WIPWed #90: Knit Therapy

You know it’s been a rough week when chocolate has become a food group, am I right?! There’s a particular kind of low-level, constant stress around here that is just plain unpleasant and not healthy. Give me a crisis I can face and just get over already, man. The day-to-day grind is what really wears a girl down. Good thing there’s knitting, huh?

Rotted Days: WIPWed #90: Knit Therapy  | Woolen DiversionsI began this shawl as a special treat after a particularly bad day. I was inspired by April’s handspun version and her #handspunchallenge (the challenge being to actually knit something out of your handspun) over at WithWool. Even though keeping track of short rows tends to irritate me, I really like the look of Stephen West’s Dotted Rays pattern and couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I gave in. I think my BFL handspun is really well balanced by the dark purple contrast (hand-dyed but commercially spun) yarn. On its own, I think the handspun would be a little too… sugary sweet? Sparkly? Floofy? With the deep purple, it becomes just a little more sophisticated. And seeing as I finished these skeins over a year ago, I figured it was high time to knit them up!

Mom’s Flocked Socks:

IMG_2894Mom’s socks are progressing nicely, I’m nearing the point where toes need to happen. Which is good, because I’m also quickly approaching the point where they need to be in the mail. Chances are, she’ll get these a little late, but what’s a day or two, right?

Spinning:

I found this lovely spindle in a destash on Ravelry and couldn’t help myself. I love the blush of pink in the wood of the whorl. It’s a Tibetan style support spintle from TinasAngoras, who apparently doesn’t make this style anymore. The whorl is made from flame box elder and the shaft is made from redheart wood. It’s spins beautifully, I’m working on some sample wool that the kind destash-er included.

Books:

I’m still working on the same books I was reading last week, however, my decluttering efforts mean that I’m destashing couple of bundles of knitting- and spinning-related books.

Send an e-mail to alicia at woolendiversions dot com if you’re interested in any of these. I’d prefer to sell them as bundles ($30 for each set of 4, which includes priority shipping to US) but will split up for $10 each if there’s interest. The knitting-bundle includes A Gathering of Lace, The Knitter’s Life List, Knitting Plus, and Custom Knits while the spinning-related bundle contains Pure Wool, The Ashford Book of Carding, The Field Guide to Fleece, and a handy booklet with DVD about spinning on a Turkish spindle, from Wanda Jenkins.

I’m also destashing extra needles. I have 2 sets of Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles (size 2.00 mm and 2.25 mm), one Knitter’s Pride Karbonz fixed circular in size US 4, an unopened pack of Susan Bates aluminum DPN’s in a variety of sock sizes, one set of Kollage Square metal needles in 2.75 mm, 2 pairs of US 6 fixed circular needles (one Chiagoo and one Clover), and not pictured are two sets of US 9 aluminum fixed circular needles (one 16″ and one longer, 24-32″). Send a note to the same e-mail as above and make me an offer if you’re interested!

I’m also selling a guitar, which is likely a long shot on a knitting blog, but you never know. Crafty people are often musical, plus my car’s about to die and the down payment on a replacement isn’t going to pay itself! I bought it new for $130 in 2008, played it gently for about a year, and it has sat in its case ever since. It comes with a stand, a pick, and a dusty-yet-serviceable, hand-me-down guitar case. As above, make me an offer, and leave a comment if you have any questions!

That’s all from me this week. I better get back to knitting before I try to sell any more of my stuff… Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday!

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FOFri #37: All the Fluffy

The first project I spun on my Lendrum wheel was a full pound of undyed Falkland, spun up into a respectably squishy 3-ply with oodles of yardage. This second finished yarn? Totally different.

FOFri #37: All the Fluffy | Woolen Diversions

Thick-and-Thin Masham. Click for handspun page.

