Dec 29, 2009

Secret Siblings

Whew! I just came off of a weekend that involved viewing 13 full-length, first-season, hour-long episodes of The Walton's! If you only vaguely remember this program it first came out in the olden days of 1972.

I wasn't very interested in the show back then because well, I was busy being a Walton of sorts. I was a little kid, the oldest of 5, actually living that big ol', innocent, large family, "'g'night John-Boy", three-to-a-bedroom lifestyle. I wasn't about to be entertained by it.

In 1972 I sought to live vicariously through those fantastic old, "ultra-cool" Mary Tyler Moore reruns. (After all, she had her own studio apartment, an awesome job working with Mr. Lou Grant in the TWIN Cities, perfect hair that curled up evenly on both sides and a super-fun neighbor, Ms. Rhoda Morgenstern!)

But, back to this past weekend. When you watch 13 full-length, first-season, hour-long episodes of The Walton's (without commercial interuption) it really starts to work on you a bit, on an unconscious level. Honestly, it can cause a person to act differently. Not initially. Initially I was mildly offended to realize that, here I was watching an old-timey country show that apparently has no sheep, spinnning wheels, looms, knitting needles/crochet hooks/tatting shuttles... everything I would associate with these golden days of yesteryear appears to be missing. Wha?

But, around episode III  entitled, "The Calf" and all about the family dairy cow having a child (first aired on September 28, 1972), I started to feel the effects of a whole lotta Waltons. Before I knew it I was up in the attic digging out the old ice cream freezer and then pedaling off (on my new Christmas Bike) to the store for an ungodly amount of milk, white sugar, real vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream.

If one were to replace that electrical cord with a hand crank it would be very "Waltony"

When you don't have your own dairy animal this kind of ice cream can run about $42.73 a quart. HOLY COW! But, I'm off topic. I was going to talk all about my secret, secret person. Do you see how dangerous the Walton's are? I'm a little afraid for myself as we still have 11 episodes to peruse! And, I just know Claxton is going to get seasons 2-5 for Valentine's Day. (By then I expect we'll have traded the Astro van in for a mule.)

O.K. Secret Siblings: So the Waltony family of my own childhood is all grown up now but, we still carry on a youthful Christmas tradition that our mum started for us long ago, before the turn of the century. She realized that there were way too many of us children to all try and shop for each other on our individual allowances and those modest babysitting wages. She initiated the tradition of siblings drawing names and buying only for one "secret person". And, the tradition has carried on all these years since. We have tweeked it a bit, added a wrinkle: the gifty must be homemade.

This year my youngest sister drew my name and on Christmas Eve I received an originally crafted and completely unique calendar that featured her two children:

Sweet aren't they? It's really sad to think how these youngsters have both become so horribly addicted to fiber arts at such an early age. That wooly addiction gene was passed down on our Mother's side.  She had a yarn stash that could rival a well-stocked craft store. (I should know I'm now the Gatekeeper-to-the-Stash.)

How does one know that the addictive gene has gone on to infect the next generation? Well, here's the November 2010 picture on my new calendar:

Notice how cute and smiley my youngest niece was in the first photo? Well, look closely at the above picture. There she is, at only 2 years old, feverishly blending a woolen batt on the drum carder.  I tell you I defy ANYONE to get between this little one and the task at hand when wool-play is involved. I rest my case.

Dec 24, 2009

Let's Ride!

When my son was a little guy we lived in Kansas, in a neighborhood filled with young families with children his age. All the kids got along so well and loved to play outdoors together. Whenever they'd meet up after school or on Saturday mornings the call would go out from one child to the next, "Let's Ride!"

It sounded gruff and exciting to hear this message echoing forth but, I found the cry very cute knowing that it meant, "Let's pedal our bikes up and down the sidewalk until suppertime."

