Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In the Pink

Here's my lovely 3 ply...

50grams, 80 yds, dk/light worsted weight. Apparently I wasn't paying very close attention to the thickness of my singles and this did not end up at my typical fingering weight. Must be all the "big fat" spinning I've been doing recently!

Each of the pretty pink little knots from the previous post were gently coaxed into a handpulled roving like this one. Due to the hodge podge nature of the different fibers, this was a wee bit tricky at times. The mohair locks that were one of the samples refused to cooperate until I removed them all, carded them and put them back in.

I'm hoping it will be enough to make this:

"Jacobus" by Annita Wilschut. (links: ravelry, Annita's blog)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The newest spin

I decided I wanted some pink yarn. So I dug through my pile of Phat Fiber samples and pulled all the pinkish and purplish bits of fluff out. I pulled each sample into roughly the same size rectangle, stacked them up, then pulled the stack into quarters lengthwise.

Aren't those pretty little knots ready to be spun up? 55 grams of goodness, including samples from a number of Phat Fiber artists: Alaskan Sass, The Sheepy Kitty, Maude & Me, Spincerely Yours, From Ewe to You, Susan's Kitchen, Cozy Cove Farm, and Ambrosia & Bliss.

I'm planning a fingering weight three-ply.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Learning something new

A few weeks ago, I came across this tutorial about making your own backstrap loom. Since weaving has alway fascinated me, I knew that this would be something I'd love to try. Last week, I ran out to the hardware store and bought $7 worth of dowels. I spent a bit of time in hubby's garage sawing and sanding things to the appropriate sizes. I also fashioned a beater and shuttle out of some thin plywood.

And this is was I made! Isn't that just about the most amazing piece of weaving you've ever seen!

I have since wound the warp for a bigger project. The tutorial suggests making a backstrap for your loom, but I'm finding the adjustable strap from one of my bags to be working very well. I've decided to make a bag to stash my loom bars in instead.
The tutorial also suggests that when you make your warp to ensure things are very well clamped down. I thought I had clamped enough, but when I checked after finishing, things had moved about 1cm. I'm not sure if this is going to be a problem. I'm hoping not - I don't really want to take it all apart and start over. So I'm going to go with it and hope for the best.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I saw Alpacas Today!!!

The local Spinners and Weavers Guild held an open house today at an alpaca farm about 20 minutes from my home. I didn't even know there were alpacas living so close to me. I have been bursting with excitement all week and this morning was awake before everyone else, partly from excitement, partly because hubby tends to snore.

There were about 20 different darlings grazing about the farm - two tiny babies among them.

This is Jasper - I missed getting a photo of M feeding him some pellet food.

This is Coco and Cody, her cria. Cody was born premature, but is doing well.

This is Coco too! Couldn't go to an alpaca farm without coming home with something to spin.

The guild members demonstrated weaving on tabletop 4 harness looms. I've always been so fascinated by weaving. They had some fun weaving activities for the kids, but M and B were more interested in the alpacas.

B found their feet particularly cute.

These alpacas were ones she watched almost the whole time we were there.

And the spinning demonstrators were more than willing to let people try out their wheels. Up to now I've only had M spinning on a spindle, but after he spun some Romney on an Ashford Traveller like a pro, I've promised him a bobbin on my wheel.

Many of the guild members and visitors to the open house were quite awed by a young boy spinning happily away at a wheel.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Birthday Party!

To celebrate Canada Day, I'm having a pattern promo! Between now and Canada Day, if you buy a pattern either from my Etsy store, or through Ravelry, I'll give you a free copy of "I'm Canadien, eh!"

Who can resist the flag waving, hockey playing national animal of Canada?

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Still spinning

More spinning today! I've been working on some more chubby singles, since the last yarn was so fun. After I washed that one it bloomed beautifully and ended up more of a heavy worsted/bulky weight. So for this singles yarn, I'm aiming for a worsted weight after its bath.

This yarn is being spun from some batts I purchased from It's a Colorful Life. I fell in love with the colors. They were more burgundy in the photos on etsy and more purplish in person and I think I like them better in person!

To spin the batt, I ripped the batt into strips...

...and predrafted each strip.

So far I'm loving the result!

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's That Time of Year Again

The school year is coming to an end. Only two and a half days left! B had a great idea for teacher gifts this year. She wanted to make BIG cookies for the teachers. We spent some time Saturday making up a double batch of Snickerdoodles, a double batch of Chocolate Brownie Cookies with white and chocolate chips, and a triple batch of Ultimate Chocolate Cookies with the fun addition of Skor bits. On Sunday we baked everything. These are really big cookies. We used 1/3 of a cup of dough for each cookie and due to the differences in the doughs, they range from 4 to 5 inches in diameter.

Here they are all ready to be brought to the school; 14 pretty packs, 84 big cookies!

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Pattern - Cyclopsish

Quite some time ago, I blogged about a little cyclops I was working on. I guess he needed time to grow on me before I finished up his pattern, but here he is!

This pattern is suitable for someone who can knit on double pointed needles. Other skills required are increasing and decreasing, making I-cord, and seaming.

To make your very own Cyclops, you’ll need less than 50 grams of worsted weight wool, and some oddments of worsted weight wool for the legs and feet. I used Wool of the Andes in Avocado, Tulip & Orange, and Williamsburg(blue).

As usual, the pattern is available through my Etsy shop and as a Ravelry download.

This link will redirect you to Paypal through Ravelry's shopping basket.

Cedric and Simon looking cyclopsish!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Silk Edged Hankerchief

I finished the edging late Friday night and blocked it Saturday morning. While the pretty little bit of lace was drying on my blocking board, I cut a piece of hankerchief cotton to the right size and packed some thread, scissors and a needle for a trip into town. Fortunately I didn't have to drive, so I hemmed the hankerchief in no time! Saturday evening, the lace was dry and stitched in place on the hankie.

I am very pleased with how this hankerchief turned out!

I am rather hesitant to use it, it's almost too pretty!

There is one thing I would change if I could. When I started spinning the silk, I didn't have an idea in mind for it. Now that it's all knitted up, I think it would have looked better if the color repeats changed more frequently. Hindsight being 20/20, I would have split the roving lengthwise into 4 parts and spun top-bottom, bottom-top, top-bottom, bottom-top. Other than that, I'm happy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I decided to knit a little edging for a hankerchief with the tiny bit of silk yarn. I searched Ravelry and was surprised to find quite a few knitted lace edgings available. I picked the Apple Leaf lace and decided to drop the point border on it as I didn't want the lace to be too wide.

I've included a blue 2mm sock needle, a sewing needle and a measuring tape for scale. I couldn't remember the size of my fine steel needles. They might be 1.25mm. I could have rummaged through G's tools and found his digital calipers to confirm the diameter, but it's cool and raining today and I was comfy and warm on the couch and didn't feel like going out to the garage!

My little itty bit of lace is progressing quite quickly. To turn the corners, I working a few short rows.

eta: I did eventually go to the garage. It was cold and damp. The battery in the calipers had died! I bought a battery on Friday and the needles are US0000/1.25mm

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Something New

Yesterday afternoon I decided to try making a bit of supercoil yarn. I'd seen some beautiful examples on Ravelry and thought I'd like to try. This must be the time for me to break out of my spinning comfort zone! I had a yet another Phat Fiber sample that decided it should become my first supercoil yarn.

I'd harvested a wee bit of this "Beach Glass" batt from Giffordables for a needle felting experiment, so there was only 0.2oz left. I spun a fairly thick single (for me) and ended up with 16yards. Following the example in this Youtube video, I wound some white fingering weight yarn onto my spindle and began the corespinning!

I am quite pround of my not quite 3 yards of supecoil and can see myself trying this on a larger scale some time.

I finished spinning the Wild Orchid silk too and gave it a little bath. There are about 150 yards of laceweight singles in this beautiful little 1/3 oz skein! I couldn't resist the pic of the little center-pull ball. I heart silk!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Everything is Fine Again

Although making chunky singles yarn was tons of fun, I've decided to finally try spinning some silk that was in one of my Phat Boxes. Somehow I had felt I wasn't ready for silk. But after spinning those other slippery fibers last week with great success, I thought, "let's give it a whirl". But I did want the resulting silk yarn to be fine, so we're back to my comfort zone.

This is a tussah silk sample from Wild Orchid, dyed from yellow to blue to pink, with the green and purple resulting where they ought to.

So far it's spinning up far more easily than I had expected. I don't actually find it slippery at all. It's surprisingly grippy and very easy to make a fine single with.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Super Fast

Why has no one ever told me how much fun super chunky singles are? This 6.5oz roving spun up crazy fast averaging a worsted weight singles. Here we are about 48 hours after I started with 230yds of yarn. And I even kept the house clean and cooked meals for my family during that time.

Some sections are a bit thicker, some a bit finer. I found it tough to be consistant, something I don't usually have to much difficulty with when I make a finer yarn. It just needs a little bath to set the twist and then I have to decide what to knit it into!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What to do with a bit of Bamboo

After spinning up the little samples of bamboo and milk fiber, I wanted to use them for something. I've mentioned before that B hates wool, so I decided to knit up a pair of bamboo mittens. The main yarn was repurposed from a pair of Lily of the Valley socks that she found didn't fit the way she liked.

These mittens are so far being received quite well. I'm using my generic mitten pattern (see the sidebar) and cast on 48 sts. I love the subtle stripes the little sample yarns created!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Johnny Jump Ups

Spinning fat continues...

I've moved onto my "Johnny Jump Ups" superwash merino/bamboo roving from PortFiber. Port Fiber currently has a similar roving for sale, a bit more blues and less greens than what I'm spinning. I'm loving how this looks so far. I had initially recieved a 1oz sample of this roving in my Phat Fiber box and spun a 2ply DK weight. I loved how easily the roving drafted and how soft it felt, but was a bit unhappy with the finished yarn. I felt the two plys competed with one another colorwise and decided then, that when I spun the full sized roving I'd do a thick single.

Looking like about 12 - 14 wpi!