The fiber for this skein was the April 2014 shipment of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin’ Whorl Club: 8 oz of Masham wool in the Indigo Dreams colorway. I first started spinning this on a spindle but wasn’t loving it, so I decided to give the bulky flyer of my wheel a try. I was spinning up thick singles for a while, but then I was inspired to give thick-and-thin art yarn spinning a shot.

I’m really glad I did, and I’m thrilled that I have a wheel that allows me to spin such vastly different yarns with ease. I spun until I got tired of the process and called it done. The skein is about 3.3 oz and 214 yards of bulky-to-sport weight yarn. I was pleasantly surprised by how evenly distributed the bulky bits seemed while I was winding this skein up. I finished it by plunging the singles into hot and cold water 3 times, and thwacking thoroughly. I was also pleasantly surprised by how well balanced the skein was after finishing. Singles yarns can easily contain too much twist without the plying stage to balance things out but this skein is just fine. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with it yet, but the finished yarn is much fluffier than I expected it to be, and I think a little loosely-knit cowl or kerchief will do quite nicely. And bonus, I still have lots of fiber and some bulky singles left to use in future art yarn explorations.

FOFri #37: All the Fluffy | Woolen Diversions

Garnet Tonic cowl. Click for project page.

I might just be done with my Garnet Tonic cowl, as well. The pattern said to knit to 48″ before adding the contrast color stripe and binding off/seaming. My cowl measured 44″ unblocked after I had just broken into the third skein and finished the 7th repeat. Since I have a tendency to overestimate cowl length, and since it is already feeling pretty heavy (2 skeins of dense yarn gobbled up), I decided to put my stitches on a lifeline and block it out now to see how big it really is before finishing. On the blocking boards it measures 14″ across and 48″ in length. Once dry I’ll try it on and see if I want to add an 8th repeat or not. Have you ever blocked a project before it’s finished to figure out proper size/length?

FOFri #36: That’s A Lot of Falkland

I have yarn! I present to you the first finished handspun to come off of my Lendrum wheel. (You can hover over photos for captions, or click to enlarge.)

Isn’t it lovely? I basically just want to wallow in those gigantic skeins. You might recognize the smaller one from the ply experiment I conducted where I spun and swatched samples with different amounts of ply twist (oh, the #spingeek-ery!). I learned a lot from that little exercise and I truly love the finished product.

I’m still working out what types of details I want to track about my spinning projects, but for this one I recorded a variety of information. Here’s a recap:

  • Dates: Dec. 1st 2014 – Feb. 12th 2015
  • Fiber: Ashland Bay Falkland Wool commercial top, 16 oz in finished yarn (1 oz used up in sampling).
  • Singles: Spun with Z twist (clockwise) on middle whorl of regular flyer (8:1 ratio). Used a semi-worsted backwards drafting style, occasionally from the fold. Measured 25 WPI (wraps per inch) and 2350 ypp (yards per pound).
  • Ply: Three plies with S twist (counterclockwise) on larger whorl of regular flyer (6:1 ratio). Treadled 4-5 times per length of yarn. Measured 10 WPI and 600 – 900 ypp (measured 600 in reality and 900 on the balance).
  • Yardage: Skein 1 had 306 yards on the winder but after wet-finishing the skein measured 255 yards. Skein 2 had 438 yards on the winder but measured 340 yards after finishing.

Even though the yardage measurements are unclear (I suspect a yardage counter could be handy in the future), I likely have somewhere between 595 and 745 yards of approximately worsted weight yarn. That’s enough for a generous cozy shawl, a boat-load of accessories, or if I spin a little more Falkland up, perhaps a vest? I haven’t decided if I will dye these skeins or not. I’m tempted to try a rainbow skein like what The Lemonade Shop dyes or something like the Tipsy skeins at Blue Moon Fiber Arts but I don’t want to ruin so much spinning if it goes wrong. What would you do?

lovesale

Clicky-clicky!

