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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Red Scarf Projects 2010

red scarf 2010
Originally uploaded by acornbud
I'm getting these to mail out for the Red Scarf Project.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Totoro Tuesday

This shadow box was a gift to me from my Japanese penpal Totoro is enjoying the seasons just as I enjoy Totoro in any season, for any reason ;)!

The two parts fold inward like a book.

On the knitting scene there are 3 more crocheted rock cozies added to my rock pile. They are a great small project to use up pearl cotton left over from other projects.

I've CO for another Clapotis, this time in Little Knits Indie II, cashmere/silk in lace weight. The yardage is not great so I'll just have to wait and see if it will be big enough.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Totoro Tuesday

In 1998 I joined a quilting group to learn to hand quilt. There were 8 of us. We met every 6 weeks or so for one year. A name was pulled and that person selected the quilt theme, and provided the backing fabric, a special item, and 2 contrasting solids. We then each made a block for that person. After all our blocks were finished, we made a center block for our own quilt, sashed, quilted and bound it. It was a proud day and tribute to our wonderful teacher Elaine, when our quilts were displayed at the Quilt Guild show at Linekona. It was a fun bunch of ladies and the time is full of great memories. I learned a lot and have a one of a kind quilt to enjoy!
Naturally my theme was Totoro. The special item was an acorn fabric as Totoros, especially Chibi and Chu, collect acorns. I've posted about this quilt before, but I got it out and took more pictures, include the label with our group on the beach behind Elaine's house in Hale'iwa in our purple Kaiser T-shirts.
(more photos available on flickr)
On the knitting note, I finished a hat using my funky hand spun, and my witches hat. I was all set to decorate the witch hat in the colors of Ravenclaw since I also seem to test into that Hogwarts House. Recently, I took a test and the results were that the character I was most like was Severus Snape. Perhaps it has something to do with the dark mood I've been in lately. So what will it be? Silver/Bronze and Navy or Silver and Green? I really don't like snakes.

Cathy Scott from Funky Orange on Ravelry has really written a clever pattern. After the knitting it is about 3 feet long but shrinks down nicely. I plan to give the hat a little shave and look for a wig. I was thinking gray, but if I'm in Slytherin, perhaps green hair would be better.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spinning Down that Slippery Slope

Step 1: down the slippery slope. The bug bites.
I've fought long and hard not to travel down that slippery slope. No spinning for me! I need another hobby like I need more size 5 knitting needles! I suppose it started at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool a couple years back, when I tried a Babe and made some very gnarly yarn. The Mielke Farm ladies at the booth were so charming, I acquired a drop spindle kit. Then I ordered two large balls of Corriedale in pumpkin and green and made more gnarly yarn. I laid things to rest for awhile, but one day I just woke up and said, okay, I want to spin. And, Opal, was there to enable me with some superwashed BFL.

Step 2: Acquire fiber to spin.
a. Buy it. This beauty is hand dyed Superwash BFL from Hungry for Handspun.

b. Re purpose it. In the quest for wool stuffing, more Brown Sheep Mill ends from The Sheep shed. The blue stuff came as an lovely little extra.

c. Gifts
The Icelandic pencil roving and hand dyed merino from blogless Sandy. The pencil roving requires no drafting so I'm going to try it on a wheel on Spinning Day, to see if can get the feel of the wheel...drawing in, pedaling, etc.
A bit of mystery fleece with locks, washed and flick combed by me. Also a gift from blogless Sandy.

Step 3: Practice, practice, practice. Thank you you tube for giving me something to watch while my TV shows are on hiatus. (links at bottom of post)
Getting easier, but still uneven.

Step 4: Lust for bigger and better tools. I am virtual shopping daily for a wheel, which is so out of my budget. I lust for more drop spindles. I definitely like a notch or 4. "A bee scout must behave! A bee scout must be brave!" Maybe next year:)

Video references: These helped me learn the difference between combing and carding and spinning woolen vs worsted. Megan has an excellent summary on this topic as well, in reference to spinning a wheel.

How to use mini comb, removing “short cuts and little nubbly bits”, and making a roving off the comb. She likes to spin from the butt end.

Fiber preparation for Hand Spinning part 2
. Drum carding, the fastest way to card a fleece and make batts.. Pick the fiber first to clean out vegetable matter. Hand held mini combs work best for finer shorter fibers. Combing will remove vegetable matter. Comb about 3 times, and create roving. Lashing on if the lock structure is ordered or disordered. 4 pitch English combs are much larger and are clamped to a workbench.