I've always loved bicycling myself. When I was very young it gave me a sense of independence to "head out and go places" (back and forth along Westgate Lane) on my own steam. And, even now as an older person I get satisfaction from completing a lot of little errands with this simple form of solid transportation. I feel productive and, for a brief period,free of the eternal dependence upon fuel sources. "No need to check the gas gauge, to the library and the post office AWAY!" It's a lovely, silent sport, and really, you can get pretty far quite quickly!

I like to pedal all the year round so it was truly a dark day when my old winter bike, Trusty Rusty, bit the dust. And honestly, my primary, fair-weather bicycle is genuinely worthless once the snow flies. (It has too many gears that get clotted with snow, and skinny tires, and an elaborate braking system, and no tread and...)

Enter good-old-Santa-Claxton who surprised me with this little beauty below. It has one speed, a simple foot brake, and fat, fat tires with heavy-duty traction. It is meant to be my snow bike. I found it waiting for me in the garage, an early Christmas gifty. (I removed the little wreath before taking this picture. Ahh.)

Additional great news! We've been under a blizzard warning as of early this morning. (Yay, I guess.) So while the kid in me says, "Let's Ride!" the slower, wiser Treadler in me says, "How about INSTEAD let's set up a little snacking tray, put in a few old movies and dye some wool?"

So far this morning I've completed the above dyed  2oz-rovings (braided to look cute for the picture), watched White Christmas and made a good little dent in the Hickory Farms basket that our Teal sent us.

Now, if only Santa would come on ahead with Claxton's fantastic gifties.

He must have been awfully good this year because a little birdy told me that his stocking will be stuffed with a full 24 episodes of the first season of the Waltons! Believe me this will come as quite a surprise to good ol' Clax as I'm sure he never, ever even imagined wanting the first season of the Walton's, (or any of the subsequent seasons for that matter). And, he'll be even more dumbstruck (seems like the right word) to find the entire original ULTRA Man series awaiting him as well.   What a lucky, lucky lad. Ho, Ho, Ho!

Santa cannot be blamed. No one ever  knows what Clax really wants. Best to surprise him with things he simply doesn't expect and see how they go over. There was a time when I was quite elaborate in my gift-giving. But, that was back in the olden days. Now I know better. We never use the telescopes, or the rock tumblers of Christmas Past. Meanwhile, the scarf that I knitted for his mother turned out to be an accidental and absolute hit with Mr. C! Poor Mary Lou, if you ever discover the internet and stumble across this blog entry I'm sorry to report that your evil, evil son stole the hand-knit scarf I created with you in mind back in Christmas 2008, and he will not give it back! He's wearing it right now. (I have to go.)  Happy Holidays!!

Dec 9, 2009


I've ridden my bike in the snow for years. It could be a bit like riding on the beach. (Powdery snow might behave like sand.) Sadly, the above is not my bike. My bike died... from being ridden in the snow.  This bike is an awesome retro-ride that Claxton found at a thrift store, the Vista Sophisticate.

No mountain bike tread on these tires. Also, those great old fenders are fantastic on a rainy day but not much of a friend to one who needs to peddle through a snow drift. But, because I procrastinated shopping for a cheapo Winter / Snow bike I took the Sophisticate out and got pretty far from the house before finally admitting that, under these conditions riding this bike was anything but (sophisticated).

In order to keep from becoming too despondent I pretended I was helping a sickly dog sled team through the last leg of the deepest, most trecherous parts of an untamed stretch of Alaskan wilderness. (It was all up to me to save them.) The pretend sled team was lost somewhere in the Yukon when I noticed I was actually riding past a potential hand spinner's paradise: Superior Fly Angler Shop. Time to rest the dogs and search for feathers!

Let me simply say right now I WILL be returning to this shop. I was treated as if I were a professional angler preparing for the fly fishing olympiad. You'd think they had folks bicycling through snow storms every day to purchase yarn-making feathers. And the selection was fantastic. Look! Chartreuse!

Can't wait to blend up a matching woolen batt and start spinning!

(That is if I can ever stop COILING!)

