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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Three Down

Raspberry singles 
I've filled three bobbins with my Raspberry singles and you can really see the slight variations in the red/pink tones from the dyeing.  I have three more bobbins to go that will be this full as well, and then there will be three bobbins that will be less full.  I initially divided the fiber by six, but that made more singles than each bobbin could hold.  I had to order a few more bobbins!

I haven't even attempted to figure out how much yarn I'm going to have when this is all spun and plied, but I think it's probably a good thing that I really like this color.

Have a great weekend and stay safe!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Onward To Sleeves!

James pullover 
Last night I bound off the body of my handspun James pullover!  I took a minute to weave in the ends (good knitter!) and then picked up stitches to start the right sleeve.  Obviously there has been no blocking yet, either wet blocking or steaming, but that can happen later.  I'm pretty sure the lower hem will lie down nicely once it's blocked, even though it is just a narrow rib.

You can see a bit of striping in this yarn because the gray fiber was handdyed.  I haven't bothered alternating the skeins as I knit and I actually really like the subtle striping I got in the body.  This kind of thing is part of what I love about handspun yarn.

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

The First Bobbin

Raspberry singles 
I've gotten the first bobbin spun of my Raspberry wool batts and I've already learned something else from it.  In addition to needing much less twist than combed top (I'm spinning these singles with an 8.5:1 ratio), since the singles have more air in them (carded, jumbled up fibers have more air spaces between them than combed, paralell fibers) they take up more room on the bobbin.  When I spun the Fireworks I was able to get 128 grams of singles on each bobbin.  The bobbin in the photo above has 99 grams of singles.

I had to order a few more bobbins.

On the other hand my sample yarn is gloriously fluffy because of all that air and I'm pretty sure the finished yarn is going to have more yardage per ounce than the yarns I've been spinning.  I've got a lot more singles to spin though before I start getting finished yarn!

Have a great weekend!  I'm going to be spinning, knitting, and possibly frogging a project or two that I'm just not working on.

Stay safe!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Cast Off, Cast On

James pullover 
As soon as I finished my Sunday Morning pullover I was winding yarn for my next sweater.  Handspun yarn to be precise.  This is my Winter Solstice and natural BFL/Tussah Silk that I just finished spinning and I'm knitting the James pullover.  I thought the drape of both the BFL and the silk would work well with this shape of sweater.

It feels good to be working top down and in the round again (although to be fair, knitting in pieces and seaming didn't bother me at all, not like bottom up and in the round does).  I've separated the sleeve stitches and I'm knitting on the body only now, so even though this has a-line shaping and the body will be getting bigger as I go, it feels like I'm through the biggest section already.  It's so much fun to knit with handspun, I just keep on going!

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

A Finished Sweater

Sunday Morning pullover 
I finished my Sunday Morning pullover!  This is knit in Madelinetosh Eyre Light in Coquette Deux.  This yarn has both Alpaca and Silk (along with wool) and both of them tend to grow vertically (with gravity), so I thought this seamed pattern would be good for the yarn.  The seams definitely help to stabilize the super drapey and soft fibers.
Sunday Morning pullover
The pattern has decorative raglan decreases which are really pretty as well as side splits at the hem with a longer back.  The only change I made to the pattern was to make a narrower, single layer neck.  I knit the neckband as the pattern directed first, but when I tried it on it felt too thick and was too wide for my preferences.  When I redid it, I just did a standard ribbed neckline, four rounds wide and bound it off.  Not as fancy as the pattern, but I got the more open neckline I was looking for.
Sunday Morning pullover
It's been ages since I knit a sweater in pieces but I'm really happy with the finished sweater.  It's going to be a few months before I can wear it (Texas in May, and all that), but I'm happy with how it turned out.

Stay safe and have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Spinning

Winter Solstice BFL/silk spinning 
The Winter Solstice spinning has been skeined and washed!  I wish everyone could squeeze this yarn; it's so squishy and soft and drapey, but that would probably just make the Internet even weirder.  I ended up with 1,417 yards of a heavy fingering weight three ply, plus I have 84 yards and 43 yards of natural and gray chain plied yarn (respectively) from what was left on the bobbins.  When you spin a three ply yarn eventually you get down to two bobbins of singles as you're plying, no matter how many bobbins you started out with.  Since my main yarn had two plies of gray and one ply of undyed, natural white wool there was no way to make a chain plied yarn that was similar, so I divided the colors and made two chain plied mini skeins.  The chain plied skeins are visible in the upper right corner of the photo above.  I already have a sweater idea for the main yarn.  The chain plied skeins will be tossed in with other chain plied leftovers from other spinning projects and used for something later.  No clue what that will be.
Raspberry wool
Once I emptied my spinning wheel bobbins it was time to fill them up again, so I started my next spinning project.  This is some deep stash wool, purchased in 2007 at MDS&W (probably the last time I went to MDS&W).  I believe it's from Spinner's Hill.  It's mostly wool, but I've also seen something that looks like it might be kid mohair.  I found a blog post where I mentioned buying it but it makes no mention of what the fiber content is, only a pound and a half of fiber from Spinner's Hill.  The color is a deep raspberry.  It's kind of where red turns into hot pink or where hot pink turns into red, depending on which direction you're going.  It's definitely on the cool side of the red part of the color wheel.

