Category Archives: Spinning and Knitting
Here on the West Coast we had a cool start this morning, the hummingbirds were busy looking for nectar but the silly birds kept going to the one feeder where the sugar solution had frozen. I had put out a new smaller feeder with fresh solution but they kept going back to the frozen one ….silly birds, so I brought the frozen one inside for a while to thaw out and it gave them a chance to find the good stuff!
We have all kinds of woodpeckers here in our garden, Downy, Hairy, Pileated and the Northern Flicker. I had never seen the first two types but now that we put out Bark Butter….they come everyday and eat it as quickly as I can get it out there. It is a spreadable suet that can go into a small log feeder. One and half inch wide cavities have been drilled into a small branch or log, pack these holes with the spreadable suet and hang somewhere away from squirrels. ( That is quite a challenge around here.) My log has a small eye screw on the top to make hanging it a bit easier. All the small birds love it too including chickadees, nuthatches and bush tits. Even juncos fly up to it although I have to say they look a bit precarious, they are usually ground feeders and don’t quite know where to land on the log and madly flap their wings, most figure it out and eat quickly.
My apologies for the rather poor quality of the above picture but I was inside looking out but I hope you can see the log feeder hanging below the squirrel proof suet feeder. There is a tail prop feeder close up with some bark butter spread on this side and a hopper (House) feeder in the background. The woodpecker photos came from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Pileated on the left and the Downy on the right.
Now onto other things…the knitted mitts. I am not sure if I will make this into a pattern to sell, as much as I would like to, I don’t know how too ! so I have a little learning to do first. Here are some of the proto types.
Lastly I would like to show you some more of my eco dyeing projects. Some went well others not so good but all have been great fun….now I have to decide what to do with them. I think I will definitely hand stitch over some of them. The one with the pink lines in it was a mistake I tied the bundle with bright pink yarn never thinking the dye would come out I thought it was acrylic ! oops…oh well maybe it will be better with added embellishments. As you can see one of them is very yellow, I used saffron which a friend had given to me….but I was rather heavy handed with it … a little goes a long way !
Well here we are again another year. I feel as if time flies the older I get! I distinctly remember as a youngin’ that the days where long and I couldn’t wait to be a grown up and now it all flies by in a rush or is that just me? Anyway whatever the time frame I plan to crack on with my new years plans, not resolutions but plans! and always subject to change.
My hope for this year is to perfect my spinning skills, this will involve lessons and the hope of purchasing my own spinning wheel. My intention is to take some lessons and hopefully test run a few different types of wheels and go from there.
I would also like to dye some wool and fabric this year using environmentally safe products. All this of course combined with working, keeping up with household chores, enjoying time with friends and family and staying creative!
I have been working on a small felting project that I started back in the summer! As you may know I do most of my felting outdoors so the summer months are my busiest. I wet felted a large piece onto a grey mesh fabric and added some silk threads and tussah pieces. I really liked the colour combinations but not the overall shape of the design. So I took my scissors and cut it up into smaller bits and stitched them together to create a new piece. I worked some small hand stitched designs onto the project and now I am almost finished. I need to find a way to make some “cool” closures and a collar. Here is a sneak peek at the project.
The reveal will be soon!
I wish you all a very happy and creative year whatever your endeavours.
At last I am wearing my creation. Although with all the work and effort I am a little dissatisfied with the end result. I really do believe that I enjoy the process far better than the results. Funny ‘eh!
I know that there are things I would change, for example one sleeve is slightly longer than the other and the same goes for the front bands which I knitted in moss stitch. I think if I knitted the front bands with a slightly smaller needle then I would not get the “drag or pull” on the front. The reason the sleeve is longer is that I knitted one sleeve separately because I wanted to be sure I had enough of the different yarn choices included in it. I should have transferred the knitted sleeve stitches again as I added it to the last side. Instead I just joined it on with a three needle cast off. Experiments….that’s what this is all about.
The cardigan is lovely and warm and I love the colours. I used two yarns that I would not use again or better still I should have used doubled, they were to thin on their own. I love the moss stitch collar front bands BUT not the way it drags downwards. On my next one I will change this part of the design and only use the moss stitch for part of the collar and front.
I look forward to the next one or even two !
The many yarns that I used in this project : Cascade 220 Heathers and Plain. Chunky Mochi by Crystal Palace Yarns. Ella Rae Classic. Patons Classic Wool. Ultra Alpaca from Berroco. Tekapo Pure New Zealand Wool by Ashford.
