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Posts Tagged ‘nostepinne’

What was I Thinking?

I’m working on at least four projects with due dates, only three of which I have started, and I’m starting a new craft.  This seems crazy.

Honestly, I wasn’t.  Thinking was something I was unable to do.  Spinning, I could manage.

I couldn’t think for the past few days, because I had a migraine.  Yes, a migraine which lasted (on and off) for about two days, which mine generally do.  So while I wasn’t lying down in a dark room, or scalding my head under pounding hot water, or shuffling around in a haze of uselessness and despair, I still wasn’t in any shape to knit.  True, I’ve got a couple of decent ‘no brain needed’ projects going right now, but even those would have required more ‘cope’ than I could possibly muster.

Alphyn

On the other hand, my drop spindle didn’t require much brain power.  At least, not at my level of expectation.  And the spinning was relaxing, almost hypnotic.  So, basically, my migraine meant that I finished that half ounce of sample yarn which came with the Alphyn spindle very quickly.

Full Spindle

See, that’s  lot of yarn, volume wise.  It’s also (supposedly) a single.  Yup, fuzz brain, needed the round and round, couldn’t make anything thin and fine and delicate, and you know what?  I don’t care in the slightest.  I took this big chunky single and wrapped it around my hand.

andean windThis weird little cat’s cradle looking thing is the beginning of  an Andean Bracelet.  This is a technique which lets you reach both ends of the single at the same time, to easily ply them together without tangling. IAndean bracelett didn’t take very long at all to transfer the whole spindle to my hand.

Then I could have just held the two ends together, and plied them directly.  I was cowardly, however, and didn’t want to be stuck with the bracelet still around my wrist if I couldn’t do it all in one sitting, so I wound the two ends onto my nostepinne as a center pull ball.

Plied SpindleThen I just attached the two ends of the single to the same spindle and spun it in the opposite direction.  Here you can really see how fat the yarn is.

Since I don’t have a niddy noddy to neatly skein and measure my yarn, I set my umbrella swift to a one yard diameter and kept track of how many times I could wrap the plied yarn around it. skeining

As it turns out, I had almost (but not quite) seven yards.  This is from a little less than half an ounce of fiber, that’s a lot of weight for a little length… A quick check counting WPI (wraps per inch) told me it was ‘super bulky’ yarn.  In my migraine fuzzed state I didn’t believe it, so I weighed it, and took a look at the bottom of my Knit Picks yarn scale, which also told me it is super bulky yarn.

So I soaked it, and whacked it a few times to even out the twist.set

Then I hung it up to dry, and wrapped it neatly up.

geode one

So here it is.  Super sloppy, bulky, uneven, not very much of it…  I don’t care.  I think it’s beautiful and I really love it.  I’m pretty sure I’d have had to rip out and reknit any of my ‘on a deadline’ projects, so I don’t begrudge myself the time ‘wasted’….

On the other hand, this Jacob/Alpaca fleece which has been hibernating in my stash for years (not always under a cat) is just going to have to wait.

Jacob Alpaca

 

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the tea from Lisa Bogart.  She’s not doing any December giveaways, but please check out her blog, she’s putting up wonderful Christmas album covers you won’t want to miss. I entered the Phat Fiber Drawing (20 December) for a skein of handspun hand dyed yarn from Willow Fairy Wool.

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Rethinking the Plans

Tapestry Mohair

Flying Goat TapestryI got four skeins of “Tapestry Mohair” yarn from Flying Goat Farm’s booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year. Long term readers may recall that I have a complicated relationship with mohair yarns in general, but I also have a weakness for locally produced fiber, and I just fell in love with the colors (I think I’ve been going on a brown-orange kick lately).

FGF tagNaturally, when I got home, I went to add my new prizes to my Ravelry stash page.  Unfortunately, this yarn hadn’t (and hasn’t) yet been entered.  I opened one skein enough to plop a ruler down by it and guestimate 12 WPI, which would make it sport weight yarn.

FGF WPIFair enough.  400 yards of sport weight mohair should make a really cute felted bag.  I did a pattern search, found a pattern for a no-sew felted bag, which called for worsted weight yarn but listed sport, figured it would work,  and popped it in my queue.

