Or not….

The plan to wheel spin the Burning love fiber has come to naught….I started spinning it but it wouldn’t cooperate so I decided to spindle spin it instead.  I’ve been working on it for the last few days and I’m almost done spinning it. 

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The first half of the fiber; I spun it 7 years ago and plied it a few days ago, is done. I spindle plied it, soaked it and finished it the other night.

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I really like this yarn. It’s 254 yards, not sure the weight or wpi yet. I’m thinking that it’s not going to match the yarn I’m spinning now; I think the singles are bigger this time around.  Can’t wait to see how it all comes out.

Experimentation

It’s time for a little experiment.  Mwahahaha…she says with a sinister laugh…

While looking for fiber to spin (a gorgeous bat of merino/bamboo/firestar that was fluffy and gorgeous; it was baby pink and light green with a lot of sparkle) and found a bag of spun balls that were just waiting to be plied. So I spent the day reacquainting myself with plying on a spindle (just about the easiest spinning I’ve ever done),then I got out my new niddy-noddy and now I have a skein of 254 yards of beautiful fingering wt. in an orange and red colorway called “Burning Love”.  I will add pics at the end of my experiment.  I’m so damn proud of this little skein that it’s almost a little ridiculous.

Along with the singles I also found the other half of the combed top that I used to make it.  All of my spindles are full at the moment and I really want to spin this and hence the experiment.  I’m going to spin the other 4.2 oz on my wheel and see what the differences are in the two skeins.  I’m guessing they will be similar but they will be two very distinct lots of yarn.  I really can’t wait to spin this.

Spinning the Day Away

I spent the better part of the day prepping and spinning.

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This is Merino that I dyed with my nephew a few months ago. We were going for rainbow and got it, just a little more pastel than I planned. I love it though!
I split the fiber in half and then halved each of them. I’m planning to spin them 2 at a time together, first from pink to purple then back from purple to pink. Then I’ll ply the two singles together. I’m hoping to end up w it a sport to DK weight yarn. This is the first time I’ve tried to plan a yarn from the beginning. Fingers crossed.
Here is what it looked like when I put it up tonight…

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Love the way the soft colors blend together. Can’t wait to knit it.
I’ve also started a scarf for the same nephew using this crazy acrylic yarn I’ve had forever. It’s called TCL Wiggles. It’s loud and garish and gorgeous.

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The Valkyrie yarn is put up until I figure out what will suit it. I would love suggestions for a shawl that can be knit with 2 skeins of Socks That Rock medium weight and that is right for a yarn that needs to be the star of the show.

Spinning

Last night/early this morning – had trouble sleeping b/c of a  tooth ache – I spun woolen for the first time.  I’ve always been afraid of the long draw; something about letting the twist get into the drafting triangle freaked me out.  I guess I just never thought I was good enough to do it.  I was planning to work on the Spirogyra spinning (btw…the name of the fiber is Teddy Bear Trio and it’s a 50/50 blend tencel/merino from dkknits, who makes gorgeous roving/top.) but the little bit of merino/bamboo that came with my newest spindle, a gorgeous creation from Yorkieslave called Monet’s Lily, a beautiful combination of colors that were just like the colors painted on the spindle, with a bit of color-coordinated firestar to go mixed in just called to me.  It was a much smaller project and it wasn’t for a specific project, so I could experiment a bit.

I’ve always gone out of my way to buy combed preparations of fiber b/c, as I said, I was terrified of the long draw, and it just seemed more orderly.  This mini-batt, or mini-batts as the case may be, they seem to be hand carded in small little batts were totally different than anything I’ve worked with before.  I did work with a batt awhile ago, but I did that on the wheel and I spun it worsted with the short draw and a very tight grip on the fiber in front of the drafting triangle preventing any twist from getting past me.  Like I said, this time I was more willing to play, and I loved the effect.  I also learned that firestar really wants to get everywhere and you must have a towel under it if you are going to spin in bed while watching General Hospital (which is great right now, isn’t it?).  I spun about half of it last night and plan to spin the rest into one cop that I will then turn into a plying bracelet and ply on itself – another new technique for me.  I’m thinking/hoping that the finished result will be about a fingering weight two ply; the singles are fairly thin.  I haven’t checked the wpi, which I should, but I’m just having fun.  I just ordered six ounces of the fiber from Sally at Yorkie Slave and I’ll be a little more careful with that since I want to make a shawl with it.

