Posts categorized "Spinning"

Happy New Year! (with some goal setting mixed in)

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2012.  For those of you doing the 12 knitted things in '12 may your needles be swift and your projects delightful.  For everyone, I wish health, happiness and a stash that makes you happy.

Me, I'm not any more reflective than I usually am about stuff.  But since this blog has always been intended as a space to say what I like, I'll put forth a few goal like things:

Running:  I want to match my 1000km running goal (btw I ran 1036km in total over 150 runs!!!) and I'm considering entering a 1/2 marathon this year.  Truth be told, I will be 42 in July and a full marathon is 42km, so I'm stewing over the idea of doing a full, where perhaps I will discover the meaning of life, the universe and everything in my exercise induced euphoria.  (See what I mean about my self-reflexivity?)

Spinning: It's like many people's get healthy goals.  I once again vow to spin more often.  I haven't done more than dust my wheels since the summer.  Must try to develop a more regular practice and improve my spinning.

Weaving: This winter I need to weave Craig the scarf I promised two winters ago.  Maybe I'll warp the loom today just to get things started.  This is one craft I feel I have balance with.  I pull out the loom when I want a scarf and put it away when I'm done.  I could learn more about it, but I don't feel any burning desire to tackle it now (saving it for my retirement).

Knitting: It was a good year for me.  I completed 6 sweaters, 2 pairs of socks, 7 accessories (hats, scarves etc) and a blanket.  I have a few FO's on the go and don't like to over plan my knitting life since well, other life does tend to get in the way.  I would like to tackle some stashed projects, knit some knee socks with some handspun sock yarn (already spun) and make stuff that makes me happy since that's really what it's all about.

Finished objects, 2011

(I love these mosaics!)

Stash: My stash is healthy.  It doesn't really give me much stress until it moves beyond the furniture I have to contain it in.  Right now, I actually have empty storage spaces so I'm pretty content.  The biggest problem is that I have so many nice yarns and fibres and not enough time to play with them all.  For 2012 I will continue to add to the stash wisely, sell or give away what doesn't give me pleasure and keep working on getting the yearly kilometers of yarn equal or less than the 2011 number of: 57.14km.  (I like how that sounds much better than in metres!)  That's down from 65km last year so that ain't bad.  One way I do this is by making sure my stash is up to date in Ravelry.  Then I can shop in my "personal yarn store" before I venture out and buy yarn.

Career: This was a good and bad year for me at my job. I don't blog about work much because I don't think my big boss likes it very much (because I've been chastised for my time online in the past).  Even saying that might be too much, but really, I do feel that I should be able to write about my work in a general way (ie not blog the content of my work, but what I'm working on) and how I FEEL ABOUT my work.  (That felt good to say).

I was fortunate to be selected into a mentorship program in 2011 and it was a great opportunity for me to make connections in the University, learn from someone who does a very different job than me and to spend time thinking about what I want to do next in my career.  I have some good ideas and I'm thinking about what I might do to get there, like... 

  • Project management courses with possibility of getting PMP certification
  • Talking to more people at the University to learn about their work and their career paths
  • Thinking about work outside the University.  I really like academia as a place to work but wonder if I'm limiting myself by trying to carve out a career in one place (which has fantastic benefits and good work/life balance).  I plan to do a bit more exploring of the world outside the ivory tower and see what other opportunities Toronto has to offer me.

Wow, that's a lot more goal setting than I planned when I started this post.  But there it is.  I am still the #womanwhogetsshitdone and now I'm going to have a nice long bubble bath!

I would love to hear your goals too!

 


Spinning, Spinning, Keep on Spinning

I am loving my Tour de Fleece.

After the squooshy stuff, I moved on to one of my stashed Grafton/Dyak batts from their 2009 club offerings.

Gorgeous eh?

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Fibre p*rn

Pretty Dyak Batt from 2009

I had good luck maintaining the striping on a previous batt in a complementary colourway and decided to spin this one up the same way to knit up one of those noro striped scarves.

