Category Archives: spinning

The Colors of Spring

 

This winter has been so long and gloomy that I needed something cheerful to work on for a bit. It didn’t help that J wanted me to knit him a sweater- that was grey. Really, buddy?

So I did some stash diving and found 8oz of merino/bamboo blend roving that I purchased at MDSW 2010. I spun some of it up back in December, but the majority of the spinning and plying took place last week. Once I was done plying, I got to try out my new/old spinning weasel for the first time ever. This thing is awesome! 120 rotations/click, which works out to 312 yards or so.  It makes calculating yardage so much easier. 

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Finished yarn! I had to do two mini skeins; one is a traditional 3-ply (like the large skein) and the other is a chain ply because one bobbin had waaaaay more singles on it than the other two. If the weather FINALLY clears up, I’ll wash and whack these this weekend. The ultimate plan is to knit myself the Monsoon Shawl from IK Spring 2014. This will make such a nice, squishy wrap.

In other spring news, the local farmer’s markets have moved outside again! This one just happens to occur the same day as knit night, in the parking lot behind the yarn store. Thursdays are about to get a lot more expensive. I don’t care- fresh produce! Free range eggs! Fresh cheese! Well, as fresh as you want cheese to be.  

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There are no pictures of the planters with my snap peas and carrots since they haven’t sprouted yet. Just imagine another box, full of dirt.I also managed to get my miniscule vegetable garden planted this week. The first picture are my three tomato plants- a green zebra, an amish paste, and…I forget the third, but it’s a dark red/brown color. The second picture is my pepper plants. I forget the names, but we got two sweet and one hot pepper. The one on the far right is a chocolate something or other- I’m excited to see what those are like. Finally, my vine plants! There’s one cucumber plant, a longneck pumpkin, and a butternut squash. I’m not sure how well they will all do in there, but we shall see. 

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And finally, our lazy Saturday morning. Someone did not feel like getting out of our nice warm bed today. She got up long enough to eat and run around like an elephant for about 10 minutes, then back to sleep for the past oh, 3 hours. She’s lucky she’s cute.

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Next up: figure out what fiber I want to spin now! I’m also trying to talk J into going to an estate sale today. I think I can get a CPW  for pretty cheap. Who could turn that down?!

Posted in fiber, spinning | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Always Playing Catch-up

Keeping up is hard to do, lately. So much going on, and so little time to record it! The usual is still going on; school is school, pregnancy is…interesting, bags are selling well at the local shop, and work is busy. Honestly, I don’t have it in me to write too much, so I’ll just show you what I’ve been up to in pictures.

Chocolates from our favorite local chocolate shop. I get spoiled occasionally. Maybe it is worth the morning sickness ;)

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I started this while we were still having dark, gloomy weather. It’s a merino/bamboo blend and just so darn cheerful. It spins up like butter and makes me happy. 

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The rest of these photos are from MDSW 2014, which just ended. This year my parents made the trip down with me. I didn’t buy much, but we had such an enjoyable day checking out the sheep and food. I bought 1/2lb of cormo roving, 4oz of BFL/nylon roving from FatCatKnits, and worsted yarn from Neighborhood Fiber Co. to make a sweater for baby.

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Ice cream before we leave!

 

 

 

 


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I’m going to get my things organized, and hopefully have a much more interesting post after this, showing completed projects and plans for my next few. 

Posted in fiber, knitting, MDSW, roving, spinning, wool, yarn | 2 Comments

This and That

I have been travelling for my full-time job almost non stop lately, home only long enough to attend my graduate classes two evenings a week. This means that little crafting or blogging has been completed recently, so today will be random things I forgot to blog about earlier in the year.

Rhinebeck Haul

This is my haul from Rhinebeck this year, minus the amazing cheese and pesto I bought. Those are already gone.  Starting from the upper left: BFL naturally dyed from Spencer Hill Spinning and Dyeing. She only uses natural dyes for all of her products, and gets amazing colors from them.

Next is 4oz of baby mohair/wool from Steam Valley Fiber. The White skein is also from them; it’s a mohair/wool blend dk weight yarn.

Next are two skeins of sock yarn from Spencer Hill (can you tell where I spent all of my money?) in indigo/lac and indigo. Then two miniskeins of sock yarn from Miss Babs for some colorwork mittens I am planning. Finally, 8oz of CVM/Silk from Carolina Homespun. It is like touching a cloud. I LOVE it.

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This was my big birthday present from my parents- an antique yarn blocker! It is fully functioning, and makes a popping noise after approximately 80 rotations (I need to count again, it’s hard to keep track). Some of the spokes are chipped, but they will still hold yarn!