Just when I thought I couldn't be any more addicted to woolen activity I'm revisited by Jacey Bogg's anchoring ideations (she's on the cover of the Winter 09 Spin Off Magazine) and Lexi Boeger's beehive behaviors and, now I can't stop spinning coily beehivey, funky-plied skeins. How many yards of this does one need? Well, apparently as many as one can possibly spin in every free, waking moment.

This kind of twisted definitely needs its own pattern book. Too much fun to knit and crochet!

Dec 2, 2009

I've Been SPINterviewed

Back in October I was contacted by Cindy Cole of Studioloo and invited to interview myself for the wonderful Spin in Public Site. As I'd never interviewed anyone before and, as I'd never been interviewed I thought it would be a great opportunity for both of me.

I decided to set the interview location on my own turf so that I would be at ease and comfortable asking and answering the tough questions. (Thankfully I didn't ask myself anything too personal.) There was a moment of awkwardness when I discovered that both me and myself had arrived wearing identical outfits. But I managed to ignore this and simply chalked it up to mutually poor fashion sense.

So, yesterday I received word that my interview was posted. Now, what motivation is there for you to click on over and read this interview? Well, you'll see a really enlarged picture of my avatar that will lay to rest once-and-for-all the question about whether or not The Treadler has a mustache. Next time I interview myself I will not allow me to take my picture.  My SPINterview

Dec 1, 2009

T'is the Season...

There's nothing like having a wonderful family holiday filled with a great many adventures and woolen inspirations then, once home again, realizing that I have about 25 pictures of the Turducken and very few photos of anything else.

So, here it is, Teal Marie's Turducken. I was wrong to think a turkey that is stuffed with a duck that is stuffed with a hen means there will be wishbones for everyone. Other than the legs and wings of the turkey there are no bones throughout the main body of the birds! Below my brother makes short work of carving this most interesting main course.

And, below you can see the layers of meat separated by dressing/stuffing. It's like a meat cake!

Teal's Turducken was delicious. We were all quite impressed. Sadly she set the bar so high it will be a genuine challenge for her impress us in future. Once treated to a feat of wonderment in the kitchen we're the kind of family that comes to expect a little more next go around. In fact suggestions were made as to how she might try starting out with an elephant which would give her plenty of room to stuff in double digit animals. (We were all quite liberal with our suggestions of what might be stuffed well with what...beef to poultry to fish for a little surf and turf?)

Last year I did not travel home for Thanksgiving.  I remember I was knee-deep into a wool dying odyssey and my Thanksgiving dinner consisted of boiled eggs and microwave popcorn. (Surprisingly no pictures were taken of that meal.)

Besides treating us all to Turducken Teal also showed me how to solder LED lights. I want to make a light-up yarn and she embraced this dream by very patiently giving me lessons in how to solder.

Should you decide that you would like to make light-up yarn you might wish to drill holes in a board. Make the holes the size of the lights you intend to utilize.

Above we stripped 30 gauge wire at the connection points and wrapped the positive and negative connections in preparation for the soldering iron. The board makes a handy-dandy light holder for this kind of fiddley work.

Very easy to solder the connections with the LED lights snug in their little knooks. I'm going to use the strings of lights for a core in a very bright and wild yarn. We got further than this with the process but, as I mentioned earlier my camera is filled with Turducken pictures. Besides, this is really a work-in-progress adventure thus far. More will be revealed or should I say 'illuminated' in future.

Another adventure in the works is a woolen stand I'm going to create to support my father's latest endeavor  for a team project we're hatching. Dad blew me away with his gourd art. Here are a few pictures of his half of our top secret wood and wool  project:

He's drawing up sketch ideas for the woolen display stand I'm to create. I'm "envisioning" all sorts of wild armatures to serve as the base. And, Teal loaned me her solder iron! MMMmmmmwwwhhhaaahahahahah!

Nov 19, 2009

To the Drawing Board and Back Again

I hope to create a fun pattern before the end of this year. Here is the initial experiment in various phases from carded fluff at bottom left, to skein and needles, and a quick pair of practice mitts (from a pattern) at top.

