Category Archives: spinning

Tour de Fleece 2014

Word Lily spins

I got a late start on Tour de Fleece this year because I was working nonstop on a demanding knitting project with a severe deadline. So my Tour was actually six days shorter than it should have been. But I still got in on some of the fun.

I started with this gorgeous bit of Spunky Eclectic BFL, in the Friends Forever colorway.

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Want a closer look? OK.

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My first time chain plying since 2010, and it might be that long again before the next time. I dont find it enjoyable. But I’m happy with this yarn, all 320 sport weight yards of it.


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This yarn is made from domestic wool mill ends that I dyed and carded on my drum carder. Aran weight, 108 yards, pre-wash; 51 grams.

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Here’s the project page for the above yarn.


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This yarn was also spun from domestic wool mill ends that I dyed and then carded. I added just a touch of sparkle on the drum carder on this one, too.

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DK weight, 51 grams yielded 139 yards of 2-ply. The color is more accurate in the in-progress, pre-plying, photograph.


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I’m really happy with this yarn. It’s Falkland, dyed by Cosy.

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Fingering weight 2-ply, 560 yards from 112 grams.


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This one is also Falkland from Cosy.

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Aran weight, 112 grams and 232 yards.

I got the singles of another 4 ounces of this same fiber done during the Tour, but I couldn’t fit the plying in before it ended.

So, totals: Five finished skeins (all 2-ply except the one chain-ply), totaling 1,359 yards and about 1 pound. Plus the 4 ounces of singles spun but not plied. I’ve certainly made more in previous Tours, but given my late start (and my intentional tapering toward the end), I’m content with my production.

Do you make any of your own crafting supplies? How far back to the “source” do you go? To see what other people are up to in the fiber arts world this week, check out Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder.

Handspun socks

Word Lily knitsI thought about posting my spinning from Tour de Fleece, but since there are just a couple days left and I haven’t posted any of it yet, it felt a bit odd. That’ll wait until next week.

Instead, today, for your fiber arts enjoyment, I present a pair of socks.

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These socks I knit from my own handspun yarn, a true 3-ply, spun from Spunky Eclectic club fiber, Wensleydale, Kentucky Derby colorway. I spun the yarn in … 2010, I believe.

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The Socks on a Plane pattern is simple and sweet, and it was a good fit for this yarn.

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More notes: I modified it thus: CO 20, increased to 60 around. (This yarn is a tad thicker than normal fingering.) If I was making them again I’d probably move the cable panel a stitch or two (maybe just 1, in this yarn), farther in from the side of the sock.

I had 11 grams of yarn left over when I finished (so, not much). More details on my Ravelry project page.

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I like how the cable panel runs all the way to the top of the sock, through but not disrupting the ribbing.

My only complaint isn’t really about the yarn or the pattern: I’ve got to figure out the best way to accommodate my high arches in toe-up socks. :-/

So, what have you been making lately? See what others are up to in the fiber arts world at Fiber Arts Friday.

FO Friday: February spinning

Word Lily spinsI started spinning every day in February, and I kept it up until my spinning wheel broke. Wah wah wah.

It’s fixed now, but here’s what I spun in that spurt.

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One ply is Spunky Eclectic‘s Moose Moss on Portuguese Merino. The other is Spunky Eclectic’s Fjord on South African Fine.

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I got 333 yards from this 209 grams (7.3 ounces) (pre-wash), for a bulky yarn.

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This last photo is without flash. The color is more accurate in the ones with flash, but this isn’t really inaccurate, either. Just a different face of the colors. More details on my project page (Rav).


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When I was plying, the Fjord ran out before the Moose Moss, by a significant amount. I took the leftover Moose Moss on Portuguese Merino and plied it with itself.

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This little skein is 80 yards and 43 grams (1.5 ounces), for an aran or bulky yarn. I’m thinking this can be used as trim (Or a stripe?) in the project I use the combo yarn for, whatever that ends up being. I’m not even sure the difference would be immediately noticeable. This skein lacks the bits of blue, but there isn’t enough blue in the bigger skein that there’s blue in every yard of the yarn, so we’ll see.

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Again without the flash, above. More details on my project page.


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This little skein consists of mill ends (wool and mohair) that I spindle spun over the course of several years. I clearly don’t use my spindle much, eh? I wound it off the spindle, into a plying ball, last year — so I could use the spindle for something else — and I finally actually plied this yarn on my wheel in February 2014.

