Category Archives: On The Wheel

Current spinning projects.

Time Weigheth Heavily

Well, it’s not so much the time that weigheth heavily as it is the seeming lack thereof. (Daily dose of Old English has now been administered.)

As for me, well, I’m up to my elbows in a pile of spinning projects. Lovely projects, for lovely people, but there seem to be tons of them.

First off, I’ve been working on spinning up some Aussie fur for a good friend. (Yes, dog fur.) It’s really soft and fluffy, and has been washed. Definite bonus. I’m spinning it on a spiffy new gadget I’ll have to tell you all about in a future blog post.

Theoretically this yarn will end up as a two-ply fingering weight, although there will be some DK weight bits in there, given the nature of the fiber. I carded the fur into batts, but it’s so fine that it spins more like a cloud, which results in a lot of difficulty keeping things even. And there seems to be different lengths of fur in there, which also makes things interesting.

All in all, it’s spinning up to be an interesting taupe color. Almost like sand.

A Birthday Shawl

Remember those undyed batts I carded way back when? (A lovely blend of BFL, baby alpaca, and mohair.) Well, those batts are now being used! Yes, it’s been over a year, but I’ve been waiting for just the right project. Handspun yarn for a birthday shawl.

The shawl was supposed to be my dear aunt’s Christmas and birthday present, however both of those dates have passed, so I decided I’d better get hopping. The last thing I want to do is end up like I did with my last two “birthday gift” yarns and not deliver on them until after the next year’s birthday.

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.

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.

Indigo and Turquoise

I’ve been spinning and spinning away on the indigo-dyed merino, and I have three nice skeins done already. Hooray! I think once the whole batch is finished I shall have to get some “big pile of smooshy blue yarn” type photos.

I tell you, though, spinning this is really eating up the audiobooks. I’ve already done most of The Wind in the Willows, The Jungle Books (part one), and now The Hobbit. Thankfully I was able to get to the library the other day, so now I have The Children of Hurin and one of the Mitford series ready in reserve.

On the knitting front, I have plunged into another stash-busting project. This one is of the “knit until project measures x length” variety, and therefore works for movies and such. It’s called The Floopy Hat and is really just for kicks. And to use up the amazingly large stash of this amazingly turquoise and textured yarn.

I Seem To Have This Thing For Lace

I have a total of three laceweight spinning projects going on right now. The alpaca and silk you’ve seen, so here’s the new baby.

Angora cobweb fluffy laceweight. Ahhhhhhhh. You cannot believe how soft this yarn is when it’s plied. It’s like the tactile rendition of feeling warm and fuzzy inside!

I’m actually spinning this on a nifty contraption that a friend of mine plans to make available on Etsy. I’m not at liberty to divulge many of the juicy details, but I will say that I could not spin this delicate of a yarn on any of the other tools I have in the house.

The grand Etsy store updates continue! I just listed a couple more yarns, and soon a nice big order of fiber will come in, and I can start all over again. Hooray!

Once and For Always. . . .

I just rediscovered my spinning wheels. *insert big mushy heart and ecstatic arm waving here* It’s been so long since I’ve spun just for “pleasure” or on a spur of the moment thing. After working on some silk laceweight, I have Bing Crosby in my head singing, “Once and for always, let’s say that it’s agreed. . .” He sings it to his lady love in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and it pretty much sums up my feelings toward the wheels at this point.

On the one wheel I have this gorgeous stuff. It’s the laceweight silk I promised my sister a year ago.

And on the other I have this. Cinnamon alpaca laceweight that will probably wind up in Filigree Willow Laceweights. (Sorry about the nasty photo. I have concluded that TV rooms are out to sabotage photography everywhere.)

A Raven and A Sweater

No, I am not starting to knit sweaters for birds. I have made excellent progress on the Raven’s Wing yarn, and I want to show you! Ta-da. My first wound-off bobbin of the single ply. Looks pretty nice, eh? I’m so excited about the way it’s turning out.

And, for the second half of our program, I give you my sweater progress. I finished one of the sleeves and started merrily in on the cowl. Supposedly the accepted and generally used method of sweater knitting holds that you must knit both sleeves one after the other, but who wants to do that?

Raven’s Wings

I’ve been mentioning this custom yarn on and off, and now I have a picture to share with you! A wonderful customer came up with the idea of a black yarn with purple and green iridescence, just like a raven’s feathers. Here is the beginnings of that yarn. I’m so excited about it! It’s spinning up quite well.

Of course, I’ve got my fair share of green and purple glitz tracked all over the house, but I believe it’s worth it.

And yes. That bright pink thing is my make shift drive band. It really dresses the wheel up, don’t you think?

In other news, I finally got to the seed stitch part on one of my sweater sleeves after very carefully increasing way more then the pattern called for. Thankfully the sleeve isn’t too wide, and can therefore be fudged with the greatest of ease.

And my first Creeping Vines sock is finished, except for weaving in the ends. Pictures will be forthcoming.