Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

So here are a few more FOs I’m particularly pleased with, which didn’t get into last week’s FO post.

First, a cute little pouch and a new technique from a great class I took from Nancy Bush at MD Sheep and Wool this year.  It’s an Estonian colorwork technique is called roositud, and it’s one of those things which seems so simple and obvious once you see it demonstrated.


Basically, the contrast color is woven in as you knit!

I also finished a skein of handspun.


Alpaca, merino and silk, fingering weight.  I’m pretty pleased with it.

And, a much anticipated crochet project which got done really quickly once I started it –


This was  a gift for my friend Colleen, who is both a huge trekkie and the best personal chef in Baltimore.  So she needed an insignia potholder.

Finally, a really great oddball project, made with a bunch of leftovers and some of my handspun.


The purple, which is the one yarn which failed to felt well, is my handspun.  I was probably told that the fiber was superwash, but by the time I got around to using it I had no idea.  MUST be better at using Ravelry’s record keeping.

So the bag is about as big finished as the yarn skeins which went into it.

I actually broke out the sewing machine and lined this one. I did manage to get the old dear up and running, but I may have put her out of true in the process. No, I was not foolish enough to try to machine stitch the lining into felt, but even so I did something wrong.

There might not be many more FO posts for a while. I’m starting on a wedding shawl for Abby*, and it’s going to be a massive undertaking.

I’ve got some lovely silk laceweight yarn from KnitPicks

It took me most of yesterday to wind one skein, and I plan to work both halves at once, so if I must stop short I can just kitchener it together and call it finished.

* We’ve discussed it. I know she doesn’t intend to wear it with the bridal dress, obviously it isn’t likely to be worn more than once. I want to do it and she is excited by the idea, and yes, it will be worth it.**

** Before Steve and I got married, back when ‘Parental Advisory’ labels were a new thing, I was bothered by the whole music censorship movement. Various parents (not mine) told me ‘when you have kids, you’ll understand’. Now I have grown kids, and I still don’t get that, but the fact that I am willing (no, eager) to put this kind of work into a project which will basically be used in one photoshoot, it makes not logical sense, but it’s so right. When you have kids, you’ll understand.

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Back in March I had a semi-significant birthday.  Not an odometer year, but at least a speed limit one.  My hair, which has long since turned from the blond of my youth to a distinctly ‘ish’ (blond-ish, brown-ish, just a hint of red-dish) is now definitely streaked with silver.  Other signs (discussed earlier) have led me to declare myself a crone.

I’ve also recently begun spinning again (I’ve played around with it before, and will do so again I’m sure).  I’ve recently completed a play-with project, a skein of angora yarn from a friend’s long gone rabbit.  As expected, it’s a very wonky little bit of yarn, but it’s also super soft and I’m totally pleased with it (I hope she will be too).

skein of tifi

Within the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to be gifted with multiple spindles and tools.  This gorgeous top whorl steampunk style spindle for Christmas, and this amazing Sci-Fi Turkish are both from Snyder’s Spindles

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I also got an Etsy gift certificate for my birthday, and I chose to get a custom made Scottish spindle (from Chinese Pistacio wood) from EyeWood Creations.


What makes this more fun for me is that I keep thinking of the three Fates from classical Greek myth, which, in my mind anyway, represent the ultimate positive (mostly?  At least partially positive) Crone energy.

Once again, I’m choosing to own it.  And spinning.  Spinning is fun.

I can even pretend to be a ‘sweet little old silver haired lady’ while knitting in public.

Go me!

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Working on It

I’ve still got two older WiPs going, (the Helical Hat and the Mount Gay socks) but I’m going to show you the other two today.

Spinning Project

I’m still working on the Millers Fire spinning project.  I happen to have a series of progress pics on it, taken and even intervals over August.  It isn’t my fastest spin, but I’m getting better at getting the single even.

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The spindle is a mini Destiny from the wonderful Snyder’s Spindles.

Knitting Project – Test knit


Most of my crafting time has been going to a test knit for Michelle Stead (of Michelle’s Assortment).  I’m not sure how much I should show, since the shawl project hasn’t been published yet, but here’s a teaser –

This is an incredibly fun pattern to work on.  I set up a spread sheet to figure out how to pace myself (FO pics are due on September 28).  I started on August 29 and I’m about four days ahead of schedule.

I’m using that gorgeous skein of Neighberhood Fiber Company yarn (proceeds to help rebuild Baltimore after last summer’s insurrection).  I have to say that, although it is beautiful and feels yummy in the hands, I don’t love it as much as I thought I would.  The yarn is more of a variegated than a tonal, and there are random cuts throughout the skein.  I’m using a doubleknot to join them, but not 100% thrilled with how that’s going.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Smithsonian tote of cool things.  I entered a drawing for a skein of Manos del Uruguay Marina from Petals to Picots (8 September).

