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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Fireworks

Fireworks spinning 
I've started a new spinning project and this one is a big one.  This is also being spun for a specific sweater, so I actually sampled before I started!  The fiber (above) is Fireworks from BeesyBee.  It's 65% Merino and 35% Recycled Sari Silk.  If I understand correctly, Recycled Sari Silk isn't recycled from old saris, it's the loom waste from weaving the sari fabric.  The silk is chunkier than the wool and it makes a textured, neppy yarn.  I'm spinning a three ply which will help balance out the thick and thin somewhat, but for the most part, you just have to accept thick and thin with the sari silk.  On the other hand, you get these amazing pops of color!
Fireworks spinning
I'm spinning it on my Schacht Flatiron using the 12.4 : 1 ratio at 50 wpi, using Scotch Tension (singles Z, plying S).  I should say 50 wpi is my goal.  As I mentioned the sari silk adds a lot of texture.  I will spin six bobbins of singles before I begin plying.  Since this is going to be a big project, I won't bore you with weekly progress photos of half full bobbins - I'll just show you when I finish a bobbin.  (Which could theoretically be weekly, but I have a feeling it's going to take me more time than that to fill each bobbin.)
Fireworks spinning
The sweater plan?  I want to knit another Ambiente with the finished yarn.  The simple, oversized, stockinette will be perfect for showing off the little pops of color against the black.  When I sampled, I knit up a swatch to check gauge, so you can see above how fun it looks knitted!

Have a great weekend!  I've got some spinning to do!

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Something Cozy

Capture the Moment cardigan 
I've started a new sweater!  Right now it looks like I'm knitting a ranch house, but it will be a sleeveless cardigan when it grows up.  (For some reason, this doesn't feel like a vest to me - maybe because it's so oversized?) This is Capture the Moment and in the photo above, you can see the upper back and about half of the upper right front.  The left front is on a stitch holder and a provisional cast on at the moment.  The lime green marker is at the center back of the collar.  Did that explanation help you any with figuring out what you're looking at?  Didn't think so.
Capture the Moment cardigan
I'm knitting it in Malabrigo Arroyo in Prussia Blue which is a super dark navy blue, which means photos are hard to get.  The stitch pattern on the collar section shows up better in real life than it does in photos, but you can kind of see it above.  The stitch pattern is reversible - it's not 100% identical on both sides, but it's close enough that picking the right and wrong sides of the collar section isn't easy.  That's why there's a marker at the center back on the right side, although now that I've added some stockinette as the back and front, it's a lot easier to figure out which side is the right side of the sweater.

Also, it has pockets!  Next time I blog this, I'm going to totally overexpose the photo so you can actually see things.

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Thursday, September 05, 2019

A New Skein of Yarn

Dark Chrysalis 
I finished spinning the Dark Chrysalis fiber (from Beesybee).  This braid was dyed with one end gray, moving to all the colors at the other end, so I spun it to keep that color sequence intact.  First I divided the braid into three sections - gray, gray with some colors, and the colorful section.  The gray section I spun as it was.  It was pretty much a solid gray.  I split the gray with colors section lengthwise some to distribute the colors a bit.  The most colorful section was split lengthwise quite a bit.  I did have to draft, but I wanted the colors as intact as possible.  When the fiber was dyed, some of the color sections were shorter than the staple length of the fiber, which automatically means you're going to get blending and softening of hue as you spin it.  As I was spinning it, it reminded me of wings, but not butterfly wings.  It reminded me of dragonfly wings or fairy wings.  Then after I finsished it, I watched Carnival Row on Amazon Prime and the colors exactly match the fairy wings in the opening credits.

Once the singles were spun, I chain plied it, again in an attempt to keep the colors clear.  My finished yarn is 420 yards.  Here are all the stats:

  • Beesybee Fibers in Dark Chrysalis, 50% Merino/50% Mulberry Silk
  • Spun and plied on my Kromski Symphony
  • Singles spun using Double Drive at 16:1 ratio, 50 wpi
  • Chain plied using Scotch Tension at 16:1 ratio
  • Finished yarn is 420 yards/114 grams
The way it was dyed and the way I spun it, it will work perfectly for the type of shawl that's an asymmetrical triangle knit end to end (like the original Hitchhiker). More than half of the yardage is the colorful section, so if I start knitting at the gray end, it should work for that type of shawl.  I haven't picked a pattern yet, but I'm looking.  If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them in the comments!

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Tuesday, September 03, 2019

A Finished Handspun Pullover!

