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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Adventures in Rug Making (pt. 2)

Alright, today's the day!  I'm about to get out all the stuff I need for making this felted rug.

I'd like the finished size to be approximately 30" by 21" - I'm allowing for 16-20% shrinkage, so I'm going to lay out the dry fiber in a rectangle 36" by 25".

The fiber will be laid out in alternating directional layers - One layer horizontal, the next vertical, repeat ad nauseum.  I'm planning for somewhere between 12 and 15 layers.  I want a thick, squishy rug when I'm done, so the more the merrier.  I'm not sure how many I'll finish up with at this point.

The very last layer I may add some contrasting colors so the surface is decorative.  I have to look through my stash first to see what I've got that isn't superwash, though.

Okay, here we go!

Friday, April 22, 2011

New fiber books!

Interweave Press was having a sale recently, and as there were a couple of books and a DVD I had been wanting to order, I gave in and bought them.

The DVD I bought is called "Spinning for Lace". As I thoroughly enjoy knitting lace, and I also prefer to spin my own yarns, I thought it would be pretty useful.  It has information about washing raw locks, tension, plying, and more.  I have not opened it and watched it yet, but it's here for when I am ready for my next lace project.

One of the books is called "Get Spun" and it's all about art yarns.  I am familiar with most art yarn techniques and I have the Pluckyfluff books, but this book sounded like it has a section about using a drum carder for different effects. Since I haven't had the chance to play with carders a lot before, and I am not sure what to try next, I thought this would give me a little insight and inspiration.  The information contained in it turns out to be about blending fibers evenly, but that's also useful, and I will be using that later as well.  There's not a whole lot of new stuff for me in this book, but it'd be awesome for someone who has been spinning traditionally and wants to expand, or someone who is completely new to fibers.

The book I am most excited about is "The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing".  I have been interested in natural dyeing for quite a while, but I have never known where to get started, and the information on the internet can have large holes in it.  This book is a pretty comprehensive guide to using plants for dyeing.  You can choose your page based on the color you want, or you can look up various plants to see what colors you might get.  It talks about various mordants and how to use fresh vs. dried plants.  There is also information about storing plants or bark or berries for future use.  I am super excited about this book, especially because it's getting to be summer - the sun is out and the plants are growing!

We'll see what I start out with, but I'm thinking I'll find shield ferns or ivy and see what kind of greens I can get from them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Adventures in Rug Making (pt. 1)

I did just a tiny bit of dyeing on Saturday when I had some free time to myself with no other demands on me - dyed a set of 3 silk hankies and a sample of wool in a new colorway that I'm in love with.  It's unnamed as of yet, but if you want to see photos, they are available here:

My wonderful, fantastic, amazing grandparents sent me a Dorothy table loom for my birthday (see photo below!), and I had been planning to weave a soft, squishy kitchen rug for Tim with it, using raw llama fleece.  However, I didn't like how it was turning out, so I scrapped that project.  And then I remembered felting!  I have 2 huge bags of raw llama, and since I have no plans to sort through and separate the guard hairs from the undercoat, it's pretty much only good for rugs.  I'm going to mix several methods I've found online with my previous knowledge of felting, and see how it turns out.

Dorothy, hard at work!


I went to JoAnn's and got some tulle, since I didn't have any.  I'm going to forgo the matchstick blind, since I don't have one and also don't feel like searching for one.  Today is not the day to start this project, as it has started to rain, but he needs a rug and I still have this week off of school.  It's been a long time since I've felted anything; this project should be exciting and educational.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


There is a very large and sometimes nonsensical internet culture out there.  There is a meme (a widespread internet sensation) called Rickrolling.  Perhaps you've heard of parts of it, or maybe you're an active participant.  If you are unaware of this phenomenon, the point of it is to get a person to go to the YouTube video of "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley without them realizing.  Once a person has opened the link, they must listen to the song in its entirety.

I suppose it takes a certain kind of humor to find this amusing.  I happen to enjoy a good rickroll, whether I am tricked into watching the video, or doing the tricking.  So naturally, when I was alerted to this news article today, I was quite tickled:

I think I picked the right state to move to!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Moving Day!

Friday is moving day - I'm super super super super super excited.  We've got a layout drawn up for our furniture and we've got the U-Haul reserved and everything's all lined up.  All's quiet on the fibery front, but that's because everything is in boxes!  Juggling work and school and moving is eating up just about all of my time.  After a week or so, we should have all the major stuff unpacked, and I'll get back to batts and yarns and cleaning fleeces. 

On another note, Spring is pretty much here.  I've woken up to sunlight for the last 4 days, and it always makes me cheerful.  I love springtime!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Okay, so I didn't end up getting around to the alpaca yesterday, but I *did* get some time in with the Strauch!  If you'd like to see photos of the batts, I've posted them online at this link:

I'm hoping to have more fiber/yarn time this weekend, but we're apartment-hunting and I'll also probably start packing my things for the move.  I'm hoping this is the last time I'm going to change locations for the next couple of years.  I guess we'll see how it goes!  I'm very excited for this move, though.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Tomorrow's schedule is full, but Wednesday, I'm thinking I'll work on cleaning more alpaca fleece so I can card it up for spinning.  I've wanted to make yarn or batts all day, but I relaxed today instead, after a long and busy day yesterday.  I finally finished painting my room, rearranged the furniture, and went food shopping.

The days are getting longer, and I'm way excited!  I woke up in time to see the sun on Saturday, and I sat outside to read the mail.  It was a wonderful change of pace.  Before long, I'll be able to take my wheel outdoors and spin in the sunshine.  It's my favorite part of summertime.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crafty Hands are Here Again!

I've got all these crafting ideas whirling around in my head, and I don't have the time or resources to do any of them right now.  I'm super excited, because I found a studio around the Portland area where I can go to throw pottery for $5/hour, and they will fire the work if I leave it there.  Georgie's is a fantastic place to get clay, so I'll call the studio and see what sort of clay I need for their kilns.

I also really want to make all sorts of candles and list them on Etsy.  But I also want to decorate with them and put them all over my apartment!

Speaking of which, I'm getting ready to move again.  I'm headed a little south of Portland, and I'm very excited to finally be moving to Oregon.

I'm looking forward to heading down to Woodland Woolworks to pick up some carbonized bamboo in the next few weeks.  Tim's asking for a hat out of it, and I'm super excited to get started on it.  I also want to pick up some more locks and fun stuff for making batts with my gorgeous, amazing drumcarder.  I'm also working on processing the alpaca fleece for a lady from the knitting group.

Losing the knitting group is definitely one thing I'm going to dislike about moving.  It is about an hour from where I'm moving to the knitting group; I might go up once a month or so, but I won't attend meetings weekly like I want to.  I'll end up finding a new group and going to those meetings instead, and it will be good.  I'm definitely going to miss everyone from the Washington group though!

Oh, and before I forget, here's the photo I left out on the last blog post:

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Okay, these pictures are long overdue.  This last month or so has been super crazy, with the holidays, finals, friends from out of state, and snow in a city where no one knows how to drive in it.

My drum carder:

I did make a couple of batts; the first one was the run-through they suggest to get all the dust off the drum cloth, and looks like this:

The other one I haven't photographed yet.  I need to head out to a wool store and pick up more locks to play with, but I also need to experiment with layering rovings and tops together to make smooth batts, too.  

I'm hoping to find time during each week to make a batt or two.  Once I get five or six made, I'll list them on Etsy and see how they go over.  I'm very excited about having this carder.  Now I can finish processing that alpaca fleece in a timely manner!