Fix those hands!

The most often given comment, complaint, or question about working with silk hankies is that the hands are just a mess. The silk snags and pulls and gets stuck. This is the truth. It does do that. I don’t always work at smoothing my hands unless I plan to sit down and spin a lot of silk. When I’m just doing a few bits for a jewelry project, I just deal with it.

If I’m going to really work with silk then I want to sand off the little bits of skin that snag and moisturize. Sanding off the little bits is really just exfoliating. You can use an exfoliating wash that you get from the store or you can moisturize and exfoliate all in one.

Equal parts brown sugar and coconut oil (softened but not hot)

Mix it together into a little paste
Your hands will heat it up the rest of the way and liquify the coconut oil making it a good lotion/exfoliant

Rub all over the hands. I will work at this for a good couple of minutes. Rubbing and smoothing it around. I focus a lot on my fingers and finger tips to make sure I get all the little bits of stuff off that will snag the silk.

It doesn’t damage the silk product to have snags but it is annoying for the spinner. So you want to exfoliate all of that away if those snags are particularly bothersome for you. You may need to do this more then once and you may find you need to do it more often to help keep the bits of skin at bay.

Then I just dry my hands. I don’t usually wash it off because I want to use the coconut oil as my moisturizer so I just use a clean towel and rub/dry off all the bits of sugar. Voila! Pretty hands. (full disclosure, these are Kate’s hands and they’re not nearly as beat up as mine anyway but she makes a good model)

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Spinning Silk Hankies

If you’ve been following along in any of the social media I’ve been posting (and I feel like I’ve been reposting and linking everywhere) then you know I’ve done a spinning singles and plying videos for silk hankies.

If you haven’t seen them. Here’s the spinning of the singles:

These are the 2 bobbins I spun so you can see the colors:

Here’s the plying videos with use information:
Plying with a wheel:

Plying with a spindle from an Andean Bracelet:

Yes, I love the screen caps of my ridiculous face. Maybe some day I’ll change the captures to be a little more flattering. Right now, I’m tickled.

Product info for those that are curious: 
Wheel for singles – Schacht Matchless set up in Double drive. Using lace bobbins (which wasn’t necessary but it was what I had on hand) and the 12:1 ratio.
Wheel for plying – Louet S10DT 10:1 ratio (it was honestly too slow but it was a clean bobbin and ready to go)
Spindle: Cascade Spindle company “Shuksan”
Hankies: Spunky Eclectic colorway “Burning Bush”
I’ll weigh my yarn when I’m through but I’ll be weighing it grams. I didn’t need much for the project I wanted.

If you’re coming to the New England Fiber Festival this weekend – Let me know you’ve seen the videos. Tell me you want to make the same thing and I’ll give you a small amount of hankies. Enough to make your own bracelet (which is the end project you’ll see in a couple of weeks) While the supply lasts.

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Spinning Challenge – Silk hankies

Hey Y’all.
I just got done with my Instagram Live video talking about a few things… mojo and the lack thereof was the big statement I had to talk about. I remember in the early 2000’s I used to post challenges and help people complete them.

I want you to spin!
I want to spin!
I think challenges might help us all with our mojo.

Skip any challenge you don’t like but play along in the ones you want. Or challenge yourself to do them all. Which is where I am at.

The first challenge I’ve handed out is silk hankies.

Like ’em, hate ’em? I’m kind of ambivalent with them. When I go for new fibers I’m usually thinking sweaters. Big sweaters. I want a massive amount. But I don’t want a sweater made from silk hankies. I can see myself weaving a jacket from it though…hmmmm

Anyway. Right now, I’ve grabbed a small amount of hankies from my stash and I’ll be spinning them. In the video I’m showing them on a spindle and maybe not as deftly as I could but you get the idea. I’m going to blame my shoulder pain but really it’s more like I haven’t been spinning hankies in a while and they do behave differently then wool.

My goal is to spin enough hankies for a new little woven bracelet.

Are you joining me?
Got an idea for a different challenge?
Tell me about it all.

I’ll post new challenges every few weeks so if you don’t hop onto this one, wait a couple of weeks and I’ll post a new one that maybe you’ll enjoy.

Posted in life, mojo-challenge, spinning | 2 Comments

Sock time!

