Last year I ordered a couple of pounds of some really gorgeous brown Shetland wool from Spunky Eclectic and went on a dying spree. Since this was my first time dying colored fiber, I decided that semi-solids would be the best bet and I was immediately hooked. I dyed every scrap of the fiber. Pictured above is 1.5 lbs of my experiments – the green I call “Sherwood”, the red “Rustic”, and the purple “Catawba”.
Keeping with the adventurous spirit this fiber seems to have instilled in me, I’ve decided to use it for my very first combo spin. I have 12 oz spun up and ready to ply. I’m quite excited and look forward to seeing what these will look like when combined.
Today’s work-in-progress Wednesday post is all about spinning!
February may be the shortest month of the year, but my wheel is getting a pretty good work out. Yesterday, in particular. I’ve been spinning up the lovely fiber from Rosa and Tina and two never before spun fibres from Spunky Eclectic and Northbound Knitting. It is a fun month with what is looking to be lots of really great new yarns to add to my stash. This photo is just a little teaser and I will let you know more in my February Hanspun post a little later on
I’m enjoying the 13 Lbs In 2013 challenge just as much as I did the 12 Lbs in 2012. Some people have asked if I get bored of all the spinning and my answer is always a huge, resounding “Nope!” There are so many different kinds of wool to try and so many amazing indie dyers to tempt me that there is always fresh challenge and inspiration.
Are you working toward any goals in 2013? How are they going? I’d love to hear all about it!
I am such a lucky girl! When I went up to get the post I found a surprise package from my dear friend Tina of Peacefully Knitting. Inside was a delightful card and some amazing Alpaca spinning fiber from a farm local to her. I can’t wait to dive right into this fiber! I took a close up pic of the fiber so that you can see the incredible color of the fiber … it is called Champagne. Thank you so much Tina! This is such a treat and has made my day! Looking forward to playing with this lovely fiber
I feel so spoiled! I was the recipient of two really wonderful fiber treats this week.
Lisa of Northbound Knitting sent me 4oz of her gorgeous BFL/Silk in “Le Tigre” colorway and Rosa of thewoolcraftshed.blogspot.com sent me some lustrous carded top and yarn from her own Wensleydale sheep. I can’t wait to dive into all this lovely fiber!
You two ladies have made my week! Thank you both so much for your thoughtful treats
This week’s Tips And Tricks Thursday is all about spinning semi-worsted yarns. This style of spinning is one that I am quite comfortable with as my favorite yarn/fiber store carries a ton of delightful fibers and keeps me inspired. As with semi-woolen, this type of spinning covers a range of different spinning techniques but some of the key features are:
Traditional woolen prepped fibers or carded fibers are used
Twist does not enter the fiber between the hands
A short draw is used (sometimes called the “inch worm”)
So the fibers you would tend to look for with this type of spinning tend to be the ones that are prepared in a less orderly manner. Carded fibers, rolags, and fiber batts all work very well with this style of spinning. Fibers on the shorter end of the spectrum can be used but you can also get away with spinning more of the medium staple length wools to long staple length wools in this manner as you are using a short draw for your spinning.
Semi-worsted yarns appeal to me because the have many of the characteristics of worsted yarn that I love blended with the woolen. It is like a “best of both worlds” scenario for me. The yarn spun this way tend to be:
smoother but less elastic than their woolen or semi-woolen counterparts
they are quite durable and show off the luster and shine of longer wools and silk.
they are a bit softer and fuzzier than the woolen yarns
they tend to be a bit warmer than worsted yarns
The short draw technique for semi-worsted is very much the same (or the same) as worsted spinning. You can draft either forward or back but the hand movements are small and precise, hence the reason some call this draw “the inchworm”. The twist stays between the forward hand and the orifice and I like to smooth the yarn as it slips through my fingers. Here is a great example of semi-worsted spinning:
If you’ve never tried this style of spinning, I highly encourage you to give it a whirl. Happy crafting all!
When I was first learning how to spin, I found the size of roving and combed top hard to manage. I learned very quickly that I had a much easier time spinning if I stripped the fiber down and also if I pre-drafted. Those two little tricks helped me on my way to spinning smoother and more consistent yarns and made me a much happier spinner. Once I had a bit more spin time under my belt, I experimented more and more with spinning straight from the top (no stripping and no pre-drafting) but I knew if I got into a mess or didn’t like the result of what I was creating, I could always fall back on those two wonderful little tricks.
I came across a great tutorial on YouTube that demonstrates both of these tricks really well so I thought that I would share it along with all of you.
Tour de Fleece is in full swing and tons of spinners are producing fantastic yarns. To check out and be inspired by some, be sure to take a peek at the Tour de Fleece Flickr pool.
