Getting Antsy

Spinning has been on my mind a lot lately, even if it hasn’t been actually in my hands. For one, I set a goal back in January that I wanted to finish all my in-progress spinning projects by June. (Cue maniacal laughter.) This goal has helped my pick up my spindles more often, but I haven’t finished a single skein yet. (Sigh.)

For another, the Completely Twisted and Arbitrary SAL group on Ravelry is having a “Crazy Yarn A-long” challenge and I’m itching to play. I started some art yarn ages ago that I’d like to finish. Since I’ve only spun one 4 oz single so far, the other 4+ oz single will count for this challenge. I’m planning a stacked yarn so all the craziness will happen during the plying stage, which seems like it’ll be fun.

Finally, I know I haven’t been spinning enough lately when I see some pretty fiber on Etsy and go MINE, MINE, MINE without a second thought.

That lovely piece of fluff is a ‘Yarnicorn’ batt from Classy Squid Fiber Co.  on Etsy. It’s a delightful mix of superfine Merino wool, Mulberry, Tussah, and Sari silks, mohair, firestar, nylon, silk noil, and angelina. Basically, a candy-colored kitchen sink of a batt that I cannot wait to spin. I’m metaphorically dangling it in front of my face so I hurry-up-and-finish the spin that’s been occupying my wheel since October.

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I Shall Spin Midnight, click for project page.

This spin is essentially the polar opposite of the new batt. It’s 8 oz of Merino/silk blend dyed a uniform black by Louet. I began it when my husband’s Nana passed away, as a way to think about her through craft. Then I got pregnant and we packed and moved and unpacked and it sat, and sat, and sat. It’s going to make a lovely, fingering-weight 2-ply yarn when it’s done but I’m just barely halfway through. I am making a bold April goal right now: I will finish this spin AND the new Yarnicorn batt by the end of the month. And then I’ll finish my art yarn by the end of the challenge (May 15). WATCH ME, WORLD.

In other news, I spent much of the weekend sorting through cloth diapers and baby clothes that friends and coworkers have generously given us. Tiny baby things are so tiny, and the cats were highly amused. Darwin loves laundry in general, but he seemed to especially love lounging on the wool diaper covers. Calypso looked just a tad bit concerned, like she can tell something is up but has no clue WTF it might be… June/July should be interesting for all of us!

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IS #61: Spin the Bin 2014

I have to say, I think I found my new favorite spinning group over on the Ravelry forums: Completely Twisted and Arbitrary Spinning. They’re fun, welcoming, and really anything but arbitrary in their spinning because they’ve inspired me to organize myself and join in with their Spin the Bin 2014 challenge. The idea is that you choose 12 items from your stash that you wish to spin this year, and then you attempt to do it all! If you remove something from your list of 12, you have to add 2 other items to make up for it, so there’s a little bit of incentive to stick to your plans. Just the other day I was dreaming up all the spinning projects I wanted to undertake and lamenting the lack of a spinning queue feature on Ravelry to keep track. This isn’t exactly the same but it’s great motivation to commit to some of the things I’ve been meaning to get around to doing.

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My grand, grand plans.

There are a few things not pictured because they are still on their way to my house but once they arrive, I’ll have 85 ounces (over 5 pounds!) of fiber to spin this year. That number sounds kind of scary, until I remember that I did spin up 11 ounces in one week for Spinzilla in October, so it should be doable. Here are the details for my 12 bin items.

1) Long Island Livestock Company Alpaca Firestar, 2-ply, 6 oz

Alpaca Firestar. Click for project page.

I’m halfway done with this spin already, but since I started it after January I’m still counting it. This will be a DK-ish weight 2-ply for my mom when I’m done.

2) BMFA RWC Camel/Merino/Silk in Spring Dreamin’, 2-ply, 5 oz

BMFA Camel/Merino/Silk. Click for project page.

Similar to the alpaca, this spin has already been started (post-January) and will become a 2-ply yarn. However, this beauty will be for me!

