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.
These are my breed study sheets so far, February 2018. I plan on doing a lot more with this project, but other projects have taken my attention. I have two new breeds waiting for me to spin them up and a third on order. I am also considering doing a similar project with the artificial ‘vegan’ fibers that I have available to me so that I can get an idea of what they are like spun as a yarn on their own. This may wind up being a lifetime project! YAY!
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 am having a blast with my breed study. Right now I’ve got one sample blocked, one soaking, and I’m knitting up the last of the breed studies. I’ve got 14 different breeds that I have managed to spin and knit. Some I have managed to crochet, single, double, half double, into samples that are also on the breed study cards. There was an amazing suggestion that I create weaving samples as well. I managed to do so for one of the breeds, at 8epi. I have as much information about how each of the spins were accomplished as I could manage, and I know what I can do differently next time.
The next time I do a breed study, which since my guild is planning on doing some fun spinning event this year might be pretty soon, I know what I can do to improve my spinning. The first change I need to make is the time I spend on the spin. I need to begin to enjoy the spin, working on obtaining a consistent spin and ensuring that I get as much yardage as I can to create samples and discover what I want my yarn to be. I am thinking about utilizing some of the amazing information compiled on each breed then copying that information, with appropriate citations, onto a page placed in the back of each of the breeds I already have present in my study. This would give me an idea about what each breed is good for. I’m enjoying the spinning, enjoying sampling and seeing where things go. I do know that I over-spun the Corriedale at least, but I really enjoy playing with what I’ve spun. It certainly has inspired me to work with some of what I have created.
On a different note, Paradise Fibers has decided to create a Spin Along for the Olympics. They are calling it the Spinlympics, and I plan on joining in. I ordered the Brights pack, since I had a $20 coupon and they were having a 25% off sale I wound up getting the entire thing, shipping included, for $9. The bag that is coming in with the kit is $8 on its own and the sticker would be a dollar as well, so (in my math) the wool, which is amazing, is free, just how I like it! I’m getting my wool tonight so I am working on planning how I want to use the wool. A fun aspect of this is that I am also planning on doing the Ravellenic Winter Games as a fun challenge.
I now have two pages completed for my new fiber artist journal. Grey Norwegian Wool Top and White Charollas Wool Top. They are both spun, knit in lace & cable, then crocheted. Mom suggested putting them in sleeves, which is where the glare came from, so that they will stay cleaner for longer. It was a fascinating experience working with these two fibers and then yarns. I can certainly see why a lot of people are hesitant to take the time to sample. There were seven fibers in the Paradise Fibers Sample Box from January, I managed to spin five up quite quickly. The sixth is spun, but the seventh is going to take a bit of time (I don’t feel too well so I don’t want to spin sick, knitting seems fine though). Since spinning, plying, setting the ply, drying, balling up the yarn, it has taken quite a bit of time for me to knit up a lace and cable sample then crochet the left overs using single, double, half double crochets. Once the samples are knit and crocheted they get another wash, then they are blocked and left to dry for a couple of days. That is what is happening with the Black Welsh Fiber, once it is dry I will get started on the Mixed Blue Faced Leicester (I have the lace knit, I’m working on the cable next then crocheting the rest.)
In addition to creating a new, healthy, useful, practice, I am learning a lot about my spinning. Mostly I am learning that I am not spinning nearly as thin as I thought I was, but that isn’t a bad thing really. I don’t like working with the very fine yarns, okay I do want to make a very light fine shawl some day, for the most part I like having a sturdy yarn in my hand. My knitting has gotten a lot better, I am not really afraid of ‘knit two together, yarn over, repeat 3’. I am starting to understand what the lace looks like, I know I’m not doing it really ‘correctly’ yet, but I enjoy it. My cables are getting better too, talk about something else I was afraid of, and I am starting to understand how many rows should be between cables to create certain effects. The entire process is enlightening. I am beginning to, sort of, see what knitters are talking about when they say that a two ply is better for lace than shawls, but I like how my cables are popping…I think that has more to do with using needles too small for the cables.
This is really a learning experience all around, and I hope to be able to instill some of these practices into my students…LOL. I still have to figure out how to sample my yarns as weaving also. Fortunately I have the backs of these samplers to put any weaving samples I can manage.