Here's the first batt which I spun on last year's tour: 

September 2009 Grafton Batt

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Here's a not so great photo of the two bobbins.  (must stop 11pm photoshoots)

Dyak Batt singles

 

I plan to ply them this weekend.  I wanted them to rest a bit and also, I really wanted to start spinning up this:

 

 

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It's 80 Merino/20 Silk and the dying is nifty--it goes from crazy purple to black. I'm spinning it thin-ish and will chain ply it into one long skein. Hopefully enough for a hat or cowl. I pre-drafted this one because I found the braid sticky. It's all arranged on my spinning chair and I'm at the mid-purple part now. Very nice to spin with.

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Tour de Fleece 2011 Progress Report

My foray into the Tour de Fleece was such a success last year, I decided to jump in and spin again. The main reason I decided to take up the challenge was that I am not spinning enough. My two wheels stare at me forlornly from the corner and my yarn credenza (yes I have a piece of furniture in my living room dedicated to my crafts) is bulging with fibre that I want to spin. Also, I find that daily spinning is not only relaxing, it is also the best way to improve my technique.

I started easy by finishing up some fibre I started spinning in January. Eight soft squooshy ounces of Shetland/BFL lamb, first shearing in a lovely natural brown colour. I bought the fibre at the Knitter's Frolic in 2010 and wished there was more. It is super nice and easy to spin with and I decide to try for a woolen, soft and lofty yarn. That's what I got:

Shetland BFL

555m of two-ply worsted weight (ish) yarn. So squooshy. It's not a hardy yarn so I think I'll make the Hawthorne shawl with it. Mostly because being wrapped in this yarn is exactly what I want.

Shetland BFL

The farm where I purchased this fibre--Hopeful Shetlands--has great natural stuff for very reasonable prices. Great for beginners since shetland is easy to spin.

Next time I'll share what is on the wheel now (woot! I have blog content!  Must remember to come back and post!)


Yellow Jersey

Finally!  The yarn is all dry.  I won't say it's a *lot* of fibre spun, but it was a lot for me and I made my goal of spinning daily during the Tour de Fleece.  

One thing I noticed is that my spinning got a bunch more consistent when I did it every day and it was just easier.

Here's the first yarn: 8oz of Ashland Bay "wool" in Cranberry.  I decided to start with a nice fat slow yarn.  It's squooshy and I really like it.  I have about 200 yds of what looks like a chunky yarn; nice for hat or mittens.  It was a bit hard to let go and just spin a fat single, but once I got going it was also fun.

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 The second fleece was more of a challenge.  It was one of my grafton batts and I wanted a fingering to sport weight yarn that maintained the stripes.  Funny thing was that it just flew onto the wheel and is almost perfect.  I split the batt in half and just spun right off the half until it was done.  Then I did the same with the second half and plied them together.  The striping effect is great and the fall colours are so beautiful.

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I have another fall-hued batt and I think once it's spun I'll make one of those stripey Noro scarves with the yarn.  

I did manage to start a 3rd 40z braid of merino from Into the Whirled, but didn't get to far with it.  I'm hoping to start up the wheel next week and get it done.  I want to try my best to maintain the daily or almost-daily spinning rhythm, it's fun and I really am impressed with how much I improve with practice.

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Tour De Fleece, the first few days

Last year I bought the wheel, this year I'm in the gruelling Tour De Fleece!  My goal is modest--to spin every day of the Tour de France and get into the groove of spinning.  It's been fun to set aside some time just for spinning and I'm already noticing my spinning is easier and more consistent for the effort.

I started slow and lazy with some Ashland Bay fibre in Cranberry.  I just let the spinning happen and now have 230 grams of soft singles that I'm going to ply into soft chunky yarn. 

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Last night I dug through my stash for the next project (note to self, you have a lot of fibre to spin) and decided on this lovely Grafton batt from last year's club.  

