Sunday, December 1, 2013

Spinning


Spinning. There are so many meanings to that one word, and right now I think I can relate to all of them at once. My head is spinning with thoughts that stir up my emotions and I have to reign myself in lest I let my mouth speak out of turn and thus create havoc in my life.

It is in times such as this that I need to slow down and settle in to a different kind of spinning. An activity that to me is as effortless as breathing. It is called handspinning. As I sit before my wheel, my bare feet resting gently on the treadles, my hands caressing soft bits of brightly colored wool, I can feel the tension start to ease. I move my feet slowly upon the treadles bringing the wheel to life. The soft whirring of the flyer and bobbin can be heard, like a secret whispered on the wind, speaking to me in a language only another spinner can understand. Like the rhythms of life I spoke of before, spinning has a rhythm all its own. It brings my body, mind and spirit into harmony. My body knows instinctively what to do from years of practice. The act of spinning has become as natural to me as breathing in and out all day. My feet move faster, slower, and then suddenly fall into pace with my hands as they draft and pull the wool while the flyer whirs and the bobbin spins adding twist and strength to the fibers creating a single spun yarn which then feeds onto the bobbin... filling it up more and more and more. I could sit and spin for hours on end. It is a rhythm of peace and calm.

Sometimes it is the act of spinning that holds the whirring of the world at bay and allows me to slow down and breathe for just a little while.A few moments in time where I can forget everything else that presses upon me from outside. If only I could snatch a few more moments of spinning each day......but alas.......I must take it as it comes...usually in the small hours of a sleepless night before the rest of the world is even awake.........I am already spinning. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Frogging



Rippit! Rippit! Rippit! is frequently heard in knitting circles and the act of ripping out one's knitting to start over has become widely known as "frogging".

Although I experienced a recent episode of "frogging" with my own knitting last night, this morning has me contemplating "frogging" in an entirely different manner. Sometimes there are certain things, places, or even people in your life that cause you to drop stitches, so to speak, and otherwise make a mess of things. In order to get back on track it is sometimes necessary to remove those things, places or people from your life so you can pick up those dropped stitches and keep moving forward. In this particular instance, we can assume I am talking about a man. A man who for all intents and purposes is really no good for me. He calls me up out of the blue and suddenly I'm right back where I was months ago, emotions I was certain I had ripped back and "frogged" were really just dropped stitches, lingering in the fabric of my life waiting for me to  pick them up and deal with them.

Rippit! Rippit! Rippit!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rhythm of Life


There is a distinct ebb and flow in city life and I have settled into the rhythm with gentle ease. Traffic pulses past like a heartbeat forcing the flow and the air is alive with the sounds of automobiles on their way to destinations unknown.

Standing on the sidewalk bundled up in my hand knit wools I lean into the wind feeling its crisp kiss upon my face and breathe deeply of the vitality that surrounds me. I can't help but smile as I open my eyes and continue to walk casually along the city sidewalk, taking in the sights and sounds of my new dwelling place. Home is the word that wraps its arms around me and fills me with warmth. Home.

My little neighborhood is filled with wonders and I love exploring it every chance I get. My most favorite spot is a quaint little coffee house on Leonard street called the Story Cafe. It is warm and friendly with wonderful coffees, sweet treats, and homemade soups full of natures goodness. I come and sit at the shop sipping on cafe au laits, writing blog posts, knitting, or just conversing with friends. It too is Home to me, it is frequented by people I have come to know and love and just walking through their door sets my heart at ease, as if coming home from a long journey, it is the place where I can simply be at rest.

There are so many things that speak of home in my life. Knitting is another one of those things. Wherever I go I always have some sticks and string with me. If grown people could have security blankets I guess mine would be made of wool. I love the hand and texture of natural fibers. The soft fluffy smooshiness of a handspun or soft spun yarn as it flits through my fingers, my knitting sticks clicketty clacking  as I create one stitch after another. Its a rhythm I know so well. It speaks of softness and quiet, of  peace in the center of the city as if I am standing still while the elements of the world swirl around me in a constant whir of hurry. I am at rest wrapped in the rhythm of life.





Wednesday, July 10, 2013

TA-DA! Tuesday Handmade Giveaway!

TA-DA!

Tuesday Handmade Giveaway


This week's handmade giveaway is a single skein of Malabrigo Sock Yarn in the colorway Light of Love which I have overdyed with red, orange, purple and garnet for a rich variegated yarn. 

I purchased this yarn during the 2012 local YarnQuest hosted by several yarn shops throughout Michigan. I originally thought I only had one skein of this yarn, but I actually had 2 skeins in my stash. 

