Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tour de Fleece - Day Two

I plied my "Red Dahlia" (282 yards) and spun my first bobbin (2 oz) of "Toffee."

TdF Day 2 - SCF Semi-solid shetland

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tour de Fleece - Day One

Today was the first day of this year's Tour de Fleece, the spinning event during the Tour de France. I had a false start, yesterday, thinking it was the first day. When I went to post my first day's progress, I realized I was a day ahead.

So, I have now spun for two days, a half a bump each day of Southern Cross Fibre's "Red Dahlia" on Shetland, part of a six-color "Ivy League Kit." :)

I guess only one of the bobbins "counts."

TdF Day 1really - SCF Semi-solid shetland

Here's the kit:

SCF - Shetland - Ivy League Kit

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spinning Progress

I plied the pink merino using the Ashford Traditional, with the bulky flyer/bobbin.

Ivy Brambles - Candia

I also finished up 20 ounces of Merino Milk and four ounces of Wensleydale in a spin-along of Spunky Eclectic fiber. The pale blue is "Glacial" on Merino Silk, and the multi-color is "Mystic Springs" on Wensleydale, part of the April-June SAL on the "Completely Twisted and Arbitrary" group on Ravelry. Fun!

SE _ CTA SAL _ glacial merino silk - plies

SE _ CTA SAL _ springs wensleydale - done

That brings me back to bare wheels (two of them, now!), and ready for the annual "Tour de Fleece," which starts this Friday!

Added June 28:
I came back to this post because I got kind of hurried when I was posting, before, and I didn't include my fiber prep...

The Wensleydale, being a longwool, such as it is, does not work well as a woolen prep (my normal prep of choice).

Spunky Eclectic - CTA SAL

I pre-drafted pieces which were one sixth of the length and one quarter of the width, just simply pulling the fibers along the length until they felt loose and silky. I coiled them in little nests, and they were ready to spin. When spinning, I put a little bowl on the floor to hold the nest and let it slide or whatever it wanted to do.

Mystic Springs

And here are the two bobbins of singles, ready to ply.

SE _ CTA SAL _ springs wensleydale - singles

The Merino Silk "Glacial" presented me with more of a quandary.

Spunky Eclectic - CTA SAL

Because it was part of a spin-along, I had several pictures from other folks, and I could get a good I idea of how it was going to spin up. I decided I did not want quite as much color variation for the project I had in mind (a Cobblestone with a Wensleydale yoke, somewhat like this one). Therefore, I carded the fiber. First, I separated the colors into groups and divided them into an equal number of piles for each group (25, as it turns out). I had four groups of color that I thought of as "white, grey, blue, green." The picture below shows the color groups, where the white and green were each carded for consistency, the grey and blue are just coils of roving pieces, and there are four of the finished blends over on the right (which I'll explain in a second).

glacial - prep

After getting my 25 x 4 mini pieces, I carded one of each into a layered batt, green, white, grey, blue.

glacial - carder

I ended up with a batt that was green on one side and blue on the other.

glacial - batt 2 sidesr

Here are the finished batts, half of them coiled green-side-out and half of them blue-side-out.

glacial - batts all carded

And, a close-up glamour shot of one of these dudes:

glacial - batts closeup

Then, I unrolled each coil and made fauxlags, blue-side-out, and they were ready to spin!

glacial - fauxlags - closeup

Even though I normally spin a four-ounce "bump" per bobbin, I separated my fauxlags into six groups, giving me an even number of bobbins to ply. It is just as well, because the yarn spun up pretty poofy, and the bobbins were pretty full. When I plied, I couldn't quite get a two-bobbin pair onto my bulky plier bobbin, leaving me with leftovers that resulted in a final, smaller skein of plied yarn. In the yarn picture above, you can see that there is a smaller skein on the right. The skein on the left is the biggest... On the first skein, I tried the hardest to fit it all into a single bulky bobbin, but finally admitted it wasn't going to fit. On the second and third bobbin, I stopped when the plying bobbin was less packed.

SE _ CTA SAL _ glacial merino silk - bobbins

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Weaving Update

I took the Bullseye Twill off of the loom and washed it. The pattern is very subtle in the two semi-solid yarns so close in color...


Bullseye 2

I was not terribly mindful of the selvedges, because I'm going to cut the fabric to make a purse. More on that later...

