Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 38

Today’s a first for me. Finally got up the nerve to spin 100% angora bunny fiber. I sheared 2 of my black French angora rabbits (don’t worry they’re being kept warm until they regrow enough fiber again) and then carded it. I used a short draft and learned that more time will need to be spent on fiber preparation.

The skein looks very similar to my very first skein of wool–thick and thin with different spinning angles but I’m rather pleased with the result. The lighter photo is before washing and the darker is immediately after washing. This is a small one ounce, approximately 50 yard skein so it will need to be an accent yarn in a project–maybe for the design in a Fair Isle pattern.

I have more of this raw fiber and now cannot wait to work with it some more. Several of my bunnies are ready for shearing when I get moving again so I hope to have time to get better spinning this wonderful fiber.

Immediately after plying
Washed skein (it will dry lighter)

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 37

Needlefelted fabric

Needlefelting is an time honored way of producing a nonwoven fabric. The FeltLoom is a modern improvement on doing it all by hand. Placing the fiber in perpendicular layers helps to strengthen the fabric. After running the base layers through the machine, adding color makes the fabric even more unique. These photos are all from the same piece of fabric.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this is functional or art. Do you see this as coasters, notebook covers, the front pieces of a vest or something else? If it’s destined for clothing, wet felting will be needed to solidify the fibers to decrease the chance of shedding and pilling. Better sewing skills on my part would be helpful! The brown pencil skirt that I had to make in 8th grade still haunts me. Fodder for therapy?

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 36

Found this Mill Hill kit on my shelf of projects. I’d forgotten that it was there. That never happens to you, does it?

Another low stress project. The finishing was supposed to be a fusible interfacing but that’s downstairs in my craft room. The denim patch was up here so denim it is.

It’s a bit dreary today but the snow showers make it much prettier. Hopefully we’ll get enough to cover the mud, at least for tonight.

Hope you’re enjoying your Saturday. Thanks for visiting.

Back of the pin.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 35

Look at this beautiful yarn. It was hand spun by Linda Bauer of Bauer Family Farm here in Pennsylvania. She and her spinning partner, Laura, are experts at their craft and I’ve learned a lot from them. Some of it is from watching them spin at fiber festivals or retreats and some is from the classes in spinning that Linda teaches at our farm. Another way I’ve learned is by watching their yarn go through my fingers while knitting. This yarn is exceptionally fun with all of the color changes that occur. The brightly colored single is paired with a black and this gives a stained glass effect to the final yarn.

Because the yarn is so interesting, the hat is my simple go-to pattern that is in my head. Any fancy stitches or cables would be lost with all that’s going on with the yarn. I especially like the starfish like shape at the top of the hat that comes about by the decreases to form the crown.

Thanks, again for all of your support. One week from today I go to the doctor’s and hopefully will get the good news.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 34

Today’s fibers are paper and cotton floss with some beads for sparkle.

I love these Mill Hill kits because they are low stress (No, I’m not showing the instructions to let you see where the “individualizations” occurred) and a lot of fun. I have made several of these pictures over the past twenty years and use them with the painted frames that Mill Hill makes. By changing out the pictures between the frames, decorating for the different holidays and seasons is a snap.

Be careful if you try one of these. It becomes an addiction!! I have at least 6 more of these kits on my shelf unopened. Does that make it another stash? Oh, my!!

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 33

The count is up to 33 here and down to 9 days until the X-ray and hopefully being able to walk on my right foot again. Single digits!!!

Did some dyeing again this morning. Instead of using pots on the stove, it was instant (almost) gratification in the microwave. Critical to using the microwave is having the yarn completely wet so it doesn’t scorch or, worse yet, catch on fire. Microwaving the yarn is a wonderful way to heat set the dye in a very short period of time. I’m usually looking for these kind of variegated results as opposed to either space dyeing or kettle dyeing. Having all of these options expands dyeing to an almost limitless degree.

