ThreadLover

Embroidery, knitting, sewing, spinning, weaving…

March 4, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover
2 Comments

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
0 comments

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.

February 22, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover
2 Comments

Drum carders and Hybrids… I have a Toyota Prius!

Drum carders have been on my radar since a few months after purchasing my Kromski Sonata (which I’ve named Ruth) spinning wheel, which I named Ruth. I bought her last February. Since the carder is most definitely a ‘want’ I put that item on the back burner, however, within the next few months, I’ll be turning that want into a reality and so I’m back to researching drum carders again. Eventually, I will be selling some of the fleeces that I do process and I’m thinking a medium sized drum carder would suit me well. No rush, I’m still looking.

2003 Toyota Prius – Stock Photo

My non-fiber related share is that that last Thursday, I purchased a Toyota Prius. The used car dealer brought it by the house. He let me take it for a test drive while he waited at the house. My goodness is it quiet. I can’t hear this vehicle when it’s running. Needless to say, he left our home without that Prius. He’d brought another person with him in case I purchased the vehicle. After he left, I went online and a few clicks later and I had insurance for my ‘new to me’ vehicle and about five minutes later, I placed another call to him to share the insurance information. Why? He’d offered to pick up the tags for me if I wanted him to. Wasn’t that nice? I did.  Since this was purchased at a used car dealership, it has been inspected. Do you what’s even more amazing? I’ve been waiting for a used Prius for about two years. It was something I’ve been praying about, but refused to jump at other opportunities. Of course I did my research, on my Prius, and researched it’s history and it checks out fine.

Don’t get me started on the mileage I’m receiving. In my Ford Expedition, 12 miles regular driving and perhaps 18 miles per gallon on the highway! Yes, that hurt. With the Prius? I’m currently I’m averaging 41 miles per gallon and on the high 51 miles per gallon. It only holds 9.9 gallons of gas and uses gas and electric. I’m definitely loving this hybrid and when I do have to purchase another vehicle (which hopefully won’t be for years down the road) it’ll most likely be another hybrid and yes… next month, I’ll start saving for my next car. By the time I need another (Lord willing years down the road) the funds will be there, just like this time. Ants and honeybees are my favorite insects, as a child, I would observe them for long periods of time as they went about performing their tasks. I was always impressed with their work ethic and it’s something I determined I would emulate. I had wonderful examples with my parents. Which brings to mind the following verse…

6 Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,

7 Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,

8 Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.
Proverbs 6:6-8
New American Standard Bible

But back to my ‘new to me vehicle.’ It’s a 2003 Toyota Prius. That’s the first generation, second generation was produced in 2004. This car has only two owners, and they were maintained well.  This car does has 142, 000 miles. The mileage doesn’t phase me. High mileage is something that I’m seeing with a lot of Prius users and while I knew a a bit about them before, since acquiring one for myself I’ve done a lot of research as I do with anything. I’m not phased. I’ve read a lot about Prius’s and one thing they are known for is their mileage. That’s the first generation. And while I’ve always purchased used cars and have always paid for them in full. I dislike debt, and so I don’t have any. I must say that this is the oldest car that I have purchased and I love my Toyota Prius.

Oh by the way, I’ve named my Prius Naomi. I don’t usually name items. In fact, this is only the second item I named. The first being my Kromski Sonata, which I called… Ruth.

February 19, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover
0 comments

Superfine merino, yak and silk for hand-knit socks… what’s not to love?

Towards the end of last week, I finally had the chance to take my brand new hand-knit socks for  test drive. These are the socks that are a blend of superfine merino and yak. I wore them to the gym! Of course, I took them off for my downtime in the sauna (which lasts and hour). Upon showering and returning home, I did not take them off my feet.

Hand-knit socks: Merino and yak

Yes, they felt that good. It’s still much too early to tell how they’ll hold up in several months. However, additional research seem to confirm my initial conclusions of yak. It appears to be a sturdy fiber. These socks have already been hand washed (twice) and they still look great, no pilling. I truly hope they are durable, because if so, I’ll definitely be purchasing more of that yarn. This blend is from Juniper Moon Farm – Tenzing, it’s sports weight,60% superfine merino wool and 40% yak. I specifically chose this blend because of the yak.

I didn’t follow someones pattern for the above socks.

Row 1: k2, p2

Row 2: Knit (repeat rows until you’ve reached desired length)

If I am knitting a patterned sock I don’t use a design on the sole of the sock. I much prefer using a simple stockinette stitch and then I pick up the pattern after finishing the heel.

