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)

Me Made May: Takeaways

This was the first year that I participated in Me Made May. I was really surprised that I was able to wear something I had made every day in May – some days I even wore more than one me-made item. Getting dressed some days was hard, though. I realized that I have a me-made wardrobe gap: I see clothing style in a continuum of how casual or dressy it is. The continuum looks like this: casual, medium casual, business casual, professional, dressy. At home I wear mostly casual clothes – jeans or shorts and a t-shirt, or even pajamas. At work I like to dress on the nicer end of business casual. But most of the clothes that I have made fit in the medium casual range, so I don’t always want to wear them at home or at work. This tells me that I need to make more t-shirts and truly casual wear so I can be comfortable at home. I also need to make more business casual clothes so I can feel comfortable at work. I will still wear my medium-casual clothes (both around the house and on the job), but changing what I make will eliminate the time I spend standing in front of my closet wondering what to wear.

I’d like to build a wardrobe that is truly functional and beautiful. Part of that vision is wearing sleeveless shirts with cardigans to be wearable in all seasons. I see lace cardigans over simple sleeveless tops worn with pants in fun colours. Or coloured tops with black or grey pants. Or black tops with grey or coloured pants. I’m still working toward this, but finding the Wiksten tank pattern is a huge step in the right direction. I like how the pattern can be made with nice fabric to dress it up, or in simple cottons for everyday wear. I also have yarn for 3 cardigans now, so I guess I should get making.

I Bought the Yarn Store

My yarn store had a sale. I thought about not going because I have enough a lot of yarn (no one ever has “enough yarn.” There is no such thing). But then I conveniently remembered that I needed a knitting needle for a project that I already have yarn for. “I’ll just go and see what they have, maybe buy a skein or two.” Famous last words.

all the yarn

So shall we see what I got?

1 skein Feza Harvest Sock in Rubia

harvest

1 skein Reywa Fibers Bloom in Coral

bloom

1 skein Fyberspates Vivacious 4 Ply in Dove Stone

dove stone

3 skeins (a sweater quantity) of Yarn and Soul Superfine 400 in the evocatively named colour 6675

yarn and soul

4 skeins Fyberspates Vivacious 4 Ply in Copper Tones

copper tones

And the needle tips I needed

tips

It was a good day.

Fastest Spin Ever!

Next time I’m in the middle of 5 large projects with no end in sight remind me of the week I finished ALL THE THINGS! Also, remind me to spin a few Rainbow Rolls because those things spin up FAST!

A month or two ago I bought two Rainbow Rolls because they were on sale and I was curious. A Rainbow Roll is a roll of predrafted, unspun fiber. It’s 2″ thick and about the size of a dinner plate.

noro

After I finished my Rumplestiltskin yarn I needed a palate cleanser, and this seemed like a quick spin. I had no idea how quick it would be though. Here’s what I had after an hour.

first

The next day I finished spinning my singles (2 1/2 bobbins worth).

bobbins

I plied the yarn (first time plying from 2 separate bobbins! Woohoo!), and now I have 3 beautiful skeins!

skeins

It’s like a magic trick! Tadah!

Rumpelstiltskin

Once there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter. Now it happened that he had to go and speak to the king, and in order to make himself appear important he said to him, “I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold.”

The king said to the miller, “That is an art which pleases me well, if your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to-morrow to my palace, and I will put her to the test.”

And when the girl was brought to him he took her into a room which was quite full of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and a reel, and said, “Now set to work, and if by to-morrow morning early you have not spun this straw into gold during the night, you must die.”

Thereupon he himself locked up the room, and left her in it alone. So there sat the poor miller’s daughter, and for the life of her could not tell what to do, she had no idea how straw could be spun into gold, and she grew more and more frightened, until at last she began to weep.

But all at once the door opened, and in came a little man, and said, “Good evening, mistress miller, why are you crying so?”

“Alas,” answered the girl, “I have to spin straw into gold, and I do not know how to do it.”

“What will you give me,” said the manikin, “if I do it for you?”

“My necklace,” said the girl.

The little man took the necklace, seated himself in front of the wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three turns, and the reel was full, then he put another on, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three times round, and the second was full too. And so it went on until the morning, when all the straw was spun, and all the reels were full of gold.

By daybreak the king was already there, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and delighted, but his heart became only more greedy. He had the miller’s daughter taken into another room full of straw, which was much larger, and commanded her to spin that also in one night if she valued her life. The girl knew not how to help herself, and was crying, when the door opened again, and the little man appeared, and said, “What will you give me if I spin that straw into gold for you?”

