Category Archives: Fiber

Anything spin-able. Wool, fur, silk, seaweed, soy, bamboo, flax, hemp, rayon, nylon, and whatever else turns up.

Alpaca From The Fleece

I recently decided to start spinning up some of the gorgeous cinnamon alpaca that a very good friend gave me, and I thought I’d share the process I’m using. When I get a chance to sit down with my wheel, it goes something like this.

First, admire the lovely flowers the little boy I babysit gave me for Valentine’s Day, and consider making him a crocheted blanket (not alpaca) since he took such a shine to the last crocheted blanket project I took along to work on. It might be a good idea to do that sometime soon. I mean, when he likes the blanket enough to ask if it’s for him, for his mom, for his little brother, or for his big brother, I can kind of see a broad hint in the there.

Second, relegate the blanket thoughts to the back of my mind and transfer my attention to this . . .
(I will wait for the ooohs and aaahs to die down.)

These are sections of the fleece that I carefully detached from the bag-full and laid on end in a nice green tray. Not only does it keep the fibers neat, it collects the dust, and doesn’t look half bad to boot. Hooray for being crafty and, at the same time, looking sharp.

A Little Spun

Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, I haven’t progressed far enough on my sock knitting to warrant taking another photo. One can only have so many pictures of “Look! It’s another half inch longer.” The lack of progress is a little frustrating. Especially because I want to spin and knit a pair of socks. Yes. I have two pairs of unfinished knitted socks, and a nice little collection of other sock yarns, but they’re not hand-spun! The trials of a spinner.

On the flip side, I have been working on some of those batts I mentioned in the last post. I’ve got one almost completely spun, and it’s looking quite snazzy. Now before you go pointing out any little neps and slubs in the yarn let me say that I did intend for those to be there. It is all part of a grand, super-secret experiment. (Cue the dramatic music.)

In the midst off all this, I’m beginning to hear the call of the crochet hook again. I haven’t used them for an actual project for some time (and during that time I managed to accidently stab a tiny one into my heel) and I’m beginning to miss it. Miss crocheting, not stabbing my heel. That hurt.

I’ve got this crazy idea involving crochet hooks and un-spun silk. I have a silk hanky laying around. I just have to decide if that’s what I want to use it for. I think it would make a lovely, airy shawl or wrap. Probably rectangular, as silk makes hair static, and I wouldn’t want it right up by my neck.

Alpaca Socks and Looking Backwards

It’s a rather gray day outside this morning, besides the few patches of snow here and there. There’s rain on the way (more than usual) and the atmospheric pressure is resulting in a lovely sinus headache. Plus it seems to be sapping the energy out of me. Even to the point where I don’t want to curl up and knit! Size two double points? Far too heavy.

But, I have made some rather good progress on my second alpaca sock, and I have found the secret to finishing a never-ending pair of extra-tall socks! The key is to go and stay in a rather chilly house for a few days. Take the sock knitting, and just barely enough pairs of regular-height socks. By the middle of the first day you’ll find yourself huddled on the couch watching old, instant-stream TV shows off of Netflix and knitting for your life in the hopes of warmer toes.

Unfortunately this knitting streak didn’t cross over to the other pair of unfinished socks I brought along, or the Emily Dickinson shawl that I had hoped to start again. However, I did have a lovely time resting, reading (three whole books!), and movie-watching.

Knitting On The Horizon

Believe it not, I haven’t forgotten about my knitting projects. I just pulled this sock project back out from the closet and started back in. Since then I’ve turned the heel and gotten a ways into the foot part. This is the “Hedgerow” pattern, and I rather like it. I ran into some trouble on the heel flap, but that was probably an operator error as opposed to a glitch in the knitting pattern.

The yarn is knitting up really nicely too. All these deep grays and blues. Lovely!

And I’ve got another pattern begging to be made. I’ve never really been big into fingerless gloves.
I mean, they’re neat articles of clothing and all, but they didn’t do much for me personally. Then I saw this pattern. And my non-glovey self said, “Self, if you were to wear fingerless gloves, those would be them. So you might as well buy the pattern.”

Ta-da! “The Last of The Sky Pirates” fingerless gloves. Cool, no? I’m particularly fond of the little buttons down the side. (I borrowed the photo from the Etsy listing.) The construction looks pretty unique. At least as far as my experience goes. You use straights and DPNs.

Once I got the pattern I wasn’t sure what yarn I’d want to use for it, and then I dyed this.

Oh yeah. Thankfully it was a two-skein batch, so I’m keeping one of “Beryl,” and the other goes in the store. I’ll be taking this project along on a trip to Missouri. And I have extra incentive to finish it while I’m gone, as I’m borrowing the needles from my knitting sister, and she’ll want them back as soon as we return. No pressure! Thankfully my knitting time includes the lengthy car ride.

