And So It Grows

Yes, my spinning fiber stash just keeps getting bigger, in spite of my efforts to keep it under control by spinning, spinning, and spinning. I’m not ready to give up any of my fiber clubs quite yet, so I will just have to find room for all the fiber. Of course, every time I complete a spinning project, my fiber stash gets a little smaller, but my yarn stash gets bigger. And so it goes grows.

New fiber from February and March:

Into The Whirled 24 1/2th Century Falkland top

Into The Whirled Madame Vestra BFL

Spunky Eclectic Aspens Farmer’s Sheepwool (BFL)

Spunky Eclectic Black Pillar Polwarth/Mohair/Silk

Current spinning projects:

I’ve started spinning one bump of this lovely superwash Merino from Into The Whirled in the colorway Godric’s Hollow.

I split the bump in half vertically and I am spinning each half end to end onto one bobbin. I plan to chain ply the singles to make a self-striping yarn. I split the bump so that the color repeats (stripes) would be small.

These two braids are the December 2015 installment of the Sweet Georgia Yarns Fibre Club. The colorway is called Wistmas.

Wistmas is on a base of BFL, and I decided to do a fractal spin. This bobbin contains the singles spun from the braid that I split into 12 strips vertically. I spun the other braid end to end without splitting.

The plying is almost done. Because I spun two bumps, approximately 200 grams, of fiber, I filled one bobbin and had to start on a second bobbin. This is a straight-up 2-ply yarn, and the second bobbin is about 2/3s done. I love the sheen of BFL.

 

Another Finished Object Friday

I still have no knitting to report. I’ve added a few rows to each of the socks I have OTN, but nothing substantial. However, the spinning keeps, um, spinning along.

I started with this lovely Corriedale top from Into The Whirled in a colorway called Mud Bogs & Moonshine…

and ended with 8 ounces and just under 1000 yards of this lovely fingering weight 2-ply.

I spun one bump end to end on one bobbin. The second bump was split vertically (lengthwise) 12 times and spun the strips end to end keeping the colors in the same sequence. Then I plied the two singles together to make this gorgeous fractal 2-ply. I’m thinking scarf, but I haven’t decided for sure yet. The spinning was done in double drive on my Matchless at a ratio of 15.5:1; the plying was done in flyer lead (Scotch tension) at a ratio of 12.5:1. My Ravelry project page is here.

And there’s more! I also completed this braid of Shetland wool from the Spunky Eclectic Club Remix.

The colorway is State Park. it reminds me of a meadow in Spring, with all the flowers in bloom.

I made a 3-ply DK weight yarn, about 240 yards and 4 ounces.

I stripped the braid vertically into thirds as evenly as I could, then spun the strips end to end on separate bobbins. I was hoping that the colors would line up in at least some places, and they did! I love how the colors blended. This yarn will probably become either a hat or some fingerless mitts.

This was the very first project I spun on my Matchless. I used double drive and a ratio of 15.5:1. The plying was done on my Ladybug in flyer lead using a ratio of 12.5:1.

My current spinning project has been a pretty slow go because I am spinning up 8 ounces of BFL from Spunky Eclectic to make a lace weight 2-ply yarn.

This is the nicest BFL I have ever spun.

The ratio I’m using is 19.5:1, and spinning such thin yarn really takes a lot of time. But I am enjoying it a lot, and I don’t feel guilty about binge-watching Boardwalk Empire because I’m spinning while I watch.

This is the first bump/bobbin, which I finished several days ago. The second bobbin is now nearly finished.

I hope yinz have a great weekend. It’s supposed to get hot again here, but we are ready. Our A/C, which went on the fritz a couple of weeks ago, has been replaced, so hot and humid doesn’t scare me any more. 🙂

 

We’re Having A Heat Wave

Yeah, it’s hot and humid here in the Burgh, and yesterday evening our house got noticeably hotter, even though the AC was running. Uh-oh! Now is not a good time for the AC to go on the fritz. The DH called the repair place this morning and they sent someone over right away. The outside unit, which is ancient, needed freon, and now it is working fine. I guess we’ll find out soon enough whether the unit has a slow leak or a fast one. If it’s a fast one, replacement will be necessary. If it’s a slow one, we can kick that can down the road a bit. I’d rather not replace the HVAC during the middle of the kitchen remodel.

Speaking of the kitchen remodel, things are still pretty slow, but we do have paint on the walls.

The breakfast nook is looking good.

The breakfast nook is looking good.

And so is the kitchen area.

And so is the kitchen area.

I also have some spinning to share. Remember when I showed you the first skein of yarn I spun from Spunky Eclectic Verdigris? I told you I spun and plied the second bump of yarn differently, and that I would show you the two skeins side by side so that you could see how different they look. So here goes.

Both skeins started with the same fiber.

But the final results look quite different.

But the final results look quite different.

