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  • knitting1105 10:02 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Merino, ,   

    Honeysuckle Rose 

    I spun this pencil roving last week, in record time for me (only about 3 days), it was such a joy to spin and very quick.  This is a view of a partial of the 4 oz roving from Fiber Optic.  It is Footnotes Unspun Pencil Roving, color Honelysuckle Rose.

    I loved how the pencil roving split evenly into 2 balls, and needed very little pre-drafting.  It felt like it was practically spinning itself.  Here are the progress photos:

    And, the finished skein.  400 yards of 2-ply, 80% Superwash Merino & 20% Nylon.  Just about the squishiest skein of yarn that I have spun.  Destined to become a pair for socks for ME!  Sorry about the fuzzy photo.  Time for  a new camera I think.

    Returned a little while ago from 1 1/2 days of classes with Nancy Bush.  Photos and details tomorrow!

     
    • Diane Hamilton 9:09 pm on February 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Very pretty–I hope to see your spinning in action this summer.

      Like

    • knitting1105 9:20 pm on February 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Me too! I miss you. I am anxious to show you my spinning.

      Like

  • knitting1105 1:59 pm on November 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Merino, ,   

    All blocked 

    I finished washing and blocking my handspun shawl.   I love the colors, just need to find someone to model it for me so that I have some better photos.

    Project Specs
    Pattern: Spring Thaw Shawl
    Pattern Source: free from Ravelry link
    Yarn: Handspun 2-ply Superwash Merino, Peacock color from Fiber Optic
    Needles: US 6 & 7 circulars
    Date Started: 9/27/11
    Date Finished: 10/30/11
    Finished Dimensions: 72″ wingspan, 38″ back depth

     
    • Tiara 3:20 pm on November 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Very beautiful.

      Like

    • Lisa 8:05 pm on November 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful! Is that your handspun?

      Like

    • knitting1105 8:20 pm on November 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      It is my handspun! My first real project with it. Wore it today, and I love it.

      Like

    • Lisa 9:15 pm on November 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Great job! I would hope one day my spinning looks like that. Having back problems right now. Not even an hour of practice.

      Like

    • Diane Hamilton 9:35 pm on November 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      This is beautiful and you should wear it proudly. I bet it looks great on you–you should be the model and have someone take your picture!

      Like

  • knitting1105 4:02 pm on August 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alpaca, Jacob sheep, Merino, ,   

    Michigan Fiber Fest 

    We drove up last Saturday, on our way to Mackinac Island, and stopped for the afternoon at the Michigan Fiber Festival.  As soon as we got there it started to rain, so we headed straight for the animal barns to hang out and bide the time until the storm passed.  That proved to be a wise decision, as it kept us both occupied, and gave us ample opportunity to meet and talk with some of the farmers who had livestock there.  As happened at Wisconsin last year, we gravitated towards the primitive sheep breeds.

    Loved the Jacob lambs from Wynsmoor Manor (Neil Kentner) of Mason, Michigan.

    I purchased 8 ounces of Jacob roving directly from him.    Great price right from sheep to spinner.   It has a wonderful “sheepy smell” to it, not overpowering, just natural.

    I loved these beautiful colored Merino with the golden tops of their heads.  I have no photos of them unjacketed, but they were gorgeous.  I need to try some of this roving.

    and more sheep…

    I bought this 4 oz ball of natural white Shetland roving to mix with the Shetland that I spun up this summer for Fall mittens and hats.

    There were Llamas, alpacas and one camel:

    I also bought this beautiful alpaca, I bent the roving so that you could see the gorgeous natural color variations.  This is from The Williamston Alpaca Shoppe (I hate that spelling of shop):

    And goats and rabbits (no rabbit photos though):

    I have mixed feelings about this Festival.  I loved the smallness of the barns, and really being able to talk with the owners in-depth.  There was not a huge animal selection, like in Wisconsin, and I found the vendors to be lacking.  I am not sure I would make a special trip up there just for this.  If I were in the area, I would go though.  I have never seen a large selection of their classes that I am interested in taking either.

    However, I have to end with this adorable little girl.  She was posing for her Grandmother, and I asked if I could take her photos also.  Her goat had just received Honorable Mention, and the way she was smiling and tickled, you would have thought it first place in a major competition.

     
  • knitting1105 8:33 pm on August 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Merino,   

    Ta-da! 

    I finished spinning up the last of my Fiber Optic Mad Monet, then had major angst about how to ply it.  I did not want it to muddy on itself, and wished to extend the yardage as far as possible.  I tried 2 ply with some beautiful Merino roving that I have been spinning up:

    I was less than happy with that as the teal color seemed to overtake the Monet.  So I added a third ply of Monet to the mix:

    Still not right, so I bit the bullet and plyed it onto itself.  I would have been really upset if this had muddied out, but am nothing but excited about the outcome.