For those of who don't spin, you might be thinking this fiber looks very different from my previous spinning fiber photos.  This is a batt.  What you've seen here lately has been commercial top which looks like thick, fluffy rope.  If you were to look closely at the two different fiber preparations, you would see that the individual fibers in the top are all laying next to each other and oriented perfectly parallel.  This makes for a dense, smooth yarn that tend to have a bit of shine, depending on what type of wool is used.  In a batt the individual fibers are all going different directions - like they're having a party.  Yarns spun from a batt will be more airy and fluffy because of this and will also have less shine because the surface of the yarn isn't smooth, and therefore can't reflect light like it could if the fibers were parallel.  This is a basic explanation and using different spinning techniques can change the properties of the finished yarn beyond what the specific preparation does, but that's another blog post for another day.
Raspberry wool
I've found a possible sweater idea for this and I'm spinning this to be a three ply, hopefully sportweight yarn.  My previously spun yarns have lately been fingering weight so I've got to spin the singles a tiny bit thicker, but because of the prep (batt vs. top) the finished yarn will bloom more than previous yarns so I don't want to go too much thicker.  I did a bit of sampling and I'm working carefully so I don't just start autopilot spinning and make the singles too thin.  I'll spin six bobbins of singles from this fiber before I start plying.  I've set up the wheel (Schacht Flatiron) with Scotch Tension and I'm using a ratio of 8.5:1.  The jumbled nature of the batt means I don't need as much twist to hold the fiber together as in previous projects.

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Thursday, May 07, 2020

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice BFL 
Late Tuesday morning I finished spinning the singles of the undyed BFL/Tussah silk and as soon as I had reset the wheel with a fresh bobbin, I started plying!  I spun the singles using Scotch Tension but I'm plying using Irish Tension.  Irish Tension has a firm wind on so I can really pack my bobbin.  Since plied yarns are typically less firm than the singles that are used to create them, I can use the wheel setup to load more yardage onto the bobbin.
Winter Solstice BFL
I have two bobbins of three ply done and I expect to get one more, then I'll use the last bits of singles in chain plied yarn just to finish them up.  I usually skein after each filled, plied bobbin but this time I decided to just keep filling bobbins and I'll skein and count yardage at the end.  I'm thrilled with the way the yarn is looking and feeling.  Mixing the two colors of singles is giving me a finished yarn that is almost silver colored.  The silk adds a subtle shine as well as softness and drape while the BFL is just wonderful to work with.  I can't wait to knit this up and see what it feels like knitted!

I hope to finish the plying, do the skeining, and get it all washed and finished this weekend.  I hope you have a great weekend.  Around here, we're looking forward to getting haircuts soon, especially Mickael and Caleb.  They can not only see their own hair (for the first time in their lives), they can feel it bouncing when they shake their heads.  I offered to cut their hair for them a few weeks ago, but they both decided they were going to let it grow until the salons and barber shops reopened.  That's supposed to happen tomorrow here in Texas and they're both excited about it!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2020

A Finished Project!

Sockhead slouch hat 
Yes, that's right, I have an actual finished knitting project!  I finished knitting the Sockhead Slouch for Caleb.  This is knit in hand spun (scroll down) that I did last year at the first part of the Tour de Fleece. I spun the singles on one bobbin and then chain plied it to keep the stripe pattern intact.  I had no idea it was going to knit up into such perfect stripes until I started knitting the hat (and I totally love the stripes!)
Sockhead slouch hat
The other thing I really liked about this hat was the cast on - I used the Chinese Waitress Cast on for the first time.  It's a bit fiddly and it took a while, but the finished cast on edge looks amazing!  I will definitely be using again.  I'm going to put the hat away for now and I'll give it to Caleb later - no one really needs a hat in Texas in May, even if it is fingering weight!

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