Thursday, 19 April 2018
After I took all the photos that I could, I grabbed my banjo and practiced outside on the deck. Yes, it was warm enough and nice enough outside to do that!
The next morning it started to rain. That rain quickly turned to ice pellets, which was the only saving grace of this storm. Instead of inches of freezing rain, we got inches of ice pellets. The poor crocuses were buried under the ice pellets when the freezing rain actually came. There is nothing left of them now, making me more thankful that I got to enjoy them and photograph them for the few hours that we had them in bloom.
I wasn't sure I'd like this pattern, so I only set up for 2 scarves, both only about 5 inches wide but one at 75 inches long and the other is just about finished at about 82 inches long. I've enough warp to tie on a second project, but I've been dithering about it. DH says then I probably don't like it enough to bother with. This is the silk/wool blend from the now closed carpet factory. I do wonder how it would look in 100% wool.
Monday, 2 April 2018
A friend gave me a bag of Portland fleece. This is a less improved breed of sheep, considered to be closer to it's early counterpart, than many modern breeds. It is a pretty sheep, small,with a handsome face and horns. It is known to be easy to keep, has only a single offspring but can do so out of season. Interestingly, it is born red, but turns white within a few months The bit of fleece I got came from a very well kept sheep. It had virtually no VM. It wasn't greasy or dripping with lanolin.
It had a nice staple length of about 4 1/2 inches and a nice, regular crimp, though it's difficult to see in the photo.
The fleece was in lovely, well defined locks as well, and I debated whether to wash it all together or separate out the locks out into screen envelopes. I decided that since I'd intended to hand card it into rolags and spin it with the long draw, I could just wash the fleece without separating the locks.
Being a primitive down breed, the fibre is a bit on the coarse side, so it is definitely not for close to the skin. But that breeder should get kudos for producing excellent fleeces. This would make awesome mittens or outer wear. I probably should have saved some fibre out for a sample of worsted yarn, but the long draw was effortless with this fibre, so I went with it.
Friday, 23 March 2018
A friend just bought a new place and it is surrounded by Ash trees, which have been decimated by the Emerald Ash Borer. He's had to take down about 40 of them, which he offered to us. So the tile project and every other project, has been in between loads of wood. I'm pretty sure my sweetie is happy to get to play with his chain saw. There is still lots to get but the ground around the area is just thawing and the truck almost got stuck - hmmmm there's a country song in that line somewhere - so we're waiting for the ground to dry out a bit.
earliest pysanky found still mainly intact. The description says it might have had two colours as well as the white but I used only the one. It's apparently a wave pattern. It's a quartered pattern as well, and all those little lines took forever as well. The original was done on a goose egg. Mine is just a chicken egg.
The brown egg design is wobbly. It shows what happens when you put on a video while trying to write pysanky. It just doesn't work very well.
Other than that - Banjo! I had to fiddle around a bit figureing out why I was in a bit of a playing funk. It turns out I wasn't happy with the very blue grass music my books and music had, and with a bit of effort, I found a new direction in a more melodic format, which is keeping me busy.... and happy... and waiting now for a set of new strings to come in at the local music shop as they think everyone should play with medium strings and not the princess light weight ones. I have to order them every time I need them.... sigh...
Saturday, 10 March 2018
|double buckram cut, wired and bound|
Westfield is open again for the year and I'm happy to be back as a volunteer interpreter. Hats are a costume piece that I've often needed to borrow from the costume department. But I had double buckram, the proper millinery wire and a pattern, so I attempted to make my own.
It wasn't one of my neatest projects, at least on the buckram frame. Luckily it's completely covered, so none of the stitching mess will show. I had to play around with threads as some of them just wouldn't hold tight enough. In the end, I raided my husbands leather working tool kit and got some of the heavy waxed leather working thread and a ginormous needle, which seemed to help a great deal.
The lining was some yellow and red shot taffeta which shows as orange mainly, but when it hits the light in the correct way, the red flashes. The effect will mainly be lost on this hat lining but it was in my stash, so one less thing to purchase. I had to baste the lining by hand in order to get it to fit the inside of the hat. This is the 3rd time I redid the basting and finally got it right.
What a pain to put in the hat though. The instructions said to glue it but not what kind of glues work best. I had a spray adhesive but it was a different brand from my usual basting adhesive. Ick - the tin leaked, leaving a mess when sprayed and it didn't stick at all. So much for the "permanent" part of the glue name.