 

Recycled photo: The above socks were originally being knit four at a time.

Do you remember this photo? I was knitting socks four at a time, but last week, I removed the socks on the right (daughter’s school socks) and put them on their own 40″ cable. I’ve decided to focus solely on her hand-knit socks and so they’ll be knit two at a time. How did I transfer them? I knit the new stitches onto the new interchangeable knitting needles with the 40″ cable. It worked perfectly. By the way, I used my needles from my new Hiya Hiya Sharps Sock interchangeable needles.  I used my size 0 needles.

My daughter’s school uniform socks: I’m knitting these socks two at a time. I’m using a fleegle heel with these socks.

Unlike the socks in the first picture,  I’m actually following a pattern for these socks. They’re called the Olympian socks and they were designed by Sheryl Giles. It’s free on Raverly! For this yarn, I chose Valley Yarns – Charlemont. It’s fingering weight and is a blend of 60% Fine Superwash Merino Wool/ 20% Silk/ 20% Polyamide. I tend to stay away from superwash and nylon, but since these were going to receive a lot of abuse, while she’s at school, I decided now was not the time to get picky. I do believe it will take at least one more week to complete these socks. They are going to be knee-highs and I’m on limited time.

The month is almost over and I’ve only knit one pair of hand-knit socks in February. Which brings the total number of socks that I’ve knit for 2017 to be six. My goal is make 20 hand-knit socks this year. I have 14 more pairs of hand-knit socks to complete. Barring anything out of the ordinary happening, I think that’s doable.

 

February 14, 2017
by Opal @ThreadLover
4 Comments

My valentines day (hand-knit) socks

Early this morning (a little after 12:00 a.m.) I finished knitting these socks. I’ll take better pictures soon.

My Valentine’s Day socks. Handknit socks Fleegle heel

I realized, when I was finishing them, that this is Valentine’s Day, and so I’ll just call them my Valentine’s Day socks. Currently, they are soaking in a nice bath of tepid water to which I’ll be adding a few drops of essential oils of lavender and cedarwood.

Handknit socks and yarn chicken

You know what? This is the first time I’ve played yarn chicken. See that strand at the top of the sock. That’s all that was left. I’ve been knitting since I was eight (38 years) and I never had to do that, until this morning.

I must say that I’m thrilled that I’m finally finished knitting these socks. Why wouldn’t I be? They were frogged four times, before I finally got them exactly how I wanted them. I’m a process crafter and I’m stubborn, so I will keep redoing until I get something exactly how I want them. With the amount of “do-overs” that happened, I could have easily knit two pairs of socks. These socks should have been ‘easy’ socks to finish (and completed in record time) since I used DK weight yarn instead of my fingering/sock weight yarn. However, I really focused on customizing these hand-knit socks and I also used a personalized sock template designed specifically for my feet. I adore the sock template! It was extremely helpful in gauging when I needed to start my heel. Moving forward, I’ll definitely be using them with all the socks I knit for my daughter and myself. Another ‘new thing’ with these socks was the fleegle heel. I will be using it in the future.

Because of the (seemingly) never-ending frogging  I really had a chance to put my brand-new Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock interchangeable knitting needles set to good use and I must say, these were well worth the purchase. Yes, even though I already own the other two Hiya Hiya interchangeable Sharps (Small and Large) knitting needle sets. As my recent postings testify, I have a hand-knit sock addiction. My only regret is the Hiya HIya sharp sock interchangeable set don’t go down to a 000. However, I have fixed Hiya Hiya circulars that do.

I know I’ve said this many times since starting to write about my hand-knit sock obsession, but these are the most softest hand-knit socks that I’ve ever created. A softer fiber keeps knocking previous hand-knit socks out of this position.

 

These socks are made with super fine merino and yak. Yak, yep that shaggy animal makes an appearance in the creation of these hand-knit socks and it’s my first time knitting with this fiber. It’s still on my list of exotic fibers to spin. Because of the incredible softness, a minor thought is how will they withstand a lot of wear, but since I’m in not stopping knitting socks anytime soon, that’s fleeting, since there will be plenty of other hand-knit socks to wear.

After weaving a few ends (I typically do this while knitting so this is a non-issue) I did try them on and oh my goodness do they feel good. Since I knit these with my Size 0, Hiya Hiya Sharp Sock needles using DK weight yarn, these actually feel as if they would provide support, almost like a compression sock, might feel. I’ve never worn them, but based on how those socks are typically described, these might be similar.