Embroidery, knitting, sewing, spinning, weaving…

May 1, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Fun in Colonial Williamsburg

This past Saturday, I connected with another fiber lover today and I owe the shop finding to one of the lovely girls on the trip named Raechel. Last Thursday, I went as a parent volunteer to Williamsburg, VA. It was the eighth graders class trip. We were there from Thursday – Saturday. On our last day, we had one more tour and at the end we had 1.5 hours of free time. The day before, I’d heard about a Weaving shop and it was my intent to go there on my own, but I honestly did not think I would have the time to do that. Well, since we did have free time, I thought thewe could pop by there and check it out. I’m so glad we went. We also stopped by the local silversmith shop, and a herbal shop that sold plants and a jack of all trades shop that seemed to sell a bit of everything. The business owners were in period clothing which made it even more fascination.
Say hello to Karen, she’s a Master Weaver and a Spinner at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. We walked in as she was giving an demonstration. Of course, I started asking questions. It appeared she was using a walking wheel to spin cotton and so I asked if that’s what it was. She told me it was and also gave other names it’s known by. Seeing colored homespun yarn on the wall, I asked if they were naturally dyed and then started talking about spinning. Well, that’s all that was needed to really start talking about spinning and our love of fiber. If we weren’t’ so short on time, I definitely would have stayed longer. She was a wealth of knowledge and since she’s a master weaver, I would have loved to stay and ask questions about that, however I do have her business card so I will stay in touch. This lovely lady gifted me with a few ounces of cotton and wool from a Leicester Sheep. They have long fiber.

Cotton and Long wool Leicester.4.29.17

My daughter and I separated the cotton on the bus so what you see in this picture is cotton fiber that has had the seeds removed. The only thing left to do is to card and spin the fiber into cotton yarn. It’s too late to plant the seeds this year, but we’ll do that next year.
Of course I’m thrilled! Leicester has been on my must spin list for some time. I have not made a move to purchase any yet, because I still have plenty of fiber to process. But now, I have received a few ounces of it to try for free. I’m hoping I have a chance to spin sometime this week. Upon leaving, my daughter said, “Mommy, who knows this might be the beginning of a new fiber friendship.” I must say I was touched by Karen’s generosity. I do enjoy giving and often it is to strangers. So her random act of kindness is even more meaningful since I was the one receiving. That doesn’t happen to often and that’s fine. Thanks again, Karen! 🙂

April 1, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

More hand-knit socks and snacks

A few weeks ago, I finally finished the navy blue school socks that I made for my daughter. It’s the only color she can wear at her Lutheran School. They were made from 70% merino and 30% silk. I’ll have to post a picture. She’s received compliments on them. She says they are her favorite socks. Merino can be incredibly soft, the merino in those socks fall in that category. If I were to guess, I’d say their micron count is 15. (The lower the micron count, the softer the fiber will be.) The silk adds durability. Those socks should last a long time.

The socks featured here are being knit for myself. I’m using my Hiya Hiya interchangeable sock needles. The yarn is 90% merino and 10% nylon (for durability). The majority of my socks are made from all natural fiber. I’m knitting these socks two at a time, toe-up. I’m using a simple ribbed stitch (k2, p2), rinse and repeat for all rows. I most likely will use the ‘fleegle heel’ when I need to create the heel. With my socks, I only do the ribbed stitch on the top of the foot. The sole is simple stockinette stitch. After the heel is completed I do k2, p2 (front and back) until I reach the desired length up the cuff/leg.

A few weeks ago, I finished rereading the Bible and I’m reading through it again. I’m still in Genesis, but tonight I skipped ahead, I’ll go back and reread, but I do read additional scripture besides my daily rereading of the Bible. I moved on to read in Exodus. It’s the part where God gives detailed instructions on building the temple, Exodus 26-28. He didn’t leave out anything, from the curtain construction, to the actual temple and how it was to be decorated and also the garments of the priests. Have you read the account? If you haven’t I encourage you to read those chapters. As a handcrafter, I can appreciate the details. It’s also a wonderful reminder, for Christians, that God thinks of everything. So, why at times, do we doubt him? I’m quoting from memory the following verse…
“Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart and lean not to YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING. In ALL YOUR WAYS acknowledge him and HE shall DIRECT your path.”

This evening, my daughter had this snack

while we watched, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga Official Trailer. It was amazing and kept my attention the entire time. I could easily see myself living this way. Simple and self sufficient. I love that. My daughter, she wouldn’t mind visiting, but she would not like to do this permanently.

March 18, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Knitting in progress: Handknit socks for my daughter

The past few weeks I haven’t had too much time to knit which means, my daughters school socks have been languishing. Some days, I’ve only been able to knit a few rows (like toda) and others? I haven’t knit anything although I have engaged in some craft like soapmaking.

Well I’m thrilled to say that my daughter’s socks are almost finished. I’m hoping to complete them within the next few days. The picture attached in this photo was taken this past Tuesday, 3/14/17.

March 4, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Fiber and Soap

My goodness, where has the time gone? The past few weeks have been extremely busy for myself as I increase my focus with my business website. It’s natural skin care products. I originally became interested in natural skin care products when I was a teenager and in my twenties, I started making my own skin care line, just for me, 23 years later and I’m still making my own products.

Earlier this week, while browsing a soaping forum, one of the soapers mentioned that she used alpaca fiber in her soaps? Seriously? I’ve heard of silk fiber being used in soap. From my readings, it changes the bubbles, but I’ve never heard of alpaca fiber being used. I have several pounds of alpaca fiber, and I must say that I’ll be tempted to try it out for myself, after I do a bit more research. Interesting how fiber creeps into so many other handcrafts, right?

Oat milk & Honey soap

Here’s my lastest cold process soap. It’s Oat Milk & Honey soap. It’s a new recipe that I’ve created, but I’m loving the feel of it already. Once it’s cured (about six weeks from now) I look forward to receiving feedback from my testers.

February 23, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover

Storage containers and soap molds…

For the past several months, I’ve been thinking about purchasing clear storage containers for my crafting shelves. A few years ago, my uncle, who’s an amazing carpenter, made the shelves for me. I have a lot of fiber and card making supplies. I believe this will work well in keeping those items contained instead of just sitting on the shelves.

Rubbermaid Roughneck Clear Storage Container, 50 qt

So even though this was a great idea (at least to me) I didn’t get around to ordering those containers until early this morning. What did I purchase?  Rubbermaid Roughneck Clear Storage Container. They come in a pack of five and are 50 qt. The containers aren’t too large or small, they’re just right! Since I ordered them from Amazon (and since I’m a Prime member) they should be here on Saturday.

Also, a few moments ago, I ordered some soap molds and a soap cutter. I have a new soapmaking recipe that I’ve been wanting to try and I’ll finally be able to do that sometime next week. These were also ordered from Amazon and so I should have them (with the exception of the lye) sometime this Saturday.

In knitting news…

I’m still knitting my daughter’s socks. The past several days, I haven’t had too much time to knit, but I’ve squeezed in a few moments when I did have some down time. I’m wondering if I’ll finish these before February is over? Because of how busy it’s been, I’m not sure.