3) Pigeonroof Fibers BFL with Frabjous Fibers BFL Sparkle, 2-ply, 8 oz

Frabjous Fibers BFL Sparkle. Click for stash page.

My Pigeonroof Fibers BFL hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ll be spinning up the Filigree colorway for this quarter’s CTA spin-along. (It’s so pretty!) I’m thinking that it will look lovely plied with this Frabjous Fibers braid.

4) Loop! Bump in Kermit Coordinate, 2-ply, 5 oz

Loop! Bump. Click for stash page.

This is the fiber that I am planning to ply together with the other Loop! bump that I am currently in the middle of spinning. The other bump won’t count for this challenge, but this one will. I think plying the two together will have a neat fractal effect on the color changes.

5) BMFA RWC BFL and Merino/Silk in Sleepy Hollow, possibly 2-ply, 8 oz

BMFA BFL and Merino/Silk. Click for stash page.

I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with this Rockin’ Whorl Club kit yet. I’ve seen some gorgeous examples of yarn where people spun each base and then plied the two together. I love how the silk stands out like little jewels. I might do the same with mine.

6) BMFA RWC Polwarth in Prism and Winter Solstice, 2-ply, 8 oz

BMFA Polwarth. Click for stash page.

I don’t have a photo of the Winter Solstice yet, but it’s a basic light grey. I have 4 oz of the Prism left and plan to either ply each color with itself and knit a two-color project, or ply the two colors together to create a muted rainbow, like in this lovely example. Still deciding.

7) BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit in Single Cell Dating Pool, 3-ply, 8 oz

BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit. Click for stash page.

I think I’ve finally gotten to spin thinly enough that I should be able to make a decent skein of 3-ply sock yarn, so that will be my goal with this kit.

8) Plymouth Yarn Alpaca carded with Silk, ? ply, 7 oz

Plymouth Yarn Alpaca. Click for stash page.

I received this baby-soft alpaca for my birthday and have ordered 2 oz of shiny, blue-green silk (that I’m still waiting for) to go with it. I’d like to use the drum carder I’ve rented to blend the alpaca and silk together into fluffy batts. Not sure how I’ll spin it yet, let’s see how the blending goes, first!

9) Two Sisters Stringworks Gotland in Canopy and Rime, possible 2-ply, 8 oz

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Two Sisters Stringworks Gotland. Click for stash page.

Again, I’m undecided about how exactly I’ll spin these, I think they’d work great spun separately and knitted together into something stripey, or plied together for a different look. Either way, I want to try out this Gotland fiber sooner than later, so it’s in the bin.

10) BFL x Cormo fiber, ? ply, 8 oz

BFL x Cormo fiber. Click for stash page.

I have about 16 oz of these lovely, unwashed locks stashed and I think it’s a good goal to aim to wash, flick, and spin up half of them this year. If I do more, great, but I wanted to commit to less than the full amount just in case I hated the process for some reason (which I obviously hope I don’t).

11) BFL x Gotland fiber, ? ply, 8 oz

BFL x Gotland fiber. Click for stash page.

Similarly, I have a bunch of these BFL x Gotland locks stashed that I’d like to experiment with. For these, I want to dye the locks in a few different colors and try combing and blending the colors into some sort of gradient (I think – don’t hold me to that).

12) West Mountain Farm Llama Down, 2-ply, 5 oz

West Mountain Farm Llama Down. Click for stash page.

Finally, last-but-not-least, a little bit of llama down to spin up since I’ve never spun llama before. I’m hoping it spins similarly to the alpaca that I’m enjoying so much right now!

Phew! I’m a bit tired already just looking at all of that fiber but I’m also feeling really excited about all the lovely yarn I’m going to make. There’s nothing I like more than a good plan. I’m sure I’ll spin other things throughout the year but it will be great to have this list to keep me motivated when I feel like I’m lacking inspiration. How do you choose what to spin (or knit, or make) next? Do you find goals to be helpful or a hindrance to your creativity? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Link along or leave a comment below and let us know!