Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I think we may have hit it...

I'm thinking that based on how much is on the spindle right now, I might actually have enough yardage for booties out of the english rose when I'm done with it:

I think "frog hair" is an understatement for this one... But it'll be quad ply, so the significant yardage will be great for booties, even on tiny needles.

Socks, maybe? Although this one's not superwash, so it might be an issue...

We shall see!

This weekend: Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival! I've decided I am not entering in the competitions, I'd've had to mail them out by today to get there by Friday, and I'm just too tired right now to deal with that. Next year, maybe. Plus next year, I'll be a little more prepared for it. :)

May day coming up! :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Slow going...

So a lot of things have been happening *outside* my house recently... Like pruning the landscaping and working in the garage. So spinning has not quite proceeded apace. For that matter, pictures haven't been happening as much as I've wanted, so in the meantime, this is all I've got:

Honestly, I've gotten more than half of the sample done, it's just slow going because I'm going frog-hair thin and cable plying.

I swear, I'll knit after this one's done... I need to get *something* done for my niece!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A little more of the pinkish stuff...

So spinning has been proceeding, although a bit slower than I'd like.

Can't wait for next week: MDSW commences! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I have discovered the hard way...

... I don't like Romney.

That sample I started working on yesterday? Breaks when I look at it wrong, and has no spring. It just doesn't like the thin spin I was doing on the baby merino. And with no spring, it makes for lousy socks.

So I have about one ounce of an earthy rose Merino that is about to be spun instead.

It's the one in the top right corner. This should be enough to get me the same thin quad ply I did for the robin's egg blue baby merino. So reds and blues for my soon-to-be-niece. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Done, and yet not

So over the weekend, I finished the baby merino! I've got a small skein of quad-ply fingering weight yarn at this point.

Only problem? It's only 42 yards by my estimate.

Most baby booties require between 30-50 yards of worsted. Most baby socks require between 25-50 yards of dk weight. This could be a bit problematic.

But let me show you what I've got! :)

In just a few days I went from this:

To this:

So 40 yards of a light fingering weight quad cable-ply. It literally sits in the palm of my hand, I'll have to take a picture next to a coin for scale.

So what to do in order to stretch things out? I'm thinking I picked up some Romney lambswool from Woolbunny that may well fit the bill:

So this past weekend I spent a lot of time with a wonderful lady, giving her tips with plying on her wheel (this is her first time plying, she just started spinning on it this month. Prior to now she's had the wheel, but because of some issues with her scotch tensioning, hadn't used it. My wheel isn't scotch tension, so I'd no idea how to help her fix that. Once she'd gotten it fixed, she's had no problems, she's a natural!), while I finished plying my baby merino. Nice to just have a spin-in every once in a while! :)

While we were at it, the both of us combined raised almost $3000 for the National MS Society! YAY!!! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

No pictures today...

... maybe tomorrow.

I've got a *lot* more done of the blue organic baby merino... I'm actually spinning it *way* thin, so I can try to do a four ply. I'm not sure if I can get it to give me enough length with a 4 ply, but I'm going to try. My brother's gone totally organic on me with his new baby coming in July, so I'm going to see about making a set of organic booties for the kid. The baby's a she, and the rolags are blue, but I've never been one for saying boys wear blue and girls wear pink. I know this girl is going to have dark hair and dark eyes and relatively fair skin (with my brother and his wife, there's almost no chance of anything else), but the blue isn't your traditional pale baby blue, more of a robin's egg blue.

Something I think I finally discovered was the difference between spinning woolen and worsted. Up until now I've been spinning roving, and getting a worsted yarn. I'm spinning rolags now, and because of the directional change in the fiber, I can see the difference, I can see where one would get a much fluffier yarn. Because I'm spinning it so thin, it probably won't matter, but I can now see where the difference is.

I'm also still working on the Celtic Mystery batts, but likely will be doing that for a while. I'm spinning those superthin too, because I want to get a four ply out of it. We shall see! At least with the Celtic Mystery batts I have four ounces, which means I should get a reasonable set of socks from them. Very smooth fiber even though it's wool, and a superwash. It feels luscious to work with, very lightweight.

