Wait, when did June end?

There really is a Toshie picture for every possible situation.

There really is a Toshie picture for every possible situation.

This is the question I have been asking myself for the past week.  June has been an absolutely crazy month, first I moved my apartment, then two weeks later we moved the office.  Both these moves happened during the hottest, humid-est days we’ve had in a very long time.  It made for some very long days and some very early evenings.

Gifts from Muskoka I took home to Parry Sound for the long weekend.

Gifts from Muskoka I took home to Parry Sound for the long weekend.

Also, I haven’t finished anything (knitting or spinning-wise) in ages.  I’m hitting the part of the year where my knitting drive is at its lowest and I’m in the middle of a bunch of really long projects.

However, I did finally increase to the 576 stitch round on Carla’s wedding veil/pi shawl and so I figure I’m about 1/3 of the way done the project. It’s enjoyable knitting (and the 100% silk yarn is really nice) but I really want things to be perfect so I really have to focus on it. Also each round takes about an hour to complete at this stage.  While I have till end of September to finish it, I have to knit myself a shawl for the occasion and I really don’t like leaving things to last minute.

But June (and early July?!?) have brought all sorts of fun, on top of all the trouble.

On June 20th I got a chance to take a weaving workshop with one of the best teachers around, Jette Vandermeiden. Jette is a well known member of the weaving community and an excellent instructor.   The workshop was designed to teach Summer & Winter, a block weaving technique, but I used it as multi-harness weaving 101.  I’m eternally thankful to my fellow guild members who lent me a guild loom, loaned me a warping mill, taught me how to wind a warp, then how to warp the loom.

Summer & Winter block weaving from the workshop.

Summer & Winter block weaving from the workshop.

Jette was great to learn from, she not only taught (or re-taught) us how to hold our shuttles, deal with our selveges, but also the theory behind block weaves so that we can not only weave what she brought for us, but other block weaves.

I was interested in the sampler but I wanted to get more of a handle on weaving in general and thanks to the Craftsy class “Floor Loom Weaving with Janet Dawson” I have a whole bunch of twill drafts so I decided to cut off my Summer & Winter sample and re-threaded for a twill and keep playing.

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I tried out a few different patterns but found that I really enjoyed the look of a 3/1 Point Twill so I kept playing with that technique.

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But it hasn’t been all weaving.  Yesterday, I made my way to the Rosseau Market, which is an amazing market with farmers and hand crafters and bakers and my favorite booth, Pondering Rock Farm.

Pondering Rock Farms

Pondering Rock Farm is the family farm for the Darlingtons and produce yarn/fluff, handknit socks, honey and amazing nature photography.  Heather is the one who manages the sheep and yarn and is a wonderful shepherd, spinner, knitter and fellow guild member.  I stocked up on some yarn and fluff from her sheep.

Pondering Rock Treats

The yarn is a worsted-y weight wool/alpaca (75%/25%) blend that comes from a sheep named Nipper, who is grey but blended with a tan/fawn alpaca.  I also got 200g of that fleck-y creamy coat from Angel, one of Heather’s sheep who died in the spring, there are little flecks of grey and dark brown in her cream coat.  The last bundle of fluff (400g worth) is from Mocha, which is a great description for his coat.  My plan is to spin it into a fingering weight yarn and use it for a Brooklyn Tweed pattern in place of Loft.

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There were Unfortunately Heather’s booth isn’t quite as jampacked with fantastic wools as in past years, as she had much of her fleece at Belle Valle when they had the fire.  She lost a huge portion of her 2011 shearing she was telling me that she will be pretty well wiped out by the end of the season.  Although she is already talking about next year’s blends, including a wool/alpaca blend lace (well light fingering/heavy lace) that will be a great substitute for Loft.

So that should have us pretty well caught up to the present, hopefully I will be getting a few more things done in the next month.

Inspiration to Spin

Amongst my spinning people

Amongst my spinning people

My wheel and I have had an up/down relationship, but thanks to a Spinning and Colour workshop yesterday held by the Trillium Hanspinners and Weavers I’m feeling much better about my spinning.

The first thing is, my wheel is not the best fit for me.  So I’m going to start looking for a new wheel and a new home for my Ashford Traveller (if you are in Muskoka/Parry Sound and are interested in a really great wheel leave me a comment and I will get back to you).

My Ashford Traveller

My Ashford Traveller

However, I’m still able to make some pretty amazing yarn on it.

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But with respect to the workshop, it was great to actual learn from a spinning teacher, in person.  I’ve been able to find lots of great books, videos and online instruction but they don’t “talk back” or help you correct errors, like criminally under-plyed yarn.

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Properly plyed (or even slightly overplyed) yarn just off the wheel

The theme of the workshop was Spinning and Colour and while the color instruction was helpful, for me it was learning way more about the wheel.  But on the color front I learned a few tricks for combining handdyed and solid rovings to help stretch special yarn.

The original multi on the far right, the two samples are on the left, where it has been plyed with a cerise red or a dark blue.

The original multi on the far right, the two samples are on the left are mine. I plyed my single  has been plyed with a cerise red or a dark blue.

I decided to give it a try with some of the leftovers on random bobbins from past projects, and I’m not totally sold on the high-contrast handspun, I prefer a painterly tonal look, but it is something different.

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The pink from the yarn showed above plyed on the Opuntia braid I spun up a couple of months ago.

So I’m going get back to my wheel and see what other beauties I can whip up before she finds her new home and I find a new wheel to make friends with.

P.S. The 4th year of the Knit and Crochet Blog Week is starting tomorrow and I’m going to be participating, so don’t be surprised that there will be posts here all next week.