Enough is Enough

I recently came into possession of a large compilation of the works of Lewis Carroll. It’s a big, beautiful “leather” bound copy. Not so good for taking on trips, but excellent for curling up with on a gray afternoon. From my initial perusing of the new material (I’m already very familiar with the two Alice stories) I’ve come to the conclusion that Carrol can be very amusing to read, but he tends to wander off into lengthy dissertations on things in which I have little-to-no interest.

However, to get to the point, one of his shorter writings features tips on writing letters and contains this little gem: “My second Rule is, don’t fill more than a page and a half with apologies for not having written sooner!” And I have taken this to heart. I think it safe to assume that you’re fed up with my apologies for not having blogged sooner, so I will dispense with them forthwith.

I’ve been keeping pretty busy lately with various fiber projects. One of which was a large undertaking.
Eight ounces of superwash BFL fiber to be handspun and dyed for a Maiden Yarn customer. Oh my goodness – I practically had to fight off my knitting sister to keep the spun yarn. Bluefaced Leicester is rapidly elbowing its soft and lustrous way to the top of the fiber heap, so to speak. It’s simply wonderful stuff.

New Storage And A Teaser

I may as well admit it up front. I’m a sucker for nice baskets. They’re pretty, lightweight, non-plastic (usually), and can hold practically anything. Not to mention they come in an enormous range of sizes.

All that to say, look at the lovely new baskets I have to store my dyeing equipment in! Thanks to Mom and Aunt Debbie, I don’t have to dig my stuff out from the top shelf of my closet anymore. Hurrah! Life is suddenly so much easier, and less clutter-filled. I’ve toyed with the idea of changing out the fabric liners seasonally, but that might be a bit over-the-top.

A Few New Babies

Time for a “new stuff” reveal! I’ve managed to accumulate a lot of bits and pieces without sharing, so I’ll do that now.

First up we have not one, but two braids of blue faced leceister/silk roving. Both from OrangeJello. “Bonfire” and “Violet, You’re Turning Violet!”

New Adventures

I launched a new product today (with more coming) and I’m rather excited about them. They’re batt kits for those people lucky enough to own a drum-carder.
Coordinating colors in the nice, small amounts you need for blending a batt. The only trouble is how to go about spreading the word among the drum-carding community.

I also received permission to do something very exciting. Cyan Worlds gave me the green light on creating some Myst-inspired yarns! (Myst is a series of amazing computer games, very heavy on the visual arts side.) I get to make them! Yay!!!! I’d like to have them available in October sometime, but we’ll see what happens. It’s not like I’m creating the official Myst yarns or anything, but I’ll be able to have lots of fun with it, and, maybe, become the official Myst yarn person. I can dream.

And, last but certainly not least, this is the month of the indigo merino. I have almost an entire bobbin of singles done already.

In Which The Tardy Author Apologizes

I did it again. I let this poor blog languish. I’m sorry! This is just plain ridiculous. All it seems to take is one instance of “I’ll do that later” and the whole blog avalanches over the precipice and into the dye water.

Speaking of, I’ve been very busy dyeing things since I got back from Colorado earlier this month. I haven’t done this large of a dye batch in a long time.
It stretched over two or three days. The first day was all sorts of fun, ha ha ha. I dyed four batches of various things, and of the four, none of them came out the color I was aiming for. God was so gracious in that they were still usable. They just weren’t coming out as intended. Rather frustrating at the time. I actually found myself not wanting to dye again. Ever. (Scary thought, no?)

But I took a day off from dyeing and tackled the rest with renewed vim, vigor, and some free choice in regards to colorways. In short: I got to play! Well, play with most of it.

Even Dyers Impulse Buy

When I first began dyeing my own yarn and fiber, some people thought I would never “need” to buy colored stuff again. Ha ha ha ha. That’s like saying “You cook, so you won’t ever need to buy food at a restaurant again.”

Or, if you want to get really out there, it’s like saying, “You stand up, why would you ever want to sit down again?”

There’s so much to be said for dyeing your own stuff, but every so often you want a break. And, as it happened this time, I found this gorgeous braid for sale. It’s a merino/mohair mix (a blend I’ve never bought before) and the colors jumped right off the screen and grabbed me. (Yes, it was scary, but a good scary.)

Isn’t it pretty? I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. The thought of a hat or smooshy cowl crossed my mind, or perhaps a little shawlette. I could go for socks, as it’s a four ounce braid, but I don’t particularly feel like spinning sock yarn right now. Ha, well, true, I probably won’t get around to spinning this until later this year. Oh, I bought it at FiberFancy, if you’d care to take a peek at some of the other lovely stuff there.