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Homespun Living in a New England

Experiments in New Skill Acquisition: Weaving on a Floor Loom (2)

Monday, December 23, 2013
Here's my second weaving project! I really love the texture and color patterns; weaving keeps the handspun in neat rows, whereas the loops in knitting and crochet tend to change up the color patterns I create in the spinning/dyeing process. 

I used a raw silk warp thread in dark blue, which seems to have worked quite well (handspun is often not strong enough for warps, I was told). The biggest learning experience for me in this project has to do with the density of weaving. I used one heddle per thread for the warp, which ordinarily would have resulted in a fairly loose weave. In this case, my handspun is just too damn bulky. I love the fabric that this created, but it's far too stiff to work well as a scarf. It would make a great material for a laptop or tablet case, a bag, or (someday!) a rug.

Preparation and process: I didn't actually use all of the yarns I set up for this. I think I only needed two or three skeins. Weaving seems to take less yarn than knitting or crochet; lesson learned. The yarns are a mix of llama, BFL wool, and alpaca. I also used corespun yarn for one section, which resulted in a fuzzier fabric, with the warp barely showing at all. 
The finished product: Like I said, the scarf is too stiff to wear. What the heck, though, I'll display it this way for the moment. But look at all the pretty colors and textures!  The corespun section is in the right, center. 

Recent Knittings-- a pair of handspun cowls

I've been working on expanding my handspun knits, of late. These two cowls are very simple, but they have a great presence! They're also quite warm, and very comfortable to wear.

This first cowl is long and multi-textured, in a mix of BFL wool, alpaca and llama handspun. The center portion is recycled, re-dyed thick and thin merino wool. 
This one is primarily a combination of two corespun alpaca and llama yarns, in pinks and purples--quite girly, and with a touch of sparkle spun in throughout. I edged the bottom in a handspun boucle. I love how soft and squishy corespun yarn can feel when knit up; it has a distinct texture that feels wonderful to wear. 
And: all piled up for winter in my studio. 

It's almost Winter now…let's look at the animals.

Monday, November 04, 2013

I actually only attended one fiber festival this year, in New Jersey, in addition to my lovely visit to Cedar Haven Farms over the summer. And now that Portland's chilly/rainy season is truly beginning…

Something like this. For a few months. Sigh.
I find it necessary to reminisce about late summer, and the opportunity to meet fiber animals that it provided. This was the Sheep and Fiber Festival in Lambertville, NJ (which my non-crafty mother was kind enough not only to attend with me, but to actually bring to my attention in the first place).

So stately, these llamas. Not pictured--my mother really bonded with the one on the left.

Alpaca; sheep of many varieties; llamas. This is the festival where I learned the term "fiber pet;" it is now a concept etched in my heart and memory. Someday, when I do not live in a one bedroom apartment in reasonably densely populated SE Portland...

And lots and lots of raw wool and fleeces. I bought some, of course, but not nearly this much.
And I'll leave you with this one piece of good advice (though "no germs in or out of area" seems, perhaps, a touch overly ambitious). 

Experiments in New Skill Acquisition: Weaving on a Floor Loom

So, I've been taking another Multnomah Arts Center class (that place is, genuinely, the best).

Getting it all set up:

So far, I've been working on the class-mandated sampler, with plain/tabby weave and a bit of a simple twill done. I cannot wait to get the process of warping the loom a little more streamlined, because, at least for me, the weaving part is much more fun than the setup.

For this project, we used an inexpensive cotton rug yarn. For my next, my hope is to incorporate some of my handspun art yarn--it will be neat to see what it looks like in a format other than crochet/knitting. Set loosely in a simple weave (maybe a twill), I'm thinking it will be fluffy and spongey and gorgeous. 

For knit example, see: handspun hats (below, and all over this site and my shop).

And now, see some examples of other peoples' handspun in weaving.

There's a lot of potential here, and I'm quite excited to see how it plays out.

Countdown to Fall, and a Special Offer

Thursday, August 22, 2013
Multnomah Falls in Autumn
Okay, so technically the first day of fall isn't for precisely one month. But! It's time to start preparing, mentally, for getting your cozy woolens on. In order that I may help you in this important task, please enjoy 15% off any order in my shop, over $30, until August 30th. Use coupon code EARLYFALLSALE.

Signage! Around Portland, OR

Monday, August 19, 2013

I've been cataloging a few of the amazing old signs I run across in Portland. It's interesting, coming from the East Coast, to see the specific flavor still present in this relatively young city; it makes wandering about rewarding. Sidenote--the picture above represents a really good place to get pancakes.

Hats for Sale! Get yer handspun knit hats!

Thursday, August 15, 2013
As a part of the grand shop update of August 2013, I have added a whole bunch of new beanies to the shop. Check 'em out over here

Hey--guess what?

I'm 28 years old, and I finally learned to ride a bike! Life is good.

At Rooster Rock State Park. 

New and pretty things...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Huzzah! I've just added a number of bright and shiny new necklaces to my shop! Check it out over here

And, bonus, here are a few shots of the handspun that I also added recently. All of the new yarns can be found over here

Thick and Thin BFL. 

Natural and dyed local Shetland, and a 'lil bit of llama. 

Studio update, summer 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
When last I showed off my studio, it was September, 2012. Almost a year ago. Damn.

It looks significantly more lived in, now. As you'll see. I feel extremely fortunate to have such a happy, me-centered place in my life. And now, a photo tour. 

I'm still working on a genuine organizational system for the place; it's an ongoing process, for sure. Having been using this space for almost a year now, I've come to feel more than comfy here. Wish-list: install another pegboard; clean out some of the materials I don't need (unlikely); get a better lightsource for evening time. All pretty minor though, right? 

A quick weekend in Seattle

Monday, July 22, 2013

Have you ever been to/heard of the gum wall beneath Pike's Place Market? Despite having been to the market many times, I had not. It is surprisingly beautiful, and totally disgusting. Wonders never cease. 

To the Source! Cedar Haven Farm, Estacada Oregon

Tuesday, July 16, 2013
So, this past weekend I had the opportunity to get some very nice raw fleece from Cedar Haven Farm, a mere 20-some miles from Portland. Lynne, the proprietress, was kind enough to give me the full tour of the place, and to give me lots of options to choose from, from among her Shetland sheepies. 

The sheep were great to meet, and I got to feed them peanuts. They were pretty happy about that. 

Sorting and evaluating the fleece possibilities. I ended up with three full fleeces, plus a bit of Sophie the llama's hair. 

My purchases, loaded up and Portland-bound. Only drawback: my car smelled a touch sheep-y for a minute. 

And look--here are the sheep from whom I got my fleece. Luna's was her first shearing, so it's baby-soft. And Dayne and Maija contributed lovely wool as well. 

Here is some of that nice and soft Luna fleece, washed, dyed and drying. I was doing small batches to check out the results--I am especially fond of the sweet pink color, and will for sure be doing more of that, later on. The charcoal grey on the left is some Romney fleece, from an earlier purchase.

Look for some exciting new batts and handspun coming out of my studio, and into my shop, very soon.