I bought a new progress keeper that I have been saving for. It is a hand crafted polymer progress keeper. I bought the little duck in a bottle (looks like it’s swimming in the bottle.) She buys the bottles but crafts the duck and puts the stuff in the bottom to look like water. Her crafting is amazing! She also sent a cinnamon roll progress keeper and a crown stitch marker. Please go check out her shop CharmingMinisShop on Etsy, you will be amazed at her crafting skills.
I was asked to help a family member at a Mall Christmas craft fair. His spouse was out of town and he needed help and I happily agreed to help with their alpaca merchandise. I have included some pictures of his set up and some cute Alpaca stuffies on his table. The yarn is from their herd. I did this on Saturday and after Church on Sunday. It was fun, I was encouraged to bring my spinning wheel to spin there, so I brought my Rick Reeves Wheel, which allowed me to get some spinning practice on it. 🙂 Since it is a double drive wheel, and I’m not real practiced on those (I’ve always used a scotch tension drive) and since alpaca is a slippery fiber, I blended some alpaca with a little wool on my blending board so that it was a little more grabby and easier to spin on a different wheel. Went well :).
Hope everyone is having a great December :).
I wasn’t sure at all about the colors when I blended them on my blending board, just playing around with colors from a bag of various colored bits of roving that had been given to me. The first bobbin (on the right) was 2 shades of orange (med orange and a light orange that looks yellow, but it’s not.) The 2nd bobbin was a repeating range of complimentary colors to the oranges. So I put together the colors I thought might blend together the best and there we have it, these were the rolags I made with the fiber. I am very pleased with the final skein of yarn :). My next spin will be some white roving (not sure what the sheep breed is, but it might be merino) and blend it on my blending board with an alpaca batt I have . I will either kettle dye it or play around and try to make it a gradient when I am done spinning it . It will probably be sometime next month before I start it, I have knitting I need to finish first. I’m glad I got the blending board put together, it’s offered me a lot more creativity with colors and ability to bend different fibers together. 🙂
**Forgot to say this ended up being 368 yards and 90 grams, a good fingering weight. I’m thinking fingerless mitts :).
This is my first bobbin of the “Tour De Fleece”. It’s a spinning take off on the Tour De France. We spin every day during the competition. I got a late start, so I teased my friend that my “bike” was down for repairs :P. I do spin a little bit everyday, not as much as I would like but life happens.
This bobbin is only half done tho, the first half is a dark medium orange and the 2nd half will be a light orange, tho it looks yellow in my picture. Sorry my photo skills are seriously lacking. I took the picture after starting the 2nd half so you could see both colors. I will update when I I finish this bobbin and start the 2nd bobbin.
I went ahead and made rolags today for my next spinning project. I made it from scraps that I had been given and tried to make the colors as aesthetic as possible together.
The first single will be the two shades of orange rolags in the back and the 2nd single will be a gradient of yellow (mixed with white), a really light orange,dusky rose, pink, then going backwards, dusky rose, really light orange and yellow (mixed with white), shown by the rolags in the front. Not sure how that mixture will work out, guess we shall see.
I’m thinking of calling this colorway Sherbert. That is what it looks like to me anyway. Dang, now I’m hungry for sherbert or ice cream!
It’s either my photo skills or my camera (could be both), but my spinning pictures are really muted. In rl (real life) these are brighter. The fractal spin does mute things a little bit but the purple bobbin on the bottom was brighter purples and the aqua is a little darker (tho not dull) and has more blue hues scattered through out in it. I got 274 yards of yarn and it weighted 106 grams, that would make it a light sport weight I think. It was a fun spin and I will have to dig around for patterns that require that much yardage or less to make something nice. Maybe a cowl or if it’s enough yardage a hat and mitt set. I’m not a big fan of yarn chicken, so I will be looking at patterns. 🙂
I’m going to start the scarf for my friend from the teal yarn that I finished spinning just before this last spin. I think I’m going to knit my Little Lace Daisy Scarf pattern. But I will add a few more stitches to the edges to make it a little wider. I showed her the finished yarn and she loved the teal color :).
I also am going to work on finishing the Changing Staircases Shawl that I have been working on. I think I only have two more complete pattern sections (20 rows each) to be done. Then I can block it and store it, it’s a Christmas gift. Not waiting until closer to Christmas like I did last year, because if you remember “Murphy” moved in and I broke my hand last August and there was no Christmas knitting. “Murphy” isn’t allowed at my house anymore :P.
