Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Charlene's Sea Shawl by the Sea Shore

Charlene christma 2010 shawl finished

This is my original design “Miranda's Sea Shawl by the Sea Shore”, inspired by the 1912 J.W. Waterhouse painting “Miranda” which was inspired by Shakespeare's “Tempest”. I created the pattern for a fiber cooperative - Phat Fiber Sample Box - I've joined to promote my designs. This pattern is available at, and - Search under Miranda's Sea Shawl by the Sea Shore.

MIL seemed to like it, so I contacted my fiber partner - - to see if she had more of the yarn. Sadly, she was not working with that blend anymore. I decided to make it from dyeing the fiber, to spinning, plying and knitting the shawl.

I started with unspun, undyed fiber (called roving). The fiber blend is Superwash Merino and Seacell. The seacell is purported to have special properties (text from

SeaCell®pure is a cellulose fiber containing seaweed (e.g. ascophyllum
The idea behind SeaCell®pure is actually quite simple: The natural raw
materials cellulose and seaweed represent the basis for the manufacture
of the SeaCell®pure fiber, employing the "Lyocell Process". The cellulose
fibers act as functional substrate for the seaweed.

– Breathable
– Soft
– Supports skin blood flow
– Stimulates skin cell regeneration
– Pleasant touch, comfortable feel

Seaweed is added as the active substance for a good reason. The fact that
this marine plant is rich in various minerals, trace elements,
carbohydrates, fats and vitamins, has been well-known since the times of
Chinese medicine. Moreover, seaweed has been proved to protect the
skin and exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, which also unfold in the
SeaCell®pure fiber.

The SeaCell®pure fiber offers the manifold properties of seaweed and its
health-promoting substances. The structure of SeaCell®pure facilitates an
active exchange of substances between fiber and skin. The natural body
moisture releases the constituents when the fabric is worn.
The effect of SeaCell®pure remains unchanged even after numerous
washing cycles.

Numerous tests, carried out by various institutes and organizations,
examined the fiber properties and confirmed the durability of the
SeaCell®pure effect.
In cooperation with the Fresenius Institute in Berlin, it was demonstrated
that, in the humid environment of the skin surface, the SeaCell®pure fiber
is able to release its active ingredients as required..

The colors I used reminded me of 2 gifts that we'd given MIL in the past that she liked. One was the Star Ruby Sapphire ring, the other was the quilt. I also like the combination of colors in Pink and Purple Crazy Lace Agate (picture from :

Crazy lace agate from titisjewelry dot etsy dot com

Picture of wet dyed roving:

Charlene christma 2010 shawl dyeing picture of right side of roving

Roving dried and fluffed up:

Charlene christma 2010 shawl roving dry and fluffed up on form as neck ruff

Corner of russet and gold Miranda shawl of Miranda yarn by with swatch of dyed yarn for Charlene's shawl:

Charlene christma 2010 shawl swatch of straight dyed roving singles being spun of dyed and undyed roving and Miranda shawl of Miranda yarn

This was darker than I envisioned the shawl, so I added 50% undyed fiber when drafting and spinning to lighten the color. This also made it more interesting:

Charlene christma 2010 shawl  picture more shaded spun singles in ball with tape measure 3 3  8  oz 96 grams

I Navajo plied the singles:
Charlene christma 2010 shawl Plate of plies in light

And used a makeshift lazy kate Genvalia Box to hold my Magic Wand spinning stick while I rolled the yarn into a ball:

Charlene christma 2010 shawl spun singles in Gevalia lazy kate

Two more views:

Charlene christma 2010 shawl finished back

Charlene christma 2010 shawl finished front

The package is out for delivery today. I won't know until Christmas if she likes it or not.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Magic Wand Spinning Sticks

The Magic Wand Spinning Sticks were made by DH. Our daughter is a cellist (2nd chair Freshman orchestra, brag, brag) and DH wanted to make a conducting baton for her orchestra director. He had several lovely pieces of osage that he lathed down to what he thought would be an appropriate size. The director wanted something lighter, so he brought the 2 he'd made into our home office.

We watch shows online together in the evening and he would use the batons as Magic Wands, pointing them at me and saying "Poof". Well, pretty soon, enough was enough. I grabbed one and we were in a spell casting duel every night. The sticks were pressed into spinning service and the duel was put on hold. Since he has a third piece of osage, I suspect he will make a new wand for himself.

Yes, we are grown ups and this is how we act. We do have a good time.

For more on DH see

Join us on Ravelry, I created Magic Wand Spinning group recently, because Ravelry did not have enough groups.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Magic Wand Spinning

WC Mercantile ( is a charming fiber and yarn shop located in historic downtown Navasota, TX. It is a 20 minute drive from my house. Several months ago, I picked up about 4 oz of lovely shades of green mohair fiber from them. The original purpose was to use it as a unifying fiber to spin samples that I got in my Phat Fiber sample box (

Navasota is also home to one of the last "real" hardware stores and since we were in Navasota anyway, my husband wanted to stop in and take a look around. As I waited in the car, I decided to finger spin a little bit and see how it looked. I spun a bit more than that and needed something to wrap the spun yarn around. I save the disposable chopsticks whenever we at asian restaurants. (see for the reason) I wrapped the spun yarn and kept twisting and wrapping and soon had a respectable amount of lace weight or so singles yarn.

I kept working with the chopstick until I'd spun the entire bag. With another chopstick, I navajo plyed the singles and then used both chop sticks to make a skinny lacy scarf.

I found this spinning method to be convenient when a spinner does not have a wheel or spindle handy. The space required is very small as the implement used is held closer to the body, spinning with this method could be done when seated in an airplane, in waiting rooms, in your car (only when parked, please!), or in front of your computer.

This is also a good way to teach spinning. It's an old joke that drop spindles live up to their name. Spinning normally happens at a fast pace. Magic wand spinning allows the beginner the time to watch the twist go into the fibers and understand the process of making fiber into yarn better. It is also incredibly inexpensive to supply an entire class with chopstick and a little fiber. At WC Mercantile this weekend, I demonstrated Magic Wand Spinning and got a couple of people to try. I suggested a straight knitting needle as a candidate and one of the ladies had one and started using it. She was amazed at how easy it was. Another attendee was a high school girl who had been looking for a method to teach spinning to a group of elementary students. She was very happy to have an inexpensive, easy way to teach them.