Blending Cloth Arrived!

 

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.  🙂

Roving Breakdown for Fractal/Gradient Spinning

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 :).

2nd Skein of SW Merino for the Spin-a-long

2nd Skein of teal sw merino for spinalongWell 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 :).)

Shawl Update

 

 

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. 🙂

Spinning Experiment and It’s Yarn!

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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. 🙂

Spinning on the Kromski Polonaise and a New Project.

 

With the help of the Kromski Raverly group and a local friend, I was able to get the Polonaise configured to be a scotch tension drive, thankfully it comes with both options :).  The pictures do not do it justice, it is a dark mahogany color but looks like a walnut color in the pictures.  It is portrayed a little better in the picture of the singles I am spinning tho’ it still does not show the dark mahogany color as it is, it is really beautiful.  It spins like a dream and I am enjoying spinning on it immensely.  The fiber is some super wash merino that I had dyed some time back when I spun a skein for a friend.  I am spinning this skein to make a scarf or cowl (we need those here in the winter :P) for Marge’s sister (also a friend).  Something for her to think about her sister when she wears it.

Changing Staircases  I also cast on a new project.  Was going to make this last year for Christmas for a family member but I fell and broke my hand so that didn’t happen.  Not taking any chances this year, if I procrastinate, “Murphy” will come to visit again and he is not allowed in my home :P.  This is the Changing Staircases shawl by Trysten Molina of Dragon Hoard Designs.  I am using Stroll Tweed Sock Labs yarn by Knit Picks in the Teal Tweed colorway.  It’s really pretty and has a generous 462 yards.  Because I am a loose knitter I am using a size 4 instead of a size 5 circular needle.  Tho’ it looks difficult, this pattern is very easy and easily memorized :).  Not sure if you can see it very clearly but I am using a beautiful bronze heart progress keeper made by Stephanie of the Knitting Samurai podcast, from her Adore Knits Etsy shop.

I am loving Spring but could do without all the rain, but at least it’s not snow :P.

 

Baby 2X2 Hats

I have a friend who had a baby girl about 2 months ago so I decided now that my hand was better to make her a simple baby hat (my hand still tires easily and gets nerve pain when I over do, but it’s slowly getting better.) I certainly can’t leave her 3 year old brother without a hat, so after finishing the 2X2 rib hat from 5 Easy Pieces – Knit Newborn Hats (Circular), (free pattern on Ravelry) for her daughter, I started one for her son.  I choose the 2X2 rib because it’s, easy (to knit and on my hand) and soft and squishy.  I used a size 6 for the newborn size (the pattern called for a size 7, I knit loosely so I  usually go down a needle size to get gauge)  and used the size 7 for the 3 year old’s hat and added 12 stitches.  I will also add length so it will cover his ears :).  **There use to be a way to magnify the pictures on Word Press but I can’t find it anymore, so even tho you can’t see the yarn very well, it’s Yarn Bee (from Hobby Lobby) Soft and Sleek, the pink is pink stripe and the blue is Denim Blues.  It is very soft stuff and knits nicely.  I believe Hobby Lobby is having a yarn sale in the store this week (Monday Dec 24th – Saturday Dec 29 2018) for 30% off.  Incentive to buy some more :P.

I am still working on the spinning.  I finished that rolag and weighed the bobbins with the singles and first one is a little heavier so I decided to get another of the rolags to spin (that will leave 3 left) and put 2/3 of the rolag on the lighter bobbin and the rest on the other bobbin, hopefully that will balance it out.  We will see.

Tomorrow will be baking day, rolls for Christmas dinner on Tuesday :).

**Update:  I discovered that if you choose the pictures side by side choice that you can click on them on the blog and they will enlarge in a separate window, however if you chose the single pictures they will not.  So there you go.

