3.31.2011

Spinning for the Seismic Goddess

I have started on the 8 oz of Roving for the Seismic Goddess.So I'm not positive but I believe this is 2 oz. I don't have a scale but my 8 oz came as two pieces, one of which I split in half~ish. It is two ply and mostly spun from the fold. I only counted a hair over 87 yards which surprised me. Because if it really is a 1/4 of my weight, then I'll end up with less than 350 yards for 8 oz? Does that sound right at all for a laceweight?


Anyway. I love it. Although I under spun it. Again. I can tell because it didn't require enough twist to balance it during plying. in some places it is just barely plied and more like carrying two strands together. I'm correcting this on the rest of the roving by giving it a little extra spin before winding it on the spindle. Hopefully this will give me a plied yarn I'm happier with.

Speaking of the rest of the spinning there was some talk of rolags on Ravelry and I expressed a desire to spin from them but not make them. I didn't want to spend what little free time I have carding. Well lo' and behold the genius of Ravelry brought forth a link to Southern Cross Fiber with a simple way to turn my pretty combed top into rolags in moments. I'm applying that technique to the next 2~ish oz.

Another forum on Ravelry was asking for tips we wish we knew from the start. My response went a little something like this...

I prefer spinning clouds or from the fold or rolags to top.

I do a LOT more pinching when all the fibers are lined up the same way and it was hard on my hands. But when the fibers are all jumbled up they hold themselves together.

Spin with fibers you love touching, not what is cheap. Sure you are learning, but it is so much more fun when you love what you are touching.

Also, add more twist than you think you need in the single. My plied yarns don’t have as much twist in them as I want because I never seem to add enough twist to my single.

Also my preferred methods of plying are with an Andean bracelet or ply on the fly. I’ve learned that if I plan to 2-ply with an andean bracelet that once that bracelet is on my wrist I pretty much have to ply all the way to the end of the single. So maybe I don’t want to spin all four ounces into a single. Maybe. Joining skeins while I’m knitting really isn’t that big of a deal.

I'm still knitting on my Hitchiker on the bus, when I get to tired to spin before bed and while I'm waiting for processes on my computer at work.
Meanwhile, I'm contemplating what I want to knit with my finished Seismic Goddess...

3.29.2011

Mountain Hitchiker

I have two ounces of handspun blue merino recently washed, snapped and dried but awaiting a great light for pictures.


Meanwhile, I present you with bus knitting (yay! I'm knitting on the bus again!).
This is Plymouth Yarn Boku. A straight up Noro knockoff. I bought two skeins on sale at Knit One Quilt Too when I yarn crawled with my friend Bekah in Kuna, ID around Thanksgiving. Wool/silk 95/5% blend. It is a single which means you have to be careful of pulling apart while knitting, but the single is much more consistent in thickness than Noro and I've noticed fewer knots and VM than my previous experiences with Noro. Mind you I'm only the first skein in. I don't have a plethora of data.

I love this colorway, I just wish it had a better name than "3". The colors remind me of Idaho mountains so I'm calling it Mountain.

The pattern is Hitchiker(RavLink) by Martina Behm. I commented on a friend's beautiful project and before you know it she sent me the pattern in Rav as a gift (did you know you could do that? cause I didn't!). It is a very simple pattern that is easily worked out if you have too, but my friend and I both felt we should give credit where credit is due. It was inexpensive and I wouldn't have wanted to make it if I hadn't seen her pattern.

I cast on yesterday while I was backing up my computer. It is knitting up so fast, although every row is longer than the last so it will slow down pretty quickly I'm sure. Because you start with 2 stitches and it grows from there the striping starts out very wide then narrows as the rows get longer and longer and longer. I think this would be a great pattern for a handspun yarn.

I had my first skein of Boku sitting around and when I cast on and loved the project I had to go digging for the second ball. I found a whole bunch of striping sock yarns sitting around my place that would be great for this pattern.

3.25.2011

Log Cabin Spin In, Post Falls, ID

I went to the Log Cabin Spin In in Post Falls, ID last weekend. There was some browsing. I questioned every single person with an Ashford Joy spinning wheel to see if they had ever flown with it, but no one ever had. My lovely Mom and gorgeous Sister (whom might be referred to as non-fiber folk) joined me which was very sweet of them.


