Spinning Fiber Is Everywhere

Blogged under Around the Web,Crafty Videos,Fiber Fun by Tammy on Tuesday 29 May 2012 at 11:19 am

As I have been spending a chunk of my summer vacation catching up on craft podcasts and finding new podcasts, I have noticed that spinning fiber is super popular right now. Of course, this may be because knitting, which tends to dominate the world of crafting podcasts, relates to spinning since knitters can make their own yarn from fiber that they buy, which I have learned is referred to “roving.” I sure as heck do not need another craft to spend my time and money on, but I have to admit that I am very curious and spinning looks pretty dang cool.

As I watch video podcasts and listen to audio podcasts that talk about knitting and spinning, I have realized that there is all kinds of terminology involved that I am not familiar with. Many of the folks doing these shows seem to assume I know too, so I went over to YouTube to find some spinning basics. Below is one video that shows how to use a basic drop spindle.

Here are some links to a few other spinning videos that I found helpful:

Hand Spindles – This video shows the different types of hand spindles available and also briefly shows how to use some of them.

Drafting Wool – In this video, Megan LaCore shows how to prepare fiber for spinning.

Finishing Yarn – Again, Megan is back showing how to take the yarn you spun and prepare it so you can knit or crochet with it.

Alpaca Direct – This is really an ad, but there is some good basic info in this about the fiber that I found helpful.

Felting Failure

Blogged under CFEs/Contests,Crafty Products,Fiber Fun by Tammy on Monday 28 May 2012 at 4:16 pm

I posted recently that after frogging a shawl that I was making using purple wool yarn I was playing around with the idea of using the reclaimed yarn for making bags and then felting them. I even did a fair amount of research, though admittedly I did briefly and unsuccessfully try felting a few years ago. This time would be different (I told myself). I watched a few YouTube videos and found instructions on line as well. I even combed through some Ravelry.com archived forum posts. I was set!

First I knitted a swatch. Yes, me swatching! Who would believe it? But I figured I needed to know how much shrinkage to expect. I knitted up a 2 1/4 inch by 6 1/2 inch swatch to experiment on.

Then I found an old pair of jeans, set my washer to the hot setting, and threw in the jeans, swatch, a little baking soda, and some soap. Voila! errr…well…not exactly voila…

Not only is the swatch not felted, though yes a little on the fuzzy side, it actually grew to almost 8 inches long! So I figured I’d give it another go in the washer. I noticed my hot cycle ends with a cold cycle. This time I opted for the warm/warm cycle instead, and to help with the shrinking issue, I dried it as well. And voillllaaaa???

It was a tad fuzzier but still not felted. It was maybe a tiny bit smaller than the expanded version but not much smaller. So I had to attempt one more time. I threw the swatch in with a load of clothes (since the dye did not run at all in previous washings) and also dried it with the same load. And….

It is smaller (2 inches by 6 inches), the fuzz shortened up somewhat, but still no felting is going on! I went back to the web and read more about felting and watched a few more videos, and finally, I found the answer! According to a KnitPicks.com video, you can’t felt super wash wool. I then checked the label and am now banging my head on my desk! I did not see this handy little factoid any place else on-line! Back to square 1 of what to do with a heck of a lot of purple wool yarn!

New Podcast Links & Weekly Craft Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 27 May 2012 at 4:37 pm

I have your weekly craft links followed by a few links to podcasts recently added to by blog roll.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Do you know how to repair cracked ceramics? Eileen shares two methods.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi’s family finished up their wonderful trip to Italy in Rome!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
The Go Baby! has made sewing fun again!

Craft Buds
Learn how to make a car trash bag or reusable lunch bag with a handle slot, perfect for those summer road trips.

Take a look at a gallery of stunning quilts and booths from Quilt Market in Kansas City.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there are tutorials on how to make polymer clay cabochons and transfer muslin markings to a sewing pattern, a billboard doodling exercise, a cool oversized stitching detail and recipes for flavored water and banana breakfast bars.

New podcast links: Stockinette Zombies, We Are Yarn, Min Knits, and Girl Friends Knitting.

