Sunday, January 30, 2011

Antique Store Finds: Great Wheel!

Doesn't it seem like you're always hearing stores about how people found amazing wheels in flea markets and antique stores? Or is it just me? Well let me tell you, I've searched for years in stores, online at craigslist and the like without a single "super" find. I ended up giving up the hunt and buying a wheel brand new. I'm glad I did, but I still like to look around and put my name in shops just in case. You'd think with the age of the area in which we live that I would stumble across a wheel every now and again, but this time was the first!

Pictures from an antique store in the country. They're all from my camera phone and bad quality because it was super cramped. One of the best finds there? A HUGE great wheel! I don't know a single thing about them, but this one is super old, in the condition you'd expect from something with great age.
I didn't buy anything, but just being there was a cool adventure. It was so packed you had to follow an open path around the house from room to room. There were even things in what used to be the bathroom!

The shop is a big ol' house in bad need of paint and with tons of frick frack on the yard. I wasn't sure what to expect.

I'm getting right in to the fiber related pictures so you don't get bored and miss out. These wooden spools were really cool, and they look to be loaded with a fine handspun even! Does anyone know what they'd be used for? They've been haunting me since we went, I may have to go back and pick them up.

I have to admit I almost walked right past the Great Wheel, I was scoping out the cool old baby pram, then realised there was a wheel in front of me.

I don't know enough about antiques to know what sort of condition the wheel was in, or what was missing. It needed some cleaning up, but I loved the age on it. Asking price? $850.00. It stayed in the shop.

There were cool little things all over! You walked around the rooms of the house and it was just jam packed with items which ranged from old, to tacky or quirky and cool. I really loved this doll head but my husband hought it was creepy. It even had the hand painted on lips and hair. Too cool.

All sorts of old tonics and empty cool bottles.

 Even the closets had items on disply. You could barely get in to check out all the neat things on the shelves though.

 Upstairs! I thought the hallway was neat. At the top is a super old looking (I say looking because I have no clue how to judge a real antique from a fake) phone. Lots of old signs and pictures.

 Living room with velvet sofa and matching fringe lamps. If the room wasn't packed with brick a brack it would have been a picture out of an old southern romance novel.

This picture turned out funny with the grey lines, but look! It's a bathroom full of antiques lol.

... and to prove we're in the south- cotton bolls! These were old and dried out, but still cool.

Have you ever found anything fibery related at a flea market or antique store?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tardis Update!

Just a quick post because I added 16 oz (4 braids) of Tardis BFL into the shop not long ago. I've had people mention being able to buy enough for larger projects and the like, and now is your chance! All 16oz are dyed with the same dye mix and done on the most glorious BFL I've had the joy to work with. I changed up my fiber to some amazing UK imported top and let me tell you, it's been worth the added cost. I loved the Blue Face Leicester I've used in the past, but once I had my hands on this top I went into a soft fiber coma.

Tardis 1
Tardis 2
Tardis 3
Tardis 4

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fiber ADD (Book Reviews and Projects on the Go)

Some days I feel like I walked down the fiber arts road and took every single possible detour that turned up. It may seem over kill to knit, crochet, spin, (learning to) weave, and dye- but honestly for an ADD person like myself it is perfect. Just when I find myself getting bored of knitting, I decide to spin, and when I don't feel the urge to spin I work a bit more on some project or other.
Even just beyond my ever shifting attention span, I love being able to start with raw fiber that I dyed myself, spun up into a yarn and then knit into an item or (hopefully soon) weave into something cool. Do you do multiple fiber arts activities? Which ones do you do? I'd love to get to know more about the people who read my blog, I know you're out there! I need to find a way to better reply to comments though (they just look like a new comment instead of a response.). I appreciate every single one!

You'd think for all the fiber crafts I do that I'd have more laying about the house, but they leave just as soon as they're finished most of the time. Here's my current projects on the go though!

I've been back on a sock knitting kick since I learned how to knit 2 at a time Toe up. I never want to knit another sock on dpns again. Be gone Second Sock Syndrome! I didn't actually like any of the patterns in that book, so I cast on the Rosebud Socks from Toe Up Socks For Everybody by Wendy Knits. I bow to her sock pattern skills. I have knit quite a few of her socks and love every single one. It seems a bit silly now that I purchased the 2 at a time Toe Up book to learn 2 at a time. I don't like anything in it, and only used it for the cast on and heel parts- even then only to confirm my assumptions of what to do. Ah well, hazard of buying things off the internet is you can't see it in advance.