The Problem

This morning I decided it was time to at least skein, if not cast on, the project.  So I took out my trusty nostepinne…

The distance between segments is one inch, so it’s pretty clear that this isn’t 12 WPI. 16 to 17 is more like it.  Which would make it light fingering to laceweight yarn.  The Ravelry database still hasn’t been updated.  I went to the Flying Goat website, and didn’t find a listing for the yarn, but there was a blog post which mentioned tapestry yarn.   What she describes certainly looks like what I have, and it’s a light fingering. So now I’m not at all sold on using the pattern, at least not as is.

The Solution

I realized I have to swatch and felt before I make up my mind.  I really don’t swatch as much as I should, so something that forces me to do it isn’t all bad.  It’s just a different process.

 

Yarn Diet

There are two large projects I’m considering once my self imposed summer yarn diet is over.  One is a cricket sweater for my husband (he’s a ‘universal’ sports fan, and the Peter Davidson is “his Doctor”), the other is the Aidez sweater for me.  I’ve already priced out the yarn for these projects at my LYS, and planned to use my accrued ‘frequent customer’ discount for both.

Craftsy currently has both these yarns on sale for 40% off.  I was very briefly tempted to break the diet, but when I compared the sale price to the LYS price with discount the totals (for each project) were within a dollar of each other – not counting shipping.  So I’ll stick with plan A.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered a drawing for a skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light from This Knitted Life (3 July)

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So I got another wonderful colorway from Bohemia Fibers.  It’s called Atomic Limon and it’s quite brilliant.

I nearly messed up with this yarn.  I bought the first skein without checking the yarn requirements of my project, so then I bought the second one separately.  You guessed it, the dye lots didn’t quite match.  So I put a note in my Ravelry stash description that I’d just alternate skeins as the stitch pattern changed and that I was pretty sure that would work out.  As it turns out, Amy from Bohemia yarns saw the note and offered to swap the two skeins for two new ones.  She even told me that if I put a note on the skein I preferred she’d see if she could get the skeins she sent me more like that one.  Talk about amazing customer service!  So I made the swap, and I’m absolutely thrilled.

The website says it’s blacklight reactive.  I haven’t had a chance to test that out yet, but as you can see it’s pretty bright.

Limon WInding

I wound the two skeins of fingering weight yarn on the nostepinne. Limon Swift I actually dug out the swift for the second one, which took a bit of hunting, but was oh, so worth it.  I had been resorting to using the back of a chair, volunteers hands, or even looping the yarn around my neck for a while.  That was ok when I was winding the diadem yarn, which is super soft.  Not so much for superwash wool…

I had actually forgotten how much easier it is to use an umbrella swift.  The second skein (on the right) took about a third the time to wind that the first one had.  As you can see the shape of the two balls is a bit different.  I think that has to do with the angle I’m winding the yarn onto the ball at.  I’ll have to experiment a bit and see if I can get it consistent.  In any case, they’re both perfectly useful center pull balls.

Limon Cakes

I cast on the Belle Greene shawl from Stitching in the Stacks. The pattern was inspired by an historical figure I’d never heard of before, but she sounds fascinating and the shawl will be amazing.  I’ve finished the stockinette section and have put together an image which shows how the yarn reacts to sunlight – LimonAtomic

No image manipulation, just two pictures taken on my iPhone 5 in burst mode as the car rode under a bridge on a sunny day.  So, yeah.  I figure I’m going to use very bright beads on this baby, because subtle is l-o-n-g gone.

Missed Projects

I’ve made two more Elizabeth Zimmerman patterns.  The Tomten jacket for my two year old niece Margaret, and a co-ordinating Baby Surprise Jacket for her newborn sister Anne.Orioles BSJIn case you hadn’t guessed, the family are huge Orioles fans.  The BSJ is as much fun as I expected, and very simple to knit.  It took a little bit to figure out how to seam it – just a brief struggle followed by an “ah-ha” moment.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I entered to win a skein of Madeleine Tosh Vintage yarn from Lisa Bogart (end of March).

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So the shiny got me, and I just had to cast on with that gorgeous skein of Diadem from the Knitpicks swag bag I told you about. I consulted Ravelry for  one skein projects using this yarn.  One user talked about a change in texture after blocking, so I looked for no block projects which would work.  I found a beautiful (and simple) piece, the Inside Out Cowl by Nicole Dupuis (cocoknits blog)..  The sample photo even has it in similar colored yarn.

