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?

Sweet Georgia Starry Night, Also Know As Installment Three

I know you have all been waiting with bated breath for Installment Three of my Sweet Georgia Fibre Club. And who can blame you? Installments One and Two were so incredibly fabulous, people have been lining up to see Installment Three like folks line up for the new iPhone. I exaggerate, but still. The fiber and resulting yarn are both lovely. You’ll see.

I started with this beautiful pencil roving that is 63% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Manufactured Fibers – Nylon, and 2% Manufactured Fibers – Silver. Yes, you read that correctly. Silver. This yarn is pure bling.

The colorway of this fiber is called Starry Night, and Felicia Lo (Sweet Georgia herself) dyed it to be spun from end to end, then chain plied to create the effect of a night-time sky with clouds and stars.

Yards and yards of pencil roving in gorgeous shades of blue with white and silver, too.

Yards and yards of pencil roving in gorgeous shades of blue with white and silver, too.

I spun and then chain plied this yarn on my Lendrum folding wheel.

DSC04898_2

It took three bobbins to hold all the plied yarn. Can you see the sparkle of the silver?

When I wound the yarn off onto the niddy noddy, I started with the last bobbin plied, then the second, then the first. This kept the colorway in the correct order.

I ended up with about 640 yards (228g) of DK weight yarn. I think it will be beautiful knitted up into something.

The finished skein

The finished skein

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!

In The Loop

I really love spinning. I don’t know why it took me so long to give it a try, but I’m glad I did. I’ve been spinning for over two years now, and I love it more than ever.

One of my favorite things to spin is Loop Bullseye Bumps from Loop Fiber Studio. I love the Bullseye Bumps so much that I joined the Surprise Me! Bullseye Bump Club. You can choose sparkle or no sparkle; I currently am subscribed to “no sparkle,” but I love the fiber with sparkle, too, and will probably switch back to sparkle at some point.

Most of the Bullseye Bumps are gradients, that is, there are long sections of color that gradually change into another color. But recently Steph, the genius behind Loop, has started doing some Bullseye Bumps that repeat the colors so that you get a self-striping yarn. The Bullseye Bumps really lend themselves to chain plying, but I sometimes spin the first half of the fiber onto one bobbin, and the second half onto another bobbin, and ply the two together to get a barber pole or heathered effect.

Anyway, here is my most recent completed Loop Project. The color way is Girl Power, and, yes, SPARKLE! I spun the bump end to end, then chain plied it. The spinning and plying were both done on my Schacht Ladybug, the spinning in double drive and the plying in Scotch tension.

Loop Girl Power Loop Bullseye Bump Club (9/13) Girl Power 5.2 oz, merino, bamboo, tussah silk, angelina (It sparkles!)

Loop Girl Power chain-plied on the bobbin

On the niddy noddy

Off the niddy noddy. You can see the sparkle. 🙂

The colors are quite intense.

The finished skein, about 680 yards/5.2 ounces of fingering-weight 3-ply (chain ply)

A different view of the finished skein

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.

 

Crossing The Finish Line

The 2014 Tour de Fleece ended last Saturday. I realize I’m a little late posting my finish line, but what can I say? I’m a world class procrastinator. 🙂

My TdF 2014 was quite the success. I reached all my goals and ended up with a lot of really nice hand-spun yarn and some new, still developing skills.

My TdF 2014 results

The yarn in the foreground is a chain-plied Merino from Greenwood Fiberworks in the color way “Holly Berry.” I wanted to improve both my skill at drafting merino and my skill at chain-plying. Both skills need lots more work, but with each project, I see improvement. The final tally for the Holly Berry Merino yarn is approximately 430 yards/127g of self-striping, sport weight yarn.

Merino chain-plied to make a self-striping yarn

I love the soft, cushy yarn, but I’m still not in love with spinning Merino wool top. It’s a bit of a challenge to draft, especially compared to BFL, Corriedale, Polwarth, and Falkland. I find Merino roving much more enjoyable to spin than Merino top–I love spinning Loop Bullseye Bumps–but I’m not giving up on Merino top. I have more in my stash and will keep working toward more consistent drafting.

The big white skein directly above the Holly Berry is a plying experiment that turned out much better than I had anticipated. Here’s the back story. Remember when I was knitting Hazel Carter’s Spider Queen Shawl? I had bought a kit from Blackberry Ridge that included both the pattern and enough B-R Thistledown yarn to knit the shawl. I swatched with the Thistledown and was very unhappy with the results.

The Thistledown yarn was too thick-and-thin to use for Spider Queen.

 

The yarn is a cobweb weight singles that unfortunately is overly thick and thin. I ended up knitting Spider Queen in J & S cobweb, which is also a bit thick and thin, but not to the same degree as Thistledown. Anyway, I ended up with a lot of Thistledown in my stash that I knew I would never use for knitting a lace shawl.

What to do with all this Thistledown? Sure, I could sell or trade it on Ravelry, but, I wondered, what would happen if I plied the singles together? I had never tried plying mill-spun singles together, and I was curious to learn how they would behave. The singles had a Z-twist, which means they had been spun clockwise, so I plied the singles together with an S-twist, counterclockwise.

Thistledown made into a 2-ply yarn on my Ladybug

Each skein of Thistledown was approximately 700 yards, and I ended up with just a little over 600 yards/4.5 oz of 2-ply fingering weight yarn. I thought I would lose more yardage than that.

Doesn’t the 2-ply look fabulous on the bobbins? So imagine my horror when I first took the yarn off the niddy noddy and saw this!

Curly yarn!