They're kind of floppy without blockers, but you get the point. I'm almost done with my next socks already picked out. I fell in love with Cookie A's Marlene Socks the minute I saw them in a magazine, and they made me want to learn how to knit socks. Now I'm more than ready to knit a pair for myself. The Rosebud yarn is KP palette in edamame. It's a workhorse fingering weight that I find to be a bit on the light side, but makes great sturdy socks. You can also get a ton of it before hitting the $50 free shipping, I know this from experience. If you're interested in sock knitting and don't have a bunch of money to spend on yarn $1.99 a ball goes a long way.

Then my copy of Knit.Sock.Love by Cookie A arrived and I'm sock obsessed now. Have you seen her newest book yet? It's like a sock coffee table book! The pictures are amazing and the socks are just as great. One of the patterns is even shown in an abandoned building! Now that grabbed my attention. (I may not have mentioned it here, but I'm an urban decay addict. I find it beautiful and interesting.)
I'm an admitted toe up sock knitting junky, but I will gladly knit up some of Cookie's socks cuff down. I still wish she'd put out a toe up book though! *nudge nudge*

Last night I took a sock knitting break to spin up 4oz of Falkland wool handpainted by Pumpkinhaus
This is Super Ghoul
235 yards of worsted weight 2 ply yarn

And... weaving still continues I promise! It's been on the back burner because I ordered myself a pickup stick. Then I decided to order myself an actual book on Rigid Heddle weaving (which would have been smart in the beginning). But I figure the best place to learn new techniques is on my learning warp, so socks have taken over in the meanwhile. Now my pickup stick is here but I'm waiting on the book. It'll happen when it happens :) Maybe once I have a few socks out of my system?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Little Giraffe

Remember the single I showed a few posts ago? Here it is as a completed 2 ply yarn:
Little Giraffe is Superwash BFL fiber handspun from fiber dyed by Urban GypZ. That woman is talent in human form I tell you.

-2ply superwash Blue Face Leicester
-4oz, 9-10wpi (Depending on what you check that's worsted heavy worsted)
-Wash delicate (inside out) lay flat to dry.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just Another Day in the Country

Have you ever woken up and looked out the window to see a huge bull running around your backyard?
Not even just running around, but  the *minute* you look out the window the bull is standing there looking back at you?

I can officially say I belong to that club. It's a small one, but I'm sure I can't be the only one who has had this happen. Right?
This needs pictures to properly form the hilarity and chaos in your mind.

I live on a county road. It's paved and all that, but it's outside of city limits with lots of fields around. Across the street from me is a huge piece of land with horses, up the street a bit is a huge field with a large bull.
This bull:
Size is hard to judge based on that picture, but he's huge. Taller than me and
W I D E.
I guess he got out somehow and decided to spend his morning running crazy up and down the street and in my yard. It was just... I still laugh about it even now because it was just so random and unreal. I'm a city girl. If it wasn't in the Vancouver Aquarium or a petting zoo (or a deer/skunk/coyote/bear) I hadn't seen it live and up close.
Are bulls always that freaking big?

I digress.
I recall hearing the dogs growling, so I looked out my window half awake and saw the bull. In my hazy state I called out to my husband "Um. Is there a bull looking at me from our yard?"
My husband had to call 911. For real. (I'm laughing just thinking about it.)
"Um Hi, I want to report a bull running around the neighbourhood?" To 911's credit they didn't even hesitate and immediately asked where the bull was. Got to love life in the country eh?

At this point the bull had gotten bored of our yard, of eating the ivy off my neighbours' house and of running up and down the street, so he decided to go into the horse field. We didn't actually see how they caught him, I'm ashamed to admit I fell back asleep and my husband went back to work. I can only imagine it was hilarious and worthy of a Benny Hill sketch.

The bull (which my neighbors think is named Amos Junior) left us some cool souvenirs in our yard that I just found today though!

They're wider around than my hand. Now I really want to know what happened to Amos Junior. I hope he's back in his field and a bit less lonely than I assume he must be by himself every day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I was Interviewed!

I was interviewed for a blog! Little ol' me! Thank-you so much Kira from Wired Galaxy, you're a doll and it was a blast.

