About Me



It's looking like Christmas!

The Turkey Day 5K was a fun event in the snow this year.  Jim had his selfie-stick and took some video.  I managed to shave off a little time from last year's time.  Always a fun event and then we can enjoy a big meal later!

Ben traveled to Florida for business and enjoyed a bit of time in Miami and Sea Base in the Keys.  

The Santa Shuffle was fun, although we had to walk the 5K due to my back issue.  I shoveled the little snow we had and ended up with a very painful lower back.  Jim was great.  He held my hand the whole way and I used a walking stick.  It took 1:02, but by golly we finished.  Ho ho ho...

Critter prints in the snow.  
A bit of holiday knitting--Jolly Wee Elf from Churchmouse using Rowan Felted Tweed.

Jim and Ben bagged a 150-pointer.  The weather was nice, so we got the tree a bit earlier than usual this year.  


Mixing it up

Last evening was the last of the four-session learn to drop spindle class at Amazing Threads.  It is always fun to teach others the technique of spinning, whether with a spindle or wheel.  Observing how each student takes what they learned over the course and develop their own skills never gets old!  I was playing with the Blue Sky Alpacas Handspin, an alpaca/wool blend roving I received from them earlier this year.  It is a beautiful natural white and the perfect canvas for a bit of creativity.  A few years ago Joanne and I made art batts, which I wrote about in the Gone Batty post. I had some recycled sari silk, dyed fleece and a bit of natural gray Jacob wool to add to a batt I made a few months ago.  The wool/alpaca blend is beautifully soft and will work well with the add-ins.
Making a  sample art batt:
Bottom to top:  wool/alpaca, sari silk, dyed fleece, Jacob wool and the original batt
Sending the batt through a couple of times distributes the add-in fibers evenly.
I love how the silk colors pop through.

Flipping the fiber as I feed it through the carder helps with the blending process.

Using the small hand card held lightly packs the fiber

Pulling the batt off the carder--the reveal!

Pretty batt

A 25-gram batt ready to spin
Now the fun begins, spin the batt and then to extend the yardage I can ply it with thread, yarn, or spin another single of something else?  Endless possibilities!

Putting the Moosie to work


The wall o' wool

I finished carding the four pounds of Jacob wool Jim got me from The Kerry Woolen Mill in Ireland.  Mikey, Jim's colleague from Ireland,  brought it over when he came over on a business trip.  I have two more pounds of wool from him!  The wool came as roving of sorts, but I wanted to loosen the fibers and make it manageable to spin so I sent it through my Wild Carder to make small batts.  Test spinning, plying and knitting swatches from each color will reveal how the wool looks as fabric and the goal is to use some of it for slippers and filled mittens.  
A nice surprise prize from Spinzilla was a $25.00 gift certificate from Akerworks, based out of Tennessee.  I used it for a portable Trillium spindle in neon green.  The spindles can be found under Hand Crafts on their website.

The black piece attached to the tag fits over the hook and protects it from bending.
The shaft is carbon fiber, which is very lightweight.
Between spinning and teaching there has been some knitting of WIPs and UFOs.  I resurrected the Round Dance hat on Halloween night.  The skeletons remind me of the first Disney Silly Symphony, The Skeleton Dance from 1929.

The Lopi cardigan is getting a band makeover.  I was never really happy with the bands and will re-do the bottom, fronts and neckband/collar as I did on the Shwook hat band.  

Next is the first project from the Seven Skeins Club.  I passed on the slippers in favor of Cohal, a slip-stitch cowl.  It was an easy knit, instant gratification!
Cochal (Scottish Gaelic word for hood)
We have enjoyed a beautiful and unseasonably warm Autumn.  The small burning bush in front is pretty.

...and finally, Jim was at the Minnesota Wild (hockey) game last week and got a selfie stick.  I like the photo.


Wool, wool and more wool

A couple of weeks ago Mikey, a colleague of Jim's from Ireland, came over for supper as well as Ben.  Mikey brought some wool over from Ireland from the Kerry Woolen Mill.  Jim bought four pound of Jacob wool in three grays and white and Mikey bought two pounds of white to black.  That was a very big surprise, as Jim thought I had too much wool (spun and unspun) in my stash.  Each of the colors has bits of other natural colors, which give the wool a wonderful rustic texture when spun.  I decided to send it through the carder for manageable batts and began to spin the single in light gray.

