Posts categorized "Spinning"

Submersion

I have been playing with all the yarn.

The last two weekends I have spun, knit, wove, finished some handspan, finished something for my nephew, finished a sock, started the second sock, started new handspun and made significant progress on my Occam scarf. 

I feel like I'm back to my old crafty self and I feel great.

Here's what I've been up to...

Fitzcarraldo Knee Sock number one. It's *almost perfect. After what felt like months of knitting the twisted ribbed cuff, I think the part just before the cuff is a touch too tight. 

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I'm putting it in the time out corner while I work on the second sock.

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I will tackle the problem on both socks at the same time. This is mostly because I can't face ripping out all that ribbing. Maybe my calves will slim down or I'll get taller or something.

It will totally be worth fixing; these socks are a thing of beauty.

I also finished something for the wee baby Mitchell for Christmas, but wish to avoid spoilers so no photos yet. Trust me, it is the height of CUTENESS.

Occam is almost done. I really like it. I decided to do the medium width and the longer length and I'm going to run out of blue yarn, so I'm modifying. If you notice, don't say anything okay ;)

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Last weekend I also decided to weave. Check out this fabulous pooled warp (Indigodragonfly Wingenhooven in Dminion Unhinged). I ran into a bit of trouble by warping the loom backwards (which took some fixing, let me tell you...) so I'm not sure how pooled it'll be when it's done. I think the merino, yak, silk around my neck will solve any issues with the colour.

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And lastly I've been continuing with Spinning Sundays. Last week I plied the last of a big project using beautiful Lisa Souza BFL I bought not long after getting my first wheel. The yarn is big and fat and squishy. It's drying now and looks amazing. Photos to come. 

Today I pulled out a 4oz braid and set to work on making some worsted spun yarn for mittens.

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The colour is Captain Tightpants, fibre is yak and merino from Into The Whirled and nothing about this project is bad.

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Off Hiatus

I didn't mean to let the time go by like it did. I actually had blog posts in my head from time to time that I just never got around to writing. Some ended up on Twitter and others just filled my head while biking to work, or out on a run, or while quietly knitting but never made it here.

It's too bad. These posts were about my great friends celebrating a birthday together at a winery. My secondment to a revitalizing new (albeit temporary) role that is exactly what I needed. Our family trip to Montreal and my 46th birthday. The fabulous gradient batt I spun up.

I guess that's all to say that while no one may end up reading this and because knit blogs may have had their time but only the most popular remain, I get something out of posting and I enjoy this partial diary of my life. Even if I'm away for a bit, I haven't left forever.

With that, here are some pictures of the spinning because it really is nifty.

I plan to knit some sort of shawlette that capitalizes on the colour. I have 300 yards so should be fine.

Spinning Sundays are yielding great results for me. My current project is to tackle some Lisa Souza BFL I bought not long after I bought my first wheel--so a long time ago. I have a whole pound which should make a sweater. I'm spinning about worsted weight and will use Custom Fit for the garment because it'll generate a pattern to my gauge. I love that I can spin the yarn that feels right at the time and then make a pattern that fits my yarn and me.

I'm one bobbin in and it's gorgeous. Deep teals with some purples and greens. It's lovely and relaxing to spin.

Hiatus is over. I'll try my best to write more often, especially since I plan to have some (small) adventures in both yarn and life.

 


I have a raw fleece. Now what?

A work friend gave me an interesting gift a few months back.  A raw fleece.  She has a friend who raises Dorsets and was around when Billy the lamb was being sheared.  She collected the fleece and thought I would like it.  That she thought of me totally made my day.  I've never had a fleece before.  

Now I've got this fleece at home and I have no idea what to do with it. I googled and, well, my stuff looks like a very dirty bag of stuffing, not a flat coat removed from a sheep.  So much for those skirting instructions.

So I crack open a beer and take the fleece outside.  It's got a lot of VM (vegetable matter) on it and it's pretty dirty.  I get to work and start separating the really bad stuff from the rest.  

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I intend to send it to a processor for washing and carding into something I can spin or if it's not suitable for that, then wool batting for a pillow or a quilt (I don't quilt, but I can learn, or give it to someone who does).  With that in mind, how clean does it have to be?  It doesn't appear to have been skirted or if it was, this was a happy dirty lamb.

I worked on it for a bit and here's what I have:

What I started with:

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What I plan to keep for processing:

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What I plan to compost:

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There's lots more to pick through.  Am I doing this right?  Being too picky?  Not picky enough? Wasting my time?

Let me know.  I'm planning to drop it at the Royal Winter Fair next weekend and am happy to talk with the processors, but also don't want to seem totally clueless.


All About Kates

I took a spinning class with Jacey Boggs Faulkner at Rhinebeck.  My first class since learning to spin.  It was a nice way to kick myself back into spinning and during the class I realized I wanted a better Lazy Kate, as mine are both fine, but not all that great.

My preference is for an angled Kate, something compact as space is limited and I would like to take it with me if I go on spinning adventures. Pretty is also important--nice tools make for nice experiences.

