Dec 28
2015

Christmas spinning

I feel like I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can give away my handspun. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely useable, and it’s fun to share! This Christmas, two of our friends/staff got a skein of my handspun.

The first was 155 yds of bulky faux cashmere that I dyed myself – my first time dyeing fibre! I actually really love the faux cashmere; it’s insanely soft when not overspun. Unfortunately, in this skein, I got a little overzealous on the plying so it’s slightly overplied, and therefore not quite as soft. It still looks good, and hopefully the tighter ply will mean it’s easier to work with for Danielle – she’s fairly new to crochet, so splitty yarns are still a challenge. Here are the pics – from fibre to yarn.

1st ply 2nd ply

My second handspun gift this Christmas was for Sarah. I had planned the blue Louet Northern Lights skein for her, but her challenge for 2016 is to only acquire yarns that are local, traceable, and/or untreated, so I adjusted my gift accordingly. I had just picked up some untreated, natural oatmeal coloured BFL, so the timing was great. I really focused on not overspinning this one – no one wants wiry BFL yarn. It was a little tougher than I typically find BFL, so I’m not sure if it was the lack of processing for superwash treatment, or just that this top was more open/combed more thinly than I’m used to, but it turned out well in the end, I think. I lost a fair bit to sampling as I figured out how to spin it without it drifting apart on me, but in the end, I got 155 yds of bulky out of this one, too. And it’s not overspun! Actually, there are a couple of areas that are slightly underspun, but I hope it will be enjoyed nevertherless. Here it is:

100% natural untreated oatmeal colour BFL

Nov 9
2015

Spin, spin spin!

Things have been crazy since we moved to Dawson, and there’s been little time for blogging, but I have been doing lots of spinning lately, so thought I would start keeping a bit of a log here again. This first post will be a little picture heavy, as I’ll include some of my recent favourites.

This was the first major spinning project I was actually happy with. It’s just over 300 yards of chain plied natural Jacob. The “joins” of the n-ply are pretty visible, but less so than my previous attempts, so I was pretty pleased. I also learned that I really don’t love Jacob with this one, or at least not spun in this fashion. It did make a nice hat, though, and while it’s not soft at all, it’s not really scratchy either, so maybe I’ll make a pair of thrummed mitts with the remaining yarn.

This year’s Tour de Fleece was when I really got back to spinning, though. I finally fixed my wheel, and when I went back to it, was reminded how zen spinning can be for me.

I started out with these skeins, made from Louet Northern Lights wool top. I love the ease of drafting this stuff, and the colours look great, even just spinning end to end, with no colour management at all. The first skein ended up being just over 200 yards of sport weight, and the second one is about 370 yds of DK. Still waffling on whether to keep one of these for myself, gift it or bring it to the shop.

I’m really proud of this one. While I’ve dyed lots of yarn before, I was always afraid of dyeing fibre (either of felting it, or having it drift apart). A friend recently started crocheting, and just loves it, so I decided I wanted to spin something for her. She loves and appreciates handmade gifts, so I was thrilled to find something I could make that she would be able to use and enjoy. She can’t do wool at all, so I tried my hand at dyeing some faux cashmere I had on hand, then spinning it. I dyed one braid in a lighter blue with lots of white, and a second in a darker blue with a little white, then plied them together. At 140 yards for a 170 gram skein, it’s not nearly as much yardage as I had hoped. I guess I squished a lot of air out as I spun, so it’s super dense (170 grams, and 140 yards but it’s somewhere between aran and bulky weight). It turned out fairly well, though, so I think she’ll love it.

This fibre was a Ravelry destash purchase. I had wanted to try Polwarth, so jumped in despite the exchange rate. I was disappointed when I got the parcel, as the colour was quite different than the photo I had seen, but still was excited to try the Polwarth. Until I started trying to spin it. It was horribly compacted and hurt to spin. I was a little shocked given how wonderful everyone said it was. I kept working on it, and in the end. I’m pleased with the results. The colour has grown on me, and my spinning and plying are getting a bit better with each new skein. This ended up being about 180 yards of aran-weight, so definitely a useable skein. I even bought some more Polwarth (which is beautifully soft and uncompacted, to try again).