Batts of Jacob wool from Ireland
Nice texture and color
Last Thursday I took a class at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, The Color Wheel in Wool.  I did not take many photos because we were busy during the whole time we were there.   It was interesting to see the results of the dye with yarn, felt and wool fabric (I had the wool fabric).  The dye kit was a cool palette so the red is pinkish.  I was pleased with the results and have leftover dye to play with when I have time this week, although I need a pan that would be used only with dye.  Time to visit Goodwill!
Steaming wool fabric and yarn

Dyed fabric soaking in Synthropal, removing any excess dye and washing the fabric.
Left to right: my wool fabric, wool felt and wool yarn.

Instructor Susan Antell, master dyer at the Textile Center, checks out Angie's felt squares.

Twelve, 12-inch squares--so pretty!
Current projects in progress are a sample for Blue Sky, the Advent mittens (I hit a mitten wall and have to catch up), the Lopi cardigan re-work and the Japanese vest from Folk Vests.  
Re-working the collar and bands of a Lett Lopi cardigan.



It is a busy time of year--yarn tasting at the shop, sample knitting, classes and spinning.  My project for yarn tasting the Snowy Woods Hat made with HiKoo Tiara.  It is a wool blend sprinkled with beads and sequins.  I typically do not use shiny objects in my knitting, but this was the perfect yarn for the project and it bloomed nicely when I blocked the project.  The pattern is part of a collection of six patterns and is available as an e-book or single pattern.
Snowy Woods Hat for Yarn Tasting

A beautiful autumn sky...

...and a cloud of BFL to spin

Colorful leaves...

...colorful yarn


Wheel checkups

On Friday I stopped in the shop along with wheels Louie, Wendolene and Hortense to get their check-up from Dave Van Stralen of Louët North America. Dave and his wife, Pam, brought along yarn, projects, fiber, wheels and looms for a trunk show.  I tried out the new art yarn flier attachment for the Victoria.  What is very exciting about the attachment is the mother-of-all is sized so the fliers and bobbins from my other wheels will fit Hortense, also.  I would not need to buy the flier and bobbin.  I have plenty of bobbins!  The two girls were in good shape and Dave tweaked here and there to keep them in good running condition.  Louie needed a new bearing, the ball bearing used in the main bolt assembly and at the footman bolt assembly.  His brake band was very worn and so a nice new one was added.  The old strap was immediately claimed by puppy, Ellie, for a chew toy.  Moving the old bearing between my fingers I could feel the grinding, which I did not notice as I spun.  With the new bearing in place I can really feel the difference with smoother treadling.  Dave even put a couple of new white tips on Louie's lazy Kate to make him look spiffy.

Strapped in and ready to go.
Testing out the art yarn flier.  

Ellie with her new chew toy.

Wendolene gets tweaked for a little squeak on the left treadle.  It was a twist in the connector, which was easy to fix.

Adjusting the back post of Hortense for better  posture.  

Happy wheels = happy spinner!


Spinnin' cotton

My dear friend, Joanne, gifted me some of her precious denim cotton roving, white cotton and cotton denim together.  My :^( Urchin hat that I lost while in Shetland needs to be replaced. I really loved it because it was handspun, cotton, I could wear it almost any time of year and it went with everything.  I remember well spinning that cotton, too.  It was my first and a real bugger, but so pretty--it was all denim and the most wonderful blue!  Cotton staple is short and it takes a bit of practice to get it going in a nice single.  While living in Texas I spun cotton and cotton blends often, but moving to Minnesota changed that.  Recycled cotton denim roving is impossible to find because the denim of today contains spandex.  I have found a bit used as an add-in and I bought some when I was last in Texas.  It will be used in something special.  The yarn in the photo is from that wonderful shop (now gone) called Woolenworks.  I have been using bits and bobs of those early skeins of handspun for all sorts of projects lately--the woven table runner, which I gave to Ben yesterday.  
Anyway, the first skein is finished and I have a bit more to spin on Hortense.  She is the perfect little wheel for spinning cotton.  
A happy photo when I finished the hat.

A well-traveled chapeau.  "Cock your hat--angles are attitudes," as Frank Sinatra said.

Add caption