Archive for the 'Spinning' Category

Making a sweater from a molehill




I’ve been spinning now for just about two years exactly.  In fact, I think I had just purchased my wheel days before Stitches West 2007.  I guess I didn’t dive head first into it, but I’ve now waded a good way into the spinning world and I’ve got many skeiens of unknit yarn to show for it.  Sure, I’ve knit a few things from handspun, some silk handwarmers (from my first spindle spinning attempts), a few hats (all ravelry links- 1) and scarves (1, 2) and a pair of mittens (which each see lots of wear) but I haven’t worked up to anything big yet.  Part of this is due to my scattered fiber buying.  I have small quantities of a large range of fiber types and colors from which I have been teaching myself about spinning.  This has been great for exploring the variety available but not so great for knitting up anything requiring more than 2oz (or sometimes 4oz) of material.

I have a goal: turn some of my handspun yarn stash into a full sized wearable garment.  I’m hoping to mostly use things already in my stash but I will accept the possibility that I need supplements to make this work.  I also realize this might require a multicolored garment, but I also contend that I have to make something wearable so it can’t be too technicolor.

My first idea is to make a yoked sweater with some colorwork at the top.  I’ve got many lovely bits and pieces in a similar gauge which could contribute to the colorwork. I even purchased some of them together with this in mind. This is one of my favs:



Yak from A Verb for Keeping Warm

but I also have



Thai Iced Tea BFL from A Verb for Keeping Warm.

and



Jade Merino-Silk from A Verb for Keeping Warm.

What I’m really missing is a substantial quantity of something to use for the body and sleeves. I do have a fair amount (just under 9oz) of polwarth from A Verb for Keeping Warm



but would guess that this is not enough for the body of a traditional yoked sweater unless I skip the sleeves. There might be a savior in my fiber stash, a lovely brown polwarth secret (an xmas present from girlontherocks…) that is not even washed yet. Perhaps that can solve my sweater body woes?

Does anyone have a good estimate for what percentage of a sweater the body and sleeves comprise? I have some idea in my head that I need about a pound of yarn to make a sweater, but I’m not sure of the proportional breakdown of each part. Any references or books I should check? I consulted EZ (Knitting Around) and found the percentage system for measuring size of sweater but nothing to help for estimating yarn requirements… If I had to guess I would put the yoke section at about 1/4 of the total sweater. This would make my 9oz of Polwarth too small, requiring more like 12oz.

Another option is to re-think my pattern direction, but I just don’t have any visions. Any ideas out there?

economic stimulus




I did my (small) part to stimulate the economy this weekend through a bit of shopping during the Stitches West 2009 conference. I had a great time this year-enjoying some time with friends and not getting too over-stimulated. Want to see what I got?

First, at the top is my new spindle. Made by Greensleeves Spindles from bloodwood in the style “Vixen” weighing in at 0.6oz.

Wensleydale top in olive tones (8oz total) from Lisa Souza.


Alpaca/Jacob blend in Red (6oz) from Toots LeBlanc.


A bit of Brenna! Prepared alpaca fleece (from Breanna) in jet black (3.8oz) from A star Alpacas.


Undyed cotton (2oz) from A Verb for Keeping Warm. I’m excited to give spinning cotton a try and I know I can always get more from Kristine’s shop (brick and mortar!) when I get the hang of it.


Last but not least I visited Krista at Pigeonroof Studios. I have had a recent re-interest in knitting socks so some superwash was in order! I got one roving in color spume


and one skein of “siren two lace” in charcoal.


I was also really excited to pick up some textile bobbins from Krista’s booth. I missed out on the bobbins at Color last October so I was happy to snag a few this time around.



It would, perhaps, have been a little easier to show all of these purchases in a single photo. Unfortunately natural light bright enough for photos lights up barely a few square feet of my apartment during weather like this (read: gray and rainy). I’ve currently got some kind of illness to go along with the gloomy weather. It is always a bit disappointing being sick. I feel bad staying home (and not getting work done) but I can’t really do anything fun at home either. My brain is a bit shot and my head and neck are very achy. Lets just hope I wake up tomorrow fresh as a daisy and let the week go on.

In any case, Stitches was fun and made me excited to make things, just as soon as I recuperate enough to think about it.

losing the sun (traveling part 2)




I’ve been on a marathon for about a month and a half now. Only a few more days before I can really relax..