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It’s a bit overspun (or overplied, or both), but not too badly. It’s sport weight, 58 yards and 22 grams (three-quarters of an ounce).

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My project page.


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This skein I spun from a batt I carded from commercial mill ends. I started with dark green mill ends, a few undyed mill ends, and some other mill ends that I’d dyed (yellow and purple). I spun the yarn and then plied the two ends of the single together.

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This skein has 112 yards and weighs 56 grams (nearly 2 ounces), making this skein worsted weight.

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Again without flash, above. The colors still feel accurately depicted, just maybe a less … revealing? … portrayal. The project page.


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This is the last one. Also spun from a batt I carded, from mill ends I dyed. I believe I was spinning for speed on this one. I opened up the batt (I had so much fun playing with color on the carder here!), split it across in sections, and then broke those cross-sections into chunks, so the yarn has smaller striping sections while the separate colors are still mostly preserved (not blended).

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It’s 136 yards and 43 grams (1.5 ounces). Those are pre-wash measurements, and I fulled it a bit in the finishing, so it probably lost some yardage. It’s roughly sport weight.

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I just love the bright colors of this one, how cheery it is. Here’s the project page.


So, that’s what I spun in February! I haven’t been back to the wheel since it was fixed, which is a travesty that I need to remedy.

What have you been making lately?

Head over to Fiber Arts Fridays to see what other people are up to in the fibery world today!

Tour de Fleece 2013, week 3

Word Lily spinsThe 2013 Tour de Fleece is almost over! Sunday is the last day. I think my production declined this week, in part because I actually took this week’s rest day (Monday), unlike last week.

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I’ve had this alpaca roving (not combed top) for years, since I went to Yarn School. This was my first time spinning from actual roving, as well as my first time spinning 100 percent alpaca (I’ve only spun it in blends before). It spun pretty nicely — 30 grams yielded 84 grams of two-ply yarn.

[This wool] began its life (in my possession, anyway) as mill ends, which I dyed. This was yet another attempt at spinning lightweight (hoping for lace weight, again). Note: I intentionally took pictures of this yarn first thing this morning, so I could post them. But now the WordPress uploader is giving me errors, over and over. I don’t want to wait here for this to resolve itself! So, sorry, no photos of this yarn in the blog post. The photos are on Ravelry, though. I didn’t get to lace weight, but it is definitely the thinnest I’ve spun this Tour, and it’s nice and consistent. I’m happy with this yarn. :)

Yesterday was challenge day. To challenge myself, I tried something new: I picked a new braid of fiber (Spunky Eclectic’s Tundra on BFL) and attempted to spin long draw from the fold. I was scared before I started, but it was incredibly fun! I shouldn’t be surprised that new fiber arts techniques aren’t as scary as they’re sometimes made out to be, but perhaps my recent frustration with my apparent ability to actually spin lace weight yarn has clouded my judgment. Anyway. This was fun. I’ll definitely use the technique more in the future. No picture of this because it’s still in progress and I haven’t had a chance to take one yet.

There are just a couple days left of the Tour! It should come as no surprise that I won’t be getting everything done that I dreamed of, but there’s still a little time to squeeze a couple things in. I just have to decide what they’ll be. Happy Friday!

Do you ever go full bore at a craft or project, to the detriment of all others? (I haven’t touched a knitting needle all month so far.)

Head over to FO Fridays and Fiber Arts Fridays to see what other people are up to in the fibery world today.

Tour de Fleece 2013, week 2

Word Lily spinsAlthough I knew today was Friday, I somehow hadn’t put together until this morning that today being Friday meant I wanted to post about my spinning this week, alas! I’m going to blame that cognitive lapse on lack of sleep. I haven’t touched my knitting or crochet all week, it’s been just spinning, all the time (except for when, you know, I’m doing life stuff).

Spinning this week has been … frustrating. But I’ll get around to that in good time. First, here’s a rundown of what I spun.

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I spun these two little skeins, intending to stripe them (perhaps in combination with another yarn, if needed) to knit something for A. The fiber is mostly mill ends. The lighter, more multi-colored skein, is spun from a batt I carded. The darker skein is spun from top, the the same dark green top that makes up the bulk of the batt. Between the two of skeins, I’ve got 100 grams and 96 yards.

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close up

close up

This yarn was in progress last week. I just barely missed getting it all on the bobbin when plying. Combined here, this two-ply yarn is 234 grams and 452 yards. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, if a bit surprised at how much more subdued the yarn is than the top seemed.