There are still a few days left to receive a discount on your Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe lotion bar or gift set order. The coupon code ‘love10’ is good through Sunday. Treat yourself or a friend to some sassy sweet Ribbon Candy, tart juicy Kumquat, cinnamon-kissed Gingersnap, or refined and stately Black Tea (to name a few). As always, if you don’t see a scent in stock that you’d like, you can request whatever suits your fancy from over 30 options with a custom lotion bar or custom gift set order.

I don’t think I’ll make it to this space over the weekend, so have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ply Experiment

A few weeks ago, I watched Jillian Moreno’s spinning class on #Craftsy called Ply to Knit: Spin the Yarn You Really Want. If you’re not familiar with Jillian, she writes and edits KnittySpin articles as well as a weekly spinning blog post on the Knitty blog. I enjoy her writing and her spinning very much, so when Craftsy had a sale I figured I’d give the class a try.

Screenshot from Craftsy.

Screenshot from Craftsy.

I don’t intend this post to be a thorough review of the class, but I will say that I probably would have been a little disappointed if I had paid full price for it. I think Jilllian is a great teacher and I love the Craftsy platform, I just don’t think there was enough material in the class that I didn’t already know for me to feel it worth the money. I would recommend it for an absolute beginning spinner. As a very beginner, or as someone who has only spun on spindles and just started on a wheel, it is always worthwhile to watch someone else’s spinning technique. You will invariably pick up little tricks and tips you never thought of if you are primarily self-taught. If you’ve never plied singles together before, the class will likely provide lots of little lightbulb moments all at once. Since I’ve been spinning for three years now (how did that happen?!) and I’m a voracious reader of spinning-related books, blogs, boards, and magazines, not much in the class was news to me. At one point, I thought she was going to start getting into some of the more unusual ways to ply yarns (for art yarns and such), but then she stopped and implied that those topics were for another class.

Ply Experiment | Woolen Diversions

Three bobbins of Falkland wool, ready to ply.

There was, however, one excellent nugget of information that I gleaned from the class, my own personal aha! moment that inspired this post. I’ve sometimes been underwhelmed by my handspun, feeling that some skeins lacked the oomph that other lovely skeins had, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why or what was different. I plied them to the point where they seemed balanced, I did the same to one skein as I did to another, but I didn’t really pay close attention to exactly what I was doing. This class taught me that the secret to great yarn is in the plying twist.

Ply Experiment | Woolen Diversions

(L to R): Ply 1, Ply 2, and Ply 3

You see, I knew that handspun skeins lost some twist after finishing, but I didn’t really understand how much, nor did I know how to tell how much twist was enough to add in the first place. Jillian does an excellent job demonstrating how to detect the amount of plying twist you are adding, and how to get a feel for when enough is enough. So I conducted a small experiment to see what difference the amount of plying twist really made in the finished yarn. I used the same Falkland wool singles for a all three 3-ply yarn samples (spun Z twist on a 8:1 ratio whorl), and I changed the ply twist as follows for each one:

  • Ply 1: ply ratio = 8:1 (same whorl), treadles per length = 5
  • Ply 2: ply ratio = 8:1 (same whorl), treadles per length = 3-4 (roughly alternated)
  • Ply 3: ply ratio = 6:1 (larger whorl), treadles per length = 4-5 (roughly alternated)

By adjusting how many times you treadle before you allow a set length of yarn (whatever is comfortable and consistent for you) wind onto the bobbin, you are adjusting the amount of ply twist that enters the yarn. You also adjust the amount of ply twist by changing your whorl or drive ratio, which determines how much twist energy is inserted with each treadle (higher ratio/smaller whorl = more twist, while lower ratio/larger whorl = less twist). Ply 1 seemed to have way too much ply twist, while ply 2 (not pictured above) had too little with 3 treadles per length, but too much with 4. So I lowered the ratio and aimed for roughly 4 to 5 treadles per length, which resulted in the nice easy loop on plyback that looked just about right, and this amount of twist is what I used for plying the rest of my singles.

