Monday October 03rd 2011, 5:00 am
Filed under: Spinning
I bought a little mound of blue and yellow roving at MDSW 2006. Golly, what was that, a lifetime ago?
In its native form (plus the rest of my haul from that year – hey, I still have the cap!)
The fiber is primarily indigo-dyed Corriedale with a good percentage of silk dyed with osage orange. The silk gave the singles such a warm, golden shimmer. The spinning was very smooth, no problems that I recall. The singles languished for years, but this spring, I found all the storage bobbins and plied that sucker up. In its final form, it was a round 3-ply, probably heavy worsted or aran weight. I didn’t weigh it after washing all the carding oils out, so I’m not sure how much was there. (Four ounces? Maybe a little more?)
I sent it away as a gift, so I hope someday to see it in a more functional form! Here are a few close-ups of the final yarn.
Ever since Jordan and Casey were born, I almost never knit in front of the girls. They need too much of my physical help and direct attention, we’re always playing together (or reading, or eating, or…), plus I don’t want pointy needles and strangulation hazards (and “unravelable” projects) just laying around, willy nilly. Although I sometimes knit or crochet in the car, me knitting is not a part of our current family culture.
Imagine my surprise, then, when Meredith spied a hole in one of her garments and asked me if I was going to “yarn it.” Do what? Say that again? “Mama, will you yarn this for me?”
Well, I’ll be darned. Heh heh.
Now 3 years old!
Here’s a skein of yarn that was 2 years in the making. My e-mail receipt is dated March 2009!
Fiber: Chasing Rainbows; 50/50 silk/merino; colorway African savannah; purchased here (NAYY).
Wheel and spinning style: Drudik wheel, slowest or next-to-slowest speed. Split the top lengthwise into long, thin strips (no wider than a pinky) and translucent. Spun in pure worsted style (draft about 12″ before feeding onto the bobbin). Plied on my Womack Butterfly electric wheel. I set the bobbins up and walked with the singles until I was about 30 feet away from the wheel (it spun all the while), I waited until it had built up a lot of plying twist and then walked slowly back to let it feed back on the bobbin. This is a 1-hand maneuver for aged singles with dormant twist. I used the other hand to do things like brush my teeth!
Finishing: Hanked, tied in a million places with a Figure8+1 tie (that is, looped 3 times around per tie) because it is 50% silk and silk is notorious for mercilessly sticking to itself. (If you’ve ever cried while cutting tangled silk off of a bobbin, you know what I mean!) Handwashed in cool water, spun out, dried flat.
Yarn specs: 3-ply, fingering weight. Length, 387 yards (354 m); weight, 2 oz (57 g).
Random thing 1: Someone recently e-mailed me about a very cool variant on the DNA scarf. I think this is highly awesome.
Image by Jamie P
See more pics here (rav link) or here (non-rav link).
Random thing 2: I was browsing through the site of a former infertility blogger (now mommy of 2 boys, 1 about Meredith’s age). She recently moved to Turkey and posted pictures of a carpet shop that she visited with her family. She mentioned the dyes, the knotted pile, and included a picture of a woman spinning.
Image by Wendi K
I was really tickled by this photo. “Hey,” I thought to myself, “a Turkish spindle! In Turkey! How neat is that?!” (Ha ha ha I AM TIRED.) Looks like she’s using it as a support spindle to make worsted-weight singles. Nifty.
Random thing 3: Acting on the advice of Etherknitter and others, I recently sent off a superfine Merino (gracefully aged 7 yrs in my stash, purchased from here) to Morro Fleece Works. I figured it would be at least 6 mo before I saw it again. Wrong! Shari e-mailed and said it would be done this week!
Random thing 4: If you’re a breastfeeding (or otherwise busty) gal who has a hard time finding tailored blouses that close over “the girls” without pulling or gaping, Carissa Rose clothes are designed for you. They have a special sale going on as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Click here for details. NAYY, other than a previous customer.
Image by Carissa Rose
Random thing 5: My babies are now in full-time day care. They are doing mostly well, although Casey is (after 1 week) still very reluctant to accept bottles of breastmilk during the day. The day care ladies have tried everything – our latest trick is to have someone drape on a shirt that I’ve worn, in case the scent helps. (Interestingly, the only caregiver who has had any success feeding her also happens to be a nursing mom – coincidence?)
We see the pediatrician in another week for their next wellness appointment, but can anyone please offer me a reassuring story in the meantime?
My friend Barb offered to bring in my entries to the MN state fair knitting competition earlier this summer. She was going to the fairgrounds anyway, to drop off her own entries (canning competition). I gratefully handed over a pair of socks, a sweater, and a handspun lace scarf a few weeks before the fair began. And then, after the items were out of my hands, I promptly forgot all about the fair.
One Thursday morning, I got a strange, cryptic e-mail from a handspinning friend, Shelley. The subject line said “State Fair” and the message was simply “Whoooooo hooooo!!!!!” I briefly wondered what the heck she was talking about. But babies were crying or something, and I just closed out the message, figuring I’d get back to it later, whatever it was.
Then Barb e-mailed me Thursday afternoon and asked me how I did at the fair. Huh? Oh! The fair opened that day! And the results of the competitions were posted online that morning! Ohhhh! Hey, did I win something? Is that why Shelley was so excited? (All right, guys – in my defense, I’m a little sleep deprived, OK?)
BTW–Barb kicked some serious butt this year! She is now a THREE-time winner of the MN State Fair Prestigious Processor of the Pantry Award – read more about her here.
We went to the fair on Saturday. Gorgeous day – 70s, sunny. The girls were NOT happy. We were there for a couple hours, and I think 2 of the 3 were crying at any given moment the whole time. Lots of people stared. Moms of twins stopped me to offer encouragement (that was nice). But we ate lots of food on a stick, Meredith and Matt rode on the carousel (yeah, she clung to Matt, wept, and whispered repeatedly that she was “all done” and “want[ed] to get off”), and we saw my knitting on display! Sorry for the lousy pictures – I had only a cameraphone.
And the results! <drumroll >
Socks, fifth place!
Sweater, third place!
Lace scarf, first place! Check out that blue ribbon! Also – it won a special award from the Northern Lights Handspinners Guild!
Wednesday February 10th 2010, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Spinning
A handspinner and knitter that I have known through online fiber groups for many years has recently opened a new virtual shop, International Fleeces. NAYY, other than she is a friend.
I made a small purchase to help her on her way -
That’s 4 oz of Shetland/silk (70/30) – doesn’t it sort of remind you of Pepé Le Pew?
And I couldn’t resist the True Creations spindle (0.7 oz, a colorful whorl made of chakte kok, a wood I’d never heard of before).
Shipping (with UPS) was prompt, as was e-mail notification of the purchase, and I’m very satisfied with my experience shopping with her. She also threw in a couple freebie fiber samples (camel/silk blend and spiral-dyed Merino), which were nice.
Go forth and treat yourself! And tell Talia that I sent you.
New handspun yarn
Sunday January 24th 2010, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Spinning
A word about Bloglines – if you were one of the “lost” subscribers (it tells you my feed is broken, but there’s nothing you need to do), please try subscribing with this address: http://www.twosheep.com/blog/wp-atom.php . At least that one appears to get updated on a reasonably timely basis.
Hey, so I finished something!
It was a couple years in the spinning, but the plying took only a few hours. This is a 3-ply (chain-plied), sport-weight yarn, 100% Polwarth. I don’t know the yardage, but the weight is 4.8 oz.
I was really disappointed in this roving. It was felted into an unusable, clotted mass. Perhaps it didn’t start out that way – it could be a function of the carding oil oxidizing with time. Taking my own advice, I stopped spinning the fiber when the pleasure of spinning gave way to tedium.
If you follow the progression of spinning (easy to do because of the chain plying), as the roving got more and more felted, the singles got progressively ragged and pilly-looking on the bobbin. The last part of the yarn looks like hell, frankly. I am hanging onto the unspun portion and may try v.e.r.y. gently washing it, but I am not optimistic about its rescue. Such a shame, the colors really are wonderful.
Currently, the yarn is resting quietly in the stash bucket in the basement. Any suggestions of a project for a small amount of yarn with very long color sequences?
Wednesday September 02nd 2009, 4:34 pm
Filed under: Spinning
Now that I’ve been living in MN for 4+ years, I thought maybe I was ready to enter a few items in the MN State Fair. Competition is stiff – when I marveled one year at all the intricate items in the various categories, I was reminded that winter is long here. Anyway, I buried my reservations about putting lovingly made items into a competition in which they would be scrutinized for technical merit. (Ugh, I hate being judged. Not sure why exactly I entered…)
I submitted these items:
I avoided looking up the results online and thought I’d find out when I went to the fair last Friday.
Gloria P outed me in the comments a few days ago, I managed to snag a single ribbon. My yarn is on the slanted board in the center, running horizontal. Third place. Nice. (Not much competition in handspinning, what can I say.)
As it was, I couldn’t even find the shawl or the socks displayed anywhere in the building. I spent 25 min hunting through the primary knitting case and very briefly cruised the other cases, but alas – they were not to be found.
Rhythm of days
Wednesday March 18th 2009, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Home
Spring is coming, even to SE Minnesota. Today, I e-mailed the guy who will spray something toxic on my lawn that will prevent thistles from taking over the lawn as they have in years past. We grow exceptionally sharp thistles here, I have been stabbed painfully through leather gloves and through leather sneakers. It would not be good to have the baby crawling on thistles or putting them in her mouth.
Spring is coming and I feel a little stressed about it. I like winter because everyone’s yard looks the same under 3 feet of snow. When it is 30 below out, no one lingers outside, I don’t run into neighbors and make uncomfortable small talk, sessions in which I blurt instead of speak and laugh inappropriately when nothing is funny. But maybe this year, I will not be the weird, childless neighbor who gardens before everyone wakes up and darts back into the house by 7 AM. Maybe.
Spring is coming and my garden and I are going to have another face off. My compost pile choked to death last summer because SOMEONE piled on 3 feet of lawn clippings, and I never turned it, what with recovering from the abdominal gash from which they pulled out a 9.5-lb baby and all that. Despite the massive amount of weeds that I never got around to pulling, the garden produced so much more than I could eat, which was great and then stressful when everything bolted or turned to seed or rotted in place. So we have some work to do there.
Idly spinning a little Polwarth from Rovings.
It wants to spin up very, very fine. It doesn’t draft smoothly at higher grists, possibly because the carding oil is starting to get oxidized, which makes the fiber a little clumpy.
Thursday March 12th 2009, 3:56 pm
Filed under: Spinning
A little apology – I’m sorry that I’m not responding to most comments lately. I do read them all and very much appreciate that you take the time to let me know your opinion. I will continue to follow up when I can.
I’ve always preferred top-whorl spindles (my first spindle was a top whorl), so I was surprised to find myself mildly obsessing over the Jenkins Turkish spindles last year. They are beautiful, artisan spindles that are made of various types of wood – but they are low whorl!
I mentioned my obsession to Kerry, spindle collector extraordinaire… (Actually, take a minute and go look at Kerry’s new wheel – made by Betty Roberts – isn’t it gorgeous?!?) Knowing that I use spindles primarily for laceweight yarn, she thought the Jenkins spindle would be too big for me. Ah, but then Mr Jenkins started offering miniature spindles, aptly named Turkish Delight. I was sorely tempted but wistfully held off.
Around the holidays, someone posted a fairly sizable and discounted destash list on Spin-Sales. Among her offerings was a Jenkins Turkish delight spindle made of brilliantly chatoyant beeswing narra wood, total weight 1.2 oz (34 g). My resolve crumbled, and I bought it. Ha. Felt good, too.
The Turkish spindle has a couple of unique features. One, it collapses down to a very small space, which can be handy for transporting. Two, there’s some fancy way to wind the yarn around the arms such that when you’re done spinning, you remove the arms and have a center-pull ball all ready to go. I did a test run by making a 3-ply yarn from 50/50 camel down/silk singles (also spindle spun).
I never got the hang of doing a thigh spin with low-whorl spindles, the yarn between the cop and the tip of the shaft always thwarts my efforts. Instead, I put the shaft between my flat palms and give it a good zing (like a sending a propeller stick toy aloft).
When I first began plying, I rapidly realized that I hadn’t the foggiest idea how to wind the yarn around the spindle arms. D’oh! A quick search led to Amelia, who showed me the way. Under 1, over 2, under 1, over 2…
To get the yarn off, ease out the spindle shaft.
Pull the skinny arm out first. You probably will need to wiggle it a little bit at first.
Ease out the larger arm and admire your handiwork!
That’s 17.6 g of yarn (yardage currently unknown). The ball of yarn seems quite stable.
Moment of silence
Monday March 09th 2009, 10:50 am
Filed under: Spinning
Wheelwright Bill Wyatt passed away on Sunday, March 9, 2009. I did not know him personally but have admired his wheels ever since MDSW 2004.
You can see some of his work here. This truly is a sad day for the spinning community, we have lost a great craftsman and artist.