My Bug went as Cleopatra this year. Good times were had!
Month: October 2012
That thing I said?
That thing about making thicker yarns more often? Yeah, I am going in the opposite direction with this project. This is some BFL from Chameleon Colorworks that I purchased a long time ago, perhaps 2008? BFL is one of my favorite prepared fibers to spin, since it really does draft out beautifully and into such thin thread. And I can say, what I am doing right now really is a thread. If I keep this up, even if I make it into a 3 ply, it will be a laceweight. I am enjoying achieving that on a spindle, so I am going to stick it out even if it takes a lot of time. Heavier weight yarns can wait for now, I am busy making thread.
So, I had these batts….
I had these batts just laying around in my house. They were kind of making me mad, because I never put them away and I kept looking at them and thinking I should spin them, but there they sat. So this weekend I decided to spin them as a means to clean up the house. (I have some very strange ideas about cleaning up apparently.)
There were a total of 6 batts, each different colors. They didn’t exactly coordinate with each other, but I believe that a color progression could be imagined anyhow. 2 black, 2 brown, and 2 white with different colors and fibers mixed in. I don’t actually know what fibers they are, the main colors were wool, though the added colors….well there was certainly some silk, but not all the batts had silk. They were very interesting in any case and once I started they spun up quickly.
I spun these up thicker than normal and left them as singles. With both the brown and white I have 150 yards each. Which means I was very consistent in my spinning of them. The black I only have 117 yards, but this is because I used the black to practice on the tahkli spindle awhile back, and so I had less of it to start with. Jeremy and I were having the discussion last night about how I always spin thin, and could use a lot more practice spinning thicker yarns. After giving it a little thought, I’ve realized that I spin thin because not only is it my default setting, but spinning thin makes me feel like I am getting more time out of the money I invested in the fiber. I have this idea that spinning thin is a better “deal.” I need to change this mind set, remembering that the better deal is me being able to produce the yarn I want rather than me spending vast amounts of time with one fiber. Because really, do I have so little fiber to spin? I Think Not.
In any case, I am very pleased with the resulting fiber, and I am already tentatively planning some sort of interesting color progression scarf to knit with these. It should, in the least, make for an interesting experiment.
Rasta Man Wingspan
My Sid Fishious Wingspan wasn’t off the needles more than 2 minutes before I balled up and cast on a new wingspan using my Crown Mountain Farms merino spun Rasta Man Vibration. This was wool which I spun and then navajo plyed. It will look quite a bit different than the sid fishious because the color changes are shorter and more abrupt. This was one of the reasons I was so eager to cast it on actually, I wanted to see how a different spinning technique would turn out once knit. But also, I needed something mindless to knit on during a hockey game. You see, I love watching hockey. And so does my friend Sarah. Hockey season has begun and I need a mindless knit I don’t even have to look at in order to keep my anxiety levels down during the game. Because seriously, for someone who is not a sports fan at all, I can get SO worked up over a hockey game.
One thing of note about the Crown Mountain Farms merino wool is that it is extremely soft. Absolutely the softest wool I’ve ever spun. It is really easy to spin as well, but the biggest draw to me is the softness of the wool.
If I had only known…
I honestly wonder, at this point, if I’d known in 2007 what fun spindle spinning was, if I’d even have a wheel right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wheel and am not interested in parting with it. Ever. But spindle spinning has opened up such a new world to me right now that I am entirely curious if it would have satisfied me back then. Probably not, the learning curve might have been too high at the time. That being said, I am enjoying my trindle so much right now. And I don’t believe trindles even existed in 2007.
I finished the superwash merino that I dyed a long time ago. 1/3 was plyed on my wheel, 1/3 plyed on an old “toy” spindle I bought years ago but never used, and 1/3 plyed on my trindle. Now honestly, given the chance, I’ll probably do most of my plying on the wheel in the future. It just didn’t work out this time. The toy spindle worked surprisingly well, but is a little wobbly and not as fast as my heavyweight trindle. I allowed my trindle to get quite full this time, I don’t think I’ve ever built a copse this big before.
In the end I have 520 yards of 2 ply light fingering weight yarn in a semisolid. I am sure there will be some striping but the colors blend nicely and it is overall a lovely green color.