I then took a series of notes and measurements about the different yarns. I measured wraps per inch (WPI), which helps classify the thickness of the yarn, and yards per pound (YPP), which you can think of as a measure of the density (or grist) of yarn. In the photo gallery above (hover for captions or click for closeups), you’ll notice that the sample strand for Ply 3 (to the right) is much longer than for Ply 1 or Ply 2. Those samples were strands that were cut until they balanced out on a McMorran Yarn Balance (one way to measure YPP). The Ply 3 strand is longer because the scale could hold a longer length before it balanced out, meaning that yarn had a much higher YPP. (Translation: you could spin more yardage out of a pound of wool at this grist because it is a thinner, less dense yarn.) I used a chart from an old issue of Spin-Off to help determine what the knitting weight was (classifications are not very standardized at all so it differs by source) but another chart you could use is here. The stats:

  • Singles: WPI = 25, YPP = 2,350, knitting weight = laceweight to fingering
  • Ply 1: WPI = 9 -10, YPP = 525, knitting weight = aran to bulky
  • Ply 2: WPI = 10, YPP = 625, knitting weight = aran
  • Ply 3: WPI = 10 – 11, YPP = 900, knitting weight = worsted
Ply Experiment | Woolen Diversions

Swatches, pre-blocking.

While the changes in measurements were subtle for WPI, I was a little shocked at how big of a difference small tweaks in the number of treadles per length or the size of the whorl made in the YPP measurements, or the grist of the yarn. More ply twist (Ply 1) lead to a thicker, denser, chunkier yarn while less (Ply 3) resulted in a thinner, fluffier, more pliable yarn. I commenced swatching each yarn on size US 8 needles in a variety of stitches.

From a distance, the swatches don’t look all that different and their stitch gauges were practically identical, but you’ll have to trust me that they each felt different to knit. Ply 3 (which I knit first) was delightful in every way: fluffy, soft, smooth, and it produced a cohesive, fluid fabric in all stitch patterns. Ply 2 was distinctly beefier than Ply 3, it was a tad thicker and denser and it felt it, but it had a pleasant ‘toothy’ feel to it and I could see adding a little extra ply twist to purposefully make an extra spring-y yarn. Ply 1 was the least pleasant to knit with, I would have wanted to go up a needle size to relax the knitting process. If you look closely, you might notice that the extra ply twist is much more visible in the stitches of Ply 1, making the fabric as a whole look less smooth. The extra twist created great 3D relief in the seed stitch sections, but is somewhat less desirable in the stockinette and garter stitches.

Conclusion: You could certainly not pay much attention to your plying and get a fairly serviceable yarn in the end. However, I did find that checking for the right amount of ply twist (and actually counting my treadles!) produced a yarn I enjoyed knitting with the most. From a practical standpoint, plying ‘properly’ also produced a heck of a lot more yardage than I would’ve obtained from overplying my singles: 375 extra yards per pound of fiber, in fact. Finally, while the stitch gauge or swatch appearance didn’t change much when using the same size needles, the thickness of the yarn and the feel of the fabric certainly did. All in all, I will certainly be paying closer attention to my ply twist in the future and I’m excited to explore its effects further.

If you spin, how do you usually ply your yarn? Do you keep track of how much twist your adding?

Still Here, Still Knitting!

I’m not sure where this week has gone, but it has just whizzed right by. I’d meant to post nearly every day, but between work and appointments and trying to get to bed earlier and not wanting to sit down at the computer more after a full work day of sitting at the computer… I just didn’t. And while I missed blogging, this busy week did afford me an opportunity to put my January word intention to use: enough. When I’d done enough for the day, I stopped, and resisted the urge to do more. I think that was a good thing.

Woolen Diversions

Overdyed Cypress, click for project page.