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Tour de France Fleece

The 2016 Tour de France just ended.  Apparently André Greipel won. I really don’t know anything about competitive cycling and normally wouldn’t mention it on my blog, except that Ravelry has a simultaneous annual event in honor of the Tour.  Its called “Tour de Fleece” and it’s a celebration of spinning.

It’s very simple. Every day during the Tour de France, participants spin, and share pictures of their progress.  On rest days we don’t have to spin.  Certain days we’re supposed to go for more challenging spins.  I’m still inexperienced enough that it’s all challenging to me.

My Personal Tour, a Learning Experience

I completed two projects.  The first one used “Purple Haze”, a selection of hand dyed purple wool from the Fuzzy Farmer’s Market in Leonardtown.  I used my Ladekh Phang from Tinas Angoras.

5 July spun

I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of supported spinning.  The key seems to be to use the right bowl.  I initially had some really nice results using an old malachite paperweight, but then I noticed that the tip of the phang was literally wearing away.  I switched to a plastic one, which was acceptable, but I’ll be looking for a wooden bowl in the future.

You will notice that I slipped the cop directly to the dowel on the lazy kate.  I ended up with huge, hateful snarls during the plying process.  It’s definitely worth the time to wind the singles onto spools before plying.

Purple Haze

The finished skein has an almost boucle look.  I think that’s because I didn’t spin the singles as hard as I usually do with a drop spindle.  Whenever I tried to spin the elasticity out, the single broke, so I decided not to do that any more.  I don’t know if that’s a characteristic of the wool, of the spindle, or of my inexperience as a spinner (spinster?)

In any case this project took so long that I chose not to start a full braid to finish up.  Instead I tried an experiment I’ve been thinking about for a while – spinning polyfill on a turkish spindle from TurtleMade.  It was wonky, and left me with singles so weak that I gave up on plying them.  I expect that the issue was the (really) short staple length.  Still, the result is almost 40 yards of interesting.

Poly Fluff Experiment

Yes, the single is a bit thick (that’s deliberate) and irregular (that’s not).

It was a fun event, and I’ll probably do it again next year.



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A very strange thing happened yesterday. Steve and I were stopped at a light, just talking.  The light cycled and the car in front of us did not move.  Steve honked, but the car still didn’t move.  The cycle completed, I got out of the car and tapped on his window, with visions of having to call 911 dancing before my eyes.  The poor driver was just slumped in his seat, face up, eyes closed.  I rapped very hard on the window and he jerked upright…  He had fallen asleep during the red light!  He said that he was all right, and drove off after the light turned green again.  He did take the next turn after the light, which was an apartment complex, so that turned out well.  Still it kind of freaked me out.


The last time I saw my camera accessory pouch, the one with the cable, battery charger and tripod, was when I uploaded the pictures of our items at the Mother-in-Law’s house on Thursday.  I’ve promised myself I’ll take more pictures on Tuesday, and she has a digital camera.  Failing that I can use my iPhone.  One way or another there will be a shop update this coming week, otherwise I feel as though I haven’t given it a real try.  So far there’s been a few hits, and a favorite of the beaded earrings…

Anna (Czech Beads Exclusive) has shown her appreciation.  Jan and I will definitely be checking out her stuff.

Finished Object

have been knitting even while on my blog hiatus. Also spinning.  I’ve been doing pretty well with it, actually.

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First I spun the mystery fiber which came with my beautiful Geode spindle, which came out that weird and wonderful ‘first spinning’ weight.  Then I managed some worsted weight out of jacob and alpaca.  Then I got a turkish spindle from Turtle Made and spun about 100 yards of fingering weight.  I also played a little bit with my gorgeous phang from Tinas Angoras and came up with a dramatic finnsheep angora mix.

And now I have a wonderful, very funky, homespun hat.

Homespun Hat blocking



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The Holidays were a strange mix of good and not so good.  I managed to get through without any Vicodin for my foot until last night (but it really did make for better sleep than I’ve been getting).  DH didn’t have a reinsurance of the digestive issues from Christmas Eve, but neither was he really up to enjoying the Christmas fare.  My mother-in-law has broken a tooth, and was doing her best to power through as well.

In addition, a really odd set of coincidences marred my gift receiving experiences to the point where I felt justified in purchasing more goodies for myself come boxing day (both Steve and Dottie enabled this choice on my part).  I ordered a gorgeous Ladakh Phang support spindle from tinasangoras, and am waffling on getting myself an Ashford Sampler niddy noddy as well.

This was our first Christmas with Abby.  We got to Facetime her while she was at the Peace Corps regional headquarters for her celebration, and we called her again on Boxing Day, so both sides of the family got to speak to her, but there was lots of missing going on.