Felting Frogged Wool Yarn

Blogged under Crafty Videos by Tammy on Sunday 27 May 2012 at 12:24 pm

Shawl #2 is now officially frogged. And this means I have a heck of a lot of purple wool yarn. And I live in Florida were wool is sort of like tire chains, not necessary at all! Now what to do with all this purple wool yarn? I’m not ruling out an afghan, but I also realized I might be able to use at least some of this yarn to make bags and felt them. I have tried felting before without success, but I did not do enough research to understand how the process worked. Thanks to a few YouTube videos, I am thinking of trying it again.

In the first video, Mikey tries to felt a crocheted bag (versus a knitted bag). In the second video, he describes some of the things he should have done differently, even though his experiment was semi-successful.

Shawl, to Frog or Not to Frog?

Blogged under Projects in Progress by Tammy on Friday 25 May 2012 at 8:21 am

This is actually an older picture of the second shawl I have been working on. It is now over 3 feet long, and I probably have a few feet left to go. According to the pattern (Afternoon Breeze Shawl), the finished size is supposed to be 20 inches by 67 inches (over 5 feet long). This is really easy to do, and I have enjoyed working on it because it uses all half double crochet stitches (next to double crochet a favorite stitch of mine), and the yarn I’m using for it , wool from Black Sheep, feels great to work with. However….

It is so dang heavy I can’t even tell you! The stitch is tight and the yarn is wool; duh, of course it’s heavy! What was I thinking? As it turns out, the first shawl I finished (the ripple shawl) has been great to wear around the house. My husband and I are always playing battle of the thermostat, so when he has to have it cranked down (for example, he’ll do this when he’s cooking), I can just toss this on. It is really handy to pull on and take off quickly.

So I woke up this morning and realized….gulp!…time to frog this other shawl…rip it…rip it…rip it good!

It sucks to do that, but I know that this will turn into a shawl that I will never wear, and it’s sucking up a lot of really good yarn that I could use to at least make a throw or even an entire blanket if I use a nice open stitch, like the V-stitch, which I used for a baby blanket once and really liked it.  Plus, I have to remind myself that crocheting is as much, if not more so, about enjoying the process and not necessarily the end result.

Make the Connections Jewelry Components

Blogged under Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Thursday 24 May 2012 at 8:29 am

Pictured are some samples I received from Cousin.com, a company that manufacturers and distributes jewelry components through craft outlets such as Michael’s. They have two lines that are pretty cool, especially for anyone who would like to make jewelry but doesn’t have a lot of time. First (pictured at the top) is the Make the Connection line. It includes pendants and necklace and bracelet straps that you can connect to each other. You don’t need any tools because there are rings on the pendants that go around the connection pieces on the necklace straps.

For bracelets and rings, there is the Snap in Style line. The back of the ornamental components snap to the front of a ring base (see the second photo above) or a bracelet base (see the photo below).

Other than these allow you to design jewelry really fast and easy, you get the added advantage of being able to switch out and change the look of each jewelry piece as well.

Cross Stitch Outlining

Blogged under Sew Simple by Tammy on Tuesday 22 May 2012 at 9:37 am

One of the many things I had forgotten about cross stitch is that when you are done you are supposed to stitch around the finished sections in order to outline them. This helps define the various sections of the stitching and sort of makes them pop out. Normally, you do this at the very end I believe, but I wanted to see some progress so went ahead and stitched around the sides of the skirt as well as the bow on either side of the skirt. Before doing this, especially since some of the thread is white (yes white thread on white cloth), I had a hard time seeing what I had actually done so far. This helped define the areas I had completed and gave me the push to move on stitching the design. Now, I’m moving up to start stitching her shirt.

Fingerless Glove Drama Continues

Blogged under Finished Projects by Tammy on Monday 21 May 2012 at 8:48 am

Pictured is glove one of what will be two for a pair of fingerless gloves I’ve been battling for, gee, how long? Generally, it looks okay from a distance and to the untrained eye, but in reality, this thing is full of boo-boos. One major issue is that the first few rows are too tight. I can wriggle my way into the thing, but not at all gracefully. I’m guessing that somehow I twisted the first row, which the pattern warns you not to do, and so my sock yarn is not stretchy like it should be in that spot. Luckily, though, I can get it on (without cutting off my circulation) and the rest fits fine.