I’ve remained faithful to my first quarter knitting plans, as well. A number of people remarked that my plans were rather ambitious. Have no fear, I approach such lists with a sense of flexibility and full knowledge that I won’t complete everything. They’re really just a way for me to focus my attention, rather than strict goals I  must accomplish or else wallow in despair. They’re also there to help prevent me from casting on all the things which is what I’m tempted to do on a daily basis. This week, I’ve been more-or-less focused on my Cypress vest and am now 3/4 of the way through the knit. The back is done and the front has reached the neckline shaping. Once that is finished there will be blocking, seaming, and then ribbing (which I’m telling myself will be super quick). I’m still harboring hope that I will finish this by my 30th birthday (in <10 days). We shall see, I suppose.

Woolen Diversions

Swatch for Ecclefechan Mitts. Click for pattern page.

 

I also swatched for the Scottish-themed colorwork mitts that I raved about in my yak-yarn-inspired post last Saturday. While the swatch is quite pretty and the pattern is clear, I don’t adore the fabric and know that knitting these mitts would take me forever. I’m inexperienced with colorwork and I’m a thrower, so that means I put down each strand and pick up the next for each different colored stitch. It’s annoying and while the fabric is soft and cushy, it has very little stretch. I don’t like my mitts to be too constricting, so I decided to try my hand at designing a cowl after all.

Woolen Diversions

Indecisive swatch within a swatch.

This yarn really wants to be something lacy and drapey, and I’m picturing lace panels interspersed with some two-color texture. Except I’ve changed my mind about the nature of that texture about a dozen times! The above photo shows some two-color moss stitch with a bit of slipped garter stitch patterning above… I just can’t seem to decide. While I liked the look of the moss stitch just fine, it (again) wasn’t enjoyable for me to knit. I’m doing enough knit/purl alternating on my vest thankyouverymuch and I feel like a bit of a change. This is exactly why I cannot fathom designing something without knitting it myself. My designs have to not only be something beautiful and functional, but they absolutely have to be fun to knit. Making sure both the pattern and actual knitting flow in logical, pleasurable ways is part of the challenge for me. “Fun to knit” means different things to different people, so it’s perhaps not the best design goal, but it’s the closest thing I have to an ‘aesthetic’ at this point so I’m rolling with it.

Woolen Diversions

A small handspun diversion…

Finally, I became a wee bit distracted from my knitting goals when I finished spinning some yarn and decided to conduct a little ply experiment. I will post full details tomorrow, but the short story is I took a bunch of Falkland wool singles and plied them in three slightly different ways, knit three similar swatches from the samples, and analyzed their differences. Stay tuned for results!

 

 

FOFri #35: Starting with a Finish

After assessing my 2014 FOs, I’m happy to start 2015 off with a post featuring something I actually finished. (Although in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I finished the yarn before the end of December. Whatever, I’m still counting it!)
Woolen Diversions

BFL n-ply in Countess Ablaze colorway ‘Petrol’. Click for handspun page.

I started with a braid of BFL/silk/firestar from Countess Ablaze in a great blue-black colorway called Petrol. I spun the braid from end-to-end into a single that I then navajo-plied for a DK/worsted weight 3-ply. This is the ‘standard’ yarn I tend to produce on my Babe wheel.
Woolen Diversions

Glamour shot.

I love the color and am happy with the finished product, but I really did not enjoy the spin. The fiber was a little compacted (perhaps because it had been sitting in my stash for a year?) and the firestar in the mix gave me a bit of trouble with even drafting. Primarily, though, I think I was unhappy because after spinning on my new Lendrum, I could really feel a difference when I switched back to my old Babe. However, I wanted to produce this ‘default’ yarn to go with two other skeins of BFL handspun I had already made on that wheel, so I persevered.

Woolen Diversions

Three handspun skeins of BFL.

I intend to use the three skeins together, either in a Monster Cowl or as accent colors in some simple colorwork accessories (example hat: Meliorus and mittens: Cloisonee). This skein is probably the last thing I’ll spin on my Babe wheel and I’m happy to have it finished. It was also my entry into the Indie Untangled KAL that just wrapped up. You should check out all the lovely FOs created from indie artists’ materials and patterns, they are really inspiring! Thank you for all of the encouraging comments on my previous post. I hope you’ve had a good start to the new year!

