Showing posts from 2011

Baby Steps

Here is the first bit off yarn produced off the Minstrel spinning wheel here at Home South. I am a beginner at this, having spent only a little bit of time spinning on the antique wheel at Home North this past summer. This fibre was given to me by two friends and some was washed and some wasn't. The more greasy fibre had lumps which translate into the poofy bits you will see below.
 I washed the Romney wool after it was plied, and most of the grease and other junk came out no problem. In this second photo the two hanks are drying outside. I am learning about fibre preparation now and next time I will do the prep all before hand. That will make the fibre easier to spin. I found carding combs at an antique store and made my own hackle for blending and aligning fibres.
 The final product of the gifts of Romney wool. It's about 166.5 m and 113g. It is very soft and after washing and whacking against the wall (really) the resulting yarn has bloomed nicely.
And the drumroll.....…

Boat Barn

A good chunk of the summer was taken up with building a boat barn. BS and the local lumberyard owner designed it, and my builder buddy, GA, did an amazing job leading the charge. Of note are the ten foot high walls and the 9 foot high garage doors at both ends! This feature allows us to pull through with the large boat and not have to jockey around and break stuff.
 The safety inspector came by a lot but always seemed to be asleep. BS was the capable assistant on the whole job and I stepped in when Amazonian might was required. No humans (or safety inspectors) were hurt during the build.
 Ta Da! Here is the finished beauty. No it's not at the water's edge. I don't allow any man made structures down there. The otters, and turtles and fish own that area.  We have a large landing area with a good boat launch, and BS even improved on that so we can circle around with a trailer and not have to shimmy around.
 By fall the boat barn was done and we could zoom around the lake…

Me and Paco, New Buds

The cardinals chased the chickadees away this morning; the feeder covered in frost and still in the crisp air. Like most mornings, I was typing away at my desk, gazing at the nature outside the window. Suddenly this horse walked up to the feeder and all the birds scattered! He walked around the corner of my house and towards a busy side road! I quickly threw on some shoes and a jacket, grabbed two carrots on BS's prompting, and found a newly purchased length of rope. The horse was munching the new grass in our back field, enjoying the smorgaasbord I'm sure. Although this horse knows me a little (lives right across the street now) he spooked as I walked up and went further down this busy road. He stopped at the neighbour's at another great clump of long grass. Carrot extended I got his attention and managed to slip a loop around his neck. He took it all very well, eager to chow down on the rest of the carrot in my hand. I started to walk him back to his home and he kep…

Spring Beauty

Incredible, wouldn't you say? These wild irises grow all over down by the water at camp.

Minstrel Wheel

Ta Da!! Here is the Minstrel Spinning Wheel, set up in my guest bedroom. Notice the chestnut quarter horse grazing in the first field and the sheep in the next pasture! Okay, so the glare didn't allow for that... behind the chair is a Schwinn exercise bike, so the room is now devoted to spinning round and round.
I bought the wheel unfinished and then applied two coats of tung oil to protect it a bit. This wheel is virtually identical to the antique one I bought in April, which now happily inhabits my studio in the North.

Now to the nitty gritty shots. Here is a close up of the flyer and my first "production". I can't call it yarn yet, it has to be plied and then I can knit with it.

Two friends have given me Romney wool fleece to get me going and this is the product of what GM gave me. OK , so there are thick and thin bits... would you believe me if I said that's the effect I am going for? There is a presumption that I will get better as time goes on. We shall see…

Dear Friends

Hello My Dear Friends; I hope to get to the point where communications from my northern hideout are much better; but for now I am south and finally have internet and phone and stuff hooked up. I have missed my random posts here and hope to fire it all up again.
News? BS and I and the Furry Ones enjoyed a tremendous summer at the lake. It was hotter and drier than normal, but we learned to cope with that. We worked a lot outdoors, especially Mr and I got to start playing in the studio. Mr continued on with major landscaping works (the guy has muscles!) and also built a boat barn! Stay tuned for pictures. (I am on a netbook now that does not have my photo collection on it).
In the studio I caressed and babied the antique spinning wheel and managed to create two balls of two ply wool. It will be saved for posterity and good chuckles down the road. Hopefully I will improve as a spinner. I continued on with my knitting design challenge and accomplished that by August: to devise and work up …

On the Wing

On the Wing. This is the name of the lace pattern from Vogue Stitchionary 5. Although it doesn't look it, right now this is a simple rectangle. The decent amount of reverse stockinette stitch background means the variegation in the yarn colour has a chance to show.