A couple of years ago I decided to knit the vanallin gloves out of A Gathering of Lace book to match my Swallowtail Shawl. This is the shawl I wear as a scarf with my good gray wool winter coat. Trouble was, I started them and then frogged them because I was completely uninspired to knit them. I really don’t love knitting gloves. And I already had my knotty gloves which were a reasonable enough match to the scarf that I could wear them. But, I lost a knotty glove on a bike ride this spring. It was very sad. So I cast on the vanallin gloves again and this time I actually completed the project. They are lovely and they fit perfectly. But, I may not be above purchasing a matching skein for the knotty gloves and just knitting one glove to match the remaining knotty glove.
Adventures in Fleece Part 5
So, in my continuation of fleece obsession, I also purchased this lovely CVM Romeldale fleece. More than 5 pounds of gray/white fleece and it is the BEST fleece I’ve ever purchased. This is good, since my obsession became my friend Mary’s obsession and she purchased her first fleece, a black one from the same vendor. This one is so clean and beautiful and doesn’t even smell stinky. I can’t wait to get started on this one!
The Jacob fleece which I purchased a year and a half ago is needing to be picked up again so that I can get started on these two new fleece. I actually sorted it on Sunday, and it was one dirty job. I’d cleaned it, but the quality of the fleece is not fantastic by any stretch of the imagination. It was cheap, I shouldn’t be surprised. And I learned something new, don’t get obsessive over the type of fleece, get obsessive over quality. I will process part of it, get what I want out of it, and then maybe it will go up for grabs to someone else who might want to mess around with it.
Adventures in Fleece Part 4
I just received, in the mail, my fourth fleece.
I feel the need to add now that the first fleece is now a sweater, with the leftovers traded away. The second fleece is part sweater, part fiber still needing to be spin. The third fleece is washed and I am researching exactly what it is I want to do with it.
The fourth fleece is another corriedale. Greasy as all get out, and a bit dirty. The colors were advertised as ranging from silver to black, but there is certainly browns and beiges in it too. It isn’t particularly stinky and didn’t come with a name, but the sheep it came from must be beautiful! This fleece is the one that gives me the excuse to build my fleece washing basket, a project I’ve been contemplating for a long time. Hopefully I’ll get out to get materials for that this week. I do hope this one cleans up as well as the white to silver corriedale, as that has been my absolute favorite fleece thus far. Not needing to even put it through the drum carder but spinning from the flick carded lock has made it an absolute joy to spin. I am excited to see what is in store for this fleece!
Since I purchased this fleece online, I was a bit concerned about the quality. So I pulled off a lock and tested it. Turns out it was a fine investment, the lock is strong.
So, remember I was spinning those fauxlags? I spun up a spindle full and plyed it back on itself using an andean bracelet. This gave me a cute little skein of yarn, not spun particularly well, but that is what I get when I try something new. However, the colors are wonderful and I am looking forward to spinning up the rest!
It is time to take a rest with my corriedale fleece. I’ve been working on it for a very long time, and I never get tired of it. The undyed natural beauty of it all never fails to thrill me. I am committed to continuing with the laceweight 2 ply at this point, but I do believe it is time to give it a rest. I’ve got spindles to spin on and tons of wonderful colorful yarn and a new fleece on its way to me. I’ve got a washed fleece I can process at any point, and I really am eager to do all these things. So, the corriedale needs to sit for a bit, no matter how beautiful.
So my goal tonight was to get all the spun corriedale on my bobbins plyed and off the wheel completely. This leaves me with yet another gorgeous 582 yard skein of 2 ply laceweight yarn for my stash!
Sid Fishious Wingspan
Pretty sure I cranked this one out in record time! One week from start to finish. I had to bind off in a solid black yarn as I ran out on the bind off edge, but I actually think it draws the entire thing together. I am absolutely in love with the finished object, and am positive I chose exactly the correct pattern for this yarn.
