Year Long Spin-Along

https://plymagazine.com/ply-books/51-yarns-spinalong/

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!

Christmas Presents

I have ordered a Brother Drum Carder for myself for Christmas.  (mom is getting a set of stacking boxes with clear doors for her yarn stash, shhhh don’t tell her).  The Drum carder I have ordered will have 90 tpi, suitable for carding finer wools without damaging them yet coarse enough that I can card almost anything else I desire.  In an effort to get into the carding spirit I also ordered a pound of undyed wool.  I have played with Kool-Aid Dye in the past, causing the co-president of my guild to think I only like primary pinks and blues, but I have been hearing a lot about dying wool with Wilton and Rit Dyes.  Due to this desire to experiment, I am doing some research about other peoples experiments with this dye.

The first mentioned Rit dye and a few ‘glugs’ of vinegar.  Her experiment went well!

Love Knitting has an article about Wilton Food Dyes; Start by soaking the fiber in a vinegar bath, 1/4 cup to about 4 oz of fiber, for at least 20 minutes.  Pour the fiber, vinegar, another 1/4 cup of vinegar into a pot.  Add the color a tiny bit at a time and agitate to disperse the dye.  Start on low and heat up your pot of fiber, when it is at a simmer just before boiling take it off of the stove and let it cool down.  Rinse with lukewarm water until the water runs clear, then hang up to dry.  There are also some tips about painting yarn, I particularly find it interesting that sponges (along with a vinegar dye mix) can be used to paint the yarn/fiber to create gradients and variations.  Heat is still needed to set the fiber, so the author steamed the yarn for about 40 minutes in a steamer basket.  Though they mentioned that it is possible to microwave for 1-2 minute bursts for about 5 minutes to set the yarn.

Both the RIT Dye site and Wilton Food Site have information on how to use their dyes for coloring different materials.  I cannot wait to begin experimentation!

Happy Crafting!

Spinning Silk Class

A week ago I attended a class on spinning silk with the Enchanted Mountains Weavers Guild in Bradford, PA.  It was amazing.  I learned about spinning silk from the fold, I sort of knew about that already, and using cowboy magic to keep my hands supple for spinning.  I think they use the detangler and shine while I purchased the conditioner.  As far as I can tell, since they both have silk proteins in them, mine should work just fine.  (It certainly makes the silk slippery enough, lol.)  The bobbin on the left is the 1/2 oz sample of silk I purchased to practice with, I’m not sure what the colorway is called but I think it looks like Monet’s “Waterlily Pond” painting myself.  I am shocked at how fine I can get my spinning to be when I concentrate and cannot wait to see what this will look like when it is plied!

Happy Crafting!

Facebook Fiber Find Pt. 2

I have been having so much fun spinning up my Fiber Find from Facebook!

IMG_0754Just playing around with the already created rolags, batts, and some sections of colored fiber created a beautiful single.   I then spun up a merino single which I plied with the colored single.

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This is 124 yards of merino and various before it was washed.  The pinks and purples are the sections of colored wool, with the rest being from batts.  I have it in the water now, I cannot wait to see what it looks like when it is washed.  I am so excited to start spinning my flicked open locks (I got impatient with some of the more difficult ones and wound up carding them instead).  Next post will probably be about my spinning from the cloud of locks!

Happy Crafting!

Facebook Fiber Find

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I recently joined a fiber ‘destash’ group on facebook.  I was a bit hesitant to buy anything from Facebook but when I saw 2 oz of mixed fibers for $5 I thought I would give it a shot.  When the bags arrived I was amazed, everything from flashing, locks, silk, wool, etc.  The colors are beautiful and I love everything I received.  In the 6 bags I ordered there was 1 beautiful mini batt and a couple of rolags that I just had to spin up right away.

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The pretty blacks, blues, and purples with the bits of flashing that are stuck to them wound up just beautiful.  There are a pair of beautiful little bits of colorful batts that I am going to spin on this same bobbin (since I only have 3 that spin well on the wheel).  The rolags, toward the top of the picture, had a bit of what I think of as ‘sticky wool’ and wound up a little bit chunky but it should be very pretty when finished.  I plan on plying these with some merino to let the blacks and other shades just pop out at you!

In addition to the rolags and bits of colored wool I received a lot of dyed locks.  When I separated out the materials from the bags 3 of them were filled with locks.  Little, tangled up locks that looked impossibly matted down.  I was dreading working with these little pieces.  All I could think about were the long silky locks that characterize ‘lock-spun’ yarn that is a big artisan movement in spinning.  (These were not those kind of locks).  I remembered something about ‘flicking locks’, looked on YouTube, and found a way to not only save these locks but make them a joy to work with!

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Half a handful of locks, when flicked, created the beautiful cloud of fiber that can be found above.  I took a close up picture as they were sitting in an old serving bowl, so there is more fiber than it appears to be.  I am looking forward to flicking open all of the locks I received and discovering what beautiful colors they hold.  I have some personal debate about whether it would be better to card them with some merino to create a soft, light, lofty yarn with watered down color, or to spin the flicked locks up as a single and then ply it with some merino.  The merino ply should add some softness and bounce to the single colored fiber.  At this time I think I am going to flick open all of the locks and see how rich the colors seem.  If they are as pale as this green I will probably spin them up as a single and ply them with the merino since blending mutes the colors.  How very exciting to be spoiled with such beautiful choices!

