Here’s the follow-up video about how I make my dryer balls!

I know I promised to do a video of me making dryer balls, but when I get hella busy, I don’t do much blogging or video recording. I wrote a post which was pretty much a brief tutorial on how I make my dryer balls (https://frozentundrafiberarts.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/this-is-how-my-dryer-balls-are-made/). So, after several months of being super busy and finally moving into a nice studio space, I am now, finally making good on my promise.

My new studio space has made a huge difference for me in production!  The laminate flooring makes it super easy to clean up after and God knows I can be very messy at times. It has tons of natural light, which I crave and need in order to create beautiful woolly and fibery things.

When you’ve finished watching the vid, you can scroll down and take a peek at all the fibery things I’ve been creating!

Green Bay Packers dryer balls

Green Bay Packers dryer balls

Bright colored dryer balls

Bright colored dryer balls

Green Bay Packers dryer balls

Green Bay Packers dryer balls

the coat tree I turned into a yarn tree for display

the coat tree I turned into a yarn tree for display

close-up of the coat tree I turned into a yarn tree

close-up of the coat tree I turned into a yarn tree

mystery wool yarn I finished spinning

mystery wool yarn I finished spinning

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck wamer

hooded neck wamer

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My latest card weavings.

A couple of weeks ago, I started warped my loom for another running leaves card woven band/strap/belt. It turned out to be too wide to be a dog leash, so I’ve decided that it will make a great guitar strap or belt.

These pictures are of the 3 yard warp; on the loom (a standing rug/navajo weaving loom); and the first few inches woven.

3 yard warp for 16 card weaving  On the loom beginning of running leaves

Cut off the loom and almost finished.

Cut off the loom Ready to finish showing off the running leaf pattern

This is 2 inches wide and 6 feet long.

Ready to weave in ends and wet finish.

The next card weaving project. This is a green, gold and black, dragon breath weaving on 22 cards. The finished strap will be 3 inches wide and about 6 feet long.

pattern and cards ready first cards up half of the warp up

last card to put up finishing attaching the warp to the bottom beam Ready to start

Here’s what was accomplished Monday & Tuesday.

The backside of the dragon's breath weaving DSCF1016 DSCF1015

I think I’m going to experiment with the dragon’s breath pattern for awhile because I really like the way you can customize it!!

Thanks going out to Guntram and his fantastic card weaving Thingy that he invented to make all of this creating possible!!

Card weaving or tablet weaving (they’re the same thing).

There’s a lot of talk and publicizing of card weaving and tablet weaving right now. This is something I’ve been doing for the past 4 or 5 years and I knew it wouldn’t be long before it would be swinging its circle back to being popular again. I’m always amazed at how cyclic the trends are and how everything old and suddenly becomes ‘new’ again.

All that said, I figured I’d just do up another blog post, with all the pictures of nearly all of my card weaving endeavors, including my hand-made cards. I’ve also shared a couple of tutorials I’ve published in the past.

This is the first guitar strap I made for a friend in Milwaukee. It measured 6 feet long by 3 inches wide when it was finished. He requested acrylic yarns only because he didn’t know much about wool yet. I originally started out with playing cards cut into weaving tablets.

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture  My beautiful picture

 

This was a 2-sided (exactly the same on both sides) Anglo-Saxon braid card weaving that I did next. It became an adjustable belt. It’s 100% from my hand spun, hand dyed wool yarns! All of it is Suffolk from the Ahrens’ Suffolk sheep!

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

 

At this point, I considered buying some weaving tablets/cards because the playing cards pretty much wore out after about 5 weavings. I made another set of playing card tablets and then I started playing around with all of the plastic containers we had around the house. A year after I perfected something I liked, I created this Instructable for them (http://www.instructables.com/id/Card-weaving-how-to-make-your-own-cards-from-rec/). Cat litter jugs and milk jugs work the best!

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As you can see, I use a rug loom to do my card weaving. I prefer standing and I prefer weaving top down. The skinny ones became dog leashes and the wide ones became belts or guitar straps. The last one, on the triangle weaving cards was acrylic (another special request).

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

 

I also discovered that I love triangle weaving. That patterns that can be created are unfathomable, but that will have to be for another post while I learn more with the triangle cards. Both of these became dog leashes also. The first one is acrylic. The 2nd and 3rd ones are my hand dyed, hand spun wool yarns.

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During all the madness, I decided I needed a more portable way to card weave, so I made a back strap loom and designed and built a wooden, portable card weaving loom.

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This first one didn’t work out so well because I realized I needed to be able to pass the shuttle back and forth, unimpeded.

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This ‘minor’ modification, using a jigsaw, turned out just right (and yes, I still use playing cards to weave with because it seems I end up selling off my recycled plastic ones.

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Here is the video of me demonstrating triangle card weaving. I did all of the editing with help from my friend, Azharuddin Khan!