Does anyone have any experience with shawls that have firestar in them?  As I’m spinning the singles, I’m noticing that the firestar has a tendency to stick out all over the place and I’m hoping it will tame down to some degree after plying.  My big question before I plan a shawl and how to spin the big batt is will it be itchy?  Am I better off making something else with it?  What projects lend themselves well to firestar in the prep?  Thanks. 🙂  It doesn’t seem to be blended in well, more like it’s sort of sitting on top of the prep just barely carded in…I don’t know much about carding, though, so maybe it’s just the top layer…

Home again, Home again…

So we’re back at our house now, the blue house if officially a thing of the past.  I ended up sleeping there last night as well; we figured out that there was a day or so more than we thought and I wasn’t going to watch TJ work himself to death going back and forth after midnight with the snow blowing and him being awake since 4 am.  So he came back here, Jake went to his Unkie and Katiebugs house and I stayed at the blue house so that if we were wrong, they wouldn’t be able to lock us out.  Needless to say, things went smoothly, no one came to change locks etc. and we’re all moved out.  It took some doing and a lot more time than we thought, but we also have a TON more stuff than I thought.  We have over 80 boxes in this house of different sizes.  There is almost nowhere to walk in the living room, we have to kind of manuever around things, pretty funny.  We have a plan to open and get through at least 2 boxes a day.  It will still take awhile that way, but we won’t feel overwhelmed and there is no rule saying we can’t open MORE boxes in a day.

On the knitting front:  Not much.  I’ve finished the thumb gusset on the Twist Wrist warmers.  Not much knitting last night, I watched the rest of season 2 of Dr. Who in bed and, I have to admit, reveled in the alone-ness and quietness of it all.  Even with the stress of having to move, it was nice to be all alone for one final night.  So I’m planning to finish that up in the next day or so.  Total side note:  I’m really LOVING this project on the DPN’s.  I think I’ll have to rethink my Magic Loop only policy for small things over a size U.S. 4 (I have all harmony or options interchangable needles right now, so anything under a size US 4 is not a possibility for me, unless I dig into the addis, so I guess I really could do M.L. with any size needle.  There is no point to this thought, but I’m not going to delete it…LOL).  I really do prefer the 5 needle method that I’m using with the Monkey socks over the 4 needle method that I’m using for the wirst warmers.  I know I could have easily added the extra needle and worked out the number of stitches for each, but I really wanted to be kind of mindless while I did this, so I didn’t bother.  The Malabrigo color is so pretty…I can’t remember the exact name of it, but Amore is in the name and it’s shades of red, mostly deep.  I think it might be possible to get two pairs of mitts out of the one skein, but it may be deceptive.  The ball still seems pretty big, but I think I’m going to have to rewind it through my fishing line measuring thing to find out how many yards I have left.  I’ll bet it’s a lot less than I think.

On the spinning front:  I haven’t done any.  LOL  The Girl Insane yarn is done, though (link to a picture in Ravelry to follow).  It’s been hanging in the bathroom since Sat. night, so it’s obviously dry.  Tomorrow I’ll measure the wpi and photograph skeins.  I’m excited to have my first spinning project of the year done!!  I have the feeling that it’s going to be a heavy sport or light worsted yearn.  I was hoping for something a bit finer, but it seems that I can only acheive seriously fine singles, or plied yarn for that matter, with my spindles.  Speaking of which, I really need to get a plying spindle sometime soon.  My next project is to navajo ply the singles for spirogyra and hope that I get the 13wpi I’m looking for.  The singles are about 28-30 wpi and I think I read that you should plan for twice or a little more wpi for the final wpi you’re looking for in a Navajo ply.  I hope I’m right.  Once that’s done, I still have the other half to pre-draft (as called for in the pattern instructions for the spinning portion), spin and ply before I start the mitts.  It will be my first planned fiber to finish project.  I have the camel/merino mitts that I’ve started knitting, but I didn’t have a plan for the fiber when I spun it.  Come to think of it, I need to take care of that as well…finishing the second mitt.  LOL

A Barrel….er Pair…of Monkeys

Happy 2009 everyone.  I hope New Year’s Eve and the beginning of this year have been great for everyone.  Both have been pretty good for me so far.