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I'm attempting the self-striping yarn again in fingering weight.  The fibre just spun like nothing last night and I'm very happy with the results.

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Tomorrow and Friday will be the big challenge.  We're off to Great Wolf Lodge  for two days of water sliding and I have no intention of bringing the wheel.  So I need to spin before we leave tomorrow and Friday night after a day of sliding.  I think I might pull out some practice fibre for that spin because if our trip to Fallsview last summer is any indication, I will be almost dead by the time I get home!


Never Ending Plying

I've been getting back into the groove of spinning these last few weeks.  The current goal is to make sock yarn.  Good, solid sock yarn.

I've spun up the singles--pretty stuff Lisa Souza superwash merino in the Mardi Gras colourway.  As advised by Molly my spinning sensai I'm over spinning the singles and over plying the whole thing to get a strong sproingy yarn. (Sorry about the iphone photos--I figured it was better to do this then not blog at all, but you may disagree!)

Never ending plying

I'm also spinning up 8oz instead of the usual 4 because I'm not sure if I'll be able to stretch out the 4oz to make socks on my first try.

I must say, the whole thing is taking forever...

Well, the singles went fast enough, but the plying is never. going. to. finish.

I've had a few glitches along the way.  First is time--I thought I could do it in an evening and well it's been the usual craziness here so "in an evening" really means, in a few minutes I get between activities.

Then the big drive band that makes the treadles go broke.  I'm not sure why, but there was a moment when the whole thing felt like I was biking up the big hill on my street and then wham!

The Little Gem doesn't have a traditional treadle system with footmen, but instead uses a big elastic to make the treadles spin the drive wheel.  Like this (the lower green band):

Majagem


I tried MacGivering a few things that didn't work, but then managed to trim and burn the ends enough to melt the drive band back together until I can get another one.

Yesterday, drive band intact, I got going again only to realize I put the band on the wrong way and so was plying  in the wrong direction.  Sigh.  It took a few minutes to figure out what was happening, and a lot longer to fix it.

Last night (me and the wheel needed some time away from each other) I got in the groove and went back to plying pretty sock yarn.


Never ending plying

I still have at least another evening to go.  I definitely need a smaller whorl to make this go faster and perhaps a bigger wheel. I'm jonesing for a Matchless.  I love my Little Gem, but really see how a big wheel goes faster without as much work from me.


Pretty Yarn

I've been doing a bit of spinning this winter.  Not a lot, because winter is full-on-knit-warm-stuff season, but enough to keep the love for putting twist into fibre going.

First up, one of my Grafton Batts.  Frankly, I referred to this as ugly batt the entire time I was working with it.  Not my colours (it's from my Colourways membership).  Too much yellow and too much grey and lavendar tones--just not my thing.  But any fibre is good to practice on, so I worked on my long draw and making a soft lofty 2ply.

Grafton batt

Mission accomplished.  And it does look much nicer spun up.  There's a strip of turquoise in it that will be interesting when it's knit up.  I split the batt in half and tried to maintain the colours, but it wasn't as definitively striped as some others, so that part wasn't completely successful.  I ended up with about 120m of worsted weight yarn.

Ugly Batt

My lastest spinning was with Into The Whirled falklands in the colour Terra.  I bought this at Rhinebeck and I adore this colour.  I have the braid in my Ravatar.  This time I confess I didn't have a plan, except to chain ply so I could maintain the colour runs without the barber pole effect (don't get me wrong, I like that too, but wanted to mix it up a bit).  I'm pretty happy with the finished product (130m, 12wpi), but I overplied in a few places (it got away from me) and it's a bit less lofty that I hoped for.  It'll be good for gloves or something.  The colours are AMAZING.  I will get more--maybe for socks.