During this year’s TdF, I had the pleasure of trying a wonderful new fiber … yak! It was a delightful merino/yak blend in “Coxstand” colorway by Spunky Eclectic and oh so soft. The fiber practically drafts itself and is a very smooth and relaxing spin. Four ounces of fiber yielded approximately 44o yards of fingering weight loveliness and boy oh boy, do I have plans for this yarn.
As many of you fellow ravelers know, this year the TdF and the Ravellenic Games as almost back to back. TdF runs until Sunday, July 22nd and the Ravellenic Games start on Friday July 27th … a mere 4 days between the two. Throw in our wedding anniversary and a festival and we’ve got one crazy but fun month!
I had been pondering what I wanted to knit for Ravellenic Games right up until I finished spinning my Coxstand. It told me that it needed to be knit into an Akimbo and who am I to argue with yarn? I’m still trying to decide what yarn to pair with it but I’m seriously leaning towards some of my handspun BFL since it is a larger skein and could potentially do both my Akimbo AND my West Knits Mystery KAL. Besides, I have more of this yummy BFL in my stash so I can always spin more (THAT is a very good feeling!).
Today, I’ll be back to focusing on my TdF goal and spinning my “Big Bang” in BFL. I’ve seen a few navajo plys done by other club member and love the way that it looks so I’ll be doing the same with my bump of fiber. My hope to to eventually knit a pair of Viper Piliots socks with this yarn.
So what fun craftiness are you all up to this week? Are you spinning the TdF too or planning on participating in the Ravellenic games? I’d love to hear all about it!
I had the amazing luck this year to be the winner of Greenwood Fiberworks grand prize drawing of $150 worth of hand dyed fiber. Can you guess how over-the-moon excited I was? VERY!
For any of you who haven’t discovered the pleasures of Carolyn’s delightful fiber and yarn, I highly recommend you check her out. I know you won’t be disappointed. She has a beautiful range of colorways and fibers to pick from.
Now its time to show off my new fiber!
The first fiber I chose, pictured above, is 8oz. of her BFL in the “Shades of Burgundy” colorway which my youngest daughter has staked claim on for herself. She insists that I need to make something for her from this lovely fiber.
The next fiber pictured is 8oz. of “Calypso” in BFL. This is one of my all time favorite colorways.
Next is 8oz. of “Copper Hills” in Merino. The colors make me think of fall leaves and beautiful autumn skies.
And last, but certainly not least, is 12oz of “Tribe” in Polwarth. I love the deep blues and greens in this colorway.
I want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to Carolyn for giving away such an exciting and very generous prize. It is greatly appreciated and this treasure trove of fiber should keep me spinning and knitting for a while!
On the design front, be sure to stay tuned to my blog over the next week or so as I have a brand new knitting pattern coming out. I’ll be posting spoiler pics and will be giving away a free copy of the pattern to one luck blog commenter!
What is the best way to start the New Year? With a little spinning for course!
I’ve joined up the a group on ravelry called 12 in 2012 where members will be attempting to spin 12 pounds of fiber each this year. Sound like a lot of fiber? It is! But I’m totally up for the challenge.
What really convinced me was looking at my very sad, very tiny collection of sweaters. I have two, I’ll repeat, TWO sweaters that I save for good and the other few are my gardening/working sweaters (and believe me … they’re not pretty). I’ve come to the conclusion that many knitters (myself included) are like the mechanics you see with the crappy cars and the electricians you know who still have a pile of wiring to do in their own houses … we as knitters see so many fun and lovely projects “the would be just perfect for (insert name here)” that we often forget about knitting for ourselves.
So finding 12 in 2012 is the perfect motivation for me to get down and dirty and start making myself some lovely handspun sweaters. It will challenge my spinning abilites, which I love, and I aim to try some new fibers as well. I’m also hoping to try out spinning some of the fun and funky textured yarns outlined in Jacey Bogg’s new “Spin Art” book and dvd.
Pictured above is the start of my 12 in 2012 spinning this year. It is approximately 3 oz of my own handpainted fiber. I handpainted a pound of lovely merino in various shades of red, brown, and a little green. When I’m done spinning, I should have enough handspun to knit a Spoked Cardigan. Yay!
On the knitting front, I started knitting my Garter Yolk Cardigan. I’m using the yarn pictured in this post and so far I am in LOVE! I’ve made a few mods based on reading other people project notes on ravelry but I’ll save that for a post a little later this week when I will hopefully post pics of my new finished sweater! *happy dance*
Now that you’ve heard my fibery plans for this year, what are yours? I’d love to hear!