Ply Magazine, to celebrate their first book, is going to be hosting a Year-Long Spin-Along. 51 Weeks of chances to win a year-long subscription to their magazine. Being honest with myself, I cannot express how very happy I am that I pre-ordered this book before I even knew about the contest. Now I get to participate, you can without purchase, follow along, and I saved $4 off of the cover price, lol. This brings my thrifty heart a great deal of joy. More importantly than all of that, this will bring 51 weeks of challenges to one extent or another. The first few are easy enough, but I hope I will be able to get to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year so I can pick up some supplies for a few of the challenges. Spinning a dual coated sheep will be interesting, but I have to find a source for the outer coat, a source for the inner coat, and a source where I can buy both coats mixed together. Likewise with the lock spinning, I can find them, but my thrifty soul has issues with spending $10+ on an ounce of locks (very pretty locks don’t get me wrong) then another $5+ for shipping and handling. If I can get a good price on some pretty locks at the festival then go me. If I cannot get there this year, that is up in the air and I’ll blog when I know, then I’ll have to suck it up and find some good sales.
Had to share the excitement! Happy Crafting!
I am not including a photograph of my shawl for Ravellenics…because it has not grown since the last photo. I have been plagued by these weird should and neck aches, I use a memory foam support pillow so I don’t get these anymore…so it was weird. Then I was waiting in the doctors office for mom to finish her stress test, knitting away on my shawl, hunched up trying to get these tiny stitches to do what I want, and realizing, “Shoot, that’s why my neck hurts.” So the shawl went into the, “When I get better at knitting I will try this again.” Or more Likely, “mess around with this every now and again until I deem it done.” Either way the shawl is not going going to be finished anytime soon.
My Spin along went very well! I am very happy with my 300+ yard skein of rainbow yarn. It is beautiful and so very sparkly. (I have to figure out how to photograph sparkles so they show up, I’m working on it.) I also have my Unicorn Fluff and Faery Dust Skein spun and washed at about 150 yards.
Again, I really love how this skein turned out. Before long I hope to pick up my spinning for the breed study again with a combination of breeds and non-animal, non-plant material spins. I recieved a Vegan Box not that long ago and I’ve used the fibers for demonstrations. I have not taken the time to spin the vegan fibers to see how they work up. I really am looking forward to adding that aspect to my explorations and sharing the results with my students. I cannot believe in 6 weeks I’m going to be dyeing wool with students again. Shoot, I’d better get started trying to figure out what went wrong last time I tested things with the commercial acid dyes.
Since it is past the 15th, okay just past…boy I’ve been spinning like a dervish..I’ve started spinning my Brights Pack!
Mom likes to listen to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy or the Rosary (or both) and then Morning Mass using her EWTN App on her iPad. Since I like to keep her company and feel the need for some quiet contemplation in the morning, but if I just listen I fall back asleep, I have been spinning while she listens to the meditations. According to mom the sound of my wheel whirring away is very soothing. I’m trying to tell her the fact that my wheel is making that whirring clunking noise is not a good thing, but since I cannot find the source right now we are at a standstill. I suspect that I need to disconnect, clean, re-oil, tighten, and reassemble the footman that connects my treadles to my wheel. But since that involves the wheel being upside down and empty it isn’t going to happen until this spin is completed at least.
Because of her quiet time I have between 90-120 minutes in the morning of almost uninterrupted spinning time I have gotten quite a bit accomplished. I do not believe for a minute that I will be able to keep this pace up, especially since I’m usually running around doing other things in the morning also, but while it lasts I intend to enjoy it. If, somehow, I manage to get the last of my singles spun tomorrow morning, probably not since I’ve still got almost half of my fiber to spin, then I can put each single on a bobbin, or bobbins, and ply from there. I plan on having this be a three-ply yarn so I’ll have to see how much I can fit on my bobbins, first I think I’ll try and find my schacht travel bobbins and ply-up bobbins before worrying about putting singles on the smaller weaving bobbins.
