Tag Archive: batt

Something Old, Something New

Let’s start with the new, shall we? Everyone likes to see pictures of new things.

I recently participated in a trade with a local dyer. MamaJude does simply beautiful work with plant dyes and can also dye cotton. I cannot dye cotton, so we worked out a swap where she would acquire a couple skeins of cotton boucle from me, and I would receive some indigo batts from her.

The batts arrived a few days ago, and they are gorgeous! There are six of them total. I haven’t weighed them, but I’m guessing the batch is in the six-to-eight ounces category. Here’s the best picture I could nab of one in the fading afternoon light.

I keep thinking that I should mix these with some of the lovely soysilk I have stashed away and make something large. But they’re so light and fluffy, I’m wondering if I could find a light spring/early autumn top or cardigan pattern. That might do them more justice. Whatever I decide on, it’s going to have to wait awhile. I’ve got two or three other spinning jobs lined up, plus the BFL lace I’m finishing up now.

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.

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.

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.)

Under Certain Circumstances

So, yes, I did say I wasn’t going to buy any more fiber until I’d made a significant dent in what I already had. (And I can already hear you chuckling to yourself.)
But, there are certain circumstances that are just plain not worth resisting. And in this case, it was because I had never heard of nor seen this particular kind of fiber before. Well, that, and because it was shiny.

This is called banana silk. It’s derived from the leaves of banana trees, so it’s a plant-based fiber, and you can see how shiny it is in the pictures. I’d heard of yarn that had banana fiber in it, but it had never registered in my noggin that that would mean there was banana spinning fiber floating around somewhere to be pounced on.

Knitters Have It Easy

A few days ago I began a new knitting project, since I had finished the sweater. “Wait!” you say. “You finished and you didn’t tell us?” Well, it’s not finished-finished until it’s blocked, and I’d rather not model it while it’s soaking wet, thank you very much. And pictures of it laying flat on a table get old after awhile.

Ahem. As I was saying. I began knitting my first shawl. The Emily Dickinson shawl, it is called, and it’s available for download on Ravelry. (I’m LoveFiber on there, by the way.) This is my first shawl, my first knitted cobweb lace-weight, and my first time adding beads to a knitted project.

And let me just say it now, knitters have things so easy where beads are concerned! You just pull the loop up through the beads one at a time with no fuss. The last beaded non-knitting project I made required loading the seed beads onto the yarn ahead of time. All hundred and something of them. Then I had to keep scooching them along the yarn until I needed one. Crazy.

What Next? Swedish?

I sure can pick the knitting patterns. The one I finally decided on for my blue cowl is in French. Thankfully it’s a little easier to decipher than those German socks. DSCN0630

And I’ve got almost an inch and a half done! (Hey, it’s the little victories that count.) Not to mention it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred and ninety tiny little stitches. And the mohair makes for terrible ripping back. Avoid ripping back this yarn at all costs! Even if it means creating stitches out of nowhere. Which I have done. *cough cough* And need I point out that I had to cast on three times? I have yet to master the long tail cast on in terms of estimating how much tail to use. Thankfully I didn’t get anything twisted.

Fiber Preparation

Beginner’s Series: Wool – Part 4

Batts, Slivers, Tops, Rovings, Clouds, what on earth do these all mean? How’s a spinner supposed to know what they want with all these choices? Thankfully, learning what each of these styles gives you (and how to spin from them) is not as hard as it looks.

Rovings:

DSCN2936

This is my personal favorite to spin from. It’s so nice and smooth, and spins easily. Roving can be spun short or long draw. It’s kind of your basic format. The individual fibers are laying straight, side by side with each other, which allows you to spin a very smooth yarn.

Top:

This looks like roving, but the fibers aren’t aligned quite as nicely, giving you a little lumpier yarn.

Sliver:

This looks like top and roving, but the fibers are a little different.