You can check out her interview here: Wired Galaxy

It won't come as any surprise to anyone who knows me that I rambled on a bit. Oops!

What is a blog post without a picture eh? I'm spinning up some lovely Superwash BFL from UrbanGypZ called "Little Giraffe." Pretty! I gave my wheel a full cleanup and re oiling, checked everything out and spiffied her up before getting started- but I still find myself having take up issues. It used to be so smooth, I'm completely puzzled as to what is going on. Perhaps the temperatures?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

First Shop Update of 2011!

Lots of BFL and Tardis (which have all sold by the time I post this.) The BFL Tussah silk is dreamy, I can't wait to play with it again when I'm able to get more.

 Cobbler. A delicious 70/30 Blue Face Leicester Tussah Silk blend hand painted with goldy orange, strawberry red and hints of grey and sandy brown

 Grandma May. Blue Face Leicester in various shades of purple. From mauve to grape, lilac to deep plum.
(I had done this previously on Alpaca and was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the singles in progress by Talia from International Fleeces on her gorgeous Carson Cooper wheel.) I loved how it was looking spun up so I recreated it on BFL. It's a bit darker in the new version, but I'm happy with how it came out.

Photo beongs to Talia of International Fleeces

 My Little Pony on Falkland. I had done a birthday version of this for a good friend of mine last year, and decided to give it another shot with some tweeking. I changed to a different purple but the bright fuchsia and aqua are still there. I also added a bit of grey.

 Tardis (3 braids) On Blue Face Leicester. This one is a favorite that I stopped dyeing for a bit over Christmas but am glad to have back again. Have you seen the yarn Valentinearts created from Tardis? She's a really talented spinner, I love checking out her yarns to see what fiber caught her eye recently.
Photo belongs to Valentinearts

Last but not least, a huge hank of thick and thin yarn that I plyed together (over 8oz). To say this gave my wheel a hard time would be an understatement, but I really like how it turned out.
Habitat is 192 yards of super bulky blue and green barber pole thick and thin yarn.

I'm still working away on my weaving sampler, finished my Ingenue sweater and am slowly knitting up some Rosebud Socks while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer ( I'm on Season 5 now!) in the evenings. To say I'm hooked would be an understatement. It was nice to get the dye pots going again. My small shop break gave me a chance to finish some projects, but I really missed played with colour.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Silver Pumpkin

If you're new to my blog one of the things I really like doing is finding cool small shops and recommending them to others. It's a huge internet after all, and I love hearing about great people with wonderful items.

Today's shop focus is on The Silver Pumpkin 

Faye is a wonderful person with lovely communication and a great eye for fun and girlie fabrics which she then uses to create beautifully constructed sock bags and needle cases. I love how she finds great fabrics and then matches them with a different pattern to make something completely unique and fun. I personally have a needle case (In Olivia fabric), one of her lavender satchels (They smell lovely! I keep one in my roving storage and it gives a faint hint of scent without being over powering) and a sock bag in her batty fabric.
Beyond just being a huge fan of her fabric choices, one of the first things I noticed when I received my needle case was the quality of her craftsmanship. The fabric is nice and sturdy and despite months of use I've had zero issues with the snaps, stitching, durability etc.

Enough of my gushing eh? Let's let Faye's photos talk for themselves:
All photos are used with permission and come from The Silver Pumpkin

Above is her dpn/crochet hook case. I use my Olivia version to hold all my crochet hooks, yarn needles, and all the various other bit and bobs I use on a regular basis as I knit a project. It's all loaded up and I just pop it into my project bag when I head out, or even move to a new room.

 Needle Traveler- Circs. (In the batty fabric I fell hard for and had to have the sock bag.) is great for organising your circular needles and keeping them handy. See?
(I adore the flowers with the polka dots!)
 The Sock bag! (This one is the Amy Butler Love version.) I can't say enough about how much I cherish mine. I'm planning on casting on some socks after my sweater and this sure as heck beats the little fabric bag I had been using for my socks- by far! It's big enough that you can fit two socks and your yarn and needles, or a scarf project, hat project, gloves etc. I like that it isn't a solid case so I can put it in my bag when I'm heading out of the house and it doesn't take up more room than it needs to, and I don't have to fuss with zippers getting caught on my project.
 I can't help but gush about her fabric pairings. I went with the Batty bag but this one was high on my want list as well. (Star Dot Sock Bag)

I had to add the Batty sock bag, despite it not being up on her site anymore, because I love mine to bits. I'm not a very girlie girl, but I still like having something fun and slightly girlie at the same time. They're bats, but they're fun bats! (and it matches my black namaste bag- bonus!)