First I had to wind it, using that Nostepinne I got at the Sheep and Wool Festival last year.  First I wound a single layer of yarn around the pinne, then began winding at an angle turning, crossing over the yarn.  The idea is to build up a center pull ball (note the strand tied around the tip of the nostepinne).

The problem is that this yarn didn’t want to form a nicely centered ball.  As you can see in the third and fourth pictures, it just didn’t layer well.  What you can’t here is that this yarn produced a lot of ‘fluff’, just from winding it.  Serious lint producter.

So when I removed the ball (picture 5) there was a little layer hanging back.  It ended up with the bottom of the skein looking like this: problemNot only was it not terribly attractive, it was also damaged, snarling yarn.  I ended up cutting off a moderate amount while casting on. It should be fine, the pattern won’t use anything like the whole skein, but it’s a pity, and it colors my perception of the yarn.  It’s beautiful, it’s delightfully soft, but it’s fussy.  Fussy to the ‘no frog’ point – I can’t count on reclaiming this yarn if I make any mistakes.

I still love this yarn, but I wouldn’t want to knit a sweater from it.

On the other hand, now that the cast on is done, it’s going pretty smoothly.  True, there’s a distinctly unpleasant ‘crunchy’ sensation if I happen to split a stitch.  The yarn is put-up without any plying, it’s basically unspun fibers lying parallel to each other.  But look at the color and stitch definition –

Inside Out WIP

I’m developing a love-hate relationship with this yarn…

Yarn Contests and Giveaways

The Knitting Pipeline is giving away a copy of Home by Pam Allen.  Post a comment to the Ravelry thread saying which project you’d knit first for a chance to win.

I entered to with the Expression Fiber Arts $1000 February Yarn Giveaway (February 28).

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My Newest Obsession

As I said in my previous post about the Sheep and Wool Festival,  I adore my new Nostepinne.

 

I find it absolutely beautiful (though not the most beautiful one the Baltimore Area Woodturners booth sold), I went for the ‘pretty’ ones first (honestly, the clean curves needed make all of them really lovely).  Dark wood always attracts me (I adore cocobola), so I went for the cedar first.  I enjoyed the demo (where we learned how to wind a center pull ball) but the tool was a little bit awkward in my hand.  I picked up another, and another, until I finally found one which felt right in my hand…ImageHonestly, I just didn’t want to put this baby down, the handle is just shaped so perfectly.  It also has grooves spaced exactly an inch apart, so it doubles as a (really big) WPI (wraps per inch) tool.

I’ve tried to find out what I could about the history of it.  Although I’ve found some assertions that it is a ‘centuries old’ device, most of that seems to be cool little bits of folklore and such.  Even Sven the Merchant, who makes cool recreations of textile supplies for a living can’t seem to get a solid date on these.  I can’t seem to get anything solid before mid 19th century, but that seems awfully late…  On the other hand, they’re so simple in function, almost any smooth stick would work, so many of them could have doubled in function as distaffs or spindles easily enough…

Current WIP

ImageDespite the above, I haven’t been obsessively measuring and balling my Sheep and Wool acquisitions.  Instead, I’ve cast on the Begonia Swirl shawl with the Carina dyed yarn from Bohemia Fibers.  So far I’m really loving it, but there’s  voice in the back of my head which warns that this yarn might be too noisy for this pattern.  Will go a bit further and then take some more pictures and see.

Even if it works, I might want to switch to a solid lace weight for the border.  Or not.  The Ravelry Project Gallery for the Swirl has a number of variegated yarns, and they seem to work surprisingly well with the pattern.  Still, I know I have a tendency to go overboard with these things…  We’ll just have to wait and see, I suppose.

 

Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

I haven’t heard anything about the giveaways from the Musk Ox blog, and I didn’t win the April yarn box giveaway.

I did join the Sweater Babe pinterest giveaway.  (May 25).  Yes, this means I’ve started playing with Pinterest.  I was curious to see what Collen did with the Yellow Hen Pinterest board, then the younger child showed me what she’s done with hers…  So far I’m using it mostly as a tool to collect bookmarks for my next NaNo project (yes, even though I never even started to edit the last one… I know, I know…) and as a temporary holding place for links for the blog or Facebook.  It’s potentially a deadly time sink, but we’ll see how it goes.

Another Expression Fiber Arts giveaway, this one for $100 gift certificate. (May 18th)

 

 

 

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