 

WIPWed #74: Feeling Thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US, and despite all the busy and the crazy and the deadlines swirling around my life right now, I’m feeling really thankful for everything this year has brought. At this time last year, we had just learned about my mom’s cancer diagnosis, and several surgeries and treatments later, she’s doing quite well and we are optimistic about her recovery. This time last year, I was still a fiancée, and now I have a husband who always knows the perfect thing to say to make me feel better when things get rough (such as, “C’mon, Alicia, what would Katniss do?”). This time last year, I weighed about 60 pounds more than I do now, and I’m hopeful that I will continue to make progress along this (stupidaly hard) path to better health. This time last year, I had never traveled outside the country, and I now have wonderful memories of sloths and howler monkeys and palm trees and Costa Rican rain drumming on tin roofs to soothe me when I need it (note to self: finish those recap blog posts!). And finally, this time last year my Sweet Sheep lotion bars were a mere twinkle in my mind’s eye, and now I’ve filled over 125 Etsy sales, received over 70 5-star reviews, and have over 390 ‘likes’ on Facebook. It’s been a rollercoaster of a productive and somewhat frenzied year, and when I feel ‘stuck’ or like I’m not making any progress, it’s incredibly beneficial and kind of amazing to pause and look back on it all with a sense of gratitude and appreciation.

Woolen Diversions

Free shipping for the holiday weekend!

To celebrate the holiday weekend (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday — oh my!) in one small way, I’m offering free shipping on all orders from today through December 1st. Use the coupon code “THANKS2014′ at checkout to receive free shipping on all domestic and international orders! Thanks for all your support, and consider shopping indie this holiday season. 🙂

And I cannot forget all my knitting and spinning in the list of things-for-which-I’m-grateful!

Baby Kalamazoo:

Woolen Diversions

CY Traveller, colorway Kalamazoo. Click for project page.

I knit this project in about 2 seconds flat (ok, 2 days) for a coworker who is having a little girl and going out on maternity leave today. I’m really happy with how the hat turned out. There are very subtle 2-stitch faux cables throughout the body which make for interesting texture without being overtly cabled. I’m thinking of incorporating this fabric into a larger design. And I just love the little i-cord loop at the top of the hat!

Overdyed Cypress:

Woolen Diversions

BMFA Twisted, overdyed by me. Click for project page.

My #NaKniSweMo sweater is nowhere near done, and definitely won’t be finished by the 30th, but I’m super proud of the fact that the back is finished and I’ve made good headway on the front. This is one garment that I’m actually going to complete, and that is exciting in and of itself.

Petrol BFL:

Woolen Diversions

Countess Ablaze BFL/silk/firestar. Click for handspun page.

To occupy myself while I wait for my new wheel to arrive, I started a braid of Countess Ablaze BFL/firestar/silk on my Babe. I intend to spin this as my ‘default’ yarn: a thin single that I then n-ply into a DK-worsted-weight yarn. I have two such handspun skeins in stash already, and have vague notions of spinning a bunch of color-coordinated BFL in this way and using them together in a larger project. I’m using this spin to take part in the Indie Untangled Knit/Spin/Crochet/Weave-along, come join us, there are prizes!

Finch Test:

Woolen Diversions

Abstract Fibers sample. Click for handspun page.

Finally, I’ve been spinning a bit on my new Jenkins Finch spindle. That photo shows all of the little sample it came with spun up, and later on I will ply a wee skein!

I hope you’re prepping for a wonderful holiday and enjoying all your WIPs this week! Check out other WIPs at Stitch Along Wednesday with Gracey.

WIPWed #69: Post-Spinzilla 2014

The weekend was a whirlwind of preparing lotions for the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show (this Friday! Go to it!) and sneaking in one final spin for #Spinzilla. My final yardage was (drumroll please….):

Woolen Diversions

Woohoo!

