Have Ewe Any Wool?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Knitting, Crocheting and Spinning Progress

Although it’s been a pretty busy month – lots of festivals and road trips – I still managed to get some crafting done!

First, I finished spinning the gorgeous “Neopolitan Ice Cream” roving that I’d started spinning at the Manning’s Spinning Day earlier this month.  I just love how it turned out!   It produced a lovely 292 yard two-ply skein.   I love how the colors mingle together….it looks good enough to eat!!

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I designed a coaster set complete with a little bowl-like holder.  These were crocheted and then fulled.   I love how the coaster turned out, but I was a bit disappointed that the “container” didn’t felt down a bit smaller.   Oh, well…it still serves the purposed intended, so it’s not a total loss!

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venus_transit The inspiration for the coaster and the container was the “Venus Transit”.  Unfortunately, we were totally clouded in when that event occurred, but luckily, my daughter caught it on camera using a pin-hole projector (photo on right).  Lucky girl– it was a cloud free day where she lives so she got to witness this first hand!!!  (Note that in my “container” above, I have a dark spot at the same location as her photo….)

hat_best I also completed a quick little child’s/infant’s hat for charity.  I had a lot of fun playing with this one…making it look like a bumble bee and then crafting a pompom for the center top of the hat.   I love bright colors…especially for kids clothing – it’s so cheerful!   It made in 100% acrylic so it’s machine washable/dryable – which is usually the requirement for charitable donations.  (I prefer natural fibers, but, I have to follow the rules when it’s for someone else, right?)

maple_leaf_dish_cloth My final project was this cute maple leaf dish rag.   I found the pattern on the web, but it was done in bright red – like the maple leaf on the Canadian flag.   I prefer blue – a nice soothing color – perfect for a relaxing bath.  I decided I’d make mine in that color instead…even though the red one was quite striking…and I’ve yet to see a blue maple leaf!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012


The knitting guild I belong to, Purls of Distinction, went on a road trip to Shepherdstown, West Virginia this past Sunday.   We had a fabulous time.   First stop was the Bavarian Inn for their awesome “Sunday Brunch”.   It was absolutely delicious!   They had breakfast food, lunch food, wild game, and German food for the main course and just about every type of appetizer, salad, and dessert you could think of!

yarn1 After lunch, we wondered over to a relatively new yarn shop, Yarnability.   What a fabulous place!   Lots of yummy yarns to choose from – including many different lines that I haven’t found at any other shops.   They even had some Madeline Tosh!   BONUS!!!!   (Of course I bought some to do the “Color Affection” – what could be better than a colorful shawl made out of gorgeous and squishable yarn!

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The store has a very welcoming ambiance and I love the outside decorations!



What a great group!   What a fabulous store!  The have everything from knitting to spinning and everything in between.   And I just love the displays – check out the “old fashioned carder”! (below left)  Too funny!!!

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We ended  the trip at O’Hurley’s General Store – a must see if you’re ever in Shepherdstown.  They’ve got everything from toys and candy to household goods and hand crafted chairs.  It truly is a general store.   You meander through many rooms…each holding delightful treasures of both the past and the present.   I LOVE shopping here– I always find lots of unusual items that I just must have!!  There’s also the resident “guard” cat….greeting us on the way in…and then monitoring us/protecting the goods on the inside!  What a cutie!!!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

More Rug Hooking!!!



I was so excited about finishing my first project that I totally forgot to post photos of the progress I’ve made on my SECOND rug hooking project – a rooster.   I just started it this month…and it’s nearly done!!!   (Well…I’m on the background anyway – the main picture is done.)




Of course, at our guild meeting, there were several lovely completed works – I love them all!   I need to explore the various methods of binding the edges – everyone finishes them a bit differently…even if they use the same basic technique.



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At the end of the evening, I couldn’t resist this sunset shot….such pretty pinks and blues!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

My First Rug Hooking Project – Complete!!!!