During a trip to my LYS A Grand Skein on July 3rd, I happened to see a sample knit of the Rondelay shawl by Jennifer Dassau on display and once I read that it took a single skein of Malabrigo Sock and was created using short rows (one of my favorite techniques) I just knew I had to knit one. 

The next step was to dig up my skiens of Malabrigo Sock. The original color Light of Love which is a kettle dyed pink just didn't seem to be the right choice for this project. 

 I had read in the pattern that the Rondelay was the perfect knit to show off hand dyed and variegated yarns. So the obvious option was to overdye the skein. I am super delighted with the final results.
While at A Grand Skein that day picking up needles for another project the shop purchased the Rondelay pattern thru Ravelry on my behalf and I purchased a pair of US 6 40" ChaioGoo Knit Red Lace needles for the project. 

It wasn't until I returned home later that day that I realized that not only did I have 2 skeins of Malabrigo Sock, but I also already had a pair of US 6 40" ChaioGoo needles in my stash. 

So this week one winner will receive a single skein of Light of Love overdyed Malabrigo Sock yarn as well as a pair of US 6 40" Knit Red Lace ChaioGoo circular needles. 

To enter the drawing simply leave a comment on this blog post. For additional entries you can follow me on Instagram, my username is Michiganspinning, and like my IG post for this giveaway so I can track your entries. And you can also LIKE my Facebook page for Michigan Spinning Company and comment on my post there for this giveaway. That's 3 chances to win! 

Entries for this giveaway will run until Saturday July 13th at midnight EST. Winners will be posted on Sunday July 14th. 

Here's a little peek at my Rondelay which I am knitting with one skein of the overdyed Light of Love  Malabrigo Sock Yarn.
Remember, you can still enter for last weeks 4th of July TA-DA! Tuesday Giveaway as well until Friday July 12th EST. Winners for that drawing will be announced on Saturday July 13th. 

Good Luck my friends!
Debi :-)

 

Friday, July 5, 2013

TA-DA! Tuesday Handmade Giveaway..... on Thursday :)

TA-DA! 

Tuesday Handmade Giveaway

I realize its not Tuesday anymore, but since this weeks giveaways were inspired by our Independence Day holiday it seems only fitting that the Handmade Giveaway debut today. 

Due to the late date entries will be accepted from now until July12th at 12 midnight EST. Just post a comment on this blog post to be entered into the drawing. If you follow me on Instagram where I am michiganspinning, or like our facebook page Michigan Spinning Company you will have extra chances to get your name in the drawing more than once thus increasing your odds of winning :) 2 winners will be drawn randomly and announced on Saturday July 13th. 

This weeks handmade items are winner's choice of a crochet hook roll up or a DPN roll up (needles and hooks not included). These roll ups were handmade using quality linen fabric and embellished with sari silk ribbons. They will feature a button and ribbon closure. (picture was taken prior to adding the closures)



The second part of the giveaway is a luscious Fiber blend inspired by the colors of the American Flag and is aptly named Lady Liberty. It is a blend of merino wool, tussah silk, tencel, flax (linen),  tussah silk noil, silk waste, and red and blue silk threads Each winner will receive a 1oz hand pulled roving

 (the sample skein was spun using the remnants left on the carder after pulling the rovings.)

Thanks for stopping by,  I hope you enjoy my weekly giveaways. As always I would love to see what you make with this lovely blend of fibers.

Debi :)



Sunday, June 30, 2013

TA-DA! Tuesday Winners!




TA-DA! Tuesday Winners for the Poppy themed Handmade Giveaway are 

Baamekniits
Cherith Jackson

CONGRATULATIONS! 
winners email me your info and I will ship your prizes out this week. 

DON'T FORGET....another TA-DA! Tuesday Handmade Giveaway will be unveiled this week!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

TA-DA! Tuesday Handmade Giveaway!

Are you ready???.......Well here we go......

TA-DA!!! Tuesday

Handmade Giveaway

 First its a Poppy Needle Hug that all you sock knitters out there will enjoy. It is shown with needles a little shorter than 6 inches, but it does fit 6 inch needles in a snug little hug. I was browsing Pinterest looking for something to make with my handmade felt and came across this quick and easy needle hug pattern on the Chocolate Mints in a Jar blog. Well that was it! I knew I just had to make this......and here it is! I already have several more cut out and ready to stitch up and I will be making them in different sizes to fit longer needles. I noticed after making this that I only had 2 sets of DPNs that fit comfortably....the rest of my DPNs are at least 7 inches long. I will have to take a measure tape to them for the exact size........later :)

NEXT UP....................