This one was supposed to be cheap learning fibre, just to learn a new technique with, but I liked it so much, I decided to keep the skein. I wanted to spin a less dense yarn, and decided to try spinning woolen (or as close as you can get when starting with top). This was Cheviot I got on sale (less than $1/oz)! Given how rough and wiry the fibre felt, I was shocked at how nice the end yarn was. Yay for semi-woolen spinning, and not overplying! It made a huge difference, so I’ll definitely be using this technique for other spinning projects, too. The yarn is a super squishy, and quite soft, bulky to super bulky yarn; it actually feels softer than it did as loose top/fibre. I’m thinking it may become a hat.

And this one is my absolute favourite. I just finished it tonight, and I’m in love. I won the fibre in a Ravelry spinalong challenge – a 5.4 oz braid of Targhee, which I had never tried before. I think it may be my new favourite. It’s as soft and drafts as easily as BFL, but has much more sproing to it. Soooo squoodgy! And I love the colours, both in the fibre itself, and how they play together in the yarn. It’s probably my best yet, so part of me wants to bring this one to the shop, but I kind of want to keep it all for myself!

 

Aug 22
2012

Ribbons, Ribbons Everywhere!

Well, our fall fair ended a week or so ago, and I didn’t even update you guys on all the fall fair knitting!

Last year, we were sad as we walked around and saw very little knitting, and some categories with no submissions at all. This year was a different story! One of our knit night regulars lit a fire under us all to submit tons of projects, and it worked. There were about twice as many items entered, and most of them were projects we recognized from our own knit night! It was so fun to look at all the ribbons and prizes, many for people from our knit night, and even some from the new knitters we taught this fall! I won in the handspun knits category for the Amanda hat in my previous post, as well as coming in second for a yarny christmas ornament, but nearly every category was won by one of our ladies or gentlemen! I think the best part for me personally, though, was to see one of our regulars from knit night win the socks and mitts category, since we provided the gift basket for that one from our shop!

Aug 5
2012

I Spin, I knit… Something Else!

Remember that handspun entrelac scarf in my last blog? I really liked how it was looking. You know what I realized though? I really dislike knitting entrelac! I’m thinking I’ll hone my knitting backwards skills, and then try again, but for now the constant turning is too annoying for a project I wanted done in time to submit  in the fall fair’s handspun knits category.

So… time for a new project! Enter the trusty Amanda Hat (Ravelry link). I’ve knit two of these before, and loved them, and I was confident it would be fairly easy to modify the pattern to work with my bulky handspun. And it was! I finished it with enough time to spare that I’m planning on making two other small items before Wednesday’s submission  deadline. It doesn’t look like much right now because it hasn’t been blocked yet, but I’ve had so little knitting to show off lately that I wanted to show you. I like it, although I think this particular pattern looks better in the lighter weight yarns. That’s ok though. It will be warm, and I still have almost 100 grams of handspun left for another project (maybe the Sulka Bulky Hat). Anyway, here’s my very first handspun knitted project!

Jul 17
2012

I spin, I knit

In my last post, I mentioned spinning, so I thought it was time to show you some proof!

20120717-232420.jpg

It’s not great, but I’m happy with this giant skein of yarn. It’s 167 grams and about 420 yards of bulky, navaho-plied (sort of three ply out of one strand of singles looped on itself) yarn.

I struggled to find a project that would use most of the yarn without the risk of running out, and that I thought would highlight the handspun nature of the yarn. In the end, I went with a basic entrelac scarf, which is a technique I had yet to try up to this point. I love it!

20120717-233026.jpg

Jul 7
2012

Spinning!

Pulled out my spinning wheel tonight… Aaaaahhh! Every time I pull it out, I am reminded how much I enjoy spinning, and that I am stupid for letting it sit sad and lonely in the corner for months on end.

