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.

 

Knitapalooza

Football season has started, which for me means lots of knitting because I watch lots of football. And I cannot sit in front of the TV for long without either knitting or spinning.

First things first, I finished the Gray Vanilla Socks I was knitting for my DH.

I know, the picture is crappy. What can I say? I’m a lousy photographer, and I’m too lazy to try again. I’d probably just end up with more lousy pictures.

I had 3 50-gram balls of Socka, but I managed to knit these socks with only one ball per sock and even had a few yards left over. Usually 100 grams of sock yarn isn’t quite enough to knit a pair of socks for the DH. He likes the cuff to be a little on the long side–about two inches longer than what I knit for myself–and the foot is about an inch longer than mine, and I usually cast on 8 more stitches than I do for my own socks. So whereas 100 grams of sock yarn is plenty for knitting a pair of socks for myself (and for the other sock-worthy women in my life), it’s usually not sufficient for a pair of socks for my DH.

These socks are just plain, old 2 x 2 rib with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel and a round toe, utilitarian rather than decorative, so I’ll have to dig around in my sock yarn stash and find something a little more splashy for the next pair I knit for him. He rather likes socks with a bit of flair.

Socks are just the beginning of my knitapalooza. For me, football season and hockey season are knitting season. September 5th was the first Saturday of the college football season, and although it wasn’t as productive as it normally would have been because we had a wedding to attend and didn’t get back home until mid-afternoon, I did get a good start on a pair of fingerless mitts knitted with Cascade 220. I used the Center Ice Mitts pattern, a free download on Ravelry, but with Steelers colors. I really like this particular pattern. It’s well written and includes options for using either two or three colors, so it can be adapted to just about any team in just about any sport. I prefer Brown Sheep Nature Spun to Cascade 220 for knitting hats and mitts, but I had Cascade 220 in white and yellow in my stash already, and only had to buy one skein of  black.

Unfortunately, after knitting about half of the first mitt, I tried it on and decided it was a little too tight. I ripped it out and started over with a needle one size larger. Don’t tell me that I should have swatched first; in the time it would take to knit a swatch, I can knit half a fingerless mitt, so the mitt is my swatch. Anyway, during football weekend #1, I finished the first mitt sans thumb and got a good start on the second mitt.

Steelers on Ice Mitts without thumbs

The second Saturday of college football was shaping up to be a very productive knitting day, but we ended up having the DS and DIL here to watch football, and the DIL and I decided to walk up to the boulevard to get tacos, and then we got caught in the rain and thought we’d wait it out in the library. But after about 10 minutes in the library, we realized the rain wasn’t going to let up any time soon, so we walked back in the rain, the whole time kicking ourselves for not bringing an umbrella. But I still got Steelers mitt #2 completely done, and got the thumb knitted on mitt #1.

Steelers on Ice with thumbs. This pattern is quick and easy. The most difficult and time-consuming part is weaving in all the ends.

These mitts should be nice and warm.

But that wasn’t the end of my Saturday football knitting. I also got a skein of my handspun wound into a cake…

A lovely cake of handspun yarn made from Bee Mice Elf “Rustle” BFL

and I cast on for another pair of fingerless mitts.

Mitt #1 early on

I love the pretty autumnal colors of the yarn, so I am calling them Autumn Leaves Mitts. I got the first mitt sans thumb finished on Sunday while watching NFL games, and even got a good start on the second mitt.

Mitt #1 just needs a thumb, and mitt #2 is off to a good start.

I’m trying to get the mitts as close to matching as I can. With handspun yarn, the color repeats are not as precise as they would be with mill spun, commercially dyed yarn, or even with mill spun, hand dyed yarn. I don’t expect total matchy-matchy identical twins, but I would like to end up with obvious siblings.

The pattern I’m using for the Autumn Leaves Mitts is Braided Mitts by Tera Johnson, and it’s a free Ravelry download. The pattern as written makes a mitt that is too small for my hand (and I have fairly small hands), so I had to make a couple of modifications to the pattern. I knitted a 2 x 2 wrist cuff for 24 rounds instead of 12, and I did the thumb gusset repeats at a rate of every 4th round instead of every 3rd round because otherwise, the thumb gusset would be too short. I could have just knitted a bunch of plain rounds after completing the increases before putting the thumb stitches on waste yarn, but I like the look of the diagonal lines the increases create, so I changed the rate of the increases.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is that the designer took great care to place the beautiful braided cable so that it is in the center of the back of the hand when the mitts are worn. All to often, a cable will be placed so that it is in the middle of the mitt when the mitt is not being worn, but when you put the mitt on your, the cable will be off center.

I’ll work the thumbs when I have both mitts finished. I want to try to use a piece of yarn for the thumbs that will match the hand. I will probably have enough yarn left from this skein to make another pair of mitts. And I have a whole other skein, so I could knit a hat to go with the mitts. Or I might use the leftover from skein #1 along with skein #2 and knit a scarf using Yarn Harlot’s pattern for a scarf knit from handspun. This yarn is BFL, and it is incredibly soft and would feel wonderful around my neck.

I’m happy to be knitting again, and it will only get better because in just a few short weeks, hockey season starts. And hockey means more knitting!

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. 🙂

 

Stash Attack

A spinner simply cannot have too much fiber. It’s impossible. I just added two new braids to my fiber stash. They are from Spunky Eclectic, and are part of the Club Remix, which celebrates the tenth year of the Spunky Fiber Club.

One braid has gorgeous coppery browns, dark browns, and hints of gold.

This color way is called Kitsune, but I think it should be called Calico Kitty.  🙂

The fiber is mixed BFL (Bluefaced Leicester–pronounced “lester”). Mixed BFL, aka Swirl BFL, is a (usually 75/25) mixture of natural white (actually cream) BFL with natural black (actually brown) BFL, which adds a lot of depth to the dyed colors when the fiber is spun. BFL (say “biffle”) is a gorgeous fiber, a fine longwool that combines softness and luster. It’s fun to spin, and it makes a yarn that is wonderful to knit with and that produces next-to-the-skin soft garments.

The other braid is Shetland wool, which is one of my favorite fibers to spin.

State Park is the name of this color way.

It gives me a lot of peace of mind to know that I’m not in danger of running out of spinning fiber. 🙂

 

 

Sweet Georgia Bougainvillea, Also Known As Installment Two

In my previous blog entry I showed you the yarn I spun from the first of three installments of the Sweet Georgia Fibre Club I purchased late last year. Here are pictures of the second  installment, and I’ll let you decide for yourselves whether the yarn turned out as lovely as the yarn from the first installment.

 

Installment 2, Bougainvillea, BFL

Installment 2, Bougainvillea, BFL

Right: Singles spun in double drive on the Ladybug Left: Singles chain-plied on the Lendrum (in Scotch tension)

Right: Singles spun in double drive on the Ladybug
Left: Singles chain-plied on the Lendrum (in Scotch tension)

Both skeins just off the niddy noddy

Both skeins just off the niddy noddy

The finished skeins. Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn't get a single picture that showed the color accurately.

The finished skeins. Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn’t get a single picture that showed the color accurately.

The final tally is about 500 yards/106g of DK weight yarn. It’s BFL (Bluefaced Leicester), so it’s really, really soft and squishy. Yum!

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.

 

Blue And Green Make Pretty

I’m a sucker for blue and green together. I don’t know why I love this color combo so much, but it surely makes my heart sing.

So imagine what happened when one of my fellow Ravelers who is doing the fractal challenge posted pictures of two gorgeous braids of blue and green fiber (along with the yarn she made from one of the braids and the shawl she started knitting with it). Yep, I just had to have it.

Turtlepurl Merino top in Turtle View Gradient

Turtlepurl Merino top in Turtle View Gradient

Turtlepurl BFL in Boys Have Cooties. Gotta love that name!

Turtlepurl BFL in Boys Have Cooties. Gotta love that name!

