On My Wheel

On my wheel today I have some llama. I just retrieved it from the fiber mill on Monday, so when I saw it I had to quickly finish the pound of super wash merino that was almost done.

When I sent the llama fiber that I had washed it was a combination of greys and white that I had washed and stuck together in a bag, thinking that they would process it together and I would have a heathered light gray to spin. Imagine my surprise to open the bag and find this fluffy striped fiber awaiting me 🙂

llama roving

white and grey llama

This is the start of the bobbin, today it is almost full so tomorrow will start the second spool to ply with it. Anxious to see the blend of natural colors that will result, no dyeing necessary!

spinning

spinning llama

And here’s a picture of the first pound of garnet red that I finished, the second pound is drying to set the twist. I have different colors of super wash to spin yet and also a few pounds of alpaca that was also processed at the same mill.

hand spun merino

garnet super wash merino

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January’s Fiber

Normally people might read ” January’s fiber” and think I had made drastic changes in my diet! But no! I’m referring to the wool that I’ve been getting ready for this summer’s craft shows.

The biggest part of my time was spent spinning some more super wash yarn. After a sale on HandmadeArtists I realized how low my inventory of super wash was so decided to get busy. I managed to finish spinning five pounds of the merino super wash top from my stash, and dug out another 5 pounds to see if I can do the same amount for February. One pound of larch green was plied with one pound of dark olive for a total of about 1200yds. The red pound is called lipstick (about 550yds). Then a pound of light blue (about 600yds). And pictured the first skein of the pound-a bulkier art yarn of maybe 250yds. The rest of it is finished but drying to set the twist. I still need to label the individual skeins before I will have an accurate yardage count.

hand spun yarn

superwash merino hand spun

Then I took a day off to play with colors. Five batches/ four colorways gave me a start on adding to my top inventory. I will have the fun of spinning some of the top that matches the yarn to knit into a hat. The rest will find homes with other spinners or felters.

hand dyed

dyed merino top and alpaca blend yarn

Then my supervisor (Sheldon the cat) was inspecting the progress of some dryer balls! I think he likes being in charge of quality control!

Dryer balls

Sheldon inspecting!

And I’ve a head start on February’s to do list, just finished the first pound of singles and ready to start plying.

Happy February all.

Snowy Days

Snowy days and days and days, with a little freezing rain thrown in to the south of us!

snowy view

But with the snow comes lots of time to stay inside and craft so I’ve been very busy this past week.

rainbow dyed

merino top and alpaca blend yarn, hand dyed

Last Friday I dyed some wool and top and yarn. While it was drying I finished spinning some green yarn, plied it and set the twist.

dyed in the wool.

warm and cool primary colors, plus pink+blue=purple

When it was dry I spread it on the table for pictures, but first I had to play peek-a-boo with Sheldon! After the game was done he still was tempted to take a closer look at the wool, but behaved and just looked 🙂

cat peek-a-boo

my eyes are closed…you can’t see me

cat peek-a-boo

can I fit?

Sheldon the cat

hi!

Then I teased some of the purplish wool to remove more of the VM (vegetable matter) that hadn’t come out in the washing.

cat

Can’t I help?

hand processing wool

teased wool and debris

After loading my hand cards with fiber, I found that Sheldon was still watching me!

hand wool processing

Dressing the cards

hand processing wool

carding wool with help

hand processing wool

carded wool

Here are some the rolags (rolls of carded wool) ready for spinning, but I have a lot more carding to do first.

hand processing wool

rolags ready to spin

As I mentioned before we have two black cats. The following pictures will show you how we tell them apart: Sheldon has the crooked ear from the injury he came to the shelter with. Stanley has half of a white whisker (the other half must of broken off during their wrestling matches).  While Stanley can usually be found be found on my husband’s lap and occasionally on mine, Sheldon has to see (closeup) whatever I am doing and shares his lap time with me and our son, while only occasionally my husband, maybe because that lap is already taken by his brother. Both take turns trying to help me spin or knit but are learning that yarn is NOT a chew toy.

cat

Sheldon

spinning yarn

Stanley helping me spin

The yarn that Stanley was helping me spin has now been plied and has formed skeins totaling over 500yds. Time to start spinning the next color/pound of superwash merino. Made more dryer balls today, so those are drying now. I’m thankful for the speed by which things dry during the winter months thanks to the even heat of our wood furnace. So winter does have its advantages!

spun yarn

singles of superwash merino

How do you enjoy winter days?  Anyone a fiberholic too?

