Saturday, July 23, 2011

Compost's bounty

011 by LemonPrairie
011, a photo by LemonPrairie on Flickr.
The summer squash in my garden is really not doing well despite buying strong, healthy, already started plants. Think of how surprised I was to discover these growing out of my compost heap? We started vegetable-only compost last summer and didn't use it in the garden. It is in what I call the "fence wall" corner. That's the spot in suburbia where all your neighbors put up a big tall fence at the back corner of their property and leave a nice little niche for the suburban craftsteader needing an out-of-sight spot for country-type activities. The burbs can be a little uptight about some country-type things. Anyhow, Nature has left me with a wonderful gift of strong, fertile squash, the seeds likely coming from some vendor's fruit in my farmers market. I'm not sure what they will be yet--pattypan, yellow or zucchini, but I will let you know. There are also quite a few tomatoes coming up and I am curious what I will have come fall. My planted tomatoes are doing beautifully too, by the way, and I hope to show you a bowl full of them soon! May your garden also do well!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 18 & 19 Scooby Snack

003 by LemonPrairie
003, a photo by LemonPrairie on Flickr.
As a break from all the grey mohair, I'm spinning this art batt from Ambrosia & Bliss. She cleverly calls them "Scooby Snacks."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Experiments in nerdverse

Ravelry's Nerd War's competition has led me to new heights in geekdom.  Below, I am answering a challenge to use the scientific method on a Raverly sanctioned crafting project, in this case spinning.  I took the extra step of placing my research in my favorite nerdverse, Star Trek.

Proceedings of the Vulcan Academy for the Arts

Maintaining color synchronization during production of two ply yarns from Indie dyed rovings.

Lemon Prairie, F.A.; Janice Rand, M.F.A, Ph.D.;

Conventional wisdom has long taught that the most efficient way of synchronizing colors in multi-colored Indie dyed rovings is to use the Navajo, Chain or Andorian ply methodology (Surak, 2215).  However, this creates a three ply yarn which could create a yarn too thick for projects such as laceweight shawls (T’Kola, 2297).  Experimenters, with a large grant from the VSF (Vulcan Spinners Foundation) will see if it is possible to synchronize a two ply yarn by splitting the roving down the middle.

Material and Methods:
Two four ounce Indie dyed rovings were purchased from separate dyers residing in disparate locations on the Federation Planet Earth and were chosen from existing stock so custom dyeing bias would not arise.  One roving was chosen by the experimenter before she was given this project, a second was chosen by her niece, also prior to initiating the project.
Both rovings were prepared for spinning using the snapping method  (K’Katow, 2301) while watching an episode of Burn Notice, provided by the North American 21st Century Entertainment Archives.
One roving was randomly chosen to be split in two, right down the middle, so that each ball of yarn to be spun would include the same color sequence. Two balls weighing 2.15 ounces apiece were created.   Each ball was spun onto separate bobbins and then plied.
As a control, the second roving was rolled into a single ball for spinning into one single.  This was plied using what is commonly known as the Navajo, Chain or Andorian ply method.
All spinning was done on a circa 2006 Lendrum double treadle spinning wheel.  The ancient “spinning from the clump” method (Prairie, 2011) was used exclusively throughout.

The second roving (Figure A) which was Navajo, Chain or Andorian ply, created a color synchronized yarn as expected and documented in the literature (K’Katow, 2213).  
Figure A: The control yarn was plied using the Navajo/Chain/Andorian ply method.

Despite great care to evenly divide the first roving and spin so each color remained separate and in the original sequence, when plied, the colors only synchronized rarely (Figure B).  As can be seen in the photograph, there is a wide color mixture in the yarn.  Though some areas did synchronize, when subjected to rigorous statistical analysis (see Figure C) it was found that the synchronization was not statistically significant.

Figure B: This two ply painted roving did not show statistically significant color synchronization.

Spinners wishing to create a color synchronized yarn using indie dyed painted roving should use the Navajo/Chain/Andorian plying method. 

The researchers would like to thank the Vulcan Spinning Foundation for providing funding, as well as the Vulcan Academy for the Fine Arts and the Andorian Shuttle and Spindle Foundation for technical assistance, as well as the Klingon Culinary Institute for the lovely catered lunches.  A special note of appreciation is extended to my thesis advisor, Dr. Janice Rand for her expertise and knowledge in the field of art.  Special thanks are extended to Star Fleet Command for their suspension of the Temporal Prime Directive to allow the lead investigator to travel freely using a time machine craft that looks remarkably like a 21st century prepaid cell phone dispenser, the “Tardy,” and where the lead researcher is known to Star Fleet and others in this timeline simply as “The Graduate Student.”

For those of you readers who are not Trekies, Janice Rand was the Yoeman in the original series.  In one episode we see her quarters where we discover she is an artist working on numerous abstract paintings in a 20th century style.  Though she remains in Starfleet and shows up in the transporter room in the first movie, I am further assuming her Starfleet career was her day job as she also pursued her interest in painting and received advanced degrees in the arts and her specialty was 20th century artistic movements (as evidenced by the canvases in her quarters).

Saturday, July 16, 2011


001 by LemonPrairie
001, a photo by LemonPrairie on Flickr.
I'm a little behind on posting for the Tour because I've been under the weather. However, I did manage to spin and Navajo ply the True Blood Corriedale roving from Wildberry Moon. Here it is!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 6: True Blood

003 by LemonPrairie
003, a photo by LemonPrairie on Flickr.
Right now, I'm spinning this Corriedale Roving from Wildberry Moon in her "True Blood" Colorway. I hope to be plying in Navajo style tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 4: Seeds of Change skein

007 by LemonPrairie
007, a photo by LemonPrairie on Flickr.
Here is my second completed skein for Ravelry's Tour de Fleece. This is BFL/Tussah from Wildberry Moon in the Seeds of Change colorway. It has a nice golden look to it and I am quite pleased.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 3: First Skein

002 by LemonPrairie
002, a photo by LemonPrairie on Flickr.

Here is the skein I created from Raveler Jessiebird's lovely handpainted skein. She calls her indir dyeing business A Piece of Vermont. I LOVED! spinning this. This two ply is 234 yards for a 4.15 ounce skein, and 13 WPI. Plus it is luxuriously soft being superfine merino.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 2 production

005 by LemonPrairie
005, a photo by LemonPrairie on Flickr.

I'm making progress on the Tour de Fleece and today I managed to spin up the Wildberry Moon BFL/tussah braid in the Seeds of Change colorway. I look forward to getting it plied tomorrow! that's four ounces down, for a total of 8 ounces of spinning. Will my two pound Tour de Fleece goal be easy peasy?

A Piece of Vermont

005 by whorlwindweaver
005, a photo by whorlwindweaver on Flickr.
This is what I spun yesterday for the Tour de fleece. I have two full bobbins waiting to be plied. This is from a dyer and small farmer in Vermont who you main know on Ravelry as Jessiebird. She has a nice blog about her homesteading and crafting activities, "What Housework?" This is superfine merino and I was n heaven spinning it.

Seeds of Change

001 by whorlwindweaver
001, a photo by whorlwindweaver on Flickr.
Ravelry's Tour de Fleece is in it's second day and above is a braid I dismantled and prepared for spinning today. This comes from an independent dyer and Angora rabbit grower in Maine, Wildberry Moon. I'm halfway through the first ball and it spins like a dream!