Sunday, March 31, 2013

Into the deep end

This is waiting for self-plying.
As I write this, I'm sipping a smoothy made with fat free vanilla yogurt and strawberries I froze from last summer.  This is because I took a step off the edge and into the deep end in terms of health and fitness this weekend.  I went ahead and signed up to work with a personal trainer two days a week! I am still a little sore from my fitness evaluation on Friday so my first session should be interesting.  But, I had to do something.  Going it on my own just isn't working.  And having to meet with someone twice a week, plus paying, will keep me on the straight and narrow.

Paying is a big thing. Hiring a professional to work with you one on one is not cheap, but it will be worth it considering the health issues I'm facing.  So while I work on using up all the stored fat on my body, I will also be using up the stored stash in my closets, because my discretionary spending is pretty much shot. Yep, it's the deep end. But I'm not one to worry.

Romney singles in Tiger Lilly colorway.
The next time I want yarn or fleece, I can just head to stash storage central.  In my 20 years of spinning, I've accumulated a crazy amount of stash despite being diligent about using my fibers. I knit almost exclusively with handspun and I have already made a couple of woven projects from it.  And I have skeins of yarn waiting to be made into something. So yes, I can just go to the closet or bin and find something lovely to work with like the Tiger Lilly colorway yarn above.

I just hope I can keep up with the training! Oh, and I left a note out for the Easter Bunny, asking her to skip my house this year.  No way do I want more calories to work off.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Project madness

Filmore Fox oversees the project on my counterbalance loom.
So many projects, so little time--I'm sure you've run into this in your crafting.  It's when you have more ideas than actual time to craft.  I am full of ideas, have plenty of stash, but only so many hours to complete the long and somewhat complicated process of making something. Fortunately I have Filmore, shown above, a little crocheted fox I purchased from EpicxCloth on Etsy.  He's supposed to be a bracelet, but I think he makes an excellent loom ornament, cheering me on as I weave.  The artist who made these has other lovely items, including a swan bracelet, which I'm sure will be perfect for some lucky loom. She also happens to be my niece, just so you know, and very talented!

Continuing project on Hermione.
And I certainly need cheering on.  As you can see from above, I'm still weaving away on warp using turquoise weft.  I'm only on towel #2, and really should be a further along--maybe to towel 4 when I start with the red weft.  I ran into some problems with a couple of warps snapping, and then my regular life intruded on my crafting time! Yes,  Life Happens and it kept me from weaving for about a week.  But I did manage to sneak some spinning in.  Spinning is one of those things where I can sit down with five spare minutes and make some progress.  Weaving needs at least 20.
Ravelry badge for the group I started

And just as life got busy, I started a Ravelry group for people who have Leclerc looms.  Considering I have two, I thought it would be fun to start a group.  There's a really big group on Ravelry, the original Warped Weavers, which I 'm a member of and  love, but it's is really crowded!  You can skip being online for a day or two and find you 400 posts in the "what are you weaving" thread alone.  I have trouble keeping up with it, so I though a smaller group would be nice way to get to know people.  Plus, we can all share our knowledge on how the Leclerc looms work.  I love my two looms and I can make whatever I want without loom issues getting in the way. 

Pretty roving came home with me from Esther's Place.

After Life Happened, I headed to Esther's Place in Big Rock to see what was there and several pretty rovings came home with me. I love them and I have big plans for these, but more about that later.  Yes, I have more project ideas than time, and I'm enjoying every moment of it!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Aerobic fiber

A batt and braid I'm spinning up for variety.

Sadly, fibery pursuits doesn't provide many opportunities for exercise.  It tends to be a lot of sitting and concentrating, and maybe a little calf stretching while spinning.  So I make it a point to stand and work whenever I can.  Fortunately, my Leclerc Nylus is big enough to allow me to do this, and I can stand while carding, or winding bobbins.  Lately, I've taking to walking in place while winding off yarn to the niddy-noddy.
Merino alpaca blend waiting for winding off.
So I got a little bit of exercise today while winding off this large bobbin of plied yarn--682 yards worth to be exact.  It took some time and I'd like to count it towards my workout but I don't see anything on my exercise tracker for aerobic yarn winding.  Perhaps these exercise tracking programs are a little closed minded. At one point I was twirling nearly a pound of niddy-noddy and yarn in with one hand! That should count for something.

Yarn for my next weaving project.
Winding warp also allows me to stand and pretty much wave my arms around as I wind threads onto a warping board.  It isn't much exercise but at least I am standing up.  I am halfway through a 3 yard warp that will be 1000 ends.  I'm making a throw.  Next time I'll buy more warp and chose two different wefts as it occurs to me this is a lot of work for just one throw!

This handspun yarn still needs to be blocked for weaving. 
So that's about all the exercise my fiber pursuits allow.  I will probably get a few squats in when I go to block this yarn, which is essentially drying it with weight on it.  This is important to do with yarn you are planning to weave with, or so I have read.  I suppose I will have to take a break from crafting in order to exercise for real.  I'd better go pop an exercise DVD in--it's time to get serious about staying healthy.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Meet Hermione!

Hermione-my new-to-me 28" weaving width LeClerc Fanny.
Fibery goodness have been filling my days. The exciting development was to actually fully warp and start weaving on my new-to-me LeClerc Fanny loom.  This waif arrived in a big box on my doorstep right before Christmas.  It took me a while to warp her-- she has a sectional back beam and I don't have sectional equipment so I improvised a way to neatly dress her with a twelve foot black and white towel warp.  These are experimental towels and I have some ideas for how the warp will change next time around, but I'll tell you about that later.  In the meantime, I have 12 to 14 towels to weave on this warp.

Back view of Hermione--get a load of that sectional beam!
Hermione is a dream to weave on. The counterbalance makes her quiet--so quiet that I, who have been clanging away on a jack loom, sometimes wonder if I'm really weaving.  Pinch me! She's pushing forty and everything on her works smoothly and efficiently, the tension break releasing neat little increments and the ratchet pulling everything tight so smoothly.  I LOVE this loom.  And what is exceptionally nice about her is her handy 28" weaving width gives her a slender footprint that allows her to fit nicely into my workshop.
Hermione will be devoted to narrower projects like these towels.
The great thing about having this smaller loom is that I can weave towels, placemats, scarves and shawls to my heart's content.  This loom is the perfect width for so many popular projects without taking up a big bite of space. 

Finished yardage draped on the 60" Nylus II
My ambitious projects like curtains, throws and yardage can spend quality time on my four-harness 60" weaving width LeClerc Nylus II.  Draped over it now is some cheerful cloth I wove from 7/2 cotton rayon in hot pink and slubbed yellow cotton.  This is plain weave and should let the light in, but more importantly cheer the place up during those late night weave-a-thons.  I love light in my studio, so they will likely be pulled open during the day.

Between these looms I have the perfect combination for some seriously productive weaving.

Three-ply home-dyed cormo and silk knit into a hat.

I'm still knitting.  The hat is completely improvised though I suppose I should figure out a pattern for the benefit of someone who may want to knit one.  I made a finer-yarn version for my sister in time for the holidays, and it took a few months before I had one of my own.  I especially  love this yarn, because the carded dyed Cormo and silk really came together well and made an exceptionally smooth and even three-ply yarn.  It was a delight to knit with.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you have a great week of crafting! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, ideas or just want to chat.