One of these days I'll get back to knitting... I've got a bag in my purse that's carried the beginnings of a set of alpaca fetchings for the last three months. They haven't gotten past the first row. ;)

I'll have pictures of what I've got soon. Thing about spinning is that progress doesn't show quite as easily as it does for knitting, so you don't look like you've accomplished anything when you're working with lace and cobwebweight. It's ironic, because I'm getting FAR more yardage than I did out of the Celebrate yarn (that was a week's worth of work for only 15 yards), yet it looks like a lot less!

Must start my planning for MDSW... I'm still not sure which day I'm going, or if I'm going to enter a yarn in competition!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A little Celtic Mystery... And dyeing to get there...

So now that the April Challenge is done, I'm moving on to something I purchased at the Homespun Yarn Party, a Celtic Mystery batt from Wild Hare Studios. It's a superwash wool blended with firestar and angelina, in greens with some black, brown, and gray thrown in for good measure.

I'm going absolutely superfine on this, since I want that four-ply cabled yarn that I didn't get with Plume!

It'll take me a little longer, but it'll be worth it!

And on the other hand, yesterday being Easter, I went by the store and purchased a few things that went on sale:

Both the egg dyes and the kool-aid were 60% off, so I went for it! :)

I've got that pound of superwash that I purchased at the Homespun Yarn Party from Sanguine Gryphon, so hopefully I will be able to get some good dyeing out of this!

But I think I'll wait a month. I've got a lot of stuff on my plate right now, including stuff for my new niece! :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Something to Celebrate!


Boy am I celebrating this one! I've never done supercoils before, so I wasn't sure how it would turn out... Almost 4 oz of fiber turned into only 15 yards of yarn, but boy what a yarn!

This was an interesting challenge... There really aren't that many people who will show you how to do supercoils on the internet, and most of them are in relation to using a wheel, not a spindle. So I had to fudge a bit, but I figured out a few little tricks while I was at it (like don't overspin the outer yarn, and don't underspin the core.).

Now the big question: What do I do with only 15 yards of yarn? :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ah, children...

So last night I went to the doctor's office. I'm still sick after a week and a half of antibiotics, so they gave me new stuff. But while I was waiting in the waiting room, there were three children out there playing with the little train set that is in the waiting room.

One by one, they started coming over to check out what I was doing, which, as has been my penchant lately, was spinning.

Specifically the "Celebrate" yarn.

Mind you, since it's using three spindles, it's a bit amusing to watch.

One by one they come over... And one by one start to ask me what I'm doing, how I'm doing it, can they have some (sorry kid, can't detach that), can they try (sorry, not on this yarn, although if I had a cd spindle I'd let them)...

One of them told me I could make a pinata out of it. *laugh*

It was just the most adorable thing... By the time their parents came out (the father apparently had a badly sprained thumb), all three were quietly watching me.

Nothing like spinning to be a babysitter. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lots and lots of new things! :)

Plume is done! 250 yards of superwash goodness:

I love that end view. :)

But on top of that, I've also got a few other things I've been working on... First, the April Challenge, "Celebrate!"

The Celebrate yarn is my first foray into Supercoils. Supercoils are apparently easier to do on a wheel than they are on a spindle, but I can say from experience you can do it on spindles... It just takes a lot of hand-eye coordination! You can see three spindles in that picture. The first is the one that hangs down at the bottom. The second is the coil ply, and that one sits over my shoulder. The third one is the core yarn, and that one goes over the left side of my left hand while the finished yarn spindle goes over the right side of my left hand.

The easiest way I can think to describe it is that I'm doing a combination of park and spin on each of the spindles. I park the finished one and the ply one, and add a whole lot of z-twist to the core yarn. Then I hold onto the core spindle, drop the finished spindle, and while the finished spindle is trying to re-balance itself, I'm holding the coil ply just above the last bit of coiled finished yarn, and periodically pushing the yarn down on top of the previous coils. It's slow going, but it's working! This yarn sucks up singles like you wouldn't believe! I would believe that by the time I'm done, I'll have used five to six times the amount of coil ply as I will have of core yarn!