At first I thought I’d spin some alpaca and knit a project from it for the fall fair, but sadly, I have no alpaca. That’s ok though. I’ll find something for the fair, and in the meantime, I’m spinning some some natural very light brown/tan jacob. It’s not my favourite fiber to spin, but I haven’t spun in a long time, so it’s good to get some practice in on the more basic fibers to get my groove back. Then I’ll move on to some of the old favourites in my stash: a merino-tencel blend (love the staple of the tencel), or bamboo (my best spindle-spun yarn to date), BFL (so easy to draft), or Wensleydale (so… creamy… don’t know how else to describe it… but it’s a good thing). Or maybe I’ll try some that I bought but have never spun yet, like my camel down, or bison down, or bombyx silk, or merino-seacell blend, or cotswold. Or maybe some of the ones I’ve only played with a tiny bit like the corn silk (so fun), or … or maybe I should just get back to my wheel.

Good night! :)

Jun 17
2011

Spinning!

A while ago, I thought I’d try spinning. I bought some beautiful bamboo to spin, then I signed up for a class. Then, I bought a spindle, and another. After that, I bought a wheel. Then another wheel. (And a shwack of fiber throughout). Then I packed to move to BC, and started a new business and haven’t spun since. Boo! Hiss!

Tonight, though! Ah! Tonight, I put my wheel back together for the first time in a year, attached a leader and started playing. First I spun some soft, fuzzy brown jabob. Then, I dug out some of my more exotic spinning fibers for show and tell tomorrow at the store, and thought, “Hey, I haven’t tried spinning that corn silk yet” and spun some of that. I don’t know what I’d use the yarn for, but it’s so shiny and pretty, and very easy to draft. Then, I dug out the remainder of the original bag of BFL that Spinknit gave me with the wheel I bought from her, and now, I have the pretty on my bobbin. I love BFL. I love how it drafts, how it looks, how it feels. I love that this blue/pink/purple batch reminds me of my friend whenever I pick it up. I love that I can still spin “with” her, even though she is so far away!

PS: It really was very little spinning of each, as it’s been kind of hectic at the store. Tomorrow is our WWKIP/yarn bombing event, so we’ve been busy crocheting and knitting and decorating the store with all our handknits (which meant weaving in millions of ends and blocking thousands of projects… or so it seemed)! Check it out over at our store blog: Faking-Sanity.net. I promise though there will be a knitting and crochet related post soon, as we got some new stuff done for the store event tomorrow, and I’m slowly making progress on my Phoenix Rising shawl, too.

Feb 6
2010

See?

It’s here! I was a good girl this year, and Santa brought me something so big it took over an extra month to get here!

lazy kate

No, no. That’s not the big thing… that’s just my pretty new lazy kate and some extra bobbins… This is the big thing:

Mach II  - partly assembled Mach II - back

I just need to find some plyers to get the e-clip off so I can attach the flyer assembly, then throw the washers and eclip back on, and we’re ready to roll! Err… spin!

Feb 4
2010

Can you guess?

I got a package today. This was part of the contents. Can you guess what it was?

surprise

Stay tuned for the big reveal!

Feb 1
2010

It’s nearly here!

I broke down a few weeks ago and purchased a new spinning wheel. Giselle will always be my first love, but I wanted something that was easier to get extra bobbins for, and such. That decision was one resignation letter and one accident ago. Given the change in circumstances, I’m not sure it was the best move, but it’s done now. And given the rough week (and the fact that it’s already paid for), I’m happy that my new toy just cleared Canadian customs! Wee!

Jan 8
2010

Spinning again

I pulled out my wheel again today. I thought of a way to resolve the issue I was having, so I wound off the BFL I had on the bobbin, then began spinning the loveliest Finn. Creamy in both colour and texture, if that makes sense. I’m a bit rusty, but it sure was fun. I only have about 2 oz; I just bought a sample amount to see if I liked it. I’ll definitely have to figure out a project for it though; it’s just so nice. I may even buy more of this fiber at some point.

