Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

Spinning Foibles

I got my wheel fixed.  My Ashford Traveller.  Let me back up. I decided to spin again- it’s been a while- and pulled out the hand-dyed roving I made last spring at my dying class (green, orange and white) and started in.  Then snap! The flexible nylon piece that connects the treadle to the wheel broke. Foiled! Luckily I have an Ashford supplier about a half hour from here, so I ran down and got a new piece.  All good to go!

I spun the singles and then navajo plied, since I wasn’t sure how the colors would blend in a 2-ply.  I think the colors turned out alright, but not as vivid as I’d thought.

I ended up with about 130 yards of 3-ply.  Not a whole lot, so I looked for a small project and settled on a head wrap I saw on the Yarnivore podcast.  I got within 3 inches of finishing and ran out of yarn.  Phooey.  I set the yarn aside for a day or two and discovered this…

Hey ma!  The dog ate my yarn!  Again!  Sigh…

But, I think it was a good first step back into  spinning.  I think I’ll be pulling out the wheel more often since I have some lovely bamboo and silk to try.


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NJ Sheep and Wool

We spent some time this weekend at the NJ Sheep and Wool festival.  It was a smaller venue, with about 20 vendors and farms represented.  The North Country Spinners were busy doing spinning classes all day and there were sheep dog demos as well.  The weather was perfect for perusing the vendors and petting the fiber.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and brought home some beautiful yarns and batts.

It seemed as though alpacas and angoras were highly represented, which I was surprised at.  I did notice that there seemed to be an even split between natural color enthusists and those who enjoy dye.  You could easily find blended fiber as well as mixed yarns, superwash and various weights.  Spindles, spinning wheels and both spinning and knitting accessories were everywhere.  There was even some weaving demonstrated as well as knitting with roving, which I had not tried before.  Prices ranged from just a few dollars for finger puppets or natural soaps to several hundred dollars for drum carders, vintage buttons and hand knit alpaca sweaters.  Something for everyone.

I love the fiber I bought.  I don’t spin as much as I would like, and thought that maybe trying some new fibers might inspire me.  My first purchase was from Forbidden Woolery, an etsy seller whose fiber was a merino/bamboo/nylon blend.  It is absolutely soft and the muted color combination should provide for an interesting yarn.  I’ll have to do some research on the best way to order the colors.

Next I chose 4oz of two fibers from Foxcross Farm (no link)- a merino blend and a silk blend. Both are gorgeous hues that will be so nice to work with.  I quickly began spinning the silk on my new drop spindle (scroll down to check that out) and it is working up nicely, despite my inability to deal with a short staple length.

My spindle was purchased at BitsyKnits, and is nothing like I’ve seen before. It’s only about 4 inches long.  I thought it would be good for travelling as well as practicing spinning lace weight yarn.  So far my singles are looking very pretty and consistent using the silk blend.

Now for yarn!  I did splurge a bit as I REALLY don’t need more yarn, but with colors like I was seeing it was very hard to not buy something from everyone!  I ended up buying from two shops, Bittersweet Woolery and Light Brown Hare.

Bittersweet’s 100% wool yarn is the red colorway, Cinnabar, which is redder here than in reality.  My skeins are actually a rosy hue, ranging from mauve to magenta.  So pretty and way out of my normal color palette.  M was with me, so I suppose she may have nudged me towards pink just a little.

I tried really hard to stay away from the fall palette I normally buy- browns, oranges, greens, reds- but I couldn’t resist the gorgeous earth tones at Light Brown Hair.  I came home with the yellow skein of Jackrabbit pictured above, which again is much more earthy than the photo- more mustard, flax, and taupe.  The yarn is 100% superwash merino.  The shop owner also gave away the pattern to a fantastic mug cozy with a sheepy face and a few sample size skeins to play with.

As much as I enjoyed shopping and spending, I think the most fun I had was in the afternoon with M.  Nate took the two youngers to the hotel to rest and she and I poked around together.  She spent her own $10 (so much for a 6yo) to take a spinning class.  She got her own CD drop spindle and a bunch of fiber and after an hour lesson she was doing so well!

She also tried a wheel and a table loom- had a great time with each!

Check out her first time yarn…  Very little help needed.  🙂

Thanks to the Garden State Sheep Breeders, Inc.  It was a wonderful festival and I will certainly be back! I’ll leave you with some sleepy sheep.  You can see more pictures from the festival at Nate’s photo blog.  You won’t want to miss the 3 week old cria.  So sweet…

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Well, I’ve done it.  I’ve lost my camera.  I went to a FABULOUS spinning workshop last week, took lots of pictures of  us using Wilton cake food colors to dye merino wool, and planned on posting all the steps.  I can still do that, but there’s no pix.  The camera must have fallen out of my bag or something.  Just can’t find it.  Sigh…

But, as I said, the seminar was such fun, so I can’t go without saying thanks to Claire, the student who took her own time and money to put it all together!