I will be planning my next spin, but I want to finish the shawl first and get started on the scarf, then I won’t feel so anxious. I generally do not have more than 2 to 3 projects going at any given time. One is always a mindless knit for stressed out and non thinking days (usually a dishcloth or diagonal scarf, both which are very mindless knits.) When I have more than that, I feel drawn in to many ways and anxious. When I get more comfortable with the heels and gussets on socks, I will add them to my mindless knits :). Besides I need a reason to test out my Flexi Flip needles (looks like they are on sale for 20% off at the moment.) Maybe they will still be on sale when I get paid!
My blending cloth came today from Howard Brush Co in ME, USA. I ordered it this past week end and it was sent on Monday and I received it today, I have to say not only is the quality excellent but the process was so fast!! In the first picture is some of the fiber that will be spun on the 2nd bobbin for the yarn I am working on. The 1st bobbin is pictured below (lol obviously way below.) The 2nd picture is my first rolag, more on that in a moment. The blending board DIY project is not hard, it will requite a 12X12 piece of blending cloth (mine is 72 TPI, teeth per sq inch), that seems to be a reg normal. Cloth for finer fibers will have 90 TPI. You will also need a wooden cutting board large enough for the 12X12 cloth, I got mine at Tuesday Morning it is a 16X13.5. You will also need a dowel cut into 16 inch lengths (you should get 3 from one dowel, you will only need two 16″ lengths so one dowel is plenty) I had mine cut at Home Depot, which is where I bought the dowel. I’m sure Lowe’s would cut it for you if you bought it at their store as well. If you already have a staple gun you are good to go, if not you will need to purchase one of those as well. My staple gun was only $16. Ok, big fopah there, my dad always taught me never to say only and money in the same sentence. Sorry Dad! Staple the cloth to the cutting board (DO NOT glue it) the cloth will need the flexibility of NOT being glued down. You will need a stiff paint brush or if you don’t mind spending the money, Howard Brush Co has special tools you can use to push the fiber into the teeth as you put it on the blending board. Total cost for me was Blending Cloth $52, Cutting Board, $11, Staple Gun $16, dowel $1.50. I already had a tool to help push the fiber into the teeth of the blending cloth. If you buy the blending board it can cost up to $200. DIY is nice :).
I will put a link to a video on youtube by the Knitting Expat for how to make and use your new DIY blending board :). I follow her knitting podcasts but if you are only interested in the blending board info it starts at about 13.27 into this video. There are many other video’s on youtube that you can watch as well for using the blending board.
Ok two lessons I have learned for using the blending board already: #1 DO NOT roll your rolags to tight when you are rolling them off the blending board or it’s a real struggle to get the dowels out, hahahaha #2 be careful when using the blending brush with the metal teeth (or dog grooming tool if that is what you get), because the teeth on the blending board are not forgiving on your fingers!! :P. Think I will get a stiff paint brush to test out as well :). I’m sure there will be many more lessons.
Ok earlier I said to see the picture below for the 1st bobbin of singles I just finished spinning. I’m ready to put it in now, sorry I am a bit wordy when I try to explain things :P. I wish the colors would be more true, it really is much brighter than this. It is dark aqua (or light teal) and varying shades of purple. This bobbin is mostly the purple. The 2nd bobbin will have mostly the dark aqua with some purple running through it so it will contrast and and be more fractal. Looking forward to seeing how it will turn out :). No plans in my head yet as to what I want to knit with it. I’m sure it will be next week before I have a plyed yarn, because tomorrow I have a young family member coming so I can show her how to make an fresh apple pie and apple butter. 🙂
I saw a very interesting way to do fractal spinning without a blending board or drum carder on a youtube video here and a forced gradient here , videos are by The Knitting Expat. What I am doing is a slight combination of these, we will see how it turns out. 🙂 The picture of the mostly purple parts on this first bobbin is not nearly as bright as it is. The picture taken by my camera looks bright and true to color but it didn’t translate into that when I uploaded it, ugh. It’s not finished I still have two more sections of the purple before I start on the lighter 2nd bobbin. Both fiber bundles weighed in at about 55 grams, if my weighing scale is to be believed :P.
Hopefully I will be ordering the the carding cloth next week so I can make a blending board for my spinning. The Knitting Expat shows how to make one on this youtube video. Then I will just need to buy a cutting board and staple gun to put it together with :). So excited!
I got a lot of time spinning on the balcony this past week with the sunshine and nice warm but not hot days. It was wonderful being outside for more than brief periods of time after our long hard winter and all the rain we had earlier this Spring, but the bugs are now coming out and we have off and on rain again for the next week. Wish my balcony was screened in so I could enjoy spinning outside a bit longer without flies, gnats, and mosquitoes :). Maybe I’ll try a essential oil bug repellent combination to keep them away :).