So, here’s the thing. One of the reasons I love spinning so much is that I feel like I still have so much to learn. I suppose when I say spinning, I mean all that is associated with it. Fleece and fiber prep, dyeing, etc. I think my favorite experience is playing with color. I am always looking for new ways to mess around with color in spinning. So, when I joined a spindle group and saw the term “fauxlags” I just had to figure it all out. Turns out you can get a reasonable semblance of a rolag out of combed wool top. This means that you can long draw with your fauxlags rather than going to all the trouble of hand carding. Additionally, it makes the colors blend in a much more muted fashion than hand dyed combed top usually does.
Well I’ve just been on a total mission to learn new spinning stuff lately. I think it has to do with learning to spindle spin as well. I took some wool top I had in stash (for years!) from Poppy Flower Fiber.
And now you’ll have to excuse the evening indoor pictures for the rest of this post. It was cold, rainy, and windy last night. There was no taking pictures outside. I drafted out the combed top carefully, which also flattened it. Then I took a smooth dowel and rolled the end of the fiber up onto it. I held that on there and drafted the fiber out until it seperated, creating a funny little rolag on my dowel. Then I slid it off the end of my dowel.
I was careful to keep them all in order of the color progression, so then I had all these awesome little fauxlags lined up on the floor.
Then I started spinning. I am going for a thicker than usual yarn for me, and it seems to be working out reasonably well. It took a bit of getting used to, spinning from the fauxlag like that. However, I learned one thing that seems very helpful, the tighter the fauxlag the harder it is to draft it out. So a perfect tight little roll isn’t actually ideal even though it looks awesome.
And there you also see my newest trindle. Ipe shaft with disco ball beads. These are classified as heavyweight but they aren’t nearly as heavy as my last set. That disappoints me a little, but they are somewhere between the lightweight skull beads and the truly heavyweight arms, so I actually expanded my trindle arm stash quite well in the end.
Well….all that fauxlag learning just wasn’t enough last night, so once I had a decent amount on the trindle I decided to try my hand at an andean plying bracelet. It seemed like it could either have gone very well, or ended up in a ruined crazy tangled mess of yarn barf.
Plying bracelet in progress:
And once it is removed:
Thankfully, I did not end up with a tangled mass of yarn barf, I ended up with some lovely plyed yarn. Which I will have to show to you some other day, when it is wound off and finished.
I am loving the turning of the weather and the desire to nestle into my space (or spaces) and enjoy the relaxing nature of my crafts. In fact, I have a TON to blog about due to my overwhelming desire to craft right now. I’ve got a finished wingspan and gloves that are close to it. I’ll have a bunch of random stash additions I need to photograph and get entered into my stash, using this blog as the hosting area for the pictures, I’ve got spinning of all sorts, and a new wingspan. I just can’t wait to enjoy my weekend!
I haven’t updated my blogroll in ages and ages. I am talking years. It seemed like a good thing to do, so I did so. I got rid of anyone that was done blogging, and added a bunch of other links to people who are seen around here fairly often, in no particular order. I feel terrible about not doing this sooner actually, and I really must apologize for getting in my own little world and not staying up to date. That being said, I just pulled in a few people I’ve been following a bit more often, and I will try to stay a bit more up to date from here on out!
I am almost done with a pair of gloves. I am almost done with the wingspan. I am almost done with my featherweight cardi. I am almost done with the spinning I showed off last evening. My projects are a bunch of Almost. Almost is full of promise, and it is a state of knitting I have always loved.
On my wingspan, I’ve started the 8th triangle. Which is the final triangle. I have to admit, I actually slowed way down once I had started it, because I don’t actually want this knit to end. And when it does end, there may be very little between me and starting another one in handspun. It is like the baktus fever I had a year or two ago. Now it is wingspan fever. I love the long color changes and the handspun. I love how the garter stitches covers any discrepancy in my spinning. I love how the color flows and heathers and stays random.
The next yarn I’d love to use for a wingspan is my Rasta Man Vibration. I am interested to see how it knits up, as it is navajo plyed and should have shorter color changes than this sid fishious.
On that note, I’d like to ask all you spinners out there a question. When you spin, do you spin with a project in mind? Or are you more likely to view the resulting yarn as the project? I ask this because invariably when spinning in public, people ask what I am going to make with the yarn once it is done. And I’ve realized that maybe 5% of the time I have an answer for that. Even then, once the yarn is finished it might not lend itself to the intended project. While those around me wonder what the resulting yarn will be, I look at the resulting yarn as a finished object to be looked at, admired, and enjoyed. And put in my stash. I wondered how common this is among spinners, or if I am unusual in this respect.