We started by setting up the dye area.  We taped down a strip of plastic wrap to a table and put the roving on the wrap.  Then we mixed up a bit of Wilton dye with water and vinegar (as the mordant).  How fantastic to use food products- no chemicals!  Then we dabbed on the dye with sponges, wrapped up the roving with the plastic wrap and placed it in a steamer for a half hour. After the time was up (I had to do this part at home) I rinsed the roving with cold water until clear and hung to dry.  I can’t say my yarn is the most beautiful creation ever, but it was fun!

Then Claire brought each of us a drop spindle to try.  I have two- a turkish spindle (bottom whorl) and a top whorl.  The ones we got were simple, $4 spindles off the internet (can’t remember where they came from, sorry!).  I got to spin some silk- gorgeous, peacock teal.  Too bad I won’t have enough to do anything with, but it sure is pretty.

Claire sells her spun yarn on Etsy.  She can make a whole skein on a drop spindle in a DAY!  Wow- so much better than I could hope for!  Go check out her stuff- you’ll be glad you did!  I was able to get a critique from her on my yarn (wheel spun), which should hopefully help me make a better product in the future.

Well, readers, if I find my camera this post will make much more sense, but until then, grab a drop spindle or dye some wool- such fun and relaxation.

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Wrapping Up

Yeesh!  You’d have thought I’d taken the summer off or something…

Well, I said I’d have some Unwrapped pix, so here they are.

Project specs:  Unwrapped by Jody Pirrello from Knotions.  This is my first pattern from the new magazine.  I really liked it!  I used Lion Brand LionCotton in Banana Cream.  I think I used about 5 skeins.  Everything else is as written, including the waist darts.  I had some trouble with the calculations, so I think they aren’t perfect, but they do the job!  This sweater took me a month to make, without the belt.  I’m still debating adding that.  Use metal needles with this yarn.  Bamboo is too sticky!

It’s not easy to take pictures of oneself, but I wanted you to see the shaping in the sweater.  It’s not quite blocked smooth, so you can still see the darts a bit at the waist in the profile picture.  They draw the sweater right in, so it really fits nicely.  I love the edging.  M took the final picture, so please forgive the imperfections!  I try to get a nice picture of myself, then I take one of her…

Poof- first try. Beautiful.  I think we as adults try way to hard to look a certain way.  Sigh…  I hope she never looks at herself like I see myself.  It’s just not right.

I got a new yarn holder at a local festival- pretty cool!  You put the ball in the pot and the end loops through the “J” on the side.  No more loose balls rolling around the room!  Thanks, Mom.  🙂

And I finally plied the roving I bought back last winter for Project Spectrum.  This is a two-ply, a bit looser twist than I hoped, but I got about 500 yards!  Way more than I expected.  The barber pole skein is the same orange blend plied with natural.  I had a bit extra on one bobbin, so I just tried it to see what it would turn out like.  Not bad, but a bit harsher than I like.  The colors are truer in the first picture, but I still couldn’t capture the warmth of the red, plum and orange. This might just be a simple stockinette scarf.  Gotta think about it for a bit.

I’ll try to write more.  Just gotta get some inspiration.  🙂

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This is a quick one- baby B’s dedication is this weekend, so I gotta get on the house cleaning and outfit planning.  I just wanted to show off my fire-y spinning.  I can’t quite catch the richness of the color- varying from bright orange to deep plum- but I am LOVING it!


I am hoping I ply this bunch well- I would love a scarf this color.  🙂

Happy Weekend!!

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We’ve had a busy month!  Nothing like weeks of cooking, planning, buying and wrapping for a fun filled Christmas morning.  We really enjoyed ourselves.  I think the girls are finally starting to get the reason behind Christmas and are not just into the presents (although they do seem to think that they are opening gifts for Jesus’ birthday).  It was awfully cute to see their excitement.  So I have a bunch of pictures to sum up the past few weeks.

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Making Gingersnaps.  Yum!


And more cooking- caramel chocolate pretzels, marshmallows and caramels!


Learning to knit (on her request!!)


New jammies on Christmas Eve.

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B doing what he does best…  Doesn’t he look like a Boohbah in the first picture?

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My wonderful Christmas present.  An Ashford Traveller.  And the yarn I spun on Christmas day (second picture).  The close up is of my second batch of home spun- plied and dry.  The wool is from Dancing Heart Farm (that I mentioned a while back) and I will be getting some more shetland wool from there soon!  So far, so good- I seem to be getting the hang of it all.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is starting off the New Year right!

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