What have I been up to this whole time? Well, I’m glad you asked. First I went with N to his brother’s wedding in MD (but I mentioned that already…).

Next was the Color Fiber Festival. I actually missed about half of the festival because I had to go to my office and finish up my poster for the next branch of my adventure. Here we are setting up the Girl On The Rocks booth.


I got several really nice things at Color but I haven’t gotten a chance to spin any of them yet.



I think I am most excited about the drafted lamb’s fleece (Tanner, from Flynn Creek Churros). It is a lovely shade of chocolate brown and quite soft.



I also scored a gorgeous roving from Krista at Pigeonroof Studios. I kept looking through all of the selections and pulling the same one out, so I knew it was the right color for me!



Yak from A verb for keeping warm.



California Variegated Mutant (love the name!) from Tactile fiber arts.

The next morning I flew several thousand miles in the opposite direction to Hawaii for a conference and a few days of exploring. I made a best effort to spend as many sunsets at the beach as possible. I think I did pretty well.



I discovered a few things about traveling alone in a tropical locale. For one, it is difficult to put sunscreen on your own back. In response to this realization one person said that it would be an excellent opportunity to make friends on the beach. I chose to wear a shirt instead.

For lack of motivation to do much driving on my own I spent one entire day sitting on this beach:



It was time well spent.

When I returned home it was all of a sudden winter, and I was just in time for the election and a few days of intense work and a little sewing.



More sewing you might ask? Yes (!), more sewing. I’m frantically trying to prepare for the Bazaar Bizarre! I’ve been trying my best to cram a little sewing into all the cracks in my life. I’m going to make it (the show is this Sunday!) but I might not want to look at a vinyl banner or my sewing machine for a while afterward. If you are in the area please stop by! I’ll be at a booth with Girl On The Rocks – just follow your nose to the table of moustaches and recycled vinyl. Expect another post about the event soon…

travels




N’s grandmother’s kitchen wallpaper. One word: fantastic.




N’s brother got married last weekend. The weather could not have been more perfect.



I couldn’t get enough of uniform + bubbles.




I’ve been sewing in all of the spare seconds I can find. I’m trying to get ready for Color Fiber Festival and the SF Bazaar Bizarre. Color happens tomorrow (!) so if you are in the Berkeley area and want to check out some local fiber artists and socialize with fellow fiber enthusiasts you should stop by the Pacific School of Religion. The hours are 10am to 5pm – see you there?

spun




Twist set.







Pewter polwarth locks from A Verb For Keeping Warm. 3oz yielded 192 yds of navajo plied sport-ish weight yarn. It is nice and soft and squishy… I cant wait to spin the other two bags!




Mixed batt from Tactile Fiber Arts including alpaca, merino, bamboo, silk tussah, silk noils, angora and I can’t remember what else. Purchased at Stitches West 2008. 2 oz, 128 yards, two ply.




Merino-Silk (80-20), dark blue. 69 yards, navajo plied. This is a test skein to see how I like this fiber spun. I have lots left to make more.

The last skein in the top image is just some white domestic top. Handspun tweed chickens anyone?

color: a fiber festival

This past Saturday I spent the day surrounded by beautiful, wonderful fiber, and in my own town no less! It was the inaugural Color: A Fiber Festival bringing out the local fiber community for a day of classes, fiber tastings, shopping, and spinning. I spent the day working at Girl on the Rocks’ booth helping her sell roving, stitch markers, and of course, moustaches. I snuck a few of my recycled wallets and tweed chickens onto the table as well.



This is me with my entire inventory in a small tin standing in front of several car-loads of yarn and fiber being unpacked for the Tactile/A Verb For Keeping Warm booth next to us. Their stuff is not only fabulous but also voluminous! Here they are setting up, and this was just the beginning…


The event also hosted classes on drop spindling, hand loom weaving and fiber tastings. I participated in the rare wool breeds fiber tasting with Maia from Tactitle Fiber Arts. We tried 8 breeds/preparations including Icelandic (two ways), California Red, California Variegated Mutant (my favorite name!), Gotland and Polwarth. When I get myself organized I’ll add some finished yarn to the card in addition to the raw fiber sample.