Yesterday I Won

Yesterday I won. No not the Lottery which I never play. Something better! I won the raffle for a pattern written by Orange Smothie.

For a picture or the lovely cowl look here.

I chose my yarn, a red hand spun which happens to be the right gauge and amount:) Need to finish a couple of other things (like this post and finding the right needles) before I can cast on. But it did move to the front of my knitting line-up!

hand spun yarn

Red merino wool yarn.

Did finish plying the singles I’ve spun for 5 more skeins of yarn. They are now drying, setting their twist. I’ve been avoiding working on the shawl I have started, need to rip back a few rows and think the cats would be too much help at this time:) It may become a project to work on in the evenings at the craft shows (when the cats will be safely at home!)

What’s on your needles?

 

 

Kitties and Crafts

Kitties and crafts are an interesting combination! Before adopting, one was on my lap while I was knitting on a hat! He jumped down through the loop of the circular needles, ignoring the yarn, so I mistakenly assumed that his twin brother would act the same 🙂

They did come home with us with slight colds (along with the medicine to treat their sneezes) Sheldon has recovered and Stanley’s sneezes are getting less frequent!  But that means their curiosity is increasing! Sheldon has to see whatever it is we are doing. With Christmas fast approaching I have been trying to get some knitting finished. Sheldon thinks moving yarn is to be bitten, then he jumps on my lap for a closer taste! Makes for slow knitting!

cat with knitting.

That innocent look of “who me?”

After nearly a week I decided I wanted to see their reaction to my spinning wheel. I started spinning some short lengths of my hand dyed merino top. Within a minute Sheldon had put his paw on the moving treadle but soon figured out that it would get hit by the wheel as the treadle raised. He moved to the side and with his paw on my toe  “helped” me treadle for a while. Then he jumped to my lap, smelled the wool , but was mesmerized watching the flyer spin as if trying to figure out how it was working. Then he bit at the yarn! After the second bite and second NO he decided to get down but continued to watch from a short distance. Unfortunately I have no pictures of this since my hands were full protecting my yarn!

merino

hand dyed top

I spun two bobbins with somewhat even color changes, hoping they would line up with each other when plied.

single hand spun yarn

spools of singles

The colors overlapped some but came close to what I’d planned. The most I could fit on my bobbin was 220yds (seen below on the niddy noddy) but with the two smaller skeins totals just over 300yds. (enough to knit another shawl!)

plied yarn

Plied yarn on niddy-noddy and in smaller skeins.

Works in Progress

Just a short note to show you my latest projects. The first a small skein that I spun last night, left-overs from an experiment in dyeing top for a long color change. Will get a picture of the large skein after it is dry from setting the twist.

handspun yarn

small skein that starts dark, blending to pale green and ending as yellow.

And this is my second start on a lace shawl that I am attempting. This time I have been placing life lines which is good since I need to rip the last 7 rows to find my mistake!

lace shawl start

start of wavedeck pi shawl

Oh What a Tangled…

green linen

Very fine linen yarn.

Oh what a tangle this skein of yarn became! This was part of a custom order that I worked on sporadically throughout the summer as I found time between shows. When I placed this thin skein of yarn on the swift to wind it into a cake to use in plying I found that instead of winding off easily onto my ball winder that it kept catching, tangling and sometimes breaking . I finally wound it by hand onto an empty cone. Thankfully the lovely lady was in no big hurry, just wanted her skeins of linen yarn plied to a thickness that she could use to knit.

