TdF 2018 Days 6 & 7

More spinning! And with any luck, I will remember how to insert pictures from Flickr and add captions.

The singles spun from the Farmer’s BFL from Spunky Eclectic in the color way Aspen were almost but not quite finished on Day 6/Stage 6.

I finished the Aspens singles on Friday, Day 7/Stage 7 of the TdF. I still haven’t decided how I’m going to ply these, but I’m leaning toward a 2-ply from a center pull ball at the moment.

Day 7/Stage 7 This is the last of the second bumps from my Spunky Club, this one from March 2016. The color way is Black Pillar and the fiber is Po-Mo-Silk, a blend of Polwarth, mohair, and silk. It’s lovely to spin and loves to be spun very thin. I might get the singles finished on Day 8.

My Matchless has been getting a workout so far, but my Flatiron isn’t being neglected. I’m spinning Black Pillar on the Flatiron in double drive using the smaller pulley on the fast whorl (17.4:1). If you look closely, you will see that my drive band is black. I’m trying out a new to me type of drive band based on recommendations on the Schacht forum on Ravelry. It’s hemp, and the first time I used this drive band, I wasn’t thrilled with it. But I decided to try it for this project, and so far I really love it. I am getting a steady but soft take-up without any backspin and with light treadling.

The Hemptique 10# hemp cord that I bought comes in a boatload of different colors, including some variegated, and I couldn’t decide on a single color, so I bought a variety pack that has a dozen different colors on small spools.

Look at all those colors! And there are many more colors available. It’s no wonder I couldn’t choose just one

Each spool is enough for 2-3 drive bands (depending on the size of the drive wheel). I don’t think the hemp cord will replace the 8/4 cotton rug warp (seine twine) that I love (and that also comes in a boatload of different colors), but I will definitely be using it in addition to the rug warp.

Tour De Fleece 2018 Day 5/Stage 5

I got a fair amount of spinning done yesterday, which was Day 5/Stage 5 of the TdF, but my frustration with WordPress continues. Before yesterday, I was able to upload pictures to my blog post from Flickr and add captions and such, but for some reason I can no longer do that. Although there is a button for editing a picture, when I press it, it takes me to a page that has the picture but none of the boxes for adding a caption, centering the picture, etc. Perhaps I just don’t know the magic formula for making that stuff appear, but I have to say that it is spoiling my blogging experience and may well put an end to my already spotty blogging, not that anyone would miss my blog. Anyway, I ended up uploading the pictures from Flickr to WordPress just so that I can put captions on the pictures. I will probably use a certain search engine to try to figure out what’s going on with WordPress and why what worked just a couple of days ago no longer works. Gotta love technology.

I’m spinning this fiber in double drive on my Matchless, which I am falling in love with again.

Spunky Eclectic Aspens which I divided lengthwise into very thin strips. I’m spinning it end to end and it’s going very nicely. I will probably do a two-ply from both ends of a center-pull ball, but I am also considering chain plying to make a self-striping yarn. When I spun the other bump of this fiber, I didn’t much enjoy it because it was very difficult to draft. But stripping the fiber and predrafting it has made a world of difference and I am enjoying this spin a lot.

I finished up the singles for this project, also in double drive on my Matchless.

Spunky Eclectic Romney in the Little Bluebird colorway, another second bump from a Spunky Club selection. I divided this fiber up for a fractal 2-ply plied from both ends of a center-pull ball, and now the singles are resting before I ply them.

Finally, yet another “second bump,” this time Icelandic wool from Spunky Eclectic in the Squirrel colorway, spun in Scotch tension on my Flatiron using the slow whorl.

This fiber is best spun with low twist or else it feels like twine. The singles are done and awaiting plying. I will use my favorite method of making a 2-ply yarn, winding the singles into a center-pull ball (actually a”cake”) and plying from both ends. With this method there is never any left-over singles.

TdF Day 3 Stage 3

So, here’s what I accomplished yesterday, which was Day 3 of the TdF:

For some reason, WordPress won’t let me caption or otherwise edit the pictures, so I will put the text describing each bobbin before the picture.

These are the finished singles of Spunky Eclectic Caribou (progression dyed) on superwash Targhee. They will be chain plied to make a self-striping yarn with big chunks of color.

TdF 2018 Day 3/Stage 3

Below is Feathered Friends, also Spunky Eclectic, all chain plied and ready to be wound off onto the niddy noddy.

TdF 2018 Day 3/Stage 3

The next two are yarns that I spun during the Stanley Cup playoffs but chain plied yesterday during the TdF. The fiber is a progression dyed superwash Merino from Spunky Eclectic called Out of Season. I spun the top bump end to end to keep the progression intact; the bottom bump was split into multiple strips lengthwise to make a self-striping yarn.

TdF 2018 Day 3/Stage 3

TdF 2018 Day 3/Stage 3

Finally, I started spinning up the second bump of Little Bluebird on Romney, also a fiber from Spunky Eclectic. I am doing a two-ply fractal. I will spin the yarn onto one bobbin, then wind into a cake and ply from both ends which is now my favorite way of doing a 2-ply because I never end up with extra singles.

TdF 2018 Day3/Stage 3

Tour De Fleece 2018 Day 1

Here’s what I accomplished on the first day of the TdF:

I spun this braid of superwash Merino from Spunky Eclectic in the color way Feathered Friends from the 2015 CLUB Remix.

