Quick Spinning Post

Paradise Fibers decided to have a Spinlympics again this year even though it is not any olympics year.  Since I had a grab bag pack of the merino wool they recommended I decided to see if I could make something with it.  I decided to use my Brother Drum Carder to blend some silk and bamboo into each of the colors I chose.  There was a sky blue, yellow/gold, and bright yellow.  When I pulled the fiber off of the drum carder I created rolags instead of a batt.  In addition to the merino/bamboo/silk I added a couple of rolags of Yak/Silk I already had on hand.IMG_2313

Once I had spun the singles in a long backward draw on my Ladybug I created a center pull ball to ply from.  I know that a lot of people have trouble with this method and I will concede that there is probably a twist difference from the outside strand and the inside one. However I find that as long as I take care when plying to ensure even tension as well as taking care that the inside fiber does not tangle as it comes out, I love the results.  Also the lack of waste really appeals to me.

Once plied I ended up with about 110 yards of a yarn that I believe is sport weight.  Once this yarn is washed I will have a better idea of what size the finished yarn will be.

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As I was spinning the quote from S.E. Hinton’s the Outsiders kept floating through my head, “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”.  With the shades of gold, a bit of blue skies as well as a bit of shades of grey, I am calling this skein, “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”.  I had so much fun experimenting with the long draw, and I cannot wait to see this washed up.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

Still Spinning

Okay, so the 2 pounds of Shetland Moorit arrived so I am working on carding it into rolags to spin up for my Hap.  I was feeling under the weather a bit so in between my knitting, crocheting, laundry and dishwasher loads, I curled up in bed to look over past issues of Spin-Off Magazine.  While paging through I happened across a pattern for little wrist cuffs as well as ankle cuffs.  Each of these take a bit over 100 yards of fiber, well I have all sorts of little scraps so I decided to go for it.  In December I purchased the international box from Camaj Fiber Arts Spinning Boxes, she was selling off past boxes.  There were some very pretty fibers based on Korea and Norway/Finland that I decided to spin into a little skein.

IMG_2178  I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  However, it is only 78 yards.  Yes, not even enough for one of the patterns.  Oh well, I have more little samples (I have already started) so I will be incorporating two mini batts, and three more random colored combed tops that look like they will fit the bill.  I am already almost half way through spinning this batch, it already looks like more singles than the last attempt.

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The patterns are from Spin Off Winter 2007 pages 46-47 titled “Anklettos and Wristlettos: Fringe Benefits” by Phreadde Davis.

Hopefully once I have this yarn spun, plied, set, and dried, I will not be either bored with this idea, working on the hap, or ready for more installments from Jimmy Beans Wool.  I will admit to a small amount of introspection, I am aware that I have been keeping myself too busy to really take the time to miss my Mom.  February tends to stink since we lost Dad near the end, I have already found myself crying for no apparent reason simply because it hit me hard that she isn’t around.  Oh well, back to distractions!

Happy Crafting!

Finn and Firefly

Spinning for the Hap begins tomorrow, so I have cleared the Finn that I spun for a breed sample off of my bobbins.  I managed to get 56 yards before washing, I love how it looks.  I am aware that I tend to overspin my yarn in places creating those little curls in the plies, but I really like that effect so it will probably remain.  I spun the Finn singles on the Ladybug and really enjoyed the process.  I used the Spinolution Firely to ply the finn as well as another sample I had created.  Let me back up a bit.

I obtained the Firefly for Christmas so that I can use the 2 pound bobbin (32oz) capacity to create very large skeins.  I originally intended to spin singles using my Ladybug and ply using the Firefly.  I did have to try the Firefly spinning singles first (I just had to, there was a leader already on the wheel) and this was a great way to figure out how the controls work and how well I like this wheel.  The truth is that I really do like this wheel, though I cannot pinpoint why.  There are a lot of options that allow this wheel to work however you want it to, if you like it on the floor then that works, you can put it on an angle, if you prefer it on the table then do so, you can even angle it on the table.  Should you be working with larger yarns then there is a hook rather than an orifice option.  You can easily switch between the larger and smaller heads, though the drive band is a bit finicky.  When using the 32oz option you need to turn the speed to the second dot before it will begin moving, and at that point it moves at a leisurely pace.  It is easily set up with so little pull you have to almost force the yarn onto the bobbins.

