Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fiber Fun!!

Here is the result of my latest afternoon of fiber fun. This is a blend of 75% Shetland/25% Soy Silk. The Shetland is from of my own sheep. He has such lovely fawn colored fiber. And it's so soft. I had dyed it before putting it through the drum carder. Then I blended it with bleached soy silk. Sure did lighten up the pink color (which I really like). I ended up blending only half of my original batt at a time. Didn't want to take the chance on overloading my carder.....or messing up my newly blended bat. It took another four runs through the carder to get everything blended to where I was happy with it. This is defnitely a learning experience for me.

This is actually my first attempt at blending. I have never used my drum carder for anything other than simply carding up fiber for spinning. Love the end result of blending though and definitely see more of this in the future. I'm already planning on blending one of my Shetland lamb fleeces with a bit of wool from my llama and soy silk. I'm hoping it turns out really nice. I would love to use it to make a sweater for myself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Polar Bear Stuffie

Now the first polar bear stuffie I did has a friend. I finished this little guy up a couple days ago. It's about the same size as the first one I did. I didn't use as much polyfil in it so it felted a lot better. Button eyes, needle-felted nose using black llama wool, and the facial features are needle-felted. This one has a red ribbon with a small gold jingle bell.

Been enjoying some spinning lately. I bought this lovely, lovely fiber blend at my local fiber shop. The blend is alpaca, merino, and silk. I'm not real crazy about spinning alpaca or merino, but just couldn't refuse simply because of the color. Surprisingly it's spinning up like a dream!!! I spun up a sample skein on my drop spindle the very same day I bought it. Loved the way it was spinning so much that I decided to spin the rest of it up on my spinning wheel. Thankfully I bought 8 ounces of this very lovely fiber. Haven't a clue as to what I will do with the finished yarn. All I know is that I'm really enjoying the spinning. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Polar Bear Stuffie

This is my latest knit/felted project. This little guy is made from Cheviot yarn that I spun up quite some time ago. It measures about 8" long and 5" high. The pattern can be found in the 2008 Interweave Felt magazine. It did knit up quickly. I had it done in about two evenings. Learned quite a bit from it, too. I had never felted a stuffed knitted item before. The body felted a lot nicer than the legs. I think it was because there was a bit too much stuffing in the legs. The eyes are little buttons and the nose is needle-felted using black llama wool. The facial features are also needle-felted.

Thought I would share pictures of my latest spinning project. I bought 3 Karakul fleeces last year at the fair. Actually I bought one and my loving hubby bought the other two. Anywhoo, at this year's fair the breeder I got my fleeces from was giving me a hard time about not doign anything with the fleeces. So I thought it would be fun to spin up some Karakul yarn and make a felted sheep from it. Then send the felted sheep to the breeder with a little note saying it is made from the fleece I bought. So I picked the fleece and then spun from the "fluff". The resulting yarn is pictured above. It's a bulky weight yarn with nice texture. It was spun on my Ashford Country Spinner. I took a picture of the center-pull ball simply because it was the biggest center-pull ball that I had seen. It weighed 12 ounces!! (and over 225 yards) It was plyed and is the light colored skein. The second skein weighed 9 ounces (about 140 yards) and was dyed a pretty shade of a bit of contrast in the finished sheep.
I had so much fun spinning up the two skeins that I spun up a third one. The third one weighs about 9 ounces and is 192 yards. I still have plenty of fleece left and will be spinning up yet another skein. I'm thinking of putting at least one of these skeins up for sale on my etsy site. I've really been having lots of fun spinning up this Karakul fleece.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

More fiber fun....and some quilting

As if I didn't do enough spinning at the is a picture of post-fair yarn that I spun up. This is Merino that was beautifully dyed. You can see specks of color.....greens, a bit of gold.....nice fall colors. Don't know why I bought this roving. It's not like I really needed any more fiber. I guess the colors just called to me. :) Anyway, I brought home 8 ounces and proceeded to spin it up that very night. There is about 400 yards between the three skeins. Haven't figured out the wip yet, but I'm guessing it is about a worsted weight. The challenge for me was the fact that it was Merino. When I first started spinning I couldn't spin Merino if my life depended on it. Gave me fits!! Stayed away from it after that. Well, I have discovered that experience does make a different (or maybe just lots and lots of practice). This spun up beautifully!! It spun up about as consistently as anything will for me. (I like to say that my spinning is consistenly inconsistent.) I did enjoy it quite a bit and can see spinning a bit of Merino in the future.
It was also back to playing with my Shetland fleeces. I dedided to pull out Cisco's fleece and play with it a bit. He's a nice light fawn color. Very beautiful fiber!! And it dyes up like a dream!!! Not sure how much I will leave the natural color. I'm having so much fun dyeing it different colors. The pink I'm keeping for myself. I have a desire to blend it with a bit of silk and then spin it up. The other three colors will be put on my etsy site for sale. They are 4 ounce bunches. Here's a picture of Cisco so you can see how beautiful he is.

