Electrifying hand dyed yarns, with personality!

Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

Oops

Ya, so obviously I’ve been a bit of a blog slacker for the last, oh, 6 months *blush* sorry bout that.

We’ve gained a condo, lost a dog, remodeled, took up extra projects, and are finally coming back around on the other side.  Mostly.  My free time is usually spent like this…

I'm not sure why she likes to stack toys on me.

I’m not sure why she likes to stack toys on me.

I swear this just happens when Little and I “play.”  Of corse she also likes to “help” when I’m attempting to knit as well.

Sly face!

Sly face!

So as you can probably tell, things are slow going.  I’m hoping to get the dye pots out of boxes in the next week.  In the mean time, here’s my first batches of hand spun that have come off my new wheel!

On our sunny new balcony!

On our sunny new balcony!

Dyed, spun, and chain plied by me!!!

Dyed, spun, and chain plied by me!!!

So much pretty <3

So much pretty ❤

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Up Past My Bedtime

But it was worth it!  I finally finished my hand spun hat last night!

It’s had itself a bath…

SAM_1022

 

And spent today in a sunny spot to dry out, safe out of the reach of the cats.

SAM_1023

 

With any luck, even with the icky humidity lately, I will have a hat to wear tomorrow 😀  (Never mind the fact that it’s been at least in the 90’s here lately, and this hat is 100% wool.)

What projects of yours are so good they keep you up at night?

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Well Rats…

20130706-222142.jpgTonight was supposed to be so much easier than this!  I had just gotten my new interchangeable circulars in the mail, but they are the wrong size!!!

As you can see, I am attempting to cope with the cards I have been delt.  Of corse, it is all my fault.  I didn’t double check the size of the dpns I had been using when I ordered my new circulars.  Now, I must keep plodding along on my hat (made of my new hand spun!!!) on dpns that can barley keep all the stitches on.  *sigh*  Guess I’ll be finishing this hat before I head off on our road trip.

On a good note, I’m loving my hand spun!  I got 110 yards out of 1/2 a pound of random wool (can’t remember what it is for the life of me), and I still have another 1/2 pound of hand dyed fluff to spin up.  Unless someone steals this hat from me, that other 1/2 pound may end up in my Etsy shop 😀

What projects are keeping you up tonight?

Plying With the Spindle

Yesterday was a no make-up, get stuff done around the house kind of day, and today looks to be more of the same.  I dove into the spare closet where all my crafty stuff had been tossed, just to get it out of the way, during the move.  Spent all day burying Little’s room under a pile of stuff, then finding it again so she could go to bed.  To reward myself for a hard days work, I broke out my spinning once again to try to finish plying all I had so far.

On that note, I thought it would be a good idea to give you all the long-delayed plying tutorial!  When I was just trying to take up spinning I was lucky enough to get to sit in on a local spinning guild’s class.  I spun my first bit of yarn there!  Before I left, the instructor outlined the plying method I’m about to show you, and, not to brag or anything, but it’s a lot easier than having to wind up a bunch of center pull balls like most of the You Tube videos suggest.  So, on to it!  (But if you haven’t read my original drop spindle tutorial, check it out here.)

Supplies, easy!

Supplies, easy!

Grab yourself an old shoe box you don’t mind poking holes into, and a good, sturdy pair of needles you don’t mind poking through the box.

Poke!  Poke!

Poke! Poke!

Stick your needles through the shoebox as shown.  This is what I call the “poor man’s lazy Kate.”  Make sure you leave enough space on all sides of the needles for your “spool” to turn smoothly.  And by “spool” I mean those TP tubes with your singles wrapped on them (or is that just me?).

"Spools"

“Spools”

Double check!

Double check!

Make sure that your singles are coming off the spools on the same side.

OPPOSITE of the way it was spun!

OPPOSITE of the way it was spun!

Slip the end of both singles through your starter string (see previous spinning post for a how to) and start spinning the OPPOSITE direction that you spun your singles in.  In my spinning tutorial I spun my singles by rolling the spindle UP my leg, so, when I’m plying, I roll the spindle DOWN my leg.  Easy peasy!

Mmmmmm

Mmmmmm

When my spindle was full, I unwound it onto a home-made niddy-noddy (there are lots of tutorials on how to make one out of PVC pipe) that measures in yards.  That is about 80 yards of my finished, two ply yarn!  I can’t wait to finish plying the 1/2 pound I have spun up.  I’m hoping to have enough for a nice slouchy hat 😀

Even if you don’t end up with enough yarn for a large project, make something out of it!  Even if it’s just a thin headband.  You’ll love it all the more because it was made totally by you!  Have fun!

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Shop news!  I have the original colorways up and running again, and, new lower shipping cost!  Woot!!

 

 

 

 

Ouch

Knitting on a deadline stinks.  I have this tendency to get all wrapped up in the project, forsaking all others, working on it at every spare moment, until my wrist just can’t handle the repetitive movement any longer.  I’ve looked up some knitting wrist and hand stretches, and hopefully that will help out some.  

Today is day three with no knitting on the very large blanket which needs to be done by August 12.  Eek!

I have, however, been attempting to work on other things.  One of which does have, yet another, deadline, and the other, not so much.  The non deadline project, which I really shouldn’t even be thinking about right now, would be more spinning.  I have a full pound of that peacock roving, and I’ve barely even made a dent into the first half of it.  I’ve got about 2 “spools” (I use a drop spindle, and therefore have no spools, so I wrap the singles around TP tubes when I fill up the spindle), and just a tad more on the spindle itself.  Not the most exciting, but it is progress.

Deadline project numero dose would me my little one’s baby blanket.  I’m using Patons Classic Wool in Aran and over dying it in what I’ve dubbed my “Fuzzy Navel” colorway.  Tonight was full of such fun things as….  taking yarn out of skein and making it into dyeable hanks!  Woot!

As I still need to order a Niddy Noddy, and/or a Yarn Swift, my dining table became the next best thing.  I used my knitting supply box to make the hanks a little longer.  

Four hanks put together, 2 set to soak and dye.  I also apparently need a larger dye pot for these bigger yarns.  Hopefully some careful dye measuring will mean the 4 finished hanks will match… as much as hand dyed yarns ever match. 

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On a totally separate note, Linus and I made a trip out to the local farmers market tonight.  It’s also a sort of street fair with craft booths and live music.  Linus was busy Hoovering dropped popcorn and other snacks while I shopped for this week’s fruit and veggies.

My favorite thing of the summer finally showed up!  Heirloom tomatoes!!!  So tonight I took one of them and chopped it up with an avocado (another delicious market find!), cilantro, lime juice, and a little garlic and salt.  Mmmmm, not a bad late night snack if you ask me.

Now I just have to kill the heartburn (thanks baby) from all the acid in the tomato before I attempt to hit the sack.  We’ll see how that goes

 

 

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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.