Niamh pullover 
I finished my Niamh pullover.  This was made from my handspun yarn and I loved knitting with it.  Seeing the stripes appear as I knit was so interesting and even though I still can't explain why the sleeve stripes are in the same width range as the body stripes, it was fun to knit.  I followed the pattern exactly, with no modifications.  This was designed by the designer of Ravello and I've knit several of her patterns, so I know from experience they work perfectly for my body type.  This was my first time using the contiguous set in sleeve technique and that was interesting.  I liked it!
Niamh pullover
The finished pullover is lightweight and soft and should be perfect for fall and winter weather around here.  I think it will work on its own as well as layered when it gets cooler.  I actually want to knit another one of these in dark blue - possibly handspun for that as well.  Someday...

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Spinning

I have another sweater quantity spinning project (honestly, there are several in the stash), but I decided to spin a single, 4 ounce braid using double drive as a kind of fibery palette cleanser.  The majority of my spinning has been done using Scotch Tension and that is definitely the system I'm most comfortable with.  For non spinners, there are three systems of spinning wheel mechanics that determine how the yarn is wound on to the bobbin once the twist is added.  Sometimes the bobbin pulls it on (Irish tension), sometimes the flyer wraps it onto the bobbin (Scotch Tension), and then there's double drive which I don't fully understand, but somehow the bobbin gets wound.  It could be more spinning magic.  I'm sure I've got a book upstairs that explains it, but I'm writing this without the benefit of caffeine (yet - there will definitely be caffeine, I'm just not there this morning), and wheel mechanics might make my head explode.

Anyway, once you get double drive set up properly, you don't have to make any adjustments to it as you fill the bobbin.  In Scotch tension, you have to adjust the tension on the brake band as the bobbin fills to counteract the inertia and slow the bobbin so your yarn can wind on.  This is one of those physics things - it takes more energy to stop a heavier thing that is in motion than it does to stop a lightweight thing.  (Pink Lemon physics lesson before caffeine!). It's not uncommon to have to make several adjustments over the course of filling a bobbin.  This isn't a super big deal and most spinners get a feel for their wheel and make the adjustments they need as they spin, but if you're spinning a large quantity of fiber and you want it to be consistent, using double drive can make your life easier.  Since I have two wheels that can be set up as double drive and plans for more sweater quantities of spinning, I thought it would be good to learn more about that system.  Just another trick in the toolbox.

So I started spinning a braid of 50% Merino/50% Mulberry Silk that was dyed as a gradient (Beesy Bee Fibers in Dark Crysalis).  I started with the gray end and there was definitely something off with my take up.  There's no brake band in double drive, so adjustments are made by increasing or decreasing tension on the drive band.
Dark Chrysalis
After the gray section, I spun the middle section that had gray and some colors.  While things are better, it still wasn't winding on with enough pull to avoid some tension issues, although the worst of the little pigtail twists are gone.
Dark Chrysalis
Finally, by the time I got into the colored section, I was getting somewhere in my adjustments and wind on was much better.  Spinning is moving smoothly now and I'm starting to get a feel for double drive.  I don't feel like I'm ready for a big project on double drive yet, but I might keep playing with smaller fiber amounts and get some more double drive practice under my belt.  It's definitely been a learning challenge, but I'm enjoying it!
Dark Chrysalis
(I'll give the spinning details when I get the yarn all plied and finished.  That seems like the logical place for all the technical stuff.)

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

A Second Sleeve

Niamh pullover 
The blog post titles are getting super creative around here aren't they?  I did, in fact, finish the first sleeve of my Niamh pullover and start the second sleeve, so while it's not particularly inspired, the title is accurate.  This pullover is knit in lightweight yarn with a high number of stitches per inch, which is why it seems like it's taking forever , or maybe it just seems like it to me.  I'm pretty sure sleeves usually move faster than this though.  On the other hand, a lightweight wool pullover will be super useful around here when it's a little cooler.

I did actually get a good photo of the stripes this time, so you can see how well the sleeve stripes pair with the body stripes.  I don't exactly understand how it's working out, but I'm definitely impressed that it is.

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

A Sleeve

Niamh pullover 
I've finished the body of Niamh and started the first sleeve.  At this point, I haven't woven in any of the ends yet, but I have tried it on and I'm happy with the way it fits.  Since Fifi and I are similarly sized, you can kind of see the fit here.

The stripes are continuing on the sleeves, which I was expecting, but I was expecting them to change scale and be wider.  I'm not sure how this is happening, but the sleeve stripes are in the same size range as the body stripes.  I'm pretty sure this goes against all laws of physics and has crossed over into Magic.  Strange things are afoot on the circular needle?

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