 

 

 

 

 

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This Book was a present for my inlaws. I cannot wait to start making some of the projects in it. The Penguin and Alligator specifically look like so much fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 I posted back here about spinning up some pink corriedale in fauxlags. This hat is the result of that yarn. It used about 2/3 of the skein (125yds). It is so warm and squishy, I love it! I didn’t want to take it off once I finished it. This hat only took about 3 days of intermittent knitting.

 

 

 

 

 

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And finally! Yesterday we went to Afternoon Tea at the Jefferson Hotel to celebrate my cousin’s 16th birthday. This was the fanciest tea I have ever been to. Absolutely gorgeous, amazing foods and delicious teas. Such a great experience. And probably the only time I’ll be able to set foot in a hotel that swanky. ;)

Posted in fiber, hat, knitting, roving, spinning, Uncategorized, wool, yarn | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

And just like that, summer is gone

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been 3 months since the last blog post. Things have been so crazy here, I’ve barely had time to think, let alone work up a blog post. Working out of town, completing classes, having my stepdaughter come to visit, the in-laws showing up…it’s been a very busy summer! So, instead of writing about “what I did on my summer vacation” I decided to do a photo essay instead!

Posted in fiber, spinning, Tour De Fleece, Uncategorized, wool | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Finally Making Some Progress

I finally feel as if I am making progress on my spinning, knitting, and sewing projects. Not having classes two nights a week really does give me a lot of free time! The hardest part about wanting to update on all of this is figuring out where to start. Guess I’ll start with the spinning. Last year a dog got into some combed top I was working on, and strew it all around the house. It would be impossible to spin it as prepped top now, but with my fancy new hand cards I could turn the top into rolags pretty easily and spin from that!

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This is my spinning set-up from last week. In the front are the rolags I prepped from the affected fiber. The bobbin on the back left is full of 3oz of merino/mohair singles. The bobbin on the right is another 3 oz of the same fiber, chain plied. In the back you can see my yarn bowl and WIP.

I was hoping to spin a bulky single. Unfortunately learning to spin rolags in a truly woolen manner was a bit difficult, and I ended up with thick and thin singles, about a worsted weight. The colors in this photo are the most accurate for the pink fiber.

 

 

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Here are the singles. About 200yds, 4oz. I spun it up as a gradient, from dark magenta to a pink so light it’s almost white. I really wanted a thicker yarn, but if I ply this I’ll get a really awful barber pole effect, and I’m just not sure I want that yet. We will see. I have time before I need a winter hat from this.

 

 

Here is a swatch knitted up. It’s not bad, but this is on size 8 needles. Definitely worsted. 

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Here is the finished product of the chain-plied mohair. This skein is about 275yds, 3oz. I ended up with about a sport weight yarn. I’m still plying the second bobbin, but it should be around the same. I’m ok with that, I just need to figure out what to do with 500yds of a mohair blend. I’m not so sure it will make great socks. Maybe house socks? It could make a nice small shawl, too. That’s the hardest part about spinning- trying to figure out what to do with the yarn once it’s made! 

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Oh, and here was my super fancy set-up to skein this yarn once I was done spinning it:

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I know, don’t you all wish you had this impressive layout? I can’t wait until I have a craft room, and a table that has enough of a lip to attach my swift. 

 

 

 

 

This weekend we are heading up to the lake to spend the holiday with family. I’m bringing the Border Leicester, as I said earlier. Gertrude, all her supplies, and the hand cards are coming along, too. I plan on getting a good start with the Border Leicester this weekend. I’m hoping I bought enough of it- the original intention was to knit myself a sweater from it. If I am low on fiber though, I’ll have to decide if I want to blend it, or do a colorwork yoke to try and make the yarn last. I may kick myself if I find out I didn’t purchase enough.

The trindle went out in the mail today to get fixed/replaced. I’m hoping he is able to fix it. I really love that little spindle and was very excited to spin on it this past weekend. I’ve learned my lesson though. Never take a trindle out of the house!

Posted in fiber, roving, spinning, sweater, Uncategorized, wool, yarn | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

As Summer comes to an end…

It’s been a busy past couple of weeks. I keep meaning to come back to the blog and give an update, but I always feel guilty for showing up without any photos to show progress on things. So much has gone on since my last post!

