Tiddly Bits

I’ve been following Treadle Handspun Yarns on Instagram for quite a while now. Robin spins the most beautifully even yarns – they are such a pleasure to look at. Every now and again she also works up a bag of Tiddly Bits to sell in her shop. Tiddly Bits are bits and bobs of different coloured rovings all tied up and thrown in a bag together. They always sell quickly, and I’ve been trying to get my hands on a bag for months.

tiddly bits

The idea is to reach into the bag and spin the next colour, no matter what it is (or I suppose you could carefully lay them out in colour order if that’s how you prefer it). I started spinning my bag of bits last night and oh, I love it!

all the colours

So many colours just jumbled up next to each other, all willy nilly! I think when the bits are done I may spin up something a bit more staid to calm everything down and make a 3-ply yarn like I did with my SkyWool: 2 fun plies, one calming. Or maybe I’ll really go crazy and ply with a cone of crochet cotton!

Who knows. I have the Tiddly Bits, and the world is my oyster.

SkyWool

I finished spinning the SkyWool! It started as the bounciest Merino top I’ve ever spun.

skywool

I spun it quite finely (spun S or clockwise), hoping for a fingering weight yarn. I wanted to make a 3-ply yarn, but I didn’t want to divide the roving in 3 pieces and risk wasting some of my fiber, so I spun the merino from end to end and then spun some natural coloured BFL to go with it. I plied from both ends of the merino, with the BFL as my 3rd ply (plied Z or counterclockwise). About 2/3 of the way through plying I ran out of BFL (I talked more about this here). Oops.

So I spun some more of the BFL and finished my plying. I wasn’t quite happy with how the yarn looked, though. You can see in the picture above how loose the plying is, and I desperately wanted a yarn as bouncy as the Merino Top was. So I decided to run it though my spinning wheel again to add more twist. I am so glad I did this because now I love how the yarn looks!

Technically the yarn is overplied: it tries to twist on itself when hanging, even after a wash. But I don’t care. I have 290 yds of beautiful blue fingering weight yarn!

skywool in the sky

I have no idea what to make with it.

Swatching

It’s been a white since I published my last design. This hasn’t been intentional, but I find that if I don’t plan things out I don’t do them. Accordingly, I drew out a calendar for the next few months (can you believe that I don’t have a single calendar in my house??) and wrote in several design goals for the next few months. I included time for swatching, time for knitting parts of a pair (if applicable), time for pattern testing, and hopeful release dates.

yarn

So I have started work on my next design. It will be a pair of lightly cabled fingerless mitts. My first swatch is done and blocked, and I’m ready to start the second.

chart

Note to self: writing charts is hard!

Whimsy

I try to stick to the knitting queue that I have established. I (mostly) keep my WIPs to a minimum. I start a project, and then I work on it. Sometimes, though, I just need to break out of the box and start a project on a whim.

I’ve had this book for a while, and this cowl has been on my list to make for a few years. The yarn is some of my oldest stash (and I plan to use some handspun as well). Over all, I think this is a pretty responsible whim.

What do you do when “the plan” is no longer working for you?

Working

Well, friends, I am working on my next design. I don’t think work ever stops when you are a designer, but it is such exciting work. And (in theory, at least) you get to knit for your job. How cool is that? I’m still new to designing, still getting my feet wet, still learning what works well and what doesn’t. I’m also testing out the waters of submitting ideas and patterns to magazines (super exciting, super scary!). Because of this I can’t post a lot of pictures right now, but here is a sneak peek of what you’ll be seeing (hopefully) soon. I can’t wait!

dusk

If you’re interested, you can find my published designs here.

 

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)