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Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

It’s so great to have another FO to blog about, and probably a shock to most of you that I’m posting so soon. Last post was knitting and now for spinning.

My wonderful friend Micki sent this lovely fiber to me as a “welcome to spinning” gift. I loved it when I saw it and loved it even more while I was spinning it.

hand dyed by: PigeonRoof Studios (etsy)
4.1 ounces corriedale
colorway: Dovecote

Spinning thin singles doesn’t seem to be a problem for me, so I did attempt to spin these singles a bit thicker, but staying consistent was more difficult than I thought it would be. Unfortunately there were some thin and thick spots throughout both bobbins of singles and I hoped plying would hide the flaws.

This is the first time I’ve spun yarn that when plied, gives a barberpole-like effect. If I would’ve known what I was doing, I probably could’ve split the fiber in a better way as to not have the same colored single occasionally end up plied together, but this is all a learning experience so it’s not like I’m disappointed. I think it looks pretty good for my fourth handspun skein of yarn.

After plying I checked the wpi (wraps per inch) and it was 18. After I washed, thwacked and hung the yarn to dry, it bloomed and ended up at 16 wpi.

2-ply sportweight
276 yards / 111 grams

Thus far, this is my favorite skein of handspun. I checked my Ravelry queue, and I think I’m going to make the Morning Surf Scarf featured in the current issue of Spin-Off magazine. I found another Raveler who knit the pattern in sport weight yarn casting on 26 sts with a size 3.25mm needle and only used 200 yards. I wonder if I cast on 36 sts if I’ll need more than the 276 yards that this skein has. Does anyone know how to calculate that or do I just jump right in and cross my fingers?

My latest yarn collecting came way by means of a contest. I don’t enter blog contests nearly as much as I used to, but this one caught my eye since it was for a skein of Wollemeise. I’ve repeatedly stalked The Loopy Ewe website during the “sneak-ups” to get my hands on some, but it’s all sold out by the time I get there. Thankfully Emma came to the rescue and put a skein of Wollmeise up as a prize for her blog contest and lucky me, I won.

yarn: Wollmeise Sockenwolle 80/20
colorway: Dani

There’s 574 yards in a 150 gm skein. Unbelievable! Thank you Emma for such a great prize

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What to do? What to do? Write a blog post, or read all the blog posts I’ve neglected for the past 2 plus weeks? I suppose if I haven’t commented on your blog recently, and you’re reading this post, you’ll know what I chose.

I was going to post a few days ago, but somehow right before I hit the publish button, the entire body of my post (with photos) completely disappeared. The title was still there, but the entire body of the message was blank. Completely blank. Such a shame, because it was even an interesting post about socks knit with lacewieght yarn. When my sanity returns I’ll rewrite it, but for now I can only try to distract you with my very own handspun yarn.

What started out as this:

Corriedale Fiber

Fiber Source: Carolina Homespun
Fiber Content: 100% Corriedale Wool

Has now become this:

Purple Laceweight

100% Corriedale Wool
2-ply
384 yards / 60 grams
Laceweight

Purple Laceweight

Don’t let the photos fool you though. There are so many ends in this skein, it’s embarrassing. Since I’d heard so many stories of beginning spinners over-spinning their yarn, I ended up under-spinning mine. I quickly realized this when I was plying and the singles kept breaking over and over again. It’s quite infuriating. Believe me, I didn’t let that mistake happen again when I picked up this:

Forest

Fiber Source: Paradise Fibers
Fiber Content: Ashland Bay Multicolor merino wool top
Colorway: Forest
Weight: 4 ounces

And spun it into this:

Forest Merino
100% Merino Wool
2-ply
400 yards / 98 grams
Fingering weight

Forest Merino

This time there were no breaks in the singles so the plying went very well. The singles weren’t quite as even as the laceweight yarn, but I was attempting to make my singles a bit thicker. Maybe I should just stick with very thin singles and 3 ply everything. This skein is obviously far from perfect, but for skein number 3, I’m not unhappy.