I'm also working on a little something on the side... When I won second prize in the Quarterly Spinning Contest earlier this year, I got a shipment of sample yarns from Woolbunny, and among them was a baby blue organic 15.5 micron sample of baby merino fiber, with a touch of glitz thrown in. I've been playing with it a bit at work when I need a break:

I'm thinking if I spin enough, it may make baby booties for my soon-to-be niece! I'll be an auntie come July! :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Clover Hill Yarn Shop at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival!

And hey, they're running a contest! Post their ad in your blog, send them a link, and you could win a gift certificate to the Three Irish Sisters!

Wow, those yarns are beautiful!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wish I would have stuck with only one...

... So, I finished the second ply of Plume, and put it on my niddy noddy to measure it last night:

Looks good, right?

Wrong. Couple of small problems:
1. WAY too thick for socks. What seemed like a good idea at the time (because the two-ply was somewhat thin and the singles were really thin) turned out to be WAY too thick for socks unless I was going to go for boot socks.
2. WAY too short for socks. I wound up with something just over 111 yards. Needless to say, this will not accomplish a pair of socks.

So, I am currently in the process of UNplying that last ply and bring it back to a two-ply. So the two-ply will be z instead of S, but perhaps it won't be that bad, since it's just socks. It shall be an experiment. I've got Frankenspindle and Do-Not-Drop-II each hanging on one of the two-ply sections of the four-ply yarn, while the 4-ply is hanging off my cocobolo plying spindle.

As you can see, I took the extra rubber band off Frankie. The rubber band was making the two plies stick to each other too much.

Would you believe that un-plying takes ten times longer than plying does? *sigh* At least the damage can be undone.

I'm alternating between pulling the plys apart and then spinning each side up on its respective spindle, and allowing the two cut-out spindles to dance around each other, spinning themselves out. It's faster the first way, but prettier the second. :)

So on the other hand, I'm also working on the Challenge Yarn for April, Celebrate!

One thing about this yarn... I'm having to do a LOT of park and draft. This will be the first time I'm trying to do supercoils, and I'm not even sure if I've done it right, I may have to let a lot of the current energy untwist from it before I do the ply around the core yarn. I need to go look up a bit more on how to do this before I finish the second ply. Right now it's looking pretty good, thoguh! This is the first time I've been able to clear more than 3oz of yarn in less than 24 hours, and it's a really thick one!

Yes, this is *super* energized. I mean *REALLY* super-energized. I want to see what I'm going to get out of this one... I want to actually make a necklace out of what I get. :) We'll see just how much it yields! I've seen people go from 60 yards to 11 when they do supercoils!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ply, the second. Plus the final wash n whack of Bahama Blues!

So with being somewhat sick, I've not been getting off the couch much once I get home from work. Plus, my coworkers are getting used to watching me spin during phone calls, so that's a plus, I get more done. ;)

So last night I finished with the first ply of Plume, and started in on the second:

I *severely* over-energized the first ply, because I want this to work out well for the second ply:

The ball is actually trying to twist in on itself, it's kind of amusing. :)

Because I over-energized the first ply, the second is actually turning into a nicely balanced yarn!

I'd already gotten a lot done before I went to bed, even!

However, one other thing was that I finally got all of the Bahama Blues washed, whacked, and de-cattified (she's been somewhat forgiven. The husband's the one who punished her, but she knows whose stuff she got, and she's been avoiding me all week).

Woot! Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to knit! :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Just a little more plume, plus this month's challenge spinning...

So Plume is about halfway done with the 1st ply:

I'm overspinning it on this ply, so as to make it ply nicely on the second. I'm hoping to wind up with a heavyweight sock yarn.

But this month's challenge is "Celebrate!" So I'm making my challenge yarn something that's definitely on the celebratory side, and very flashy!

I can't wait to start!