The objective: create an original fingerless mitt / texting mitt design for sharing here. At present I'm noodling with different thumb gusset options. The design I'm hoping to birth will be quite different from the above. (So far: hashing out a gauntlet cuff that ruffles and skewed stitches that zig and zag...)

Also ~ other big, big Thanksgiving holiday plans are brewing that involve core spinning yarn with electrical wiring, a soldering iron, LED lights and some extremely colorful 6 inch curly, woolen locks. My daughter is the culprit behind both the fingerless mitts and the electric wool experiments. Yay TEAL! She is also making Turducken for everyone. (As I understand it this is a dish involving a hen inside of a duck that is then nestled into a turkey which means there should be wish bones enough for everyone!)

On another note, the fiber studio now extends into the home kitchen refrigerator where a petri dish and a zip lock bag are resting quietly in the crisper and each contain about a zillion silkworm eggs. The little treasures are in their Winter hybernation. Looks as though silk will be raised on a grand scale next Spring so I best start locating wild mulberry trees now! Lots of mouths to feed.

Sometimes I wonder if my little fiber studio is the wonderful, woolen fortress of solitude I believe it to be or, is it really an evil lair of insanity? (I meant that to be a rhetorical question.)

Anyway, good or evil much of the studio is traveling with me over the river and through the woods for family gatherings and maniacal experimentations involving textiles and turducken. Hope to come back with pictures taken right when the lightening hits the slab bringing the yarn to life. There ought to be some sort of twinkling aftermath to display here upon my return.

"Tell me where is fancy bred,
In the heart or in the head?"

Nov 11, 2009

A Flurry of Weekend Fiber Activity

Here are a few collage photos of the adventures had this past weekend. Above, and in the center of the spinning group is the wonderful Lexi Boeger leading a class at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, MN. At top right is a picture of her book, Intertwined. It is a great resource of creative endeavors in the spinning of art yarns. Great fun to sit in on Sunday and watch the creator of some of my favorite novelty spinning techniques. Very happy to have picked up a few new tricks too! I'm sure this artist has many future suprises up her sleeve. (The big, blue "Pluckyfluff" lettering under the photo is a link to her site.)

Great fun as well to meet some of the handspinning folks from down south. Well, Minneapolis is a good distance south of my turf anyway. I met a fellow silkworm gal (for lack of a better title) and learned a bit about how to process my spent cocoons. Much to play at in the days ahead...degumming the cocoons, stretching out and dying the wonderful silk, harvesting eggs and refrigerating them for next year...

The above is a closer view of the yarns that this gathering of wild spinners created before I even got there. All of this lovely, lovely, fibery yardage... (Imagine the earflap hats one might knit up if one were to possess such a stash!) These people are exacerbating my terrible fiber addiction! Sunday was a great day to be a spinster-woman (again, for lack of a better title).

And, SATURDAY was all about needle felting (was I in Heaven this weekend or what?).  I tell you, offer a class about jabbing and stabbing wool with extremely sharp and brittle needles and you WILL meet creatively adventurous folk. Below, a collage of woolen works-in-progress. These photos definitely do not do justice to the unique details that each doll-maker put into her project:

So, you see I do actually put shoes on and leave my woolen fortress of solitude from time to time. Of course I'm packing along several pounds of wool and fiber equipment but, it still counts as getting out-and-about.

And, from both adventures I returned with less fiber stash! That's right. Nary a new purchase was made and I actually returned home with less of the precious, precious woolen supply. This is true progress on the addiction front and I boasted to Claxton about how these gatherings with other fiber enthusiasts were actually self-help wool-anon meetings of sorts.

He mumbled, "If you believe that you're just kidding yourself."

Great big thanks to Shannon Cousino, Education Director of the Duluth Art Institute for again extending to me the opportunity to teach the felting class. What a resource we have here in the DAI - for sharing, learning and creative expression. And parents, the DAI offers opportunities for children to jubilantly try their hands at everything from painting to pottery.