Both braids side by side. They really are different colors as well as different fibers. :-)

Both braids side by side. They really are different colors as well as different fibers. 🙂

The fiber is from Turtlepurl Yarns in Hillsborough, New Brunswick, Canada. The prices and postage were so reasonable that I just had to order more than two braids.

There's more to life than blue and green.

There’s more to life than blue and green.

The color way of this lovely Merino top is called Strawberry Cupcakes.

The color way of this lovely Merino top is called Strawberry Cupcakes.

And this brilliant color way of alpaca/BFL/icicle blend pencil roving is appropriately named Firestarter.

And this brilliant color way of alpaca/BFL/icicle blend pencil roving is appropriately named Firestarter.

I really cannot get over how many wonderfully talented indie dyers there are. So far I have kept my spinning stash on a leash, but I can see it easily entering S.A.B.L.E. territory. (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) Must. Use. Restraint. 🙂

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.

WIP Wednesday And The Tour De Fleece

I haven’t posted anything for WIP Wednesday for a while because I haven’t been doing much knitting lately. With the Tour de Fleece going strong and little worth watching on television, the knitting has been limited. Poor Cassidy has only increased by a handful of pattern repeats in the past few weeks, but once the TdF is over, she will become my priority. I want her intended to be able to wear her come autumn. The boy’s red raglan has sat untouched for all of July, but once football and hockey seasons start, it will move along quickly.

What I have been working on a bit are socks. Two “second” socks are progressing quite nicely. One of the things I love about knitting socks is that socks don’t seem to mind waiting while I busy myself with other projects. They seem to know that I will return to them at some point and give them my full attention. 🙂

Two "second socks" on their way to completion

Two “second socks” on their way to completion

The reason I didn’t post my TdF progress for day 16 is because the power went out last night. Funny thing, my computer and Internet don’t work well with no power. I hope you didn’t think I had crapped out on the TdF. To the contrary, my spinning has been something of a whirlwind. Monday was a rest day for the TdF, and so yesterday I was re-energized and ready to kick some ass.

I finished up the remainder of the 4-ounce bump of Wonder Why Alpaca Farm alpaca/Merino. I have another 4-ounce bump to spin, then I will ply the two singles together. But this is a long-term project. I’m spinning the singles very finely, so it is taking somewhere this side of forever to spin.

I chain-plied the singles I spun from Sunset Fibers July 2013 ROTM BFL. I’m starting to feel comfortable with chain-plying; my new Lendrum lazy kate has made a big difference. I can adjust the tension so that the yarn feeds smoothly and easily but without any backspin. The Ladybug’s on-board lazy kate is tensioned, but the tensioning isn’t adjustable. When I try to chain-ply using the Ladybug’s kate, I have to fight the yarn to get everything to feed smoothly and I end up breaking the singles. With the new kate, I can develop a smooth rhythm and just keep going. I’m very pleased with how this yarn turned out.

Even though we lost power last night for 2-and-a-half hours, I was able to keep spinning thanks to a battery-operated lantern, so I was able to spin up an entire 4-ounce braid of lovely BFL from OnTheRound. I plan to ply the singles together today to make a nice 2-ply yarn.

Last but not least, I ended up with around 1500 yards of lace-weight 2-ply from the 8 ounces of Sunset Fibers Polwarth in Pink Elephant. The picture does not do the colors justice, and you have to touch the yarn to appreciate how soft and cushy it is.

On today’s agenda:

plying the OnTheRound Singles

spin some superwash Merino/mohair/Nylon fiber to make a 3-ply sock yarn

Pictures at 11.

TdF Day #16

Day 16 of the Tour de Fleece is here and I finished skeining the Sunset Fibers Polwarth 2-ply.

Pink Elephant

The picture shows the yarn before I set the twist.

Now that the Pink Elephant is spun and plied, I have moved on to another bump of wool from Sunset Fibers, this one BFL in the July 2013 Roving of the Month colorway.

BFL on the ‘Bug

My plan is to chain-ply the singles and get a self-striping yarn. Keep your fingers crossed that it will turn out okay. My chain-plying has improved, but I still have a long way to go before I’m good at it.