And contrary to proof on my blog, I have been knitting. All the sample knitting has been completed and is in the designers hands. Both samples will be photographed for books coming out next year and one of the designers even said my knitting is superb. It doesn’t get any better than that!

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Remember when Carole sent my that wonderful “welcome to spinning” package? Well, the welcome wagon has hit again and this time I received a package from Micki. I must confess I was half expecting to receive a package from her. She’d spun this beautiful pink, gold and white yarn and commented that she didn’t really like it. Of course I volunteered to take it off her hands and so she came up with a swap idea. If she sent me this yarn that she’d spun, then in the future I’d send her a skein of yarn I’d spun. It sounded like the perfect plan.

But when the package arrived, it was kind of fat. How could this only be one skein of yarn? Well, it wasn’t.

The first thing I found in the package was this beautiful fiber from Copperpot Woolies. It’s a fluffy and soft 4.2 ounces of merino and the colorway is called Beyond the Realm.

Merino Roving

Next came another stunning fiber from PigeonRoof Studios. It’s got amazing color variations and is 4.1 ounces of corriedale in a colorway called Dovecote.

Corriedale Roving

Last, and best of all, was Micki’s very own handspun, but this was not the handspun we’d agreed on for our swap. This handspun is made from fiber made at Crown Mountain Farms. This makes it especially precious because the Sock Hop Yarn from CMF is what started my interest in spinning. This is 360 yards of fingering weight 100% superwash merino (111 grams) in the colorway Good Vibrations.

Good Vibrations from Micki

Micki has only been spinning for about 6 months (if that) and this yarn is perfect. No, really it is. As soon as I can spin yarn that looks this good, then I’ll fulfill my end of the swap. Is a year or two too long? 😉

Good Vibrations from Micki

In knitting news, I actually have been knitting. Unfortunately, I’ve been sample knitting for designers so I’m unable to share any photos until the patterns are released.

The one thing I have been madly working on since returning from vacation is this beautiful stole designed by my friend Laura. I’m honored to once again be asked to test-knit it (or did I *tell* her I was test knitting it?), but it was until yesterday that I noticed this:

Dulcavina stole

When I put the two shawl ends together, one end of the shawl is much lighter in color than the other end. Obviously one skein of the Malabrigo got a lot more of the deep blue than the first skein I used. Drat. I’m not ripping back though. It’s going to be a design element.

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A few weeks ago, my wonderful friend Carole surprised me with a package of rovings and a sweet card welcoming me to the world of spinning. The roving I noticed immediately was this one:

Hand-Dyed Wool Roving

This is 100% Wool (label doesn’t say what kind of wool) from Knit One Spin Two. Although the natural BFL I showed in my last post was easy to spin, the bright green color of this roving could be seen clearly which makes it perfect for the beginning spinner. I know personally how much it helped me spin more consistent singles. I’ve only spun one bobbin of this and I think I may use it a practice to try Navajo Plying.

Bright Green Singles

Also included in the package was 4 ounces of this amazing merino/bamboo fiber hand dyed by Spunky Eclectic. The colorway is Walking on the Sun, and it’s even more beautiful in person. I haven’t spun it up yet, because I’m not sure how different spinning the bamboo fiber will be. I’d like to have a bit more practice with the BFL and Corriedale I have in my fiber stash so that I don’t waste a bit of this.

Merino / Bamboo fiber

Since the first day, I have been inspired by the stunning yarn that Micki has been spinning on her Lendrum wheel. She has been enabling helping me by making recommendations of where I can purchase beautiful rovings to spin. Within the matter of a few days, my doorstep was no longer being graced with packages filled with yarn, but with packages of rovings from Paradise Fibers, Wolly Treasures, and Crown Mountain Farms. I’ve already started spinning the fiber from Paradise Fibers, which is 4 ounces of this beautiful Ashland Bay merino top in the Forest colorway.

