Saturday, March 31, 2012

Drop spindles

I purchased two drop spindles from a shop on Etsy and they arrived yesterday. One was a top-whorl and one was a bottom-whorl spindle. They came with a bit of yarn with which to get started.

I spun and plied half of the included yarn on the bottom-whorl spindle, and half on the top-whorl spindle. Combined, I made a 19 yard skein of yarn.

I like spinning with the spindles more than I thought I would, but I haven't decided yet if I like one type (top or bottom) better than the other.

As of this moment, I still like spinning with a wheel best.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The first...

...of my purrennials is starting to sprout.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The state of my sprouts - or - Time for re-potting

I started some seeds earlier than usual this year. I usually start seeds about six weeks before I plan to plant them outside, which means starting them right around the first of April. This year I chose a few varieties of tomatoes and peppers to start extra-early, on February 24th. I've had them under some grow lights that my husband installed for me in the basement. They hang from chains so I can adjust the height of the lights as the plants grow, and they're set on a timer so I don't have to remember to turn them on and off everyday.

It's been about four weeks and they've done really well down there. Today I re-potted them from their starter tray into pots. They'll stay in the basement under the grow lights until I'm ready to plant. Let's hope they continue to do well down there under the lights.

I've got nine varieties of heirloom tomatoes and two types of peppers. Here they are:

I'll be starting more seeds soon. I might do it before the first of April because it looks like we might be able to plant early this year, as long as the ground dries out. It's pretty swampy here right now, and last year the planting was late because the soil was too wet for a long time.

We usually plant right around Mother's Day here in northeast Ohio. That's usually when the danger of frost has passed. This year will probably be earlier in that respect, but we may have to wait for planting anyway because of the moisture. Everything seems to be about three weeks ahead of schedule this spring.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Making blended sock yarn

I've been working on making some sock yarn with a baby alpaca fleece that I bought last summer at a fiber festival. I wanted to blend in some nylon for durability and some silk for both durability and silkiness. In the picture below, the nylon is on the left, the silk is in the middle, and the washed baby alpaca fiber is on the right. The fleece was a gorgeous mix of gray-white, medium-gray, and darker gray with bronze tips:

The blend was approx. 6% nylon, 6% silk, and 88% alpaca. I blended three different bats with my drum carder. I ended up with a light-gray bat, a medium-gray bat, and a darker-gray bat because I randomly plucked the handfuls of alpaca from the varied fleece. one handful had more of the light fiber in it, one had a more even blend, and one had more of the dark fiber in it. The fiber in the picture above produced the medium-gray bat, which is to the right in the picture below (the light bat is to the left):

Here are the light and medium bats rolled out. At this point, the third, darkest bat hadn't been made yet:

The yarns made with these bats are pictured below. The medium-gray is on the top left, and the light-gray is on the top right:

The yarn made with the dark-gray bat is still hanging to dry on a doorknob after letting it soak to set the twist:

All told, I came out with just over 400 yards of yarn. I would classify it as a light sport weight or a heavy fingering weight. I was considering putting it up for sale, but I think I'm going to make a pair of socks for myself instead, the yarn is very soft and silky.

This fleece already produced 256 yards of sport weight, two-ply yarn (unblended), and I have enough fleece left for maybe another 400 yards, give or take.

So in the end, I'll get somewhere around 1,000 yards of sport weight/fingering weight yarn out of this fleece, which I purchased raw for about $38.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

We don't fear you, Mr. Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh has issued a fear-of-losing-more-sponsors,-after-all,-money-talks apology to the young woman he called a slut. He also stated his view of what the 'other side' must think, "And now, at the end of this week, I am the person that the women of America are to fear the most."

No, Mr. Limbaugh. Your self-aggrandizement is pitiable. Women don't fear you. In fact, we don't give you a second thought. We tuned you out long ago and your buzzing is nothing more than a minor irritation, like that of a fly dying on a windowsill.

Mr. Limbaugh, you are not feared by us, you are nothing to us.


My early sprouts are sproinging up! These are several varieties of heirloom tomatoes.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Halfway to a loom!

I'm saving up to buy a loom. A good used one can run anywhere from $300-$800, depending on what kind of deal you can find. I have over $400 socked away in my loom account, all earned by sales of my Christmas book over the holidays. I make $0.35 per ebook, and $0.22 per paperback. I sold somewhere around 1200 books over the holidays, so, yea, I'm on my way to a loom!

I'm hoping to find a good loom, at least a 40 inch weaving width, hopefully with a bench and some yarn thrown in. I don't want to pay more than $700, and I want to be able to drive to the seller and to pick it up. I'm willing to go anywhere in Ohio, and the parts of neighboring states that aren't too far away, and probably the closer parts of Maryland, too.

I'm happy about my book, and I'm happy I'm on my way to a loom!