Merry Christmas!

I’ve got a finished object post. Again. I finished the scarf that I knit to match the hat and gloves from my Autumn Lake loop bump handspun.

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My full set is complete, a lovely gift to myself.

We also had a little time with my friend Marja, who was able to give Bug her very first Christmas gift this year. I got a photo of the joy on that little girl’s face, and figured I’d post that as well. There’s nothing like Christmas with a child around.

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The Creative Process

It isn’t that this always happens to me, but when I want to try something new in spinning, knitting, or fiber prep, I get a little obsessive. I think about it, obsess over it, worry about it, consider all the options, fret that it might go terribly wrong, and then eventually try it anyhow.

That is precisely what happened with my latest spinning project. I am spinning up a loop bump that is slightly felted.

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It has all these interesting colors, and I realized I had some mulberry silk that sort of coordinated with those colors.

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My initial thought was that I’d spin up each separately and ply them into a 2 ply yarn. However, I feared that this would actually mean I couldn’t use up all my loop bump, fearing I would not have enough of the mulberry silk to complete the plying process. So then I thought perhaps it might be wise to try another navajo 4 ply. This time, the chained single would be the spun loop bump and the carried along single would be the mulberry silk.

I haven’t even finished spinning the loop bump, but the thought of trying to create this yarn really had me worked up, considering it on so many levels. So I decided to start by spinning 2 oz. of the mulberry silk on my wheel, while continuing to work on the loop bump on my spindles.

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This is about 1 oz of the singles. And then, because I have a bunch of small balls of loop singles, I thought I’d get started on the plying rather than worrying that I’d mess up the silk and it wouldn’t look good. Better to just jump right in, right?

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I think the yarn this is becoming is gorgeous and I can’t wait to see the finished product! I am absolutely thrilled and excited over this yarn. The loop bump has a high concentration of sparkle, which coordinates very well with the shine of the silk single. I never tire of watching these two separate fibers meld into one very interesting barberpoled yarn.

 

A long awaited post

At least it is for me. Spinning and plying 2 loop bumps is no small task. But I finally finished. And the result is 870 yards of gorgeous sport weight yarn. This is a project I am extremely proud of. The spinning is well done, as is the plying. The sparkle is subtle, and then yarn is smooth despite being a textured bump. I am extremely pleased.

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Vintage Vespa

How happy am I to be done with this? I can’t even tell you. How long does it take to make 3 ply laceweight? I can’t really tell you that either, but I started back in November. I’ve spun quite a few other things in the meantime, including two other loop bumps. But the majority of my spinning has been a bit thicker than this. I’ve been chain plying this steadily for the past 3 days and it has done a number on my already somewhat sore wrists. I was just SO desperate to get it finished!

I was worried at one point that this yarn would be wiry, with all the twist I was putting in it to hold the very thin singles together. But it is as soft as can be, a testament to some really nice fiber to start out with. When I first received the color, I was not quite sure how I felt about it. But, then I saw someone weave with this colorway and it was so pretty. I am inspired to give that a try myself.

Yardage for this project? A pretty amazing 828 yards.

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This week, in spinning

I know I should be showing you a MOS wrap up, but I am saving it for later. It isn’t really that exciting, two pairs of socks, neither one complete. I’ll get them done, but in my own time.

Instead, I want to show you ALL the pretty spinning! With the strips on my loom being rather uninspiring, I’ve been spinning quite a bit again. I’ve got a lot of progress to show off!

First up is my study in green batt. It has been spun on my heavyweight trindle, and I love the resulting yarn. Of course I do! It is all shades of green, and as I was spinning this, I was thinking “Gee, I think I’ve done these colors before.” It reminded me so much of my Unicorn Barf cowl, out of the cram pot dyed rambo locks. The only thing missing was white and aztec gold. In any case, the border leicester and silk spun into a beautiful and even single, on the fuzzy side of course. I’d like to make this into a 2 ply, so my goal for the weekend is to make another study in green batt, spin it up on my trindle, and ply them together. I think that is an entirely doable goal for the weekend.

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Then I’ve got my merino “fauxlag” project. I’ve been working on it for months, a couple weeks back I finished spinning the singles, but I never bothered to ply. I’ve finally begun. The colors are muted, the yarn thick and thin, but I am looking at it from the perspective of something I could use for a weft, and for that I really like it. It will make a nice soft scarf of some sort, and the colors will be muted and gentle but still interesting. I know, I am not far along but another goal for the weekend is to finish this.

