Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bowstrings shall commence!

Okay, so I finished up enough flax spinning that I can now go into creating bowstrings:

That's 115 of laceweight single in water-retted flax. I'm hoping it's enough for two bowstrings or more, and then do some serving on it to make it shoot-worthy. :)

And on the sock front, I've got a respectable amount of gumdrop sock done at this point!

It's going slower than I'd like... Namely because I've been at work so late lately that I haven't had much time to work on it. But it's looking very nice! I'm about an inch short of starting the toe, so we'll see how it turns out!

Anything leftover is going towards... You guessed it... Booties! :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

One small problem with booties...

Remember the little blue booties?

One small problem with them. Actually, there's the giveaway right there. Went to go see my brandy-new niece this last weekend, and they tried to put the blue ones on her... She's so big already they popped right back off! So the blue ones will not be used by her, but the pink ones are just the right size to be used right now! So the little bambina shall not have cold toes, and by the time her feet grow enough for the camel booties to fit, it'll be cold enough to use them! :)

Well, she came out at 8 pounds 10 ounces, so yeah, the standard booties weren't going to fit! :)

I'm currently most of the way down the toe of the gumdrop socks, so the leftover yarn shall also become socks... And her mother has given me permission to work on yak down socks! :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I feel like such a heel...

If you couldn't guess, that's the heel of the Gumdrops sock... I'm actually very happy with how it's turning out, without knowing the theme of what it was, my husband said "looks like sweettarts". :)

This heel's a little different than most of the short-row I've done. It's a garter-stitch short-row instead of a stockinette short-row. The result is a much thicker heel than I'd normally be making. We'll see how it turns out!

And of course, the flax is proceeding apace... But I'm not sure I'm thrilled with it:

It's a little rough. It's also the first time I've ever done this, so I think it's not bad... Just not quite what I wanted out of it. Even wet spinning is producing some rough edges.

But when I'm done, I'm gonna have some damned authentic bowstrings. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So a little more renaissance, and a little more sock...

So I've been working on that flax spinning.

WOW. This is probably the hardest thing I've ever spun. I spun for an hour last night and had to put it down because it was killing me:

I've got a nice chunk of yardage, but it's not as fun to spin as wool is. Wonder what I'm going to wind up doing at faire if I don't decide to keep doing this? :)

On the gumdrop sock front, I've gotten much farther:

Mind you, I've actually gotten further than that at this point... I'm halfway through turning the heel. It's really looking interesting!

I won't get the sock done before going to see my new niece, but I *am* hoping to get some nice booties out of the leftovers! :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Projects long overdue...

So, with the recent rash of baby booties being done with leftover yarn from last year's sock club, I decided that I need to make more of last year's sock club socks. :) The last three pair of the sock club never made it to needles, so it was about time!

So I'm starting to work on "Gumdrops"... And it doesn't hurt that the leftovers will be perfect baby bootie colors. :)

And of course, the flax spinning is proceeding apace... But it's a lot slower pace than I'd like. That's what I get for not being able to take it with me everywhere...

I need to sit down and focus more on projects now that the yardsale is over!

Monday, July 13, 2009

She's here!!!

And as of 9:32 this morning, I am the proud aunt to a beautiful baby girl, 8lb 10oz!

And her mother LOVES the baby booties! So these booties/socks sound like they're going to get a good workout!

So I didn't have much time for crafting...

But over the weekend I organized a yardsale that raised over $2000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, so I think I can feel good about that! :)

In the meantime, I did actually finish the baby booties the other day:

I'm getting to know too many people with babies lately! :) Now twins!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Booties and more booties!

No, really.

So earlier this week, the package with the English Rose booties, the Robin's Egg Blue booties, and the Camel booties went down to my brother's house (the SIL has now been put on bedrest, so the baby is due any day now!).

Last month, I knit a new pair of booties for a friend's three month old. Pattern is not published, so pictures have not been posted.

And a couple of weeks ago, I found out another friend is having... Twins. So, I'm taking the leftover "lucky" yarn from last year's Rockin' Sock Club and making... More booties!!!

Number three is almost done, and four is soon to be on the needles...

I swear, this is the year of the baby... Although I'm wondering if this is because with the failing economy, people are finding cheaper (temporarily!) ways of keeping themselves entertained... :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The challenges of flax...

So things have actually been going kind of well with the flax. I say kind of because I'm discovering all kinds of interesting little things about working with it... Like I need the right seat to use a distaff!

I forgot to take pictures while I was putting the flax on the distaff, but I can at least show part of the process...

First, we have the unhackled strick:

I'm working with the one on the left right now. Once I get this mastered, I'll switch to the right one. In the meantime, I'll get some good practice. :)

One of the things you have to do to flax is known as "hackling" it... Otherwise known as getting all the knots out and having just plain flax to work with. I started hackling the flax, and lost more of it than I had to begin with!

That's the flax that got pulled out on the first combing. You don't want to see what I got with successive combings. *smirk*

That's with only one side hackled. You can see the difference from the left to the right, the left is still unhackled. The whole thing started looking like a horse tail!

And, with both sides hackled:

This is what's left of the original stuff:

Then there's the smooth but lots shorter stuff I pulled out:

And then there's the rolags I created out of the leftover schmutz. Seriously, the processing of flax has a *lot* of waste product! No wonder it gets so expensive! I'm wondering if I should spin this in combination with wool, make a strong wool. The rolags are just too short to make a reasonable linen with.

I took the horse tail and then spread it out in thin layers on butcher paper, criss-crossing the layers, and when I had a bunch of thin layers, I then wrapped fabric around a walking staff (so the flax won't stick to the wood), then gently wrapped the flax "sheet" layer around the fabric, and finally took some ribbon and criss-crossed that over the flax to make a walking distaff.

This is the point where I started trying to spin and discovered the hard way that you need to either be standing or sitting in a bar stool in order to spin off a distaff. *smirk* My husband was amused by this, so of course he had to take pictures:

The fact that I'm wearing linen is amusing me. :)

So far, I've probably spun about ten yards. The current "witch's broom" of flax plus my spinning is looking good so far! I am wet spinning,so I've got a sponge in a dish sitting next to me. The cat is pissed that I've stolen her chair. :)

However, using a distaff does have its drawbacks, like not being able to spin wherever I want. So I'm currently working on another set of baby booties, this time for a friend who's due in october. No pix yet. :)

So fiber projects are back in progress!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Working with flax...

I've never done flax before. I'm practicing to spin bowstrings for the renaissance festival this season, and the monthly challenge this month is "renaissance".

Hackling flax means you literally lose half the fiber. Seriously. Looks like a horse's tail though. :)

I'm currently experimenting with wet spinning on a spindle as well... While I'd like to post more now, it's kind of boring until I get working on it... :)