Fiber Adventure Weekend – Day 3

I think today was too short. I lost track of time and was up way too late, not the least bit sleepy. I was trying to decide what to do next when I caught sight of the clock and gasped in horror. How I hated to go to bed! However, I’ve also made an executive decision. I’m enjoying this far too much to stop just yet. I have a big list of things I want to play with yet, so… drumroll, please… I’m changing this to a Fiber Adventure WEEK – 7 full days – AND…

At the end of the week, there’s going to be some blog candy to be had! Work for you? ๐Ÿ˜€ Total amount of candy to be disbursed will be based on the amount of participation. I’ll be posting details later in the week, but for now, you just may want to think about which activities or projects look like the most fun to you…

What was on the schedule for Sunday? Well, first, I managed to convince myself that laundry was a fiber project, though not so very adventurous. Since the decision to wash clothes or not was directly related to whether I could attend Monday’s meeting of the Dayton Knitting Guild and canvas my LYS, Fiberworks, for stash candidates, you can probably guess what I decided. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Then there were my continuing large projects, of course. I had a nice chunk of phone time, so the knitting on my newest Angela’s Felted Bag made some great progress. However, I forgot to take a picture of it before it saw Monday activity, so just use your imagination for this one. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I didn’t get a whole lot done on my triloom weaving, as my back was bothering me some, but still some progress.And the spinning is coming right along. The deep orange is starting to give way to red now, and I’m eager to see the full changeover soon. I would love to be able to fast forward to see the finished yarn, but that’s a while in the future yet.And a little bit more dyeing, as I finished the last three solids from a Dudley’s Easter Egg dyeing kit. I didn’t go beyond this today, because I’m plotting what comes next. ๐Ÿ˜‰I’m a bit baffled by the color names listed on the back of the package. The best I can figure, the green is teal and the neon chartreuse is the green. Who knows which is the pink vs. the strawberry… But the colors are fun, and I’m full of ideas. ๐Ÿ™‚A very important project for today is part of an ongoing adventure. I have cotton seedlings started, a total whim. I have no idea if I can actually grow and harvest cotton here, but I’m giving it a try! I started them indoors a few weeks ago, but I have no plant lights and not the best conditions, so despite them having their little heads above ground for several weeks, I’m still not seeing the first “real” leaves, and they (along with all my other seedlings) have really been struggling. Today I put 5 of the 8 into pots, hoping this will be better conditions for them. The weather was pretty, so they got a little sunshine and fresh air as well. I need at least one more pot and more soil, so I can get the rest of the cotton potted. I’m not sure any of my other seedlings will survive at all, and there’s probably going to be a lot of direct seeding in a few weeks as I start over. It’s been so sad to watch them struggle indoors. ๐Ÿ˜ฆMy biggest adventure today was knitting from silk mawata (aka silk hankies). The evening that Tyg died, I was online noodling around on Etsy, and Wooliebullie had just listed a 42 gram package of hand-dyed mawata, colorway “Broken Heart.” I sort of felt like she’d put them there just for me, and I bought them without hesitation. Though I’ve bought several silk cocoon hankies in the past, I’d yet to actually do anything with them, and since this is a Fiber Adventure Week, what better time?! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s turning out to be a fascinating process, and I’m enjoying it a lot. That would be why I didn’t get as much weaving done today as I’d expected. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you’ve never worked with this fun fiber presentation, I’d definitely recommend you try it at least once. It’s a great way for a non-spinner to still be able to produce their own one-of-a-kind yarn, with no equipment required!

  1. Put on lots of hand lotion, even if you don’t think your hands are rough. Trust me on this!
  2. Peel of the first ethereal layer. Don’t do this in front of a fan…
  3. Poke a hole in the center of the silk.
  4. Put your hands in the hole and stretch the center out to the border.
  5. Decide how thick you want your yarn. You can stop without doing anything else, or you make it thinner by working your hands around the circle and stretching the fibers apart as you go. You will need to have your hands farther apart than you’ll probably start with, and you’ll have to pull harder than you expect. Silk is a very strong fiber! Plan to go around the circle several times, thinning the thickest spots and being careful not to break the ring. Remember, you don’t have to achieve perfection. The variations in thickness add character to handmade yarn.
  6. When you are satisfied with your yarn, break it on one place.
  1. Wind it on something – fairly tightly. This isn’t absolutely mandatory, but it does make a whole lot easier to manage. I’m putting mine on my nostepinne. You can prepare several at a time if you’d like.8. Knit! You don’t need to do anything else to it if you don’t want to. The fiber is so long that it makes a perfectly solid yarn and a lovely fabric with a nice hand

I’ve chosen to stretch my hankies until they are pretty close to 3 yards of total fiber, and I’m knitting on size 2 needles. The fiber is fluffy enough that it actually also worked on size 8 needles, but I found it challenging to work on circulars with it. It didn’t like jumping the hump, and I finally ripped it out. The size 2 needles are the largest metal DPN’s I could find on short notice, so they won by default, and I’m liking the fabric I’m achieving with them, too, so it’s a go. ๐Ÿ™‚ The photo above shows 5 filmy hankie layers knit into a tube with a cast on of 40 stitches on US 2 needles. It’s already over 1.25″ of knitting.

Also, there are other ways to attenuate the silk fiber, such as pulling the hankies from the corners, but I like this circular method. It seems easier to keep the thickness uniform this way. And if you like, there is absolutely no reason not to spin, and even ply, the hankies before knitting them. I’ve not tried it yet, but it seems like spinning them might produce a little bit more luster, but that’s just a theory, and you’ve seen how my theories have been working out lately. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, if you knit, you definitely need to try silk hankies at least once, just for the experience.While I was spinning and working with the muwata, I watched The Gentle Art of Plying by Judith MacKenzie. What a pleasure that was! This is a DVD I will watch again, and I’m definitely keeping this in my library, as it suits my tastes and needs well. I love the way she shares information and methods, then reminds us that there are always exceptions to even some of the most basic rules. She also is good about giving the “whys” of things, something I truly value in a teacher. I have at least one more set of DVD’s by her, and I’m really looking forward to watching them now. ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, that’s all for now! Don’t forget to stay connected. Blog candy coming soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

Advertisements

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://facefromthepast.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/fiber-adventure-weekend-day-3/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a therapeutic way to deal with your grief! Love all the projects you have going on!

  2. I am so VERY MUCH enjoying your fiber retreat week. Will be sure and check in here every day to check your progress. A friend of mine recently took Level 1 of the Master Spinner program. Isn’t that a great program? I wished I’d done it, but it’s hard to get a week off work.

  3. Silk hankies? I’ve never seen these before. Very pretty, what are you making from the silk? It’s a very interesting Fiber Adventure! I’m getting an itch for doing my own fiber adventures…someday!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: