Category Archives: spinning

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.

DSC_0040

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

DSC_0047

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

DSC_0051

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).


DSC_0083

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.

DSC_0086

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.

DSC_0079

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


DSC_0024

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.

DSC_0025

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).

DSC_0027

My project page.


DSC_0035

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.

DSC_0037

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

DSC_0029

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


DSC_0017

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).

DSC_0014

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.

DSC_0019

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.

DSC_0003

DSC_0007

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.

DSC_0001

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.

DSC_0002

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.

DSC_0010

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.

DSC_0009

DSC_0011

DSC_0010

DSC_0006

DSC_0001

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?

DSC_0012

DSC_0016

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.

DSC_0008
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.

DSC_0056

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.

DSC_0063

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.

DSC_0066

DSC_0067

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?

Fiber Arts Party debrief

Word Lily knitsWord Lily spinsSo, I had this party. I had the idea for a fiber arts party for my birthday this year, but I wanted all these people to come. And with a February birthday, I didn’t think asking people to drive and drive was a good idea. They’d end up not able to come — or stuck — and I’d end up disappointed. Instead of throwing away my plans, we just decided to move it to a time of year that usually has better, more drivable weather.

The party finally happened last weekend.

Not everyone I wanted to attend was able to make it, but we still had a really good time (as far as I can tell; I said afterward that I wasn’t able to step back and get a good perspective on everyone’s experience or the party as a whole because I was running around the entire time). Since I never took a step back from the action, though — and because the decorations didn’t really finish going up until after the party started — I don’t have good photos of all the things we did. Living in the moment, friends!

The set up /slash/ overview

I invited friends and family from near and far. All the moms were allowed to bring their children (After all, I’d have A with me!). I figured there were a few activities the older kids could do, and we’d bring toys to hopefully keep the littler ones occupied.

We had several stations with different activities. The pompom-making station was in use nearly all day. (The party went from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

I demonstrated wet felting, and quite a few people took a turn or two at the towels positioned in front of containers of hot and cold water.

A few of the girls were brave enough to attempt spinning on a drop spindle after my demonstration. My wheel got at least a small workout, but only from me.

One person learned to knit, a few others tried their hands at crochet for the first time.

We ate lunch and later had cake.

My fabulous husband made a set of giant knitting needles out of larger-than-a-broomstick dowels, and there was some rope on hand to knit with them. He also made the cake — chocolate with a peanut butter cookie layer in the middle, graced by peanut butter cream cheese frosting. It was yummy and pretty.

The decorations

Way back in January, when I started thinking of this party, I started pinning decoration ideas. Partly I was browsing for ideas, but a few of them came to me and then I found a pin to represent that.

We made a chandelier, except upon installation it changed to more of a waterfall.

chandelier, from below

The yarn … bubbles? hang from the 12-foot ceiling.

This was super messy to make. And practically required two people. You might want to wear and apron. And remove your rings. Also, we made up about 15 balloons, and we used a full two bottles of glue. So be prepared. It took awhile to get a system worked out for how to get the yarn through the paste and then out without it getting all knotted. And the instructions didn’t mention any starting points for how much yarn to use per balloon. I ended up with a range from 12 to 25 yards, I think. (And: yarn weight matters. Fingering weight yarn takes more yardage to give a similar visual coverage that can be achieved with fewer yards of a heavier yarn. It sounds like common sense, but it wasn’t included in the directions.) The first few balloons we made, we had cut too short of a yarn length.

We worked in a variety of shades of white, including creams and off-whites and winter whites and even a taupe or two. I thought the more subdued color palette would work, since the space where we hung it has bright walls.

I made pompoms, anchored them to chopsticks and stuck them in vases.

Pompom flowers of various sizes.

Pompom flowers of various sizes.

DSC_0048There are tons of pompom tutorials out there, but all the ones that used the poms as flowers seemed to require hot gluing the pom to the stem. I wanted to use our gigantic supply of plastic chopsticks, and I didn’t want to use glue, since I figured this was a more temporary installation than the chandelier/waterfall.

Instead, I left the strings I’d used to tie the pompoms long. I inserted the tip of a chopstick (thought about using bamboo skewers, too, which might have worked better on the smaller pompoms) into the center of a pom and used the long ends to firmly criss-cross down the stem a ways and ended with a knot. I just left the yarn ends, as a nod to leaves.

Also, I used little balls of yarn I had around in the bottoms of the vases to help situate the stems and give them a bit more height (the vases were taller than my stems, oops). And hey, more color!

I hung garlands of shawls on two walls.

Sarah knits plus garland of shawls

My sister learned to knit! Also, this is the best photo I have of the garlands of shawls. We were apparently having too much fun to remember to take photos.

I saw this photo of shawls on a clothesline, blowing in the breeze, in an online magazine. They were using it to showcase/introduce a knitting pattern. I thought it would be fun to replicate it with shawls I’ve made as decorations for the party. We ended up with two lines, on opposite walls, filled with shawls of all shapes, sizes and colors. (I like knitting shawls.)

DSC_0047
We hung a photo poster in a frame, kind of.

This one did double duty: We had the photo up at A’s birthday party (since it’s a photo of him, after all), and then we hung it for this party, on a wall large enough to accomodate the giant frame, too. It didn’t seem like too much of a stretch. :) (For reference: The photo is 16×20.)

.

Conclusions?

I had a blast, despite the running around like crazy. (I knit and entire half a round on the sock project I brought with me.) We made a knitter and introduced a few people to crochet. Some current knitters hopefully gained some confidence in their abilities.

If you’re counting for #PinItDoIt, that’s four pins completed (in addition to the two from A’s party and the cookie one from my sign-up post, so, seven total).

There was talk of doing this again, maybe even regularly. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Swap hat

Word Lily knitsOne of my groups on Ravelry is having a hat swap for our babies, and my swap partner received the hat I made, so I can finally unveil this secret!

I made Leethal’s Wobble Bass hat.

Seen here modeled on my little guy.

DSC_0014

My project page on Ravelry.

I used Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky in color Blue Flannel for the main color, and a little bit of my handspun (n-plied merino, hand-dyed by Hello Yarn, in a Yarn School colorway, I forget which one). (Man, I should really look that up.)

DSC_0019

This was a tough project for me, but I’m pretty thrilled with how it turned out, although it’s not without its flaws. I might have been pushing the envelope a bit, using super bulky yarn to make a baby/toddler-sized hat, but it still worked. The pattern is awesome, a very engaging (heh) knit and the finished object is pretty fun, if you ask me.

You can see my kitchener in garter stitch here, it didn't completely disappear. My tension must have been off.

You can see my kitchener in garter stitch here, it didn’t completely disappear. My tension must have been off.

Here are a couple more photos, just for grins.

DSC_0028DSC_0016

I’ve wanted to try my hand at Leethal’s patterns for quite a while, and this won’t be my only foray. But I might have to make this hat again first, so I don’t have to rely on (digital) photographs as proof of this summit conquered.

The recipient, elpalchica, posted about the hat today, too. I’m so glad she likes it!

Have you participated in swaps before?

Wanna see more? Check out FO Friday and Fiber Arts Friday.