A Very Bright Baby Blankie!

Samantha's Blankie/1060 metres

It’s a pattern from Wooly Thouhts, available on Ravelry. Best of all, it’s based on math and really easy to improvise as you go, once you get the hang of it 🙂

I used some of the shetland lamb, dyed it in a multitude of colours. I use the Dharma Trading Co. acid dyes and they are excellent! I blended the dyed locks on hand cards and added a pinch of targhee cross to each rolag – each rolag was split in half so when spun, the plies pretty much lined up and created the blending of one colour to another. In total, 1060 metres of handspun two ply went into this blanket.

handspun from handdyed shetland lambswool

It’s Fleece Season!!

Oh yes, happy day!

It may still be snowing outside but I still love spring – I usually stock up on my fleeces and this year I’m pretty pleased with what I was able to find 🙂 (lol, to be honest, I have always been pleased – I just love fleece)

There is the Romney fleece – purchased from a seller on Ravelry.

Romney fleece

It was very clean to begin with, hardly any vm.

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I separated the locks and laid them in a basket.

I really like taking the extra time to do this – the results are excellent and the fleece cleans very easily. I place these locks in a wire waste basket from the dollar store and then this basket is placed in a large pot of simmering water on the stove. I keep an eye on water temperature with a candy thermometer. I do the same with the rinse water and I have a second basket so I can keep one washing at all times. The going is a little slow because I don’t overcrowd my baskets but it’s easy and the results are excellent!

Romney all washed up

And this is the whole fleece, after washing.

Romney fleece/washed

The next fleece is a shetland lamb fleece – really nice!

Shetland lamb

Charlie really loves fleece!
(our dog really loves this fleece!)

I purchased this from a little etsy shop.

It is a beautiful fleece with minimal vm, well skirted and soft. Count me as a happy spinner 🙂

Shetland, ready to wash

Washed shetland lamb fleece

I found some lovely suri alpaca – baby suri, just a little so I could try it…lol, I fell in love…

Baby suri alpaca

I ended up blending the suri with a little of the shetland lamb and have not yet plied the singles.

Happy spring 🙂

Swiss Lateral Treadle – A Very Sweet Wheel!

Good morning my friends!

Yes, we’ve added another wheel to the flock.  My husband has definitely earned his enabler’s certification, lol, as he very smartly and wisely guessed I might really REALLY love this little wheel as a birthday present/project.

Purchased off of our local Kijiji from an elderly gentleman who thought it was polish (though I’m not sure why and the gentleman did not have time to talk and did not share details on any known history of the wheel).

When we first got her

Very loose, very rickety but complete with all of her parts except the tension peg. A very experienced, well used (as evidenced by the oil stains and appropriate wear) lateral treadle swiss wheel! Not really very common where I live and I feel very blessed to have her 🙂

I took her apart as much as possible and cleaned her. Then a coat of blo and turpentine mixed about 50/50. She could drink that for days but I didn’t want to overdo so I’m waiting a few days now for another coat.

Be ever so careful if you are using this mixture – it will self combust and you MUST lay out rags or anything used outside to dry afterwards before safely disposing. Do not crumple up rags! Also, use in a well ventilated area.

after blo/turpentine

She was definitely in poor shape. Her flyer had been bent off center, possibly by too much tension over too many years or possibly by a fall or some other accident. Her orifice leather needed replacing, her frame needed shimming from underneath to take out the rattle and the lean. The mother of all arm which holds the orifice needed shimming from underneath to take out the other rattle, lol.

before the oil

with old leather

Check out this treadle pin!

Check out this treadle pin!

I actually love getting to know these old ladies. It’s like we have this long talk about their every ailment, and then I do my best to fix them one by one by one until the little old lady is ready tCo spin again. You know, the kind of work where you can spend nine hours or so before you even realize that the day has passed? A labour of love 🙂

She has captive rings, which I thought was pretty sweet. To me, it means that someone loved the lady who owned this wheel once-upon-a-time. In it’s day, a wheel was a necessary tool. Only people who love people specially decorate their tools, I was thinking…

more captive rings

hand carved spoked/captive ring

So, after the shimming, she can now be carried with one hand, nothing moves and she is, perhaps, the most sturdy wheel in the house!

swiss lateral treadle

She stood for having her flyer shaft bent back into straight. Her bobbin degunked nicely for me.

swiss flyer

It took a little work carving shoe leather thin enough for her orifice leather but she is now releathered. I did leave the top of the wooden orifice without having the leather come around and it works perfectly with the soft cord as a tensioner. I am planning to replace the cord with leather lacing for a brake.