So I was about to start the second glove of this pair, but first I had to show off my accomplishment to my DH, who normally just nods with approval since I am like a little kid who has to show him every single thing I make. This time, however, he started asking me questions about it: Why are there no fingers? What is the point? Does it really keep you warm?

I went on to explain the merits of fingerless gloves, and unbelievably, this brought him around to asking me to make him a pair. Seriously? My DH wants me to crochet him something? This is the same man who does not own a sweater, who wears a denim jacket and shorts when it is 30 degrees outside, and who has worn the hat I made him probably two times. But, of course, how can I say no?

I told him once I finished the second glove for this pair his would be next, and I also explained how because of the size of the needle, the thin yarn, and the fact that most stitches are made in the back loops, I was basically going blind making these, but non-the-less, he would get a pair from me someday.

I went off and started glove number two, but I could not remember if I had made myself the large or the small size. I though for sure it was the large because I had highlighted the numbers on the pattern, and I wanted to make sure this time that the first few rows weren’t twisted and not able to stretch. So I was super careful not to twist anything and decided to make my stitches a little on the lose side just in case.

Of course, you can probably guess that I did not make the large size and that my lose stitches meant that after doing about two inches of stitches I realized this thing was way too big for me. But, wait! I ran to DH and asked him to put the two inches I had over his hand to see if it would fit, and it did! I also made sure he was fine with the yarn color. So this means I am now making him a pair, and hopefully, at some point, my orphan glove will have a mate some day.

A Few Crafting Links

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Sunday 20 May 2012 at 9:49 am

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen has 2 free father’s day banners you can download and print!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi shows off her Ghastlie Zipper Pouch!

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Pearl stretch bracelets make the perfect accessory. Eileen made 3 in 30 minutes for less than $2 each. Here’s the how-to. No beading tools required!

Mixed Media Artist
In Photoshop, there are multiple ways to make line drawings…but which way is the best?

Caught Cross Stitch Bug

Blogged under Sew Simple by Tammy on Thursday 17 May 2012 at 9:09 am

Out of nowhere, the cross stitch bug recently bit me. I used to cross stitch many years ago, and I was pretty into it. I made all kinds of wall hangings for the house, stuff for Christmas, and lots of gifts. Then I just kind of lost interest. Some of it was due to the fact that you can only stitch so many wall hangings and have no space for them all. At least with making jewelry or crochet or knitting you end up with something you can wear it afterwards.

But it is summer and I figured what the heck. Let the bug bite. I looked through Etsy.com and Ebay and other places on-line for a cross stitch kit that would sooth my itch to stitch and finally found one at 1-2-3 Stitch.com. I ended up discovering a line of kits called Dolly Mamas that are all hilarious. It was hard to just pick one, but of course, if I’m successful with this one, I can move on to some of the others. I ended up getting one called “Important Utensil.”

Her sign says “The most important utensil is a corkscrew!” I picked this one because it didn’t look to difficult, and I could either keep it for myself or give it as a gift. I received the kit pretty quickly, and so far so good. Though, I did have to watch a few Youtube cross stitch videos to help me get started again. I had forgotten things like you need to find the center and start there. The instructions aren’t that bad that come with the kit, but they do assume a little knowledge about the basics already.

Here you can see my first few stitches, which start with her apron. As I work the stitches, I started to highlight the ones finished in blue on the pattern. Of course, if I were to reuse the pattern I would have wanted to make a copy of it, but I don’t see me making this over and over again.

In hindsight, since my cross stitch skills are pretty rusty, I might have selected a kit that is not necessarily a beginner level. There are French knots required in a number of spots (eek!), but there is no reason for me to rush. I have done this sort of thing before. I just have to allow time for my fingers to remember. I really do hope this turns out well because there are a lot of other kits in this series that I’d love to do. It took me forever to decide on just this one!

Next Page »