Blocking

My mom needed a present for my cousin so I finally got around to blocking a handspun scarf I made a while back.

I checked my Ravelry projects and couldn’t find this knit anywhere, so I’m not sure of the pattern or the yarn.  It was one of the few times I’ve spun a single ply yarn, and I know that I didn’t like the original dye job so I overdyed it with blue.  I think there is mohair in it from the sheen and the halo.  Other than that, a mystery.

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I know more about the next project, which I just made with some wonderfully soft yarn I bought at OFFF.  Yak and silk and merino from Alexandra’s Crafts.  The pattern, hard to see in the lines of my wooden blinds, is Silverwing.  A fast, easy pattern that I think really does look like a wing.

As a reaction to all that gray, I’ve started a deep red project for my next knit.

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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.

 

Didn’t have the will power

With the knitting WIP list so scaled down, and sewing an impossibility (visiting friend is sleeping on the floor in there) I just couldn’t stop myself from casting on a new project.

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Volt, by Grace Anna Farrow, in Silk Gloss lace from Knit Purl.  It is a very simple pattern with just a little moving of stitch markers on the knit rows.  Mindless knitting, but with an beautiful result.

The perfect project for Olympics watching!

Bubble crepe

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I finished my latest spin.  Two yak silk blend singles – one a cream 50/50 yak and silk, one a grey 60/20/20 merino, yak and silk.  Both were butter smooth and cloud soft.

The singles were over spun in areas, because I haven’t yet slowed my treadling enough for thicker singles.  I’m used to treadling as fast as I can for very thin singles due to my lace weight spinning/knitting years.  But it works out because I take out a lot of twist when I’m plying.

It now is hanging on a towel rack over a heater vent drying after its wet finish.  I think it is going to be a cowl/hat combo in its next stage. Something simple to take advantage of its uneven texture.  I’m very pleased with the end result.

What does this have to do with bubble crepe you ask?

Next step after finishing one project is looking for the next.  I went burrowing into the dresser where I keep most of my fiber, looking for inspiration.  In addition to way more fiber than I want to think about, I found an almost finished cowl project that got mixed in and lost at some point.  I will finish it up tonight, as it just needs to be bound off.

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The yarn is a bubble crepe that I spun long ago. I love cabled yarn, and this is a three ply variation. Two singles of very different thicknesses are plied together and then a third single spun in the opposite direction. Because two of the singles are thinner, when they are all wrapped together the thick, soft single gets bumpy.

I think it is a perfect type of yarn for angora blends, keeping the flyaway fiber partly contained without losing the softness. In this case I wrapped an undyed lamb’s wool/angora blend with purple merino singles.

Several years ago when we lived in Washington I was a member of the Snohomish spinning guild.  A guest speaker, Sarah Anderson, came and brought the many spinning samples she had been making for the spinning book she was about to publish. I was fascinated by the bubble crepe and have since made it several times.

I also bought the book when it came out.  I recommend it highly!  All sorts of intriguing recipes for many, many yarns.  I’ve barely begun to sample them, but I dream over some of the more complicated yarns and vow that someday I will try them.

Her bubble crepe is much bubblier (and even) than mine.  I will try again.

Oh, and the choice in my stash dive – this grey top that I long ago over dyed an uneven red.  I spun one bobbin of this long ago and then got tired of red.  Time to spin up some more of it.

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In mid spin

The plan is to ply this 50/50 yak silk single:

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with this 60/20/20 merino yak silk single.

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I love the undyed fiber colors and with the sheen of the silk added in – yum.

Still over-spinning some, but less often. (Compare the gray spun earlier with the cream I’m currently working on.) Spinning more often than once or twice a year is helping!

Lost skills

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I’ve plied 2 1/2 bobbins of the green fiber and while I like the resulting yarn, it is clear that my long hiatus from spinning has really resulted in a decline in my abilities.  The twist and thickness is all over the place!

It will still work just fine for a mittens/hat/cowl combo, my tentative plan, but I need to be doing this more regularly to get back some of the evenness of previous yarns.  I was never more than intermediate, but I can do better!

A close up to show the unintended texture:

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Still, sometimes the less uniform yarns make for the most interesting knits.  I still have more of the fiber to spin into singles, so I should end up with at least another bobbin of two ply.

 

Spinning

While the boys destroyed the kitchen making chocolate chip cookies, I dragged out the spinning wheel, dusted it a bit, and tried to remember how I used to be fairly competent at making yarn.

Fiber glamour shot:

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It is a polwarth/silk top that I kettle dyed.  I have another bundle that I dyed with the same greens but with a touch for orange in places.

I’ve gotten pretty consistent in spinning thin singles, but now I’m trying to relearn spinning thicker.  So far, my twist amount is all over the place, and it isn’t very consistent.  It is pigtailing some because I haven’t slowed down my treading enough, and it gets too thin in places.  But I’m still going to like the finished yarn.  I like somewhat thick and thin yarn – it makes interesting fabric when knitted or woven.

The first bobbin is the green with orange tints, and the second is the green with light sections.  Definitely over spun – see the curls?  But it will work itself out in the plying.

Meanwhile, the boys have discovered that it is a good idea to make sure the leftover pizza is out of the oven before preheating to bake cookies.