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Then there is the long, ongoing BFL project. Oh my gosh I am so tired of this project! 3 ply laceweight, remind me not to do THAT again, especially in something where there are only 2 colors to work with. My head spins every time I pick up the spindle on this one. I am insanely tired of it. However, according to the sample I plied, I do think it will end up a very nice looking yarn. You can see here that I still have quite a bit to go. I also have quite a bit spun up, and a little that is already yarn. This should give me hope, but it does not.

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Finally, there’s vintage vespa. My loop bump, the first one I ever started. I put it away and spun 2 more loop bumps before going back to this one and finishing up. I’ll tell you what, this bump has suffered in many ways. The biggest way? The entire outside was felted from me bringing it here, there, and everywhere and not actually spinning on it. I also felt that a good place for a loop bump while spinning was under my arm. It worked great, but at some point I realized that my spinning movement was felting it badly. As of right now, the bit I have left is so felted it is hard to spin. It is possible I will call this one done, chain ply it, and save the last bit of the black for blending on the drum carder. OR, I may take the black, try to fix it with my hand cards and keep going. I am not sure, and I am letting it rest for a day or two in order to figure out just how far my determination goes on this particular project. I am very eager to have it done. Know why? Because next up is the jacob’s fleece and I am SO looking forward to that! I can’t wait to pull it all out, get a color gradient started, and spin it up! I think the fact that there are color changes is what makes the idea of spinning an entire fleece a lot easier to contemplate. I may be spinning a fleece, but it isn’t an overly large one and there are changes of color.

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Stay tuned for either MOS final updates or…..a new skein of handspun!

 

 

Snow Day!

I didn’t think I was going to get a blog post up today. Yesterday I got distracted by grocery shopping and company and failed to take a picture in the light of day. You see, on Monday evening I worked very hard to finish my loop bump. I mean, I stayed up quite late to do it, and even later to wash and thwack it. I had expected the plying to take me 3 days, but when I talked to Sarah, who is actually the one who will knit the yarn, she said fingering weight single was her preference. So, I left it that way, shocked it a bit, thwacked it really hard for stability, and hung it to dry. That took two days. But, in the end I have 723 yards of this gorgeousness!

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And because of a snow day, you get to see it a day early.

The other thing that the snow day offered me? The opportunity to do some blocking.

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Those 3 goals I had for this week? They should be complete today. But, no more goofing off until the shoveling is done!

How did that happen?

I started spinning in 2007. Not one to do anything in a small way, I immediately got a wheel and learned on that. I never bothered with a spindle. Since then, I’ve considered myself an adequate spinner. Knowledgable, but in a rut. Able to make a decent knittable yarn, but not by any means a spectacular spinner. I didn’t feel I learned new techniques, and I always spun about the same thickness, 3 ply light fingering weight yarn.

And then something changed. Over the summer I became interested in spindles. Drop spindles and support spindles. Along with wanting to master spindles, came a desire to master new spinning techniques. Suddenly I am no longer in a rut. And on top of that, I’ve slowed down taken more care, and am now producing better yarn than I ever have before. I am also enjoying spinning in a way I never have before. Spinning for me has always been an end product venture. Knitting was about the process, spinning was about the product. Except, not anymore.

I just spent the last 4 days spinning up this loop bullseye bump, and I want to show you all the pictures. I switched to my larger whorl so I could make a slightly thicker than usual yarn. I then snapped photos of the process.

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There were about 2 more colors of grey in there I never got a chance to photograph due to darkness and bad lighting.

I then navajo plyed the entire thing, leaving me with 460 yards of Dk to worsted weight yarn. And it is well done yarn, if I do say so myself. It is even, consistent, and beautiful. I am extremely proud of it.

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I intend for this to be my year of spinning dangerously. I had a year or two of knitting dangerously and it expanded my knitting knowledge and ability beyond what I would have hoped. So, this year in spinning, my goals are as follows:

-To regularly spin thicker yarns, and manage to do it with intention. If the idea is to have a consistent yarn, I should have that. If I want something thick and thin, then I should be able to master that as well.

-To try corespinning. And coreless corespinning

-To create a true cabled yarn

-To alternate spinning older stash, newer stash, and fleece/locks/less processed wools

-To create a beaded handspun

Hopefully this will keep me right out of a rut, and have me spinning in ways I never imagined. I think that is a fantastic goal for this year!