I have also started another project, a plain weave scarf from a pre-measured warp from Earth Guild. Kay, my weaving instructor, had one of their scarves on her loom when I had my first lesson. Kay was weaving a different kit, the 15-16 epi scarf warp (which makes three scarves). I ordered the 12 epi scarves, specifically identified as "rigid heddle" scarf kits. I'm using my 12.5 epi heddle, though. The weft is 8/2 rayon, held double, and the warp is rayon slub. The colors are so beautiful, I couldn't decide, and I ordered three, Ocean Waves, Ruby Slippers, and Shadow Play.

Earth Guild Rigid Heddle Scarves

The reason the Shadow Play bag looks sort of empty is that I already started that one! Here is the warp wound onto the back beam:

Earth Guild Rigid Heddle Scarves - Shadow Play - warped

And I started weaving, this morning:

Earth Guild Rigid Heddle Scarves - Shadow Play - Header

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Monday, June 10, 2013


We took Mitchell to the rodeo in Mascoutah on Friday. He seemed to like the cotton candy the best.

Cotton Candy 1

Cotton Candy 2


He also took the opportunity for a pony ride.


It was tough to get a good cowboy shot without getting closer than the orange, spray-painted line. Everything was through the rails of the fence.


The clown obliged by perching on said fence.


Mitchell got a hold of my camera and took this picture of his daddy.


He also took a slew of pictures of a couple of little girls that were sitting near us... and some cow poo. I'll spare you those. :)

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Classic Cardigan Progress

I'm still tooling along on my "Classic Cardigan." I finished the sleeves, the pocket bands, and started the front bands.

classic cardigan - pocket band

classic cardigan - sleeves

The front band is in the top of the sleeve photo. It is four stitches wider than the pocket band.

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

Saturday, June 8, 2013

First Woven Scarf - Finished Shots

I've been so focused on the next thing, I never posted "completion" shots of the first weaving project...

first scarf 2

first scarf 1

Happy Knitting!
Lisa Kay

Two Heddles and 3-Shaft Patterns

I have been anxious to try a "twill" pattern. They intrigue me, partly because they are what is used to make tartans. There are many twill drafts available in 3-shaft patterns, which makes them readily adaptable to a rigid heddle loom such as I have, just by introducing a second heddle... without the need to use pick up sticks. I used the instructions at "Ask the Bellwether" that I pointed out in a previous post.

I picked out a twill pattern on, a "point twill," which means it has "turns." The pattern name is "Bullseye Twill."

Bullseye twill

The trickiest part was deciding how I wanted to thread the heddles. While a great deal of the threading is a straight 1-2-3 or 3-2-1, the "turns" are where it changes between the two. Because I'm using the two heddles to represent the three shafts, even a continuous 1-2-3 threading order gives an "extra" hole/slot for every three threads (compared to plain weave threading of just alternating slot/hole/slot/hole). The addition of "turns" just makes it even more different. When I first started thinking about it, I had the thought, "Maybe I should pick another threading draft that has a continuous 1-2-3 repeat..." But I didn't!

The threading, as advised by Ask the Bellwether, is:
Shaft 1: Slots on both heddles.
Shaft 2: Holes on front, slots on back.
Shaft 3: Slots on front, holes on back.

Easy-peasy, right? Well, if you want to end up (no pun intended) with one end in each slot or hole, to get the epi of the heddle (which I did, assuming a 10 epi heddle), then it is a bit of a challenge because the threading leaves one "spare" hole/slot out of every four. I solved that by going to a 12.5 epi heddle instead of 10 epi. Then, I could skip 25% (i.e. have three total ends for each four slots/holes in the heddle width).

Threading 1-2-3

The threading for a regular 1-2-3 order in the shaft threading is pretty simple, as shown above. If you refer to the Bullseye Twill draft, you'll see (represented by the black squares along the bottom of the draft) that there are sections in sequence of 1-2-3 or 3-2-1, but there are several "turns" of either 1-2-3-1-3-2-1 or 3-2-1-2-3. Those are not very hard to do either, though it does slightly throw off the "three threads in every four slots/holes" ratio.

Threading 1-2-3-1-3-2-1

Threading 3-2-1-2-3

Because of the "three out of four" aspect, I found it difficult to decide how I wanted to count out my "direct warp" (with two-end loops in slots), and then later “move” the ends. I avoided that step by pre-measuring a warp, winding it onto the back beam, and threading single ends into the holes/slots I wanted.

I wandered around the house, looking for likely warping tools. I kept staring at the banister, thinking it had a beautiful section of almost parallel spindles. So... I warped on the banister. I counted out six groups of twelve. With two ends per circuit, 144 ends is three width repeats of the draft.