My Sister has no interest in spinning, knitting or crochet, but she loves to commission things for me and her taste is very discerning. As we wandered the Spin In vendors and fondled all the goods (she is an expert), I noticed she had a taste for the soft and the fine. There wasn't a single thing she loved without a $30+ price tag. This is not really a problem though, I am the same way. She is a girl after my own alpaca/silk/woolen heart except for one single tiny little thing.

She likes crocheted items. Every fiber FO that caught her eye (except a beautiful green knitted sweater that we totally got the pattern on Ravelry for) was crocheted. I'm not super at crochet. I can do it, but you know, not awesomely. However, anything that keeps her interested in my hobby I am ok with.

Now I didn't bring anything to spin on because I was 100% certain that I would find a drop spindle at the Spin In, that is if I hadn't decided to buy a travel wheel. However, there really weren't any vendors with a-buy-this-wheel-from-me-now set up and the single, solitary vendor with drop spindles sold out immediately. Seriously? One vendor? at a Spin In?

So I called a couple of local shops and ended up heading to CDA Yarn and Fiber to find a drop spindle. Just a regular ole' student spindle. While we were there, my sister started browsing and before you know it she had picked out a small ball of yellow wool. When I started to emerge from the wooly haze I had been in, I realized that I was crocheting her a head band that afternoon. One she intended to wear that evening at a Spokane Shock game (arena football). Oh. Really? Well I had best get busy.

We stopped for burritos, where I cast on. We headed to a movie where I worked in the dark for two hours. In the car, I added a little tab for the buttons she picked out. And when we got home the ends were woven in and the buttons attached with an hour to spare before her friends showed up to take her to Spokane. Whew!

Did you catch that? I started a crochet project, with no pattern, worked in the dark and still managed to get it done in time for it's time in the spotlight. Yeah. I'm amazing.
Doesn't she look beautiful? She's got me wrapped around her pinkie.
Now I bought some fiber at the Spin In. Someday I'll show it to you I'm sure, but more importantly I received a very special gift. A knitting/science friend of mine has taken up spinning. I MAY have prodded her a little bit, but I'm sure I can't take credit for it. I did however plot against her my last trip to South America as I spoke to a mutual friend of ours about the possible outcome of a fiber gift. I personally decided against it. I mean, do you really want to be gifted the supplies to a hobby you aren't sure you want to take up/enjoy? But I'm really glad she has jumped in.

I have been watching her dye and spin lately on her blog Testy for a while now and one of her dye jobs just grabbed me. It was indigo and white splotchy roving and it was beautiful and I maybe did a little squee in her comments.

Before long she had asked for my address and I got a little excited. I found this in my mailbox.
I absolutely love it. Merino roving in blue and white. I love my custom science label "Roving for the Seismic Goddess". I started on the drop spindle I picked up at CDA Yarn and Fiber. It is 8 oz in two pieces. I split one piece and started pulling off a handful at a time. I fluff it out as airy as I can, then fold it in half and spin it roughly from the fold. At least it starts from the fold. It ends up spinning from a loose cloud of fiber in my hand. It is drafting so smoothly and beautiful.My camera is having a hard time with all the shades of blue. I haven't taken a picture of it on the spindle yet. I foresee difficulties with my phone camera. It is coming out all blue, no white spots, but with a lot of depth to the blue. Lighter and robin's egg in some places, midnight in others. I am completely, totally and utterly in love.

I'm spinning a single instead of my usual chain ply on the fly because I'm envisioning a 2 ply lace yarn that ends up in a shawl (THAT is most definitely influenced by her knitting).

That's my vision, but we'll see where it goes.

3.14.2011

This is the Imperial Yarn top I purchased the other day. It is such a pleasure to spin. I'm chain plying on the fly again. I love having a finished yarn at the end of the day and seeing the what the final product is going to look like. I take one handful of top and spin it counter clockwise, winding the single down the spindle till I run out of wool. Then I wind the single onto my hand and chain ply in the z direction.


Also, I made it to Powell's Book Store, the famous new and used bookstore in the Pearl District of Portland, OR. This made a big dent in my wallet, but a huge contribution to my reference pool.

For starters I picked up Big Book of Knitting by Katharina Buss for $9.98. It is a decent reference book that I think will come in very handy when I'm designing my own sweaters. Lots of instructions for knitted garment details like pockets, facings, buttons, zippers and collars.

