A quick shot of the progress made with yesterday’s storm day knitting. It has been a while since I’ve used bulky weight yarn and 6mm needles so this sweater really seems to be flying. It would be wonderful to have this lopi finished by the end of the month!
I guess I’ve been spinning up a storm this month. At 56oz spun already in January, I’m already 1/4 finished of my spinning goal for 2014. Now I realize that I certainly won’t keep up this pace for the entire year (my stash isn’t big enough to support THAT kind of spinning), but I’m really enjoying my evening cup of tea and spin time sitting by the fire.
Today I’m sharing my most recent spins with you. The first for which is my very first club shipment from Northbound Knitting. January’s club offering was 4oz of superwash merino in “Leonard Shelby’s Condition” colorway. Now, I must admit, I’m not normally partial to superwash anything but Lisa’s fiber prep is just so amazing that she definitely has me converted! Plus, the colorway just plain rocks. It is spun up as a 2 ply DK weight.
Next up is 4oz of alpaca, merino, silk, and angelina from Belfast Mini Mills in a glorious, sparkley blue. I chose to spin this as a fingering weight single as I can see it working beautifully for a lacy shawl or neckwarmer of some sort.
The last spin I’m sharing with you today one of my new loves … Cheviot. This 4oz bump is from Northbound Knitting and is in the “Pocket Lint” colorway. Spun up as a worsted weight 2 ply, there is not shortage of good things that I could turn this skein of handspun into. I’m really leaning toward mittens for this baby, though.
As I type, I also have 5oz of really lovely shetland in a natural brown resting on my bobbins and I’ve got a brand-new-to-me fiber just waiting to be spun. There may be more handspun for January yet!
Over the past year, I’ve been working on my woolen spinning and, with my 2lbs 3oz of local wool all spun up (yay!), I have accumulated enough to knit a lopi sweater. I did some mixing and matching up of my woolen handspuns this afternoon and have come up with a color combo that I am quite pleased with. Both dark grey and light grey are the gorgeous local fiber, the white is a border leicester and the gold colored, a romney/corrie cross that I picked up from Spunky Eclectic, and the blue is a beautiful wool/bamboo/mohair/soy silk blend that I picked up from Art Club.
I have yet to pick a pattern but I’m leaning heavily towards one in my vintage Reynolds Lopi Volume. 78 and the pattern Karlakór in particular. There are just so many lovely patterns to choose from! I still have a couple of projects to finish up first so I still have some time to decide.
Hope you’re all enjoying your week so far, and happy crafting!
January is starting with a bang in the fiber world. Lots of really amazing KALs and SALs happening and Ravelry groups are ripe with challenges to hone your skills, learn new techniques, and to bust those knitting and spinning stashes. How can you not feel inspired with the enthusiasm and verve shown by fellow crafters!
Last night, after checking out some awesome spins by fellow ravely members, I got out my wheel and finished up spinning my bump of amazing polwarth in the “November” colorway by Spunky Eclectic. I didn’t spin with any SAL or challenge in mind, it was just spun for the sheer delight of it. Spun up as a DK weight fractal 2 ply, it is soft, fluffy, and very bouncy. I love, love, love both the colorway and the fiber itself.
Since I was in a good groove last evening, I got started on my first challenge for the year … the woolen challenge in the Spunky Eclectic ravelry group. I got out my 2lb 3oz bag of gorgeous locally sourced organic shetland/border leicester cross fiber and didn’t stop spinning until THE ENTIRE BAG was spun up into singles. I also plyed my first skein, to boot! Eventually, I am planning to use this handspun for a nice lopi sweater from on of my vintage pattern books. I have some really nice cream, blue, and yellow woolen-spun handspuns in my stash that might look good as accent colors.
Sooooo, I *might* have been on a bit of a spinning binge last night but it sure felt good.
What kinds of crafty things are you up to so far in 2014? Did you join any groups or challenges?
