Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This and That

I don't have any specific updates to report, just thought I'd share a few pics... hope you enjoy.

First, I finished spinning my silk - sorry for the fuzzy photo, for some reason my camera decided the texture on my couch was more interesting:

I've decided I'm going to use it to make the short-sleeved version of Stitch Diva's Hourglass Jacket. As mentioned on the site it does work up pretty quickly - in just a couple hours I got the first part of the back and the armhole shaping for that section done, and I've never done broomstick lace before.

I did get another couple ounces of the pink silk from Rose Weaving so I will hopefully have enough to finish the project - I may go get another ounce this weekend to be on the safe side. But it will have to wait a bit as I finally started in on the wool I got from Stick and Stone while in California last month:

It's proving to be a nice fiber to spin, and I like the way the taupe is coming out. I also got a mauve-ish color - I had thought everything was the same color because they do look so close. I'm cool with it though, I think they'll go together nicely on a project.

My daughter also sent me a CD of the pictures she took during our Tehachapi trip last month that include shots of the purse I made as my Confirmation gift to her. I spun the yarn using Sullivan's felting fiber pack in Heritage colors.

She got pictures of me finishing it up in our hotel room, as well as goofing around wearing it as a hat. The circular knitting needles looked like little bug antennae sticking out the top and we both had fun laughing about that.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fort Lupton Heritage Fair

My family and I went to the second annual Fort Lupton, CO Heritage Fair yesterday.

"Dude, where's my pants?"

Unfortunately it was rather cold and windy (which makes me wonder how the guy in the picture above fared), and with my men fighting off some nasty respiratory thing that meant we couldn't stay long. But it was still fun to visit - they had re-enactments of the frontier days, including the Buffalo Soldiers, Native American dances, music and Annie Oakley. A couple of different people demonstrated candle making and blacksmithing. There were different activities people could do too, such as re-enacting Viking sword fights, tomahawk throwing, panning, and they had a barbeque where everyone could feast on pulled pork, buffalo and beef.

They also have an old schoolhouse and a home from the 1800s that they've restored and are now historical landmarks that you can go inside. The house has restored furniture and other amenities, including a sewing machine - you can even see the belt that helped move the needle with the help of a foot pedal:

They also have women from the South Platte Valley Historical Society who demonstrate handspinning and weaving. People could come over and learn how to use a weaving loom if they wanted.

This nice lady here allowed a young girl to help her draft the wool she was using to spin yarn.

All in all we had a great time and if you're from the Denver/Boulder area, I think it's a great event for your kids to attend so they can experience history in person.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Joy of Silk

I bit the bullet and got myself about six ounces of a very pale hand-dyed silk from Rose Weaving Gallery and Studio in Arvada a couple weekends ago at a discount:

This week I started spinning it on my wheel. It was my first time attempting to spin silk and it was a challenge at first. The fibers are so slippery they can get away from you quickly - and they did quite a few times! I also ended up with some areas that were as thin as a thread trying to figure out how much to draft out to get a consistent weight.

But now I'm getting the hang of it and my yarn is starting to look better:

I also discovered the belt had loosened on my wheel, which explained some of the trouble I was having with getting enough twist all of a sudden. Fortunately Jan has instructions available for download at Heavenly Handpsinning on how to tighten the belt. I followed the steps and in no time the wheel worked again like a charm.

The fibers are so slippery it drafts and spins quickly. Also because I tend to spin on the fast side as it is, the increased twist actually works well with the silk.
I'm not sure if it's the dye or something the fibers picked up in the store but it also smells very pretty.

I won't get to buy silk fibers very often but I will definitely enjoy the opportunities I get to spin this soft, luxurious fiber.