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close up

close up

This BFL/silk was singles when I posted last week. When I finally found enough uninterrupted time to ply this, I was quite disappointed in what I ended up with. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely yarn, but I was aiming for lace weight, or at least fingering. I wanted to knit lace (a shawl), or maybe socks with this yarn. But it’s solidly sport weight, and not enough yardage to make those (besides being thick enough that I wouldn’t want to wear it as a shawl or in my shoes). Four ounces, 296 yards. Bah.

And that failure set me on the quest for thinner yarn.

Scene: I’d already spun most of this fiber’s singles when I reached this point in the narrative.

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I started with four batts I’d carded from wool/mohair mill ends. When I came back to the wheel after realizing the Mauvin wasn’t anything close to what I’d been planning on, I tried to spin thinner and thinner. That spinning was roughly the second half of the second bobbin of this fiber. So then I plied.

That mostly thin(ner) yarn paired up with the thicker first bobbin, and I got a skein of two-ply yarn that looks kinda thread-plied (although the singles still weren’t thin enough to result, even when self-plied, in lace weight). 105 grams, 174 yards

Then I wound the remaining singles from that second bobbin (the mostly thicker part, now) into a center-pull ball and plied, and ended up with a small skein of much more even yarn. 35 grams, 83 yards

Almost done with the week’s saga. Still here?

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Still deep in my frustration, I plucked a wee bit of hand-dyed (by me) top from the stash and spun it slower, aiming for as thin as I could. I wanted a small bit, so I could get feedback sooner. When I plied it up, I still failed.

This mini skein tips the scale at 25 grams, 84 yards.

I don’t know what to blame this on. I started by deciding it was my wheel’s fault. My drive band is too stretched out to work on the fastest ratio. (New one ordered.) And while I’d like to think that’s the problem, maybe a larger factor is my lack of time at the wheel. I haven’t been spinning frequently. And it’s not like I was a master spinner when I left off. I guess more practice isn’t a bad thing, eh? ;) Ah, if I could only find a way to balance all the crafts and the rest of life’s requirements. At any rate, I’ve started spinning the next thing. We’ll see how it goes.

Have you been spinning this week? Or maybe spinning your wheels at something? (Like that metaphor?)

Head over to FO Fridays and Fiber Arts Fridays to see what other people are up to in the fibery world today.

Tour de Fleece week 1

Word Lily spinsToday is day 7 of the Tour de Fleece. I’ve kept up with my commitment to spin every day, although output has been a bit paltry since last weekend. But that with good reason! My parents were visiting, and I seized the opportunity for a helping, encouraging hand while I cut into the fabric I bought and sewed four skirts (from this tutorial)! This feels like a huge accomplishment to me, since I’m scared of the sewing machine. Hopefully I’ll get around to posting about the sewing project, but today is about the spinning.

On Saturday I picked a batt I carded from fiber (wool, mill ends) I dyed. I spun it and left it as singles.

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It’s a pretty small skein, 52 grams and 128 yards (prewash).

On Sunday I picked up this 4-ounce braid of polwarth, a new-to-me fiber, and gave it a whirl. Plied from a handwound center-pull ball. (This fiber was dyed by Sheepish Creations.)

Polwarth, in neons.

Polwarth, in neons.


This one came out pretty chunky, 4 ounces yielded a mere 96 yards (prewash).

Monday I wrapped up (started spinning on Sunday) the singles for this future 2-ply.

Merino silk singles

Merino silk singles


The above is Fall Creek Fibers merino/silk (that’s another spinning first for me, merino/silk), in colorway Mauvin. I’m hoping to knit this into a lace shawl or delicate socks — but first I have to ply it. (I spun this on DIY-ed fat-core bobbins, to theoretically help me spin skinny (lace weight?) yarn on my skotch-tension wheel.)

And since Monday, I’ve been working on this wool:

On the wheel

On the wheel


This is mill ends, domestic wool, that I dyed with acid dyes. Hopefully I’ll finish this bobbin today, and then I’ll start spinning the wool I plan to ply it with:

I know spinning is a bit far fetched for many of you, but this will be most of what I’m sharing, fiber-arts wise, at least, through the rest of the Tour. I hope you’re not too disappointed. And I hope you all have a great weekend!

Head over to FO Fridays and Fiber Arts Fridays to see what other people are up to in the fibery world today!