The skein on the left was spun and chain plied using a new-to-me fractal technique. As you can see, the different colors are separate. The skein on the right is a 2-ply. I split the fiber in half lengthwise, spun each half end to end onto a separate bobbin, then plied the two singles together. This mixed the colors up a good bit, which muted them some, and it also created some barber-poling. It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it, how different a look you can get by dividing up the fiber in different ways and/or plying the singles differently. Is it any wonder that spinning fascinates me?

Spring Is In The Air

Since the move to Pittsburgh, I’ve been doing a lot more spinning than knitting, but I haven’t kept up with blogging about my projects. I’m trying to remedy that. So here’s a quick, down and dirty, picture summary of one of my recently finished spinning projects.

The fiber is the third of three installments of a Bee Mice Elf club. I bought a double shot–8 ounces instead of 4–spun each braid end to end, then plied the two together. The fiber content is 40% Merino wool, 40% superwash Merino wool, and 20% silk.

Two 4-once braids of beautifully handdyed fiber

Two 4-once braids of beautifully handdyed fiber

I fractal spun the fiber in double drive on an Ashford Traveller using the sliding hook flyer and its larger bobbins. The bobbin on the left is the split fiber.

 

I plied the two bobbins of singles together using Irish tension (bobbin lead). The 2-ply yarn wouldn’t all fit on one bobbin.

 

Here’s the plied yarn straight off the niddy noddy. It looks overplied, but a nice soak in water will help the twist relax.

Here’s the finished yarn. See, I told you a soak in water would cause the twist to relax. Both hanks are skeined together. Isn’t it purty?

I did a fractal spin with this fiber. I spun one braid end to end onto one bobbin. The I split the second braid once lengthwise, spun each length end to end onto another bobbin, spinning the colors in the same order. Then the two bobbins of singles were plied together using Irish tension.

I ended up with eight ounces and around 792 yards of sport weight 2-ply yarn. I’m very satisfied with how the plying turned out. Although I am a real noob at using Irish tension, the results are more than satisfactory.

 

 

Playing Around

Last year, I purchased two 4-ounce braids of Malabrigo Nube Merino roving in the Archangel colorway, with the intention of playing around with it. I took one braid, spun it end to end, the first half on one bobbin, the second half on another bobbin, then plied the two singles together. The other braid I spun end to end on one bobbin, then I chain plied the singles.

I present, for you viewing pleasure, the results, with minimal commentary. I’ll let the fiber speak for itself. 🙂

Two braids of Malabrigo Nube in Archangel

Two braids of Malabrigo Nube in Archangel, as soft as it looks.

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One braid spun end to end, ready to ply

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What are the chances that the singles would be so evenly divided between the two bobbins?

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The bobbin on the top is the chain-plied braid.

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The chain-plied skein beside the 2-ply on the bobbin

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Chain-plied on the left; 2-ply on the right

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A close up of the two skeins

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The 2-ply after setting the twist

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The chain-plied skein after setting the twist

 

Does This Count As Finished?

Yes, it’s FO Friday, and I’m posting this even though it isn’t technically finished.

I took this lovely braid of BFL from Turtlepurl,

Boys Have Cooties is the name of this colorway.

split it “fractally” and spun it into singles onto two bobbin on my Ashford Traveller in DD,

A bobbin full of Boys Have Cooties

A bobbin full of Boys Have Cooties

 

Both bobbins on the kate

Both bobbins on the kate

plied it on my Travvy in ST into a 2-ply yarn,

Plying in progress

Plying in progress

and ended up with this lovely light-fingering weight, 2-ply yarn.

Boys Have Cooties straight off the niddy noddy

Boys Have Cooties straight off the niddy noddy

Blue and green make pretty. 🙂

I haven’t set the twist yet because I ran out of wool wash. I could use a little dish soap or shampoo, but that would require rinsing. And I’m too lazy for that. I’ll just wait until the Eucalan I ordered arrives to finish the yarn.

Visit Tami’s FO Friday to see more lovely hand-crafted stuff.

 

Tour de Fleece 2014 Day 3

The third day of the TdF is nearly over. Today I made my first-ever 100% silk 2-ply yarn. I plied the two chunks of tussah silk sliver I spun on days 1 and 2 together to make this beautiful yarn.

Pretty 2-ply silk on the Ladybug

I think next I will try my hand at spinning silk hankies.

I’m also making good progress on my Greenwood Fiberworks merino top that I’m spinning on my Ashford Traveller.

The bobbin is starting to fill up.

I think I’m starting to develop a good rhythm with this fiber, which is improving my consistency. Or maybe not. Regardless, I am enjoying spinning it, and it is going to make a lovely yarn that will knit up into something spectacular. 🙂

My Prettiest Yarn Yet

I’ve been really bad when it comes to keeping my blog up to date. I have been doing a lot of spinning, but I haven’t been sharing it with you. And I’ve also been lax about taking pictures. So it is with both joy and sadness that I share with you one of my recent spinning projects. I think this yarn is the best I’ve made so far.

A bobbin of singles on the Traveller

 

The finished yarn posing in a basket

 

The yarn close up

I started with some lovely pin-drafted BFL from Sunset Fibers. It is the November 2013 Fiber of the Month. Unfortunately, I failed to take any pictures of the fiber before I started spinning it. I really have no excuse except that I forgot. I’m trying to remember to take pictures of fiber when it arrives, but my rememberer doesn’t work as well as it used to. The joys of approaching The Golden Years!

Anyway, I decided to try doing a fractal spin. This is just a way of dividing up the yarn so that when it is spun, plied, and knitted, it produces a subtle striping effect even though the different colors are plied together.

I started by unrolling the fiber and dividing it in half lengthwise. I spun one of the halves from end to end to make one bobbin of singles. The other half of the fiber was itself split in half lengthwise, and I spun each of those strips onto another bobbin, keeping the colors in the same order from end to end as I did with the first half. Then I plied the two singles together.

I used my Ashford Traveller spinning wheel in double drive with the regular flyer for both the spinning and the plying, and I ended up with nearly 700 yards of lovely, 2-ply lace weight yarn. I think this is my most consistent yarn yet.

I haven’t chosen a project for this yarn yet, but I’m thinking there may be a Martina Behm design in its future.

Hitchhiker

This is truly a Finished Object Friday for me. My Hitchhiker is done.

 

It’s knitted in Falkland wool, a 2-ply, fingering weight yarns in beautiful shades of blue that I spun from fiber I bought from Unwind Yarn Company in a colorway called Dog Days Are Gone.

Hitchhiker is a very simple pattern to knit. It’s mostly garter stitch–there are the occasional purl stitches, and regular kfb increases–but it never gets boring. I love watching how the colors of the yarn stacked and flowed.

And now that my scarf is finished, the weather is way too warm for a wool scarf, so I will have to wait for fall to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

FO Friday–I Made Yarn!

I have no knitted FOs to report today, but I do have some finished handspun yarn to share with you.

First of all, I have finished plying (and washing) the lovely Falkland singles I spun from fiber I purchased from Unwind Yarn Company in the Flirt color way, which I featured as a WIP on Wednesday. Although I had originally intended to make a 3-ply yarn, I ended up doing a 2 ply.

Falkland 2-ply handspun 

 

The yarn is surprisingly round for a 2 ply, and I think it is destined to become socks in the not-too-distant future. I have 440 yards from the 4.2 oz of fiber I started with, so that is plenty to make a pair of socks. Yay!

Remember that lovely blue and green Merino and mohair blend I spun up a few weeks ago? I was originally going to make it a true 3-ply because I’m just not very good at chain-plying on my wheel. But because I had so much of this fiber–I started with 4.5 ounces–I realized that I had plenty to play with. This seemed to me to be a good opportunity to practice chain-plying on my spinning wheel, and I even ended up doing a little experimenting, too. All with mixed results, I should add.

Here’s the finished yarn I ended up with, about 564 yards in all.

Wolf Creek Wools Merino-mohair yarn, all spun and plied

The small skein at the top of the picture resulted from an experiment. The other three skeins are chain-plied yarn done on my Ladybug. When I first tried chain plying on my wheel, I had a lot of trouble because I couldn’t get the singles to unwind smoothly off the bobbin. I was using the built-in lazy kate that I added to my Ladybug, and it tensions the bobbins using stretchy plastic bands that go around the pulley on the end of the bobbin and the little black pulley on the kate. There seemed to be too much tension because the yarn was difficult to pull off the bobbin smoothly. If I tugged too hard, the single would snap. But if I removed the tensioning band, the yarn came off too quickly and I couldn’t keep it straightened out. After giving it some thought, I decided I could simply use a piece of string (#10 crochet cotton) to devise a brake for the bobbin. I simply made a loop in one end of the string and slipped it on the kate rod below the bobbin. Then I draped the string over the pulley on the bobbin, and wrapped the end around the kate rod to secure it. I could easily adjust the tension by pulling the string tighter or looser before securing the end to the kate rod below the bobbin.

Makeshift tensioning string

This method worked pretty well for the first bobbin, but when I started the second bobbin, I decided to use the regular tensioning system just to see how it would work. Guess what? It worked great! I don’t know why I had so much difficulty with it when I tried to chain-ply the first time. My chain plying on the wheel still isn’t very good, but it’s improving.

456 yards of chain-plied handspun

At one point, I decided to make a 2-ply yarn with these singles, just to compare it to the chain-plied yarn. The 2-ply was okay but a little underplied, so I got this brilliant idea to run it though the wheel again in the same direction, but to add another single. I was just curious about what would happen if I did this. I ended up with a yarn that is very, um, interesting.

108 yards of a 2-ply yarn plied with a single, an experimental yarn

The yarn is very textured, but rather messy, too, definitely in the “art yarn” category. I’ll have to make a swatch to see how it knits up. It seemed like a good idea at the time. 😀