Cakes Of Yarn

As I continue to sort through the contents of the fiber artist studio I purchased this summer, I keep finding center pull cakes of handspun yarn that were presumably spun by the previous owner. As I stumbled across them I started adding them to a large basket and soon it was overflowing. I realized at some point that the yarn is not only handspun but it was also wound into the cakes in singles of two, held together but not plied. I don’t know if the original spinner intended to ply the yarns from the cakes or use them as is, it’s a mystery. Continue reading

Red batt

Supply Overload

As I mentioned in my last post, I purchased the contents of a fiber arts studio over the summer. While I am still sorting through all the boxes, bags, baskets and equipment, I have taken extreme amounts of delight in the fact that I can now think to myself “I need fiber/fleece in this color” and chances are 9 out of 10 times it’s going to be found among that fiber studio acquisition.

For example, last night was the desire to create a collection of red-based batts and within 5 minutes of searching, I found exactly what I was looking for. I was able to take the red (mohair, in this case) fiber, mix it with some of my handpainted roving, a lot of sparkle and tada, exactly what I wanted for the tentatively titled Spectrum Series that I am creating.

While that certainly is handy, I have a pretty intense supply stash of my own, having built it since 2006. Which is why I really am considering moving to a bigger house in the Spring of 2015, I’ve outgrown what space I do have. That’s embarrassing and impressive, I would prefer to lean more towards impressive.

Although I suppose it could only be considered impressive if I’m actually doing something with all the materials that I have acquired and fortunately, I am. I tell myself “You don’t need to buy that, you have some stashed away that you’ve clearly forgotten about.” Then an argument with myself ensues and sometimes I ignore that nagging voice and buy what I think I need anyway and then realize I continue to live my life wrong in regard to real supply needs versus “Oh pretty/cool/awesome! I want that!” It’s a vicious cycle, I’m telling you.

Which is why last week I ended up caving to sari silk batts.

It’s a sickness, really. (If you are waiting for me to apologize it ain’t happening.)

I live, I yarn.

Um, wow. 2011 was my last post here? That’s just sad and pathetic. To be honest, my memory of this sadly neglected journal was only jogged by an email alert that essentially said “Hey, someone tried to access your account and change the password so….you want to fix that?”

As for me, things have changed. I moved from Montana to Wyoming in late 2012. New job, new life, new just about everything around here.

I’m still spinning and dyeing wool when I can find the time to squeeze in between my job and living my life. Perhaps not as much yarn as I’d like, but if you follow my Facebook page you’ll see that I’ve been active since 2011 and didn’t just crawl out from the WordPress rock I have apparently been hiding under.

In 2014 probably the most exciting yarn event to date has been the acquisition of a full fiber arts studio that belonged to a spinner who passed away in late 2013. I purchased all the wool (all washed/dyed/picked), a wheel, picker, drum carder and boxes and baskets full of assorted odds and ends that I’m still sifting through.

This year I will once again be participating in the same craft show I’ve attended here in Sheridan, it will be held Saturday, November 22 at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds. So, I’d better get going on that inventory! If you are seeing my newest banner above, part of this year’s inventory at the show will feature many of the handspun yarns I created over the summer using natural/plant dye methods. The usual suspects will be there as well along with new items that I’ve been hoarding while I build inventory.

Thanks for stopping by if you are new here and if you are returning (as I am), wow, that was a long wait!

And there goes August!

And goodbye August, or nearly so! 

Woosh, the month went flying by, just like that! 

For starters, it’s been busy on all fronts. Home, work, yarn, etc. But a good type of busy I suppose, it definitely makes the time go by faster. 

I took a few days off from my day job and traveled to WY to visit my parents. While I was there my mom and I set up a outdoor dye studio and did some natural dyeing with sunflowers. My mom and dad went out into the country one evening on their 4-wheeler and walked up and down the ditches on the side of the road picking sunflowers that in turn were boiled so they’d release the dye. 

I will say this about my parents, they have always been extraordinarily patient with my crafty and artistic endeavors and never once in all the years I’ve been coming up with one crazy scheme or idea after another did they tell me no/that’s not a good idea. It’s how I am raising my son, I think it’s an excellent way to parent. So, thanks mom and dad! :) 

So the first day I was home we did the sunflower dyeing and after that was done (1+ pounds of roving plus hanks of yarn) my mom and I tackled the handpainted yarn project. In the next two days she helped me dye 50 skeins of yarn! It was crazy productive, I have never knocked out that much yarn in that short of time. 

Since then I’ve had time to focus more on spinning, I hope to have time to update my Etsy store soon as well and continue to prepare for craft shows this fall and other events coming up in September. 

Somewhere in all this I start classes in September (I’m finishing a degree via online coursework), got my son off to his first day of school, work, have a trip to Denver planned, etc. Busy! But again, busy is good, it keeps my life interesting even if most of the time I feel like it’s like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride around here. 

How about some photos?

This is what sunflower dye looks like in progress. I prefer to call it something nice, like peridot. My dad thought it looked like calf scours. Being from ranch country, I guess I can see why he had such an opinion!

When the yarn and roving came out of the kettles it veried in shade from a pale green to a buttery yellow. I plan to spin the roving and ply it to get the full effect of the subtle color shifts. As you can see, the deck at my parents house was absolutely built for someone like me and yarn madness!

