Monday, August 25, 2008

CMF redux

I've gotten into the habit of spinning fiber in 4 oz. lots. After all, fiber is very often sold in lots that size, and that amount of fiber will fit comfortably on my bobbins. It makes sense. However, the system breaks down somewhat because I'm also in the habit of buying fiber in 8 oz. lots. Very often I lose interest in spinning the second 4 oz. by the time I've finished the first.

Crown Mountain Farms sells many of their fibers in 8 oz. lots, so it isn't surprising that I had a couple of half bumps of fiber lying around. I decided to take pity on them and spin them up.

cmf bfl s2 swirl
Fiber: Crown Mountain Farms Bluefaced Leicester, "Shala"
3 ply
390 yards
105 grams

cmf bfl s skeins
I absolutely loved the first skein I spun out of this, so I actually started on the second skein within a few weeks of finishing the first. Since I had spun the first skein a bit thicker than I really wanted, I didn't try to make the second skein match in weight. It's a good thing, too, because they're definitely fraternal in color. Skein #1 is undeniably blue and brown, while skein #2 is also blue and brown, but with an almost purplish cast. Both are nice hanks of yarn, but they're more than subtly different.

Next up is some Corriedale I spun in response to a request.

cmf cor fr2 skein
Fiber: Crown Mountain Farms Corriedale pencil roving, "Finding Rainbows"
2 ply
536 yards
110 grams

cmf cor fr2 swirl
I gave the first skein to my friend Angeluna for her birthday in July. When I casually mentioned that I had more of the same fiber, her eyes lit up, and she asked if I could possibly spin up the rest for her. Well, I can't say no to a friend, so when my spinning queue became empty last week, I immediately thought of this.

cmf cor fr2 strands
The problem, of course, is that this second skein is a bit finer than the first (420 yards vs. 536 yards from the same weight of fiber). This is what I get for spinning this immediately after doing a fine 3 ply yarn. What do you think, Angeluna? Still interested?

Friday, August 22, 2008


No, 30 is not my age (not anymore, anyway...sigh). According to my Ravelry stash, I just added my 30th skein of handspun. That number is not entirely accurate, since it doesn't include multiple skeins in the same colorway. Nevertheless, it seemed like a momentous number to me.

In mid-July a bunch of us in the All Spun Up Ravelry group convinced Kristin to do a spin-along. Kristin obliged by dyeing up some merino/silk blend in the same colorway for all of us.

asu sal ms1 fiber
Patiently waiting in my spinning basket

This is half of my 8 oz. lot. See the personalized label? I love little touches like that. I spun the fiber up into this:

asu sal ms1 swirl
80% merino, 20% silk
3 ply
540 yards
111 grams

asu sal ms1 strands
It seems as though I only want to do 3 ply these days, and this colorway looks amazing as 3 ply. Really, I couldn't be happier with this yarn. The best part about the spin-along, though, is seeing how everyone spun the same fiber into such different yarns. If you're on Ravelry, check out the photos so far.

asu sal ms1 braid
My tentative plan for this yarn was to knit a scarf for myself since I've been wearing a blue acrylic number (the horror!) for the past two winters. Ms. Bockstark has already knit socks out of her yarn, and she's tells me that this yarn absolutely must also be made into socks too. I think she's convinced me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Catching up

Clearly I am still trying to find my blogging mojo. It's amazing how easily one falls into the habit of not updating the blog. Yes, I'm full of brilliant insights.

OK, I promised some finished objects in my last post, didn't I? Here's the first of two (although in actuality, it was finished second):

jb cb ankle socks
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug, "Copperbeech"
Needles: 2.00 mm DPNs

More plain stockinette socks! Sorry, I know they're boring, but they're such a great take-along project. Besides, the Professor likes to wear ankle socks in the summer (if he wears socks at all), and he doesn't have nearly enough of the handknit variety.

jb cb anke socks macro
I figured ankle socks were the way to go with the dismal Jitterbug yardage. Of course, I didn't know about the yardage issue before I bought this skein of yarn, and I didn't check the label. Normally I have plenty of yarn left over after knitting a pair of socks, so I don't often double-check the yardage. I expect a 100 gram or 4 oz. skein of sock yarn to have enough yardage to complete a pair of average size socks. Apparently the Colinette people don't understand this concept. However, I can't be too upset because it's my own fault for not looking at the numbers. Lesson learned.

The yarn is nice to knit, though. As countless others have noted, it's strikingly similar in feel to Socks That Rock lightweight. Given that STR is less expensive and has more yardage, however, I see little reason to go back to Jitterbug, at least for socks. (I can't believe I just noted that STR has more yardage than another sock yarn. How surreal.)

And now for something I'm completely happy with:

asu cbm skein macro
Fiber: All Spun Up 100% merino
3 ply (Navajo/chain ply)
620 yards
124 grams

And for all of you who like to see the "before" photo of the fiber:

asu cbm fiber/yarn
(Obviously it isn't a true "before" shot since it also includes the finished yarn. I just had the foresight to buy two bumps of the same fiber.)

This spinning was pure fun. The fiber was dyed in nonrepeating blocks of color. Kristin doesn't dye these "color block" fibers very often, so I thought carefully about how to handle this one. In the end, I decided Navajo plying was the way to go. It was the best way to preserve the color sequence that Kristin had so carefully dyed.

asu cbm strands
Now, what does this yarn want to become? Socks? A scarf? Will I even be the one to knit it? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

And we're back

Wow. I never meant to neglect the blog for so long. To all of you who are still checking in here, I am profoundly grateful. And many thanks to those who emailed me to make sure I am still among the living. Indeed I am still breathing...barely.

The move went reasonably well, but I'm still busy, busy, busy with the house. However, I do have a small backlog of finished objects to share, which is really shocking since I've hardly spun or knit in the last month. I'll save most of that for another post, though. It would be a shame to "spend it all" at once, wouldn't it?

Instead, I'm going to devote this post to a little bit of business. (Well, there's one FO from me at the end.) About a month ago (just before the dreaded move), I decided to sign up for the HHHH swap. It required me to spin 4 oz. of fiber for my partner. "No problem," thought I, "I can easily spin that in a month, move or no move." Heh.

I didn't even start spinning until after we had moved into the house (mid-July). On the upside, having a reason to spin gave me a great excuse to indulge in some stress relief. Nevertheless, I knew it was going to take some effort to finish on time.

Before I did finish spinning the yarn, I received an HHHH package from my upstream partner, Opal, the Akamai Knitter.

hhhh received
Yes, my friends, I received a package from paradise (Hawaii, to be exact). Opal spun some yummy fingering weight yarn out of some superwash merino/alpaca blend from one of my favorite fiber pushers. As if that weren't enough, she also sent me 8 oz. of fiber (instead of the required 4 oz.). That's 4 oz. each of a gorgeous alpaca/silk blend (the brown fiber) and some "Black Diamond" carbonized bamboo (the gray fiber). Opal also thoughtfully included some fun Hawaiian goodies, including not one, but two forms of chocolate covered macadamia nuts (kisses and clusters). Needless to say, I feel utterly spoiled by this level of generosity. Here's a gratuitous close-up of the yarn:

hhhh hs received
Thanks again, Opal! I couldn't have wished for a better swap partner.

At this point, I was really feeling the pressure to do right by my downstream partner. After probably too much contemplation, I chose to spin this fiber.

cm swm autumn

Which I turned into this:

cm laia swm skein
Fiber: Crazy Monkey 100% superwash merino, "Like Autumn in April"
2 ply
440 yards
106 grams

cm laia swm swirl
Hmm, are you my partner?