 

Also, a special thanks goes out to Guntram for creating awesome, free software to design all of those designs you want to create. His software comes with a bazillion preprogrammed patterns, but also allows you to design your own and save them all. The software is called, Guntram’s Card Weaving Thingy!

As always, if this prompts you to want to start card weaving and you’d like some nice, slippery cards that don’t tip over while you’re weaving (unless you want them to), see my etsy listing for them.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/128994950/1-dozen-unmarked-card-weaving-cards-made

Get busy and make something!!

 

Knitting toe socks!

I have a customer who really likes toe socks, otherwise known by the brand name, Injinji. I’ve been knitting them for him in every color he can think of. They do take a while to dye up the yarn and knit them, but it’s very peaceful work.

His first order was for 1 pair of orange crew length toe socks and 1 pair ankle length toe socks.

orangetoesock3 orangetoesock2 orangetoesock1

His second order was for the same, but in a bright turquoise blue.

ankle length toe socks crew length toe socks finished ankle length toe socks wet finishing 2 pairs of toe socks

Now, I’m knitting him 2 pairs in a blend of green apple/lime green color!

Dyeing yarn for socks Yarn ready to be wound into yarn cake Toe socks - crew length Finished toe socks - crew length

Happy knitting and get out your dyepots!!

TLD

 

Rainy Day

I have a love-hate relationship with rainy days. I know they’re necessary so that everything has water without us paying for it, but I dislike them when they’re cold and dreary. When they’re dreary, I need things to pull me out of any funk they can sometimes throw me into. When they’re dreary, I crave COLOR!! Lots of bright and bold COLORS!!

I started my work today by finishing these dryer balls in my natural colored wool offering.

Stormy gray dryer balls

While they’re pretty, they just weren’t pretty on a rainy day. These got me going on the dyepot with some wonderful Blue Faced Leicester roving and some Jacquard #735 Kelly Green. A most definite improvement and a needed staple for making dryer balls!

BFL in dyepot

More color improvement came with the blocking of my latest square I knit up, with some merino that I experimented on, from TinCanKnits pattern called Vivid. The colors are canary yellow and sienna. I think I should most definitely experiment some more! Right now, I’m knitting 3 squares of each color from my own hand spun, hand dyed yarn.

latest square The first 6 squares

To top off the adding of COLOR into today’s dreariness, I received a package from my good friend, Jeff Mueller (aka Computer Art Man). He sent this beautiful metal print because I mentioned something in a tweet to him (follow him @computerartman on twitter) about a week ago!

Bright Light Big City by Computer Art Man

Jeff is my favorite digital artist because his work is absolutely amazing!! I now own two pieces of his fabulous artwork. The other piece I own, I bought a few years ago and it’s a gorgeous canvas piece of Marlena Dietrich from a still scene from “Shanghai Express”!!

Now, get out there and DO something!

TLD

This is how my dryer balls are made…

A lot of people have brought it to my attention that my dryer balls are ‘too bouncy’ to be 100% wool. If you were to say this to me in person, I’d invite you to cut one in half and see for yourself. I would also consider it to be a waste of the hard work I put into my dryer balls. The halved ball, on the other hand, I would be able to recycle into new dryer balls.

I don’t like to share anything about my process or the processes my art or craft goes through to get from point a to point b. This time, I will share my process. I find that it’s necessary for a dryer ball to have some bounce in it to bounce its way around the clothes dryer. It’s this bouncing action that is what actually softens the clothes as they’re being propelled around the inside of the clothes dryer.

The washed wool

I start out with about a 1/2 ounce of washed wool. I prefer to work with loose, washed wool because it’s easier to compress by hand than a carded batt of wool.

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I compress or squeeze the wool tightly in my hand until it’s firm enough to start a binding yarn. The binding yarn will aid in holding the wool together as you wrap the yarn around it while squeezing the ball tighter.

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I keep adding more wool until the ball is almost 2.25 inches in diameter. I begin by pushing the needle felting tool into the wool ball and keep doing this while I rotate the ball around and around.  I continue to needle felt it into a nice, firm, round ball until it meets my expectations for bounce and…..

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

VOILA!! A dryer ball ready to be dressed up (covered with dyed wool, silk and/or decorative wool)!

My beautiful picture

I’ve not bought any dryer sheets or fabric softeners for the past 4 years. Considering that I used to go through a box of 120 count dryer sheets every 3 months, I’d say that I’ve saved roughly $55 over the past 4 years and that’s not bad for a really small family.

(On a side note: dryer balls are strictly fabric softeners. They do nothing to remove static electricity. Only a dehumidifier can do that properly, unless you live where there is high humidity.)

Save some money and buy a set of dryer balls for your dryer today at my Etsy shop!!

Yes, I do make custom dryer balls!