Other than that, the seasonal cheer flowed freely, and the children had a wonderful time, and it was far less fraught than last years festivities were, so that’s good.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the November/December Luxury Yarn Package from Expression Fiber Arts, so I entered the next drawing (15 January). I didn’t win any of the multiple Phat Fiber or Knitter’s Pride giveaways either.  Nor did I win the indigo dyed shawl from Jennifer Falkowski, or the Susan B Anderson book from Knitting Pipeline.

I did, however, with the Ballpoint Pen yarn from “With Pointed Stitcks”.  According to my tracking spreadsheet, I’ve won more than 4% of the giveaways I’ve entered.  That’s pretty impressive.

Ballpoint Emerald Ballpoint Peppermint Stick

These are absolutely gorgeous.  I’m still deciding what to make with them.  I want to find the perfect pattern to show off the co-ordinated semi-solid and variegated yarns.  The top candidates are the Me and You… and You and Me shawl, Windowpane socks and Syncopated Hats, but I’m definitely open to suggestions if you have any.

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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.


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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All the Fluff

I started spinning a little bit, a few years ago, but it never became a habit.  I eventually destroyed my old spindle, but I kept coming across my fiber stash.  I used up a fair amount of it when I made my “Thrums of Doom” mittens.

Thrums in progress

These were such a success that Abby claimed them for herself.  I’m sure she didn’t take them to Senegal, but I don’t know where they ended up.

but I still have a fair amount of alpaca fiber and jacob/alpaca blended fiber left over.  Every so often I’ve thought about starting it up again, but I was worried about destroying another spindle.  I really do tend to do better with keeping ‘nice things’ than I do with ‘perfectly servicable’ ones.  But still, start up costs for (essentially) a new craft are high, and hard to justify.  Every so often I’d look.

Oh, my, the pretty!


A while ago I happened upon Alphyn Trading on Etsy.  Seeing all the pretty things in this shop got me thinking (semi) seriously about spinning again.

OK, the spindle is pretty enough with my inexpert product picture, but just take a look at it in decent light (photo below downloaded from the shop)

Alphyn Geode

She had it listed as “Agate Geode Slice Sandalwood”.  Visit her shop for a lot of gorgeous and amazingly well priced spindles.  Many of them are under $20.  She has top  whorl, bottom whorl and supported spindles for sale.

My skills are not good enough to really know a ‘good’ spindle from the action, but with the minimal experience I had (from a few years back) I was able to produce reasonably fine and even singles in no time.  That’s even with the visible irregularities of the whorl, it’s balanced very well.

If you’re at all curious about spinning this shop is more than worth checking out.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I entered a “Name the Pattern” contest for Michelle’s Assortment (6 December).  The prize is a copy of the pattern in question.

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Having a Ball

One finished, two not

About Dryer Balls

I seem to have come a little bit late to the Dryer Ball party.  The idea is that you throw them in the dryer and they help your clothes get dry an fluffy faster.  Some people use tennis balls.  Some people buy plastic dryer balls from Amazon.  Heather Ordover knits them.

Dryer Balls from Roving

I felted these up using some perfectly good (if slightly odd colored) roving I got at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival three years ago.  I’d bought it to experiment with kool-aid dying and drop spinning, then, last year at the festival, I bought a bunch of fiber.

2 oz of undyed Jacob/Alpaca fiber

Every so often I would take out the drop spindle, but I wasn’t about to start with the new fiber until I’d used of the old, and that was going to take forever, and my dryer also seems to take forever.

Not much too it, really.  I wound a ‘core’ of roving, tied it on a sock and tossed it in the washer with some white towels, ran it through the dryer with them, took out a little, semi-hard roving ball, wound more roving around it, repeated…  Voila! home made dryer balls.  Not very exciting, but they do seem to work (who knew?)  One of the came out of the sock and I got a strip of felted roving.  I store it in the catnip jar and give it to the furry beasts every now and then because everything is a cat toy.

Speaking of the Sheep and Wool Festival

This years Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is scheduled for May 5 & 6.  I always get excited about it come March, because that’s when they open registration for classes.  Sort of.  They tend to sell out, so they actually have a ‘lottery system’ drawing for class space held on the 28th.  This year I’ve signed up for a class on japanese knit stitches, one on sweater detailing, and a mini-class on needle felting.  I’m hoping I’ll get into one of the three, but you never know…

I’ve given up on trying to drag the family along, except for my older sister, who has moved back to town and is as fiber obsessed as I am, or more.  Will also be joined by RRR, a knitting friend, who will not only tour the yarn barns with me, she’s also signing up for the Japanese stitchery class.  Here’s hoping.

Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

Following up on the Red Heart Yarn of the Month giveaway I mentioned last post, the drawing date on that one is April 6.  Knit and Seek is holding a drawing for a skein of Tosh Merino Light (March 10 deadline). I also entered the iMake drawing for the Toft Pattern Book (Closes the end of March)

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