Into The Whirled Terra

Both yarns really benefitted from a good hard wash.  I used the instructions in The Intentional Spinner: hot and cold baths, lots of agitation (I wore my rubber gloves) a good thwacking--having a fully tiled bathroom is fantastic for this--and I weighted the yarn while it was drying (I used a pretty heavy weight for the chain ply and most of the kinks came out).  I may run the Terra yarn through the wheel to get rid of some of the twist, or I might not. 

Pretty

Right now I have some superwash merino Lisa Souza roving in Mardi Gras on the go.  This time I'm attempting to spin my first sock yarn.  I feel the need for speed!  Lots of twist going into this baby.

March 2010 Spinning


A few more FO's

I seem to be on a roll...

First Beaumont in Dream in Color Starry.  

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This was really fun to knit and I confess I am really tickled by the bits of silver in the starry yarn. Usually sparkly=scary Christmas Red Heart but the mix of Dream in Color prettiness and the shiny stuff is perfect.  

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I want to make some coordinating mittens but can't find a pattern that suits me.  I'm considering designing my own.

And my favourite finished thing for 2010 (sure I know it's early, but of the 3 this month, I love this the best). The desiccated brains yarn is plied and washed and gorgeous.

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 It came out to about 13wpi so about dk which is much bigger than I had planned for.  I have 914m which should make some sort of garment.  I might add a coordinating collar, cuffs and hem or something. 

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 The roving is 80 merino/20 sea silk and is really nice and soft.  It doesn't have the ropiness of some of my earlier handspun and I'm glad to see there's some improvement.

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Kim dyed the roving for me (so I wouldn't go insane spinning undyed roving).  Go see her handdyed stuff, it's gorgeous.


2009 Fibrey Review

Happy New Year!

Here's my 2009 in review, mostly because I like making those photo mosaics.

Finished Objects: 25 (4 woven, 5 knit from handspun, only 3 adult sweaters--a new low for me)

2009 Fibrey Review

Biggest Accomplishment: Finishing the Grey Mist Bohus (also holding the record for my longest WIP.  That's why it has two photos ;) )

Newest Accomplishment: Learning to spin and buying a wheel.  (I've spun 780 yds of yarn, not including the desiccated brains singles)

Spinning 2009

Plans for 2010:

  1. Improve spinning.  I find it hard to make squooshy yarn (I like the squooshy stuff) and to make the weight I'm aiming for.  I suspect practice makes perfect
  2. Knit, spin and weave from stash.  Last year I wasn't as productive as in the past, however, I also didn't purchase anywhere as much yarn.  I have lots of pretty yarn and I want to use it before I buy more.  I'm not completely rigid in this resolution--I will buy if I go to a festival (since that's part of the fun) and I'm all for trading yarn, but I do want to knit what I have as much as possible.
  3. Learn some new weaving techniques.  Those tabby weave scarves are lovely, but I also know there's more I can do (even with my 2 shaft loom) and it's good to stretch myself.


Holiday Knitting

Having two weeks off at the end of the year is bliss.  It feels like it's going by too quickly, but that's because I'm enjoying every lazy minute of it.

This time around I'm enjoying a bout of knitting monogamy.  I started Anhinga right after I finished my Grey Mist bohus and I'm half the back, and one sleeve away from the finishing.

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The yarn is Sublime Aran--a wool, silk and cashmere blend that's nice a squooshy.  It's a bit splitty, but after 9spi, anything on 5.5mm needles is indeed sublime.

I was (and am a bit still) worried about how this sweater will look on me.  I made the front pieces first and got a sense of how it will look.  It should work.  I also made the 42" size so it has a bit of ease.  This is not the kind of sweater that should hug the body.

I've also taken some time to spin.  My desiccated brain singles are now all spun up and having a rest before I ply.  Pencil roving is kinda fun, but I'm ready to try some different kinds of drafting.  I have a yarn credenza full of Grafton batts and I'm going to jump in before the week is out.

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Otherwise it's back to the bathroom.  Today we take a stab at finishing the tiles around the tub.  Then we're just fiddly finishing stuff away from having a completed main bathroom.