Training and prep for Tour de Fleece 2013

Word Lily spinsI’m so excited about the Tour de Fleece this year — and that I actually get to participate again after a couple years off — that I’ve been training and preparing. As the Tour starts tomorrow, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share what I’ve been up to as we lead up to the Tour. (For those not in the know, the Tour de Fleece is a longstanding tradition now of spinning our [spinning] wheels while the cyclists of the Tour de France spin theirs. Kind of dorky? Perhaps. But super fun, nonetheless.) The home for Tour de Fleece is on Ravelry.

So, here’s what I’ve been spinning lately.

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Closeup of the 3-ply.

Closeup of the 3-ply.


And another.

And another.

This batch I spun from mill ends (waste from the commercial manufacture of yarn), domestic wool and mohair. The mohair gives it the sheen (that’s not just from the camera flash.) The two more marled skeins are identical yarns, I just ran out of room on my bobbin and had to break the yarn as I was plying. This yarn is a traditional 3-ply; between those two skeins I’ve got a total of 284 grams (10 ounces) and 251 yards (prewash). It looks like roughly a worsted weight, but it might knit up a bit heavier than that (and washing may change it, too). This yarn was kind of boring to spin, but I’ve got enough of it to actually do something with, so yay!
Closeup of the 2-ply.

Closeup of the 2-ply.


The other skein in that top photo is 2-ply made from the remainder, after the first, more varied, single ran out. It weighs in at 46 grams (1.6 oz) and 66 yards, prewash.

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Closeup of my handspun made from the fiber I dyed.

Closeup of my handspun made from the fiber I dyed.

This skein I initially spun at my fiber arts party. I 2-plied it the next week, I think. This fiber is also mill ends wool, though this is very scant on mohair, if it has any at all. I hand-dyed this wool (I want to get back in the dye lab, it’s been too long!) I love how it’s all a uniform color, but it still has plenty of variation and interest. Stats: 45 grams (1.6 oz) and 56 yards (yes, prewash).

For these last two, the singles were spun ages and ages ago. I plied them to free up my bobbins so I have more room to play during the Tour.

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Closeup of my first attempt at true long-draw.

Closeup of my first attempt at true long-draw.

Closeup of the natural 2-ply corriedale.

Closeup of the natural 2-ply corriedale.

The brown is natural corriedale (that’s a breed of sheep and thus a type of wool), spun so long ago I don’t even remember when I did it. I 2-plied it from a center pull ball (my standard method of plying). Stats: 19 grams and 50 yards, prewash. This is pretty fine yarn.

The pink and green is spun from wool I hand-carded and spun long-draw, both first attempts. Stats: 8 grams and 17 yards.

I don’t have very specific goals for the Tour de Fleece this year; spinning every day of the Tour will be challenge enough, I expect! I do want to practice at least a little on my long draw / spinning from the fold, though.

Are you watching the Tour de France? Do you have big crafty plans now that summer is officially here?

Head over to FO Fridays and Fiber Arts Fridays to see what other people are up to in the fibery world today!

In-progress Wramblings

I’m working on a headboard for our bed! It will probably be a couple weeks before it’s finished, but I’m 30+ percent done with the crocheting and I’m excited about it. I think it will be a good place to start for redecorating (or decorating in the first place, actually; we haven’t touched our bedroom since we moved in). I’d been looking for ideas and inspiration for weeks, and I finally found it, so yay! And since the headboard idea came to me, I think I figured out a color palette. It will be bold. No specifics yet, though, just pictures in my head. Edited to add: Yes, I am crocheting a headboard. It will have non-fiber bones and hardware and it will be awesome.

I need to cast on for a plain/simple sock. So, I should go look at my yarn and pick something.

I should also look at my sock yarn for yarn for that shawl I’m going to make. I need to buy beads, but I can’t buy beads until I know what yarn I’m going to use. I wish it was in lace weight, but nope, it’s in fingering. Which will certainly work, but it makes choosing yarn a bit tougher for me.

I also can’t get Leethal’s Adventure Knit-a-long out of my head.

I plied some yarn this week and emptied some bobbins to get ready for Tour de Fleece. I’m getting so excited!

Progress on A’s Christmas stocking has stalled a bit while I’ve been focusing on the headboard, but it’s not abandoned. I’m still liking how it’s looking, so that’s good.

I feel bad that I don’t have photos for this post, but I haven’t taken them, and if I go take them (and upload, and go through them, and edit as needed …) I won’t get anything posted. So I guess I’ll be leaving you in suspense on the actual visuals for now.

Happy Wednesday! What are you working on this week?