Here a couple shots of the handpainted spree, these were taken on day one. As I said previously, by the time we were done we’d completed fifty skeins!

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it! Happy Almost-Autumn, we’ll all need hats, scarves and socks before you know it!

Goodbye July

This weekend was blistering hot so staying indoors seemed to be a fantastic plan! Saturday morning I dyed a pound of faux angora fiber using my oven and had it all shut down by 9 a.m., just as it was getting uncomfortably warm in my kitchen.

That task complete, I hauled a box fan downstairs to my work area, grabbed a giant glass of ice water, put on a good record and set out to tackle the giant reskeining project that had been looming over my head for the past week. When I first started handpainting yarns I didn’t reskein it but as time has gone on I have learned to appreciate the much better presentation of the yarn when I do so. I personally tend to fixate on one block/pool of color, it prevents me from seeing the big picture.

For example, here is a skein of my handpainted before reskeining. I kept fixating on the red tone:

And after: much, much better!

In order to make this project successful I set up my yarn swift at one end of my work desk and my yarn winder at the other. Then I wind, wind, wind, until my arm gets tired!

 

When I was done, I had this! The bottom row is worsted, the rest to the top is sock yarn.

 

Last year, my friend Donna who owns and operates Nor’East Architectural Antiques contacted me, she’d found an antique yarn winder at an estate sale and would I be interested? Of course I was! It arrived shortly thereafter and has by far become one of the most valuable pieces of equipment I have in my collection. In this photo there are six skeins of worsted weight yarn on the winder, each skein is 250 yards in length.That’s a lot of yarn! When I’m done winding I just take the wheel off and slip the skeins off the bottom. So easy! If anybody out there knows more about these winders I’d love to hear from you. I have no idea how old it is but it’s sturdy and a complete workhorse piece of equipment.

 

Now that I’m done with that type of project I have to get caught up on my spinning. As usual, I have everything I need, I just need more time! :)

 

Yay for the weekend!

Another hot but lovely weather weekend coming up for Montana!

Last weekend and for a portion of this week I got a lot of solar dyeing accomplished, I presently have 18 skeins of sock yarn to finish reskeining. Some will be making an appearance in my Etsy shop, I will be sure to put out an announcement on the Fabulosity Yarn by Joy Hayworth Facebook page when I’m ready to go live.

As much as I would rather not heat up my kitchen with the dyepots when the weather is so warm, I will be doing so on Saturday as the next round of dyeing I want to do involves handpainting yarns and rovings and I will use my oven to set the dyes. Fortunately the mornings are wonderfully cool and all I have to do is open the patio doors and let the breeze come in, it keeps things way more comfortable when I do so.

I will also be spinning this weekend, perhaps outdoors on the back deck in the early evenings when it’s not so warm out there. I have a good assortment of things on deck for spinning: merino blend wool, faux cashmere roving, Romney fleece, etc.

I also managed to snag a bag of random scraps from Julie at The Enablerie ( http://www.facebook.com/Enablerie) last week, it arrived yesterday! I was running a little low on cardable bits to run through my drum carder so this was exactly the boost my carding supply stash needed! One project that is in the works involves a large amount my Bedlam batts, so this will supplement it wonderfully. :)

Under all things (Sp)inspiration, this morning on my drive to work I was at a stop light and this happened!

I was so shocked (it was really rather low, as you can see by the powerlines in the photo) that I almost dropped my phone in my haste to get it captured on film. The guy up there in the basket waved, seemingly unphased that he was rather low to the treetops but a few minutes later I saw the balloon again and while still low, it seemed to be gaining some altitude. As it’s probably pretty obvious by now, I’m all about the rainbow themes so this was a uplifting (no pun intended!) moment for me on what was otherwise a rather sluggish morning.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend, I know I certainly will!

Progress!

Any Stephen King fans out there? As creepy on every level that the book The Tommyknockers was, I have never been able to shake off what a brilliant concept it would be to be able to get things done while occupied elsewhere. I’d rather not turn into an alien though, so scratch that concept.

Really though, lack of time and not enough hours in the day plagues me constantly. I stay busy because I have to and because I have this wild dream that someday I’m going to quit flying a desk and spend my time playing with the dye pots and the spinning wheels. I’m a pretty firm believer in making things happen. What I’m not is patient!

The last couple days though I’ve managed to successfully get a lot done even when I wasn’t around to supervise, and I have the hot temperatures and blazing sun to thank for it. Solar dyeing has helped me knock out 12 skeins of sock yarn in 2 days, not bad at all. How fast can I skein it, that’s pretty much what drives the progress at this point!

I had started out by dyeing some Romney fleece in a rainbow (surprise, surprise!) of solid/varieagated colors:

Hugely encouraged by this success, I moved onto the above mentioned sock yarn. Skeins drying (they will look much better when fully dry and reskeined, you trust me on that) from yesterday and today:

 

 

 

And a sneak peek of worsted weights to be available shortly!

 

I once heard that the definition of multitasking is not giving any one thing your full and undivided attention. Maybe in the professional world but in the yarn world, I seriously beg to differ. :)

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