Sunday, June 21, 2015

Some Beach... Somewhere

"Some Beach... Somewhere."

When I first started dyeing my roving or already spun/plied yarn, I didn't care what colors came out, I just wanted to hurry it up and see what it would look like.

 I remember the very first time I threw in my own concoction of dyes and colors... I was in blissful ignorance! I just wanted the dyes to hurry and dry and once it did... I felt like the heavens opened, God on His throne stood up and began a slow clap... the angels sang a gorgeous anthem of: "Ahhh-ahhhh-aaaaaaahhhhh" as if echoing in a cathedral, the sunshine shone down upon my yarn, and I felt like Rafiki (from The Lion King) when he lifted Simba... I lifted my yarn up to the air and shouted, " Look what I have created!!!!!! I... have made yarn!!!!".

Coming back to reality I was in my kitchen with my dog, Sadie Girl, cocking her head to one side sitting there watching me with a somewhat worried look on her face... perhaps thinking her mistress was going off the deep end. 

Anyways... I was going somewhere with this... oh yes.

After some calming down and practicing my spinning and studying more videos and tutorials, I began to take a step back in everything I did and began to take careful thought into my colors, "What color would go with what? What design am I trying to portray?"

 I wanted to create a story behind my yarn!

My first story to back up my yarn was: Inspiration   

When I was working on Inspiration, I began to realize that my yarn should have a story behind it, because behind every great craft is a passion and behind each passion is a story ready to be told... Great or not, there is always a story to everything!

 After I finally finished Inspiration, I began to miss the ocean...

Photo by Elisa Edberg overlooking Downtown San Diego from Coronado Island

 I was born and raised in San Diego, California. I have many memories of going to the beach with my family, and many memories of going to "my beach" (located in La Jolla Shores) and sitting there doing a mini bible study, crocheting or knitting, even some short writing... The ocean inspired me greatly, and calmed me when it felt like my world was about to crumble around me!

 Living in Tennessee, there are rivers and some lakes, but nothing can replace the ocean!   

Photo by: Elisa Edberg

 I would like to share with you some memories surrounding the ocean...

I met my beloved on a free Christian dating site... Ya, I was the type that said, " A dating site??? Aren't they for... like... losers?", my brother met his wife on a christian dating site and he told me, "Just try it! If it doesn't work out then you can discontinue using it!", I always gave him a hard time saying, "No one wanted you so you had to go online huh?" Of course, he had a stingin' come back, "Uh, aren't you going on one too? So what does that make you?"... touche, dear brother... touche. Though I wanted to say, "Uh... That was wicked rude." Ha Ha!

 With my mama's encouragement (and my daddy trying to discourage me... he wanted me to be single forever. I was his little girl! Ha Ha!), I decided to go online and try it for just one week... after signing up, within the first hour... this hottie hot hottie who was living in Hawaii messaged me... and so... it began...

One memory surrounding the ocean during my husband and my exciting and often interesting romance was this:

Our very first photo together the day before we began our courtship that lead to getting unofficially engaged 2 weeks later, properly engaged a month later, that lead to our marriage 5 months later! How I love my beloved!

We sat on a rock that was on the sandy beach, the gorgeous breeze mixed with warm sun was delicious that made you want to take a nap right there and then! I loved seeing the alcatraz in formation barely touching the water as they flew on by... In the waves you can see some sea lions splashing about and popping their heads out of the water curiously watching the surfers... 

Photo by Elisa Edberg, La Jolla Beach


Dustin and I sat in silence soaking in the beauty of God's creation, he then turned to me and spoke, "Elisa... will you be my girl?", I turned to him and said, " ... No. ..." Don't yell at me, there is alot to the story, but i'm just giving you the odd yet funny part! 

Let's say that whole day (Dustin was just staying for a 24 hour date. He flew over night from the island and was leaving the following morning all to win my heart...) he wasn't giving up, this was the words he uttered (after I denied him for the 3rd time) that has been our marriage's motto:  "The day is not over yet".

When I walked him to the security line at the airport the next morning, he cupped my face right before passing the line (holding up the line behind him) and very gently brushed my lips with his (not a kiss at all, a very light brush I barely felt that brought shivers all over my body!) and whispered, " I don't want this to end." and crossed the line with me standing there in shock!

That did it, I was head over heels at his constantly chasing me and wouldn't let me go and his character and godliness, and just who he was! I texted him right away and said, "If this is a serious relationship, i'm all in.".

On Ewa Beach looking toward Honolulu.  Photo by Elisa Edberg

2 weeks after that day, I flew to over to hawaii to visit him (I stayed with a lovely couple from his church), and he took me to the North Shore (on the island of Oahu) and there I saw wild sea turtles surfing the waves! They were a lovely earthy green color and were beautiful! The water there was a gorgeous turquoise, with a hint of green when the sun hit it right... during the sunset there was some orange and reds and purples hitting the water... oh the ocean was so beautiful!!!! 

Photo by Elisa Edberg

When we drove back to Honolulu from the beach, we decided (in his little car) to get married that following September (5 months later)... and I even put it on my calendar!!!! Oh, what funny and wonderful memories!!!!!