Here's what's made the short list.  I would love recommendations, comments on my choices, suggestions etc.  

TravelKate

Love the look of this one and that all the pieces go into the case.  It's also beautiful and the most expensive.  I like that it holds 4 bobbins (not that I've ever made 4-ply, but I might want to some day).

Kate 45 

Simple design, nice looking and would do the trick.  Downsides are the weight (it would cost a mint in shipping) and it's not portable.

Kate 45 - Portable Lazy Kate - Maple

Ogledesign Kate

Smaller than the TravelKate, similar design but not as pretty.  I read one review that notes it bounces a bit due to the fold-back design.  Price point is good.  Like how everything folds away for storage.

Lazy Kate - Cherry

I'm also looking at the Anything But Lazy Kate but think it's too big and fiddly.  There are too many options and pieces.  I like compact and simple.  If you love this one, and I'm mistaken, let me know.

 

Anything But Lazy Kate by Nancy's Knit Knacks 

If I could find a Will Taylor Clever Kate--I would buy it.  Not as flat as the others, but it comes highly recommended.  I'm told he retired.

Clever Kate, pegs stored in base

Any other Kates I'm missing?  I'm also considering making one myself, but it definitely won't be as pretty as any of these.


Spinning Spa

Last month I had some time alone.  Craig was away on business, Emma and Xander were away at camps and I had a whole week alone at home.  

(I'm just going to let that sink for those of you who never get a moment to yourself.)

I had to work, but was absolved of the responsibilities for life at home.  I managed to stave off malnutrition (seriously, there is no motivation to cook for one; I ate a lot of popcorn), watch far too many episodes of The Good Wife, went on a bit of a running binge (I ran seven days in a row) and got my fibre groove back.

I started a sweater (which just needs a zipper to be finished), finished Xander's socks AND took some fibre out for a spin.  I had no plan for the fibre except for it to join me on a relaxation exercise.

This is a Grafton Batt from the deep stash.   

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Check out the colours (I could already feel myself getting calmer as I rolled out the fibre for the photos). 

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There are so many colours in there. 

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I sat at the wheel and made a soft, fat single.  Slow spinning.  Watching the colours.  

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I was thinking it would be a lovely single, but it was a bit too loose and fat, so I decided to ply it (but not too tight).  I've been very wound up for a number of reasons and I was trying to make this yarn be what I needed to be: relaxed, calm, soft and a bit bouncy. 

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I think I got it. 

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Once it was dry I started on a cowl.  A relaxing project for a relaxing spinning project.  

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More catch up

I slept just over nine and a half amazing hours last night and now I'm getting shit done.

I feel like I'm always playing catch up on the blog and can't quite seem to find my way out of that. I always have something to say and I say a lot of it on Twitter, but feel like I should be taking those ideas over here to a better space where I can express my ideas more fully except I don't have the time for that kind of reflective writing. Or, when I do, I'm just too damned tired because I have a mentally demanding job and the brain just tells me that I need knitting, or running or TV or just stupid Two Dots on the iPad instead (omg can I please just get the last level and make it end?)

Enough of that, now let's look at something pretty. I finished my Rickenbacker Shawl and I'm so happy with it.  I made this out of handspun and I spun the yarn so it would stripe and it all went so well.  The shawl is a tad small but that was all the yarn I had so I have no complaints.  

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I would also knit this pattern again--super easy and really fun.

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And I finished my Rhinebeck Sweater: Brandied Orange (aka Brandied Cherry).  This was a fun knit.  It didn't come out quite as I imagined it in my head, but I love it all the same.  I had this idea it would look great with a skirt and well it doesn't.  But it is a perfect cozy on the couch, skinny jeans sweater and I'm wearing it a bunch for casual wear.  The Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted is divinely soft (though it does pill) and I'll be wearing it a lot.

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It did stretch a bit funny in the photo, but I was also in the car for 10 hours coming home from Rhinebeck so I'm a bit rumpled.

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I should say more about Rhinebeck, but that deserves a post of it's own.  Instead I'll show you what I knit on the annual pilgrammage.

Smile and Wave.  I needed a new portable project and didn't feel like knitting socks.  So I grabbed a skein of Indigodragonfly Mergoat sock in Obviously You're from District One and got knitting.  I LOVE the colours and the planned pooling.  

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While Emma is modelling, so far these are mine.  I might make the next pair a bit shorter for variety--these are in heavy rotation for biking to work right now--just a little extra warmth for the morning.

Well, that's a start.  Now I need to get some stuff done around the house and I'm going to bake bread because it's November and snow flurries have already happened and today is about woolies and soup and warm fresh bread.

 


Tour de Fleece 2014


Thank the Internet for things like Tour de Fleece. Without it I would never get the nudge I need to spin the small stash of fibre I have and keep my wheels from getting dusty.


