More

More Gnomes:

gnomes
They keep multiplying! I’m saved by running out of skin-coloured wool, but only until more comes in the mail.

More Yarn:

handspun
This is over 600 yds of Aran weight handspun from Carbonized Bamboo top.

More Spinning:

spinning
This is the SkyWool I bought in Asheville a few weeks ago.

What have you been up to?

Tour de Fleece – Update

Last October I went to SAFF. I plan to go again this year, but I figure I should at least try to use up the spinning fiber I bought there last year.

fiber

So far I’m at spinning project 2/3 (this was the first project using the yellow fiber): I’m spinning the grey carbonized bamboo at the bottom of the picture. I’m used to spinning wool (or even silk), so this bamboo feels decidedly not natural.

spinning

This is extruded bamboo, which is similar to Rayon (but rayon is made with wood). The fiber has a bit of a powdery feel to it, which I assume is from the carbonization process. It is super soft, though, and it will be great for the neck part of my True Brit cowl.

I don’t know if I will finish the red silk fiber before this year’s SAFF though. The yellow silk was a 4 month slog and I just don’t know if I have it in me to do it again. Is there a way to spin silk quickly?

Sunset Boulevard

Fresh off my spinning wheel!

1

This is an incredible 545 yds of fingering weight singles. I wrote more in detail about the construction here. I couldn’t be more pleased with how this yarn came out, and I’m very pleasantly surprised about the amount of yardage!

Next up is a batch of Carbonized Bamboo top that I bought last year at SAFF. And yes, it feels as odd as it sounds.

 

Tour de Fleece

The other day I mentioned that I was practicing spinning fat singles in preparation for a special project. I’ve been working on that project, and I am delighted with my progress!

It all started a few months ago when I ordered some fiber for my sisters to learn how to spin. I couldn’t just order something for them and nothing for me, so I got this. Since the Tour de France just started and I am participating in the similar (but less athletic) Tour de Fleece (this article is from last year), it seemed like the perfect time to use it up (also before it got sucked into deep stash). This is the first time I have really taken the time to plan a skein. First I laid out my fiber. The colours are even more vibrant in real life: yellow, orange, red, and purple (I promise it’s not really black. My apartment just has bad lighting.)

top

I separated the colours, fluffed up the ends, and pulled off a handful of each colour.

bits

You see, I had this brilliant idea to tie all the colours together. Each handful was further separated into 3 pieces and paired with the other 3 colours (So the yellow section had bits of orange, red, and purple; the orange section had yellow, red, and purple; the red section had yellow, orange, and purple; and the purple section had yellow, orange, and red bits). I further divided these sections into several pieces and incorporated them into my yarn at random intervals. It’s hard to see while still on the bobbin, but they are there, and I can’t wait to see how the yarn turns out!

Are you spinning in the Tour de Fleece? What are you working on?

Also, today is your last chance to get 20% off my newest pattern, the Raindrops and Wildflowers Cowl with the coupon code BEATRIX. I bet this would be glorious in handspun!

Quick Projects

Sometimes I need a break from big projects like blankets and shawls, and even socks (socks take me a while to complete, so they count as big projects). In those times I like to cast on something small and manageable, something that I can see clear progress on in a matter of hours.

circle

This washcloth worked up super quickly. I love the size of it, the look of it, and the ease of it. I used leftovers of Peaches and Creme and US 8 5.0 mm needles.

yarn

This yarn is a practice skein (the fiber is undyed Southdown wool), an etude in preparation for a symphony. It is a singles yarn, which is why it looks kinky. When you first start spinning you are trying to spin a finer and finer yarn. To the point where it becomes very difficult to spin a thick singles. In order to practice thick singles, teachers suggest that you spin an intentionally slubby yarn…which I don’t particularly love. I was prepared to do what needed to be done, though, for my symphony, but I was pleasantly surprised when I (fairly easily) started spinning thick singles. Tadah! 

And lastly, a quick-ish project would be my Raindrops and Wildflowers Cowl, available for 20% off until Wednesday (July 5). Get it while it’s hot!

Spinning with Batts

It has been almost a year since I bought my spinning wheel. In that time I have spun many skeins and learned a lot. Last week I tried something new.

In my spinning so far I have only used Combed Top (This is where the fibers are combed so they lay parallel to each other). Top is very easy to find commercially and comes in many colours and fibers. When I bought my spinning wheel I bought the previous owner’s fiber with it – including 10 little tiny batts (A batt is where the fibers are carded on a drum carder where the fibers are not parallel. It is a very airy preparation).

batt

I set out to spin these tiny batts woolen (it’s a spinning term that means you don’t micromanage how your yarn comes out), but the fiber had a bit of the original grease still left in it, which made it a bit tacky and hard to draft. After fighting with it for a while I reverted back to my normal worsted draft (this is when you do micromanage your yarn), and from there it was smooth sailing.

singles

I ended up unintentionally spinning the singles Z (counterclockwise) and plying S (clockwise). Normally I do it the other way. I attenuated the batts from either end so they looked like large rolags to maximize the squishy airiness of my yarn.

attenuated

I think I succeeded.

yarn

Fiber: 50% Alpaca, 30% Merino, 20% Bamboo

Preparation: Batts, attenuated from either end

Spinning Style: Worsted (short backward draw)

Spun Z, Plied S

Number of Plies: 2

Yardage: 240 yds (480 yds singles)

Weight: Sport (ish)