Photo by Elisa Edberg

But my favorite memory was when we lived in Hawaii after we got married... We lived in Honolulu just a 10 minute walk to the beach. We would go often to swim during the sunset, but many times we would drive to Pearl Harbor military base when there was a full moon to a parking lot that was right on the ocean and there we could watch the airplanes take off... we would play our wedding song "Give me a Song" played by the Artis Family (who are a family band from the island, and a complete blessing to us) and dance in the night air with the moon shining down and the ocean gently splashing against the wall below... Those are memories that I will never forget when thinking about the ocean!

Now, coming back to the colors I was next to choose for my yarn, I wanted to theme it: Some Beach... Some where.

Remember that song? 

This song makes me giggle, but it's true! Whenever you are going through a bad day, don't you close your eyes and think "Some beach... some where", I know I do! 

I wanted to mimic the colors of the ocean so that whoever makes something to wear out of it or just creates something out of it to decor with, can bring the ocean with them!

My colors are not the typical: light blue with white. 

Photo by Elisa Edberg O'ahu, Hawaii

 No, I wanted a deep blue one would imagine seeing whales and dolphins pop up playfully, and greys that would mimic the turmoils of waves after a storm, the greens reminded me of the sea turtles gracefully swimming, and you would be able to see them under the water through a wave because the water was that clear!

I wanted to add some purple that reminded me of the sun hitting the water just right during a sunset, and the earthy silk blend that reminded me of the sea weeds that was scattered on the sand and drift wood...

Photo by Elisa Edberg

After single plying all this gorgeous colors, I began to navajo ply BUT... I did something different!  I added beads to my yarn! Why? I wanted to learn how to do it, and second, I wanted to add something that would remind me of sea shells and smooth earthy colored rocks you would see at the beach!

Photo by Elisa Edberg

Oh! I had such memories of my big brother, myself, mom and dad and my grandma (my mom's mother) going to the beach and picking up sea shells and rocks! Haha, I remember my brother "saving" my grandma, because she was sinking in the sand with the current of the water, and he helped her out (he was maybe 12 at the time)! Ay yay yay! 

Coronado beach... and i'm being goofy as you can see!

I had amazing fun painting... with my yarn! These are the colors I used: 

It looks like a mess, no doubt... and you're probably wondering, "How are all these colors gonna look like a beach themed yarn?" ... 

The results were beautiful:

When I make my rolags, I feel like i'm painting! And all these painted colors blended together comes up with something beautiful!
 In my next post I will explain a bit more how I added beads and add a video! 

Thank you for allowing me to share with anyone reading this my joy in making this special yarn! Making a memory with your yarn... now that is special!     
Some Beach... Somewhere. Click on photo to be redirected to my Etsy Shop

Some beach ... Somewhere (bead edition) click on photo to be redirected to my Etsy Shop

Thursday, June 4, 2015

No blending board for rolags? No problem

I've been spinning on a wheel since Christmas Day 2014, have been spinning on a drop spindle since October 2014, and became interested in spinning my own yarn (and obsessed with blogs, articles and youtube videos on anything to do with spinning fibers/dyeing fibers) since September 2014!

Since December I have been enamored with this particular photo I took off from pinterest:

NOT MY YARN or WORK... just showing a photo I took from pinterest that started my quest to make something of like quality!

After I saw this picture, I believe I stared at it for 5 minutes straight... it's not just the colors that captured my attention, it was the way the colors were sporadic and sort of random but yet all in order... I can't explain it, but it was the most beautiful yarn i've seen! I knew right there and then, that this was my goal, this was the kind of yarn i'd pride myself on making!

 I searched the internet and asked other spinners how to get this kind of quality in my dyeing and hand spinning, majority I asked and searched purchased the rovings already dyed or already batted together on a drum carder and all they had to do was spin it. I didn't want that, I wanted to learn how to do it from scratch!

 So my journey began (since January when I got my dyes and raw fleece from tunis sheep and alpaca) to get this kind of yarn from my own fleece, dye and wheel!

I tried dyeing the roving with a color here and a color there, but it all looked too "tie-dye" and spinning it, it looked really nice, but it wasn't what I truly desired! The colors were uniformed perfectly and I didn't want that at all...  So, I tried again!

This time, I tried spinning my roving naturally and then dye afterward sprinkling the colors I wanted here and there...

Then I spun another bobbin of singles and dyed here and there and 2 plied these colors together, and it came out looking lovely! But no what I wanted!!!!!

I proceeded to try spinning the roving (natural color) and try this same concept again, but I wasn't careful and ended up blending all my dyes together... but it came out as a side blessing because these colors came out!!!

I was so shocked and pleasantly surprised and was so pleased that I remembered what dyes I put in and the amount and for how long (and of course wrote them down for future reference!), see? Accidents can be the best thing that can ever happen to you! ;)

But still, I was determined! I would not stop until I got the yarn of my dreams that I made myself...

