March is already shaping up to be an interesting spinning month. Both my first and second picks for the month are new-to-me fibers. The lovely blue/grey/purple is 4oz of grey masham in “Snow Forts” colorway and the heathered green is 4oz of a 60/40 wool flax blend in “Deep Pine.” Both colorways are by the lovely Amy of Spunky Eclectic. The masham is spinning up like a dream and I am SUPER excited to try out the wool flax blend!
I have been having so much fun knitting this month that I have kind of neglected my poor spinning wheel but when I got some new fiber from NBK in the mail, I just HAD to start spinning it up right away. It is a 4oz bump of absolutely heavenly BFL/Silk in the the colorway “The Tracks.” This evening, I’m planning to put on a nice pot of tea, some good tunes, and get this yummy yarn all plyed up!
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!
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 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!
August was a super busy month but I managed to squeeze in time to spin another pound of fiber. This month’s spins bring me up to a grand total of 10lbs of wool spun for 2013. I’m excited to be closing in on spinning goal of 13 lbs in 2013 as it means that I have lots of yummy handspun yarns in my stash to choose from when I start new projects.
My August spins were prepping for the Westknits Mystery KAL. Last year I chose to knit the KAL pattern, Rockefeller, in handspun and am very happy with how it turned out, so why not do it in handspun again this year? The Tranquil, Snow Sparkle, and Plum Fancy yarns are what I have chosen for this year’s KAL, the first clue of which has been released yesterday (yay!). While I haven’t started my Clue 1 yet (I’m working on two really big projects at the moment), I’ve been following along in the spoiler thread and admiring everyone’s work.
Now for September’s spins, I’m trying something entirely new but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out exactly what :-) Happy crafting all!
My fiber stash has been running dangerously low (think almost non existent!) as I seem to be spinning things as fast as they come in the door. So today, Judah, Willow, and I decided to make a little road trip to Pembroke Farms. We have visited once before and I came home with some amazing wool that didn’t even make it to supper time before it was spun up. Today I picked up a little bit better than 2 lbs of some seriously gorgeous undyed wool and some bright and colorful locks. This should hopefully keep me going for a while!
I’m planning to over dye and spin this for a Grettir. I have the main color yarn spun and waiting, I just have to decide what colors to do the yoke in. I love having fibery daydreams!
Between the business of July and August, and with some rather serious computer crashes, I completely forgot about posting my June and July spins. Some of the pictures aren’t the best as I lost A LOT of photos while trying to fix my computer issues, but I’ve got my laptop up and running on Linux Mint now and it seems to like it much better that the previous MicroSoft system that I was running. Yay for fixed computers! :-) Anyway, back to the fiber …
The first spin pictured is 4oz of Targee in “Vulpse Vulpse” colorway by Spunky Eclectic. This was spun up as a nice and bouncy worsted weight 2 ply and would look amazing as a hat or cowl.
This second spin was a test for a special project. This, in my opinion, was my first spinning flop. While the yarn looks very pretty, it lacks any real structure and the yarn drifted apart when I tried to knit with it. Lesson learned though … some fibers really need to be blended with wool to give them structural integrity. My take #2 of this yarn is going MUCH better. You’ll hear more about this in a later post
Next was 4oz Shetland in “At The Drive In” colorway by Northbound Knitting. Have I told you lately how much I love spinning Shetland wool? This baby is a nice squishy 2 ply DK weight yarn and would make the most amazing mittens!
And some more of NBK’s lovely Shetland to share with you. This colorway is “Namaste” and it is also spun as a 2 ply DK weight yarn. I really love the mingling of the colors in both the fiber and the yarn. Very calm, cool, and relaxing!
This spin is 4oz of my own hand dyed merino in the colorway “Tranquil”. This is another 2 ply DK weight yarn with tons of squish and bounce. The semi-solidness of the colorway would give depth to some fun cables or add a little fun to any textured knitting.
With this next spin, I got to take it right from the raw locks and turn it into a fat and fuzzy woolen yarn. I had 8 oz of Border Leicester locks from SE which I tried one of Judith MacKenzie’s methods of washing on. I sorted the locks and lined them up all pretty like on a few pillow cases and gently folded so the wool wouldn’t escape in the wash water. This may take a little more time but it is definitely my preferred method of washing wool now. The locks come out brilliantly clean and in perfect, neat little rows. If I had a set of hand combs, it would have been an excellent time to try my hand at making my own combed top, but my hand cards did a wonderful job of making nice light and lofty rolags which are a ton of fun to spin. I’m looking forward to the next time I get to play with raw wool as I picked up an Ashford Flick Carder which it dying to go for a test drive
Now this spin, you have already seen. It is the wonderful semi-solid yarn that begins my Carson Sunrise shawl. It is 4oz of mixed BFL in “Dijon” colorway by SE. BFL is definitely one of my all time favorite wools to spin and this yarn turned out so dreamy! I left it as a single as I was planning to use it as a shawl and since I went with the 3 color Carson, I still have lots of this left so I feel another shawl in the future with this yummy fiber.
“Sundown” on superwash Corrie was another really fun spin. This was a progression dye so I chose to spin it tip to tail and then N-ply it to preserve the color. The resulting yarn was so much fun! I used it to knit an Ida’s Kitchen by Kirsten Kapur, the photos of which I sadly lost during my computer troubles.
And last in this quite extensive list of yarns, but certainly not least is 4oz of Shetland in “Winter Sun” colorway by Hello Yarn. This was spun up as a fractal 2 ply DK weight yarn and I love, love, LOVE the colors in this. It is such a warm and cozy colorway and would look awesomesauce as a pair of cozy mittens.
So all things aside, the summer has been an extremely productive time for Spinning … especially since I have yet to post my August spins … so much so that I am almost completely wiped out of fiber! Crazy, isn’t it!
In other news, you will be able to find these some of these spins and more at the Wine, Dine, and Blueberry Stomp this Sunday at Rossignol Estate Winery. The lovely Ruth of Sew What? and Jim of Vitamin Sea Studio will have my fibery treats available there and if all goes well, my spinning wheel and I will be there to join in the fun.
Happy crafting and creating everyone!
Now that I’m back to spinning again, I’ve been working away at my yarn for the WestKnits Mystery Shawl KAL. I have chosen a snowy white with a bit of sparkle, variegated merino in blues and mauve, both of which I’ve spun already, and paired them up with a semi-solid plum which is currently on my wheel. This fiber is so incredibly yummy! It is a blend of alpaca, merino, silk, and angelina and is pure heaven in fluff form. I was a little unsure about the color for this particular project in the beginning as I thought that maybe I should have gone with a navy blue but the more I spin of it, the more it seems just right. As for yarn construction, I’ve decided to go with singles for this shawl as the fiber told me that is what it wants to be. Last year, I chose to do a fractal 3 ply so it will be fun to do it a little differently this year
What projects are you working on? Are you joining in with and KALs? I’d love to hear!
Today was my day off and just felt like a spinny type of day. I finished off the last of my own hand dyed merino and have started on some seriously delightful fiber that I picked up at Belfast Mini Mills this morning. It is a blend of alpaca, merino, silk, and angelina. Unfortunately, the pictures that I took just don’t do it justice. It is light and airy, soft and silky, and has a wonderful hint of sparkle. I’m thinking that these might be two of my yarns for the Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL and I have my eye on a lush purple roving as my third, but only time will tell. For this evening though, I have a date with my spinning wheel …