Happy Crafting!

 

Going Batt-y

This past week I decided to use my bottom whorl spindle to spin up a couple of mini-batts I purchased from Woolie Bullie out of Kansas, purchased through Etsy.  The first batt started out looking like this:

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These are two views of the same batt.  I split this batt into two halves and spun two singles.  I wound the singles onto (clean) chopsticks and plied them from there.  The plied yarn on the spindle looked like this:

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Then I used my Niddy Noddy to measure the yarn:

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This first 1/4 oz batt gave me 17 yards, all of the design elements that caused this to be less than a ‘perfect spin’ are my own and I love them!  I then cast on 20 stitches and using a stockette stitch on US9 needles I started knitting:

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This is after 17 yards, well I love it and so I spun up the second batt:

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Which yielded about 16 yards.  I have that knit up but could not stop there!  I am currently waiting with baited breath for my next Batt from WoolieBullie.  So exciting, I hope that there will be enough to make a very nice scarf or cowl.  I believe that when I finish knitting and wash the product, gently with Dawn, the finished knitted fabric will full out a bit and cause the absolute end product to look a bit different from this beginning.

For the WoolieBullie Dingbats, I highly recommend them.  My first batt spun very quickly and easily, while it looked like there was a lot of white the end product was very colorful.  There seemed to be a bit of a sticky substance on my second batt, but I believe that this is the result of having a few beautiful curly locks in the fiber and just surprised me instead of detracting from my spinning experience (obvious since I am getting another batt!).

Choosing a Supplies and Accessories Part 2

Honestly there are so many different accessories available for spinning wheels it gets a bit overwhelming at times.  The best way I am finding to narrow things down is to remind myself what kinds of yarns I like to work with.  In looking at the different wheels I became dismayed that none of the double drive wheels have a jumbo flyer with an orifice of more than 1″.  But wait a second, the flyers of more than 1″ are for making those big funky artsy yarns….I hate knitting and crocheting with those kinds of yarns, so why would I want to make them?

Keeping considerations like that in mind allow me to remain happy with my choice of a double drive wheel while also being able to choose the accessories that will work well for me.

The main accessories I am looking into getting are:

Niddy Noddy- this will allow me to keep my skeins organized and tidy, as I get better I will want to know at least approximately how big they are so this will help with that also.

Yarn Swift- Once I know how big they are I will want to roll them into balls, I already have a center pull ball winder I love so a Yarn Swift is probably going to be my next purchase.  It will allow me to use the ball winder without the tangles I am currently getting.

Lazy Kate- this will allow me to ply my yarns without tangles and while they are tensioned.  A few of the wheels I am looking at have integrated Lazy Kates, but some reviews have indicated trouble when you have to pull the threads forward from the Lazy Kate then allow them to ply.  It would make more sense to have the Lazy Kate on the floor a big away from the wheel.  There seem to be two kinds, vertical and horizontal (arched).  I am looking at the arched version simply because I can see the entire thing toppling over if the yarn (I keep thinking of it as thread but it really is considered yarn) on the top is somehow heavier than the ones on the bottom.

Hand Carders- Okay, so this comes down to, I have a long haired cat.  I brush her constantly and she sheds a ton.  Recently I decided to keep this fur and see if I can make something from it, a bracelet or the like.  To have the fiber in a shape where I can use it to spin I can either comb it (big sharp tines) or I can card it.  I think that carding will have fewer chances that I will stab myself with the really big tines, so I am going to start with that!

Blending Board- I have some beautiful Bamboo fibers that I bought way back when.  While I might be able to spin them with the Spindolyn, odds are I am going to want to blend them with wool to create wonderful Rolags I can spin into a wonderful blended yarn.  This is also a great way to experiment with color and create my own rolags, I also have some flashing so I can add sparkle. Yay!  Okay, so these boards cost almost $200, it is probably something that will wait a while.

There are a ton of different options for all of these devices.  For the most part I will get the best quality that my budget allows.  For the yarn swift there is one on amazon that looks to be adjustable and of good quality for a very low price, I will ‘cheap-out’ and purchase that one.  Also for the ‘Niddy Noddy’ since I do not plan on using it to display yarns and only intend to have it as a functional piece I will ‘cheap-out’ on it as well and get a version made of PVC pipe.  Yes, in theory I can make this myself but for almost a cheap as the PVC pipe I can avoid the risks of cutting myself and buy it pre-made.  These are a lot of accessories when I haven’t even bought the wheel yet!  Most of them are usable before I have purchased my wheel, it might be nice to see how large some of my spun silk singles wound up being.  If I decide to make some yarn as a double or try to triple ply then the Lazy Kate will come in handy, once I have some yarn on the Niddy Noddy then the yarn swift will come in handy to use the ball winder.  Essentially these small steps all go toward the goal of having what I need to make the yarn I want.  If I can take some of these small steps without compromising the goal of saving toward my spinning wheel then so much the better.  It is a better thing to do to buy a small device than lose hope on obtaining the large!