The yarn curled up like crazy, and I was afraid it had been way over-plied. This wouldn’t be the end of the world because I could always run the yarn back through my spinning wheel going clockwise to take some of the twist out, but I decided to finish the yarn before deciding whether it needed some tweaking. The yarn was still pretty curly when I took it out of the soak, but I thwacked it on the bathtub and it relaxed and balanced itself perfectly.

My 2-ply Thistledown decided to behave after a bath and a good thwacking.

I really couldn’t be happier with the results I got. Of course, the real test will come in knitting up a swatch and blocking it to see how the yarn behaves in the wild. 🙂

The two beautiful Ashford bobbins at the top of the first picture are filled with singles spun from a Loop Bullseye Bump in the Sizzle color way. I spun the roving end to end onto two bobbins. After the TdF, I plied the singles together and the finished yarn is on the drying rack as I type. But since the plying wasn’t part of my TdF, no pictures of the finished yarn will appear in this post.

The remaining yarn is all my silk spinning. The beautiful skein of golden yarn is spun from Tussah silk sliver made into a 2-ply yarn. The small skein is a 2-ply made from Bombyx silk hankies, and the larger hank is 2-ply made from Bombyx silk caps. I enjoyed spinning the hankies; the caps, not so much. But both yarns are really nice.

The brown bobbin at the top of the first picture holds the singles I spun from some Bombyx silk sliver.

Sixteen grams of Bombyx silk sliver ready to be spun

The Tussah silk sliver was heavenly to spin, but the Bombyx silk sliver was beyond heavenly.

I haven’t decided what to the with the Bombyx singles yet.

Bombyx silk sliver singles on the bobbin

I am leaning toward plying them with a singles spun from wool of some sort sometime in the future, or maybe with some Thistledown. I still have a lot of it. A. Lot. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the Tour de Fleece as much as I did.

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.

What’s On My Needles

The Winter Olympic Games are fast approaching, which means the Ravellenic Games will soon begin, which means that I need to finish up all the projects I currently have on my needles, excluding those projects that are in long-term hibernation. Sorry, Stonington Shawl and St. Moritz sweater. You must remain in deep sleep for a while longer because I fell out of love with you. I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings, but we knitters can be a fickle lot.

Anyway, once the Ravellenic Games begin, I need to be able to concentrate on my Ravellenic project. I mean, there may be prizes involved. PRIZES!!

So, just what IS on my needles? Well, I’ve been working on a Downtown Cowl (free Ravelry download) using my very own handspun yarn

Vintage Roses Downtown Cowl in the midst of casting off

The knitting is done, but the casting off is still in progress. I’m using EZ’s sewn cast off, which is super easy to do, but because there are about a million stitches to cast off, it is taking forever. I cannot stand to cast off more than a couple dozen stitches at a time, then I have to set the cowl aside for a while. It’s like eating an elephant–you do it one bite at a time. 🙂

This pattern is very easy and makes great hockey knitting. I enjoyed every part of knitting it except casting off. If I had it to do over again, I would use the traditional cast off where you knit a stitch and pass the previous stitch over it, but I thought the stretchier edge of the sewn cast off would be better. Well, it’s only better if it actually gets done, and even then, it’s only marginally better. Live and learn. I’m so used to using the sewn cast off on socks where there are only 72 stitches to cast off that I just didn’t think about how tedious it would be to cast off 350 stitches that way. One. Bite. At. A. Time.

Speaking of cowls and handspun, I cast on another infinity scarf using the Graham-finity pattern by Carol Quilici, another free Ravelry download.

My Fancy Pants Infinity scarf is under way.

The yarn is spun from fiber I “won” during the Tour de Fleece last July. It’s a 50/50 Merino/Silk from Woolgatherings’ Fancy Pants fiber club, and I had a blast spinning it. I think this pattern is perfect for the color changes, texture, and barber-poling of this handspun. The yarn is so soft and silky, it will feel heavenly around the wearer’s neck.

I started Fancy Pants on my Denise Interchangeable needles, and after knitting six or seven rounds, I managed to break the cable by snapping the plastic part that locks into the needle off the part that is inside the cable. I am hard on interchangeable needles, I guess. Anyway, I don’t have any fixed circulars in the size I need (5 mm), so I got out the Boye interchangeables. They are working quite nicely. The yarn moves over the join smoothly and easily, but I really don’t enjoy the stiff cable. I guess it’s time to buy some more circular needles in some larger sizes. I’ve given up on interchangeables. They just don’t like me. 😦

But as much as interchangeable needles and I don’t get along, DPNs are my bestest friends. I have started a lovely pair of fingerless mitts, yet another free Ravelry download, using stash yarn that is left over from a sweater I knitted many years ago.

My Lush Fingerless Mitts are not very far along.

I don’t think this yarn is even available any more. It’s Emerald Aran wool from the Blarney Woollen Mills in Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland. I bought it on-line as a kit that contained the wool, a pattern for 3 different Aran sweaters, and knitting needles. I knitted one of the sweaters, this beautiful Aran lumber (which folks in the US would call a cardigan) with raglan sleeves,

I knitted the lovely Aran sweater on the right years ago.

I knitted the lovely Aran sweater on the right years ago.

for my older sister in the smallest size, so I had quite a bit of the wool left, 5 or 6 50g-balls at least. I can knit lots of fingerless mitts with the yarn left over from this sweater. 🙂

The cable and lace pattern used for the Lush mitts is very simple and easy to memorize. It took me about three seconds to know the pattern by heart. I haven’t assigned these mitts a recipient yet. They might be keepers. They will tell me where they belong when they are finished. Yes, my knitting speaks to me. 🙂