I did not quite meet my (random) goal of spinning twice the weight I spun last year (22 oz… I spun up about 17 oz) but I’m really excited that I spun up over a mile (1 mile = 1,760 yards) of yarn in one week!

Woolen Diversions

3-ply Louet Jacob

I spoke about the Perendale (2-ply, 176 yards, 528 towards Spinzilla) last week and the Inglenook batts on my spindle last Friday (11 g spun at 3000 yards per pound = 73 yards for Spinzilla). Above you see my finished 3-ply Louet Jacob skein that come sin at 8 oz and 120 yards (480 for Spinzilla). I’ll write more about this skein in a future post when I do a review of the fiber.

Woolen Diversions

Bee Mice Elf Green Gradient 2-ply

Of everything I spun last week, this gorgeous gradient skein is the most happy-making for me. If you spin and are unfamiliar with Bee Mice Elf, you should get to know her stuff quick, because you are missing out on some amazing colorways! (Laurs also writes great “Mixed Up Mondays” posts where she talks about dyeing particular colors, like Tiffany Blue.) Anyway, this braid had all my colors (lime green through baby blue to teal and forest green) and was on Wensleydale fiber, which I hadn’t spun in any great amount before, so I had to have it. Guys, I love Wensleydale.

Woolen Diversions

Photo from winddanceranch.com

And not just because the sheep look like adorable muppets! The fiber is an extremely silky and lustrous longwool that is very easy to spin. It drafts beautifully and creates a really drapey finished yarn. That skein (236 yards, 708 for Spinzilla) is going to become some sort of lacy scarf or cowl, I’m thinking. I split it in two and spun each half in order, which meant during plying I had to break out some sections from one single or the other that did not match up correctly, so I had some leftover bits (10 g at 2600 yards per pound = 57 yards), but overall I’m super happy with this yarn.

Woolen Diversions

Silky Pond Clapotis, click for project page.

After all that spinning, I was inspired to start a project with a skein of handspun I’ve been itching to knit for some time now. I swatched for a drop stitch scarf but hated it and realized the yarn would shine better in a smooth stockinette fabric. I might be the last knitter on earth to start a Clapotis, but here it is!
What have you all been up to this week? Do you have a favorite pattern for handspun?

FOFri #32: Finally, Some Yarn!

I recently realized that I had not really sat down to spin at my wheel all summer long. All summer! I was busy playing with new spindles (and planning a wedding and starting a business and whatnot) but still, my last full skein of handspun was finished way back in April, and that was unacceptable. So I finished some yarn.

FOFri #32: Finally, Some Yarn! | Woolen Diversions

Some yarn! Click for handspun page.

This fiber was 4 oz of luscious BFL (truly one of my favorite spins) dyed in a gorgeous Teal Tonal colorway by Three Waters Farm. I spun it in what appears to be my default wheel spin: from the fold, counterclockwise (S twist), all in one single that was then chain-plied clockwise (Z twist).

FOFri #32: Finally, Some Yarn! | Woolen Diversions

Dusky, dusky teal.

I ended up with a roughly worsted-ish weight (sorry, I was a bad spinner and measured neither yards per pound nor wraps per inch) skein of 196 yards. I love the dusky tealness of this skein so hard and think it perfectly pairs with another skein of handspun BFL.

FOFri #32: Finally, Some Yarn! | Woolen diversions

Two skeins in love.

I think they go together rather smashingly, don’t you? My intention was for the teal to tone down the electric green a bit. I’m not sure what I’ll make with them but I’m envisioning a squishy cowl or a small, kerchief-y shawlette (suggestions welcome!).

FOFri #32: Finally, Some Yarn! | Woolen Diversions

The remaining wheel WIPs.