First up, a summary of my 2012 Tour De Fleece efforts. I did a lot better than last year, managing to spin at least 3 days a week, but I didn’t do as well documenting my progress. I  finally plied my Cinderella colorway. It looks pretty neat. I spun up each bobbin randomly, so there are places where it’s all white, or all dark blue, but I think it will give the finished knit item a nice appearance. (Remind me of this post when I go to knit something and it turns out horrible looking). It’s approximately 300yds, although it has fluffed up to probably a DK weight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spun about 3oz of a mohair/wool blend I purchased at Knitter’s Day Out in 2010. It’s a nice teal and purple blend, and it has been spinning up wonderfully. I don’t know why I didn’t finish up the remaining 3 oz yet- I guess I am just too lazy to get my wheel out and work on it lately. One bobbin- full is 30z, but I am torn between doing a 2ply when it is all done, or doing a navajo ply for each bobbin. 

 

 

 

 

 

My big accomplishment in the past few weeks though, was finally finishing this shawl. It’s the Rose Lace Stole from the Spring 2011 Interweave Knits. It is an easy pattern, and 75% of it is just straight knitting with a few yarnovers. I just couldn’t bring myself to finish this shawl. It was the same thing over and over, and completely mind-numbing. It was supposed to be finished in time for my wedding, but that obviously fell through. It will now be a birthday/Christmas gift for my mother-in-law. She is always complaining about how cold she is, so I know she will appreciate this. I’m just glad I can finally mark another project “completed” in my mental knitting checklist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow I am off to enter a few items in the Maryland State Fair. Later this week I’ll share what my latest sewing projects have been, and give reviews of everything I am sending down to the fair. I think I have a good shot of winning at least one ribbon this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in fiber, knitting, roving, shawl, spinning, Tour De Fleece, Uncategorized, wool, yarn | Tagged | Leave a comment

Spin a Yarn

A month goes by way too fast. I’ll admit, part of it is me being a complete slacker, but it’s been busy the past few weeks. Three weekends ago we went up to the lakehouse where I fully intended to take amazing and awe-inspiring photos of my works in progress. I got one.  It was a very busy weekend!

I finished up the 1oz art batt I was working on. It’s probably 100yds of singles. I have no idea what I will do with it. This wasn’t my favorite stuff to work with- there was still a lot of grease in the fiber, and sections of the merino seemed a bit felted. I am moderately pleased with the final product, though.

(Note- it’s more pink than orange in real life.)

 

Next up, some wool/mohair/angelina blend. I don’t think I have any in progress photos of it, but I did spin some of it up into an art yarn last year, documented in this blog post.  I got about 62 yds of worsted weight, 2 ply yarn. it’s nice and squishy. I learned a lot on this fiber. One: semi-felted wool sucks, and Two: I need to put more twist into my singles. I seem to habitually undertwist my singles, and it makes plying more challenging than it needs to be.

 

 I also worked on a similar fiber with a heavier spindle. This one had way more felted sections, and sometimes I felt like I was fighting with the fiber. The colors were so vibrant though, I almost forgot what a pain in the butt it is to spin. 

The rest of this month (all 5 days of it) will be spent getting bobbins and spindles cleared off for the start of Tour De Fleece 2012. Hopefully that means pictures of more finished yarns to come!

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To Boldly Knit

I know my last post was all about new patterns I want to sew, but lately I seem to have a greater desire to knit. I have a number of projects I want to finish, and they seem to just drag. on. My purse sock, for instance, still isn’t ready to have the heel turned on it, and I have  been working on this sock for four months now. It’s like a black hole of sock knitting! Maybe it’s just imploding on itself due to it’s properties.

This sock is Viper Pilots (Ravelry link), knit out of Woolen Mill St Yarns Star Trek (it seems to be a discontinued colorway), worked on mostly while watching Stargate Atlantis. Maybe the problem is there is so much sci-fi coolness knit into this sock, that it just implodes from all the awesome? That can be the only explanation for 3 inches of a sock taking four months.

These are going to be J’s birthday/wedding/Christmas socks. Maybe I’ll get them done by the end of the year.

 

 

 I have spent the rest of my time getting ready for this years Tour De Fleece. I decided to finish spinning up some Corriedale I have been working on for about 6 months. I finally have two bobbins full, and now I just need to ply them. The fiber is also from Woolen Mill St Yarns, in her Cinderella colorway. What can I say, the woman does impressive dye jobs. I can’t buy enough of her stuff.

(I also got a new lightbox to play with. I’ll figure out optimal settings with it eventually.)

 

 

 

 

Once I finished spinning those singles, I started on an art batt I bought at Wool Gathering in OH last year from Roving Acres.It’s a 1 oz art batt consisting of Alpaca, Merino, silk noils and angelina. It’s been a little difficult to spin up. I am not sure I enjoy art batts. They seem to have a mind of their own on what they want to be, and no amount of wrangling will make them anything else. The singles are turning out awful pretty though. I’m sure the final yarn will convince me I love art batts and need hundreds more and that wasn’t really troublesome, was it?