My camera work here isn't the best. It is dawn and I'm in a dark room, using the flash. The colours are most definitely washed out. But you get the beginnings of an idea of where I am going with this.

This panel will form the front or back of a summer tunic. I think I will run it up pretty much straight, no shaping. I am intrigued with making it a boat collar, therefore not disrupting the lace pattern. And I think it will drape nicely at the neck.

Then I will knit up side panels in the same yarn I think, but a different pattern. And so waist shaping will probably be incorporated there. Sleeves I will determine as I approach the end and see how much yarn I have left over. It is Auracania Silk, (will get the tag nam…

Same Goofy Chick

This one may show the front a little better. Sea Starz Shawl.

Sea Starz Shawl

Ta Da!

Weaving 101

The efforts of my recent Weaving 1o1 class. We worked up scarves? /tablerunners? (let's call them practice bits) on a rigid heddle loom.

While I have experience weaving, it was on frame looms and floor looms. So this was a good refresher plus an introduction to the rigid heddle loom. Most of the time was spent preparing the warp threads and getting them onto the loom properly.

A great class!

Old Spin on New Civilization

The time has come for me to take on another challenge. I bought an antique spinning wheel made in about the mid 1700s. With it I hope to learn to spin wool and other fibres. I was reflecting on why I am attracted to the antique in everything. I know for one thing that I am in awe of how technology and processes are developed and deeply respect how my ancestors made their way in the world. My Lithuanian heritage is strong with flax spinners who would've spent all day on a wheel exactly at this one, passing their spun linen fibres off to another person sitting at a large loom. And with everything in my life it's been "The School of Hard Knocks". I seem to need to grunt and get dirty and curse and shake my head a lot; learning all the while. This 1750s wheel will be finicky I'm sure and limited as to what it can do compared to the new jewels out there. Maybe in the future I will deserve one of those new ones. For the time being, I'll walk in the footsteps left …

Starz in my eyes

I've been beetling away at my Sea Stars shawl project. A couple of hours and the whole thing will be done. I am just completing a border edge now. After which you will get to see the completed result. My girlfriend C is calling it Sea Starz, modified after the stitch pattern name, Sea Stars. So I have adopted this name for the past few days. And then a happy little coincidence came along. Yesterday had three really obvious freaky coincidences occurred but I'll just tell you about one. I found out that a very creative jeweller, Dalan Hargrave of Spring Branch TX will be designing and making my next piece of jewellery. I've been lugging around quite a few cut stones for years. I profess to being a collector and I do eventually have most made into jewellery that I design, or my late husband designed and made. It was time to get some of the blue-green stones assembled into one art piece. It will have something to do with a mermaid - I think that's all I'm going to tel…

Lift... and separate

Do you remember the ads from way back when: The brassiere that was to Lift And Separate the girls.?? Well this is a good explanation for why it never rains in this part of the Hill Country. As the weather systems approach from the west they encounter the rising topography. Geologists have termed this area of exposed Precambrian rocks the Llano Uplift. It is a remarkable landscape feature that can be seen with some decent road tripping. As the warm wet weather reaches the slopes it begins to rise and cool. Some rain will come down as the clouds cool and carry more moisture. That's the lift.
But then there is the separate. As the winds continue to push the weather eastward the systems split in half and veer around this north part of the Hill Country. It's remarkable to see on the weather map radar; happening over and over again.

So because this region is "well endowed" it's a perpetual challenge for livestock and ranchers. You have my sympathies.