A progression-dyed braid

I split the braid in half lengthwise, then split one of the resulting strips in half, which gave me one big strip and two smaller strips. I spun each strip onto a separate bobbin using my Schacht Matchless in double drive,

The two small strips are at the top, the larger strip at the bottom.

and I will chain ply the singles to create three skeins of yarn to make a hat (the larger strip) and matching fingerless mitts (the small strips). I hope that dividing and spinning the fiber as I did will result in stripes that will be about the same size in both the hat and the mitts. We’ll see. The knitting is a ways down the road still.

I also started the second project of the 2018 TdF which I’m spinning on my Schacht Flatiron. It, too, is a Spunky Eclectic CLUB Remix from 2018, a braid of Cheviot in the color way The Undead.

When I received this fiber, I had a hard time imagining how it would look when spun.

I decided to strip the bump lengthwise into very thin strips, spin them end to end, and then either chain ply the singles or ply from both ends of a center-pull ball. I still haven’t decided how I want to ply the singles, but I do know that I love how the fiber looks when spun.

I’m leaning toward chain plying these singles because I love the contrast of the dark and light.

Today I hope to finish spinning “The Undead” and maybe even start a third project or do some plying. I love the Tour de Fleece.

 

Knitting Has Occurred

Yes, people, I have been knitting, and what follows is a round-up of my most recent FOs and WiP.

A hat I knitted to match a pair of fingerless mitts I made last fall. The picture captures the color of the yarn pretty closely. Yes, the yarn is my very own handspun, the fiber being Falkland dyed by Dana of Unwind Yarn in the coloway Flirt.

Here’s that hat along side the mitts. The yarn is more reddish than pink. The pattern is Woodside Mitts by Paula McKeever. It’s a lot of fun to knit and is very stretchy.

I started the hat not knowing whether I had enough yarn left to finish it. I just kept knitting until I was out of yarn. I had a little mini-skein set aside for the pompon. Originally I was going to just graft the ends together, but I decided when I was nearly finished to do a few rounds of crown decreases. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down how I did the decreases, but it turned out way better than I was expecting.

Another project knitted from Unwind Yarns fiber, Falkland in the colorway Viola, that I spun. These are the Nalu Mitts, and I made them for one of my nieces. I need to get them in the mail. I came down with the crud shortly after I finished them and am only just now starting to feel human again.

This is closer to the real-life color, but still not quite there. The pattern looks complicated, but it really isn’t. The only tricky part is working the seed stitch on the outside “curve” but in all honesty, even that isn’t particularly tricky. I love this pattern, but since the mitt is mostly stocking stitch, which isn’t very stretchy, it’s best to make these just a little on the snug side so that they don’t droop and bunch up.

Here’s a close-up shot of a strand of the yarn on top of the knitted fabric. This yarn is a 2×2 cabled yarn which, when unknitted, looks like a chain. But when it is knitted up, it looks like the 4-ply yarn it is. The color in this picture is pretty close to the RL color, too. If you can picture something in between this picture and the one above it, you’ve got it.

For those not in the know, a cabled yarn is a yarn that consists of two or more plied yarns that have been plied together. A 2×2 cabled yarn is made by plying 2 singles together to make a 2-ply yarn, then plying two strands of the 2-ply yarn together to make a cabled 4-ply yarn. For this yarn, I spun the singles Z-twist (clockwise), plied them together S-twist (counter-clockwise), then plied the 2-ply together Z-twist (clockwise). This makes a very round yarn that has great stitch definition and is a lot of fun to knit.

I currently have only one project OTN and I plan to stay monogamous until this project is completed because it’s a baby blanket for a baby who has already made her appearance. I was a little late getting this project started, so I would like to get it done as quickly as I can.

The baby blanket, which is being knitted in the round using Knit Picks Bare Stroll Fingering Sock yarn. The turquoise bit is the Rosemarie’s Belly Button Start. (I linked to the URL for the BBS, but I don’t think the link works anymore.)

The pattern is a MMario design called Templeton, and I plan to finished the blanket with a knitted-on edging from a baby blanket pattern called Star Light Star Bright by Anna Dillenberg Rachap. I got the inspiration for combining these two patterns from a fellow Raveler, suespins. I love to peruse the finished projects of patterns I plan to knit.

I have been practicing a left-handed knitting technique commonly referred to as Portuguese-style knitting on the baby blanket, and I have rapidly become very comfortable with this style of knitting. It is especially handy for doing stranded colorwork which is why I wanted to learn to do it. I currently do stranded colorwork two-handed, throwing with my right hand (English/American) and picking with my left (Continental). This works well and is comfortable for me, but I have tension issues because my tensioning when knitting Continental is rubbish. With Portuguese-style knitting, my tension is remarkably even and consistent, and because you can purl rather than knit (and the purl side is the side that faces the knitter), there’s far less chance of having floats that are too tight or too loose. I wish I had known about this technique for colorwork a long time ago.

I’ve been doing some spinning, and even a little experimenting with different drive systems, but I haven’t been keeping very good records. I haven’t even recorded my last couple of projects on Ravelry. Bad spinner. Bad! But I will do my best to reconstruct what I did and I’ll share my finished skeins soon.