For now, though, I have more than enough at home. There’s some natural/undyed Wensleydale, Merino/Seacell, BFL and Cotswold I picked up recently, along with some Bombyx silk, camel and yak down I got at the last Boxing Day sale at M1, and several pounds of dyed bamboo and Merino/Tencel, so I think I will be spinning lots in the coming weeks! Oh, and some Louet Northern Lights, and some Lorna’s Laces in the Blue Jeans colourway.. Wee!

Jan 3
2010

Tribbles!

No troubles here, though (sorry, I couldn’t resist)!

Before my move this summer, I had traded a kilo bag of Malabrigo for some hand-prepped Cotswold fiber. A “bit” was what I thought. A “bit” looked a little different than I had imagined once it was prepared. I went to pick it up today; here is a quick view of of a few little Cotwold tribbles:

cotswold tribbles

Like tribbles, though, they ended up taking over my favourite computer chair within moments:

cotswold tribbles multiplied

Jul 24
2009

Fiber!

Well, you know I had to try out any fiber shop that accepts Canadian Tire money for payment! I placed the order on Sunday, and an email was sent out on Wednesday stating it had been shipped. And it was shipped express post, so it could arrive as early as toda! Like I needed more spinning fiber… and yet, I have a pound of BFL, and a couple ounces each of Finn, Wensleydale, and a merino/seacell blend on the way.

Mar 20
2009

Ugh.

I’ve been plague ridden, but am finally starting to feel better tonight. I’ve been making progress on a test knit for a sock pattern. Unfortunately, my plan to show a picture with the slightest hint of the pattern was foiled by my electronics curse: yet another camera card bites the dust.

As I’m writing this, though, I’m staring at a wad of very odd feeling fake cashmere fiber. I had grabbed a bit and tied it in a knot and set it in the dye bath with some other fiber a while ago to soak up the excess dye. The more I look at it, though, the more I like the look and the more curious I am about how the colours would work out in the spun yarn. The dye bath was black with a hint of teal, so the knotted portion remained white or silvery, while the rest is a black with green undertones. It’s not enough fiber to try on the wheel, especially since it’s horrid to draft, but I may pull out my spindle and give it a whirl. 😉 If I ever get a camera card that doesn’t hate me, I’ll show you all how it turns out!

Mar 8
2009

Road trips and knitting progress

This weekend, we decided to get out of the city for a bit, which was a blast. We ended up driving around a fair bit, and even made it to Canmore. I didn’t buy much yarn, but I did spend too much money. I only had the teensiest bit of a single shade of red dye left, and several colours that I didn’t have at all, or love and anticipate running out of very soon; my first purchase was therefore a bunch of Jacquard dyes. I’ve actually got some dyeing on the go as we speak, and I’ll probably do a couple more tonight. They won’t go up in the shop for a few days, as they have to dry before I can get accurate pictures, but keep an eye out for them: some more greeny-black, some fresh springlike yellows and whatever I next pull out of the bag of dye containers!

I also got a bunch more spinning fiber: a half pound each of 100% tencel and 100% corn silk (both of which are so silky and I’m very excited about). I also picked up a half pound of what I thought was cashmere, but ended up being fake cashmere (I saw both, but thought I had picked up the natural stuff); it’s kind of too bad I didn’t get the one I wanted, but it will still be fun to try a new fiber, so it’s ok. It’s quite soft, but the texture is a little weird. The roommie says it feels like cotton balls, but I don’t see it… No pics of these since they’re just undyed rovings/tops.

My last purchases of the day were motivated by KnittingGrammy‘s March 1st post about a 10 year guarantee on sock yarn (shocking!), and by my dry hands. I had wanted some simple knitting to work on, and I didn’t really have any project in mind, so I grabbed some Austermann Step and a couple of stitch patterns for the ride. The yarn is infused with aloe and jojoba, which lasts through 50 washings, so it should be nice to wear, but let me tell you that when your hands are so dry they’re painful, this stuff is a treat to knit as well. There was a single skein in one of the few colours I like at Knit and Caboodles in Canmore, so I picked it up. The second skein of yarn was some Regia sock yarn, because I just wore out my first pair of handknit socks, and a 10 year guarantee on the yarn is sounding pretty awesome right about now! The colourways of both are kind of plain, but I like them:

austermann stepregia galaxy

As for the knitting, I’ve only been working on the Kenkyos on my lunches at work, so not too much progress, but I LOVE these socks! Here’s also a look at the beginning on the Austermann Step socks – just a simple herringbone rib.

malabrigo kenkyos mar 8Socks for Dry Hands

Jan 24
2009

Home hardware stores and making decisions

Oddly enough, that does have a crafty reference… I’ve been meaning to hit the home hardware store for a while to get a small piece of veneer for my spinning wheel.