My flock consists of 21 Shetland sheep.......11 wethers and 10 ewes. When I originally started my flock I chose animals for their fiber and their color. I was setting up a spinner's flock. It became a breeding flock for a few years and now we are back to a spinner's flock. No rams here!! In fact, the three ramlings were all taken to the vet yesterday to be wethered. Levi was so happy when we put them in with him. He was bouncing all over his yard. He now has his own little flock to watch over. :)

And for the quilting part of it all......not only did I finish up the first block in the block of the month I'm doing through a local quilt shop.....but I also picked up the kit for block #2. Pictured below is block #1. It's a bit brighter than what I normally do.....but I like it. It makes me smile everytime I see it. Plus it has motivated me to continue working on a quilt that is my own design. And it will have sheep on it. :)

Lots of yarn!!

Here it is....finally! Pictures of all the finished yarn that I spun up while at the fair. Lots of time to spin means lots of yarn. Haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do with it all.....yet. :)
The top right picture is of a Targhee-Corriedale-Merino blend yarn. Found the fiber in a tub when I was looking for something to spin. Not sure exactly when I bought it or why.........until I found some kid mohair locks, that is. Of course this was after I had already spun it up into singles. I'm guessing it was bought to blend with the kid mohair locks. Oh well. I have a better fleece I can use for that. Since the kid mohair is this wonderful reddish-brown color I think i will simply blend it with a moorit lamb's fleece I have. Should make for some very pretty yarn. There is close to 800 yards between the two skeins. Haven't figured out the wpi (wraps per inch) just yet. I'm guessing probably a dk weight....if not a sport weight.
The top left picture is of a hand-dyed wool blend yarn. I had bought this during the fair on one of my only breaks away from the fair ground itself. Wanted something a bit different to spin. It was labeled as "virgin wool". Whatever it is, it spun up beautifully!! There is about 500 yards between the two skeins. At least a dk weight.
Bottom right is a skein of Grey Norwegian yarn. Definitely a worsted weight.....if not a bit closer to bulky. This skein is about 150 yards. I really didn't like spinning up this fiber. It was rather course and produced a smooth rather heavy single. I had purchased a pound of this fiber, but only spun enough to fill the bobbin about 3/4 of the way. There was a young spinner sitting next to me who really loved the fiber so I gave the rest to her. She really loved spinning it as it spins rather consistently. This will end up being made into a felted sheep. It's just too course (for my tastes) to be used for anything else.
Finally, the bottom left picture is of suffolk. This spun up into a worsted weight yarn. Wasn't too bad to spin, just a bit course for my taste. The three skeins yeild about 570 yards. Just enough to make about two felted sheep. It did take dye very you can tell by the black skein on top.
So that is the end results from this year's fair. I was able to get quite a bit spun up and did spin a rather nice variety of fiber. Of course this is just what was spun up on my wheel. On my drop spindles I spun up some Shetland (from one of my own sheep)......a bit of llama (from my black guard was so soft and spun like a dream!!)......and some corriedale (which I simply adore spinning). Wonder what I will be spinning at next year's fair.........

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My new llama

It's been quite some time since I've posted on my blog. Life has been keeping me pretty busy....especially the guy pictured above. :) This is Levi. He is my new llama. He is a rescue llama. I was told that he is a year old, but am seriously having my doubts about that. I'm thinking he may be younger....probably about 10 months old or so. Of course I don't know much about llamas so I could be way off on this. He is a real sweetie and has been easy to handle. I've been brushing him and taking him on walks every day. As for my other llama.....well, let's just say that he is acting like he really doesn't care about the new llama....although he can be seen checking on Levi quite often throughout the day. It's rather comical to watch. :)

When we first got Levi he was kept in the barn so that we could get to know him....and him us. It didn't take long for one of the llamas to push the screen out of a barn window so they could stick their heads through. And this is how they spent the first couple of days....with one or the other having their head stuck through the window. Now that Levi is able to come out into the yard everyone is getting acquainted through the fence that divides them. It is really sweet to see. It looks like Levi has a favorite already. He really seems to like Q-tip a lot.......who just happens to be white like him.
If I felt totally spoiled before I know why. My loving hubby decided to surprise me with a new wheel shortly after the fair ended. I am now the proud owner of an Ashford Country Spinner. It's one of those wheels you just didn't know you wanted until you actually have one. Of course my hubby is a sucker for big bobbins! LOL! I guess they don't get much bigger than the Country Spinner. He also thought I might enjoy having a wheel that I could ply on and not having to constantly change flyers on my Kromski. I must admit it is very nice having a wheel set up just for plying. All of the singles I spun up at the fair is now plyed and ready to be used in some future project. And all of it was plyed on the Country Spinner.

Of course all this fiber play hasn't left much time for quilting. In fact, I have barely quilted in the past month. Although I did get the first block of the block of the month I joined done. Which is a good thing. Especially since it's time for me to take my completed block in so that I can pick up the new block. Now I'm just hoping things will settle down a bit more so that I can enjoy my quilting once again. It's funny how you tend to miss something when you just don't have enough time for it....even though you may have other hobbies that you enjoy just as much.