Category Archives: spinning

Christmas ornaments

Before I fell full-bore into gift knitting (now thankfully done!), I was getting into the Christmas spirit by making ornaments.

Christmas trees

Click any photo to view it larger.

These are the first ones we made. Paul shaped and slipped the trees, and I strung my handspun yarn as a garland. I especially like the bit of sparkle and variation in the yarn, as well as the highlight the edges of the trees themselves bring. I love it when we find ways to collaborate in craft!

We may iterate on this idea more in the future.


Again, click any photo to view it larger.

I pounded out quite a few of these; they’re kind of the unifying element on our personal tree this year. They come together really quick, too; I was getting four or so done in an hour. They’re a variety of lengths.

Here’s how I made them:

With a hook size suitable to the yarn (I used a G or H hook with worsted weight yarn), Ch β€” loosely! β€” a number approximating the desired length of your icicle. I had good luck with 18 or so. Any shorter than 14 I found less than ideal.

Working in the fourth ch from hook, 3 dc. Work 3 dc in each ch to end. Break yarn, weave in ends.

Icicle B prototype

This is an idea not fully come to fruition, I think. I like where it’s headed, but I’m not sure when I’ll have more time to devote to it.

I crocheted the stainless steel and threaded a bit of undyed combed top through it.

Have you made any ornaments this year?


Yarn for socks

Word Lily spins

I thought this fiber added up to 6 ounces, but apparently I recalled incorrectly.

My latest yarn (which I *think* I actually finished spinning before the 15th of November):

Two-ply merino handspun, from three different 1-ounce samples I dyed at the fiber festival in Iowa this summer. Stats: 111 grams (3.94 ounces), 328 yards, pre-bath. I think it's nearly dry now, so I can start knitting my socks when I'm done with Christmas making.

Want a close-up? OK.

I was hoping for sport-weight, and I think I came close to that. I’m not sure it’s quite enough yardage, since it’s less than 4 ounces instead of 6 ounces, but I’ll just knit the socks toe-up, I guess. Or maybe plan to add coordinating cuffs and/or heels.

Aside from the consternation about the amount of fiber, I’m head-over-heels for this yarn. I really love it.

The three bits I combined for this yarn:

Sorry for the crummy no-light cell-phone capture.

I’ve been knitting and crocheting quite a bit in the last month or so, too, but so much of it must remain a secret for now, so that’ll have to wait.

I’d really like to get back to my wheel, too, but we’ll see when that happens. I haven’t figured out what exactly I want to spin next, so it’s a bit easier to put off for the moment.

Fiber Arts Friday: Spinning

Word Lily spins

I’ve been spinning, and it’s lovely! I had been almost aching to get back to the spinning wheel.

I spun this singles yarn from a mini batt I carded at Yarn School earlier this year. It's so soft and squooshy! Not sure what I'll make with this yet, I've got about 100 yards.

This is merino, from roving that I dyed at the fiber festival in Iowa this summer. It's about 2 ounces, and almost 100 yards of 2-ply. So lofty! I think this wants to be fingerless mitts, I just need to find the right pattern.

I’m working on a larger spinning project now, about 6 ounces of merino. I’m into my last ounce, and then I’ll 2-ply it, hopefully for sport-weight socks. It’s not ideal sock yarn (only two ply, not superwash, no nylon), but it’s what this yarn needs to be.

I really love spinning, can you tell?

Fiber Arts Friday

Check out the Fiber Arts Friday roundup to see what other people are crafting this week.

Hedgerows Shawlette

Hedgerows Shawlette 1I’m so very pleased to announce that my first knitting pattern has officially been released!

Hedgerows Shawlette is available as a free PDF download.

An asymmetrical triangular shawlette, Hedgerows is perfect for that special 4-ounce skein of handspun yarn. It’s designed to let you use up all of your yarn, without worrying about weighing as you go along. It also works great for a single skein of sock yarn, and it is well-suited for variegated or self-striping yarn. It will show off a wide range of yarn weights, as well, from lace all the way up to sport or DK.

Hedgerows in greys

Hedgerows in greys. Knit in Lion Brand Sock-Ease in colorway Rock Candy.

This should give you a better idea of Hedgerows’ shape:

Hedgerows Warrior

Hedgerows, spread out

I was spurred to create this pattern by the 4-ounce challenge, and although I started right away, with all my other commitments for the past few months I was working right up to the wire to get this done. But, I made it, yay!

