Saturday, July 28, 2007

Driving to Distraction

Remember how I got distracted by a pile of roving and the idea of making a braided rug? Here is the after shot. It shrunk from 7 inches across to 5.5 inches. It is nice and sturdy, and makes a perfect cushion for my vase of flowers. I do want to make a bigger rug. Maybe while I am on vacation.
Yes. I am going, this afternoon, after I close the shop
Fear not, Woven Art will stay open. The 5th Sunday Spin in will take place tomorrow, and we will keep regular hours, under Jenn Hugh's watchful eye. Thank you Jenn!

This time there will be lots of family. All three daughters, my mother-in-law and her boyfriend. Plus, we are going to make a point of visiting my Mom as well. Her place is about 2 hours from where we are staying - but we will make a day of it. Perhaps another visit to Stonehedge.
I need to restock - My customer friends are scooping it up - not just because it is super soft, and lovely - but they (and I) like that it is made here in Michigan.

Because I won't be dyeing yarn or anything else next week, I did extra last week. Here are just a few items:
Super Soft Merino Roving. Available by the ounce.


Kona, Kona, Kona Petite. I have 6 each in the two Kona Colorways, and 3 of the Kona fingering.

And this is a close up of the A.F.P. (almost finished project)that has been causing me to look for other outlets. It really is very close to complete, I just need to knit a mile or two of 7 stitch ribbing for ties, and add ruffles to the sleeves. Just about 3 to 5 more hours I think. Argh.

Now, add to that an upcoming vacation, which implies endless hours for knitting (ha! I'll never learn), and a shipment of Stitch Diva patterns. They sure do some unusual things with different techniques. I ordered a ton of Stitch Diva patterns, because they go so well with Tilli Thomas yarn. So, I'll be taking with me the Sahara sweater which uses Tilli Thomas yarn that I will couple with yarn I dyed to compliment it. I also will take along the decidely different scarves, and will use Habu silk-mohair, plus I'll get to play with my beautiful Jenkins hairpin lace fork. I am also taking along some of the stainless wool and stainless silk from Habu to make, um, a thing I'll tell you about later. This is a thing that has been in my head for a very long time, waiting for the right materials. And some time. Perfect match!
And this is a just for fun shot of my special order wall. I love the bright colors. They were made especially for an entrelac project, hence the varied lengths and emphasis of color. All kona, with the one on the left Kona petite in Laramar.

As much as I am looking forward to spending some time with my extended family, I am also really looking forward to coming back. As soon as I get home, I will begin hanging the "Hand-dyed, Hand-Knit" exhibit, in time for the Folk Festival. I also am giving much thought to my next round of classes. As I have changed from mailing a paper newsletter four times a year, to an electronic newsletter about weekly, I have much more flexibility on scheduling. If you would like to be on the e-mail list, please send your information to me at fiberart@earthlink.net. A paper version will still be available, and updated more frequently. You can pick up the latest version at the shop, or give me a call at 517-203-4467, and I'll happily mail you one.

P.S. I am also taking my spinning wheel, my tapestry loom, and of course all the supplies I need to go with them. I made sure to pack the car with my stuff before coming in to work. It is embarassing what-all I am taking.

Friday, July 20, 2007

It is good to have wise friends

My Mom use to braid rugs. She would take fabric - I think mostly wool, and cut them into strips, braid the strips together and coil them in a circle, and sew them together. She made several. Or so I thought. I was a kid, and wasn't paying close attention. But they covered our family room floor, and also under our kitchen table. I have no idea where those rugs are now.

Anyway, I wouldn't even have thought about that except that I was visiting Three Pines Gallery in Cross Village. My friend Joann was talking about making braided rugs from roving. That was a new idea to me. So I stashed the idea in a corner way in the back of my mind.

A few weeks later, I had a roving dye disaster. The dye didn't take, for some crazy reason. I used procion on wool. That should work. I put in all kinds of vinegar. I cooked it all day, the dye still didn't take. I went on with my day, forgetting about the roving simmering away, and not soaking up color. So, parts of it were felty and none of it the color I wanted. Now I am all about loving the color you get, and I did love the muted rust and purples. Still, I couldn't foist this roving off on spinners, other than Daughter and Ragnar. They aren't as fussy as they seem, and they won't turn down free.
But the braided rug from roving idea resurfaced. It was just waiting for the right supplies to come along I guess. I broke the roving into three really long pieces and began to braid and coil and sew. Luckily Ragnar appeared, looked askance, asked how I planned to felt it. I plan to just toss it in the washing machine and then go find some wine - the same way I felt everything. This is when the wise one suggested that I start out with a test one - much smaller - like the size of a trivet.

So, here it is. A wool braided trivet - before felting. It is currently 7 inches in diameter. I hope it doesn't shrink much. I really just want it to full a bit. Become a little more solid.

