Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spinning, Knitting and Felting

This has been a fun weekend.  Wednesday night  I found out I would have surprise company coming on Friday so I didn't go to knitting on Friday morning in Navasoto and I definitely needed some help with what I had done so far this week, so I signed up for a needle felting class on Saturday and spent another wonderful day in Navasoto at my favorite wool store WC Mercantile and ended the evening watching Boyd Bumbera race his tail off  (actually the front bumper) at Cotton Bowl Speedway.  It was a great race, with great friends.

But back to the class,  it was fun, I learned a lot, made this wonderful bird and some great new friends!  Yes, he's completely felted except his beak which is Sculpy.  I have done needle felting for years, but mostly flat pieces that I use for other things, such as a journal cover or pin cushion, remember the dress and bird I did last winter, anyway, I hadn't ever tried to make things!  Don't know how much I will use this new found craft, but I think there may be a few snowmen in the near future.  We will see and I learned some things to help with all of my needle felting including using the Embellisher.

While I was there I got a niddy noddy (a tool for taking yarn off the bobbin) and examined some of my knitting from the week.  Stephanie was able to help me see what mistakes I was making and taught me how to bind off, so I now have this 3 x 6 strip!  Whoopee!  My first two pieces with all of the mistakes have been taken off the needles and rolled back into little balls, but I learned a lot from both of them.

Stephanie showed me how to take my yarn off my bobbin and so I did that today.  I got approximately 68 yards of yarn and the bobbin wasn't nearly full.  I have set the twist (soaked the skein in hot soapy water and gave it a cold rinse) and hung it up to dry.  It's a funny yarn (but that's what I want) and so I will take it with me Friday to see how she recommends I knit it.   I had a tiny ball of yarn I had spun from some roving I had and so I knitted it today.  Not easy it was so many different sizes, but got about three rows and was able to bind it off, so I was pleased.  It is totally useless, but it was good training for future knitting.   This is probably one of the most interesting things about my spinning and knitting - the practice part!  I've always wanted instant gratification, thus watercolor and acrylics vs. oils!  But with this it's just fun to do it - no matter the result.  A whole new experience for me.

As I've often heard the best should be saved for last, and so I must tell about my Friday company.  My "fake" granddaughter (fake part is a long story saved for another time) from Austin came in with her parents and stayed with Bill and I while they went to a dinner in Katy.  Kaleigh is 10 and she is a blast.  We hosed and fed the alpacas, went out to dinner and had a DQ and then headed to the studio.  She wanted to craft!  So she looked through my stash and found a tissue holder shaped like a stack of books and she painted it. It was so much fun to watch her pick out the colors and the brushes and just have fun.   We have lots of other things planned for her next visit - fun, fun, fun.

So this week will be filled with spinning, knitting and felting, with no particular result in mind.  Well, except felting as I am going to try and get some pin cushions made and possibly some felted wool dryer balls.  I have made three small ones, but have more in the works  Sounds like a fun filled week..

Monday, August 12, 2013

What a month! What a year!

I don't even know where to start this has been such a whirlwind five weeks!  Of course, my last post was about my studio floor and organization, in the middle of the five weeks.  Well, that's still in the works.  The floor is done, but I'm carefully returning it to a workspace, sorting and parting with some unnecessary things.  I'm putting shelves up high, but haven't gotten them painted yet - that darn yard work doesn't do its self, so I had to spend a few days on that and ...... I had a knitting class on Friday!

So this is really where my story starts today!  In just five short weeks I have taken my second class on spinning with a drop spindle, taken a spinning wheel class and bought a wheel, taken a class on spinning art yarn and a fiber prep class - those all were on consecutive Saturdays.  And last Friday I went to my favorite little wool store (WC Mercantile) and took a knitting class!  Whew!  I am crazy!!!!

My first post of the year talked about my word for the year.  I chose bloom and said in my January 28 blog that maybe it should have been challenge.  Now I'm wondering if it wasn't learning or maybe it should have been practice or patience!  All of these words fit this crazy year.  

Or maybe crazy should have been my word!  If anyone would have told me five years ago that we would live on three acres, have alpacas and that I would be spinning and knitting I would have told them they were crazy!  But here I am and it's all happened or is happening!

