Monday, December 29, 2008

CVM Wool Dying

The first picture shows one of my Christmas gifts. It was from my sis and her daughter. Aren't they lovely!

I dyed some CVM wool this week. The CVM stands for California Variegated Mutant. CVM is a little shorter to say and the mutant thing does not have to be explained. I rainbow dyed the wool with mostly oranges and greens. There is a little purple, blue, brown, yellow and pink. When you rainbow dye, you do not stir the pot. If you do this, all of the color will blend together. I like the variations in color and I will not blend them all together when I comb the wool, so am able to keep the variations fairly true to color.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Yarn

It is cold here! The streets are crowded due to holiday shopping, so I am staying home. I did more spinning. I finished the last of the BFL from Ms. Babs. I also have a picture of many of my homespun yarns. I thought you may want to see the variety in homespun yarns.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Sunday Undie

Another Sunday Undie

I call these Sunday Undies because they are fancy enough to use on Sundays, but not too fancy that you can't use them every day. I do not intend the Sunday Undie, or hotpads, to be used under a hot burning pot just off of the stove, but rather used under a teapot or a warm dish at meal time. This Sunday Undie is made from a medium soft wool, crocheted with strips of fabric. The trim is made from just the yarn, crocheted in chain loops. There is a tiny bit of bling mixed in the wool before I spun it up. A faded rose colored button is placed in the center of the Sunday Undie. I took a picture of a couple other Sunday Undies too. Blessings! Dawn

Falling Apart

I did go to my mom's over the weekend. Along the road, I saw so many homes falling apart. People have moved from the farms and small towns to the cities where work is. This picture is from my mom's neighborhood. I love the gingerbread molding over the back door. Why do we let these places go to pot?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why Spin?

Samples of blue wool, made into a Sunday Undie. As you see, one is plain and this is the back of the Sunday Undie. The yarn for the front has added white and light blue mohair splashes, along with small pieces of fabric tied to one of the two plies, just before it went into the spinning wheel.

I am often presented with the question, "Why Spin?"
There are many answers to this question. First, I like to keep the heritage and old skills alive. There is a connection with the past and all of those that have lived before me. Spinning was done thousands of years ago to clothe the family. Sheep were raised on family farms for wool fleece and for food. Fleece was sheered from a sheep, washed, dyed, combed, and spun. Clothes were woven or knitted. I prefer to get the wool from the family farmer and prepare the yarn in the old way, with a little added sparkle here or there. I do use synthetic dyes, and some natural dyes too. I don't raise sheep, since I live in the city, but I like to buy fleece raw, or unwashed and take over the processing at this point. I can color the wool , or leave it as is. I can mix it with a different kind of wool, or with added sparkle, small pieces of other fibers, such as silk, cotton, or nylon, or mix added items in during the spinning process. I can spin prior to cleaning the fiber, or after. Sometimes the lanolin helps me spin a finer and more even yarn. Yes, the wool does have an odor, but I have developed less sensitivity to the fragrance and I even enjoy it. No, I don't mean that I enjoy smelling poo, but the pleasure of spinning and the feeling of lovely fleece comes to me when I smell sheep. What I am getting at, is that I can make yarn any way I want and at sometimes for less cost. It can be very expensive buying wool, especially if the sheep are raised for their softness, or unique color. Some farmers only raise sheep for hand spinners, and these farmers may put a cover or coat the sheep, so the fleece stays cleaner and makes preparation easier for the spinner. If you buy in small quantities, the prices are usually higher than large quantity purchases. I could buy fleece ready to spin and no preparation would need to be done. That would be the easiest way to spin, and also the most costly. Obviously, the least amount of work done to prepare the fleece would help keep the fleece costs down. Fiber artists like to feel, smell, and look for visual interest when choosing fleece, or even yarn. Look around in your local yarn shop. Most shoppers will check for softness or feel of the yarn, and even smell the yarn. The visual appeal has to be there too, or shoppers will not pull the yarn down from the shelf. At times you will notice little bits and pieces of pasture left in the wool we prepare to spin, and even in the homespun yarn.

Now that I have spilled my guts about the why, let me also tell you that homespun yarn may not be what you have experienced in knitting yarns, so far. There may be more little fibers poking out of the yarn. To me, this adds to the beauty of the wool. It could make the wool more itchy and also make it harder to rip out mistakes in your knitting or crocheting. The width of yarn will vary and even vary greatly in each hank of homespun yarn. We use a term called wraps per inch, or wpi to explain the width of the yarn. We can estimate what size the yarn is, by the wpi. A small amount of wpi means a larger yarn. I personally like to make yarn that is pretty thin, and ply it with a second yarn. The finished yarn will usually be thin, and more like sporting weight. Now I can also write about how I spun the wool, whether I spun with a a certain kind of draw and if the yarn is worsted, or woolen, or what kind of wheel, or what angle the wool goes in, but I think I will toss that information to you at a later date. I did fail to mention that spinning is fun and relaxing.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Woodland Violets -------- Finished!

I finished the yarn using the woodland violet color and the rusty rose color ply, with novelty bumps on the yarn.

I also started a royal blue novelty yarn with little bits of mohair in light blue and white. See photos. I made a video to show how to make the novelty yarn, but I have not been successful in uploading it to the site, so far.

We are on our way to north central Kansas tomorrow. Hopefully there will not be any snow!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lovely Loot!

I went to the party and brought home a lot of lovely loot. I just had to go home and spin. I quickly had a spool of woodland violet yarn spun up. I couldn't decide what to ply the spool with. I tried more of the same yarn, (3rd sample), but it seemed too dark. I tried a light brown Shetland wool, (2nd sample), and it was OK, but it still did not do anything for me. I tried a purple satin ribbon, (1st sample), but it overpowered the yarn. I finally tried a roving of a light and dark rusty rose, (last sample). To me, it was the perfect choice. See pictures. Was I right with the choice?

Friday, December 5, 2008


I am looking forward to the spinning guild party tomorrow. We are to bring a gift that is fiber related and we will bid on these gifts using fake money, (provided by our guild). This sounds like so much fun! Fiber related can be almost anything. It can be yarn, fabric, wool, knitting needles, yarn totes, wool, or anything I put in wool before spinning it. Hm mm what should I take. I am more excited about what I will bring home. I hope it will be something that sparkles. Speaking of sparkles, I found a button on the kitchen table. I haven't cleaned it completely off for a while. I purchased several mail order items this month. When the packages came I opened them on the table. One of them sent me a button with little, hot-pink rhinestones circled around the inside of a light pink button. What pretty bling! I put it in the center of one of my Sunday Undies. Sunday Undies are hotpads that I make for under teapots. They are usually a little fancier than you purchase in the stores and most of them are made with homespun wool. These hotpads are special, but not too frou fru to use everyday. The Sunday Undie I put it on was full of bling. It is mostly purple, but it has a few streaks of pink and lots of sparkle on one ply of the wool and the second ply is made from vary narrow satin ribbon. The sparkle in the wool and the shine from the satin make such shine! The bling button just set it off. What do you think?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How Dry I Am

It seems that so many people are struggling with the cold. Dry hands and red faces are surrounding me. It is a good thing that I am making lotion. I made 3 batches this last weekend. Two were double batches and the third was 6.5 times the recipe. Obviously my recipe is a small one. The names of the new lotions are :
I Feel Pretty
Traces of Love
Mint For You
My hands feel much better after using these lotions. The fragrances are a real treet!