I did an Instagram live (October 10th) and talked about making more merino sock yarn. Well I wanted to show you those socks.
They’re just a simple 2ply handspun from merino. Simple socks. I don’t have a sock pattern, I just go at it and whatever happens happens. But you know its kind of predictable after making lots and lots of socks over time. Kind of like how I just make biscuits now and don’t need a recipe in front of me.  As soon as these were done I cast on for another pair. I can’t have needles left idle.

And then I broke that set of needles last weekend when I was at WEBs. Thank goodness they had some needles I could buy to replace them. I needed to carry on…. well, I also ended up buying a sweater and starting that but that’s a story for another day.

Until the yarn I’m currently spinning is done, I’ll keep on with those and maybe even start another:

It is all balled up and ready to go.

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Rip it. Just rip it.

Rip rip rip it.

Sometimes a project just doesn’t work.
No matter how much we want it to, it just isn’t.

That’s this.

It’s the one row scarf by The Yarn Harlot.

I’ve made this scarf pattern a couple of times but this time it just isn’t working for me.  I really wanted it to. I love this yarn and this color. I got a few rows in then I realized I have 800 yards of this particular yarn. 800 yards plus a little bit of another color will make me a spectacular sweater.

I’ll pick a sweater eventually. I have 3 on the needles that I really want to finish. Now you know I have more then 3 on the needles but these are the 3 I really want to complete. Someday I’ll tell you more about them.

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Simplicity Pattern 5106

Simplicity Pattern 5106 is indeed a maternity pattern.

I’ve had it forever and I’ve used it a bunch. A couple of times, I used it for it’s actual purpose as a maternity top. I really dig the shape of the bodice. I know I could probably find a new pattern that is similar. There have been cases where I have actually done that with an old pattern. But there is something about this one that I am now determined to make and redo this until it’s about perfect.

Most recently on IG you might have remembered the saga of getting a dress done for my daughter’s graduation. It wasn’t that I really needed anything fancy, it was that I wanted a new dress. I managed it but there are things about it I still want to change.

This top is the “muslin” I made in prep for the dress. I wanted the dress to be more polished and this top helped me to get there. I finally did all the hems on it the other day so I could wear it in all it’s imperfections.

It’s comfortable but it could fit better. You can see that in the back mostly:
Which is funny because you’d think the front maternity part would need the most help. You can see I had to put an extra seam down the back to help with some of the fit issues. These issues were adjusted in the dress but I still had to put a tie back to make the dress feel more fitted and less maternity.

Well. I’m now on to the next step and I’ll be making myself a new pattern out of this old one and seeing about making some back darts to compensate for fit. Or maybe I’ll make it out of a knit fabric and adjust the whole thing smaller (except the armholes which were a problem that I have fixed). Maybe definitely it needs pockets for a work smock and then I don’t need back darts at all. I like a loose smock for work. So many options in one pattern.

Stay tuned. This isn’t the last you’ve seen of this maternity pattern.  Though, at the moment I do have my 10th Dress No.1 and my 12th Washi Dress, cut out waiting to be pieced together. Don’t think I’m not acquiring new patterns, I’ve purchased 6 new ones in the past week (when there’s a good sale at Joann’s I’m there). I just get happily stuck in the old and making the most of one pattern when I love it.

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New Favorite Scarf

I warped my loom at the end of winter and would weave a bit here and there when I had time. It wasn’t a project that I needed immediately so I took my sweet time getting it finished. After all, who needs a wool scarf in the middle of summer? Not me.

Well. It’s done now and I immediately want another.

I used 2 skeins of Spunky Eclectic Panda Sock yarn in the colorway “Brass to Sass”.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but this is my favorite yarn to weave with on the rigid heddle to make luscious garments. I’ve used it a bunch in our weave club and also for my own projects.

Ashford 16 inch Rigid Heddle loom
10 Dent
128 ends
3 yard warp

Finished Scarf is 84 inches long (not including fringe) and 11 inches wide.
The fringe is about 12 inches long on each end. SO MUCH FRINGE

I didn’t use all of the yarn I had. Most of one skein went into the warp but there is about 60-80 yards left of the skein I was using for the weft.  So if you plan on making a sock yarn scarf like this I would still get 2 skeins of sock yarn just for safety’s sake. Overall my estimate is that it used about 800 yards of fingering weight.

Posted in weaving | 2 Comments