I think all of this has everything to do with AFPAS. (Almost Finished Project Anxiety Syndrom). I don't know if anyone else suffers from this - but the closer I get to the end of a project, the more I avoid it. I'll play with anything else. I'll pull out the pattern books, and wander around the shop aimlessly twisting yarns together around my finger. I am almost done with a sweater. I have the back, one front, and 3/4 of the other front done on a sweater intended as a gift due in two weeks time. There are no sleeves, but there is a ruffled edge around nearly everything. It is the Rowan Tulip Sweater from magazine #40. I changed the yarn to panda wool, that I dyed, and then had to change the gauge. The fabric is lovely. Sort of green with lavender flashes. However, I am frightened to death that it won't fit her. Or that she won't love it. Or that she'll read my blog, and that'll blow any semblance of surprise.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A knit-along you should know about

I was reading my friend Ava's blog, and found out that there is a Habu KAL! Thie pics and projects there are so inspiring. And just in time for my next project too!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Eventually, I get it.

I finally figured out that it was my browser that limited how I posted to my blog. When I post at home, I can just click some icons for links, add photos, and other tricks I have not yet tried. Yet, on my work computer, I only had two icons at top - and when I posted a picture it looked like text. Made it harder to figure out where to put things. Today, I changed my browser. That is why I am so happy. That, plus the fact that my littlest baby returned from two weeks at the Anderson Ranch. I attended there once or three times, and still consider it to be the center of the universe. At least for artists. I am so happy she had a great experience there. But I am also so glad to have her home.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Special Yarns - Special Price



Jacquie doesn't do this very often - at most once per year. She has put all her beautiful yarns on sale at 20% off the marked price from Sunday July 15 through Saturday July 21. This picture is only part of one basket. The Third Sunday Spin-in spinners made off with lots of these yarns - but they left some for you!


A couple of pictures of our spin-in. Woven Art hosts a spin-in on the third and fifth Sunday of every month. Glory Be - July gets two! As you can see SOME people were knitting. Including myself, which you can't see. It's OK. Other people were able to try out the merino and finn rovings I brought back from Stonehedge a week ago. I will be getting more, based on the positive comments.






This is a fun little project I did on Saturday between customers. It is called ArtFelt, and is a new idea from Skacel. It comes packaged in kits - with enough to make two thin scarves (like this one) or one really wide scarf. Or you can cut the paper in different ways to make handbags, pillow covers, etc. The kits includes the special melt away paper, more than enough roving, in delicious colors, two felting needles and an instructional dvd. They suggest that you start with a 12 by 12 sample square to get the feel of the technique. I didn't so that -though I do think that is a good idea. So - this whole feather weight drapey felt scarf (it feels sooo good) took me 3.5 hours from start to finish, including learning curve. You can view the dvd from my kit any time at the shop. I think you should try it. Just as a nice depature from what you normally do, but I could see the possibilty of really diving in and taking this somewhere


And, lastly for this week, a dye shot - this is lace weight alpaca, dyed in navy, brown and black.

If you'd like more information about any of this, e-mail me at nancy@mcrayweaving.com or call Woven Art at 517-203-4467




Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Deidra and the little lambs

I didn't stay in the hammock for long! Deidra and I took a field trip to Stonehedge Fiber Mill just outside of Ellsworth Michigan. It is one of the few places in Michigan that processes fiber and makes their own yarns. Our first stop of course was in the yarn shop. Here is Deidra, and a pair of lambs just outside the shop. Inside was a small selection of wonderful yarns. Camel, Alpaca, Lama, and Merino and Finnand more! There were yarns of various weights and colors, as well as spinning fibers.

So, what did I do on vacation? I bought yarn for the shop! I got us some worsted weight superwash merino, and several of their Shepard Wool colors. I also got some Finn roving, and some Merino roving. I plan to share these with the spinners at Third Sunday Spin-in. If you are in town on Sunday, please come spin with us - I would love to know what you think of these rovings.
I love these yarns and fibers -very soft, and squishy, and it makes me happy that it is made in Michigan. I am a big believer in buying locally, or at least as locally as possible.

Here are a few more pictures:

Diedra going into the washing and carding room:







Alpaca being washed and sorted.

To the right is a spinning machine with some colored rovings. This color blend turns into a nice berry purple, one of the ones I chose for the shop.




And last, but certainly not least, a cutie pie with a little lamb:




Deidra was marveling at how the lamb stayed so contendedly next to the child. And her Grandma said "That"s because every time the lamb gets up, she pushes it back down!"

After visiting the fiber mill we went to Boyne City for lunch. I picked up a couple of chop sticks at a local shop, took them to the hardware store, where one of their guys (I love hardware store guys!!) fitted them with a washer, a stopper and a hook. Voila! Drop spindles. I spent the rest of the week plying Finn with Merino, and making lovely yarn. There is much, much more to the story of our day in Boyne City - but you'll have to ask when you see me next. I want to see your face when I tell you about the ring, the park and the video tape!