If you are looking for a wheel to help a beginning spinner focus on twist and draft then I highly recommend this wheel.  Without worrying about treadling at all the beginning spinner can focus on twist and draft while the yarn gets spun at a very leisurely pace.  If you are an intermediate spinner that wants to become more mindful of your spinning, or simply wants to be able to ply two completely full Bulky Plyer Flyer bobbins of singles together into a single skein, then this is the wheel for you, with the 32 oz head.  Actually, I think that any spinner that wants to work on bulky yarns and art yarns would benefit from this wheel.  I am certain that expert spinners can come up with even more options than I have mentioned here.

For me, there was a bit of a learning curve, but I believe that this is true of any new tool.  I like the idea of the hook orifice so I have kept that one on, but I do find that I do best when I hold the yarn straight out from the hook.  If I hold the yarn to one side or another I tend to get little jerky shakes in the yarn which can lead to breaks in finer yarns.  For plying, this is an absolute dream.  Since I am not worrying about treadling I get to focus on the yarn forming those little perfect bumps and then feeding onto the wheel.  I get to slow down my plying and see how everything looks without worrying about bobbin chicken or hurrying up to get the wheel free for more spinning.  The ability to change the speed at which I am spinning simply by twisting a knob, as well as the lack of worry about speeding up or slowing down as I get excited by the yarn/music/book/show is amazing.

If you are thinking of getting an electric spinning wheel then focus on what you want out of it.  I do not recommend the Electric Eel Wheel mini, the drive band broke on mine and I purchased the replacement recommended.  Right now, and for the last couple of months, it is under some extra tension to stretch it out a bit so that when it is on the wheel the little motor can actually spin the bobbin so that I can get some twist in the yarn.  Splurge a bit, get a really good wheel by a very reputable maker.  Maybe some of the other eel wheels are fine, but I am not impressed.  If you want to be able to spin really big yarns make sure that your model has larger spinning heads, if you want portability check weight, if you want lace weight see if the wheel you are looking at is good for that.  Above all, check reviews!

Happy Spinning!

 

Spinning for a Hap

Spin-Off magazine has their first 2019 spin along project and it is to spin and knit a Shetland Hap by March.  I had thought that I would spin for a sweater this year, just as a random goal, so this will be a great way to figure out if a sweater is a reasonable goal or not.  To that end I have chosen the fibers I want to use, I have some Shetland in brown, pinks, and greens.

There is a tutorial on knitting a Hap on Craftsy/BluPrint that I have watched so at present I am confident that this is something I can accomplish.  The official spin along begins on the 14th, so I will find out then how much work this is going to be.

I did finish spinning my Finn on the Ladybug, it is on the ball winder waiting for me to ply from a center pull ball tonight.  I am internally debating if I want to spin on the Ladybug and ply on the Firefly or reverse the order.  I find that I enjoy spinning more on the Ladybug so I will probably use the Firefly as a ply wheel since I have larger bobbins for that wheel.

Until I get started with that, Happy Crafting!

 

Paradise Fibers Video

I am always surprised when I realize that there is something that I have not even attempted.  I consider myself a fairly tech savvy person, while I do not like how I look or sound on camera I did think that I made a conscious decision not to get involved with uploading videos to Instagram and Youtube.  WRONG!

