Sunday, January 30, 2005

seed beads

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I have finally started to spin the silk that I purchased this past fall from the NY Sheep and Wool Festival.  I purchased this tussah silk from "The Copper Moth" booth.  The color I chose was called "Moth Wing".  I also purchased some beautiful Wensleydale Top roving, called Juniper, to go with it.  A few weeks ago while shopping in the craft department, I spotted some seed beads that reminded me of the tussah silk.  They were a mixed bag of copper and silver and bronze colors.  I suddenly had the impulse to spin with beads!  I had read about spinning with beads in Diane Varney's  "Spinning Designer Yarns", but never wanted to try it.  I figured I had better re-read the chapter before I attempted to spin with the seed beads.

The first order of business was to string the beads.  I looked around in my old sewing baskets for some silk thread that would match the "Moth Wing".  Jackpot!  I found several spools of old "Coats and Clark" silk thread that still had the price tag on them.  Imagine, only 15 cents for 250 yards of silk thread.  I almost did not use them!  The next challenge was finding a needle small enough to thread the seed beads through.  I must admit, it was a bit frustrating trying different needles, only to have the seed bead get stuck when it was almost to the eye of the needle.  Finally, I was successful, and set about stringing beads that evening while watching "24" on TV.

I decided to do some more reading (as I did not feel confident enough to simply start spinning all these beads with the silk).
I pulled two back issues of Spin-Off, (Winter of 03 and Spring of 04), off my magazine shelf.  The '03 issue offers a very nice article by Judith Mackenzie McCuin, including Thread and Bead Sources.  The article covers 3 different methods of spinning with beads in a very clear description of each.  So, after reading several different accounts of several different methods, I figured I would try spinning with a core method.

I got the hang of it rather quickly, but that was the only thing that happened with any speed.  I found I really had to take my time and treadle slowly so my hands had time to maneuver the seed beads into place.  All in all, I find spinning with beads to be a very time consuming project...what with stringing them in the first place...then stringing them into place while spinning...but it will be worth it for a unique design.  I still have another bag of seed beads to string up and spin.  This time I will load about a foot of beads at a time.  

This is what I have finished so far.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

it was a roof raker

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This last storm dumped enough snow on us to require a roof raking.  There is even a special shovel to use to rake the roof.  We figured that we must have gotten a little over a foot, and with the below zero temps we have been living with, it was the perfect conditions for the ice dams to form on the roof.  I never knew what an ice dam was until I moved to the North East.

Ice dams happen when there are large amounts of snow on the roof, freezing temps and sunny days.  The snow melts on the roof, hits the overhang and causes ice to form a dam that in turn causes the water to flow into your house like someone turned the garden hose on your ceiling.  It is not a pretty sight.  The first time I saw water flowing down the walls in my house, I thought we had burst a pipe somewhere.  I never want to see that again.  Now we rake the snow off the roof.  Some people get the heat cables, but I have heard of too many fires being started by them.

So, you wonder, do I have time for any fiber work with all this snowy weather? I opened this bag of beautiful silk that I brought at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival this past October.  I have started to spin it with beads....I will post more on this next time.

Oh, about the new template...I think I broke my old blog....that is what I get for thinking I know html!  Don't know what I did, but I guess it was time for a change anyway.

Friday, January 21, 2005

a brave chicken

I'm trying out the new link from photobucket, so I thought I would show you a brave chicken.

She was the only one who would come out to play.  The temperature is fixed in the single digits these days, so the chickens are very unhappy.  Another storm is due tomorrow, so I have been busy getting all the animals and the greenhouse ready.  Winter is in full swing.  At least the ski areas are happy.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

got food?

The weather here is so cold and there is an icy crust on the ground. It makes it difficult for the wildlife to find food. The deer keep hanging around my doorway. This is because we shoveled the snow off, and it is the only area that has any green grass (well brown) showing. I saw the deer eating barberry today. They didn't seem to mind the thorns.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

take a hike

Actually, it is a bit difficult to hike around here. The riverrim has seen several snow/ice storms in the past week. We have a combination of layers on the ground. They remind me of the rings that you see when you cut a tree open. Tell tale signs of the passing of time. We have a base of about 1/2 inch of ice. On top of that, about 3 inches of snow. Then, we have approx. 2 inches of ice. This most recent storm added 6 inches of snow, and then rain that turned to snow before it finished. Thank goodness for my Yaktracks.... they keep me from slipping on the ice.

The type of hike I am talking about is the IHS pattern that can be found by clicking on the button in my sidebar. The Irish Hiking Scarf knit along blog is..I believe the knit along will continue until the end of the month. I found this site while looking for a pattern for a scarf. You can click on the button in my sidebar to see my entry titled "just found it" on the IHS blog. I would recommend this pattern to anyone, it is easy to do and the cables are fun and fast!

To make this scarf, I used some nice Icelandic Wool that I had purchased at the Endless Mountain Fiber Festival in PA. The bag of wool (approx 1/2 pound) was marked "For Felting". I had never spun Icelandic Wool before, and did not know very much about it. I brought the wool with every intention of felting with it, but the temptation to spin it was overwhelming. The coat of the Icelandic Sheep is made up of 2 layers. The tog is the longer outer layer, and the thel is soft inner layer (which really reminds me of angora). The bag of wool that I purchased contained both the tog and thel mixed together. The tog is black and the thel is gray. I was told that I could separate them, or spin them together to make a lopi yarn. I decided to do the latter. I spun a single with very little twist...and let the slubs happen. Then I performed a Navajo ply, and wound up a nice ball of yarn with about 7 or 8 wraps per inch. I knit the scarf on size ten needles. The cables are chunky looking, and the finished piece has a halo in black. The scarf is more like a muffler in size. I am giving it to the previous owner of my spinning wheel.

We are in for some cold weather this coming week...temps. are not expected to climb above freezing at all. This will bring the eagles up the river for open water to hunt/fish in. I counted 8 this past week when I drove along the river to town. I am sure I will be seeing more of them each day.

Don't forget to check out the pictures coming in from the Titan probe. You can get there by clicking on my sidebar Astronomy Picture of the Day or going to NASA Cassini-Huygen web page. The pictures are breath taking. "Keep looking up!"
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