“The ring on my finger,” answered the girl.

The little man took the ring, again began to turn the wheel, and by morning had spun all the straw into glittering gold.

     The king rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but still he had not gold enough, and he had the miller’s daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said, “You must spin this, too, in the course of this night, but if you succeed, you shall be my wife.”

Even if she be a miller’s daughter, thought he, I could not find a richer wife in the whole world.

When the girl was alone the manikin came again for the third time, and said, “What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time also?”

“I have nothing left that I could give,” answered the girl.

“Then promise me, if you should become queen, to give me your first child.”

Who knows whether that will ever happen, thought the miller’s daughter, and, not knowing how else to help herself in this strait, she promised the manikin what he wanted, and for that he once more spun the straw into gold.

And when the king came in the morning, and found all as he had wished, he took her in marriage, and the pretty miller’s daughter became a queen.

     A year after, she brought a beautiful child into the world, and she never gave a thought to the manikin. But suddenly he came into her room, and said, “Now give me what you promised.”

The queen was horror-struck, and offered the manikin all the riches of the kingdom if he would leave her the child. But the manikin said, “No, something alive is dearer to me than all the treasures in the world.”

Then the queen began to lament and cry, so that the manikin pitied her.

“I will give you three days, time,” said he, “if by that time you find out my name, then shall you keep your child.”

So the queen thought the whole night of all the names that she had ever heard, and she sent a messenger over the country to inquire, far and wide, for any other names that there might be. When the manikin came the next day, she began with Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, and said all the names she knew, one after another, but to every one the little man said, “That is not my name.”

On the second day she had inquiries made in the neighborhood as to the names of the people there, and she repeated to the manikin the most uncommon and curious. Perhaps your name is Shortribs, or Sheepshanks, or Laceleg, but he always answered, “That is not my name.”

On the third day the messenger came back again, and said, “I have not been able to find a single new name, but as I came to a high mountain at the end of the forest, where the fox and the hare bid each other good night, there I saw a little house, and before the house a fire was burning, and round about the fire quite a ridiculous little man was jumping, he hopped upon one leg, and shouted –

‘To-day I bake, to-morrow brew,

     the next I’ll have the young queen’s child.

Ha, glad am I that no one knew

that Rumpelstiltskin I am styled.'”

You may imagine how glad the queen was when she heard the name. And when soon afterwards the little man came in, and asked, “Now, mistress queen, what is my name?”

At first she said, “Is your name Conrad?”

“No.”

“Is your name Harry?”

“No.”

“Perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?”

“The devil has told you that! The devil has told you that,” cried the little man, and in his anger he plunged his right foot so deep into the earth that his whole leg went in, and then in rage he pulled at his left leg so hard with both hands that he tore himself in two.

~Story by The Brothers Grimm (found here)

I am no Rumpelstiltskin, but I feel like I have spun gold.

Started December 29, 2016

Finished May 9, 2017

Recycled Sari Silk spun worsted, plied with silk thread and beads

Approximately 700 yds!

Works in Progress

I have a lot of things I am actively working on. And a lot more things I want to start…. Here’s what’s in progress.

My Fibonacci Blanket: the 3rd square is almost done. It only gets bigger (much, much bigger) from here.

blanket

Pink Floyd Socks: One done. Now to start the 2nd…

sock

Raindrops and Wildflowers cowl: I’m 2/3 done knitting this. The pattern is written, but needs revision.

raindrops and wildflowers

Half Granny Shawl: I am surprised by how much I enjoy this and how easy it is to work on. It’s growing by the day.

granny

Rumplestiltskin yarn: My singles are spun, and I’m 1/3-1/2 done with plying. The main hurdle is stringing 63,871,688 beads. It’s so pretty, though, that it’s worth it. Pattern suggestions for when it’s done? I’m thinking a shawl.

rumplestiltskin

The Dark Side has Yarn

My friends, brace yourselves. I have been dabbling with the dark art…of CROCHET! I don’t know what came over me. I was at the store to buy a respectable knitting needle. I had wandered over to the book section to see if there was anything about spinning, when this MONSTER leaped out at me and threatened to kill me if I didn’t take it home.

book

I like living, so I agreed. Once home I figured the book was at least worth looking at. This was a mistake. I was sucked into the vortex, and before I knew what I was doing I was winding yarn.

I have been saving this gorgeous Araucania Nuble yarn for a shawl, so I retained my senses just enough to start one. It will be a basic half granny shawl. I hope.

start

Is there a way out of the vortex? Maybe I should follow the yarn…