Electrifying hand dyed yarns, with personality!

Archive for July, 2012

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Summer?

This is what it looked like for most of the day yesterday…

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It’s rare when a summer storm decides to roll through Orange County, but I love it!  There was even real life drops of water falling from the sky!!!

Most people think of Californians as weather wusses, and it’s true, we are.  Just minor weather like this is big news and has the power to bring major cities to a screeching halt.  The ground hardly even got wet, but there were still people out there breaking out their umbrellas.

This did bring around a nice little cool off, and I wish that meant that I had tackled a few rows on  the wedding blanket, but alas, it was humid as all get out and all I really wanted to do was lay in the rain scantily clad.  I didn’t even manage to spin because everything was just too sticky. 😛

But today is another day!  I have several hours to kill alone in the house before heading off to my 10 year high school reunion (are we that old already?).  Wish me luck!

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Basics of Starting Spinning

So I’ve been spinning my little heart out over the last few days, but in small bursts, so the sum total of my work is about 1 spindle’s worth of single ply.  20120711-140834.jpg

In the light of enjoying my drop spindle so much lately, I thought I’d share how I learned to use it.  Tutorials on YouTube are great (and I’ll  link to one in particular later on) but most of them don’t really show in detail the way to get started.

I learned from a great lady who teaches a class in East County San Diego (I believe she was from the East County Spinners Guild).  Her method made it easy to attach the roving and get started.  So that’s what I’m going to share with you.

That string (thin cotton yarn will work too) that’s attached to my spindle is the first step.  Make a long circle with the string and tie the two ends together.  Then you’ll attach it at the knotted end to your spindle (as seen in the picture above).

Pull roving to the thickness desired

With your string attached, it’s time to start preparing your roving.  The roving I had was already pre drafted (pulled to desired thickness).  Basically pull the end bit of wool away from the rest of the wool so it looks similar to the picture.

Put the end of your roving through the end of the string

Put about an inch of your roving through the loop that the string created.

Hold end of roving back over itself

Fold the roving over so that it is touching itself (har).

Run the spindle UP your leg, towards you.  Never mind the passed out Beagle.

Now it’s time to load the spin up on your spindle.  While still holding the roving in one hand (I’m right-handed, but I find it easier to work the spindle with my right and hold the roving with my left) run the spindle UP your leg, towards yourself.  This will load the twist up on the spindle, and thus the roving/yarn.

There’s some more detail (hard to show in pictures without a second person handy) on the actual spinning process on this YouTube drop spindle tutorial.

I prefer to sit while I’m spinning, and use a cheater method.  After I spin my spindle up my leg, I hold steady to the roving and just let the whole thing hang and spin until it almost stops.  I then catch the handle of the spindle between my knees, THEN draft the roving and let the twist run up it.  It just seems easier to me to concentrate on one thing at a time, but do whatever works best for you.

Single ply!!!

Once you’ve let the twist run up the length of the string, and onto the roving, the part folded over itself twists together.  This creates a strong hold, and a secure base for the rest of your spinning!  Learning this was when the lightbulb really went on for me, the rest comes with practice and finding which kind of wool you like using best (my favorite is alpaca, mmmmm).

I hope this helps someone out there get the spinning bug!  It’s tons of fun once you get the hang of it, and after that, as they say, the possibilities are endless!!!

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Time For Spinning!!!

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So, this whole pregnancy/no sleep thing is finally getting to me.  My body hurts from tossing and turning all night.  So I figured this would be the perfect time to sit bolt upright in a hard, straight-backed chair and do some spinning!  *har!*

But yes, that is the plan, as I have finished the Swirl Hat for the soon-to-be little one.  (Note to self: when the next row calls for knitting 3 stitches together, knit more loosely.)

I have hopes of going all Yarn Harlot and setting aside one day a week to practice spinning, which I am still very new at.  So new that I’m only using a drop spindle, and have not yet invested in a wheel.

I found the spindle on Etsy (some sellers have really great starter kits), and purchased a full pound of undyed wool at The Village Spinning and Weaving in Solvang, CA on a short road trip my husband and I took in December last year.  A few months later I managed to dye it, using the Kool-Aid method (super easy and leaves the wool smelling like fruit!).  Finally, I’m getting around to spinning it.  Slowly but surely.

Progress will probably not be so quick as I have a full week working for The Mouse, and what I really should be doing is working on the wedding blanket whenever it’s cool enough to do so.  I will stick to my plan to spin at least one day a week, though who knows what day that will be.

Happy 4th!

Just wanted to say a Happy 4th of July!

Be safe, don’t drink and drive, and keep your pets safe and secure on what can be a scary day for them.

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WIP: Wedding Blanket

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Current work in progress which I am very sad I started during a Southern California summer (it’s hot and humid and the blanket is very effective), but it’s all for a good cause.  It’s a gift for some very special friends of mine who will be getting married August 12!

It’s the Knit Bright Stripes Baby Blanket pattern, though obviously without the stripes, and in a larger, more cuddle-on-the-couch-date-night kind of size.  I’m using Loops & Threads Charisma in off white, on size 13 bamboo Clover circulars.  Yes the yarn is acrylic, and maybe to some a little below par, but one of the recipients of this blanket is highly allergic to cats (of which I have 2, who very much enjoy sitting on my knitting) and I wanted the blanket to be very washable.  Besides, it’s still a very nice snugly yarn, and affordable considering the fact that this blanket will probably take at least 8 skeins.

I’m enjoying how soft and snuggly the blanket is turning out, very squishy!  I’m contemplating threading a ribbon or other yarn through the yarn overs on each side, using their wedding colors.  Also on the last corner I’ve mocked up a pattern to put their initials in a heart… I’m going to have to swatch that and see how it goes.  Most of my self designed patterns end up squished or stretched.  😛