I really enjoyed the Polwarth, so, though I yearn for chocolate colored Polwarth, I bought some Silver and Pewter locks from A Verb For Keeping Warm to tide me over until more chocolate is available. I also enjoyed the Gotland and bought some Indigo dipped roving from Kristine. Last, but not least, I bought some Wensleydale roving from Tactile. I didn’t even get a chance to check out the rovings from Krista at Piegonroof Studios because she was nearly sold out within an hour!









On Friday I spent some time over at Karrie’s getting all of her things ready for the show. I helped her start a new product: the ‘Stache Sachet. Aside from nearly asphyxiating ourselves with volatilizing essential oils (which we mixed with cedar chips and lavender) we also gocco-ed up some muslin bags. I just have to say, I loves me some gocco-ing. I wish I could think of more opportunities to print 50 copies of things!


I think the event owes a lot to those who organized it, thanks especially to Sara and Ted for keeping it all running smoothly. It was a wonderful day and I hope we get to do it again soon!

busy busy

but not with crafty things… There has been a real sense of urgency around the office lately. It has good effects by motivating me to get work done but I don’t enjoy the elevated stress level. I’m starting to feel a bit more relaxed now, at least enough to show off a few photos.

Spinning:



Merino dyed by Girl on the Rocks in colorway Europa. I navajo plied it and I’ve been pawing at the skein trying to decide what to make. It’s soft and squishy and probably bulky weight. Any suggestions?




Yak! I spun yak! Locks were from A Verb for Keeping Warm.




Romney single-ply also dyed by Girl on the Rocks this one is called Apollo (after you know who). It is a pretty good match to his kitten years, but he is a bit browner now.

Knitting:



A hat! I knit a hat using my bruised handspun. I never did pick a pattern but I eventually figured out a size that would work and remembered to write it down (hooray!). I have enough yarn left over to knit two more hats (or something else). The hat is lovely and soft but it has already gotten too warm around here to need it. I guess I’ll just have to wait until summer for those cold foggy nights.




I have also mostly completed a sweater. It’s made from Debbie Bliss Alpaca-Silk (mmmmm soft) and has been in the works for at least a year now… I have a real problem following directions (or even choosing directions) and my pattern-less knitting projects always require some adjustments. This one is now seamed and awaiting a button band and collar. The neckline is a little funky and I might have to re-knit it but I guess thats what I deserve for trying to make a short row neck without even keeping track…

And I have new toys on the way too… A Beka rigid heddle loom and 30 yards of seatbelt webbing. Isn’t that every girls dream?

hats etc.

spinning, spinning, spinning and a hat…

Ah, just like a fresh bruise.. I finished spinning some merino roving that Karrie helped me dye in late November. I really, really, really like the color… I just need to decide what weight yarn I actually made so I can pick a pattern to knit myself a new hat.


Cato is proudly modeling a hat I made quickly before xmas. I used most of 2 balls of Rowan Cashsoft DK from my stash (originally purchased at the Webs booth at Stitches West 2007) one light blue and the other in navy. The pattern is the Inga Hat and I found it on Ravelry. I knit the hat using size 6 needles instead of size 5 which resulted in a really big hat, but it fits the recipient well. Oh, and the yarn is yummy…

spinning away

Im slowly getting better… This is one strand of domestic white top and one of something grey– honestly I dont really know. Im just practicing with all the pieces of roving ive got in my bag. I have also been really enjoying spinning some merino roving dyed by Karrie.

This weekend I received a package in the mail (always exciting) with musk ox fiber my friends found in Alaska while doing field work. So exciting! Its got some plant material in it and smells like animal, but its much cleaner than you might expect to find. The cat is pretty interested in the smell and spent a good 10 min sniffing around after I opened the envelop. Im going to need to find myself some cards that can handle it.

I also have for you today an indication that we have made progress on the wedding quilt

and a furrier version

We have actually finished all of the sewing and just need to snip off the tails of thread hanging out and take some photos before we can deliver it. Winter is coming at some point (its even supposed to rain today) and they might need it!

Domestic scene, with scenery

I had grand ambitions for crafting this weekend: welding! silkscreen printing! and while the heat overcame us and I forgot various necessary components at home we did still manage to eek out a crafty domestic scene in the wine country.

There are three spinning wheels in that photo! You can see my suzie peaking out in the foreground.

And the best entertainment of all were the kittens. Five of them! Unfortunately none of them appear to be named gravy.

The view is pretty neat too.