The yarn I used in the bright sample seen here is my handspun, made from Spunky Eclectic CorriePaca (80 percent corriedale, 20 percent alpaca), in the Twenty-Ten colorway. My two-ply yarn measured 13 wraps per inch.

Twenty-Ten yarn

Fractal-spun two-ply CorriePaca in Twenty-Ten, fiber from Spunky Eclectic.

Like it? Well, since I made the pattern free, download away! And enjoy. πŸ™‚

Tour de Fleece, finish line

The Tour de Fleece ended yesterday. And I wore my [figurative] yellow jersey β€” I won, I accomplished my goals and then some!

What I made since the last update

I’ve been busy!

The first of two skeins made from the wool I was in the process of spinning last time. I'm calling this colorway (dyed by me) Celebration.

The second skein from that 8 ounces of Celebration. One is 276 yards, the other 280 yards.

On Challenge Day (July 22) I pushed myself to make this, my first singles yarn. I also spun all 4 ounces in one day. Wensleydale wool, from Spunky Eclectic, colorway Cold Front; 665 yards

This is merino, from Art Club (purchased at Yarn School); 4 ounces yielded 350 yards of super-squishy 2-ply.

After all those long wools β€” the Wensleydale, plus the Norwegian are both definitely long wools β€” going back to merino was a bit of a shock and definitely required some adjustments! The color on that pink one isn’t very true; I love the variations in the yarn!

Final stats

All my Tour-de-Fleece-spun yarns, all stacked up.

Totals: More than 3,054 yards of finished yarn, spun from 2 pounds, 4 ounces of fiber.

Observations, notes

  • I started looking at new spinning wheels. I don’t have the money, and I don’t need a new one yet exactly, but in the last couple weeks I did come within sight of the point where my current wheel won’t keep up with me. This is both exciting and disappointing. I still want a drum carder more, though.
  • I fit 8 ounces of singles on one bobbin [very carefully, when I didn’t know it was 8 ounces]. This is a very pleasant surprise, but I’m not sure I’ll attempt that again.
  • I think I’ll have to spin a sweater lot next time.
  • I’ve had great fun, accomplished more than I even hoped.

I’ll leave you with this video of my noisy four-legged helper:


My Tour de Fleece starting line post
My Tour de Fleece day 11 report
My Tour de Fleece day 15 report

Tour de Fleece, day 15

I know it hasn’t been too long since I last posted about the Tour, but I’d initially planned to post on Saturdays anyway. In any event, the proximity just makes this post shorter.

What I’ve made since last time

Only one finished yarn since my last report, so I thought I’d give you a few photos of its progress:

Spunky Eclectic Norwegian Long Wool, Kentucky Derby, all ready to ply

All plyed up!

And skeined. Stats: 313 yards, fingering weight 3-ply.

Just a close-up of the finished skein. I really like how it turned out!

This is my first true 3-ply yarn, as well as my first experience with Norwegian Long Wool. I’m hoping to make socks from this yarn.


I finished most of what I pulled out to spin during the Tour. I was being conservative intentionally, partly because I really had no idea how long it takes me to spin x amount of yarn, but also because I didn’t want to be disappointed in how much (little) I accomplished. As a result of this, though, I spent a bit of time this week adrift, not really knowing what to pick up next or how I wanted to spin this fiber or this other fiber.


  • Shetland
  • Norwegian Long Wool
  • BFL (started before the Tour, but finished during)
  • my own hand-dyed (ditto)
  • 8 ounces of one colorway
  • Fingering weight
  • Lace or light fingering weight

Still aiming for:
A low-twist single (I plan to work on this on Thursday the 22nd, Challenge Day; I’ve had the Wensleydale β€” another new-to-me wool β€” set aside from the beginning.)

Current project

I started another (apparently, I didn’t weigh it yet) 8-ounce project yesterday. I split that into four strips, then split two of those in half again, and I pre-drafted them all yesterday. I got most of the way through the first 2-ounce section.

I dyed this at Yarn School, in a crock pot.

My Tour de Fleece starting line post
My Tour de Fleece day 11 report

Tour de Fleece report, day 11

I’ve been spinning every day, more hours than I’d planned to. Once I sit down at the wheel, it’s hard for me to walk away. Yes, that means I’m having fun. πŸ˜€

What I’ve made so far

None of these have been soaked yet, I’m sure they’ll all change once I get that done.