Poppy Planet Punis
(this is not a full oz in the pic but winner will receive a full 1oz of punis)

1 oz of Poppy Planet Punis for spinning, knitting , or crochet dreams!!!! I am in love with poppies right now and these punis in particular. They are a blend of several shades of hand dyed merino wool, natural black welsh mountain, natural gray satin angora fiber, bamboo, silk noil, finn locks and sari silk threads in abundance. I want to spin these up myself.......but alas........I am sharing them instead.....arent you glad, otherwise this post would be a major tease!!Hahahaha!

Just leave me a comment on this post and you will be entered to win BOTH of these handmade beauties. Im not one for long drawn out affairs so entries will be open until Friday at midnight EST and then 2  BIG WINNERS will be randomly selected and announced Saturday Morning......YAY!! 

If you follow me on IG @michiganspinning or facebook Michigan Spinning Company page - see link above in sidebar....and check out more ways to enter! 

Good luck everyone! 

Debi :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sneak Peek of TA-DA! Tuesday's Handmade Giveaway!



Ive been working hard on tomorrow's giveaway and I am so excited to share this little sneak peek with you.  If you follow me on IG you may think you know what this is....but I know what your thinking.........and that's not it!!!

If you want to know more...check out my blog tomorrow at noon EST for a TA-DA! Tuesday moment when I will unveil the handmade giveaway in all its glorious details.

Have a great night my friends :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Knitting Unspun Fiber aka Puni Knitting

A puni is similar to a rolag, prepared on handcards,
after which the fibers are rolled on a stick and
compressed by rolling this stick on a flat surface.
Punis are a common prep for cotton and other very fine fibers.
 

There seems to be much debate recently in the spinning world on whether or not fibers not traditionally prepared as punis can be called punis. Well according to this aforementioned definition the only requirement to be called a puni is that the fiber, which is traditionally prepared on handcards, is finished by being rolled and compressed on a stick. This definition is not based on size of finished puni as some have hesitantly named more robust punis "puni-style rolags" or "puni/rolags"because they are larger than traditional punis made of cotton or silk. I adhere to this definition as it stands, if the final product is rolled on a stick and compressed it is a Puni.

With that said, you will find that my punis vary in size depending on the type and quantity of fiber I use to make them. I love texture and color and have a barnyard of fibers in my stash. I frequent local farms and fiber shows during the spring, summer, and early fall seasons and purchase the majority of my fibers in the raw. 



(the gray punis are a mix of black Welsh Mountain/bamboo, the white are Merino/Angora, and the Red Mix are Merino/Bamboo/Alpaca/silk noil/sari silk threads/firestar)

Since I buy all of my fibers in their natural colors it should come as no surprise that I am a dyer. If not used in its natural color,  I dye every fiber I card, spin, felt, and use, with the exception of sari silk. I buy sari ribbons and shredded sari silk which is already dyed and comes from recycled saris. 

 (1 oz of each color - hand dyed merino wool )

If you watch my current Puni Making video - I plan to record a better version very soon - you will also see that I have a tendency to really load up my hand cards..which some would say was a big NO NO. But,  I cant help it. I love texture, and color and it is like a fiber buffet when I am carding. I put a little of this, a little of that, and a little of everything that catches my fancy until I have no choice but to say enough.......and the process works for me. I generally split my fiber in half once it is carded and make 2 punis instead of one. I call these ART PUNIS and that is what you will see most from me. 

 (These are Monster Mash punis and look a little loose and worse for wear because I have been toting them around just in case I found a pattern to knit with them, which I finally did - see details a little further down in the post )

Like many other Fiberistas, I hoard all of my magazines, Spin Off especially. I read back issues whenever possible. I always seem to glean new information every time I read thru an old issue. It was during just one of those instances that I had the idea to try my hand at knitting with unspun punis....yes you heard my correctly...knitting with unspun punis. 



The article that caught my eye was in the Winter 2008 issue of Spin-Off Magazine entitled "Card, Knit, Wear: Unspun Caps by Carol Huebscher Rhoades. In this article she was knitting with unspun rolags, and I was intrigued. A light bulb went off above my head and I thought, Hmmmm.....I bet you can do this with punis too.....and then knitters who dont spin can suddenly fall in love with punis and rolags and indulge in some unspun fun. Unspun knitting results in a smooth slightly twisted fiber that resembles single spun yarn. The natural act of knitting and the knitters individual tension applies the draft and twist that makes unspun fibers hold fast in knitting.

This is the pattern that started it all - its called the Stegosaurus and I dont think you can find it online anywhere. How did I get this pattern you ask....well, I will tell you. 

