Tag Archives: 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!

Friday blankets

Word Lily knitsOne of the first things I cast on for in 2013 was a big striped blanket.

That blanket makes me happy, and it’s seen plenty of use already. So maybe that’s why it’s blankets galore so far in 2014.

The first one [Forgive me as I play catch-up, please!] I technically cast on for on 31 December, but I’m still counting it here.

Undercover blanket

Pattern: Undercover by Beata Jezek
Yarn: I alternated between crazy-old skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun (single ply, but without the mohair content, 169 yards per skein) and Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb (seems to be same as the current Lamb’s Pride, 190 yards per skein, except 100 percent wool, without mohair, again). 10 skeins, natural/undyed
Size: Blocked to 65 inches square.
More details on my Ravelry project page.

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This one is a throw for the house. To be available on the couch, like so. I kinda wish it was bigger, but working in the round has a ton of stitches on the needles to reach this size, and I didn’t have any more yarn anyway, so there it is. I’m pretty much a sucker for leaf motifs.

I also knit two baby blankets, as gifts, in January and February.

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Pattern: Groovy Little Baby Blanket by Meera Kothari Cho
Yarn: Cotton yarn of various colors, all reclaimed from old sweaters.
Size(s): The blue one is approximately 36″ by 38″ (although I didn’t exactly remember to measure after washing and before gifting, oops). The pink one ended up 32″ wide by 36″ tall.
More details on my project pages.

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This pattern is a riff on a baby sweater pattern, Tulips, by Lindsay Pekny, made famous by the Yarn Harlot.

I played with the size in all of these, but the biggest modification I made was to the baby blankets. No matter how I figured it, I couldn’t make sense of the number of stitches the pattern said to pick up for the edges. It didn’t translate to any standard stitch-picking-up ratios that I’m aware of, and the number was small enough I was pretty sure it would make the blanket cup instead of being able to lie flat. So I picked up a more normal number of stitches, on both of the baby blankets. The distinctive seed stitch color-change row is quite nice.

I’m also in the middle of a gigantic queen-sized stripey blanket, since finishing all of these. It’s taking quite a bit longer, logically. Maybe I’ll show that one to you next week?

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 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!

Stripey stripey blanket

Word Lily knitsHappy Friday! I’m posting about a blanket, and it’s ridiculously hot outside, but maybe this can remind us of cooler weather? At long last, I finished the striped blanket I was working on (blogged earlier).

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It’s pictured here on our queen-sized bed, but it’s intended eventual use will be for A’s [twin] bed, once he’s out of the crib. It will be more bedspread sized. I think I was working a bit ahead of the need. :p This blanket has already seen use, both on the guest bed and for curling up on the couch. (I finished the knitting *and* the crocheted border in February — so less than two months of actual stitching — but it took me until June 5 to get around to weaving in all the ends. So it was mostly finished while there was still need for blankets, at least occasionally.)

Since it’s all in stockinette, it curls some, but putting it on a bed, combined with its own weight (cotton is soft, but it isn’t the lightest fiber around), counteracts that to a large degree. I knew the curling would happen, but I really wanted this blanket to be stockinette. The curling will be not that much of a problem — it will still function just fine for my purposes.

I’m really, really happy with it.

Here’s my Ravelry project page.

Yarn: I used all cotton yarn for this blanket, all reclaimed (unraveled) from old sweaters.

with flash

with flash

As an aside, these photos also give you one view of our bedroom, the one I’m working on decorating (starting with crocheting a headboard). Clearly it’s nothing special now; I’m excited for what it will become, though. Please pay no attention to all the messy surfaces; I clearly didn’t stage the space for this photo!

Photobombed by A.

Photobombed by A.

I just had to include this photo, too. Hm, maybe the tot helps provide scale?

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

More socks

Word Lily knitsIt seems my default knitting, at least these days, is socks. And while the knitting itself might not be completely thrilling in the moment, I end up with hand-knit socks, which is a definite yay!

I think I finally realized that the reason I probably sound so ho-hum about so many projects lately is just that I haven’t really had any challenging (other than perhaps challenging my endurance) projects in over a year now, since before A was born. I’ve had a couple that weren’t the simplest, but they were hats. Small projects that, even with setbacks, didn’t really count as challenging because they were so short-lived. Maybe if there were more of them, they’d add up to … challenging (apparently I need a thesaurus today), but since there were really just one or two, they didn’t count.

I’m ready to get back to some projects that tease the mind, that engage my brain! And I think I know at least one thing I’m going to do to accomplish that. But first, here are those socks.

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These Blue Latte socks (as I call them) were begun in desperation. We were on a road trip, and in my restraint I’d only packed yarn and needles to cast on for a pair of simple socks. But the yarn and needles, in combination, were disastrous. This yarn, which I’ve now attempted half a dozen pattern and stitch count combinations with, pools in a way that drives me completely bonkers. I can’t stand it. No idea what I’m going to do with it. But that’s a story for a different day. So anyway, after being stuck most of the way to our destination without knitting, after attempting everything I could with what I had for that aggravating yarn, I went straightaway to buy more cooperative sock yarn once we’d reached our destination. But this yarn seemed like it needed a pattern, not just plain, so I cast on for the pattern I’d most recently completed, since I’d retained it in my head well enough to get going.

So that’s how I ended up making these socks — using a pattern I’d already made, which is quite rare for me. They’re good socks. But let me tell you, fourth sock syndrome makes second sock syndrome look like a weenie.

Pattern: Vanilla Latte Socks A good, simple, pattern, but I’m not likely to make again, at least not any time soon.
Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks FX in cadet colors
Notes: 64 stitches, star toe; photos are pre-blocking


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These are just basic socks, but they’re still fun, I think. I didn’t think attempting a pattern with this bold a yarn would be smart, or worth my time. Mostly stripes, but with a few waves/scallops thrown in. Vibrant and fun!

Pattern: Um, just a basic sock. I calculated for the stitch counts, but this is in my head.
Yarn: Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett in exotic ember
Notes: I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of stripes.

What have you been working on lately?

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