The Time is Upon Us

So , clearly this is not where I live right now. In a former life I lived on Baffin Island, way up there beside Greenland. A lovely spring day in the Arctic invited one out to romp and play: the wind tousling the few strands of hair that weren't well tucked into the helmet. But now my spring times are hot and dry. I miss Home North and its inviting lake. Even if it's too cool yet for swimming there, the shoreline becomes a place to hang out and catch a cool breeze. The new boat will provide a floating lounge for us this summer. And I'm contemplating all the fresh fish we will catch off the front end of our fishing model. Soon it will be time to load up the furry ones in the van. Actually the back seat is down and covered with a moving blanket. They have cushions aplenty and I stop so often it's a wonder I make it all the way in three days. Look out Canada! This little family is getting ready for the long trek to Home North. Expect us in under three weeks now!


"Every time we remember to say "thank you," we experience heaven on earth." Sarah Ban Breathnach.

This is such a lovely thought I wanted to share it. And it was high time I said Thank You to my friends who make my life one big smile. And to the followers of this blog who keep coming back.

Life and love has been very good to me and for that I am very grateful.

Hat Love

I've hat a love for you ever since I was a child. Father making me squint into the harsh sun; all while waiting for several family photos to be snapped. I hated that. I quickly learned to adopt a hat and sunglasses. Sun screen was added to the daily list once that modern marvel came along.

And as an exploration geologist it was always important to be very observant. Whether doing the navigation in the co-pilot's seat, or trying to spot the gossanous glint on a far rock outcropping, or determine if that was a polar bear or just an arctic wolf stalking me,... it was always important to see well and see it all immediately.

Therefore hats have always been very important to me. I still wear them all the time outside on a bright day. Hats can quickly add some panache to an otherwise plain outfit. They can put you in a playful mood. Some hats will lend an air of mystery to your persona! Suck in your cheeks and you too could be a jet setter about to fly off to the Riviera for some sun…

Because you are going to ask

Okay so here are a few pictures that tell the tale. The mosaic purse has been knit and now it needs to be lined. Here the purse is already sewn together, using the mattress stitch or invisible stitch. You are looking at the inside with all the floats and loose ends. In this next image is the cotton broadcloth lining. I used a frisky remnant of fabric I received from friends in New Zealand. I simply cut three pieces all just a little bigger than the outline of the three knit pieces. Then I sewed the cotton together on a machine. The top edges and strap edges all have a minimal hem folded over just once. And I ran the stitching line as close to the edge as I could.
Here is a close up of the corner detail. You may need to lop off a triangle of cotton at each corner just to allow ease for making it around the bend.

Drum roll please! Here the lining is going into the knit purse.

A sneak peek at the lining before it gets sewn in. Normally I would recommend a plain light coloured lining, to m…

Pie Crust Purse

Somewhere along the line I decided that running a workshop for the area knitters would be a good idea. This, at a time, naturally, when I was quite busy already. Of course.
After some careful thought, a list of five or so possible topics, some discussion and rudimentary voting, we settled on a mosaic knitting workshop. It is the simplest of the colourwork techniques and lots of fun.
Then I set about to find a stitch pattern that would work. This is what I came up with. Since most of my stitch pattern books are at Home North, I relied on Vogue Stitchionary 3 to come up with the candidates. Pie Crust is the name, and a simple purse is the game.

So in preparation for the workshop I am writing up the unique design and blocking the pieces prior to sewing it all up. I will eventually line the purse for added strength. For my version number one I will use crepe myrtle branches that need to be pruned anyways. Many options are possible for the simple handles: chopsticks, drumsticks, thin spind…

cape or shawl?

Here's what's on the needles right now. The yarn is Trendsetter "Serene"; a blend of silk, cotton, viscose, nylon, linen and a wee bit of silvery lurex. The colours are shades of grey and a sort of ivory or very light beige. I've paired it with a black possum wool I shipped back from New Zealand. So this is the bottom of the back of the shawl. As it will venture over the shoulders I will split it for the neck. Two sides will be worked independently, making a cape-like front that can be closed with a shawl pin or buttons or what have you. This one is being done plain but I already have ideas for textured or lacy ones.