Tuesday, September 13, 2016

30 Day Challenge day 5-11

After a very full weekend of extra hours at work, we had an electrical fire scare which kept me up way too late on a Sunday night without power. That led into a week of my (almost) normal work load. (This morning I'm going in an hour early so I can get some extra work done).

I think the only thing keeping me sane is spinning at least 5 minutes a day on my Jenkins turkish spindles!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Zoom Loom: A Review

My parents gave me a gift card to Paradise Fibers for my birthday earlier this year. I tend to hoard gift cards until I know exactly what I want the most and what I think I can get the most use out of. Well, with all the fiber sampling I've been doing, I decided that a Schacht Zoom Loom would be a good addition to my tools. I want a way to store my fiber sample library with yarn information, but also have a little sample of knit or woven fabric to see how the yarn behaves in a piece of fabric.

The Zoom Loom is a pin loom that measures just over 4 x 4 inches. It seems very well made, but comes with a couple replacement pins just in case. It's a simple design, but the pin spacing really helps the user remember which pins to loop the yarn around. There are numbers and reminder hints on each corner of the loom too, which is really nice! I've made a few squares with different weight yarns and I can say with certainty that the loom can handle a bit of pulling and man handling on those pins! The last couple rows can be difficult to weave if you're using a heavier weight yarn.

To be 100% honest, this isn't something that I would have spent money on if I hadn't had a gift card. Even now, once I've gotten it and had a chance to use it, I probably wouldn't have gotten it if I hadn't received a gift card for my birthday. It's a very nice tool to have, it'll definitely get some use, and I'll enjoy having it in my tool repertoire, but I just don't think that it's something I would suffer for not having. Not like a niddy noddy or a ball winder.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Breed Study: Romney, A Continuation

I'm still working through the medium grey Romney fleece. I'm totally in love with this fleece! It's soft, it has wonderful luster, and it's so easy to comb and spin!

I've made quite a bit of progress, even though it doesn't really look like it. I've been combing, spinning on my wheel, and combing more to refill the basket.

I have a plan for this fiber that I can't wait to see completed!

I will pair this finished yarn with my Princess Bride yarn, design and knit into a circle shawl. I'm envisioning garter, lace, and a small bit of color blocking. I only need about umpteenmillion yards, right?

Question for you guys: how do you spin for consistency? This will only be my second spin over multiple bobbins worth of singles. The first one was a traditional 3 ply, which definitely helped even things out but this one will only be a 2 ply!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Studio Tour

To call my space a studio might be stretching it a little bit, but my wall of crafting is coming along! After a little bit of reorganization in the kitchen, we moved the bookcase from the kitchen to my space!

I share my crafting space with the couch and TV, as well as Ty's computer and gaming corner. It works for us! And, as you might remember from an earlier post, we don't have a huge floorplan in our house. The living room is where we spend most of our time while we're inside. Well, that or in the kitchen! Along my craft wall there would normally be a doorway into the kitchen, but some remodel done years ago removed that doorway.

The space I have to work with is about 4 feet wide and follows the whole length of the room. This is what people see when they walk in through the front door. It certainly gives people a good idea of what I do for fun! I'm making that wall into a gallery of beautiful and meaningful pieces of artwork. To have such an inspirational backdrop for my creative area is important to me. Eventually the whole wall, even up to the ceiling, will be full!

We're working on making my space a usable and pleasant to look at area. What this means to me is getting rid of or limiting the use of plastic storage bins. It won't be entirely possible to do away with all plastic storage (there's really nothing easier to store yarn and fiber and be sure it'll stay reasonably dog hair free, as well as dirt free). I have my converted kitchen table lifted up about 5 inches so I can work from my table either standing or sitting. That height also allows me to store a couple plastic tubs stuffed with yarn and fiber under the table. It's from that table that I record all my podcasts, write up blog posts, and interact with all my peeps on Ravelry.

What does your studio space look like? Is it long and skinny like mine? Do you have a whole room to work with? Or just a basket set beside your couch? I'd love to hear what kind of space you have to work in!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Preserving Summer

Preserving is something that we do a lot of here chez moi. I love to see a full pantry when we're nearing the end of summer. We have tomato sauce, apricot jam and preserves, applesauce, peach preserves, peach and jalapeno jelly, sweet pickled jalapenos, dehydrated tomatoes, dried peppers (for pepper flakes and powders), and then there's the stuff in the freezer! Basil pesto, ground cherries, peaches for smoothies, roasted tomatoes and onions and garlic...

Ty stays home and makes sure the house doesn't burn down and the fur babies don't bust things (or each other, in some cases involving guarding tomatoes!). He's the farmer. He's the one with the green thumb. I'm just proud to be able to (mostly) support his dream of growing things. He's able to sell produce to local restaurants, trade for things we need or want, and put food on the table all year round.

One thing I struggle with is knowing what to do with all the things we grow. We do sauce, we do pickled, we do dehydrated. What things do you do with preserving? Am I missing out on crazy delicious things?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Desert Knits Episode 17: Local Fair Time

I can't believe it's already been 2 weeks since I recorded my last podcast! I don't feel like I've gotten enough done to justify a recording...

First off, I have to apologize about the cats...

Warrior Camp Prize drawings were done this episode! Winners, please, get in touch with me so that I can mail out your prizes.

My WIPs continue to be combing the Romney fleece. I am making progress, I promise! It just doesn't really look like it anymore because there is so much fiber. I've also spun up a sample card so that I can match the Princess Bride yarn and knit a giant circle shawl.

Some of my DFA peeps at the fair
Also finished a little sample card for a different Romney fleece - it's not as silky feeling as the one I'm combing. I need to get a set of combs with fewer rows of teeth so I can compare how the carded prep compares with the combed prep.

I reviewed the local fair a little bit. I loved walking around and seeing everything. It was fun to see the sheep, though all of them were primarily meat sheep. I was disappointed to find a couple of my giant shawls folded up. Oh! And on one of my comment sheets the judge didn't realize that my circle shawl was a shawl.. she thought it may have been a tablecloth... It was really fun to see which ribbons I was awarded though!

I talked a tiny bit about the trip to Jan's and getting inspired by his wonderful handspun art yarn. (He's going to be selling it, btw. When I learn more about that I'll definitely share!)

Jan's yarn
I have a Schacht Zoom Loom coming from Paradise Fibers. I finally used my birthday gift card! I'm thinking about making a memory blanket from little woven squares... I want to use my handspun samples in the zoom loom to see how my handspun acts. I can see making a throw or a pillowcase or something from all the little squares eventually...

Gadzook the kitten isn't always causing trouble...
Thanks for hanging out this week! Have fun creating! Please share what you're making with me!