6.22.2010

Hotel Spinning

Today I am hanging in my hotel room and playing with fiber. What I believe to be a very hard won and well deserved rest. Maybe this afternoon I'll try to even out my sunburn around the pool, but for now, I'm enjoying my AC and tomorrow, adventure begins. These pictures came out much more saturated than reality, I don't know why. This is very pastel-y in color.I am chain plying on the fly, which was a bit fiddly to start but I think I got it now. It is Ashland Bay Merino from my friend JJ

6.20.2010

Port Stop

We are stopped again in Puentarenas, Costa Rica. I will be getting off the boat, but I won't leave until after the ship leaves. It is the tech way. The next day I'll be finding my way (hopefully!) to San Vito to visit the dairy ranch of a family member. I am so darn excited.

Unfortunately my sister will be delivering my nephew while I am there and not with her, but on the plus side, I think I'll be able to skype with my family back home and re-unite someone from Costa Rica. w00t!

Also, one of my excellent Rav buddies rescued me from fiber crisis. She sent some of her buyer's remorse fiber to my work where a co-worker meeting the ship in port picked it up and carried it to the ship for me. This way I have fiber for my vacay! Thank goodness! I was losing my mind.

I can understand her remorse (on two of them maybe, the other three GORGEOUS) but am so thankful for the ability to spin I plan to overdye when I get home. I am using 4 oz of a pastel blend to learn to "Ply on the Fly". It is a technique I learned about online for the drop spindle where you spin a length of single, then chain it like a Navajo ply and spin in the opposite direction to ply as you go. In the end you are pulling a finished chain plied yarn off the spindle. I had some issues, but I worked them out. I couldn't figure out how to preserve my loop at the end, but I totally got it now.

I really hope my bus to San Vito is empty to I can spin all the way down.

Also, I started a pair of baby pants to go with the baby sweater (I overestimated my yardage needs by double and had plenty of yarn for a matching set). Rather than designing on the needles like I did with the sweater, I decided to knit the Kanoko pants by Yamiko Sakurai, available as a free pdf download on Ravelry.com as well as posted on her blog. Kanoko apparently means seed stitch, the pants are adorable and I think will go super well with my seed stitch bordered hooded cardi.

Alright, I'm back to work. Pics forthcoming, I hope.

6.11.2010

Chain ply weaker? Really?

le sigh.

I love you internet, but sometimes, you just hurt me. Above is the topic of a question I asked on Ravelry in the Spin Tech group.

I love this group. It is a wealth of information about spinning techniques. One of the regulars is Abby of the book Respect the Spindle. This is a great introductory book. It introduces a lot of topics. I myself recently purchased it in Alexandria, VA.

Now I had heard, often, that a chain plied yarn is weaker than a traditional 3 ply yarn. There is some supporting theory behind this, for instance it is all one strand, meaning if one strand breaks the whole thing could in the end break. Fair enough, although I feel fairly impossible in a knitted or crocheted garment.

Another argument is that if wool is scaled and has a direction you could cause excessive abrasion between singles. I don't really think this has any merit since unless you are spinning from the lock, you have no idea what direction the individual fibers are facing.

What I really wanted from this discussion, and I clarified several times, is to hear about failures. If any yarn you knit has fallen apart, and how was it plied? and was it fixable?

Instead what I got was a lot of generalizing, and no stories about actual breakage. Quickly the thread was jacked, I was mocked for asking and the topic was considered beat to death, but it was never actually covered. No one had any stories for me about it. And the topic is so far gone it is hardly even worth looking at the thread any more.

I personally can't help but feel that groups about techniques or the technology behind spinning should be references. Places to ask questions and find answers. I'm frequently disappointed by Ravelry when I am harshly reminded that an internet forum is an internet forum. Even when it is composed of what I consider the coolest people on the planet, knitters and spinners.

It also hurts when an author I respect on a subject, belittles my questions. You don't have to answer them, but making mocking them is hurtful.

6.09.2010

As spindles danced through her head

I am a little stressed out. And all my fingers want to do is spin. I think I have read every single Ravelry post about spinning. Browsed every single homespun stash and I just want to spin. However, I am completely out of fiber. I will not see a single woolen hair again until after June 29th.

Part of the problem is probably that I know I can't do it and that is what makes me want to.

I have knitting. My nephew's sweater progresses and I'm actually very happy with the way it is coming out. Surprising, because I designed it on the needles and expected to rip it out twelve times, but I actually only cast on three times. Below is a teaser picture.
I have Flamingo, the skein I just drop spindled, that is crying out to be knit into a lace scarf. But it doesn't matter. I can't get the feel of a spinning whorl on a vibrating single out of my brain.

So what does one do? Clearly one just stops into etsy for a quick look. Just a quick look couldn't hurt.

And BAM! I bought a little over 8 ounces of roving in two different colorways (they were blends! I have difficulty making my own blends so it's ok right?).

1- a Merino/Tencel blend in the colors blue, red-violet and black called What We Do is Secret
2- a Merino/Tencel blend in the colors torquoise, blue, green and brown called Amphitrite

And then, I was reading in the Sheep Shed Fiber Lovers group on Ravelry and bells and I really wanted to try them. So I got a hold of Carol at Sheep Shed Fiber Studio and ordered a few pounds of grab bag fibers, specifically of bells (which is just a different fiber preparation).

It is amazing the amount of monetary damage I can do without ever leaving my chair.

I should point out that all of this is on top of a new spindle I purchased as well. But listen, the whorl has crinoid fossils in it and as a result I HAD to have it.

6.06.2010

Flamingo


So my Merino/Bamboo/Tussah yarn is complete. It dried just in time for me to take a picture while the R/V Melville was stopped near Wolf island, a member of the Galapagos. You can see a little of the island if you look carefully near the hand rail. I named her for the cruise FLAMINGO, which is a little silly because really? There are no flamingos in the Galapagos. But isn't she pretty?


I was planning on a two ply yarn. But when I got around to plying it, I was unhappy with how loosely it was plied. So I decided to over twist it, then try to ply again, either Navajo or another two ply and end up with a cabled yarn. I wasn't thrilled. It would be bulkier and shorter than I originally wanted.

However, when I finished the first round of plying, it looked as if I hadn't added enough twist for another ply. I am really bad at this. It wasn't consistent either. However, I realized it wasn't that twisty. So I ended up winding it into a VERY large hank hoping to allow some of the twist to redistribute.

The hank would twist back on itself, but just 1.5 times. I let it soak in my sink for about an hour so it got good an wet, then after some hefty wringing, I took her out on the deck to Thwack her against the bulkhead and give it some really good snaps. I let it dry without weight which I figured would allow the twist to continue to redistribute as the yarn relaxes.

It is not perfect it still has some twist in it, but I plan to wind it into at least one other hank, to allow the twist to continue to redistribute. I was going to gift it to someone else who is a new~ish knitter and I decided it would be too frustrating for a beginner to work with twisty yarn, so I'm going to keep it for myself.

I have a pdf I found on Ravelry for a scarf called Scarf With No Name by Samantha Edgerly that I think I might use for it.

Because I am on a rocking ship, I cannot weigh it, but I know I have less than the four ounces I bought as I set a handful aside to teach another person. I haven't measured it, but I will get a rough estimate soon.