Category Archives: handspun

October is Nearly Over?

October is nearly over?  Where did the month (and Autumn) go?

2 Ply Handspun Coopworth.

While spinning the first two bobbins of Coopworth roving, 3 weeks ago or so, I recalled that I do not like small skeins of handspun yarns.  What could I do except go online to The Woolerly and order the plying head/kit for my folding Lendrum double treadle wheel.  It arrived with no instructions, so I headed to YouTube to find a video to show me how to change the original spinning head to the plying head, and in particular, how to change the drive band.  After watching a short video by Paradise Fibers, I had everything changed over in short order and could proceed with plying.  Two original bobbins equaled one full plying bobbin!  I skeined if off with the Ashford (floor) skein winder and could get a quick photo.  There is a lot more Coopworth to spin up, I’m looking forward to hours of pleasant spinning, then knitting it all into a warm winter cardigan.

Early in October, I was able to be at a bear “cub” release with Wild Instincts.  They raised five bear cubs since spring, bearing hunting season is over, and now they could be placed back into the wild.  First they were tranquilized so they could be transported, then tagged (FDA requirement), placed in critter carriers for the ride, given a shot to wake them, then we waited for them to wake up enough so move off on their own. 

Tranquilized bear cubs.
Tagged, and trying to wake up.
The last one, going off to his new life.

It has been snowing nearly every day.  The next two photos were taken this morning (Thursday), and it has snowed more or less most of the day.  I’m looking for a couple bit warmer days with a some sun so I can fill those wood racks in the garage, and get wood under tarp into the woodshed.

From my bedroom window, leaves still on the lilac, now snow-covered.
My summer “dye studio,” now winter scene.

Needless to say, my winter dye studio will be either in my somewhat heated garage, in my kitchen, or the dyeing will just have to wait until late spring/early summer, not my first preference.  I’ll make something work!

The night before my flights, I suddenly decided to apply to be on the 2014 Northwoods Art Tour again, and dropped my application, check, and nine photos (weaving, socks, studio) into the mail on my way out of town.  It will likely be a couple weeks before I hear if I was selected, but I am hoping.

Meanwhile, I have been coming up with new ideas to try with woven shibori, and with a few yards left on my loom, I can now begin trying them out and see if I can make them work.  I’m learning to keep a notepad and/or sketchbook nearby, even when travelling.

Now that I’ve had time to rest after my travels (a ridiculous amount of walking!), I’m looking forward to weaving, experimenting, and keeping good notes!

Way back in the mists of time, on this blog, I had posted about a cushion cover I had knit from my handspun.  The handspun was from balls of roving purchased from someone at WI Sheep & Wool Festival, perhaps 4-5 years ago.  It turned out to be possibly the worst roving I’ve ever purchased, full of second cuts, knots, very poorly carded.  Needless to say, I will never purchase from that individual again.

It was difficult to spin, but I had a financial investment in it so I was determined to spin it up, even though it turned out to be less than wonderful yarn.  Then the question was, what will I do with it?

Completed handspun/handknit cushion.

I decided to knit a cushion cover, no pattern, just cast on, try to get the overall size I wanted (16″) and make it up as I went along.  Keeping it very simple, I simply varying size “blocks” of garter and stockinette stitch for the front.  The back was garter stitch only, to the top of the cushion, then stockinette for the foldover flap, buttonholes knit in, guestinating their placement.  The front and back were single crocheted together.

Someone back then, on Facebook, had written about buttons on Etsy, made by Tracy Willans (  I took a look, and ordered one set; five were the size I needed, and one larger for embellisment on the front of the cushion.  I contacted Tracy recently, she is no longer making buttons, but referred me to Jillipop with whom Tracy had shared studio space.  Jilli also makes buttons and might have something similar.  (

Pottery buttons by Tracy Willans.

I had the knitting done, but it languished, kept in a basket on a shelf.  Why?  I had no pillow form, and sadly, did nothing about looking for one.  A few weeks back, I stopped into the local quilt shop, and walking further back in the shop, there were shelves of pillow forms!  One 16″ form and one yard of gray cotton went home with me, and still, it sat.

Last week, the day of our guild meeting, I decided to get the cushion finished and take that night.  A quick wash/dry/ironing of the fabric, determine sizes to cut pieces to make an envelope pillow cover for the form, and “sew” the buttons on, and it was done.  (The wrinkles are from being inside the completed cushion cover.  Photo quality is poor as the sun was setting when I realized I needed a photo.)

Envelope cushion cover.

Is it perfect?  No, far from it!  I want the flap to lay flat, it curls up.  I need to relocate the large button, moving it up as where it is now positioned makes it difficult to see.  I will be sampling ways of knitting a flap that will lay flat.    

Yes, I have more of that yarn, below, natural grays light to dark.
This may be the project I take with me to work on during flights to and from another weaving class as VavStuga.

More of the same yarn for another cushion.

Last year, I took knitting on the flight, a circular needle with bamboo ends.  I’m wondering how the airlines will feel about straight bamboo needles?  Or I could work out knitting it all in one piece on a circular needle.  The problem?  I am forever losing my beaded markers!

A Change of Pace

Yesterday, I took the day off,… no weaving, no cranking, a fair amount of sleep as I was still quite tired from the weekend. Last night, with no toes to close, I picked up knitting needles and handspun yarn, and decided to knit a cushion cover. With only a 1 1/2″ sketch as a guide, it was entirely freeform designing, albeit very simple. I just wondered if I could do it and come up with something even remotely acceptable.

The yarn is a thick ‘n thin slubby handspun I spun perhaps a couple years ago, shades of gray with small areas going from cream to dark brown. The skeins range from light grey, to medium, and a couple a bit darker. I had originally planned to knit mittens, the kind where you knit pieces of fleece in for additional warmth. But, the idea for a cushion top would not be pushed away. I’m using the medium tones, and plan to combine the light and dark in another cushion, although I expect the difference to be rather subtle. I have about 2″ or so left to knit later this evening, and need to think about the back. Another freeform knitting design? Or just plain stockinette? We’ll see.

The reed I requested Sunday evening arrived in the mail today, and I’ll be opening it up in just a bit and getting the new 15 dent reed sleyed and the warp tied on. Then upstairs to finish knitting the pillow top. Oh yes, there will be a 3 pair sock wash yet this evening, too. Must get them drying on the wood rack. How quickly they will dry I don’t know, as it is only 60 degrees here (outside) at the moment with breeze and rain showers. Where is our July weather?