Merino Top fiber

Photos of the other rovings will be shared as I spin them, but for those of you who don’t want to wait, check out my Flickr Spinning Set.

I know it’s hard to tell, but lately there has been more knitting going on around here than spinning. The problem is, I can’t show you everything I’ve been knitting. The only project I can show you is the beautiful blue blob which is another test-knit for my friend Laura. The project doesn’t have a name quite yet, and there will be two other knitters joining in, but since I was waiting for my sample knit pattern to arrive, I cast on and knit this as quick as I could. I’m only halfway through the stole, not including the border, but I have to stop now and work on the sample knits so it will look like this for a few weeks I’m afraid. By the way, this is Malabrigo Lace yarn in Taureg, and it’s every bit as soft as the Malabrigo worsted in my stash. Do you know how tempting it is to knit lace undergarments in this?
(No Name)
The knitting items I can’t show you are my sample knits. I met the designer at TNNA and told her I’d be thrilled to test or sample knit for her and after some email correspondence that followed, she agreed to send me a sample to knit as a trial to see how well we worked together and more obviously how well I could or couldn’t knit. When she received the first sample knit she said she loved it and asked if I could do two more for her this month. I feel so flattered and lucky to have this opportunity, and it has given my “cute knitting hobby” some credibility with family and friends since now I’m being paid to sample knit. Unfortunately for you, there will be no photos until the designs have been released.

So currently I have two sock samples due by the end of this month and I’m trying to get them both finished before next Friday when I leave on vacation for 10 days. I’ve also made it to the next round of Sock Madness and the next round starts tonight. In fact the email with the pattern should be arriving in my inbox at anytime. Oh crap, that reminds me, I’ve got to go wind those skeins of yarn which might take a minute or two or twenty since this round is a pair of socks in laceweight yarn in two different colorways. Yikes! Don’t even get me started on how much house cleaning, vacation preparation, emails, and voice mails that are being neglected. Aren’t you surprised I found time to squeeze in another blog post so soon? I’m still in my pajamas though if that gives you any clue as to what got skipped today so that a blog post could be written. You’re all worth it.

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About a month ago, my beautiful spinning wheel was christened when I had my first spinning lesson from Lori Lawson of Capistrano Fiber Arts. Lori made me feel at ease instantly, and since I’d practiced treadling slow and steady for a few days, the only thing I really had to pay attention to were my hands. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling of spinning yarn other than to say it was magical. I was a bit surprised that it felt semi-natural, like it was something I had done before. The only thing I can equate it to is the feeling you get when you do something that you learned many years ago, but haven’t done in a long time, like riding a bike. At first it feels a bit awkward trying to remember about the balancing and steering and pedaling, but after a few minutes of riding, it all comes back to you. That’s what spinning for the first time felt like to me.

I credit most of my ease to Lori, because I really believe that if you have good equipment and a good instructor, you’ll learn a lot quicker and easier. Lori is an amazing instructor and after seeing her beautiful dyeing, spinning and knitting, I knew I was learning from a master artist. In fact, if you’re looking for beautifully hand-dyed fiber (yarn and roving) or handspun yarn from her hand-dyed roving, check out her etsy site.

At the end of my first day of spinning, I had this:

First Handspun Single Day 1

And at the end of the second day of spinning, I had this:

First Handspun Single Day 2

And then, when I filled another bobbin and plied them together, I got this:

First Handspun

Fiber: BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) in Natural
2 ply
330 yards
90 grams

First Handspun

It’s obviously not perfect, but it is my first handspun so I’m proud of it. It’s also not quite thin enough to be sock yarn, although it is close. I have no idea what to do with it though. Right now it’s sitting on the bookcase attached to my desk. For those of you who spin, what did you do with your first handspun? What do all of you knitters think I should do with mine?