Moving Right Along
I feel that my last post was somewhat anticlimactic. It seems that while I can be absolutely frustrated to the point of giving up knitting entirely with one project, no words can properly convey that to the reader. So after angsting over the cloud chaser for so long, I barely know what to say!
I took my plying balls with me to my girlfriend’s house yesterday in order to ply some of my trindle spinning up on my wheel. (My wheel resides out of my house most of the time. I know that is really weird, but it works for us. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.) Even though I am not actually finished with the spinning part of this superwash merino I dyed, I still felt it necessary to begin to see how it would turn out. As most of my spindle spinning is right now, there are thicker and thinner sections, but I double it will be overly noticeable in a knitted item. I made plying balls assuming everything would be easier that way, but I suspect plying from two separate balls of yarn would work just fine for wheel plying. So, since I’d finished another spindle full, I stuck that on a ball winder and made a center pull ball for the next plying attempt.
I am still spinning while walking Bug to and from school. It remains to be seen how long that can continue before my fingers freeze in the morning. I am very much enjoying that tiny bit of extra spinning time, when we are not busy with spelling word quizzing that is. What is on the spindle right now is just the amount that gets done during one day of walks.
I won’t bother to count yardage yet with this skein, since it seems pointless when there will be another skein shortly.
I actually completed it one week ago, right before the work conference. I mean, like, with just a few minutes to spare for getting ready. But, blocking this yarn with this pattern took some time, and I didn’t get a chance to even start that until Wednesday. Now it is dry, and I got to try it on. It does look lovely and professional, and though it was the bane of my existence, I am really pleased with how it turned out, and proud that I took the time to fix any issues that might have been a problem, knowing full well I couldn’t live with crappy knitting.
I am obsessing over this project in a major way. Everything about it is exactly what I want to be knitting right now. I am working on triangle 4 out of 8. Though there may be more triangles if I have enough yarn.
I’ve just loved my couple of days off, even though I’ve done a bit of spinning and a ton of knitting, there’s also been quite a bit of my other favorite things. Some cooking, some biking, some celebrating, tons of time with my man, it couldn’t really have been much better! (Unless a cleaning fairy had shown up at my house, now that would have made it even better.) I am sad it is drawing to a close, but I think that getting back to a routine at work will also prove valuable.
I also realized today that one of the things I am loving the most about doing SO much spinning is the fact that I never have to step foot in a yarn shop anymore. Moving away from commercial yarn is incredibly satisfying!
I’d had this idea to knit a Halloween themed wingspan at some point. Preferably before Halloween. But, I figured it would be another project I just wouldn’t get around to. My intent was to use my first spindle spun yarn, dyeabolical’s sid fishious colorway english wool. Well, when I heard of the passing of sid fishious, the fish and the inspiration behind the colorway, I decided to cast on in his honor. And it is turning out far more interesting than I even expected. The pattern is simple and comfortable, the color changes giving me all I really need in an interesting knit. I just love how the pattern is triangles and the color changes are also triangles.
Entirely Not Knitting
Yesterday was a day of not knitting. I burned myself out on the featherweight during the conference, and once I put it down, found my spindle called to me so hard that I couldn’t pick it back up to knit. This is ok though, as spinning is so cathartic and relaxing for me. There is something special about even handling spun singles, so not only did I spin, I made up a few plying balls.
The coolest trick I’ve learned lately is spinning while taking a walk. That may seem odd, but to me it is revolutionary. I’ve been spinning while walking Bug to school. This is great, because it gets more spinning done. Less great is the attention the children pay to me, and they have no qualms over picking up my spindle while it is spinning and asking to try it. All I can say is that I hope for some kid somewhere I’ve done what the lady with the wool at my school did for me. Plant a long term desire to learn to spin that will someday be realized. So, the yarn on the spindle? That is what I can create while walking Bug to and from school. That is all the spinning I managed to do today thus far.
