Archive for July, 2008

Still spinning …

July 31, 2008

on the coopworth fleece (2 full bobbins spun and andean plied, plus a little more started), and the superwash merino (making sockweight, I hope, yarn with it–four bobbins spun and plied into two 2-ply skeins).  Spun a little more on the wool/silk in pale green–I like this, but don’t like to do it when I’m going to be interrupted a lot.  Worked on it a bit on Saturday at the Port Oasis pity party, but then I let Rachel spin on my Babe…


Finished up a shawl yesterday (microfiber yarn that I started last year)–just need to add fringe now.  Started some socks as a gift this morning.  Wonder if I’ll get them done on time??  I’m using dk weight superwash on size 4 needles, hoping that will speed up the process. 


As my friend Jennifer points out, writing about knitting and spinning takes time away from actually doing it!


My kids are creative, too :)

July 31, 2008

My boys were making cute little things the other day and wanted me to include them on my blog for you to see!

little hedgehogs made from pompoms and fake fur


a plush beanbag monster

Treebark Stole (free knitting pattern)

July 28, 2008

Treebark Stole

copyright Grace Gooding

This is meant to be a nearly-stress-free lace-type project for non-technical, non-type-A knitters.  🙂

I bought some Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit yarn when it was on clearance at my LYS (okay, this is not the whole story–I got ONE skein for no reason except that I thought it was pretty, then I figured out what to do with it and had to go back to get more, this was how much they had left, in colors that would go together).  I got 3 skeins of Moonshadow (twiggy grey-brown) and 1 skein of Luminous (shiny ivory).  I found the EASIEST possible lace pattern in my Stitch-a-Day Calendar (“open featherwork” on the February 18 page)–it is only a few stitches per repeat and the next row you purl.  I am horrible at lace–I don’t like to concentrate that much on my knitting!  And I hate to rip out, especially lacey stuff, because I can’t ever figure out what to do with the funny bits.  Anyhow, in the “real” stitch, all of the featherwork/open places line up all the way down.  That just wasn’t going to happen, and, it turns out that I really liked the twisty bits where I made mistakes and just knit two together or added a stitch at the end of the row.


Materials Used:  Green Mountain Spinnery “sylvan spirit”, 50% fine wool & 50% tencel, 2-ply DK weight

4 skeins  (each 2 oz skein approx 180 yards) for this project

US 9 needle (I used a 29″ long circular, but whatever needles work for you–this is a larger needle size than expected for the yarn, as I wanted the fabric to be open and drapey)

finished stole approx 19″ wide (cast on edge) x 71″ long




Cast on 80 stitches.

Knit 5 rows of garter stitch (knit all rows, rather than purling on reverse).

All of the rest of the stole will be knit with this stitch pattern (the k5 at the beginning and ending of the rows makes a little garter stitch border):

row A (RS):  k5, *k2tog, yo, k1, yo, slip 1, k1, psso* (repeat between *’s) until the last 5 stitches on the row, k5

row B (WS):  k5, *purl across”, knit last 5 stitches of row

row C (RS every 4-8 rows, you select, if  you don’t naturally mess up the pattern a bit–this shifts the stitches over and makes it look twisty):  k6, yo, k1, slip 1, k1, psso, *k2tog, yo, k1, yo, slip 1, k1, psso* (repeat between *’s), until the last 6 stitches on the row, k2tog, k4

In other words, every few rows (if you don’t mess up all by yourself and your stitches are all lined up nicely, lol), “forget” to k2tog at the beginning of the row and make up for it at the end of the row.  When knitting in pattern, if you miscount or something, when you get to the end of your last pattern repeat for the row, just fix it by knitting two together or knitting into front & back of a stitch or two so you have the 5 knit stitches at the end of the row for the border.

Continue with rows A, B, C until you are nearly out of yarn.  I compared the little ends from where I’d added a ball to see if I was getting close to the end of the ball.  I was nervous about running out and ended up having a few more yards left over than I’d hoped.  Oh well.

Knit all stitches for the last 5 rows (garter stitch border on the other end).  Cast off loosely.

Block the whole thing so it is wider than “normal”.  I didn’t pin it, just soaked it in the sink for a few minutes, squeezed it out in a towel, smoothed it out over a couple of towels on my bed so that it was showing the lace and mostly rectangular.  It took less than 2 hours to dry with the ceiling fan on.

Feel free to let me know if you like it!!  http;// or goodnessgracious on Ravelry

PDF file available here for Treebark Stole

VBS report…

July 25, 2008

Had fun at vacation Bible school (Galilee by the Sea)!

This is our “shop”.  I’m in purple with my back to the camera, helping Evan weave.  Nadine sitting on the left.  Andrew standing up.  Cara standing in green.  Christopher’s group was someplace else…

Each day some different groups of kids came by.  We had potholder looms and small looms and a tapestry type thing with cool gold mesh and yarn.  But most of those took too long to complete in 20 minutes or less, so I brought along some straw (as in plastic drinking straw) weaving and we made bracelets and anklets.  That way they could take something HOME with them.


