Spinning my wheel

It has been a long, dry spinless spell, but I finally got back to my wheel this week.

Actual yarn was produced!

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532 yards total of 2-ply fingering to DK weight.

This is not particularly well spun yarn.  I was working with somewhat matted fiber, and I struggled to remember how to spin consistently, so the single plys were not very even.  And then I switched up plying methods in midskein, so the beginning and the end of the skein look a bit different.  I thought about running it through the wheel again, but I’d already soaked it, and by the time it was dry two days later, I’d moved on.  It isn’t different enough to bother me when I knit with it.

You can see the difference in how tightly the yarn winds on the bobbin in the picture below.  The first bobbin was using double drive and went on quite loosely – the second used Scotch tension, which lets me increase the pull of the yarn onto the bobbin, so it wraps on more tightly and more yarn fits on the bobbin.  Both bobbins have approximately the same yardage.  Now I need to get to the Baby Bear stage.  I’ve got too loosely wound but tightly plyed (bobbin #1) and tightly wound but under plyed (bobbin #2).  I want tightly wound and tightly plyed.

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I love the color – it is polwarth wool and silk that I kettle dyed in a deep blue.  There was a lot of fiber in the pot so it dyed a little unevenly, and the silk and wool took up different amounts of dye.  It creates a heather effect.

Now I’ve started in on this black mystery wool and yellow/peach silk noil fiber.  I need to figure out the right treadle speed and take-up, as its pig-tailing a lot, a sign that I’m feeding it on to the bobbin too quickly or that I’m putting in too much spin.

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I’ll get the hang of this spinning thing again.

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Yak and silk and potatoes

Before I start on the fiber talk, Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate it!  Bring on the latkes!

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Our dog Theo turned out to be a big fan of both latkes and suvganiyot (jelly filled donuts).  This is his first Hanukkah.

My finish this week was my Eureka cowl, made from aran weight handspun yarn.

The gray single is a 60/20/20 merino/yak/silk, and the cream is an ultra soft 50/50 yak/silk.  It was such a joy to spin!

The cowl has a unusual shape, more of a bandana than a cylinder, narrow in the back and triangular in the front.  The triangle dipping down means it will block more drafts when worn with a v-neck or a slightly unzipped coat.

I modified the pattern’s ridge rows somewhat, but the shape is just as the pattern dictated.  It still needs blocking, but I’ve tried it out and it is warm and soft.

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!