Spinning with friends

I spent a lot of time on my spinning wheels over the past days, starting with the weekend.  My friends from Seattle were back in town and four of us went to the Aurora Handspinning Guild’s spin-in day.

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There were a lot of people, most industriously spinning, some more focused on the fiber shopping possibilities.  It made me excited to rejoin a spinning guild.  I used to belong to the Snohomish guild before we moved to Oregon, and now that we are moving again I hope to join a guild near the new house.  I spin so much more when I’m with other people – on my own I tend to turn to sewing instead.

The next day we got together at Leslie 2’s house.  You couldn’t ask for a more relaxing spinning setting.

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The weather was PNW spring crazy, sunny on one side of the house and hailing on the other.

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The Leslies spent much of the day organizing fiber.  Leslie 2 hauled out every bin and bag of raw and processed fiber she had, and she and Leslie 1 went through every bit of it. There were piles to take to the processor, to donate, to process herself, and to dye.

They also washed some of the fleece to see whether it was going to be worth keeping.  The sun came out long enough to put some out to dry at least a bit.

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The bins were sorted logically and repacked and we were all very impressed with both her progress and the size of her stash!  She loves to buy fleeces, some of which she cleans and cards on her own, and some of which she sends to small mills to be made into spin ready fiber.

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I had my finish for the week, this bobbin of a very spring green merino.  I’m not sure what I will ply it with – something will come along.

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I’m now working on some subdued rainbow humbug BFL fiber I dyed in January.  Its plying partner is also up in the air.

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I don’t know why I don’t spin more on my own.  I used to do it constantly.  Somehow I need to get back to the regular habit if I’m going to meet my six pounds goal in 2017.

 

 

Adding to the yarn stash

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve made some progress in moving fiber from the spinning piles to the yarn stash.

First is the Polwarth/silk yarn I finished at the early March finishing weekend, off the bobbin, wet finished, dried and in its final skein.

From this:

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To this:

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Over the last week I also plied and finished this humbug BFL fiber that I dyed back in January.

These:

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Became these:

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This makes 1.6 lbs. spun this year.  My goal is 6 lbs. so I need to pick up the pace a little bit, but my goal is definitely doable.

In knitting news, I’ve also started to work on a new cowl, practicing the two color brioche stitch that my friend taught us.  I started with a scarf, but didn’t like the way the edges were going, and I prefer cowls and shawls to straight scarves anyway, so I ripped it back and cast on for a cowl instead.

It is fairly simple now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, so this will be good mindless TV knitting.

 

We interrupt the silence to bring you a smidgeon of crafting news

Life has gotten a bit crazy lately.  We’ve spent a lot of our non-working/sleeping time house hunting, and now we are in the throes of house buying, with all the paper gathering and emails and phone calls that entails.  In the meantime, the kids still needed to eat and have clean clothes and get to track and Cub scouts and who knows what.  Some balls have been dropped, and getting anything crafty done has been one of those balls.

But I did abandon my responsibilities last weekend for another trip to join my fibery friends.  We rented a place through AirBnB and raced off through the rain storms to catch the ferry to Anderson Island for the weekend.

 

There was a lot of spinning on my part.  I finished the blue two ply yarn in the pic below, and filled another bobbin with the third single I needed to make another yarn.  I also worked on the I-cord edging on my Volt wrap.

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There was also a lot of learning.  Paige taught us all how to do two color brioche knitting, and Leslie 2 was quick enough at it to knit a shoulder wrap/cowl thing.

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We also learned it takes a great deal of junk food (and pineapple cider) to fuel so much creative effort.

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It was hard to leave and go back to the real world.  But we had a satisfying pile of progress to show for it.

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A bulky finish

Some spinning to share.

I finished spinning up the light gray merino/alpaca/angora fiber and paired it with a bobbin of brownish gray yak/silk to get a pretty luxurious feeling skein of bulky yarn.  It is really dense, no spring to it at all, and the angora is already developing a halo that will grow as I knit with it.  Super soft too.  I think a chunky cowl will be the best use of it, and there’s nearly 300 yards, so plenty for that.

The colors on the bobbins are more accurate. The pic of the finished skein was taken in artificial light at night.

I also shave spun up two bobbins of BFL that I dyed during my dyeing binge during the snow days.  Love how the colors turned out in the singles!  They are pretty fine, so they are sitting while I’m trying to decide if I want to leave it at 2 ply for a light fingering or add a third bobbin of something for a more substantial weight.

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While that decision is mulled, I’ve started on some turquoise, brown and white polwarth/silk I dyed.

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All this productive spinning means the yarn stash is growing, which means I need to knit more.  The crafting version of a vicious circle, which means I’m happy but the house never gets cleaned. I can live with that trade off.

 

A mountain of yarn

Happy New Year, everyone!

I felt a rare organization urge this morning and decided to tackle the yarn stash.