The roommie and I went on a quest to this unfamiliar territory to find said veneer, and some PVC for a new niddy-noddy. We found coiled 3/4″ PVC, but no 3/4″ end caps, and we found lengths of straight 1/2″ PVC, but they couldn’t cut them, and they wouldn’t fit into the car otherwise. So. We headed off to find the veneer, which apparently can’t be bought in anything smaller than 4 by 8 foot sheets (what we actually found were rolls even longer than that). Did I mention I needed a piece a few square inches in size? Ah well. When I asked where to find the veneer, the guy was really helpful, but he was more than a little baffled at my answer when he asked why I needed such a small piece. I guess that was kind of fun, but the trip wasn’t overly successful.

Cue brilliant roommate, who gave me a 3″ strip of veneer that had unglued from the front of her cupboards. While it’s too dry/brittle to glue to my wheel as a permanent fix, it does provide a temporary solution so that I feel comfortable spinning on my wheel again. Wee!

As for the making decisions part, I’ve spent all day going over all the patterns I could think of for the handspun yarn I posted about earlier yesterday. I have a  long list of possible contenders I haven’t yet deleted, but I think I have most likely narrowed it down to one of the following: Tudor Grace, Blink, Eagle Feathers or Swallowtail (Ravelry links).

Jan 19
2009

Spinning and Stash

I haven’t broken my resolution yet – I’ve not spent any money on new yarns this year. I do, however, have some new stash to show off!

I got a gift certificate to my LYS for Christmas, so I got some more dyes to support my new dyeing habit. I also picked up my fourth Year of Lace kit, which has lovely, lovely yarn (no pics yet as some people haven’t received their kits yet) and another great pattern; I even got to take a class from the designer earlier this year, so I’m excited to try this one out as well.

I also arranged a swap on Ravelry: some alpaca silk I couldn’t find a project for in exchange for 125 grams of silk hankies to spin. I may have to do some prep work before trying that though – just pulling them out of the bag, my dry hands snagged on them horribly. I’ll have to moisturize and exfoliate for a month before I touch them but they are oh-so-lovely! Don’t you agree? I may even try my hand at dyeing the white ones; we’ll see.

silk hankies to spin

While working at the LYS this weekend, I also tried my hand at spinning and plying on the new Spinolution Mach 1wheels. By the end, the spinning actually got fairly decent for me. The singles weren’t extremely even, but they were at least fairly pretty. See?

northern lights top on a Mach 1 wheel

The plying, on the other hand… well, no words could tell you as much as this picture…

DK2Worsted Louet Northern Lights Navajo plied

Jan 5
2009

Spinning

I was just messaging a friend and telling her I have actually spun on my wheel, and realized I’ve never actually posted any pix since I got it.

This is the first bobbin I spun on my wheel (or any wheel for that matter). It’s still has both corkscrews and underspun areas, but I’m getting better. I can still spin much more consistently on a spindle than on the wheel, but I’ve put in more time on that, so it’s to be expected, I guess. And the additional speed of the wheel may be a challenge at first, but will also be a blessing if I want to do this very much, which I do (as my fiber stash can attest to).

bfl

Here’s what I’ve learned so far, in no particular order:

  • I love spinning merino, merino-tencel blends (handy since I have two pounds of the stuff!) and bfl on both wheel and spindle
  • I quite enjoy bamboo, although the static is a little bit of an issue; not sure I’m ready to try that on the wheel yet
  • I’m ambivalent toward shetland
  • I hate jacob (I guess I need to learn to spin a little better before I try this one again); the roommie has inherited most of the pound I bought
  • I absolutely LOVE my wheel. I’ve now tried several Louets, an Ashford, a Spinolution, and a Lendrum, and my old double-drive Leclerc Nilus is my soulmate, I think!
Dec 27
2008

