Sunday, January 27, 2008

Time for an intervention

My friends, I think I may need help. I simply cannot stop spinning. When I'm not spinning, I'm thinking about spinning. For the past week I've spent more quality time with my Lendrum than with my husband. This can't go on.

Yesterday around 2:00 pm I finished plying and skeining some yarn. And today just after noon, I had two more bobbins (4 ounces total) ready to be plied. That's officially my fastest spinning to date. This BFL flew through my fingers so quickly that it seemed to spin itself. When it was all over, I just sat there wondering what the hell had happened.

fck an bobbins
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I should show you the finished yarn first, shouldn't I?

asu bgy skein macro
Fiber: 100% merino from All Spun Up
2 ply
17 wpi, heavy fingering weight
109 grams (3.875 oz)
376 yards

asu bgy macro5
Another knittable yarn! If only I would stop spinning so I could knit some of it. This merino from All Spun Up was glorious. (See it in roving form here.) Kristin, the dyer, has amazing color sense. She also spins some killer sock yarns. I've looked through some of the sold items in her Etsy shop, and there isn't a single one of her handspun yarns I wouldn't want to have in my stash. In fact, I do have one in my stash. I use it as inspiration. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to knit with it.

asu bgy strands
I really do need to stop neglecting the knitting, though. There's a pair of socks in the works for the Professor, and I'm sure he's starting to wonder if they'll ever make it all the way to his feet.

asu bgy macro2
Finally, many thanks to both Bea and Jodi for tagging me for the You Make My Day Award. Right back atcha, ladies! However, I am aware that the time-honored rules of tag frown on tag backs.


So now I have to come up with a list of 10 people whose blogs make my day. It's hard to narrow the list down to 10, but here it is (in no particular order).
  • Kristie at Guilty Pleasures. Kristie knits such lovely things, socks in particular. I consider her a kindred spirit.
  • Emily at MLE Knits. Emily churns out fantastic sweaters, all of them perfect for warmer climates.
  • Angeluna at PurlsBeforeFrogs. I know Angeluna in "real life," and she has become a great friend. We have remarkably similar color sense...well, except for the blue.
  • TECHknitter at TECHknitting. With every post, I learn something new.
  • Deb at Fearless Fibers. Deb produces some of the finest yarns known to knitterkind.
  • Kelly at kelp! knits. Kelly is another amazing sock knitter. The rest of her knitting, sewing, and spinning are pretty awesome too.
  • Lori at From the Wool Room. Lori is an astoundingly prolific knitter and spinner. One day I hope to be like her.
  • Aija at sock prØn. Aija's enthusiasm for knitting, spinning, and all things handmade is contagious. Her Etsy Friday series has not been good for my wallet, though.
  • Oiyi at Oiyi's Crafts. If only I were as crafty as Oiyi! Go check out the photos of her sweet new baby.
  • Grace at Bookgrump. One word: Critters.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Knit or spin? Spin or knit?

If you've been getting the impression that there has only been spinning going on here at Chez T4S, well, you'd be mostly right. To prove that I haven't forgotten to knit, however, I present the following evidence. (Humble apologies for the horrendous photos. I'm tired of waiting for good light.)

dic stulpen model
Pattern: cable pattern from Stulpen, body of mitts based on Serpentine Mitts
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy, "Black Parade"
Needles: U.S. size 1 (2.25 mm) DPNs
Modification: I mirrored the cables on the two mitts.

dic stulpen done
Ever since I knit those two pairs of Serpentine Mitts in December, I've been wanting a pair for myself. The thought of knitting the same pattern for a third time so soon did not appeal to me, though, so I used a different cable pattern. All in all, I'm quite happy with these, but I would change a couple of things if I were to knit them again:
  1. I would move the cable pattern 4 stitches farther away from the thumbs. Although the pattern is centered on the mitts I made, it doesn't appear to be centered when I'm wearing the mitts. Apparently hands are three-dimensional. Who knew?
  2. I would probably shorten the cuffs a bit.
Still, these mitts are supremely functional. That is, they're keeping my hands warm while I'm at my frigid office.

