I Love Carding and Creating Art Batts to Spin Into Luscious Yarn!!

Today was one of those damp dreary days without color. It’s on these days that I create my own colors and blends. I wanted to dye fiber,but I also wanted to be working in my studio. I love how these turned out and can’t wait to spin them into yarn!!

Red, Pink, and Burgundy batts waiting for their turn to be spun.
The Art Batts Being Spun
Green, Gold, and Other Sparkling Fibers Ready for Carding
The Carding Process 1
The Carding Process 2
Ready to Doff and Twist Into Loose Knots
Doffing in Progress
Eight Batt Knots Ready to Spin!!

What are you making/ creating??

For those who don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter, here’s a photo of my beautiful dog.

Beautiful Dog Nose!

Happy Soctober – Part II

I like educating people about how many pairs of socks they should own. Sometimes we have one pair we love so much that we wear them out in a very short amount of time. The fact is you should have at least 10 pairs of socks, for every season, regardless of your preferred fiber. Natural fiber socks are best but there are a lot of people who are allergic to them and need to wear synthetic fibers such as acrylic.

Some people don’t know the difference between wool and acrylic or cotton and acrylic. Some believe the socks they’re wearing are acrylic when they’re actually WOOL. Some think they’re allergic to wool and have never worn wool in their lives. Some are allergic to cotton and linen but can wear every synthetic fiber made. Regardless of fiber allergies or preferences, handknit socks are best.

Whichever type of socks you prefer, the ones you wear the most will eventually wear out! The most common place for handknit socks to wear out is the heel, followed by the ball of the foot. The most common place for mass manufactured socks to wear out is at the toe, followed by the heel. Either way, if you’re trying to save money or just love that pair of socks so much that you can’t bear to part with them, you can always repair them and should repair them.

The two main methods of repairing holey, worn out socks are: Darning, duplicate stitching, and reknitting. I will partially cover darning and reknitting. Darning involves stitching an anchor box around the hole and then weaving from the anchor stitches, over and under, and back and forth, until the hole is filled in and sturdy. I prefer to herringbone weave 2 over and 2 under; and then cross back over to make it all sturdy.

A reknitted heel involves picking up the stitches at the top of the hole and the bottom of the hole, and knitting a heel patch (toe patch, or patch for the ball of the foot) while picking up the old stitches at the sides of the hole, and then using the Kitchener Stitch to graft it all together so it looks nice and neat.

Sometimes, you need to pick up stitches in the middle so you can graft (kitchener stitch) them to the reknit portion during the repair. See the photo below.

Other times, you get very lucky to be able to just grab a few inches of yarn and just sew or weave the hole closed. This works best on holes smaller than a half inch.

There are many different ways to repair your favorite socks. It’s your choice. Do some research. I’ve shared the ones I’m currently working on because I was asked to do so.

*** NOTE: I rarely ever have any of the yarn left over from anything I’ve knit because I tend to use the leftovers in other things after about two years. ***

My latest card weavings.

A couple of weeks ago, I started warped my loom for another running leaves card woven band/strap/belt. It turned out to be too wide to be a dog leash, so I’ve decided that it will make a great guitar strap or belt.

These pictures are of the 3 yard warp; on the loom (a standing rug/navajo weaving loom); and the first few inches woven.

3 yard warp for 16 card weaving  On the loom beginning of running leaves

Cut off the loom and almost finished.

Cut off the loom Ready to finish showing off the running leaf pattern

This is 2 inches wide and 6 feet long.

Ready to weave in ends and wet finish.

The next card weaving project. This is a green, gold and black, dragon breath weaving on 22 cards. The finished strap will be 3 inches wide and about 6 feet long.

pattern and cards ready first cards up half of the warp up

last card to put up finishing attaching the warp to the bottom beam Ready to start

Here’s what was accomplished Monday & Tuesday.

The backside of the dragon's breath weaving DSCF1016 DSCF1015

I think I’m going to experiment with the dragon’s breath pattern for awhile because I really like the way you can customize it!!

Thanks going out to Guntram and his fantastic card weaving Thingy that he invented to make all of this creating possible!!

Card weaving or tablet weaving (they’re the same thing).

There’s a lot of talk and publicizing of card weaving and tablet weaving right now. This is something I’ve been doing for the past 4 or 5 years and I knew it wouldn’t be long before it would be swinging its circle back to being popular again. I’m always amazed at how cyclic the trends are and how everything old and suddenly becomes ‘new’ again.

All that said, I figured I’d just do up another blog post, with all the pictures of nearly all of my card weaving endeavors, including my hand-made cards. I’ve also shared a couple of tutorials I’ve published in the past.