01010111 01100101 01100101 01100101 00100001

[That’s “Weeee” for those who don’t speak geek]

I wanted to tell you a bit about my Christmas. I was spoiled this year with some awesome goodies, including some great movies (aka some classic bad B movies, which I love) and a book for geeky non-readers like me: “[Geek Logik]” – use algebra to solve problems like “should you become a monk” or “is it time to see a therapist”.

Now that I have quick formulas to solve my life’s problems and decisions, and some great movies, I can have time and enjoy myself by sitting down to knit a bit! And now, as promised, I have pictures of my yarny and fibery lovelies (sorry about the layout – new pic editing in WordPress that I haven’t figured out yet). I spent more than I intended at the sale, but I got some money for Christmas, so I decided to splurge. And I just found out about a Christmas gift certificate from an awesome friend, so I’ll likely go back this week to buy the Casbah sock I was eyeing (who doesn’t deserve a little cashmere in their socks) or maybe some of their beautiful silk!

I didn’t get much yarn, just a skein each of Noro Kureyon Sock and Cherry Tree Hill’s Possum Lace. What did account for most of my purchases was fiber: a shwack of Lorna’s Laces wool top (over a pound – it nearly covers the entire surface of my footstool), and a bag of fluffy yak down as well as a bit of beautifully shiny bombyx silk.

CTH Possum Lace Noro Kureyon Sock

LL Wool Top in Blue Jeans Yak Down Bombyx Silk

My knitting mojo seems to have taken a bit of a vacation lately. The only thing I’ve managed to finish was a simple neckwarmer I started when this cold spell hit a few weeks ago, and even that is riddled with mistakes. I decided since it’s just to wear under my big jacket to keep me warm, that was fine. The yarn is lovely, though. Here’s a partial pic to show off the colours: it’s Malabrigo in the Paris Night colourway, knit up in a single-colour brioche stitch.

staying warm

The absence of knitting mojo has me really excited about the fiber I got. I have to get to Rona to pick up a small strip of veneer for my wheel (I’m paranoid and the friction of the metal ring for tensioning is wearing down the wood, so I’ve been afraid to spin until I add this little strip to protect the wood).

I also picked up a couple of dye colours I didn’t have yet at the sale. Dyeing has been my main fiber-related craft lately. And I just received a shared shipment of base yarn, so I’m quite excited to pick that up again too! Good thing I have those geeky algebra formulas for all my big decisions, or I’d never have time to do all my crafts!

Oct 1
2008

Knitting and spinning and cooking… oh my!

I posted that post and then realized that I had more to say!  Because not only have I been knitting, I’ve been spinning.  Long, long ago I spun up some gorgeous red fiber on my drop spindle and I actually put it to good use:

Hand Spun Mitts

They’re uber short (and used every last inch of yarn!) but I’m so proud of them.  My very first project out of my own handspun!  Since then Sherry, one of the lovely ladies who hangs out at  M1, lent me an Ashford Joy wheel and I’ve been thoroughly drafted (sorry, one must pun when one can) to the spinning side.  I’ve tried a few different fibers, though the only one I thought to take a picture of was this one:

Tricolour Browns 1

It’s a 3-ply using the fiber that came in the Louet kit with my drop spindle.  There are a few icky spots but all-in-all it turned out faboo.  I decided that the colour just wasn’t me, but Mike liked it so it was immediately gifted.

In completely non-fiber-related news, I cooked last night!

Ham & Kidney Bean Soup

I don’t cook.  Unless you consider making Kraft Dinner cooking.  But this?  This is homemade Ham & Kidney Bean soup.  It was yummy and has made me want to cook more often.  Unfortunately, I have no ideas.  I look through cookbooks and nothing seems all that appealing.  Anyone have any good recipes for me?  Or, y’know, want the recipe for this?

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