The only thing left to do is to carve her a proper tension peg (I’m thinking captive rings are in order…) and to become much more skilled in the art of bobbin led spinning!! LOL. These are wheels that pull like crazy and want to put in light light twist. I left the original thread there from the lady-who-spun-so-long-ago. It’s good for the wheel karma. It appears she was a pro – it is very thin, very perfect flax.

A Fantastic New Craft – My Freeform Crocheted Carpet Project

Freeform Carpet

It all started when I was sorting my wool the other day. I love how a bunch of wool can create a whole chain of thought and inspiration!

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I’ve got tons of textured yarns which I’ve accumulated over the years and lots of basic acrylics that I use for blankets and toys. I had the idea to create an area rug for my son with various textured yarns held double with a strand of the base acrylics (worsted weight) in all the shades of beige that I had in my stash. The flat/untufted areas are base acrylic held with a strand of cone cotton and strand of cone rayon with a golden sparkle to it – each about fingering weight or less. It compliments the sparkle in the main ‘bling bling’ yarn I’ve used for texture. It’s the multicolour found in all the circles – pictures just don’t do it justice.

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I had so much fun with this I’m planning to invest in some rug yarns to try to make a more durable/long lasting rug. This one is tightly crocheted and seems strong but it is just blanket strength acrylic I’ve used so I can’t wait to see what I can create with real rug wool and my tufted texture yarns! It will take away the machine wash option though if I decide to go with wool rug yarn (and I’m leaning to that option – seeing a guy with a factory full of partial cones which he needs to clear out later on today and there are a few different materials to choose from).

We all knew I needed a new hobby, seeing as I have nothing to do lol 🙂

Oh wow, almost forgot to post this pic…

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It’s my new Polonaise! Yes, finally, I have been blessed with the one wheel I’ve wanted forever-since-I-thought-of-spinning!! A totally excellent early Christmas present 🙂

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She spins like a dream and is just beautiful. The lady I purchased her from was excellent and her husband was even kind enough to deliver the wheel.

And a very cute grandson pic…he loves to jump!

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An Adorable Knitted Doll And A Few New Books…

I recently purchased a few new books. I really LOVE books!

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The one that got me started was ‘Knitted Dolls’ by Arne & Carlos. Then I found ‘Babes In The Wool’ by Fiona McDonald and also ‘Crochet Master Class’ by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss.

So, my sudden fascination with knitting some dolls is completely unexplainable but they are SO CUTE! One just leads you to wondering how the next one will turn out, lol.

In progress…

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The eyes make all the difference…

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Also, because the crochet book demanded I not ignore it….I started a couple of ‘squares’ for a future crocheted quilt I have in mind. The colours are awesome and the technique makes them really POP. This is a pillow cover project from the book….

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Have an excellent day! I have a doll dress to finish 🙂

Final thought for today? I KNEW the acrylic was good for something!

Hand Carved Crochet Hooks!

An awesome, fun, new craft!

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There is a pear tree in our back yard which has a dead, dry branch — so dry it literally snapped off the tree with a touch a few weeks ago. Add to that that I saw a tutorial on hook carving AND I love to carve in the first place….. 🙂

A little research revealed that pear is an ideal carving wood. Thank you, God.

And so I’ve learned to carve crochet hooks – what a fabulous way to spend a day off!

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The finished hook in this picture is 4mm and about 5.5 inches long. It fits perfectly in the hand with the bend in the wood. The stick on the right was the second one I worked on. More picture of that one coming right up!

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A raw stick, or how it starts – The second hook, which ended up being 5.5mm and about 6.5 inches in length with a really comfy thumb rest – The first hook and my favorite knife and blade.

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I wanted to show the ‘hook’ itself, that is definitely the tricky part. I sanded these very gently to get them to a shiny smooth finish, especially on hook end. I love how the wood grain comes out in this wood and really love it best in hook #2.

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Have a fabulous day!