I really like to spin. I just like to knit more and I confess I get this weird anxiety about making MORE yarn when I have a huge stash already (somehow fibre itself doesn't seem to produce these feelings; I suspect it's a defence mechanism). It's also because some of this yarn seems unusable because of the quantity, colour, or how I spun it. I do better when I set out to spin for socks or a sweater even though I rather like setting up the wheel and letting the fibre and my mood determine the outcome. I guess that's what happens when a product knitter meets a process spinner...


This year I took a relaxed approach to the Tour and didn't even spin everyday, but I make three skeins I love.


The first involved finishing a project I started this winter. Indigodragonfly Pandabaa 50% merino, 50% tencel in Abstract Repressionism.



The undyed bits did nifty things to the coloured parts and it was fantastic to spin. I went for a long draw two ply with maximum squoosh. This will make a great hat.




Feeling confident, I went for colour. I bought a braid from a little shop in a little harbour town in PEI. I decided to try my hand at gradient spinning.



 



I'm very happy with how it turned out. About 290yds, sport weight, two ply. I'm going to wind this up and make a simple shawlette. The colours are a bit crazy, but it will be nice to wear in the depths of winter. Turns out the key to a two ply gradient is to be willing to stop during plying and cut out the yarn that messes with the striping. I think I prefer chain plying instead, but was glad I gave this a go.



The last project was singles. And it was a continuation of something I started...a while ago. I don't actually remember when. The fibre is good old "wool top", cheap and cheerful for a project like this where I can't predict how it will go.



I spun up 100grams of this before and made some nice bulky yarn. So now I had to make the second braid look the same. My advice: don't do this many months later.


It worked out pretty well, though. I had the same problem as the last time. The yarn was too twisty so I had to run it through the wheel the opposite way to remove some twist.



Pretty close!


I over handled the yarn when I washed it and it felted more than the first skein. I wanted to felt it a bit so it would stay together, but I over did it. It won't show in a cowl (especially with a stitch pattern) so I'm happy with the result. Blue strings is this year, pink strings the older yarn.



I rather like spinning a bulky single. I think this is a good use for those pretty braids of many colours.


Now my plan is to knit up the pink and green and try to spin a bit more often and knit up more of what I spin. At least until something else catches my fancy!



Doing it all (fibre-fun edition)

There aren't a lot of weekends where I get to do it all.

I just about always knit:

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That's the second sleeve of my Tangled Yoke Cardi in Bugga (Lubber Grasshopper).

A few weeks ago I literally washed the dust off poor Martha Matchless and resumed spinning up some superwash merino destined to be 3 ply sock yarn.

This is the last 3rd of the batt

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And, I found time to warp the loom.  Here's a peek.  This warp is so nifty it deserves it's own post.

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And we were dog sitting Ruby.  Who got lonely and wanted to be right on me while I wove.  She wasn't even very upset about all the movement, she just kept muscling her way back in.

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I didn't get much accomplished on any of these things, but I got to do them ALL so it was a great weekend.


Colourful Finishing

I've been on a bit of a finishing frenzy the last few weeks. 

Colour Affection is done!

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It's a beautiful shawl.  The colours are soft and subtle and the yarn is amazing!  After a nice bath in some Soak, everything softened and bloomed and it's all stretchy garter stitch goodness.

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I've only worn it once because we're in the middle of a heat wave but know Colour Affection will be in heavy rotation once the weather cools.

Kimuro Handspun Woven Scarf is done!

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I started the spinning Easter weekend and finished the scarf in June.  That's not too shabby. It's really pretty and soft, but I'm still not happy with my edges.   Untitled I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but in some ways I don't care since the bumpy yarn compliments the bumpy edges (and may in fact be contributing to the bumpiness). 

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The scarf is a gift for Xander's super awesome teacher.  She's an appreciator of art and craft and I know she'll be pleased with it.

Pioneer is Done!

I haven't blogged much about this top.  I started it last summer, worked on it here and there and finally got around to finishing it last weekend.  I'm a bit meh about it.  The Artfibres Golden Chai silk yarn is AMAZING, but I'm not sure if I like the look of the top on me.  I haven't got any finished shots or modelled shots yet--here's a link to my out of date Ravelry page--(and it's too hot to try today).  I find the deep vee neck is complicated to wear and it grew a bit in length when I washed it. 

If I don't wear it, Emma will (she takes many of my knit cast-offs) and I'm happy to have it complete.

What's next?  Socks.  I started a pair of toe-up socks using my handspun from a few years ago.  They're turning out well and sometimes it's nice to have some unchallenging socks on the needles.  

Handspun sock

Once it's a bit cooler out I'll plot my next big project.

 


Logical Progression

I bought this at Rhinebeck (lovely Into the Whirled targhee top colour Kimuro).

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Spun it into this.  (Which was supposed to stripe, but I messed something up, but then it was so soft and squooshy and pretty that I didn't care.)

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And now, I'm weaving it into this (Warp is Indigodragonfly Polwarth Silk in Chewing the Plasterscenery and Young helpless damsels in damp climates--it's all I had left of either, hence the skinny scarf.)

Weaving handspun

Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?