While I’m not really into painting with wool, I do make custom design dryer balls for those who ask. I shipped out an order for custom designed dryer balls this past Wednesday. I love how they turned out. There are 4 to 5 hearts on each ball.

yellowheart2  purpleheart3 purpleheart2 purpleheart1 pinkheart1  orangeheart1 greenheart2 greenheart1 blueheart2 blueheart1 All of the heart balls

I enjoy making them and I never want to ship any of them because I love how they all look. I think a decorator bowl, full of dryer balls, would look really awesome on your coffee table. I would put a bowl full on mine, but I don’t have one.

Get some fiber to play with. You’ll love it.

My Etsy shop!

Facebook can lead to fun and simple lace knitting….

It always starts like this: I do my morning prayers, log onto my laptop and let it do its thing, get a cup of coffee, review my orders that need to be shipped/created for the day, then I venture onto Facebook. This is where it takes me awhile to drag myself away to the work that needs doing (yes, this can include housework, too). Sometimes, I have to set a timer and only allow myself 15 minutes of perusal time. Sometimes I’m able to walk away without the timer because I have TONS of work that needs doing. Sometimes I find things worth reading and end up digging around for more info. That’s when I need the timer.

Last week, I found a picture on Facebook that led me to some random photos on Pinterest, that led me to ravelry, where I found a link to this pattern written by tin can knits, called Vivid. While mine isn’t so very vivid, I love how it turned out and will be making quite a few of these to piece together into a nice shawl or wrap (I’ll add pictures to this post when I’ve got that part figured out.).

Here is the result of me seeing, liking and hunting it all down:

unblockedfirstsquare1 unblockedfirstsquare2

I love this quick, easy and very well written pattern so much that I started a second one right away. I’m using U.S. size 2 circular knitting needles with my hand dyed (Debra Ahrens Suffolk fleece and lime Kool-Aid), hand spun yarn.

Here is what the first square looks like when it’s blocked:

firstsquareblocked1 A pink one

Get on over to Ravelry and buy this pattern quickly before it disappears!

Go read her blog, too!! http://tincanknits.com/pattern-HUK-vivid.html

Oh! and don’t forget her nifty, neato tutorial for doing a pinhole cast-on (yes, it was my first time and I loved learning something new).

 

A case of mysterious yarn!

BerrocoYarn2

My dear loving husband, Mark, bought me a skein of fantastic yarn for Christmas. I removed its label, hid the label so I wouldn’t be tempted by it and wound the yarn into a nice ball. I set it aside until I knew (or thought I knew) what I was going to create from it.

BerrocoYarn1

I cast on 3 stitches and started what I imagined might become a felted hot pad. As I knit up the yarn, I discovered I liked handle of it and how it felt as it worked through my fingers. I fell in LOVE with all of the bright colors and muted color blends in it. I knew I was in trouble. I had to find the label. The label is long-lost in the mess I call my office.

I posted it on facebook, but no one seemed to know what it was so I went online and searched and searched. I thought I’d found it a few nights ago at yarn.com. I believed it was Berroco Boboli yarn in the dappled shade colorway. Wonderful! 5 skeins remaining and it’s being closed out. Click add to cart, click to pay, login to paypal to pay, paypal failed due to an unknown cause. I learned that the unknown cause was caused by another party buying up the last 5 skeins I could acquire for the great price of $7.99 per skein!

It turns out that I was wrong about it being Berroco. I’m glad I have a lot of friends with really good eyes and told me to go hang out at Craftsy for a while (it also helps that I found the missing Plymouth Yarn label). I bought 5 skeins of Plymouth Europa yarn in colorway Multi. I will now take what looks like a nice start to a good, warm babushka and set it aside until the yarn arrives.

PlymouthYarn3

If it turns out I’m mistaken, I’ll simply and carefull frog what I’ve knit up and start over with the matching skeins working what I have into it for a nice, subtle striped effect. It will still be a good babushka!

Blogging, fiber art and dryer balls.

I’m a fiber artist. I love everything there is to love about wool, silk, cotton, shiengora, llama, camel hair, alpaca, etc. I love washing and carding it, but I especially love spinning it and weaving with the resulting yarn!

dryer balls in processpart of my work area

Lately, I’ve been mass creating dryer balls. Nothing fancy. Just simple little dryer balls that bounce around the inside of your dryer to help bounce the clothes into the softness that we require. I still hang a lot of my laundry, but I like my towels to have some degree of softness when I use them and that’s where dryer balls definitely help. They also reduce drying time when they’re made of wool. The wool absorbs more moisture while the clothes are drying.

special order dryer balls purples and pinks dryer balls bright colors  blacks, browns, golds and yellows

A lot of people believe that dryer balls are required to be ginormous in order to work well. This isn’t true. It’s not about the surface area of the ball. It’s about the amount of bounce the ball has in it so that they’re propelled around the dryer more. I’ve made several different sizes and several different weights. I’ll say it again, “It’s the amount of bounce in the ball that softens the clothes!”

varied dryer balls Gold & brown balls; black with gold balls

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

That said, you can view my dryer balls on my facebook page and my Etsy shop!!

Leigh D.