I dragged yarn bundles, baskets and bins from all corners and with the help of my boys piled it in the living room.

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This is the before picture.

I sorted by type and weight, created a bin for lace weight, one for fingering, a big bag for bulky, and so on. One big bin is now filled with remnants to go in the slip stitch afghans I make, and another is for thinner yarn remnants for similar scarves or weaving.  Sweater lots were put together, and all the full skeins of handspun went into a zipper bag.

I did try to cull.  There is a fair amount headed for Goodwill:

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One woven basket of yarn showed some signs of moths, so I threw out a lot there and put some in the freezer.  And no more woven baskets for storage.  I was also able to get rid of the big white plastic bins from the before photo, which frees up some floor space in the little craft room.

Here is the after picture:

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Still a ridiculous amount of yarn, and there may be more pruning, but it is more organized and took up less space when I put it all back.

I also pulled out all the yarn I spun in 2016 for its own photoshoot.

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In 2016 I spun 6 lbs of fiber into these skeins.  That leaves 26 lbs. more to be spun.  My 2017 goal is to get at least another 6 lbs. spun and to get and keep the fiber stash below 20 lbs.

The fiber is next up to be pulled out and sorted, but not today.

End of the Year: WIP update and 2017 goals

To get ready for the new year of crafting, I’ve revisited my previous WIP list and removed all the finished projects and set some goals for 2017.  This list will probably get revised again – one of my goals is to reorganize the craft room before vacation ends in a few days, and more forgotten projects are bound to turn up.

WIP for 2017:

Knitting

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  • Red sweater – my oldest WIP, knit years ago, it just needs a crocheted edging and buttons, but will it even fit now?
  • Blue cable sweater – just needs zipper sewn in
  • Volt wrap – complete i-cord edging

New Goal:  Knit a complete cardigan in 2017

Weaving

  • Rug – partially warped on floor loom – this one has been sitting there so long it is getting dusty

Spinning

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26 lbs. of fiber in the stash to be spun!   In progress:

  • Gray merino/alpaca/angora – 1/3 of ~7 oz. spun

New Goals: spin 8 oz. a month, 6 lbs. total through 2017; reduce stash below 20 lbs.

Crochet

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  • J’s red monster – needs a face

New Goal: crochet two cotton bath mats

Needle punch

  • Sheep in a field – needs the field

Sewing

  • Knit shirt conversion to tunic
  • Mom’s backpack purse – the pieces are cut out
  • Floor pillows/poofs – I’ve started combining the upholstery samples into fabric
  • Embroidered circles that need to be sewn into a pillow cover
  • Paper pieced snowflake that needs to be finished to become a pillow
  • Placemats – need backings to be finished

No new sewing goals, just need to finish some of these!

Embroidery

  • Wild flowers – figure out what the blue flowers should look like, add others

Mini quilts

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  • Mountains and flowers – needs some top stitching and a back
  • City and trees – needs more embellishment

New Goal: Make the Oregon wall hanging I’ve been mulling for a while

Quilts

  • Scrap in a box – top finished and pinned, needs quilting and binding
  • Red and white Xs – top finished and sandwich pinned, needs quilting and binding
  • Strings table runner – a couple more blocks needed
  • Oceans QAL – five blocks to complete before assembling top
    • needs octopus, orcas, lighthouse, shark. and seagulls
  • Scrap blobs – blob blocks need background
  • Jelly roll baby quilt – top finished, back purchased, needs pinning, quilting and binding

New Goal: Make a king sized quilt for our summer bed blanket

It is a little overwhelming each time I look at this list, but it really is shorter than it was the first time I made it, and I keep reminding myself that I enjoy all these crafts and it is as much about the process as the products!

Puttering

As the holiday winds down, I’ve been puttering about, craft-wise.  Mostly with yarn and fiber.

I spun up some pink and brown BFL, and then dyed some humbug BFL to make a second ply.  For a third, I used up a bobbin of brown and black alpaca that I spun quite some time ago from a batt I carded.

I ended up with about 240 yards of worsted weight 3 ply.

The brown alpaca ran out first, so to use up the rest of the bobbins, I mixed in random left overs from other spins, first some gold/brown, and then some pink silk/wool.

Note the classy toilet paper tubes – they fit over the yarn winder and are perfect for clearing bobbins for reuse.   A bit bumpy when rolling during plying, but not too bad.

It seemed very over-plied when it first came off the wheel, but the soak evened it out.

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Since I was running out of colorful fibers, I dyed some more today in 4 oz. batches.

They’ll need a day or two to dry out, and then ready for new year spinning.

I also gave the wheel a coat of Danish oil as the wood seemed thirsty to me.  It was drying outside until the rains started up again, so it is finishing inside.  The brand I bought is low fumes and food safe, and I could tell the wheel was grateful for the attention!

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Other than that, I’ve gotten a bit of knitting done, but haven’t touched the sewing machine.  The craft room needs some clearing out so I can free up work space.