I also encouraged the children to take a turn weaving on the big loom.  Some of them did and they wove up all of the warp.  This morning I took it off


Evan with the weaving

Evan with the weaving



and (along with a “matching” strap I wove last night on a little backstrap loom for a strap) I sewed it into a little tote-bag.

my new warp-weighted loom

July 19, 2008

I built this loom this week out of scrap lumber I got at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore (I think the 2×2 and the two 1×4 pieces cost me $2 or less), 4 carriage bolts, 2 long square dowels & a lot of popsicle/craft sticks & hot glue (for the rigid heddle reed), Peaches & Creme cotton yarn.  I used half-filled water bottles tied in little fabric bags for the weights.  The shed stick is another piece of scrap wood (I think it is a piece of clapboard, I got it for a quarter) that I sanded a bit and wrapped with blue duct tape.


The “reed” or the “rigid heddle” is an eye & slot heddle made from craft/popsicle sticks.   It has 48 sticks across, each with a hole drilled in the center.  Half of the strings for the warp go through those holes.  The other half of the strings go through the slots in between the sticks.  I used two long flat dowels to glue the sticks onto so the thing would be wide enough.  And then glued more craft sticks on the top and bottom ends to help keep them on there (FYI, I was going to put another set of square dowels on top and bottom, but the hot glue dries on one end before I could get it to the other end!).

I wrote up a bunch of notes to share with you about how I constructed the thing, in case you want to make one and need help that you cannot find elsewhere, but I will have to type those up another day!

Weaver’s shop for VBS

July 19, 2008

I’m working in the Weaver’s “Shop” for Galilee-By-the-Sea Marketplace Vacation Bible School for the downtown churches in Huntington.  There wasn’t a big loom already made up from 3 years ago, so I did some research and I’m making one (it is almost done, pictures, etc later).

The instructions for the VBS showed a (boring) frame loom.  I don’t really weave, but one of the reasons I never got into it as a kid or even when I had tried it at museums and stuff is that I HATE weaving when you have to lift-every-other-thread!  I don’t think that kids will really “buy” that people really made all of their clothes and fabric goods this way, so I wanted to make the loom more realistic.  With a device to make TWO sheds for weaving “automatically”, so they don’t have to pick up individual strings as they go in the warp.


I had made a tiny backstrap loom to show myself how a heddle worked, from this site:

and I used several webpages about Warp-Weighted Looms

How to Build and Use a Warp Weighted Loom

Warping and weaving on a warp-weighted loom

Warp Weighted Loom

Build a Warp Weighted Loom


especially since those seem to be period-correct for Jesus’ life, as well as for Vikings, which is what I do for SCA.

Life in Biblical Israel – Google Books Result

Studies in Ancient Technology – Google Books Result

The Book of Looms: A History of the Handloom from Ancient Times to … – Google Books Result

Regia Anglorum – Anglo-Saxon and Viking Crafts – Textiles

BBC – North Yorkshire – History – Watch a Viking loom in action!


I wanted a rigid heddle loom versus a string heddle, because in the Viking BBC video they had to “beat” the warp a lot with the string heddles, and I thought the slot-and-eye heddle would be easier for the children.

Today at Heritage Farm — Way Back Wednesdays

July 17, 2008

I had the chance to teach some elementary kids how to spin this morning!

 I had premade some spindles (ooh, I thought this was very clever) with bamboo skewers and new (small, red) potatoes. I duct taped an opened-on-one-end paper clip to the top end of the skewer. I snipped off the bottom point so they wouldn’t jab themselves. For the first class I tried to have them start with the fiber and the spindles. Not so great. For the second class I had them stretch out (draft) the fiber to a skinnyish piece, hold one end down and twist the other end. Some of them just twisted it by hand and some put it on their thigh and rolled it. Then we plied that little piece back on itself and tied them on as wristbands. Some of the kids then hooked their fiber directly on the hook of the potato spindles and spindled another length of yarn. I explained about using the leader and wrapping the yarn below the potato if they were going to spin MORE than a yard of yarn. Then I showed them how the spindle (charkha, great wheel) worked the same way, but faster because of the mechanical advantage. Then I briefly showed them how the flyer wheel was even faster because it wound the yarn onto the bobbin automatically. And we dyed a little wool with kool aid and they were out of time. Whew!

In my Etsy shop

July 14, 2008
pink batik llama shirt, youth medium
Batik Sheep t-shirt Bright Yellow-Green XL
Batik Sheep t-shirt v-neck medium Earth Green
Sheep Batik t-shirt Unisex L blue
Spring Tulips handspun hand-dyed bulky Navajo-ply wool yarn
Black Forest Truffle Handspun Wool Yarn
Spring Tulips handspun hand-dyed wool yarn
Batik Sheep t-shirt -got wool
Sheep Batik t-shirt Unisex L pink
Buy Handmade

Link to how to make wool combs…

July 13, 2008

Beth & her husband are DIYing again for spinners

She and her dad (?) already made a Louet-type spinning wheel, and now she & her husband have made wool combs and will tell you how.


Personally, I got some dog undercoat rakes to do this with.  One of them is too short and the other is really too short.  With the longer rake and an afro comb/pick thing I can do the combing, sortof.  Didn’t enjoy it too much, though.  I’ll try again sometime…

oooh, archergal has a cool thing for a spindle wheel

July 12, 2008

Archergal’s blog  — She used a bike wheel and pvc pipe to make a charkha spindle wheel.  They are like these wooden ones (see the top one in this set).


  I have been trying to figure out how to make the bicycle wheel thingy I made more stable than the sawhorse–which seems to be the worst part of the whole thing, even though I thought it was clever at the time I made it.  Right now I have the legs off and it is bungy corded to a chair.