Monday, March 1, 2010


Done with the Olympics: I'm always a bit wistful at the end of the Winter Games because I enjoy them so much and always want to watch more than I can.

Done with Ravelympics: Whew, I'm relieved that I finished my little spinning and dyeing projects. I wasn't sure I'd make it, but I did and had a lot of fun being part of Ravelympics 2010. Maybe I'll be brave and try a slighter larger project next time.

Done with February: It was better than January, thanks to DS's birthday and the Olympics. Onward to the transitional month of March! Longer days, new projects, contemplation of gardening . . . all good.

Hope March brings you good things too!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm on the podium! THE SEQUEL

Here's 2 skeins of handspun wool (spun a while back on handspindles) that I dyed with Kool-Aid for a Ravelympics entry in the Downhill Dyeing event. Fun! 

Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm on the podium!

Here's my medal for my first entry in the Flying Camel Spin event in the 2010 Ravelympics!  I made a 2-ply bulky skein of Racka wool on my Roosterick Navajo spindle.

It's a lovely grey, and I'm happy with it although it was softer in the batt than it is now. Hmm . . . I'm also working on some creamy-colored wool on a drop spindle and waiting on 2 previously spun skeins to dry after being dyed with Kool-aid.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let The Games Begin!

Hurray! Today starts the Winter Olympics, my favorite sports event to watch. Also I am happy that tonight will also start the Ravelympics. I am on Team Spindlers and am excited to do some spinning and maybe some Kool-Aid dyeing. There are so many events that I wanted to do -- it was hard to pick. Are you doing it? If not, we all need a cheering section and you can monitor our progress on Ravelry.

I know what you mean about SOAR. I'm still going to try to save some money to go, but it will entirely depend on my family obligations and how much I've saved when it is time to register. Things should be much calmer around here by October, so at least I can go to the Market on the weekend if the classes don't work out.

EDITED TO ADD: My Ravelympics fiber you can see on my Ravelry stash. To follow Ravelympics in general, go to the Ravelympics 2010 group and check out the special Ravelympics tabs for events and live coverage!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Felted Hat BEFORE, and an Historic Day for Geology

Here's my felted hat before knitting! It's a natural brown because it was the only feltable thing in my stash in the right thickness. That's OK because my plan is to weave a sweet hatband for it. And to felt it before that, of course. 

And the Historic Day: I finally felt an earthquake! One of my very longtime geologist dreams.  There was a 3.8 quake yesterday morning, epicenter approx. 45 miles NW of Chicago, enough to give southern Wisconsin a shake. I woke long enough to wonder why the strong wind outside seemed to make the bed move and then I dropped back to sleep. I remember hearing a rumble but am willing to concede that might have been a snow plow.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

A harbinger of spring?

(pause while I try to think if I really know what harbinger means)

Yes, it's that time of year! Not the first robin (she'd be crazy to show up here in January), but the Spring issue of Rowan arrived yesterday! Something to warm the heart of the weary crafter.

Other things that also encourage: a new project (backstrap woven, in my case), time with family, the support of friends, reading, yoga, looking forward to the new issue of Knitcircus, a really good cuppa java. Hope you are finding these helpful as well.

On the gear side of things: I decided to sell my 16" loom and my Bond knitting machine. My plan is to eventually get a wider rigid heddle loom. In the meantime, I am happily exploring backstrap weaving and (of course) spinning and Ravelry and planning new knitting projects.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

On weaving and the weary mind

Like many fiber admirers, I am curious about textiles of all kinds.  I'd been curious about weaving for a while when I got my rigid heddle (RH) loom on ebay in 2008. I've made a few things on it: a scarf, some washcloths, a three-paneled blanket (my loom is 16" wide), and a few false starts. Weaving is fun, and the RH loom made it easy for me to get started and also get started on a library of rigid-heddle books ;)  And I already have a list of projects in my mind that I'd like to make. It's a great way to work with cotton, which I love but dislike knitting with. Of course, it is great with my beloved wool as well.

I'd been enjoying Weavezine for a while when I noticed this article on backstrap weaving. Wow! I could have a 2nd loom for very little money and try some new things. So after reading the article a few times and watching the associated videos, I found myself at Home Depot with some bits of wood and a fiendish grin. I joined weavolution and its Backstrap Weaving group, which is populated by friendly and helpful crafters.  I've been very much enjoying the Backstrap Weaving blog (Thank you Laverne!).

Here are my backstrap weavings to date and some of the books from which I have gleaned wisdom (I own these but have also made use of my excellent local library!):   

(we interrupt this post for some cursing because even though this image is NOT rotated before I upload, apparently blogger thinks this is what I want)  I apologize for any neck pain this may cause. Obviously I did not make the turtle but he is modeling a "karate belt" that I did make. That and the other orange strip were supposed to be new straps for one of my knitting bags but due to tension problems (the warp's, I think, not mine) I ended the second one early. Dear Son saw them laying next to the sewing machine and said what nice mini-scarves I'd made. So one went to him and the other to Dear Daughter. The larger strap with the green cords is a backstrap I wove (using an old T-shirt as a temporary backstrap).

Backstrap weaving is still used by numerous people around the world although it is not so well-known in North America unless you read Weavezine. It allows you to use a continuous warp that you can weave all the way to the edges with no waste from  tying it onto the loom. It can be used for a variety of projects and for different types of color work, so its humble construction does not limit creativity in any way! I continue to be captivated by this technique even though I am not very good at it yet.
Arghh. I feel like I need Backstrap Weaving for Dummies. I thought it would be fun to learn a new fiber skill completely from scratch and a welcome distraction from the challenges of my life. I was having warp tension problems before Dear Hubby's health problems (which I will not be blogging about here) but apparently my being stressed is complicating things as well. Or maybe I can blame my warping board (loose peg?). I've had a lot more false starts than I did with my RH loom. It's easy to fine-tune warp tension on a RH loom because the warps are tied on in small groups. With a continous warp, it's got to be good from the get-go. I may try backstrap weaving with a non-continous warp to see if it goes better . . .

I've warped my RH loom for some more washcloths while I think about it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, dear friend and any readers out there in cyberland! It's been a crazy week, one of the likes I hope to never see again, so I haven't composed my resolutions yet. Still, I've been reflecting back over the year and there's been a lot of great things in it (and even in this last week).

I gave our blog a bit of a new look for the new year; feel free to tweak or change it as always, Alene. Hope your parents' visit is going well. We may get some new readers once I start posting more about my weaving; the backstrap weaving group on weavolution is a delightfully curious group.

Bye for now, Cindy