I used some brown wool for the fashion fabric. Here I was a bit torn about what to use. I had some black velvet, which would have made a lovely hat, with the taffeta, but I only saw a few black bonnets and most of them were mourning bonnets, which I didn't want to have. I had a darker brown, which would have also been nice, but there was just enough to use for something like a coat or a skirt, but not enough for both that and the hat. In the end, this lighter brown wool was lurking in with some t-shirt knits, and had already been cut, so useful for a project like this. I do like the less dramatic effect though, so that is a happy outcome.
The hat isn't finished yet. I'm not sure about the ties but they are tacked in on the inside in an odd place, but the only place that kept the hat on my head. I haven't finished decorating it. There will eventually be some bows or a flower spray on the outside and some shirred lace or something on the inside. My fingers and hands are sore from all the hand sewing though, so the prettying up of the hat will have to wait.
Friday, 2 March 2018
I'm calling these my warm up Pysanky. I'm doing a demo at the end of the month and need some samples. Knowing how long it takes to write each egg, I thought that I'd start early. I'm pretty happy with these two eggs, though the contast on the blue and turquoise one could be a bit better.
I'm hoping to have not only a selection of different designs to show, but eggs in different stages of decoration to work on during the demo. I think it would be easier to show to process that way, rather than just explain it while working on eggs as it takes even longer to decorate an egg while talking. I will definitely try to keep them a bit safer from little hands this year. I'm getting my daughter to do a supply run to the Ukrainian store in the city for me. I'm trading her maple syrup and maybe some pie ;)
Saturday, 24 February 2018
I found sausage casings in the grocery store of all places. They are salted and in a little plastic salad takeout type container. I wanted to only soak half of them, but they were actually knotted up in the container. I was worried both about ripping them, and how to store the ones I had separated but was not using. I ended up soaking all of them. I know now that since the sausage casings are heavily salted, I can just pack them and the salt back into the container and store in the fridge for several months more. Luckily, they still had some this week, so I purchased another packet of them for future use. These things are fairly difficult to source in this area.
I was soaking them because I'd found pork loin on sale and turned one of those huge slabs of meat into sausages. Next time I'd use more fat, but although a bit dry they are tasty. I was playing around with fat content because I really am not fond of those really fatty, drippy 50% fat sausages. I'd read you could go as low as 20% fat, but I don't think I had quite that much in this batch. They were awfully good with gravy though. I'd purchased a sausage stuffer attachment for the stand mixer at a ridiculous price, but there were only 2 of them in the store and I'd never seen them before. It was worth every penny of that ridiculous price as I was able to grind, mix and stuff the sausage casings by myself. It was a bit fussy and for sure, would have been easier to do with 2 people, but wasn't necessary.
Saturday, 17 February 2018
I dug up a pattern for a sontag from Peterson's magazine - 1861, spring issue I think. It is different that most of the one's I've seen which are from a Godey's Ladies book pattern. I'd popped out to get the yarn for the Peterson's pattern but it wasn't on sale and was $8 a skein, and I'd need about 4 or 5 of them. I decided to spin the yarn instead, which will mean that the project won't be done when I wanted it to, but I'll use up stash fibre. As this sontag will likely brush my neck, I decided on some Merino Top and Alpaca locks. I have some lovely brown Alpaca in the same staple length of the Merino, but I didn't have enough brown Merino to be certain of having adequate yardage once spun. The white Alpaca locks are short. They are about 2 - 2 1/2 inches long. They hand card nicely enough but I ran both through the drum carder, sandwiching the Alpaca between layers of Merino. This worked a treat and I have been carding up lovely, fluffy batts. I'm using a ratio of 60% Merino to 40% Alpaca.
I got Alpaca from a fundraiser held for a member of the Edmonton Guild who had lost all her fibre equipment during the massive floods a few years ago. They had Alpaca fleeces, mostly shorter length fibres for a $20 donation. I was happy to donate and now I'm happy that I'm actually using the fleece. I'll have to wash the yarn after it's spun as the Alpaca is definitely not clean.
The superwash merino rolags are spun and plied. It's a pretty yarn, soft, squishy and colourful. I've no idea what I'll do with it but at least it's done.