This is the first guitar strap I made for a friend in Milwaukee. It measured 6 feet long by 3 inches wide when it was finished. He requested acrylic yarns only because he didn’t know much about wool yet. I originally started out with playing cards cut into weaving tablets.

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This was a 2-sided (exactly the same on both sides) Anglo-Saxon braid card weaving that I did next. It became an adjustable belt. It’s 100% from my hand spun, hand dyed wool yarns! All of it is Suffolk from the Ahrens’ Suffolk sheep!

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At this point, I considered buying some weaving tablets/cards because the playing cards pretty much wore out after about 5 weavings. I made another set of playing card tablets and then I started playing around with all of the plastic containers we had around the house. A year after I perfected something I liked, I created this Instructable for them (http://www.instructables.com/id/Card-weaving-how-to-make-your-own-cards-from-rec/). Cat litter jugs and milk jugs work the best!

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As you can see, I use a rug loom to do my card weaving. I prefer standing and I prefer weaving top down. The skinny ones became dog leashes and the wide ones became belts or guitar straps. The last one, on the triangle weaving cards was acrylic (another special request).

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I also discovered that I love triangle weaving. That patterns that can be created are unfathomable, but that will have to be for another post while I learn more with the triangle cards. Both of these became dog leashes also. The first one is acrylic. The 2nd and 3rd ones are my hand dyed, hand spun wool yarns.

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During all the madness, I decided I needed a more portable way to card weave, so I made a back strap loom and designed and built a wooden, portable card weaving loom.

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This first one didn’t work out so well because I realized I needed to be able to pass the shuttle back and forth, unimpeded.

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This ‘minor’ modification, using a jigsaw, turned out just right (and yes, I still use playing cards to weave with because it seems I end up selling off my recycled plastic ones.

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Here is the video of me demonstrating triangle card weaving. I did all of the editing with help from my friend, Azharuddin Khan!


Also, a special thanks goes out to Guntram for creating awesome, free software to design all of those designs you want to create. His software comes with a bazillion preprogrammed patterns, but also allows you to design your own and save them all. The software is called, Guntram’s Card Weaving Thingy!

As always, if this prompts you to want to start card weaving and you’d like some nice, slippery cards that don’t tip over while you’re weaving (unless you want them to), see my etsy listing for them.


Get busy and make something!!


Knitting toe socks!

I have a customer who really likes toe socks, otherwise known by the brand name, Injinji. I’ve been knitting them for him in every color he can think of. They do take a while to dye up the yarn and knit them, but it’s very peaceful work.

His first order was for 1 pair of orange crew length toe socks and 1 pair ankle length toe socks.

orangetoesock3 orangetoesock2 orangetoesock1

His second order was for the same, but in a bright turquoise blue.

ankle length toe socks crew length toe socks finished ankle length toe socks wet finishing 2 pairs of toe socks

Now, I’m knitting him 2 pairs in a blend of green apple/lime green color!

Dyeing yarn for socks Yarn ready to be wound into yarn cake Toe socks - crew length Finished toe socks - crew length

Happy knitting and get out your dyepots!!



Rainy Day

I have a love-hate relationship with rainy days. I know they’re necessary so that everything has water without us paying for it, but I dislike them when they’re cold and dreary. When they’re dreary, I need things to pull me out of any funk they can sometimes throw me into. When they’re dreary, I crave COLOR!! Lots of bright and bold COLORS!!

I started my work today by finishing these dryer balls in my natural colored wool offering.

Stormy gray dryer balls

While they’re pretty, they just weren’t pretty on a rainy day. These got me going on the dyepot with some wonderful Blue Faced Leicester roving and some Jacquard #735 Kelly Green. A most definite improvement and a needed staple for making dryer balls!

BFL in dyepot

More color improvement came with the blocking of my latest square I knit up, with some merino that I experimented on, from TinCanKnits pattern called Vivid. The colors are canary yellow and sienna. I think I should most definitely experiment some more! Right now, I’m knitting 3 squares of each color from my own hand spun, hand dyed yarn.

latest square The first 6 squares

To top off the adding of COLOR into today’s dreariness, I received a package from my good friend, Jeff Mueller (aka Computer Art Man). He sent this beautiful metal print because I mentioned something in a tweet to him (follow him @computerartman on twitter) about a week ago!

Bright Light Big City by Computer Art Man

Jeff is my favorite digital artist because his work is absolutely amazing!! I now own two pieces of his fabulous artwork. The other piece I own, I bought a few years ago and it’s a gorgeous canvas piece of Marlena Dietrich from a still scene from “Shanghai Express”!!

Now, get out there and DO something!