With my extreme enjoyment of my spinning I Have not progressed very far on my knitting. What I have gotten knit up is beautiful and I cannot wait to see the end project. Thank goodness I cannot take my wheel to work, well I could but it would cause trouble, so I bring my knitting with me and get a couple of rows done while I am supposed to be on my lunch break, lol. This is probably enough of an update for today, I am going to upload pictures of my breed study sheets to another blog post that I will schedule to release tomorrow. I had a ton of fun creating them and I am already working on some variations as well as collecting some more breeds to spin!
It turns out that the Spin Along for the Olympics starts on the 15th, whoopsie. Oh well. The ravellenics knit along is going strong. I’m working on my shawl, a little haphazardly but it will get knit. I recieved my February 2018 Paradise Fibers box of the month and I really enjoyed the challenge. They decided to advise that we create a crepe yarn from the supplies they gave us. I decided to go with that choice. I did change things up a bit, while they advised that we spin from the top, first one shade of blue then the other and ply them together from there I modified things. I like carding rolags, not sure why I just get a kick out of them, so I carded the two blues together in a striped rolag formation adding sparkle along the way. I also didn’t use their silk that they provided instead I spun up some of the silk blend I had left-over from december that I tried to dye black. It wound up grey instead but I really like how the yarn turned out. I am also pleased that I have some of the silk blend left.
For the technical side. I spun the silk blend with the wheel going to the right. Then I spun all of the merino blue rolags with the wheel going to the left. Then I put the blues into a center pull ball and plied them with the wheel going to the right. This means that I had a 2 ply yarn and a silk blend singles all from a wheel going to the right. Then I plied the 2 ply with the single on the wheel going to the left. This means that some of the ply twist came undone causing the plied yarn to bubble up a bit.
The effect wasn’t as extreme as I thought it may have been, but truthfully until I work with it I cannot really judge it. I am not sure if I am going to just use this as an example for my students and swatch the heck out of it. or try and make it into a project. It might look cool as a woven purse for example. Who knows. I’ll post progress on my ravellenics and spin along later this week or next. ‘Til then, Happy Crafting!
Using my Brother Drum Carder and my Howard Hand Cards I managed to create a really amazing set of fiber preparations. The rolags at the left are from my handcards, I really like how they turned out. The middle was carded as a striped batt on my drum carder, I put it through the carder once and added a lot of sparkle that is not showing up here.
The single color batts were put through the drum carder once, again with a lot of sparkle added. The final batt looks red on one side, purple on the other, and has every color in between (along with a ton of sparkle). I tried to show the colors using the spots where I ‘nibbled’ it off of my drum carder, but they don’t show too well.
I am really looking forward to spinning each of these yarns and then plying them to make an amazing 3 ply yarn.
I managed to spin quite a bit of white wool. The I wound it into a center pull ball, actually I used to strands to wind a ply ball on my ball winder. This is the first time I have played with a ply ball. I put a rolled up piece of paper in the center of the ball so that it didn’t collapse into itself, and plied from the outside ends.
I used a bottom whorl drop spindle and just went to town.
This is my spindle when I was finished, the singles were wheel spun so there was quite a bit to them. I love how my unwashed skein turned out:
Over 120 yards of 2 ply yarn. I really liked how the center pull ball worked for plying. I might just hand wind a tight ball next time, since it will be a silk merino blend, instead of using the ball winder. Trying to get a tight ball so that the singles didn’t crimp, yet loose enough so that my ball winder didn’t make that awful grinding noise.
The main advantage that I can see from winding a center pull ball is immediate feedback on what the yarns will look like together. My ply ball would be from the Gemvember box by Paradise fibers and seeing how the separate colors would work together would be a big advantage.
Keep experimenting, there is always something new to learn.
I love the newsletters I get from Strauch Fiber Equipment. They always lead me to such wonderful places. In this case the article points out, in a very quick way, a method of adding in extra materials into a batt, that goes through a drum carder, without getting extra things stuck in the drum carder. Great article!