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Homespun Living in a New England

Pretty textures, of late

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Carding, Spinning, and Metal-working. 

A slightly less pretty picture of my studio, in the interest of honesty

Monday, May 27, 2013

Progress--Jewelry Line

Monday, May 13, 2013
Here are some of my favorites of the prototypes/early pieces that I've come up with (in the MAC Jewelry Production class). There are a lot of different elements, but I feel that they are combined well. I do have a more is more aesthetic, after all.

Recycled leather scraps, bits of fabric, hand-fabricated copper, wire-core BFL, alpaca and pygora.

Copper, faux bone, leather scraps, BFL, sterling silver.

The pendant is layered mixed metal, with a bezel set wooden strawberry in the center. The clasps and connections are hand-wrapped in brass, with twisted sterling for the bail. The "chain" is many strands of my handspun, from a carded batt of mohair, merino, BFL, lincoln locks and sari silk strands. I discussed this specific handspun project over here, if you're curious.

New labeling: the crazy-bright line

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Just a little something new to look forward to, in the shop

More experiments in self-striping handspun

Like the batch I made yesterday, today's skeins use long, long color repeats (though there is some mixing of hues within those). In this case, I went a little bit simpler, and used the same set of colors for each ply. They won't match up perfectly, so there will be sections of green and orange/green and orange, purple/purple, and green and orange/purple. 

The composition of this batch is similar to what I've been doing a lot of lately: BFL, merino, mohair and the tiniest bit of silk noil. I'd estimate that there are around 100 yards; it's quite bulky and multi-textural. 

Setting the twist, hardcore

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Superbright spinning, take 3

These two skeins were an interesting experiment; each of the plies is made of two colors each of self-striping sections, four color sets in all. I will be very interested to see how it knits up. Since the stripes don't match up exactly, there should be somewhat of a gradient between the two color mixes (red/maroon and purple/green). I also mixed in a few unusual fibers to these, including firestar (undyed white nylon), silk noil in white and pink, and a little bit of off-white soy silk.

Ply the first: purple and maroon, with BFL, mohair, merino, silk noil and firestar. 

Ply the second: red/orange and lime green BFL, plus some bits of soy silk and silk noil.

Some detail shots. I'm very happy with how richly textured these yarns are!

One of the original batts--green BFL and silk noil in white and light pink. 

Recent knitting: a gloriously scrappy cowl

This was a very satisfying, easy, meditative knit. I just cast on around 100 stitches on size 13 circular needles, knit a several foot long stockinette tube, and crocheted it together, end to end. I am fortunate to have an extravagantly large collection of recycled hand-dyed yarn, left-over from bits too small or too shaggy to sell in my shop. This was a fine project for showing off those skeins. 

Someday it will be cool enough to wear this--it's fluffy and big and security-blanket-like. Portland weather lately has been downright hot, by local standards. So, it'll keep. Summer is for stockpiling, no?

Close-up of the details and variegations; below, check out the (charmingly, rustically) messy crochet join in hot pink. The fibers are a pretty wide mix--primarily wool, but there's some alpaca, mohair, cotton and nylon mixed in there. 

Deep dish pizza, in a cast iron pan

Saturday, May 04, 2013
So, I take no credit for this idea--I'll direct you over to a Beautiful Mess for that, and for thorough advice and instructions. 
Their version was a bbq pizza; we went a bit more traditional, with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and marinara sauce. Our big addition was smoked mozzarella, which we created with a stovetop smoker, and the application of hickory chips. Success! It was really tasty. It's a stuffed crust, so the cheese was nice and plentiful. 
A couple pieces of advice, in case you try this project or any variation of it at home: 1. mix smoked and plain cheese, or it will get a little over-powering; 2. use a light hand with sauce, and/or use a thicker and non-watery one. 

This was a very tasty experiment. Highly recommended. 

Works in Progress: Handspun Neckpiece, alternate versions

As I mentioned earlier, the big jewelry project lately has been creating prototypes for mixing metalwork with my handspun art yarns. The MAC class has been incredibly helpful, in this regard. 

A very kind fellow student, in fact, introduced me to one of the techniques I'm using here.

Here are some concepts, in progress.