Thanks as well to Linda Hansen, Education Director of The Weavers Guild of Minnesota for bringing Camp Pluckyfluff and Lexi Boeger to Minneapolis last weekend and for mailing my forgotten coat and mittens back to me. Oops.

Nov 7, 2009


This is to be quite a busy weekend. I'm teaching a class today and taking one on Sunday. Both require planning for supply needs and packing a large amount of my fiber stash and equipment. Our house has multi-levels and when I'm bouncing all around (jubilantly) organizing for these activities I find myself,  repeatedly either at the top of a staircase or the bottom of one proclaiming, "Wait a minute. What did I come up (down) here for?"
Everybody my age says they do this. It happens more frequently about the same time that one enjoys walking staircases less. So, I was chalking it up to getting older until...

I found myself just sitting at the top of a staircase holding a cocoon that had new life bursting forth. Now, I did not come up here to do this. I'd come up the stairs and into the "silkworm experimentation lab" (extra room), several minutes ago, with a specific purpose: to obtain some notes kept on a bookshelf. But, here I was just sitting on this busy morning, holding a cocoon, and feeling fascinated.

Apparently I've had yet another digression from the tasks at hand. But, this time it's not so much a sign of aging as it is evidence that a childlike nature continues to thrive somewhere inside this middle-aged moth lady who can't remember why she came up the stairs.


Nov 4, 2009

I'm Surrounded By...

...Silkworm moths having   S.   E.   X.

Once the above is complete (right now it's all about diverting my eyes because this scene is playing out all around me) the male goes off into a corner of the egg carton in search of a cigarette and the female...

gets to the serious work of laying about 500 eggs.

 Now, it might just be my middle-agedness talking here but, I find the below picture exciting!

Soon there will be 100 of these lovely, lovely SILKEN cocoons emptied out and ready for spinning action! That's enough for some tiny fibery adventure. So, I'm guessing in about a week the Roman Holiday will have wound down and the real fun of harvesting lustrous silken noils shall begin in earnest. Meanwhile, I'm going to give these kids their privacy.

Oct 31, 2009

They're Alive!

It's a dark and rainy Saturday morning, happy Halloween. You never know what kind of trick-or-treating weather the little ones are going to endure up here in northern Wisconsin. Again this year it looks like the kids will be going out dressed up as warm winter coats.

As for me, I'm so out-of-the-loop I thought Halloween was tomorrow. My big plans for today were to make a bunch of tatting mistakes and then try to untangle them. But first I wanted to peek in on my lovely, white cocoons. That's when I noticed a rusty red syrup in the corner of the box and something flitting about. CAN IT BE?

(Just look at the tiny fuzzy fluff on this character.)
Yes! They're alive! At least one is anyway. This little moth is all alone and perched atop another cocoon. I'm wondering, does the little moth know that this particular cocoon is the next to spring to life? Once transformed they only live for 5 days or so during which time all that they do is procreate and lay eggs. Kind of a bummer to be the first and only one out.

It is also kind of a bummer to think of more rusty colored syrup goo to come as the remaining 99 hatchlings complete the transformation. I figured as much and now I know: Allowing the cocoons to hatch definitely adds a good bit of extra work to the silk harvesting process. These guys are really going to make me earn those silk noils. Still, I must admit this is the most exciting part of the process. It's quite an amazing change that takes place. What crazy goings on in these little silken capsules!

Oct 30, 2009


That's going to be my new swear word.

So, while we're still waiting for those silkworms to awaken from their cocoon comas. (Hasn't it been too long? It feels like it's been too long. The cocoons aren't even moving or kicking or giving me any signs of promise...)

Anyway, time on my hands to do something really stupid. I spun up a couple of hobby store craft fluffs and loaded the resulting yarn onto a tatting shuttle.

Now,  I have about 14 hours of total tatting experience under my belt. I'm at that initial stage in the learning curve where one paces around mumbling, "crummy lighting" while trying to undo crazy-tight miniature doll house sized knots. And yet, already I can say with confidence that if ever I am called upon to teach or demonstrate tatting it will not be with a craft fluff.

