Tag Archives: yarn

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!

Brown Sheep

Or:

How I fell in love with yarn

I started working with yarn in childhood. My mom taught me how to crochet when I was maybe 6 or 8. She tried teaching me to knit, but I struggled with it. I tried several times to teach myself before I finally figured it out. But that’s not what this story is about.

See, I was working with yarn before I fell in love with it. Maybe this is because I grew up in the 1980s, when practically all you could find was acrylic. I knew there was yarn beyond Red Heart Super Saver, but I didn’t know much. And what I knew was still acrylic, I believe.

My involvement in fiber arts ebbed and flowed over the years. I picked it back up in earnest in college.

And then, after getting married, we happened upon a small yarn shop. I went in and was inexorably drawn to the wall of luscious color. That wall contained Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride yarns. Skeins of worsted and bulky weight singles that were incredibly soft to the touch and with a lovely halo. Wool, with a bit of mohair. So soft! So warm.

Yarn from Brown Sheep

Part of my stash of Brown Sheep yarn.

That was it. I was in love.

I bought a few skeins, made a scarf or two. And then three and four and more.

I didn’t hurt that this yarn is milled right here in Nebraska, purchased from shepherds, mostly in the United States. They even reuse 70-90 percent of their daily waste water (dyeing is a water-intensive endeavor).

As I’ve spent more time knitting and crocheting, I’ve come to love the Brown Sheep yarns even more. I’m a huge fan of Lanaloft (the same type of singles yarn but without the mohair) and Nature Spun (which is 100 percent wool, plied yarn).

Brown Sheep yarns are reliable and soft, yes. I also really love the luminous quality of the dyeing, too. The yarn has life, vitality. They make other yarn look flat, dull and boring.

Some day I’ll get out to Mitchell and tour the mill.

Have you worked with Brown Sheep yarn and fiber? Do you have a local-to-you yarn company?

Back to spinning

bluepurple sparkle singles close

Word Lily spinsNext time, if you notice it’s been a while since I’ve posted about my spinning? Bug me. Because, Why, why, why do I go so long without doing something I so love? Spinning this was … blissful. The process brought tears to my eyes, it was so splendid. I do love the yarn, but the experience of spinning, having my hands literally in color, is even more worthwhile to me. I know this, and yet, it had been more than a year since I’d pulled my spinning wheel out of its cubbyhole. Shameful.

This photo is truer, color-wise:
skein of bluepurple sparkle singles

It’s soo fluffy and squishy and soft and cozy! I have no idea what I’m going to make with it yet, I just had to make.

Stats on the yarn: 60.4 grams, 122 yards (pre-bath, so it’ll likely shrink/puff a bit) from a batt I made at Yarn School, the last of those. I don’t remember what all I put in on the carder, but obviously quite a bit of sparkle. I have the details somewhere, but I wanted to post, not hunt for details, this morning.

Do you ever find yourself avoiding things you love?

New studio

With the impending birth of the little one, my yarn room had to move. What used to be the yarn room is now (in process of being) set up as the nursery, and what was the home office has now all but disappeared and been replaced by my studio. It’s not perfectly organized, not neat and orderly, but it’s mostly reached the point where I can find things, which took awhile.

Wanna see?

Basement studio north

The north wall of the new studio space, what you see from the doorway.

Basement studio east

The east wall of the studio, to the right of the entry way.

It does get a decent amount of daylight, especially for a basement. It was a bit difficult to get photos, actually, because the windows were completely blowing out!

On the west wall is a couch, which serves double duty as a guest bed.

Oh, I almost forgot: A bookshelf in the next room, right next to my usual knitting spot, has my reference books and patterns.

It’s not perfect, but it’s functional, which is better than perfect. I’m so thankful for all the hours Paul put in getting it all moved, the floor painted, and helping me get it semi-organized. And it’s *done enough* that we’ve been able to focus on other things the past few weeks, which has been a necessity.