It turns out I was just a big chicken.  With the help of iMovies and my photo library I have been able to upload unboxing videos and tutorial videos quite easily from my iPad.  I admit that I have added no verbal commentary nor any music to my videos, since I tend to mute those anyway I choose to believe my lack of sound does not detract from my videos.  My explanation of how I am spinning my fiber is in this video.  I am very grateful for the Paradise Fibers challenges with this month’s Fiber of the Month Box since it required me to think outside my usual box and try something new.

On another note the first yarn for my first set of curtains has arrived.  As soon as I figure out how long I want this first warp to be I will warp a loom for my first set of curtains.  The yarn is a cottolin blend that I hope will turn into amazing curtains.

I have not set up my 2019 crafting goals, so that is in the works.  Until then, try something new!

Happy Crafting!

 

Spinzilla Totals 2018

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I had an amazing time spinning this year, and managed to exceed my 2 mile (3,520 yards) spinning goal.  To explain, every yard of 2 ply finished yarn counts as 3 yards, one for each yard of singles spun and a yard for the plying.  This means that for the yardage totals for my yarn, all of which is 2 ply this year, I get 3 times the spinzilla yardage.  Below please find my totals along with whatever information I have about the yarns.

Spinzilla 2018 350 yard skein

This formidable skein is 350 yards which counts for 1,050 spinzilla yards.  This is wool from Moon Rock Farms in Western NY run by a friend of mine.  It practically spun itself and was completed within the first 2 days of Spinzilla.  So fluffy and squishy I cannot wait to see what it looks like washed and ready to go.

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This is white left over from the original skein, plied from a center pull ball which is my favored plying method.  At 44 yards it counts for 132 spinzilla yards and should be a squishy accent for some project.

 

Each of these little skeins are about 10 yards (30 spinzilla), from various mini batts or experiments.  They will also make good accent yarns for some small project, or be incorporated in a larger hodge-podge project.

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This 70 yard skein (210 spinzilla yards) is my faux mohair and sari silk skein.  I don’t like how it looks, and hope that it works up to be prettier than it is in skein.

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This random blue art batt wound up being 76yards for 228 spinzilla credit.

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The purple pop is 124 yards for 372 spinzilla yards.  Like most of the yarns here this was such fun to spin and ply.

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My pumpkin spice yarn is 37 yards, 111 spinzilla, of squishy glory!

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104 yards of maritime bliss accounts for another 312 spinzilla yards.  This was a beautiful roving of superwash targhee I obtained at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival from the daughter of one of my aunts friends.  It spun like a dream and should make a very pretty project for someone.

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This 168 yard skein reminds me of a beautiful mellow spring, it counts for 504 spinzilla yards.

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This slightly bolder 158 yard skein might pair well with the targhee to make a larger project.  It accounts for 474 spinzilla yards and was quite fun to spin.

Last but not Least is the skein created from the Rolags I made using the Alleghany Fiber Arts roving.  spinzilla 2018 13

At 142 yards, 426 spinzilla yards, this is such a lofty and squishy yarn.

I wound up spinning long draw and creating wonderful woolen yarns.  I have not washed any of the yarn yet, and so they have not reached their full squishiness.  If they bloom more than I expect I will post just a collage when they are all dried.

For those of you keeping track I spun 3, 939 spinzilla yards.

Happy Spinning!

Bobbins Cleared and Wheel Tuned

The bobbins are cleared and ready to spin, my wheel is tuned and ready to roll.  I have more fiber than I should be able to use, from yak silk to an amazing roving from a local herd.  I actually plan on starting with the fleece from Ellen’s flock since I have a spin in event tomorrow.

Ellen's Flock Spinzilla 2018

If I decide I am bored spinning normally then I have a sari silk tweed batt and a couple of Art Batts to spin.

Then all of the rolags I have been preparing throughout September, but I already posted those.  Spinzilla begins 1am EST October 1, 2018.  If I am honest, I hope that I am not awake for that, but I do think I will try and wake up one hour earlier than planned to get some spinning done.  Sometimes life stinks but you need to get up and find joy in something.

Happy Crafting!