The above front sample is about 2 craft fuffs worth of "jingle lace".

Let me simply say that if you are interested in tatting go ahead and splurge on some real cotton. Might as well get 100%  super-combed and gas-singed Egyptian cotton (the Corinthian leather of the cotton boll world). I am halfway serious. It's really nice stuff! Here's a good resource. (Fast shipping and friendly extras.)

So, If I can't yet watch beautiful silkworms flutter forth into the final stage of the silkworm cycle, which should be any day now unless all 100 of them said, "ShUTtLe FLuFf! I just can't be bothered with coming outta here."...while I'm waiting I'll just make fluttery insects out of my tatting motif mistakes:

Butterfly Boo Boo
(I could create an entire entemology display of motif mistakes.)

Oct 22, 2009

Quiet Respite for the Good, Little Silkworms

Well, we're all snuggled up and tucked in now. The little silkworms have completed their spinning stage. I have exactly 100 cocoons!

Left: After having chosen a favorite paper roll  in which to spin, these little silkworms are in the process of building their cocoons. Right: The lovely, white cocoons once the outer fuzz is removed. These characters should be hatching forth in the days ahead.

Except for one lone wolf who appears to have a tremendous appetite and little interest in the handy-dandy toilet paper rolls that are so conveniently beside him!

I do think he's a smart lad because, as I took this photo - with the evil intent of making fun of him on this blog and saying mean things like, "Looks like you're just going to be a worm for life!" -  he gave me this pose...

,,,where he's making a little poo.

O.K. Think of me what you will for even playing at this entire experiment but I say,  "Glass Houses to you."
If you think I'm odd I understand. It's like I'm forcing everybody to give too much thought to where milk comes from. Besides, you know you love silk, which very interestingly  happens to rhyme with milk. (Coincidence? I think not.)

Aw, aren't they just as white as they can be?

And, now we wait.

I love waiting. I love waiting, and weekends with cold snaps of crisp, wintery weather when everybody says, "Time to hunker down and make soup!" And I say, "Time to persue something fiddley!"

So, while we're waiting for the great silkworm transformation, and for somebody to make soup,  I'm going to try my hand at what initially might appear to be something fiddley but, which  in all actuality is a fantastically aerobic workout for the fingers. (No, the new running shoes haven't gotten much use as of yet but, you have to admit from the first picture above I've certainly made excellent use of the shoe box.)

For your intermission amusement I'm going to create lace out of little, cottony craft puffs merrily tinkling with jingle bell embellishments for the festive holiday season ahead. And, I'm going to use only the items in the below photograph:

Above: plastic Aero tatting shuttle, pale yellow craft fluffs, little, tin jingle bells, small coin spindle.

First, using the coin spindle I shall twist the "fluffs" into fine, tight thread. (So far it's a bit like a crazy car chase isn't it?)

I'll then load the shuttle bobbin and commence to tatting (and cussing because it's fiddley and I only just obtained my first-ever shuttle last Saturday so I'm still knotting up a bit, though I do get the overall concept, which is half the battle...right?)

And why speak further? It simply goes without saying that these are indeed, most exciting times for The TREADLER.

Oct 11, 2009

UPDATE: Silkworms Are Spinning!

Ah, where does the time go? This has been a weekend for those last, fond farewells as the little babies are growing up and heading off to enjoy the next phase of life.

Here's a bird's eye view (through a paper towel roll) as one of the little characters spins a silken knook for itself. I haven't captured it here but, in the proper light I can see the silkworm working away inside as it spins layer upon layer of lustrous cocoon. Much like children, and I know I'm getting weird here, each silkworm seems to be developing at its own pace. Some are spinning away and others are still rather small and slow to mature.

It's all good though for certainly there is no rush to be made through this life. My mother had 5 children and we each learned to walk, talk, make our individual strides at different ages. She always said, "Who cares about the "when". Nobody walks down the isle on their wedding day in a diaper." No pressure, no drama, no rush to grow up. And, so it is with the silkworms. They each will do their own thing in their own time.