Some New Housemates and Some Spinning

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Meet (yellow and green) Princess Peach, and (teal on the top and blue on the bottom and some white) Yoshi.  My son and his spouse weren’t having enough time for these love birds because of their alpacas and shows to sell their alpaca yarn, etc.  So I inherited them.  Unfortunately they are both females so they have to have separate cages because, tho they like each other, it’s from afar, lol.  I didn’t realize just how noisy and loud love birds can be, they make a call similar to the kookaburra, :P.  They also have quiet noises as well.  You can’t see the color well on the teal/blue love bird, but she is beautiful.  They are not friendly so I have to love them from afar as well :P.  They are very intelligent as most parrots are, Miss Peach figured out how to get out of her cage and I had to secure all the doors on her cage, she is naughty :P.

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Ok, re-posting the finished spool of singles and the progress on the 2nd spool and showing the rolag with it.  I have four more rolags not counting the one I draped across the wheel, however I have the 1st spool about 1/2 way full and tho I can get more on it, if I have 2,  more than 1/2 full spools, I worry that it will be overfull after plying, and my  Baynes wheel doesn’t do plying well once that happens.  So I might have to just spin what is left over, after filling this 2nd spool 1/2 way, and ply the left over singles from a center pull ball and use it if I need it for the scarf that I am planning on making with this yarn. I’m hoping to have this done tomorrow evening or Monday sometime, been a long time coming with this skein :P.  Then I can concentrate on continuing learning to spin on the Rick Reeves double drive wheel ;).

Accountability

kettle dyed Polypay roving b

Just keeping some accountability in doing some spinning or knitting every day.  I have been only doing spinning and I didn’t get any done the day before yesterday.  But I am making progress on both the yarn I’m spinning and learning the double drive wheel.  The Rick Reeves wheel spins very nicely, I feel so blessed to have it.

I found some darker roving than what I am spinning, in the same color line, and was thinking about spinning it after this is done and making a skein that goes from lighter to darker for a shawl.  It’s just in my head at the moment (the yarn not the shawl, I would be choosing an already written pattern :P.)  So we will see if that works out as well in rl (real life) as it does in my head.  Would probably have to do it as two different skeins and blend as I knit every other row for a few rows (maybe 10?) when I go from the lighter to the darker.  I am hoping for about 4 ozs total when I am done, but we will see, I might be lucky to get 3 ozs.  It’s just a thought.

Adore Knit stitch markers and progress keeper

I decided since I have a little extra money each month that I would invest in a set of stitch markers and progress keepers when I found things that were adorable.  I love the stitch markers at Adore Knits.  This is my 2nd order with her and as a returning customer she included a stitch marker holder (the little container with the green lid), so nice to keep them from being lost or destroyed in my bags :P.   They are well made and beautiful.  I chose the Harry Potter markers and progress keeper.  I love that she has an extra attachment on one of the markers so when you are knitting in the round you know where your beginning and ending is. 😉  She also has The Knitting Samurai and her Guys podcast on Ravelry.

Some Spinning

Kettle dyed polypay roving

I have been very lax this year on my knitting and spinning.   As I said before in one of my posts, just very unmotivated this year.   So I said to myself, time to get the show on the road girl and get some things done, a change of attitude is what I need.  So I will begin by making myself do something with my knitting or spinning every day, knowing that eventually I will be back in the swing of things.  I still love knitting and spinning, just not motivated to do them, so I will treat myself like one of my children and make me do it :P.

This  is some left over Polypay roving that I kettle dyed a few years ago.  Thought I would kill two birds with one stone and get it spun (won’t be a lot of yarn, maybe 200 yds of heavy fingering) while I learn to spin properly on my Rick Reeves spinning wheel.  I’m still working on figuring out the tension on the double band drive so…. it is over spinning a little bit, but eventually it will be right.  I did this yesterday and will spin on it every day until it’s done.  I also need to get a pair of socks started for my dad for his birthday, I have a few months before that is here, but considering how long I took with my last pair of socks, LOL, I need to get the show on the road!