     

    Isn’t it beautiful!  I hope that it knits up as nicely.  I am now on the hunt for the perfect pattern, although I already have ideas in mind.  Here is the larger 2 ply skein (416 yards) next to the small experimental 3 ply (2 plys of Mad Monet with one ply of Mediterranean Merino).  I will save the smaller skein for Fair Isle mittens.

     
    • Lisa 10:12 pm on August 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Oh my! That is pretty! Your spinning looks perfect! I still have not had time to even look for a wheel. I am going to WI Sheep and Wool Fest. I am not taking any classes this time just shopping and hoping to learn something about getting a couple of sheep or alpacas.

      Like

      • knitting1105 8:46 am on August 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Sheep or Alpaca I am so jealous. What day will you be up at WI?

        Like

  • knitting1105 1:14 pm on June 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Merino, , ,   

    Festival Purchases 

    Okay, this is the post where I fess up to my recent Midwest Fiber and Folk purchases.  Thank goodness I also don’t have to sneak them in the house, as my husband is a great supporter of my knitting and spinning.

    First, something for my husband, the backyard, and the beautiful birds in our Magnolia and Pine trees.  A bag of fiber for them also.  I need to get a suet feeder to put this in, birds apparently love this concoction.

    This is a beautiful dyed roving from a young woman, new to this, from Urbana, IL.  By the end of the second day, she was sold out of many things, so hopefully she will do well.  The thing that I liked about her product was that everything was tested to be reproducible, and you could call her anytime in the future, and she would be able to make more of that color-way.  We all know how valuable that would be.

    4 oz. 100% Merino, color: Mediterranean.  Expertly Dyed is the company.

    This is 1 ounce each of 2 colors of Llama, with the guard hairs removed, so incredibly soft.  From Sugar River Llamas in Lyndon Station, WI.  I only bought a small bit to see if I would be able to give it spinning justice.  I was drawn to it the first day, and kept returning to pet it, so felt I really needed to sample some first-hand on the spinning wheel.  I wish that you could put your hand through the computer and feel how incredibly soft this is.  And, if I love it, I can order directly from them.

    From from the Illinois wool and Fiber Mill, the first is a 4 oz. mix of several leftover fibers, as we would affectionately call it in our house “Swept off the Floor Blend”.  Was cheap, mostly Shetland, and seemed like a good practice fiber.  I spoke to the owner of the mill, which is apparently all brand new, and she said that we can take a group up for a tour of the mill, and to see the sheep and lambs.  I am looking forward to that.

    And from the same vendor, some natural Shetland wool for part of the upcoming Breed Studies that I am participating in, and for the Tour de Fleece (more about that later in the week).  4 oz. of the dark fiber, and 2 oz. of the light fiber.

    And lastly, my Achilles heel at the fair was the booth for Fiber Optics.  I was in Kimber’s fiber club this past winter, and loved the colors.  Even though I have many here to spin yet (my spinning is almost “Kimber worthy” in my book), I couldn’t resist.  Much of her work is sold out as soon as it is posted, and it is always better to see it first-hand.  The first is a 100% Shetland, also to be used in the Breed Study and the Tour de Fleece.  4 oz., color: Aubergine (actually more dark and intense in person, but this was the best I could do with my camera).

    And then, how could I resist this when seeing it first-hand.  85% BFL and 15% Silk.  Color:  Mad Monet done with Dye Break (not exactly sure what that means, she is a Chemist and you need to read her own description of the process).  Apparently spins up with colors like an impressionist painting.

    And, lastly after seeing Kimber’s beautiful shawl creation (I forgot to photograph it, but look at her project here), I had to get this gradient fiber, but wanted a different color-way.  I got 2 packages of this, and am dreaming of a big shawl with softly switching colors.

     
  • knitting1105 11:57 am on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Canning jam, Merino,   

    Jam and Merino 

    I spun up this Merino before leaving for my trip to Michigan.  In fact, I was originally going to take my Joy with me on the trip so that I could spin, and stayed up late to clear out a few extra bobbins.  In the morning, my mind changed as I thought of lugging it through the train station.  It was a wise move, as I really did not have the time on this trip to spin anyways.  Knitting is much more portable.

    Before spinning:

    And 350 yards of 2-ply later.  I love the softness of this yarn, and how the colors spun up together.  I am glad that I did not try it in my early days of spinning, as the Merino took a bit more getting used to.  I keep touching this, it is so soft.  It will become a scarf for my husband.

    Yesterday I spent the afternoon making 3-berry jam (blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries).  Heaven.  My new favorite, the combination jams are definitely the best.  I yielded six 1-cup and four 1/2-cup jars, plus a little bit for the refrigerator.

    This jam on Whole Foods Seduction bread is to die for.