So, spinning! I finished another skein on Monday. It started out looking like this.

cw ea roving
Occasionally I like to buy things that are outside my normal color comfort zone. This roving from Copperpot Woolies certainly fits that bill. It's comprised of dusty purple, orangey-gold, and white. As I started spinning it, I said to myself, "This has the potential to become some really ugly yarn." But I pressed on. The Professor wasn't exactly encouraging. He told me it looked as though I was spinning up a bad Halloween wig. Humph. At my look of displeasure, he did add that the spinning seemed to be improving the fiber.

cw ea niddy2
As it turns out, I needn't have worried. The finished yarn is worlds better than I was expecting.

cw ea skein
Fiber: Copperpot Woolies 100% merino, "Elegant Autumn"
2 ply
310 yards
16 wpi, sportweight
114 grams (4 oz.)

cw ea close1
I am still surprised by how much I like this yarn. It's heathery, tweedy, and just plain good. The roving gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from me. It didn't draft quite as smoothly as the superwash merino I used for my last skein, but it wasn't difficult to draft by any means. The slightly less smooth drafting did mean that my singles weren't as consistent as I would have liked. However, the inconsistencies aren't particularly apparent in the finished yarn. Those nice color variations can hide a multitude of sins.

cw ea strandsjpg
Mmm, soft and squishy merino goodness.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Like the mythical Greek sculptor, I have fallen in love with my own creation. Here is my recipe for happiness: Take these two bobbins...

cm swm bobbins
...and ply them into this.

cm swm plied bobbin
The yarn looks unremarkable enough at this point, but it has secrets hidden beneath that top layer.

cm swm niddy
Those streaks of sunny yellow and orange make me giddy. They're just the thing to brighten up my winter days.

cm swm skein
Fiber: superwash merino from Crazy Monkey, colorway "Autumn Leaves"
2 ply
20 wpi, fine fingering weight
110 grams
510 yards

cm swm strands
The colorway of the roving may have been called "Autumn Leaves," but it reminds me more of fruit punch or those rum swizzles I drank in the Caribbean a few years ago. In any case, it's delicious.

I think I'm in love with spinning superwash merino. It drafts so smoothly that I hardly had to do any predrafting at all. Easy drafting led to rather consistent singles. And for the first time, my singles were very close to the same length.

cm swm close
Best of all, this yarn is sproingy and smooshy (only made-up words can adequately describe it). I am completely amazed at how much bounce it has. It's positively elastic. And the yardage! I can hardly believe I made this. Spinning is awesome.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Spinning my wheel

I've been more or less neglecting my knitting all week in favor of spinning. Here's the latest.

prs 3ply skein
Fiber: Pigeonroof Studios corriedale roving, colorway "Green Ocean"
Yards: 380 (3-ply)
WPI: 20
Weight: 90 grams

prs 3ply skein close
Drat, I keep forgetting to photograph my rovings before I rip them apart and start spinning. This is what the roving looked like, and oh my, it was a lovely thing. I now completely understand why Pigeonroof Studios rovings sell out so quickly.

Alas, I am still a beginner, and this yarn is not everything I wanted it to be. For one thing, I overspun it a bit, so it's a little, um, firmer than I would like it to be. I think I was worried about the fine singles breaking during plying, so I overcompensated with too much twist. The yarn isn't exactly twine, but nor does it have the squishy wooliness I would have preferred. At least it should wear well.

This is my first foray into 3-ply, and all in all, it was a success. Once again, though, I spun one of my singles quite a bit thicker than the other two, which explains why this skein is only 90 grams. The original roving was 4.3 oz (122 grams). I did ply the remains of the other two singles together to come up with 175 yards of heavy-ish laceweight.

prs 3ply skein close2
All in all, though, I am pleased. With every skein, I see improvement in my spinning, and I can't ask for more than that. Plus I'm having lots of fun to boot.

The next spinning project is already well in hand. Just look at that evenly wound bobbin. Oh Woolee Winder, how I love thee!

cm swm bobbin1

Sunday, January 06, 2008

2008: Number 1

Presenting my first FO of 2008. I actually finished them on January 1st. I hope that finishing a project on the first day of the new year is an omen for good things to come.

felici done
Pattern: Improvised—2x2 ribbed cuff, 6x2 ribbed leg and instep
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici, "Clay"
Needles: U.S. size 0 (2.00 mm) DPNs

I am not ashamed to admit that I have an almost childish fondness for self-striping yarns. They are one of my guilty pleasures. So when I needed a mindless sock project for my vacation knitting, this is what I chose. Good grief, this yarn is soft! Ridiculously soft, considering the price. I have no idea how well it will wear, but as these socks are for me, I will be able to give a progress report in the future. My only complaint about the yarn is that it had small white spots at the transition between the terra cotta and red stripes. Still, I would not hesitate to knit with Felici again.

With my holiday knitting complete, I have been able to turn my attention back to my neglected spinning wheel. Here's a preview of the latest hanspun.

prs 3ply done close