The craziest part is the knitting.  My mom knitted and my daughter knits, but I always said I would hate it.  Mom tried through the years to teach me, but it was to no avail.  She tried to teach me to crochet, to no avail.  But as I began to spin (also said I wasn't interested in doing a wheel) and I saw my yarn, I began to think that I would like to make something with it, if I could learn how to do it, but I didn't think I could and I really didn't think I would enjoy it!  So I went to my class last Friday to see if there was knitting in my DNA and much to my surprise there is!  Not only could I do it, it felt good.  I only completed a bath mat for a mouse, but I am hooked.

Full of holes and mistakes!

I have practiced every spare moment this weekend and it's all I can do to leave it alone!  I've practiced spinning and I do love it, but oh that darn knitting bug!  I won't have to eat my words with my mom, but my daughter, well that's another thing!  I probably won't ever be as good as she is, she is amazing, but I will have to admit that I now understand why she enjoys it soooo much.

Right now I'm spinning "interesting yarn" and knitting straight rows with no plan in mind, but who knows what I might do some day as I grown in my knowledge of art yarn and knitting!  BTW - don't let two pictures fool you, I've casted on and started over many many many times between these two pictures!  But at least I see improvement which encourages me to keep on keeping on!
Another try at it and a little improvement!

Yes, this year my word should have learning.  Learning about alpacas, fiber, carding, spinning, knitting and most of all, learning about me!  I am full of surprises - even to myself!  Just reread the post and saw how many times I used the word crazy - so I think this is a two word year - crazy  and learning!  It fits - at this age learning this much in one summer is crazy.


Friday, August 02, 2013

What Was I Thinking?

I guess I thought I didn't have enough to do with three alpacas that have to be hosed down at least twice a day to keep them cool.  Yes, literally I go out and stand in the heat to spray their legs and bellies with cold water!  Gotta keep those boys cool!   Along with that there's a poo pile to clean up and water buckets to fill. I'm  not complaining, I'm just sayin'.  Along with that I'm learning to spin yarn, card the boys fiber and have managed to make this the fourth Saturday in a row with a class at my favorite little wool store - WC Mercantile.

And this leads to my question - WHAT WAS I THINKING?  Suddenly Sunday afternoon I decided to move everything out (and I have stuff - see pictures to right) of my studio/craft room so I could pull up the carpet and prepare to paint the floor.  Now this is something I've been wanting to do since we bought the house over three years ago!  And once everything is out and the carpet is pulled up there is no turning back....Nope, it's just keep plugging forward.

carpet ready to be torn out

Of course, we know that they use substandard plywood under carpet               because no one is going to ever see it.  AND they do an over spray of texture on to the floor and make as many dents and drips as possible. I scraped and scrubbed and finally said, so what!
Not only am I the only one that sees it, it will be mostly covered over with shelving, storage drawers and tables!
carpet rolled up - pad ready to go

I chose charcoal black for my topcoat because it will show the least of the dings - we all know white shows every thing -- just look at someone in white stretchy pants (haha) and I wanted a canvas, so black it will be.  I will paint a flower or a sheep or as my friend Deb suggested I could paint a stone walking path, but whatever, it will be fun and down the road someone can cover it up with carpet and no one will be the wiser!
 carpet strip and texture overspray

Thank God for KILZ
Primarily I'm the only one who ever sees this room and I just want a painted floor for ease of cleaning and so yesterday I painted the primer (KILZ with black added at Home Depot to make it a dark grey primer and it looks pretty good.  It said I could paint over in an hour, but I gave it until today.  Actually late last night I filled in some more cracks and touched up the primer early this morning and then I painted the black this afternoon.

I'm really pleased.  I know it will chip easily as I'm not going to add a coat of poly on top - I want  to keep it so I can paint on it as the urge strikes.

Bill will help me put the furniture back in the room and I'll find some small rugs to go under my chairs - it will work and I have left over paint for touch ups!  :)

I have a class all day tomorrow and we're going to a race tomorrow night in Paige - so maybe Sunday afternoon we'll begin to add back.  Think I'm going to love it!

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