I was sitting in the Mall doing some promotion for my day job when I saw a woman walk by wearing a gorgeous piece of knitwear around her neck. Of course I walked right up to her and asked her if she had knit the item in question and she said "OH YES" and told me all about how she had come to make the item. It was actually a scarf that she was wearing doubled as a cowl. I told her I would search the pattern out online and walked back to my table. She came by later and told me I probably wouldnt find it online, but the pattern was easy and she would be happy to write it down for me. I was elated. She also told me if I gave her my address she would send me a copy of the written pattern she had at home. A few weeks later I received the copy of the pattern from her. However the pattern she wrote down for me that day was also right on and I have been knitting using that little scrap of handwritten text all along. After a few rows the pattern is easy to memorize and knit on the go. I am using some pink punis that are a huge mix of fibers, sparkle and texture. I am almost done with this project and cant wait to block it gently to show off the staggered edging and eyelets. 



It is best when first learning to knit with punis to start with a garter stitch pattern. This way you can focus your attention on handling the fiber properly, tension, drafting, and not have to struggle with complex stitches. A few YO and K2tog, and Kfb increases are easy as well if included in the pattern but I wouldn't do anything more complex until you feel comfortable with the process. 

The Stegosaurus pattern incorporates garter stitch, k2tog, Kfb increases, YO, and binding off to create the scalloped edge. I am using approximately 2 oz of punis to knit a short scarflet version of the pattern. Mileage will vary depending on each individual knitters tension and drafting. 

Recently I was excited to experience even more puni knitting and after a brief search on Ravelry I discovered the following free garter stitch patterns to satisfy my puni knitting desires. 

This first is a simple leaf pattern, still in progress and shown in the above photo of Monster Mash ART PUNIS. It is called Garter Stitch Leaf by Jan Eaton. I have plans to knit up all my Monster Mash Punis and make a bunting with the finished leaves. 

The next pattern I absolutely adore and plan to make several of as gifts for the little ones in my family and possibly for some little people at church is called Fox Scarf by Satu Dolk and Ossi Laine

This is what I have finished so far. 

Its a keyhole scarf. The face is fully assembled already and is the keyhole portion that the tail end will pull thru. All I am working on now is the body and tail which is mostly garter stitch with a little knit purl ribbing towards the end. Isnt this just the cutest thing in the world? I love it already and hope the young lady this will be gifted to will love it too. I made some mods to the pattern based on this fox scarf made by Owney on Ravelry. The mods are really just adding the colored stripe in center of the nose and edging the ears in the body color.

I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse of puni knitting. I encourage you to try it out, there is no spinning required for puni knitting, be brave and give it a try. I will be posting a video tutorial on how to knit with punis very soon if you are interested so stay tuned.

Happy Puni Knitting my friends :)




Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

This is the start of a new and exciting year. I began 2013 visiting family. I carted my bag full of knitting projects and a plastic tote full of wool so I could card rolags for my Etsy Shoppe while I was visiting. My cousin Holly from Turquoise Owl Fibers on etsy showed me a quick and easy technique to roll punis off my hand cards.  (at the request of some friends I have included a link to a short video I made demonstrating the technique)


video



I am completely in love with this technique. I have to card twice as many punis to get a similar weight as my rolags, but they are so quick it takes no time at all. I managed to card up and roll 64 punis throughout the afternoon, all the while visitin and playing a game of scrabble. It was such fun.



I carded up these lovely natural colored punis of angora, merino, silk as a special gift to my Aunt Mary. I had recently made some yarn out of the same blend for a commissioned project and my Aunt really liked the fiber, so I gave her some as a belated Christmas gift.

 Next I carded up some lime green merino blended with  yellow and white for a lovely Chartreuse color that I am going to spin and knit into a small shawlette for a friend.


Then I got a little creative and carded up a blend of eggplant and iced coffee colored merino with a bit of lavender silk waste, for a lovely lightly textured Plum fiber mix. These are going up in the Etsy Shoppe.


As are the last bit of carding I did yesterday. This is another blend of merino wool, pink, cranberry, blood orange, pineapple, with some bits papaya colored silk waste added in for texture. I carded up the first 8 punis with the colors stacked and lightly blended, the next eight I carded for a striping effect. They whole lot will be sold together to make an interesting and beautiful yarn.


My cousin Holly mentioned with all the spinning she was doing lately she thought it would be interesting to keep a tally of the yardage she will spin this year. I agree wholeheartedly and plan to do exactly the same thing.

I spin quite a bit more than I realized and it will be interesting to see just how much I accomplish in a years time.

Happy Spinning :)
Debi