So, I started on the sleeves of my featherweight cardigan, and about 25 rows in, I realized I was terribly bored with it. I also managed to mess up the arms somehow, I don’t quite know what pattern I was reading when I did them. But, that is ok, they aren’t messed up in a way that will change the end result, it just changed how I had to pick up those stitches.
So, I got some heavyweight trindle arms a couple weeks back. I thought for sure that these would be solely for plying. They are so heavy and my trindle worked so well with the lightweight arms that I couldn’t imagine changing. Jeremy told me that I might find that the heavy trindle arms would actually work better, but I dismissed this idea initially, being positive that the arms would be too heavy for the weight of the yarn I was attempting to create. Then I thought it through and realized I had nothing to lose really, by trying the heavy trindle arms. So I did. Oh my goodness, what a difference this made. It spun so fast that I actually had trouble drafting fast enough to keep up. I mean, honestly? Before I knew it, I had another spindle fully dressed! I spindle full of very consistent beautiful yarn.
I couldn’t resist this shot of the gal who put down her spindle to purchase her ticket. I also love how my trindle arms match my desk this week.
I’ve had a great amount of time to work on my featherweight lately. But, I managed to lose a good portion of my pattern. This left me with one page, the page which gave instructions for the collar. So, I figured knitting on the collar is a pretty decent place to start. It has taken 2 full days, as my lengthening of the torso makes for some very long rows, but I have completed the collar. And due to some help from a friend, I now have the rest of the pattern and can get the sleeves started as well!
In the Nick of Time
This weekend was a short one for me, as I began work on Sunday afternoon. I was bound and determined to finish the Cloud Chaser Vest before my weekend was over. It took quite a bit of work and focus, but it got done by the skin of my teeth. In fact, it was done with just enough time to get ready to go to work Sunday evening. I snapped a quick shot, because there is no way I’ll be able to block this before Wednesday, and then I need to find a model! The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Heavyweight in Help Us Rhonda. The collar is a bit darker than the rest of the vest, but it is well blended due to alternating the newest skein with the old skeins.
So I love my trindle. I love spinning with it more than I ever imagined. (Please ignore the fact I haven’t picked it up in about a month, I’ve been busy trying to bust through some knitting!) I decided I needed to try a few other kinds of spindles, just to see how I felt about them. I borrowed the tahkli, but we all know how that went. Not to be deterred, I wondered if a russian or tibetan spindle would work better for me. Little did I know, nice ones are tough to get ahold of! While that was frustrating initially, it also made me realize that purchasing one would not be a problem, as its resale value would be high providing I couldn’t make a go of it. I special ordered a tibetan from Neal Brand, but it may be a few weeks before that gets done. In the meantime, I’d been stalking The Spanish Peacock etsy shop trying desperately to get my hands on a Russian. Well, it finally happened. I scored a Russian with a matching bowl. And then I went on Ravelry and saw a tiny Turkish spindle for sale on a destash. I grabbed that up too, knowing that too would resell just fine.
I’ve been deep into the challenge of finishing the cloud chaser vest. I spent all day yesterday on it. The collar is finally complete and I am working on the armholes. But I waited all day for the mail, just hoping my russian spindle would be in there. Much to my surprise, both the tiny turk and the russian were there! I quickly took two spindles I didn’t even know how to use and got yarn started on them.
The russian works far better than the tahkli. This I think I can live with, even get a good hang of eventually. It doesn’t help that the batts I am trying to use are naturally slubby, as my yarn is quite thick and thin, but it is a great way to get some practice time in. The tiny turk I am not quite as impressed with. I am hoping a little more yarn on it for weight will help it spin a little longer, progress on it is quite slow right now.
What I have on the tiny turk is mulberry silk from dyeabolical. I’d ordered 2 oz, and she so kindly threw in a second 2 oz for me. It is really awesome when your favorite fiber dyer is also a friend!
And other stuff.
So, with the anticipation of a freeze last night, I began my garden harvest. The peppers, they were out of control. I have never ever had such a high production cayenne plant. I love cayennes, but I have eaten and eaten cayennes this year and I can’t even begin to touch the amount of peppers I have. After freezing more than I could ever use and giving a bunch away, I brought a gallon freezer bag full just to work, and one person took them all. And then I realized that some of the biggest appeal of having a garden for me is to make other people happy with my produce. It gives me great joy to see someone else’s joy over that which came from my garden. And this is why I’ll keep gardening.
