Friday, October 31, 2008


Wishing you all a very scary (scary in a safe way, of course) Halloween!

halloween candy
No, I am not crazy enough to give homemade caramels to the trick-or-treaters. These are for my coworkers. The trick-or-treaters will get mass produced, individually wrapped gobs of sugar and chocolate that have never been touched by human hands. It's sad, really. Here's a thought: anyone who shows up on my doorstep tonight and yells "merino!" instead of "trick or treat!" should get a caramel. If I have any left, that is.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sock yarn forever

I love spinning fingering weight yarn, although I rarely spin with socks specifically in mind. My latest yarns, though, are all about socks.

A while back, my mom told me she would like some purple ankle socks. With the holidays and her December birthday quickly approaching, I realized I'd better get to it. Alas, I had no purple handspun that would fit the bill, so I picked something appropriate from the stash and got started.

cmf swm khd skeins
Fiber: Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
3 ply
880 yards total

cmf swm khd strands
Purple ankle socks—that's what Mom asked for—yet somehow I translated that request into nearly 900 yards of sock yarn. Hmm. I blame Crown Mountain Farms for selling their superwash merino in 8.5 oz. lots. The yarn spun up so nicely, I just couldn't stop at half the fiber.

cmf swm khd swirl
I'm about halfway through knitting the socks, and not surprisingly, there's still a lot of yarn left. Mom might also get some coordinating mitts and/or a scarf to go with her socks.

I had such a great time spinning up the purple yarn that I pulled some more CMF out of the stash. This time I had no real purpose in mind; I just wanted to see how the crazy colors would look in 3 ply sock yarn.

cmf swm btbw swirls
Fiber: Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino, "Born to Be Wild"
3 ply
860 yards total

cmf swm btbw swirl macro
I was a little worried that spinning this yarn as 3 ply would muddy the bright colors too much, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results I got. It's true that the colors are probably less distinct than they would have been in 2 ply, but I'm utterly charmed by the 3 ply effect.

cmf swm btbw swirl
One of these skeins has already gone to a new home, but I'm not sure what I want to do with the other. The colors aren't really me. However, I suspect the yarn might appeal to one or both of my nieces.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I've always been something of a plain Jane. Although I always try to be presentable, I don't actually like to draw attention to myself. And stereotypical feminine interests like clothes, makeup, jewelry, accessories, and shopping have never held much appeal for me. My no-frills sensibilities also transfer over to my yarn choices. I tend to like traditional plied yarns; no novelty yarns for me, thank you very much. (However, I do like color, so I don't think I'm a complete fuddy-duddy.)

Recently though, I spun a couple of yarns that made even me say, "Ooh, shiny!"

sq mt fr fiber
Over the past year, I've stashed a few merino/tencel blends, but until now I had been a bit hesitant to try spinning one of them. I had read a few comments about tencel being tricky to spin, so I thought it best to wait until my spinning skills were a bit more developed. Now I can't help thinking, "What was I waiting for?"

Fiber: Squoosh 50% superwash merino 50% tencel, "Fraises"
3 ply
390 yards
105 grams

sq mt fr skein
I'll admit it, I've never been a fan of pink. It's far too girly for me. But pink and brown? That's a color combination I can get behind. As for this fiber blend, I can sum up the spinning experience in one word: smooooooth. The fiber just slipped through my fingers, and there were really no neps to speak of. My only complaint is that the fiber tended to drift apart. After each spinning session, I had to wipe up wisps of tencel from the furniture and from myself. Everything the fiber touched ended up looking as though it were covered in cobwebs.

sq mt fr swirl
I consider the yarn itself to be an unqualified success, though. The tencel adds a lot of shine and drape. I know a lot of tencel blend yarns are marketed for socks, but I'm not so sure that's the best application for this fiber. Tencel really has no elasticity, so I think it's better for things like scarves and shawls. In fact, I'll probably aim for laceweight the next time I spin this blend. This skein has already gone to its new home with my friend Edith, and I can't wait to see what she makes with it.

The second fiber blend has a shine that's a bit more subtle than the tencel blend, and I think I like it all the better for it.

asu bl/gr fiber
Fiber: All Spun Up 60% merino 40% bamboo
3 ply
410 yards
107 grams

asu mb bl/gr skein macro
The white bamboo fibers in this make the yarn look almost like it has a frost on it. The effect really is lovely. And the fiber itself was dreamy to spin. I'll definitely be treating myself to more of it in the future.

asu mb bl/gr swirl macro
Compared to the sw merino/tencel blend, this yarn has quite a bit more bounce. I attribute it to the slightly higher percentage of wool and the fact that the merino is not superwash. The yarn has enough elasticity that I would consider making socks out of it. It would also make a lovely scarf, cowl, hat, or pair of mitts. Hmm...