I started with the fawn 100% alpaca yarn in the middle and dyed 5 skeins total and all at the same time. These 2 dyed skeins shown in the photographs demonstrate how variable the results can be with hand dyeing. The colors can also vary in lightness/darkness in the same skein depending upon how the skein was laying in the container.

To even out differences in the colors, I will either knit from 2 skeins at the same time, alternating skeins or work from both the inside and outside of a center-pull ball. Again, I didn’t come up with these tricks but have found them very useful when I care about how the colors look in the final piece.

I dyed this yarn with a specific project in mind so you’ll be seeing it again!

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 32

garter lace alpaca scarf


I received my shipment of new 100% alpaca yarns from Morningstar Fiber Mill last week and they are beautiful! This is the ecru and you will see the fawn later after I overdye some of the skeins in the next few days.

This scarf is the Textured Lace Scarf designed by Linda Medina and published in 50 garter stitch gifts to knit. The pattern for the body of the scarf is 8 rows repeated 40 times. In order to keep track of this, I wrote the pattern on an envelope and made a chart of the 8 rows in 10 columns. A tic mark on each row number let me know where I was in the pattern. The only trick is stopping at the end of each row to make a mark. Inexpensive system but effective.

While this scarf is attractive, it’s telling me that it wants to go into a dyepot!! Help me pick a color.


Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 31

Spiral hat

Start with a trapezoid with ridges, sew it up and the result is this spiral hat. It’s especially elastic and will fit many different size heads. Originally I had the multicolored knitting as the knitting with the grey as the purl ridges but you couldn’t see the colors so when it got sewn together, I put it the opposite direction. Think that this is effective. The messy pompom is the icing on the cake.

The original pattern came in plastic cup like the ones you would get with a slurpy–an open elevated cap with the needles like the straw would be. The company was knittingtogo.com and unfortunately is out of business; at least I cannot find it on the internet. Their marketing and ideas were great and it’s sad that they no longer exist.

This would be a wonderful pattern for a beginning knitter that isn’t comfortable with the idea of knitting in the round but would like to make a hat.

Thanks for visiting!

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 30

You’ve seen these fingerless gloves a couple of weeks ago. They’ve been in the kitchen since being finished and looking very plain.

i’ve been paging through Anna Zilboorg’s book splendid apparel and tried my hand at some freeform embroidery to dress these up a bit. Simple, but I like the result.

We’re going to step back into my previous life and look at why fingerless gloves can keep your fingers warm.

This diagram from Wikipedia shows the arterial blood supply to the hand. The two main arteries, the ulnar and the radial, form arches in the palm with branches to all of the fingers and the thumb. By protecting these from the cold, warm blood leaves the palm and goes to the fingers working similarly to a radiator in a house. In really cold weather, your fingers are still going to get cold but in moderate cold, most people’s fingers will stay warm enough to be comfortable and they can use their fingers easier than if they had on full gloves. Pretty cool, huh?

Vascular Anatomy Of The Hand Bone Anatomy Of The Hand Human Anatomy Diagram – Human Anatomy Library

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 29

green overdyed rose grey yarn
blue overdyed rose grey yarn
purple overdyed rose grey yarn

Pulled out the dye pots for some rose grey yarn that I had promised to dye. Originally I was going to do at least 2 colors per skein but the final decision was to try for a single, more solid color. This made it a bit easier because all of it could be done on the stove.

Knowledge from sorting fiber for myself and others comes in handy for dyeing this yarn. Rose grey is actually a mix of colors, whether on a single animal or in a production batch at a mill. If you de-construct a rose grey yarn, you will see this mix of colors–white, greys, browns and blacks. The best yarns for overdyeing are those with at least some lighter fibers in the mix to really let the color shine through. Overdyeing a deeper yarn gives a darker color. I like having some variety in my hand dyed yarns so am happier with the results using a lighter rose grey.

Any color chosen will be muted on a rose grey yarn so I usually choose a bright dye to get as rich a color as possible. Today it was sapphire blue, bright kelly green and electric violet. The richness of the yarn is exactly the result I was aiming for. What do you think?