What's wrong with this picture?

2 - warp winding

Oh, yeah... there's that small, incidental detail about tying the prepared warp at the crosses and keeping the ends in order... How was I to get it off of the banister, now? Well, I ended up tying the warp in a ten places, including twice very close to the end away from the cross, cutting the end nearest the cross, and uncrossing the ends to pull them off of the banister. Then, I tied the center of the warp to the back beam.

2 - warp tied onto the back beam

I tried "tensioning" the bundles a bit, to wind on the back beam (using a heddle), but it didn't work very well. The bundles of 12 threads were no longer "in order" and wanted to spiral around each other. They just became more tightly twisted as I wound them onto the back beam.

2 - tensioning the warp to wind onto back beam

I took the heddle out of the warps and just laid them out as flat as I could manage and then turned them onto the back beam about one half turn at the time, straightening them each half turn. After winding them on the back beam, I threaded them as described above.

2 - warp on back beam - ready to thread

Then, I just tied the groups of 12 in pairs on the front beam. Now, ready to weave! So, here is what it looks like to "raise" each shaft:

Shaft 1: Both heddles down (ends in both slots ride high, with ends in either hole pushed down):
2 - Shaft 1 raised - both heddles down

Shaft 2: Front heddle up, back heddle neutral:
2 - Shaft 2 raised - front up - back neutral

Shaft 3: Back heddle up, front heddle neutral.:
2 - Shaft 3 raised - front neutral - back up

After starting to weave, I realized I needed a "selvedge" thread on each side. I had to "do it" before I understood why a "floating selvedge" is used for twill. Just like the warp threading described above, the weft threads don't alternate every other row. When two rows of the draft have the same weft position, the weft thread doesn't wrap around the edge of the fabric. So... I tied on an extra thread on each edge and let it dangle off the back of the loom. It didn't take me very long to realize I had to tie weight on it.

I have woven a couple of repeats. The area where the turn has no skipped holes/slots (the 3-2-1-2-3 turn) is noticeable as slightly tighter together (at arrow).

weaving closeup - bullseye

Sometimes, "learning by doing" can be a painstaking process!

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

ETA: Finished product, purses, posted here.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mystery Solved

Helpful folks replied to let me know it was an Ashford Traditional. By looking at the timeline on the Ashford site, I concluded it was made between 1965 and 1975, just like me! It has a three-knob spoke, simple uprights. and leather bearings. :) Must be good, made in that timeframe! Hah!

Ashford Traditional

I spun two bobbins full of singles, two ounces each, and I'm ready to ply. I'll try the larger flier for the plying... The small bobbins seem to be full with the two ounces on them.

Ashford Traditional

Happy Knitting!
Lisa Kay

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Wheel and Accessories

A friend at work gave me a few things of her mother's, wanting to send them to a "good home" (i.e. where someone would use them). I don't know what kind of wheel it is. It was given to my friend's mom by her spinning teacher, so the origin is unknown. It has two fliers, a small one with three bobbins and a large one with four. The small bobbins also have a Lazy Kate (in the right of the photo). There is also a homemade skeiner and a drop spindle (left front).

antique wheel

There is only a Scotch Tension. It seemed like the little cord was missing something. It didn't reach the hook. I'm not sure exactly what was there originally, but I bought the smallest springs I could find at the hardware store, and it seemed to do the trick. I spun some yarn on the smaller flyer, today, and it worked well.

antique wheel - spring

Does anyone know what kind of wheel this is? There is no "maker's mark." Maybe it is homemade. I don't suppose it matters one way or the other, but I was interested...

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay


We took Mitchell to the Fort de Chartres annual Rendezvous for the first time. If you think the rubber boots are odd, check out the water level above the foot bridge in the first shot. In fact, the rain has covered so much of the parking areas (grass fields) that the event was officially cancelled. However, people did not seem to heed the cancellation.

Rendezvous 1

There were people in every sort of "period" attire, and there was a "fashion show" in the afternoon where various costumes were explained.

Rendezvous 2

There were some kilt-wearing pipers, and they even did some dancing...

Rendezvous 5

Rendezvous 6

Rendezvous 7

Mitchell climbed around on the fort, as many kids were doing.

Rendezvous 3

Rendezvous 8

Rendezvous 4

I was surprised there were not "please don't climb on the walls" signs everywhere... After all, it's a historic site.

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay