Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oops, I almost forgot

The final check-in for Project Spinway was due September 26th. And I did check in, I just forgot to post my presentation here.

For this check-in we were to present our finished yarns and a real-life (not celeb or supermodel) that embodies the spirit of our fantasy project.

Here's my final presentation.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Handspun Anyone?

I've decided I need a new fiber toy. I want a drum carder. I believe I've mentioned before that my hubby and I have a deal. Any funds that come in through the sale of my patterns can be used for yarn, fiber, tools, etc. That doesn't mean no fiber fun enters the house unless I buy it with profits. After all, I do get gifts, too! But Christmas is too far away and I want a drum carder NOW!

So, since I can't possibly knit everything I've spun before I die, I'm having a handspun destash. Go here, to my Ravelry stash page. Every yarn with "$$" preceding its name is up for grabs. Email me, or PM me on Rav if you see anything you can't live without.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Goji Pop Coffee Cake

We have a new DavidsTea in the mall. B and I love tea. We love coffee too, but tea is more fun! So far we've spent far too much in loose tea at DavidsTea. Recently we tried some Goji Pop herbal tea. It was so yummy. When I looked at the ingredients (and the left over bits from steeping) it seemed to me that it's mostly dried fruit and it looked quite tasty. I was thinking that a Goji Pop coffee cake would be awesome.

Since we didn't want to waste (in case it turned out to be really untasty), B and I decided on a half sized cake. I followed this recipe (halved, obviosly). In place of the raspberries, I used 1/4 cup Goji Pop tea, reconstited in 1/4 cup water. And I left out the cinnamon and ginger. I could have used a wee bit less water, as the extra liquid ran right out of my mini springform pan - taking amazing flavour with it.

It smells amazing and the taste...


I think we're on to something here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Project Spinway - Second Check-in

Today is the deadline for our progress check-in for Project Spinway. We were asked to present an outfit to go with our initial presentation and to post some progress.

Here's my presentation.

If the fine print is too fine, go to my stash page on Ravelry and you'll be able to zoom in.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blending... Blending... Blending...

I'm finding this a bit monotonous. I carded all the Romney. I carded all the Bruno. I carded 12 little baggies.

The baggies were the worst. So as not to overload my hand cards, I split the contents of each baggie into 4 roughly equal parts. Card, card, card, card. Then I stacked each of those parts on top of one another and split it into 4 again. Card, card, card, card. If it didn't look quite homogeneous, I did it a 3rd time. Card, card, card, card. Now in case this is looking extremely bleak, please note that the baggies containing 100% Bruno, didn't need to be blended as it's all the same lovely black. The baggies containing 100% Romney did need to be blended as some of the locks were darker and for the gradual color changes, I didn't want it to start light, get darker, go light again before spinning the next baggie. So I guess that's only 10 baggies... card, card, card, card.

So here is one of the two batches of blended fibers.

Despite the monotony, the blister on my finger and the sore muscles (did you know carding uses muscles I don't use for very many other things) I think this pic of the gradually color changing fiber makes it worthwile. I'm excited to spin...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ready to Blend

I've finished carding the Bruno fur. Next comes the blending to achieve a graduated yarn that will slowly transition from the Romney to Bruno.

Although the final product for the competition is the spun yarn, we were assigned to choose a "fantasy project" that our spun yarn could ultimately be used for. We didn't necessarily have to have enough fiber to complete the fantasy project. If I were really going to make the Faux Astrakhan Cuffed Caplet and Long Gloves from my presentation, I would need 3 skeins of graduated yarn: 1 large enough to knit the caplet and 2 long enough to knit one glove each. I don't have enough fiber to make a caplet and gloves - but, since I would really love to have gloves (well in my case, mittens) with this graduated yarn, I'm making two skeins of graduated yarn, each 60 grams, or a little over 2oz.

So a little blending math...
Since I like easy math, I decided to make 6 fluff piles of 10g each, rather than the 5 fluff piles from my sample. This requires the fluff to be 100% Romney, then 80% Romney/20% Bruno, 60/40, 40/60, 20/80, and finally 100% Bruno. Can you see how easy this math will be with each fluff pile weighing 10grams?

Here are the six little baggies ready to hit the hand cards for a blending session. There are two sets of these, but I only took a pic of one. Hope to be able to spin tomorrow.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This Always Amazes Me

I've finished carding the Romney for Project Spinway. After the sampling I've now got 80g of carded Romney. It always amazes me that what started out as a greasy, sheepy, smelly lump of fleece becomes these lovely fluffy clouds of spinning fiber that overflow a basket. To give you an idea of scale the raw fleece was a lump about 8 x 8 x 3 inches. Now it overflows the basket that measures 9 x 13 x 6 inches. It is at the very least 4 times its original volume.

raw Romney

Washed and Carded Romney

Off to card the Newfoundland Dog fur...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Project Spinway - Stash Down with a Purpose

Our presentations for Project Spinway are due tomorrow. But I knew that this week could be busy with school starting today for M and tomorrow for B. So I submitted my presentation early.

This is exactly what I posted over in Natchwoolie's Ravelry group.

If you're having a tough time seeing the fine print, go here to my stash page and click on the individual pics.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Supercoil Chiengora

Weekends don't usually afford me much time to spin. But this being a holiday Monday, I carved out a wee bit of time to try making supercoil yarn with nothing but the 2 fibers from Project Spinway's Challenge 1. That's one of the stipulations for the competition - that we use no other materials than the two items chosen blindly from our stash.

I started with a 2ply yarn blended from an equal mix of the Romney and "Bruno" that I posted on Sunday (it's the last sample). Then I carded up a handful of "Bruno" and spun a thick and thin, lumpy, bumpy single. Following various hints on youtube I produced this:

Bruno Supercoil Yarn!

I think it's quite exciting.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Few Samples

I spent some time spinning little samples for Project Spinway.

First up: fingering weight yarn with one ply Romney and one ply "Bruno" I was surprised how this sample knitted up. I'm not usually a fan of how yarns that have one dark and one light ply knit up, but this one knitted up to be something I don't not like.

Second: light fingering weight 2ply in a 50/50 Romney/"Bruno" blend. I love this yarn and the sample. It has lovely drape and a wonderful halo from the chiengora.

Third: heavy fingering weight yarn 3ply in a 50/50 Romney/"Bruno" blend. Again a wonderful halo to the knitted swatch. I think I would use larger needles, but I had only brought one set with me to swatch my mini-skeins.

Fourth: heavy fingering weight, maybe closer to sport weight, 3 ply. I n-plyed this yarn to maintain the graduation from Romney to "Bruno". To make this yarn I carded up five little fluff piles ranging from all Romney, 75/25, 50/50, 25/75 to all "Bruno". Knit up on 2.75mm needles, this is my favorite sample of all of them. Since I was only sampling, I eyeballed the ratios. If I decide to make a full-sized skein like this, I would use my scale for greater accuracy and repeatability.

And lastly: a high twist 2ply in a 50/50 Romney/"Bruno" blend, suitable (maybe?) as a core for supercoils or as the warp on my rigid heddle. The supercoil attempt will happen within the next few days...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bigger and with More Gray

I've washed my raw Romney for Project Spinway. As usual it seems like I have way more fiber now that it's been washed. And it's not nearly as brown as I had thought it would be - lots more gray - and lighter in color too that the raw fiber.

I washed it twice in a sink full of very hot water and a squirt of dish detergent. Both times the water was very brown - the first time like very very strong black coffee - but not nearly as appealling to the sense of smell. Then I rinsed several times in warm water until the water was clear.

It's been so humid here that it was taking forever to dry so I popped it in my convection oven at it's very lowest setting (about 150 degrees F) for a few hours. It's still the wee-est bit damp.

I've been carding bits of the Romney and Bruno and making litte sample skeins to determine what I want to do for this "Stash-down With a Purpose" Challenge.

Sample skeins and knitted swatch pics in a few days!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Project Spinway - Challenge 1

If you're familiar with Project Runway, you might understand the Spin-a-long I'm part of better than me. I've watched part of one episode.

Over in Natchwoolie's Ravelry Group, she's running a Project Spinway competition. Should be loads of fun and a good way to spin up some stash.

Challenge 1 is Surprise Stash Down with a Purpose. Go here for more details.

(I have no idea why this pic is rotated)

I was going to wait for my kids to wake up so they could do a blind grab from my stash for me, but I wanted to start right away. After setting aside a few special bags of fluff that are earmarked for other things, I numbered all my bags that had about 4oz in them and used a random number generator to pick two.

And here are the two bags that correspond to the randomly generated numbers.

A 4oz bag of raw Romney (Multi Romney Darks)from Natchwoolie's Sushi Club and approximately 4oz of Newfoundland Dog fur from Bruno.

Should be exciting! Even though I don't know yet what I'm going to do with these two.