     
  • knitting1105 6:47 pm on May 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Merino, ,   

    Well Balanced Yarn 

    Spinning is much more complex than just spinning the wool so that it is even in thickness.  I have really been focusing on spinning a very fine single, as I prefer to knit with finer yarns. Then comes the plying, taking 2 or more bobbins of singles together and spinning them on the wheel in the opposite direction (usually counter-clockwise) to make a plied yarn to knit with.  The goal is plying with just enough twist to counter balance the twist in the singles.  I found this article to be very helpful.  I like her approach much better than some of the others which require a test sample washed and dried, or lots of complicated formulas.  My guess would be that the spinners of old had an intuitive sense of when the yarn was correct.  If you have too little twist in the plied yarn, it will twist back on itself and not be a very well structured yarn.  Too much twist will also twist on itself.  Both result in a yarn that knits with an angle and you do not achieve a straight knitted fabric.  The above linked article does a very good job of demonstrating this.

    So, I had these 2 rovings that I then spun into singles.  I had used bits of both of them at my Insubordiknit spinning weekend, so did not have a lot to make a skein of just one or the other.  This is fiber that I purchased from the Dizzy Sheep spinning weekend sale few weeks ago.  These are 4 oz hand painted Merino tops from Spinner’s Hill.  Colors are Blue Glass and Olives.

    So, after spinning the singles, I chose to ply these together.  I am quite happy with the results, and I really did achieve a nicely balanced yarn!  There are still some inconsistencies in the spinning of my singles, but I am quite happy with the outcome both in terms of color and how the yarn feels.  This is being gifted to a dear friend who is a great spinning supporter for me.

     
  • knitting1105 1:28 pm on May 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Merino, ,   

    What Next? 

    I finished the “Cotton Candy” wool and am plying it up as a 3-ply.  So, I still need something to spin, the great thing about 2 wheels, is that I can spin on my Joy, while plying on the Traveler (with the jumbo bobbin).  I have several fibers that I received in my grab bag from Kathryn, a new friend from my spinning weekend retreat.  I am saving my Fiber Optics rovings until I feel my spinning is a bit better.  Here were my choices.

    Purchased from Kathryn that she dyed, known as ccsmile2006 on etsy.  4 oz. Polwarth combed top, color:  Teal’s 25th Anniversary:

    and from Woolgatherings a 4 oz Polwarth Wool top.  No colorway listed:

    Knitty and Color Haindpaint, 4 oz. Superwash Merino, color:  Bloodlust

    Some fiber that was gifted with the purchase of my Joy.  I do not know what it is, but the white is definitely Angora:

    Another unknown gifted fiber.  Very soft!

    and my choice to start with was 4oz. Targhee, I think that the color is “Harvest”.  It also says on the tag A Man Called Pan.  I don’t really know what that means, or who dyed this.  I have split the braid in half for 2 bobbins, then each half into 4ths to have shorter color repeats:

     
  • knitting1105 2:46 pm on January 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alpaca fiber, Corriedale, Merino,   

    Big bag of fiber 

    On New Years Day my wonderful husband willingly agreed to drive 60 miles each way with me to a yarn and fiber shop in Marengo, Illinois, The Fold (the only one in the area with a great spinning and fiber selection).  We drove out, and he patiently waited while I chose some new fibers to spin up.  Here is a sample of what I got that day, haven’t started with any of it yet.

    The light blue is Merino with Tencel (2# worth!), the natural (8 oz) and dark blue (4 oz) I cannot remember what the wool was (no tags), the pink with glitter is Bluefaced Leicester & Glitz (8 oz), and the tangerine color is 82% Corriedale wool/18% Alpaca (3 oz).

    I also got this superwash handyed roving from Helen Mathey-Horn, 8 ounces.  That will become a pair of socks for myself.

    We met an interesting woman who was shopping there; she told us of her 12 spinning wheels, tons of fiber, and she has not spun in 6 years.  The information that she shared with us was great, but I didn’t ask why she was there, and purchasing more fiber if she had not been spinning for years.  She explained all the whorl ratios to my husband, and the different spinning and plying methods.  He was greatly interested, and admitted to me how he could see that I might want 2, maybe three wheels with one being a traveling wheel (I said that he was wonderful!), but we couldn’t quite get where she was coming from.

    I am also waiting on some fibers being shipped to me that I got over the weekend when Dizzy Sheep had a spinning extravaganza sale.  I think that I have enough, lest people start questioning me also.

     
    • Marushka 6:46 pm on January 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      All I can say is WOW! You lucky woman — so much pretty fiber to spin and a husband who gets the (dare I call it) addiction. Mine has agreed to get me the jumbo flyer for my Kromski wheel for Valentine’s Day. A good romance never fades 🙂

      Like

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