When we first met to discuss the project, we decided on a workable thickness and that it would be wet plied. We then went about sorting all the lovely colors into groups of three or four skeins, since they were two different gauges, the one almost as fine as sewing thread.

We did meet so she could see and approve of the progress but she wanted to wait to reclaim her yarn all at once. After many more hours than I had originally thought and well over 7000 yds of plied yarn the project is finished! I really want to see the finished items that it will become under an expert knitter’s hands. And best of all I’ve made a new friend.

The finished skeins covered my card table in a single layer, so here are the pictures with some overlap. The one multicolored skein is the uneven yardage from the original plying, plied with a continuous length of two of the finer singles that were left.

linen

plied linen

2 linen

plied linen

3 linen

3-ply linen

linen yarn

more linen

linen yarn

And more overlapped skeins

 

 

Spinning vs Other Chores

I’d rather be spinning, but some other necessary things were competing for attention this week. As tax day looms closer I had to prepare the things for our accountant. As a business owner, I trust a second opinion when dealing with red tape! And it’s a relief to have that finished.

To motivate myself, I gave myself rewards of spinning time, and then knitting time, between organizing receipts and totaling columns of numbers.

spinning snow-dyed

on my wheel

 

First I spun the merino top that I snow dyed last week. I planned a heavy yarn that would match the gauge of the commercial thick and thin that was dyed at the same time. It pleasantly surprised me to see how the colors arranged themselves to mimic the first yarn.

thick and thin with handspun

colors aren’t quite true but you can see the pooling

Of course I needed more breaks (and chocolate) so I also cast on a hat to see how the yarns worked together! That finished I had just enough yarn to make a second slightly different one 🙂  Pictures of those tomorrow if the light is better.

balls of yarn

wound into balls ready to knit

Lesson of this post, work a little and play more, don’t be a last minute person 🙂  To add to this years goals…Keep current on paperwork! So today we dropped my car to the garage for a little fixing, did some shopping, and tonight I finished 4 batches of magnets for the shows. Tomorrow maybe some more snow dyeing…it’s supposed to be gone by this weekend!

Three in 3 Days!

Three knit hats

Three knit hats

One each day for the past three days, I started knitting and completed a hat! No I’m not going to keep up that pace as I have other projects to work on too. But it was a nice challenge to myself and a way to see how the new yarn that I dyed last week would look in a project. I’ll be dyeing some more before too long!

hand dyed thick and thin hat.

Thick and thin yarn plus sock yarn

For Wednesday’s hat I used a pattern found on Ravelry written by Carol Tyler. Instead of using the thick and thin wool by itself, I combined it with some of the leftover (shawl) sock yarn that had been the inspiration for the dyes I had used for this skein of lumpy. It was a quick fun knit on large needles, so to keep the fun going I finished by adding a tassel of sorts!

knit from hand spun

brown hand spun hat

Thursday’s hat was another sample of a pattern that a friend designed to go with my hand spun. The pattern will be given free with the purchase of 100yds. or more my yarn this summer. Plus I wanted to make a hat that wasn’t specifically for a woman. (The brown color is more realistic in the first picture than this one)

knit hat

lumpy, slightly slouchy hat

Today’s hat was another of the skeins I had dyed, using the same pattern as Wednesday’s, but making some modifications to the straight stockinette stitch by throwing in some random purls and using a solid hand spun for a more stable band than the thick and thin gave on the first one.

Start of Knitted Hat

I’ve gotten a start on knitting the yarn that I showed you in the last post. The garter stitch brim is finished.

colors are pooling nicely

The brim is finished.

And I’ve started to add the fuzzy for the band.

start of a hat to felt

Brim with beginning of band.

Now is the hard part…I want to wait to have it to work on between customers at the Sat. craft show. (The show is at a seminar so most of our shoppers will be in waves during their breaks.) The way the colors in the yarn are coming together and as soft as the fuzzy yarn is I just want to keep knitting. Guess it’s time to did out a different project!