In light of my accomplishment (and the approaching Spinzilla week), I took a good, hard look at my remaining wheel WIPs. I have three different projects currently tying up my bobbins:

  1. Earthy Bubble Crepe: This project involves spinning two thin singles in the opposite direction from each other and a third thicker single. The thick single is then plied with one of the thin singles at twice the plying twist. The resulting 2-ply is than plied with the other thin single in the opposite direction to make a really fun crepe yarn. I am approximately 60% done with this spin, there is still some merino to spin into a fat single and much a of one braid of merino/bamboo/silk blend left for one of the thin singles (the three central bobbins in the photo above).
  2. Loop! Bumps 2-ply: This spin is fairly straightforward. I’m spinning one Loop! bump into a fine, continuous single and will spin a second similar-but-with-shorter-color-repeats Loop! bump into its own single and then will ply the two together. I’m predicting a fractal spinning type effect of the colorways combined, without having to do any of the actual splitting up. I’m only about 30% done with this spin as I still have to finish the first single (bottom right in photo).
  3. Super Silky Spring Fever: I began this spin in a fit of I-can’t-resist-the-pretty-colors-any-longer! This involves 8 oz of a gorgeous Merino/superwash Merino/tussah silk blend from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. My plan is to split it into 3 equal parts and attempt my first true 3-ply sock yarn. I’ve really only just barely begun this one (bottom left in photo).
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Miss Babs Merino/bamboo/silk in Highlands.

Considering that crepe yarn has been in progress since last October, I set straight to work on the final thin single. Yay, motivation! Let’s see how long I can ride this wave…

What have you finished this week? What’s your longest running work-in-progress (spinning or otherwise)?

IS #74: Handspun Dreams

Audry asked an excellent question in the comments of my last post about what my handspun yarn will grow up to be. It appears that I tend to spin like I knit: in fits and starts, with many, many works-in-progress, that take quite a while to come to fruition. I have been spinning since January 2012 and over the last 2.5 years I’ve completely finished spinning 17 full skeins of yarn (one skein = 2-6 oz, depending on project) and 14 little ‘test’ or sample skeins (10 from my spinner’s study and 4 from trying out new tools or experimenting).

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Some of my more recent finished skeins (since October 2013).

And then, of course, I have 12 spinning WIPs (eek). One on each of my spindles, two that are resting off of my spindles, and the remaining are wheel projects in various stages of completion (why yes, I am out of bobbins, how did you guess?). The things I could accomplish with just a little more follow-through would be pretty amazing, amIright?!

All of my handspun projects to date!

Of my 17 full-size finished skeins, I have (at least partially) knit up 10 of them, have a hibernating WIP with the 11th, and gave 2 of them away as gifts. That leaves me with 4 unaccounted-for skeins.

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Four skeins of handspun waiting to be knit…

In the top left, we have the lovely skein of alpaca/silk I carded on a rented drum carder and finished spinning in April. It will most likely grow up to become a Morning Surf Scarf, when I get a chance to knit more regularly (read: post-wedding).

Copyright Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer. Click for pattern page.

The two skeins in the top right were from a spin-along last quarter. They are a generous 550 yards of 2-ply BFL wool destined to become a shawl. I’ve been eyeing up Joji’s The Way From Brighton, what do you think?

Copyright Joji Locatelli. Click for pattern page.

The skein on the bottom left is some more BFL, this time around 170 yards of DK-weight chain-plied yarn. I was thinking of some sort of hat, perhaps a Jango designed by Svetlana Volkova. I’d use it for the main color and then alternate some scraps for the contrast colors. Not sure yet, though. I like the neutral used in the pattern photo and I might want to pair my skein with a calmer color and knit a two-color shawl or cowl instead.

Copyright tweedysheep. Click for pattern page.

The final skein pictured is the last skein that I knit into a finished object way back in October 2013 (siiiiigh). I knit that fluffy little 4-ply Merino skein into a pretty fabulous hat. What are your favorite handspun projects? I’d love to see what you’ve made with yours or what you’ve been dreaming of making. Share a link or leave a comment below!

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