This is a two-ply yarn, made from two batts, one consisting of merino and sari silk and the other of merino and sparkles.

This is the leftovers from the merino/sparkles batt; I decided to leave this bit as singles.

Shetland two-ply, the top was dyed by Spunky Eclectic, in Pomegranate. This is by far the thinnest I've ever spun, it's a light fingering weight now, but we'll see what happens when it takes a bath.

I had a horrible time plying this, but the finished yarn is awesome. I’m interested to see if it (well, all of them, actually) blooms much. Either way, I’m loving this yarn.

My handdyed (at Yarn School) BFL, I'm calling the colorway Pink Wildflowers. This is 446 yards of chain-plied yarn, from 168 grams.

This is the rest of my Pink Wildflowers BFL, also chain-plied. This is worsted weight, 81 yards from 65 grams.

One funny thing about this BFL: I thought I started with 4 ounces, and it seemed to be taking forever. And I had to overfill my bobbin more than I ever have. I planned to two-ply it, but I didn’t want to wind it all off into a center-pull ball, which is why I ended up chain-plying it. And in the end, once I weighed it, I had 8 ounces! πŸ™‚

Observations from the wheel

β€’ spinning fine = slow going (Not necessarily in yards, but in weight, and in bobbin filling.)

β€’ I’m starting to get more comfortable, I think, with my wheel’s ratios. This is a very good thing. Hopefully I’ll see more progress in this area as the Tour continues.

β€’ Fibers I’m spinning for the first time: BFL (but this was already in progress when the Tour commenced) and Shetland. I’m working on Norwegian Long Wool now. There’ll be more new-to-me fibers as we continue on this Tour.

β€’ Revelation: I’m a slow spinner. Hopefully that item above, about my wheel’s ratios, will help this (as will the practice, of course).

β€’ I’m getting so impatient with myself that I’m really having trouble thinking of spinning more than 4 ounces of anything, even though if I had more of a yarn I’d probably be much more likely to find a project for it.

β€’ I’m making fair progress toward meeting all my goals, which is great!

My current project

This is the first ply of a planned 3-ply yarn. The fiber is 4 ounces of Norwegian Long Wool from Spunky Eclectic, Kentucky Derby colorway. I'm loving these colors! Hoping for sock-weight once I'm finished.

Today I’ll work on more of this. According to my calculations, tomorrow is the half-way point of the tour.

How’s your July?

My Tour de Fleece starting line post

Tour de Fleece: At the starting line

I had hoped to have my spinning wheel’s bobbins all cleared before today, so I could start the 2010 Tour de Fleece* fresh, but apparently that was not to be.

I’ve still got a work in progress on the wheel, and I think I might just finish that up before I move on to what I had set aside for the Tour. As sad as that seems, though, on the one hand, I can’t be too distraught because it seems I may have accomplished one of my goals Tour goals in the past couple days. I think what I’m spinning now (not at the beginning of this single, but the last couple days) would make a lace weight two-ply! I plan to ply it with itself, from a center-pull ball, so this will skein will end up thicker than that, but I’m still thrilled. I’ve got some fat cores for empty bobbins so hopefully I can duplicate my thin success again on the next one β€” but right from the start. πŸ™‚

Here’s what I’m working on now, what’s been holding me up

BFL I dyed at Yarn School, on the wheel now

in progress

what's left, still to spin

This is my first time spinning BFL, and I’m loving it!

I’m still confuzzled at how much longer it takes to spin up 4 ounces at a fingering or lace weight than to spin that same amount thicker. I know it makes sense, but it didn’t occur to me and I’m still trying to adjust my internal timetable.

Wanna see my line up?

Spunky Eclectic Pomegranate, Shetland combed top, club from January 2010

Spunky Eclectic Kentucky Derby, Norwegian wool, March 2010 fiber

Batt with sparkly stuff

Batt with sparklies

Hopefully I’ll get more than this done, but I don’t want to add more stress to my life right now. Sure, I’m challenging myself β€” hey, spinning every day is new β€” but I don’t want to kill myself, you know? πŸ˜‰ All the more reason to be cautious: I somehow can’t manage to grasp (or calculate) how long it’s taking me to get something spun these days.

*Tour de Fleece: a spin-along during the Tour de France. The concept is simple, They spin, we spin. A real spinning themed spin-along.