Well I finished the 2nd skein for the scarf I’m going to make for my friend. I think I know what pattern I want to use, but I’m going to search a bit more to make sure. It was 140 yds (57g) so including the 1st skein, this should give me 342 yds. Plenty of yarn for a longer scarf.
She wanted the color teal and the 2nd dye bath color came out a little lighter than the 1st skein, as you can see in the picture (the 1st skein I already wound into a ball.) So what I plan on doing is starting with the lighter skein on the ends, then blending it with the darker skein so it looks more like a color gradient on the ends. We will see if what I have planned turns out as I picture it when I am done :P.
Going to take advantage of the beautiful weather we are having (a month late). Think I will spin on my balcony again today :), because I know shortly the hotter, muggier, full of biting bugs weather will be here.
Oh, the SW in the title is short for Super Wash, means the fiber was treated so it shouldn’t felt or shrink when washed. Even so, I caution people to treat it a little more carefully than not, ie: hand wash, lay flat to dry (which also allows you to block it for prettier results :).)
The Changing Staircases shawl doesn’t look like much yet, but then it’s not blocked and you can’t really see all the points along the right edge (as you are looking at it.) They will be much more defined and the lace sections will be more open after blocking. Blocking should also make the shawl a bit larger. I don’t think I’m quite 2/3’s done, but I’m making progress. This is an easy pattern and it’s an enjoyable knit. I almost forgot, the 2nd picture is a progress keeper I won on Raverly last year or the year before, the creator has a shop on Etsy called the Victorian Studio Shop and she has lots of wonderful stitch markers and progress keepers, her polymer clay crafting is amazing. This is a Chocolate Frog (Harry Potter reference) and is helping me keep track of my rows :). Yeah, he’s not real chocolate, or he wouldn’t be there anymore helping me keep track of my rows :P.
I decided I might need a little more yarn for the scarf I’m making for my friend, so I am spinning about 60 more grams of roving. I was worried about running out of yarn and having a scarf that was shorter than I wanted. Because I probably will not have a perfect match when I dye it to match the skein I have already spun, I didn’t start the scarf yet so I can put the different shade on the ends and blend it in as I knit. Since it’s a dark teal I’m hoping the shades won’t be terribly different, but plans in my head don’t always translate out the same when I do them, however, it’s always worth a try :). Trying is how we learn ;).
It’s a beautiful day, think I will go outside on my balcony and spin for a bit. 🙂
I gave my Kromski Polanaise spinning wheel a work out this week and got a skein of yarn done! I have always struggled with left over singles on a bobbin when I’m done plying, so I thought (after I started of course and was on my 2nd bobbin) that I was going to weigh the 3rd empty bobbin I had to see how much the bobbins weighed. Then I would weigh each of the singles when I thought I had them about half full (always hard for me to judge) and see if I could get close to not having much left on one of the bobbins after plying the two singles together. As you can see the first bobbin weighed 101 grams and the 2nd bobbin was 93 grams, so I took 8 more grams of the fiber and added it to the 2nd bobbin. They both weighed 101 grams. The empty bobbin for plying was 53 grams.
So I plied the two singles and ended up with 139 grams, and I thought, um, how is that, oh yeah the weight of the 2nd bobbin. I weighed the now empty 2nd bobbin, it was 57 grams, ugh didn’t take into consideration that the bobbins might not weigh the same. So all in all the 1st and 2nd bobbins weighed 57 grams each and the 3rd bobbin that I used to ply them with was 53 grams. I ended up with 90 grams (202 yds) of plied yarn after it was washed. It looks like a light sport weight yarn. I ended up with only 1 yd and 6 inches of left over singles on one of the bobbins, so my experiment was successful. I know the differences between the amount of the singles on each bobbin will always be there because of the inherent inconsistent spinning for hand spun yarn, but I’m pleased over all with how it worked out and how to cut down on left over singles on a bobbin. 🙂
Off to find the perfect pattern for a scarf for my friend, and then on to my next spinning project :).
Hope everyone is having a great Spring. We have had rain for most of our days throughout this Spring. I dream of sunshiny days. I am not a rain person, one reason I don’t live in the northwest coastal areas, I need the sunshine! The few days we have had that were dry, sunny and warm enough to be outside on the balcony without high winds, had me outside on my balcony spinning on my spinning wheel , it’s a peaceful thing to do. Hope you find a peaceful thing to do too. 🙂