My stories of jewelry making, spinning, knitting, and all things fibery.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Do You Remember Stella?

She was the very first fleece I had ever spun.  When the natural color yarn was complete I dyed it with natural dye from my garden.  Remember?  

Here she is today, on her way to becoming a beautiful yellow lace wrap.  This will be a project for me personally, and not for sale in the shop.  I find lace knitting very rhythmic and relaxing.  It requires a decent amount of concentration, so it's not an "in front of the TV" knit.

She looks crumply and bunchy now, but wait till you see her all stretched and blocked!  I'll be sure to show her to you then.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fiber Gadgets and Gizmos

It has been decided that 2013 will be "the year of fiber" at Stone and Fiber.  This year, in addition to my natural stone jewelry the shop will be filled with my hand spun - hand knitted designs.  I am very excited to introduce this new line of women's accessories. 

For the last several months I have been scouring, dyeing, carding and spinning.  Then knitting and knitting and knitting!  Fleece after fleece had been piling up in my studio, only to be stuck in gridlock due to the fact that I could only card so fast with my hand carders.  Carding is the process of combing the wool fibers so they line up in one direction, making them easier to spin.  Using hand carders is like brushing together two large paddle hair brushes in opposite directions...over and over..until your very large wool pile is completed.

I finally came to my senses and splurged on a new drum carder.  Why, oh why did I wait so long !  It's quick, easy and fun!
Here is my freshly dyed Romney fiber waiting it's turn to enter the drum carder.  I have only to gently fluff the locks to prepare them and in they go.

I added a bit of pale aqua alpaca along with some pearly pink angora fibers to the mix .

Then crank the handle and the two cylinders spin in opposite directions while their bristled surfaces gently pass across one another combing the fibers straight.  They are loaded on the larger drum layer by layer until the teeth are full.  Then the cloth of fiber, called a batt, is peeled off the teeth and rolled to await it's turn on the spinning wheel.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rich Man, Poor Man...but not really.

Two fabulous stones that many people often confuse are Lapis Lazuli and Sodalite.  Lapis is a deep rich sapphire blue, speckled with tiny sparkling golden pyrite (fool's gold) inclusions.  It is a somewhat rare semi- precious gemstone and top quality specimens can bring upwards of $100 per carat.  Since ancient times it has been mined almost exclusively in Afghanistan, but today deposits can be found in Siberia, India, Chile and here in the US in Colorado and California.

Sodalite is a very similar blue shade, less intense and with out the glittery pizzaz.  Most often it is found mottled with white mineral streaks.  The darkest, most consistantly blue stones are the most sought after for jewelry.  Abundantly found in Canada and British Columbia as well as in Arkansas, Sodalite is relatively inexpensive.

In my jewelry making opinion each of these beauties hold completely different attributes, far removed from their wide ranging costs.  Sodalite is a light hearted, carefree and casual stone that can easily be worn everyday.  It reminds me of demin fabric.  Lapis Lazuli is BOLD, extravagant and always commands all the attention.  I have used these two together and mixed with other stones as you can see.
Both Sodalite and Lapis pieces always sell out very quickly!