Have you knitted anything similar? do you have any helpful suggestions?
Thank you for your support this year and continue to keep being creative whatever you enjoy doing.Wishing you all a very healthy, creative and peaceful year for 2011.
I have been busy bottling peaches and apricots for the winter and will do some plums later. We all enjoy fresh fruit crumble/crisp during the long wet wintry months so this is my chore during the summer when all the fruit is abundant. Most of the fruit is grown in the Okanagon Valley here in B.C. The jars of fruit lined up in the larder look very pretty and I am always thankful when the job is finished. I sometimes give a jar of fruit as a gift and my friends are very pleased.
We enjoyed a quick trip to Oregon last week, literally a flying visit. We dropped off our daughter and her friend in Eugene then headed out to the coast. We stayed in Reedsport and travelled around the area going to Winchester Bay, Coos Bay and Cape Arago. We hired a dune buggy and went for a drive on the dunes near Coos Bay. My husband had a wonderful time driving me around the dunes but I was squealing most of the time because of the steepness of the dunes and the speed we were travelling. On the last day we headed up to Florence before collecting the girls from Eugene and heading back to Canada. We travelled the equivalent of the length of England at least once on our long journey over 600 miles in one day ! Thank goodness for knitting projects, some of which I was able to complete. Of course, I just had to go into the fantastic yarn shop in Coos Bay and yes, I bought some yarn!
My latest work is a lovely hand-knitted, lace-edged, wool shawl made with 100% Canadian yarn from Briggs and Little, a company in Nova Scotia. I chose a very pretty lilac colour and used two skeins to make this size which is approximately medium to large. I knitted the main body in garter stitch and finished the edge with my own lace design which is a combination of crochet and knit stitches but using knitting needles to do them both. I have a few smaller shawls in the making but would like to finish them with a lace edge so wanted to finish the larger one first. Now that I have worked out how to do the lace edge, I can get them all finished for my Fall sale.
I have done very little spinning since my last blog post but hope to start again as soon as I have knitted a baby gift for a friend who lives in Australia. I am thinking of knitting a little fruit cap; you know, the cute ones that look like strawberries and cherries. I made a pumpkin hat for my her first baby so think I will choose a blueberry hat for baby number two; they are both boys!
Summer weather is here and the warmth feels good. The garden is flourishing and I need to keep up with daily watering. Thank goodness we saved the rain water in a barrel from all those rainy days back in the Spring but it is nearly used up. The carrots look as if they might be worth eating soon and the broccoli spears look like leggy cabbage! They were planted a little late so I don’t hold out much for them – we shall see.
I have been washing sheep fleece which is quite time consuming and labour intensive. I purchased two Romney fleeces and have managed to wash and dry them, thanks to the warmer weather. I washed them in an old bath tub set up in the garden. I fill the tub with hot water, add the soap but don’t make any bubbles then add the fleece and gently squish it down under the water making sure not to move it around too much so it doesn’t felt! I found using a toilet plunger works quite well and keeps my hands out of the stinky water! After letting it soak for a couple of hours with the occasional plunge I lift out the fleece and let it drain on a rack; I use an old old baby crib side. Apparently sheep fleece water is good for the roses! When the fleece has stopped dripping, I fill the bath tub with clean hot water and rinse, using the toilet plunger to move the fleece gently in the water. After several rinses until the water comes clean, I spin it in my washing machine.
Drying the fleece in the shade is now all that is required. According to the books I have read, drying a fleece in the full sun makes it brittle as the natural oils have been removed by the washing process. I have plenty of shade in my garden but it did take longer to dry than I thought it would.
Now I am using my Patrick Green Picker. This looks like a medieval torture device with some very evil-looking nails with lots of sharp pointy parts. The picker does what it says, it picks the fleece apart, gets rid of the debris and makes the fleece more fluffy. The next stage is to spin the fleece. A friend has lent me her spinning wheel and I hope to learn how to use it very soon.
It all feels very ‘back to the land’ in a good way. I have a couple of books that I have found useful; “The Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Book” by Rachel Brown and “Knit to Spin” by Shannon Okey.
All this has kept me busy during the first weeks of summer, combining it with work and family commitments. I hope to enjoy more sunny days outside in the company of friends including a few days at the beach.
I hope you are having a good summer as well, doing whatever you enjoy.