Sunday, November 16, 2014


So, I promised myself that I would finish the Ribe nalbinding mittens this year. After all, I had spun the yarn for them by the end of 2013 - there was no excuse. But, once again I procrastinated. At the end of October I finally decided I could not put it off any longer, and got out the yarn to begin. What did I find - moths! and their little worms! So, once again, the project did not begin. The yarn is currently in my freezer. Hopefully I will be able to salvage enough to complete the project. But now I am in the midst of holiday gift making (which is going quite well), so 2015 will have to be the year for the mittens.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Another Question to Explore

I've been spinning up the merino/silk and alpaca/silk roving that I purchased at Pennsic this year. I love them both, and I am looking forward to having enough yarn spun to make something beautiful. Which got me thinking.

I am using my "moosie," a modern top whorl, rim-weighted spindle (made of moose antler) to spin this yarn. I fill the shaft with as much yarn as will comfortably fit without reducing the efficiency of my spinning - about 155 meters. I am spinning at 10 wraps/cm, the optimum size for this spindle. I will knit with this yarn.

Here is what I have spun so far. The spindle is full and ready to be plied. While it may look like there is more room on the spindle, at this point the weight is such that it is difficult to keep a consistent thread size (81 g vs 36 g when empty), and if winding the cop is not done carefully, the thread tends to slip while spinning.

If I were spinning with one of my Ribe reproduction spindles (a lighter weight and longer shaft), how many meters would comfortably fit on the spindle? Assuming I will spin to weave, how many spindles-ful will I need to make a useful piece of cloth, say .5 meter x 5 meters with a sett of 10/12 ends/cm? (Two spindles-ful from the moosie would make a piece approximately 10 cm x 20 cm.) And while I am at it, how long will it take me to spin that much?

Monday, September 15, 2014

a mini vacation

I was lucky enough to go to Cape Cod for the long Labor Day weekend to celebrate my birthday. As always, it was very relaxing. It was especially nice because my son cooked the birthday dinner - a wonderful barbecue.

Here is a picture of the dunes at Sandwich, one of my favorite places:
Global warming is changing this beach. Much of the dunes have eroded away. It used to be that the marsh would only flood at exceptionally high tides. Now it is a regular occurrence. When we hiked in Brewster, we came across beach plums:
Aren't they beautiful? They taste just like big plums, but they are the size of cherries. They range in color from light pink to dark purple, all on the same plant.

And, just so you don't think I am ignoring my crafts, I bought a niddy-noddy in an antique store. Here it is with some alpaca/silk blend that I spun while we were there:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Some knitting projects

In between everything else this spring and summer, I have been knitting. I started with a simple shawl. It's just an over-sized rib pattern with a couple of stripes to add interest.

It kept me very warm on cold nights at War of the Roses and Pennsic this year.

Then I did a bit of sock knitting. I started with a pair for my husband. I liked the slip stitch pattern so much, I made another pair for me, then adapted the pattern for a hat, to use up the leftover yarn.
I can't wait for it to be cold enough to wear them.

I also knit a small shawl - more like a scarf. I'm waiting for fall weather to try it out.

Finally, I knit a swing coat. The row after row of stockinette was boring, so I am glad to be done (that was part of the reason for the rest of these projects - to give me something interesting to knit). I haven't blocked it yet, but I'm happy with how it turned out. The pattern called for a striped yarn, but I preferred a solid color, with just a bit of accent.

So, there you are. I have another pair of socks, and a summer sweater on the needles now. My plan is to finish the socks by Christmas and the sweater by spring. I've finally learned to knit my sweaters out of season so I can actually be finished when it is time top wear them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

the nalbound hat

I promised in my last post to show you the hat I made. It was made for Kenric when he joined the Order of the Laurel. Here is a picture of the hat:

It is done in the York stitch. I wanted to make "leaves," so I attempted making spots, as can be found in some mitten artifacts. It's rather abstract, but I like it.

Here is Kenric with the hat:

Yea! It fit!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Recent Nalbinding Projects

I've been doing a lot of nalbinding lately. I love how easy it is to carry around during these busy summer months. I made a hat for a friend. You will have to wait until after Pennsic to see a picture of it, but I am pleased with how it turned out. My other favorite project is a pair of gloves. Nalbound gloves are very late period - 13th and 14th century to the best of my knowledge. Here is my pair:

They are made using the Danish stitch. I chose it because it is very fine - not at all bulky. Best of all, they fit my hands better than any commercial pair I own. I am definitely going to make another pair - using a silk and merino blend I spun.

I am also making a pair of mittens - with bulky commercial yarn, because I fell in love with the color:

These are made using the Alsike stitch. I like that this stitch looks different on the two sides. I have turned the finished mitten "inside-out." On that side the ribs are more pronounced, and the space between the ribs looks almost woven. It is not a difficult stitch to do, and I love the texture of it.

I've also been working on a few knitting projects, but I'll leave that for another post.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where do the days go?

I've been very busy since my last post. I'm happy to say, my nalbinding salon at War of the Roses was a success. Nine people came. Most had never stitched before, so I spent most of the afternoon teaching the Oslo stitch. The experienced nalbinders lent a hand, and everyone had an enjoyable time.

I entered the striped socks in the Concordia A&S competition, which required you to write a story about your piece. I wrote a letter from the spinner/knitter to her lover across the ocean to whom she was sending the socks. There were many good entries in the competition. Writing a story is much harder for me than spinning or knitting, so I was surprised to find that I was chosen as Baronial A&S Champion. Now I'll have to figure out a challenge for next year!

I'm still working on perfecting my spinning research paper to ready it for possible publication. The editors are so helpful. I'll be happy when everyone agrees that it is the best it can be. I've been enjoying the process, but I don't think I would want to be a professional writer. It's hard work!

When I am not writing or teaching, I've been prepping for my nalbinding class. I will teach the same thing at Northern Region War Camp, and at Pennsic - Options for Heels and Thumbs. I'm hoping to have enough starting rings so that students can jump right into the options, without having to start with the boring stuff.

I'll be teaching drop spinning at NRWC, too. I hope you'll consider stopping by if you are at either event this summer.