Lovely lovely! (And I just realised I said "love" about a kabillion times in this post. I'm enthusiastic, what can I say?)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Just Because

Random "I haven't finished anything but I feel like posting" post.
I've been taking a small shop update break to work on some personal projects and unwind after the hectic holiday season. Thank-you all for making my first Christmas on etsy such a wonderful experience! Also my thanks for all the wonderful comments and advice shared about my new weaving adventure. It's been fantastic and super helpful!

Flitting from project to project like a butterfly I've been working on my:
-Ingenue sweater (no recent pictures, but with only a left sleeve left to knit I'll have completed photos soon)
-Weaving sampler (having a bunch of fun, but it's feeling really long now. I can't wait to make a handspun scarf next.)
-Spinning some art yarn from raw wool and mohair fleece that I washed, dyed and drum carded together.

I was yearning for something bright after all the dreary winter days. I swear I run on sunshine most of the time.
Not to mention a healthy amount of time spent playing Lord of the Rings Online... The game is free and really fun so far. I'm a wee Hobbit Minstrel.
In slightly related news: I came to the conclusion that if I existed in the Lord of the Rings books I'd like to pretend I'd be an elf, but I know in my heart I'd be a hobbit. I love comfort, food and my simple life far too much to be anything else. Thankfully I'm not a Hobbit with the big hairy feet and all that. Yikes!

Okay that's all I've got for now. Posts about one of my favorite shops and some great projects made by others with my dyed fiber and yarn are in the works!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Weaving Day 2

Still working away on my learning warp. I'm turning it into a sampler of sorts I guess, just playing about and seeing how things go. My edges are still my #1 area of improvement, but I'm getting the hang of the motions and really enjoying myself. I may google a bit to see if I can find any easy rigid heddle patterns that I can try out and add to my sampler here.

I can't wait until I feel comfortable enough to break out the handspun!

I like the red on red better I think. I tried alternating dense with open weave, fun times!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Starting my 2011 Resolution!

When you make a resolution what sort of things do you pick? Lose weight? Save money? Learn something new?
I should be about all 3 really, but mainly I love learning something new. Last year it was cold process soap making, this year it's weaving. My 15" Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle loom (that I purchased from because I love that site to bits.) arrived on the 31st, and I've spent today watching videos and reading up on how to do my first warp!
Funny tangent. My Mum is a fabo weaver but when I called her today to say Happy New Years you could hear the amusement in her voice when she informed me that I picked the *only* type of loom (Rigid Heddle) she hasn't used yet. Isn't that always the way? Ah well, I'm a big girl and she has some friends she recommended that may help with my "eek!" questions and the like.

Here is my progress so far. Feel free to correct anything I say/do incorrectly. I am learning after all and welcome any help!

 She arrived! (My loom is a girl, and I need to come up with a name that suits her now. She'll also need to coordinate with my other gals: Agnes the spinning wheel, Clara the drum carder, Pearl the bicycle and Irma the Scooter/Moped.) I keep thinking Dorothy, Frida, Fiona or Iris. I'm sure I'll settle on something soon enough.

 She folds up all nicely! Perfect for my space challenged home. Hubby wasn't so sure about the loom thing, until he saw how nice and compact she gets.

All dressed up in some wool I was given a while back. I have an 8 dent reed and this is about a fingering weight. (I know I know, knitters/spinners terminology. I'm not down with the weaving epi lingo yet. I know it exists, that's good though right?) I have a ton of loom waste, but it's my first warp! I also did absolutely zero calculations or thoughts as to what this would be. I figure I'll just weave until it's done and get in some practice without fussing with specifications yet.

Now I'm sitting here scratching my head and watching videos about how to actually weave. I think I'm going to weft (check me out eh? Throwing all the terminology around! Hopefully I used that correctly lol) with a really pretty blue wool that is the twin to the wool warp in a different colour. First to put the yarn on my stick shuttles though!
More pictures as I go along. My poor sweater needs a left arm and a right cuff to be finished, but my new toy beckons!

What are you going to learn this year? I'd love to hear about your new adventures!