FINALLY!!!!   About 3 years after I bought the kit….and nearly a year after starting it, I’ve finished my first rug hooking project.   This was definitely a learning piece – I learned MANY thing about the does, don’ts, and maybes – all to make my next project even better:

  • My loops shouldn’t be too close together….it will cause the project to buckle and curl.  (There are times when this is desirable, but unfortunately, not on a flat project like mine.)
  • When cutting fabric, it’s VERY important to cut straight with the threads….not on the bias.  If you cut on the bias, you wool strips will fall apart.  (Ask me how I know…LOL!)
  • Don’t blindly start on the outer edges and  work inward like I did for the earth….it made a rather boring  edge.  Instead, think about the effect you want to achieve.
  • Just like with knitting, you’ll sometimes run out of the color of wool that you need.   (Thankfully, I bought a kit…and the designer, Jerry Spears, knew EXACTLY what fabric I needed!   She sent the fabric right away – talk about fantastic service!!!!)
  • I also learned that when I turned the fabric, I tended to make lumps.   Again, it may be better in some cases to just end the row there and trim the wool rather than attempting a tight turn.
  • Like knitting, finishing is also critical – you have to decide which type of edge you want to do and then press the project when you’re done.  (Thankfully, there were no seams to deal with for the edge I chose….instead, I just had to roll the backing around some clothesline and then whip stitch it in place with some yarn. 
  • There’s really no right or wrong way to do things – the best method is determined by what you’re making and what type of effect you’re going for.   (I think that’s what I really like….I’m given the freedom to do it “my own way”….yet, there’s always someone around to ask for advice on exactly how to proceed if I’m unsure.)

Here’s the piece before I finished the edges…


And….here’s the final piece.   Can you tell that I LOVE sheep????


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Western Loudoun Artist Studio Tour

loudoun_6_sampling Once again, Blue Ridge Spinners and Weaver’s participated in the Western Loudoun Studio tour.  There were lots of GORGEOUS hand crafted item to purchase – from yarns to finished shawls, scarves, an other goodies.    I spent most of the day on Sunday demonstrating spinning with some of my fellow guild members.  

loudoun_me_and_coverlet_best The big bonus of the day was that I actually won the drawing for the hand woven coverlet!   I was both astonished and absolutely thrilled beyond belief.  (Can you see the absolute joy in my eyes????) This coverlet is incredible – definitely a work of art!   Each square was made by a member of the guild…and Chantal, with her expertise as a seamstress, stitched it all together into this fabulous “Objet d’Art!”  (I felt like I had just won the Miss America contest….tears came to my eyes and everything!!!

Of course, I’m still fascinated with looms….and will be taking a class on how to weave soon!   Check out these cuties that filled the room….and the cute little tape loom as well!

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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Spinning at the Mannings

It’s hard to believe that a full year has passed and it’s time once again for the annual “Spinning Seminar” at the Mannings in East Berlin, PA!   What a fabulous day it was – the weather was absolutely perfect.   It was warm (not hot!) AND there was relatively low humidity.   There was also a gentle breeze blowing across the yard.    (When I arrived back home in VA, I definitely figured out where the humidity had gone – it was AWFUL!!!!    I just about turned around and headed back north!)



There were sheep shearing demos – check out the before and afters of some of Roclans’ sheep!   They look so naked after they’ve been sheered!












I saw some awesome spinning wheels – like this Journey Wheel (left).   What a sweet and compact wheel!    And check out the spinning wheel on the right – it has TWO wheels!!



I started spinning what I’m calling my “ice cream roving”.  It’s pink, brown, and white….just like Neopolitan Ice Cream!   Mmmmmm!

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This woman made spinning cotton on a Lendrum look so easy, that I purchased a pound of cotton with the intention of spinning and then weaving it into a blouse…like the one she’s wearing.   

I learned that the natural colored cotton she’s spinning and wearing gradually fades throughout the day…but once it’s washed, the color becomes more prominent again. 



  mannings_13In addition to the wide variety of spinning wheels, one of the demos showed off a very primitive type of loom using various interesting items as the weights for the warp.   It was fascinating!!!



The fabric woven isn’t very dense – it produces a very light open weave. 





These weights look like  doughnuts!   How wild is that!?!?




The weight on the right are actually some little bags full of aquarium gravel.   What a creative way to recycle!!!










mannings_17There was also a Nuno felting demo.   I just love this process!  Using silk, you artfully lay some fibers on top  and using just some water, soap, and friction, you force the fibers through the silk to produce a very warm, colorful, and lightweight scarf.

There was a felting demo as well.   My favorite part of that was the line of felted skulls….LOVE IT!!!











There was even a group there demonstrating the art of “Sprang”.  I became fascinated by this craft a few years ago…it seems to have had a recent resurgence in popularity.   There’s even a Yahoo Sprang group!




As always, there’s an enormous variety of looms and wheels for sale within the shop at the Mannings.  

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As always, I took to way too many photos!   So, I’ve added this photo album that’s featuring a few of them that I didn’t have room to include in the main post!

The final photos are of this absolutely fascinating TeePee – it’s crafted out of knitted and crocheted pieces.   What a remarkable piece of art!

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