We went down to Farmington Hills to visit with TJ’s dad and mom (separately, of course) for New Years since we didn’t spend Christmas with them this year.  It was the first year in our new house and we wanted to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (Pictures to follow soon, I promise) in it.  So we left Tuesday evening and drove down to Dad’s.  We spent an uneventful but very enjoyable night there; Jake opened Christmas gifts from his Papa and Grandma Fran and so did TJ and I.  As always they were generous to a fault.  Jake is now the proud owner of the game Operation which he’s been coveting from TV commercials for months now.  It’s much more high tech then the version that was out when I was a child.  Instead of just making that horrible buzzing sound for the parts, there are individual sounds for each different part.  Wicked.  He was very happy.  My favorite gift was the incredibly warm pair of pink suede moccasins that I swear have hardly left my feet since I got them.  I love having warm feet!  I’m not sure what TJ’s favorite gift was, probably the lined, puffy lumberjack type jacket – he likes being warm too.  Why do we live in Michigan again?  Not to mention right on the edge of a lake effect snow band?  Hmmm…  After presents we got the Wii (by far our favorite gift of the holiday season) out so Jake could show Papa how good he is at boxing (stay out of the kid’s way, I tell you, he just kind of punches and kicks wildly, but does very well) and tennis.  He ended up playing baseball, too, and now that’s his obsession.  I see Little League in my future this summer and possibly tennis lessons as well since that’s his other favorite thing.  After finding out how much we love the Wii, my mother very generously offered to buy me a Wii Fit as an extension of my gift (an already ridiculously generous Sony Alpha 300 DSLR camera).  I can’t help but wonder if this is her not so subtle way of reminding me that I need to lose weight.  Either way, I’m thrilled to be getting it and I can’t wait to start getting in better shape (one my resolutions for this year).

Wednesday afternoon we went to TJ’s mother’s house to spend the afternoon and eat an early dinner.  We were surprised, pleasantly of course, to find Aunt Nancy at the house when we arrived.  It made for a great afternoon filled with Christmas gifts, Wii bowling and pizza and ribs.  So much fun.  Mom knows Jake so well and got him a Michigan CAT train set which he went crazy for.  After the afternoon at Mom’s we left Jake with Dad and Fran and we went to a party with friends that we haven’t seen in a few years.  It was a great night and it was so much fun to see friends that we haven’t been able to spend time with.  I’m usually not much for parties and I actually thought about not going for a bit, but I didn’t want to disappoint TJ so I went and had a better time than I can remember having in a long time.  I should really do things like that more often.  Depression sometimes makes you forget how much you like your friends…:)

So now we’re back home and the Christmas knitting is done.  It was a relief to finish in time (just barely) but also a bit of a letdown at the end.  For a few months now I’ve been working to get these gifts done in time and once they were done I had nothing on the needles so to speak…I actually have quite a few WIPs in the not finished basket.  I decided that this would be a perfect time to actually knit that pair of socks that I’ve been wanting to make since I taught myself to knit a few years ago.  I grabbed the Socks that Rock in Hot Flash ( a color which I thought was atrocious when I bought it as a gift for Andrea, but when I balled it I discovered that it was absolutely gorgeous) and swatched and grabbed a set of dpns to cast on.  This time I’m going to finish these socks.  I picked the Monkey Socks because it’s a pretty pattern that seems like it’s not too complicated.  I’ve started multiple pairs of socks with a plain 2×2 pattern or a simple 4 st. repeat from Sensational Socks but have always gotten bored and stopped by the end of sock one.  Not so much Second Sock Syndrome as bored out of my mind with the boring pattern syndrome.  This time, though, I’m determined to finish these socks so I’m not allowing myself to cast on anything new until I’m done with these…and I have some really great yarn in my stash and some more on the way.  I may not be able to force myself to work on only the socks until they’re done; I’ve never been able to be quite that monogamous with my knitting, but if I get bored with the socks I will pick up a WIP rather than starting something new.