As for the character pictured above, there shall be a two week respite for this one before any new action is to occur from this dormant cocoon. Then there will be a final bursting forth, a new emergence and after that I shall claim that discarded silken capsule for my handspinning and knitting adventures! Oh joy!

An aside: What the heck? I've decided I want to tat and cannot find a simple tatting shuttle anywhere across this town or the next one over! (It's a modern world when the only way you can obtain a tatting shuttle or an old fashioned washboard is online.)

Oct 5, 2009

Another Free Cotton Cloth Knitting Pattern: Evergreen of the North Woods

Here's a fun cotton cloth design that knits up quickly and has a bit of a Northwoods theme:

For ease in reading I have spread the row-by-row instructions over two pages. To Print: Click on each instruction page individually to enlarge. Then print the enlarged picture. If you have any difficulty simply email me and I'll happily send you a PDF version. My email address is at the top of the right column of this web log. I am working to post jpeg picture instructions that print clearly for everyone so don't feel badly about emailing me. I'd like to know if you're having a problem and I am unable to upload PDF patterns here.

For those following the silkworm adventures the little rascals are getting bigger and cuter! I look forward to a week from now when some of them should be close to spinning cocoons. When they spin silk they crawl into a cozy knook (paper towel roll or egg carton) and begin throwing lustrous silk about as they repeat a figure 8 pattern with their little heads. I look forward to seeing all of the snowy white cocoons.

I do not intend to reel the cocoons as is traditional practice. I want to see the entire cycle and will be watching the feathery moths burst forth. They are snowy white, beautiful and only live for about 5 days. The moths are born with no mouths and, although they have brilliantly white wings they cannot fly. Their sole activity is to mate and lay tiny, tiny eggs that I will store in petri dishes and then place in refrigeration to simulate a dormant winter season.  (I've promised the guild I'd share silkworm eggs with those interested in pursuing this sort of adventure.)

The silk noil that remains after the moths have emerged I will gently simmer, dye lovely colors, dry and then card those shiny fibers into woolen blends for hand spinning. The goal is to photograph this tedious adventure all along the way so, stop back by won't you?  (And, witness the madness.)

Sep 27, 2009

"Those Autumn Leaves" ~ An Interpretation Through Woolen Fibers!

Pictured: Artificial Autumn leaves, woolen roving to match leaf colors,  (at left) plastic leaf stems and spines after silk leaves have been removed.

Autumn is a lovely time to be up north when the woods explode with color! And, the beauty of the changing seasons can always be counted on to inspire a crazy textile addict such as myself  into handspinning action!
So, I found these artificial Autumn leaves and thought, "Why couldn't I just spin these seasonal beauties right into a novelty yarn and then make eaf flap hats that have real-artificial Autumn leaves protruding out of them!"  (This all happens just when we thought that I was over my ear-flap-hat preoccupation and my love of saying, "ear flap hats".)

Here are the fibers all freshly drummed up and carded. I whipped in 6 ounces of hand dyed wool along with some sparkly blending glitz. As you can see it twinkles with "Autumn-ness".

 Above you see the spinning wheel bobbin FULL of a leafy yarn single ready to be plied. Yes, I do wonder if raising silkworms and constantly feeding the little nippers has me preoccupied with leaves. And yes, I am afraid  that leaves are starting to look quite delicious to me. So while my appetite is stronger than ever I've sadly not been walk-trotting in awhile or completing any of my aerobic fitness goals but...

I did treadle two bobbins full (maybe not full but these are ginormous bobbins). Both singles are spun "z" then plied together in the opposite "s" direction (spinster lingo). I purposefully spun the right bobbin using a "thick and thin" draw. When I plied both of the colorful singles together I alternated tension and angle so that the yarns wrapped around each other rather than plying equally and thus creating lively curls of colorful texture:

And here's a second picture:

And there you have it! Well, what there is of it so far.  More to come and Happy Autumn to You!