine how pleased I was when it measured the same distance across when checking multiple cross sections. It went from 50" unblocked to 66" fully blocked. The shadowy line you see whispering through the right hand side is from the loose tails of the weave-ins. I wove in all the ends, but did not snip them until after it was off the blocking wires. I wanted to make sure I had room make adjustments if needed, to blend the weave-in section to the pattern if I found I had gone too loose or too tight while sewing in the tails. It all worked out thankfully!



Nicely fluttering in the breeze, I love all the colors and it was really educational working with so many new (to me) fibers. This project includes Blue Faced Leicester, Finn, Merino, Alpaca, Romney, Cheviot, Jacob, and Mohair. Plus my add-ins of Angelina and the Indonesian Silk cocoons I dyed and spun into one yarn. I'm pleased to have this project completed, but it was such an enjoyable process I almost hated for it to end. Good thing I have other projects calling to me!

Have a delightful weekend! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mixing Up The Colors!

I've been diligently working away on the Fiber Exchange project, I was nearly finished crocheting this lovely flouncy jacket when I realized I had looked at the wrong number for yardage and that I may not have enough to finish. I have plenty of yardage from the exchange spinning, but I was concerned that I would get to the point where I was having to use the colors I had left instead of the colors that would look best. I thought about starting over and using a giant crochet hook, however while I was unraveling row after row of crochet I had time to mull it over. I decided that I would save crocheting this awesome jacket for a future project and use one color/colorway rather than having the granny square effect I got using all the different colors from the exchange. It crochets super fast and it's a wonderfully written pattern, I can hardly wait to dye up some fiber and spin for this project, but first things first. I've got some knitting to do. I went back to my original idea for this project and I'm knitting right along, not too many more rows to go!


One thing I discovered while crocheting my way through the first pattern was that I needed to make some color adjustments. All the fiber was beautifully colored, but some did not blend nicely side by side. In particular the natural brown fibers, while beautiful on their own, to my eye, they did not flow as harmoniously with the other dyed fiber as I would have liked.



This was originally a brown alpaca/merino blend, I dyed it with my stone washed blue mix and a little accent of purple heart throb mix. I was really pleased with the results!




Pictured above is the original color of the Romney fiber I received, I had spun up two different yarns with this, a thin two ply (above) and a thick and thin single (below.) I left the thin yarn as is.



I over-dyed the chunkier yarn, using my capricious blue green mix accented with turquoise. It gave the yarn a great depth and it looks wonderful knitted in my project.



This was another of the natural browns, it's BFL, you can still see segments where the natural color is peeking out. I dyed it a nice rich grassy color mix that really enhances the beautiful natural brown and it coordinates nicely with the other colors in the project.

I'm knitting away on the current pattern, it's coming out nicely and I will be done in plenty of time for when the fiber exchange folks gather for show and tell.

Have a great weekend! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fiber Exchange Update



Ooo, I have been having so much fun with this project! You may remember the ombre gradient fiber I dyed, pictured above. I spindle spun and wheel plied this yummy fiber. Before I spun it though, I mixed in some sparkle!



Picture here in the pull skein, you can get a better feel for the color gradation. I ended up separating it into three pull skeins, light-med-dark, this is making it easier to show the gradation in my project.



I decided to blend the two fibers I contributed to the project. The blue is a mohair/fine wool blend and the chartreuse is alpaca. I used my home made hackle to blend the colors and of course I added in some sparkle! If you're interested in this blending process, there are tons of tutorials on youtube, search the term Fiber Blending Hackle. There are also a lot of directions available for making your own including this one which gives you all of the information on how to make and use one yourself, all in one spot. It's such a wonderful tool, nice for quick blending and it offers those of us without a drum carder the ability to blend our own artsy fiber mixes!



I'm so pleased with the color combination and how it spun up.



Using the same singles, I also plied a smaller skein with Indonesian Silk cocoons which I dyed in three different shades. I strung them onto a variegated denim cotton thread, looping each one in place, then I plied them all together.



I had one remaining bundle of white fiber, which I'd set aside when I dyed the others. I was waiting to see if I needed a white in my mix or possibly another color. As you can see, I decided to dye it. I used a similar pallet with the blue-greens, but also added a new blue and of course some pink.



Before I plied, I wound one of the singles onto a new bobbin so that they would ply together in the opposite color order. I love the colors! I'm sort of kicking myself now for not adding more colors to the other white roving(s) I dyed, you live, you learn!

This project is coming right along, I'm already working away on my garment. I've been doing a little more dyeing too. (more next time)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, keep cool!
Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wire Core Spin Along


This months spin along in the Art Yarn Spinners Group on Ravelry is wire core yarn. When I saw all the cool, beautiful, inspiring spins, I just had to give it a try myself. What a blast! These first two photos are two views of the same yarn, my first wire core spin.



Doodle Yarn (view 1 above, v2 below)

And even though I have another great spin project I am already working on, I could not resist some more playing with this technique! After spinning, I shaped this yarn into the curls and twirls that I love to see, it reminded me of a bright beautiful doodle, which seemed like the perfect name...Doodle Yarn.



Doodle Bracelet 1

When we were having show and tell at my spinning group, I showed them my first wire core spin, it was all coiled up to keep it from spronging everywhere and getting tangled, my spin friend Tamara said it would make a great bracelet! That really stuck with me, so when I did my second spin, I fashioned the doodle wire into these two Doodle Bracelets. They're fun to wear, very whimsical, which is totally my cup of tea!

Doodle Bracelet 2


If you're a spinner, or you just like art yarn, you should check out the Novelty and Art Yarn Spinners group, you'll be completely inspired by the artists in the group, as I always am! And if you're not a spinner, but want to own some unique, fabulous yarn to knit with or to just feast your eyes on, you will find that a number of the spinners are big time sellers/instructors with their own shops!

Have a great weekend! Blessings friends!
Melissa

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I'm a crafter, knitter, tinkerer, who always seems to have a project or two on the launch pad. I love to share what I'm working on and I love to see what other folks are working on too, so please comment and let me know where I can see your latest creation!