I’ve got fresh handspun woollies to share with you today! A little later than I had intended to share it, seeing as it is Sunday and all, but glad to be able to share none-the-less
This is a handspun version of Celes by Jared Flood that I made for my friend D’s sister. It made from some very special fiber – a blend of merino and D’s sister’s dog’s fur. Most of the fiber was hand carded with my trusty Ashford cards but I did send some to be processed into roving as I have not been able to do any amount of carding since I hurt my hand this summer.
I am so pleased with the finished product. The blend of merino and dog fur yields such a dreamy soft and fluffy finished stole. The only mod that I made to this pattern was instead of knitting the center panel in two pieces and grafting together, I chose to knit it in one continuous strip. If you have been wanting to knit this pattern and haven’t yet, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a very fun knit but the resulting stole is absolutely beautiful. I’m looking forward to eventually knitting one for me in some fabulous BFL!
Happy knitting all!
I’ve been spinning now for several years and this summer I decided that I was finally up to the challenge of spinning silk. I picked up a few different colors of mawata (silk hankies) and decided to give it a go.
I’ve spun silk in blend loads of times but never by itself and boy-oh-boy was I ever NOT prepared for what silk had in store for me. Silk is unlike anything I have ever worked with before. Normally I’m a cool-as-a-cucumber spinner and fiber doesn’t faze me much. I occasionally come across a fiber that might make me work a little harder to make a consistent yarn but even then it is no big shake … until I met silk. I have never met a fiber which has frustrated and infuriated me so!
Like so many other spinners, I did my research before starting and when spin time came, I felt I had a nice handful of tips and tricks to work with and that I was prepared. Not so! I made such a mess of my first and second mawata that I ended up tossing them on the campfire. ON THE FREAKING CAMPFIRE! The third, I had a bit more success with but that was very minimal. So I decided to put mawata on the back burner for a while and to focus on other things.
Then one night I had a dream about spinning mawata. In the dream I did it easily and effortlessly but I didn’t follow the advice that I had read about. When I woke, I thought, “What do I have to lose?” and tried to copy how it was spun in my dream … and it WORKED! It was still a bit of a struggle but it worked!
- Peel off the thinnest layer possible from the mawata. If you have any rough spots on your nails or hands beware! The silk will catch.
- I set my wheel on my biggest whorl with a very minimal amount of intake so as to give myself plenty of time to draft.
- Treadle slower than your usual pace. This will also allow for more drafting time.
- I like to start from the inside of one of the corners and I tease out a small amount of fiber. Attach fiber to fiber. Silk is far too slippery to attach otherwise.
- If you are a worsted spinner, you will want to keep your hands quite a bit farther apart than you are used to otherwise it will be a real struggle to draft out the fiber.
- I like to hold the fibers in a big messy bunch quite loosely in my drafting hand. This also makes the fiber easier to draft.
- Spin thin … like, really thin. I’m sure that you will amaze yourself at just how finely you can spin.
- Neps happen, especially with mawata. Normally, I pick every single little bump out of my spinning as I go. With mawata when I try to remove a nep I almost always make a bigger mess of the strand and/or break it. It is much easier to ignore the nep and move on . It will add character to your yarn!
- Optional, but highly recommended, is listening t o soothing music and/or having a nice glass of wine to relax. Relaxing makes a huge difference in my ability to spin silk.
If you’re already spinning silk or spin it in a different way, you rock! For anyone that has tried and is frustrated, I hope that this helps you get started. There is nothing quite a luxurious and incredible as silk and it is something that every spinner (in my opinion) should be lucky enough to work with from time to time.
Happy spinning all!
Whew! This was a quick knit! As I posted on Wednesday, I cast on for a Tea Jenny cowl in the morning and I was finished knitting and hat it blocking by bedtime on Wednesday night.
My mods for the cowl are as follows:
With 4.0mm needles and a provisional cast on, I cast on the same number of stitches the pattern calls for in the body of the hat and worked the ribbing chart as directed. When I was ready to start the tea pots, I switched to 4.5mm needles for the duration. I switched back to 4.0mm needles and worked the ribbing, reversing the colors so that the top and bottom edges mirrored each other. To finish it all off, I worked an i-cord edging on both the top and bottom edge for a nice, neat finish.