On the spinning front I’ve got two things currently in the works.  I just finished the first half of the roving for the Spirogyra Mitts which has great spinning instructions in the same issue’s Knitty Spin.  I’ve spun it on my Spinsanity Spindle to 28 wpi and am planning to chain ply it to get 13 wpi (I hope).  If I did all my math correctly, I should have plenty of yardage for this pattern (I’m using 4.2 oz. of merino/tencel in a 50/50 blend).  Tomorrow I’m planning to get the first half on the wheel for plying (I’m still not really clear on chain plying on the spindle).   Once I’m sure I’m getting the right wpi and correct yardage, I’ll get to spinning the 2nd half.  I also just finished the second bobbin of singles from the Girl Insane roving (80/20 Merino/Tussah Silk roving in shades of light to bright pink with accents of purple and a darker black shade).  I split the roving by colors (light and dark) and spun them on separate bobbins.  I’m going to ply them together in a simple two ply and hope to see the colors blend together in a really pretty way.  We shall see.

That’s about all for now…back to the monkeys for a few more rounds before bed.  Next time…my 101 in 1oo1 or at least the first part of it.  I’ve decided I want to try this resolution thing with a little extra time.  I’m excited to do it and see how much of it I actually accomplish.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to come up with 101 things, though…

Spinning from the fold

…is a lot easier than it seems like it would be.  I just got four gorgeous bumps of Abby F.’s silk from Beth at The Spinning Loft to use for making Abby from this issue of Knitty, and even though I have other patterns that I need to finish before I’m supposed to start new things, I just couldn’t resist getting started.  The problem:  There aren’t very exacting spinning directions, just spin a heavy laceweight single from the fold.  From The Fold?!?!  ARGH!!!  So I got out the spinning books and read what I could, but while I got the concept, it just wasn’t clicking with my hands.  Next came the computer and Ravelry which led me to You Tube and Abby’s video on spinning from the fold.  That was helpful, but I wanted to find more information.  What really did the trick for me, clarified the concept was this video.  Again it was Beth helping me…LOL  First she and Shannon Too helped me pick out my wonderful wheel and now her video is helping me with spinning from the fold.

After reading and watching videos I decided to just bite the bullet and give it a try.  I figured I wouldn’t be “wasting” more than a few staple lengths worth if the effort didn’t pan out.  Guess what?!?!  It worked.  LOL  I know I shouldn’t be so amazed, but I am.  I’m also very proud of myself.  So I’m going to spin the first ounce of silk up on my very first spindle (still my favorite, although I love my square spindle as well) and hope that I get the yardage I need to try my hand at Abby.  I’m also anxious to try spinning from the fold on Penelope, but I think I’ll perfect it with the spindle first.  🙂

On a health note, I’m finally starting to feel a little better.  I actually got dressed and went out to eat with TJ and my brother in law and his girlfriend the other morning.  I ended up with a major headache, but it still felt good to get out.  I’ve always been more than happy to stay and home and forego most outings, right Shannon?  LOL, but now that I’ve been told I have to stay home and rest, I hate it.  I’m so anxious to go out and do something.  If you’re reading this, Shannon, email or call me…I want to go out to lunch this week or something fun like that.  Yes, I actually want to leave the house…LOL  I’m seeing my doctor tomorrow and hoping to get the all clear from her.  I’m still having some pain in my kidney area but I think I’m getting better.  Hopefully no more hospitalizations.  Fingers crossed.  Okay, I’m off to rest and spin some more of Abby’s amazing silk.  Here’s hoping lunch works out this week…ugh…I’m so ready to see friends and do something fun!!!