Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My one regret from Rhinebeck 2011 was NOT getting a Loop! Spontaneous Spinning Bump, so I was very excited to nab one this past fall. Now, my one regret is not getting more than one*, because hubba hubba, hallelujah, this was so awesome to spin!

I ended up with Autumn Hike, a merino/silk blend. I don't think I have pictures of the bump pre-spun, partly because I started spinning it as soon as I left the fairgrounds. The color changes were so subtle when spinning that I didn't realize the extent of their shift until after I caked the finished yarn.

I almost didn't want to do anything but lovingly gaze at this cake of n-ply gorgeousness, but I couldn't resist the call of my loom. 552 yds of sock-weight gradient looks like this when warping:

This was only my second large weaving project, so I took my time threading the heddles, adjusting the tension, winding the warp, and all that. Then, I labored over what to use for a weft. I wanted something that would coordinate and almost blend in with the warp; and I also wanted something that would fade into the background, so to speak - warp-faced, I guess. After a few failed attempts at finding a weft, I found the perfect fiber in the bottom of my stash, and set to spinning it up.

This is a blend from Kid Hollow Farm that I picked up a few years ago. Before spinning, I hand-carded it once to blend it just a bit more. Then, I spun it fine and plied it to an ethereal laceweight. It's a mohair/border leicester blend that has sheen, softness, and a fuzzy halo. Basically, it's the best.

I had the loom warped for quite a few weeks while I went about finishing (and, ahem, starting) other projects. But eventually, I got to the point where I had some weaving time, and went to town. It took all of a few afternoons/evenings to finish the weaving! It went fast for a couple of reasons: I took the time to really set up the warp, and I deliberately beat the weft so that it would have lots of space - I wanted this to be light and airy. I didn't calculate the yardage on the weft, and I wish I had - I feel like I used next to nothing, maybe 250 yards, over a 65" warp.  Below is just the first 1.5", but you get the idea.

I hemstitched both ends (the start looks better than the finish), then twisted the fringe. Then, I ran some hot water and wool wash in the tub - maybe 2" - and agitated things a little bit. The weft and warp played really well together! Here's a close-up of sorts:

And here're some FO shots:

I am so pleased with how this came out - it's exactly what I wanted it to be.

*I've got 2 - YES, TWO - more bumps coming my way.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Some pumpkins

Last weekend, my mom came up early and the two of us spent the bulk of the day sorting and organizing my formerly catch-all craft-hole of a room. We moved some furniture, emptied bins and cubbies, threw out and donated used up and unwanted supplies, and generally had a good time. I haven't always enjoyed The Grand Sort Outs, but I totally believe in them.

The room, even one week later, still looks tidy:

We did NOT go through the fiber closet or the yarn stash, and the stuff hanging on the door really should be sorted. But, overall, it was really great to go through mostly everything. We found a number of nearly finished projects, some FOs that were languishing in the frog pond, and a few things that I'd forgotten about, like drawings of a trip Mike and I took to New England a few years ago.

This was our second trip to Mt. Washington, and Mike's first winter climb. Living in the mid-Atlantic region, I'm always amused by the moose caution signs. I know that hitting a moose would be a pretty bad scene, mostly for the car, because moose are gigantic. And I do believe in moose - I've just not seen one. This is what I imagined seeing one would look like.

Portrait of Mike, wearing the handspun, handknit hat I knit to commemorate his Kilimanjaro climb. What you can't really tell from my majestic sketch is the hat changes colors to represent the multiple climate zones experienced as one treks up to Kili's summit. I know, right? Anyway, I assure you he has a nose in this drawing. Also, he's a better (self) portrait artist than I am:

Anyway, Mike climbed a mountain known for its spectacular weather, in the winter, and then stayed overnight in the observatory at the summit. I traveled to Maine for a little R&R with my favoritest Boogie that ever, er, boogied. I got a weaving lesson, watched a recap of The Human Centipede (don't click that if you are at all sensitive to things like the C-word or people eating poop against their own will), and slept with another Mickey (a real dog). Then, the next day, I picked him up at Pinkham Notch, and we headed south to the Boston area for more fun, visiting my sister and then our friends D & NJStacie.

Now, most of you will see this map and know that America's Top Hat is up there. You'll probably also read the text as CanadaLand, or even CanadiaLand, as it's written. My mom read it as ChlamydiaLand, which really doesn't help Canada's self image, eh? We had quite the laugh about that, and then she said, "It's a really good map, though!" And somehow, that makes it all even funnier.

So, here we were, chilling somewhere outside of Boston, watching hours of MXC, and hanging out with other craftie types. Mike missed out on most of this fun - he was sleeping off his mountain high. But, he woke up and joined us in time for Jack Chop, also not entirely safe for work, but with 100% less poop eating and c-word use.

I always have such good intentions to take photos on our trips, but invariably I don't - having too much fun, not wanting to ruin the moment, forgetting I have a camera (on my phone, no less). When we got home from our trip north, I realized there was not a single picture of the trip. Not wanting to forget it all, I had this grand scheme of drawing highlights of the trip. I went at it, and after 4 masterful pieces, got distracted or bored or otherwise engaged. The thing is, though, I haven't forgotten that trip, even with no pictures and 4 pencil sketches. It was a great time.