Wool combing on English combs, part 1-4
. Pulling out the locks (staples) from a washed fleece and lining them up. She sprays the locks before combing with a little water and oil (neat’s foot oil or olive oil) to make the combing easier. She warms the tines of her combs in hot water. She preps the fibers, combs it and creates roving and demos a diz in part 4. “stop when you get the little noily bits.

Basic fiber prep part 5. She demos finger picking. Fleece that is more disordered is better off being carded or finger picked. Flick carding and combing works better if the fleece has retained it’s lock structure. Combing opens up the fibers so they can be drafted for spinning. A dog brush works, too. It’s like brushing tangled hair. Sometimes you have to start at the tips and work in. There is more waste. She clumps several combed locks together and creates roving, then spins it on her drop spindle.

Carding wool, making rolags. For handspinners who want to master long-draw drafting for woolen spinning. Separate the locks, pick the locks by pulling sideways cleaning as you go. Card with hand cards. “The wires do not mesh ever!” Card 2-3 times and roll it up into a rolag.

Wool carding with Sue How to card wool for a good quality yarn.

A more concise video on Flick carding fiber prep. Minimal fiber prep of Romney fleece and drafting it into roving.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Totoro Tuesday

Satsuki (10) and Mei(4) are sisters who move to the country with their dad to be closer to mom, who is in a sanitarium. Satsuki is the older sister and Mei is the baby sister. One night the girls go to the bus stop to wait for dad as he has forgotten his umbrella. While waiting for the bus, OTotoro comes to wait with them. It starts to rain and the girls lend him an umbrella. He takes great delight in listening to the rain drops fall from the tree onto the umbrella, and gives the girls a present. When the lights of the bus appear, they are surprised to see the catbus that has come to pick up OTotoro, complete with mousie headlights. It's not clear what mom is in the sanitarium for, but she does recover by the end of the movie.

Here are the latest Totoro cards.
My card-making buddy is off being pioneer woman and building a log cabin. She won’t be back until November. I feel like the tympani that has lost the orchestra. On top of that, my Sizzix is off to the machine shop. It just suddenly froze up. I hope to see it again one of these days.

Finished Projects

Pattern: Kaino by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Ultra Alpaca, colorway potting mix, 4 balls
Needles: 6 and 8
Comments. The knitting goes very quickly. The seaming was a challenge. I still am not happy with the collar. it was pointing out, but blocking took care of that. The sleeves did not fit in so I decided to seam the sides and pick up stitches. I knit the smallest size. The pattern CO 48 for sleeves. I picked up 58 stitched and worked short rows. I did a purl row before casting off to reduce curling. I like the simple looking style.

Clown McCloud

Pattern: inspired by Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden lite, 2 balls
Needles: size 3
Comments: Sockhead is written for sock yarn and lite is Sport weight. On size 3 needles my gauge was 5.5 stitches/inch. I decided to shoot for 9.5 inches in width folded in half, ~120 stitches. Just in case, I knit it top down and continued the increases until I had 120 stitches. Then I followed the length measurements of the pattern. I used Jeny’s incredibly stretchy bind off from Knitty and it is nice and stretchy.
This hat may be entirely too colorful for my nephew to wear, but I knit it big just in case. I really just wanted to watch the Noro color changes, which is still a thrill:)

Rock Cozies

Blogless Sandy inspired me to break out the crochet hook and try some rock cozies. Now I'm lusting for rocks. She gave me one done in lavender. The open pattern really popped on the black rock.
Pattern: Little Urchin Crochet Covered Sea Stones by MargaretOomen from The Purl Bee. The heart design was adapted from Coat’s pattern, Heart’s Desire.
Threads: No. 3 pearl cotton (pinks), DMC size 30 (lavender)
Crochet hook: size B for no. 3 pearl cotton, size 10 (steel) for size 30

Monday, September 06, 2010

Totoro Tuesday

I have this banner hanging in a blank spot over a doorway and I can see it from my sewing cave. Totoro can fly on his spinning top. In this scene the kids stick to him like velcro...just one of the really cute details in the Totoro story. Most of the time Totoro's ride the catbus. The Ghibli Museum showed a movie about the Grand Catbus that was just adorable. The catbus has mice for headlights and is extremely plush inside. It can fly, too, and is responsible for the wind blowing.

These are the latest Totoro. I was on a blue roll since frogging my Twilight hat and turning it into Totoro's. I've busted out the gray Beaverslide to make some gray ones. The little chibi came out very cute. I'm experimenting with different tails. I wish my wool stuffing would get here soon.

I got inspired to make a few earrings. The bone pikake had been hanging out in the stash forever and are finally done. One pair will be a Christmas gift for my blogless sister.
The extra long tourmaline earrings were snatched up by a young lady. They are too long for me but apparently a 20 something can pull it off.