Since I was only using five colors instead of the seven the pattern calls for, I had to mod a little bit more to make things work out colorwise but I’m really happy with the end result. There is something truly satisfying about being able to knit stranded colorwork and Fair Isle projects in your own handspun!
What are you working on this week? Anything you are super-duper proud of? Do share!
It is Wednesday again! Where is the time going? It seems like the days are quite literally flying by, but not to worry, I have a work-in-progress to share
Yesterday I posted a picture of my new yarn bowl and my most recently finished handspun, a wool sampler in five wonderful natural shades of Finnish wool. Lollyknits commented on yesterday’s post suggesting Tea Jenny by Kate Davies would be a great match for this yarn and I couldn’t agree more.
Since I do have a lot of hats but still want to knit this pattern, I’ve chosen to make it as a super cozy cowl instead. I’ve cast on the same number of stitches as the body of the hat with 4.0mm needles and worked the brim chart. With only five colors, instead of the seven the pattern calls for, I’ve had to play around a wee bit with the colors but I think that it is working well. The body of the cowl is worked on 4.5mm needles.
Even though I only started on this project this morning, I am ALMOST finished. I only have the i-cord trims left to knit and then a-blocking we will go!
What are you working on today? Making cozy things for the cooler weather? Do share!
I’m back from an extremely fun and exciting weekend vending at the PEI Crafts Council 49th Annual Christmas Craft Fair. What an experience! So many wonderful people, talented artists, and great conversations. My handspun yarns also found lots of happy new homes.
Part of the fun this weekend was all the spinners and weavers that I had the pleasure of making acquaintance with. Spinning wheels a-whirring was a frequent and welcome sight and it was really wonderful to get to talk fiber with other fiber lovers. Between meeting all of these amazing women and all the excited chats about fiber, I did squeeze quite a bit of time for spinning. I started AND finished my Finnish Fiber Sampler from Woolgatherings this weekend. And what goes better with some yummy new handspun than a really fabulous new yarn bowl? I picked up this little gem at the Village Pottery stand and am putting it to very good use already.
This week I’ll be busy preparing for the One Month To Christmas Artist Sale in Orwell. So if you’re looking for some fun handspun, stop by MacPhail Homestead from 12 – 5 on Sunday, November 17th!
Last week I had set a goal to finish my Pheasant Quill in time for this week’s FO Friday post and I just barely squeaked this one in! I hold good books from the library totally responsible because I just couldn’t put them down :-) I finished up the last two repeats of the edging this morning as the kids ate their breakfast.
This has been a whopper of a shawl, consuming:
- 4oz of BFL/silk in “Pheasant” colorway by Spunky Eclectic
- 6oz of BFL in “Dijon” colorway by Spunky Eclectic
- 4oz of alpaca that I was gifted by my dear friend Tina of Peacefully Knitting. The bottom picture is all that is left of that handspun … that was a close one!
That is a total of 14oz of wool for this baby!
The pattern was straightforward, very well written, and a delight to knit.
I made two very minimal mods which didn’t affect how the finished project looked. Instead of working purl rounds in the Old Shale Lace Frame, I wrapped the first stitch of the round and fliped to the wrong side (not that there really is a wrong side to this shawl) so that I could work the round in knit instead of purl. Once I reached the start-of-round marker, I would wrap the next stitch, flip my work back to the right side, and work as for the chart directions. Easy peasy no purling!
My second mod was really of very little significance. Instead casting on the lace edging stitches using backwards loop, I used a provisional cast on method and then grafted the two edges together once the lace edging was completed. Yes, that’s right, I CHOSE to do kitchener stitch! He he he. What a rebel I am!
I’m very happy with how the shawl turned out and I highly recommend this pattern for handspun yarns, especially for fun handpainted fiber. The garter stitch center panel really makes the yarns the star.
What have you been working on this week? Have you finished up any big projects recently? I’d love to hear all about it!