I grabbed Spinning for Softness and Speed by Paula Simmons to try and help me with my lofty yarn desires. But it is entirely for wheels so I probably won't be able to put any of it's techniques to work for a while.

Barbara Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns looked like a great repository of stitch patterns. Last of all I picked up The Knitter's Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber to learn a little more about the quality of the fibers I find online and figure out which I actually want to spin with.

Now if only I can put the fiber down long enough to get reading.

Spinning on the Brain

When I have a short amount of free time and I'm presented with two choices, knitting/spinning or blogging about knitting/spinning, knitting/spinning usually wins and blogging gets set to the wayside.


The supported spinning that I was doing the last time I blogged is finished. But it is in Seattle and I find myself again in Portland. I have no idea how much yardage I have or the weight or what it is going to be or if I will dye it. For now it will sit in Seattle and miss me. Probably for several months.

Rustic tweedy yarns have caught my attention lately. It may have something to do with Jared Flood's new yarn Shelter and his recent series of blog posts about the mill (they start here). I want so badly to try out this yarn, but buying things online is kind of out for me right now with all the time I am spending away from home and I haven't yet seen it in a yarn store.

Last night I started drop spinning some of the Imperial Yarn top I also mentioned last time. It is so fluffy and crimpy and wonderful. I want to make it into a super smooshy and highly textured yarn. The texture part is easy with the variations in blues and whites, however, spinning is another story.

I want thick, I want loft and I have finally found myself in the rut beginning spinners eventually wind up in, I can spin thin, ever thinner, but trying to consistently spin a thicker single has gotten really hard. It's funny, but I can spin a lace or fingering weight with absolutely no problem right now, but trying to up that to a worsted or larger is proving incredibly difficult.

It is something I have to tackle. I don't really care for knitting with such fine weight yarns in general. I'm a worsted kind of girl. I would settle for some sock weight yarns as I know a sock knitter I would love to gift some yarn.

So for now, I'm spinning slowly and deliberately and it is coming out a little slubby, but in the end I think the practice will be worth it. It's not quite coming out worsted weight, but it looks great and has a surprising amount of stretch and spring in it.

I have been working a lot of weekends lately. I'm really excited that this coming weekend I will be flying my little butt home to my parents. I look forward to three days away from the ship, out of a hotel and some fibery goodness. It turns out the Log Cabin Spin In is happening at Templin's in Post Falls, ID on Saturday (thanks so much to the Beadknitter for bringing it to my attention) and I plan to make a stop.

My mom isn't into fiber arts, but she has agreed to come with me. I'm hoping to see some travelling wheels around that I can try out. A friend, Trifarina, has recently become the new owner of an Ashford Joy double treadle and the idea of a travelling wheel has got me all fired up. I want, though some parts of me are sure that I NEED it. I will not however, buy a wheel I haven't tried. I am at least that responsible. I think.

I did cast on fingerless gloves with the Socks that Rock I bought last time. I'm down to one finger on the first attempt. Fingers slow me down. They are fiddly and I put them off. Eventually I'll finish. Someday. Then I can cast on a second one. /sigh

3.02.2011

Twisted Portland, OR

I don't know if you remember this supported spindle project but I still have it. I brought it with me to Portland this week and I spun, plied and washed another hank this week. Then I only had maybe an ounce remaining and I spun it. The single is currently wrapped around the Gideon Bible in my hotel room (Thanks guys!).
So the roving is all spun up. Finally.


Also, I found a yarn store within walking distance of my hotel. I'm a little poorer, but I got lots of awesome smooshy in my hotel room now. It was Twisted in Portland, OR and it was a GREAT store. Yarn, roving, tools, books, buttons and an entire section dedicated to Blue Moon Fiber Arts as well as a tea/coffee bar. I could've just camped there all night.
I bought a skein of Socks that Rock Heavyweight for a new pair of fingerless gloves. Eight ounces of top from Imperial Yarn in a color called Canyon Shadow (yummy and squishy). Four ounces of roving from Oregon Yarn Company in Light Fawn. As well as some buttons to replace the ones on this guy. And of course, some size 4 Hiya Hiya dpns to cast on a pair of fingerless gloves with the Socks that Rock.

So excuse me, I have some work to to