And before I forget, I’m going to try and post a couple of times this week and next to try and get caught up. I have so many things to show and tell you, but if I don’t get them all posted here before I go on vacation in 10 days, they’ll probably never get shared.

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I was sad to wake up on Sunday morning knowing that this afternoon I had to leave Stitches and all my new friends to return to normal life. I was anxious to hit the market floor one last time and got impatient waiting for my husband, so I went to the market a few minutes ahead of him. I wandered the aisles and picked up a few little things for some friends. I can’t show you what they are, but if you want to check out Debra’s Garden and Gita Maria, you’ll have an idea of what I bought.

My husband met up with me before my purchase at Debra’s Garden, and gave me yet another knitting bag. He knows I have a love for bags, and I had commented earlier in the week that it would be wonderful to have a bag like that one to take to my knit nights so that my bag stayed upright. Obviously he was paying attention.

Bag Smith Knitting Bag

And if that weren’t enough (and it was) as I wandered with him by several beloved vendors such as Blue Moon Fiber Arts and Brooks Farm Yarn, I noticed the Carolina Homespun booth and their spinning wheels that had been taunting me all weekend.

Several of my blogging friends are spinners (you know who you are) and since they flash their beautiful handspun on their blogs, it had me fantasizing about spinning my own yarn also. On Friday afternoon after milling around the spinning wheels for awhile, I was asked if I had any questions. I let them know I was just looking and that I was going to save my money this year to purchase a wheel. I inquired about the best wheel for a beginner, and after 30 minutes or so, I decided that the wheel that would probably work best for me is the folding Lendrum Double Treadle wheel.

As hubby and I passed their booth Saturday morning, I’d realized that I didn’t remember the name of the wheel, nor had I written it down. I showed Morgaine the spinning wheel with the forgotten name, and she said that one is the folding Lendrum Double Treadle wheel and its a wonderful. I inquired about her shipping policy and she quickly let me know that she could either ship this wheel to me, or I could take it with me today. I laughed and explained that I was still saving my money and that I wouldn’t be purchasing until much later this year (if not next). My husband interrupted and said “no, we’ll be buying the wheel today and we’d like to take it home with us today.”

Lendrum DT wheel

I held onto his arm to steady myself and said “No, I will wait until my birthday or Christmas because I’m going to save my own money to buy it”. He gave me his “don’t argue with me” look so I stopped talking.

Then there was the option of taking just the wheel, or purchasing the complete kit. Hmm… guess which option we chose?

Lendrum accessories

Margaine then asked if I wanted a bag to put the wheel in. I politely declined and my husband said in his gently stern voice “pick one”. I told him again it wasn’t necessary and I could look online for bags when we got home and then he interrupted me. “You need your wheel to be protected. We’re not leaving here until you pick one.” Sir, yes sir.

Lendrum portable wheel bag

Margaine left the booth to get my wheel and bag from her trailer and I stood there in complete shock. I’ve never sat at a wheel and I’ve never attempted spinning, not even with a drop spindle. I told hubby to pinch me because I still must be in our hotel room asleep and dreaming. Then it hit me and I asked my husband “when did you know you were going to buy this for me?” “Thursday night” he replied. “Then why did you let me buy all that yarn when I should have been purchasing fiber for the wheel?” He didn’t hesitate for a moment and told me “You’ll need yarn to knit while you’re learning to spin, won’t you?” He was correct. Besides, if he thinks I’m going to stop buying yarn just because I’m going to spin now, he’s crazy.

One last thing about my wonderful husband. A night or so ago when he came home from work I told him I wanted to show him what I’d received in the mail. He sat down on the sofa next to me and I handed him a skein of fingering weight sock yarn. He looked at it for a moment and then just as I looked away I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he was sniffing the yarn. My head spun around to catch him in the act, and he gave me that “oh damn she caught me” look. I giggled and he smiled. I guess spending a few days at Stitches West truly rubbed off on him. In a good way though.

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