I kept on looking online and asking around, but so far I wasn't getting anywhere new. One day, I was lying in bed and couldn't sleep (my husband can sleep so easily! I envy him... my mind is constantly thinking creative thoughts I can't turn it off sometimes! Ha ha!), so what do I do while i'm lying in bed? Go on pinterest and look at handspun yarn, dye tutorials, rustic handmade items and dream of our future land, home and sheep on our tiny homestead!

While browsing the internet I came across fiber artists using drum carders and making beautiful batts, and others using large blending boards to make rolags. I watched with longing and admiration as they blended all these beautiful colored fibers on the blending board and roll it tight to make rolags... whoa... wait... "THERE IT IS!" I gasped and shot up in bed as my beloved moaned and groaned and said, "Baby, watching more spinning stuff?" and dosed to sleep... he knows me well, even while talking in his sleep. Ha ha!

I needed to blend these colors not on a hackle (I tried that multiple times and didn't come out exactly as I wanted it), but on a blending board and roll it in rolags! Then I slumped down in my bed realizing, wait... I don't have a blending board, or one of those fancy dowels or sticks to roll up a rolag anyways... Sigh...

Next morning, I was taking sadie girl for a walk (our big goofy blockhead of a pup!) not thinking much about my spinning adventure (sometimes I have to take a break from creativity!) listening to my youtube playlist (Zac Brown Band, Josh Turner and some Blake Shelton), when in the middle of our walk it dawned on me, I don't need a huge and expensive drum carder or blending board with it's fancy brush and dowels! I can just use what I have on me! Until I have enough money, I can just improvise!

 I rushed us home (sadie girl not happy at my interrupting her sniffing everything in sight) and took all my dyes out and began dyeing solid colors with each 4 oz. or so of my tunis/alpaca. No fancy dyeing here and there, just a mixture or colors blended to give the roving what color I wanted. I did 5 batches of the colors I wanted.

Then I looked around in my crochet and crafting area for anything that would be useful for a brush and 2 dowels (as I had my hand carders which would serve as my blending board). I found two old crochet hooks and a clean old paint brush!

So I began to blend! I started out with the forest green and added it to my carder sporadically (it wasn't entirely covering the carder perfectly) and brushed it down with my clean paint brush in order to add my other colors!

I loved adding a roving that was not dyed at all to give it the white I wanted! I just placed it in 2 spots on my carder.

In between the natural color I added another (in 3 spots as to not overlap the white just yet) .

I added over the white another color... see what i'm doing here?

With each application I brushed the fiber down...

I only used a minimum amount as I didn't want to overwhelm the bristles!

For this application (the purple) it wasn't my own fibers, but leftover merino I purchased when I first was learning how to spin on my wheel! No wasting here!

Now it was time to use my dowels... er- crochet hooks! I placed one hook behind all my fibers on the carder, and the second in front, they were not placed evenly, but one was longer than the other. I then rolled the hooks down, and drafted with each roll gently...

The reason why I had one hook remain longer than the other was when I was done rolling them, I can find one hook and push it out of my rolag and the other hook always finds the hole I pulled the other one from!

 This was my rolags (not entirely perfect but they did the job!) that I made with just 2 hand carders, old paint brush (clean) and 2 crochet hooks!

I spun in this same pattern. Green-Red-Green-Red, etc...

 I  decided I didn't want just "green" based yarn so I made another batch of rolags with a "wine" color like foundation and used the same colors I used for green but I added them to my carders backwards so it seems like the colors are slightly different which added a lot of beauty to my yarn! 

Below is a video I made (with the help of my beloved) that will detail how I made this gorgeous rustic rolags.

After spinning singles for a while, look how absolutely gorgeous the rolags have spun on my bobbin!!!! After 4 months of mistakes and never giving up, I finally got it, I finally got the results I absolutely wanted and I am so HAPPY!!!!!!

Then after I finished the very fine singles, I then plied it (Navajo ply). I just have to say, Navajo ply is nothing to run away and hide under your blanket! It's exactly like crocheting chains, except with your fingers! In my video, there is no voice as I have learned (self taught by watching youtube videos) that I learn better by muting sound and completely watching the movement! If you are that kind of learner, then you will enjoy... I hope. Ha ha! 

After 3 weeks of dyeing, blending, spinning and plying I got the yarn that I have worked so hard to attain!

I named this yarn: Inspiration. 


Right after taking photos of my finished yarn I dropped it twice on accident and each time it snagged and it became a tangled mess! 

Oh, I just wanted to cry!!!! 435 yards of complete tangled messiness! But I was not about to give up on putting this to skein once again! So for the past 4 days I have been very slowly and carefully detangling my gorgeous yarn, and so far I am almost done!!!!

 One thing I will say, i'm actually glad that happened. Why? So I can practice patience and a peaceful attitude! It also helped me appreciate all the work I put into it and to not take for granted that I have the blessing of being able to stay home full time as my darling husband works hard for me to do so and fulfill my dream! I love that husband of mine!

I hope you all have enjoyed this post as I have enjoyed writing it, I am so thrilled to share with all who is reading this!

Inspiration (230 yards) click on photo to be redirected to my Etsy Shop