Jeremy and I had the last batch of fresh pesto last evening. I used a romano cheese this time, and between that and the toasty pine nuts, it turned out great. We added sauteed mushrooms, our favorite treat, and a fresh tomato from my garden. We also made some garlic bread, but truthfully, it wasn’t the best. We assumed that adding to our garlic bread would be a good idea. I don’t think it really was! The romano cheese didn’t really brown up and melt the way I imagined, and the italian herbs Jeremy added didn’t really go with the bread. Ah well, we don’t often have a fail, and even this wasn’t a real fail, just not as good as we had imagined. Tonight we are going to have to fry up some of the eggplant. I’ll roast one too so I have some baba ghanoush hanging around.
We didn’t ultimately get that freeze, I don’t think. This is good, because there actually are more peppers left on that plant, as well as green tomatoes still out there. I will try for another harvest tonight and then ripen the rest inside.
I keep trying to get to the halfway point on the collar of the cloud chaser vest. Even though I am knitting on it regularly, it took until today to get that far. Hopefully the weekend will hold a bit of knitting time for me. I’d love to have it off the needles on Monday!
Yeah so…after the frustration of the vest, I’ll take any win I can get at this point. I am, for the record, 1/3 of the way done with the collar. Again. And I am pretty sure that is the 4th time I’ve started that collar. Anyhow, point being, my win for the day is one complete glove. As the weather cools tomorrow, I’d better get the other finished!
Defeat, thy name is VEST
As most who know me are aware, last week and this week (and next, quite frankly) are very busy weeks for me at work. Last week I wasn’t handling the stress overly well, but this week I am feeling fairly accomplished. I went home yesterday feeling good about work and about everything I’d managed to cross off my lists, and I was in an overall good mood. That lasted until I picked up my mail. In my mail was a package, and I knew it HAD to be the extra yarn for the Cloud Chaser vest. The vest that was almost complete, with the exception of a couple rows on the collar and the armhole ribbing. I didn’t want to even restart the vest, but I opened the package anyhow in hopes that the new yarn would match the old yarn well enough to just keep knitting. When I opened the package, I thought it looked pretty decent, but once I balled it up, I realized that it was significantly darker than the rest of the vest. This meant that continuing on the collar was NOT an option. I was forced to rip out the entire collar and start over. And then my world shattered around me for a few minutes.
You see, this vest is for a very good friend of mine. I am excited to give her something she will love and wear often. And it is not acceptable to me for it not to look really nice. So leaving it with a defining line of color change is just not an option. But I am so ridiculously tired of knitting on this vest that I can barely stand it. I now will have to alternate the skeins so that the collar blends with the remainder of the vest while still having enough yarn to finish. I worked on it last night, I worked on it this morning. I am absolutely determined to finish. And soon, because I just can’t bear to look at it anymore. However, I’ve never ever experienced that overwhelming sense of defeat over a knit project. Not like that. I really need to get this project finished just so I can air out the house, burn some sage, and get rid of some seriously bad knitting juju!
My humble new beginning:
After plying 1,048 yards of corriedale (and trust me, it is so much that I keep saying it over and over just to prove it may be true) I continued spinning through a football game and a knitting afternoon. I have enough yarn to finish the featherweight, but I am going to finish spinning this fleece in laceweight even so. I also balled up some of the resulting yarn, a task which was quite painful due to a Sunday morning bike ride that kicked my butt and a rather felted skein of laceweight.
Bug bumped her head badly yesterday, and so we decided to take it easy in the evening. We sat around and watched TV and just hung out. She didn’t seem to be up to much more than that, and is being very gentle with her poor head. This allowed for a bit of additional knitting time for me as well, in between serving her dinner and multiple bowls of popcorn. I finished the body of the featherweight. I am quite pleased to be ready to begin the sleeves now! I also stayed up specifically to finish the back of the meadowlark vest. Finishing a big portion of two projects all in one evening really set a good tone for my evening.
The thing is, after all this progress, guess what showed up at my doorstep this afternoon? The yarn for the cloud chaser vest. I am not sure if I should be thrilled or saddened by this.