 

 

 

 


 

 

This past week was J’s birthday. I don’t know if you guessed from the theme of his socks above, but he is a bit of a sci-fi fan. Every year I make him a special birthday cake, and this year we went with a Star Trek Theme. It’s just a basic chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, but he loved it (and ate most of it. I would be more hurt if I liked frosting).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I doubt this week I will actually get some sewing done, but hopefully I can make a sizable dent in that sock and my spinning.

Posted in cake, fiber, knitting, roving, spinning, wool, yarn | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Tour De Fleece

The Tour De Fleece is over halfway done! with thousands of people participating in the group on Ravelry, I was a little intimated. However I have a wheel that is feeling a bit neglected, and some spindles that probably think I have completely abandoned them, so my goals this year were:

Spin every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.

Finish my falkland that I purchased from FatCatKnits at the 2010 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

Learn how to use my new Russian Spindle.

Do some cool looking art yarn.

So far I am doing well. I have actually finished a few skeins of yarn! Here is some Ashland Bay merino I completed. I got about 230 yards of a 3 ply worsted from this. It is so nice and squishy. I want to just walk around holding it all day.

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The falkland has been taking me a long time. I’m shooting for a semi-woolen yarn from this. I have been spinning the top long draw from the fold. This technique does make a very lofty yarn with a lot of yardage. I was actually fairly surprised that the finished yarn ended up at 412 yards. Here are some in progress photos. I haven’t taken a picture of the finished yarn yet, and it may not be possible before my cat eats it. I walked in on her attacking it this morning. I guess she doesn’t like multi-colors.

Progress on the bobbin:

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I packed up Gertrude and took her to visit my grandparents at the lake this weekend. My littlest cousin enjoyed treadling while I plied the yarn. Here I am finishing up my plying in the kitchen. I had to move in there to avoid the dogs who had all gone swimming. They were locked on the back deck with me, and wet dog does not mix well with yarn.

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I am now working on an ocean themed art yarn using beads from Jar-Jaf Miniatures. They have the cutest little wooden animal beads! I have a merino/mohair/alpaca/angelina blend that I am using to make this yarn. It looked bluish-green at first, but I am starting to wonder if it is too green for an ocean theme. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow and see what you all think.

Finally, I will leave you with this video my father took. I thought he was just taking my picture. No, no. He was attempting to embarrass me on the internet.
Dancing Spinner

Posted in kromski sonata, roving, spinning, Tour De Fleece, wool, yarn | Tagged | Leave a comment

I am in love

I finally did it. I bought a spinning wheel.

About 10 months ago, I visited my Aunt Marie while in Columbus. (She’s the one with the alpacas. I’ve mentioned her, right?) Anyway, while there, she sat me down with a spindle and some alpaca fiber, and right then and there, insisted I learn how to spin.

I was hooked. It was so much fun! within a few months, I bought a drop spindle of my own, and was spinning like crazy with fiber she gave me. As great as that was though, it’s hard to produce any sort of large quantity on a spindle quickly. so, I started looking into buying a wheel this summer.

I had a few that I was considering. I wanted something relatively compact, since I live in a one bedroom apartment. I also wanted something that looked classy though. I know the look doesn’t affect the spinning, but it does affect me. I stalked Craig’s List, Ravelry, anything I could find where people were selling their wheels (apparently, it’s easier for me to validate spending a ton of money on something second-hand, than paying $100 more for something brand-new. Don’t ask why).

about a month ago, someone posted about this Kromski Sonata. She was perfect: compact, walnut finish, beautiful woodwork, plus they were selling her with a woolie winder and extra bobbins. Score!

so, I’ve been playing with her a lot. Here is my first singles done on this wheel:

and, here are my second singles. This is a merino top, beautiful blue and purple. It’s so beautiful, I just couldn’t stop spinning it!

I have finished filling that bobbin now. Hopefully next week I will have some plied and set yarn to show off!!

Oh, right. I have still been knitting too. Still working on the Blackrose sock. Imagine the first sock, halfway done. Thats how far I am in the second sock.

I am also working on some mittens for my partner in the Lazy Spinners Swap. Halfway done one hand, so I am hoping to have those done by Thanksgiving. (wish me luck!)

And finally, the Marine Corps Ball is this weekend. So, genius me, at 5pm yesterday, decided I wanted to knit a swallowtail shawl to wear with my gown. 4 days is totally doable, right? Yeah. I can do it. I just need to stay dedicated. And give up sleep. Totally reasonable.

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