Tag Archive: hand spun

The Dust Clears: Fiber Journal Entry 1

Hello, everyone! It feels like it’s been ages since I closed down Maiden Yarn. A few new life directions moved in, and knitting and spinning (even recreationally) slipped through the cracks. But just the other day, while browsing some Ravelry patterns, I got bit by the fiber bug again. Hard.

It started innocently enough. Just finding a sock pattern (or two or three) that I really liked. Then I realized that in a few days I was going to be on a plane to Colorado, and I really enjoy working on smaller knitting projects when I travel. Perfect! Dig through my stash, select a lucky yarn and pattern, and I was set.

Well, almost. You know that annoying moment when you realize you’ve left your stash alone so long your yarn tastes have changed? Yeah. . . I was a little less than inspired. There was one gorgeous deep red batch, but it just wasn’t speaking the words I need to hear.

What did I do? Well, you might laugh, but I decided to spin my own. Yep, five or six days to lift off, and I wanted to spin sock yarn. And I did it. Mwahahaha.

DSCN3062

Three different batches of leftover inventory from Maiden Yarn merged together to become this subtle beauty. Pale leafy greens, deep teal-blues, and the occasional streak of deep purple or lavender. The really cool part? It actually panned out at a gauge of eight stitches an inch. How often does that happen?

I have two balls of this stuff – well, one ball and one hank (hanks fit into suitcases much more easily) – a fistfull of size 2 needles, and a pattern decision to make. I’m leaning towards just using one of the basic patterns and pick a fun ribbing or rib/cable design for the leg. I’ve been out of the knitting game for so long it might pay to start out slow. And hopefully starting out slow will translate to actually finishing the project. I do so love hand knit socks.

DSCN3058

Yarn specs: Two ply, hand spun, hand dyed. Fingering to light sport weight. Blend of superwash merino, bamboo, nylon, corriedale, and possibly some blue face leicester. Stashbuster.

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.

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.

This Week in Fiber Central. . .

It has been a crazy, crazy last week or two in my little fiber world. Sales practically exploded (hooray!) and I must have had at least an average of one per day.

I loved every minute of it.

In fact, that’s all the confirmation I need to know that I’m doing what I really want to be doing. Selling fiber and yarn definitely holds enough excitement for me to last as long as God wants me here.

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.

Spring? Already?

It might just be me, but eighty-degree weather in the middle of March seems a bit early. Not that I’m complaining about all the lovely flowering trees outside. All those white and pink blossoms—not to mention the gorgeous red ones that I don’t know the name of—very lovely stuff.

Spinning and general crafting levels have been down as we’ve had lots of wonderful house guests for the last several weeks, but now things are grinding back towards normal and I can get back to spinning. And dyeing. Lovely dyeing.

Here’s my first stab at dyeing some mohair/silk laceweight in my Blackberry Jam colorway. I still get the yarn quivers whenever I look at this. Gorgeous.

I also managed to get way too much purple on a batch of Dawn Treader lace, and it turned out amazing. My only problem is that now I’ve got to come up with a name for the new colorway.

And then there’s the two-skein set of bulky weight that I just amazed myself with. How does one go about naming a combination of black, emerald green, and purple? I may wind up having to put a picture up here and run a name contest.

From A Place Other Than My Desk

Hello! I’m writing this from a hotel in Arkansas and trying to get used to the keyboard on a borrowed laptop. No, nothing drastic just happened in my life. I’m on my way back home after a lovely visit in Texas.

Of course a yarn store stop was involved in the trip, and it dawned on me there that I hadn’t blogged for quite some time. Therefore, I am taking the necessary steps to share some of the neat things that have happened lately.

First off, the new purchases, because everybody likes seeing shiny new yarn. Three balls of Jo Sharp wool. They’re not amazingly soft, but I really like the colors and the subtle sheen.

Believe it or not, I actually wound up starting a project with them at least four times. Quite probably five or six. This is what happens when I don’t have a pattern and keep changing my mind twelve rows into a scarf. First it was going to be stripey stockinette, then it was going to have purl diamonds to keep it from curling, then cables, then twists with ribbing, then cables and twists but no ribbing . . . you get the idea. I really think I should find a pattern as soon as possible, otherwise it will become the knitting equivalent of trying to rhyme with orange. It just doesn’t work.

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.

Project Review

I realized I’ve been leaving you in suspense over my purple sweater! It did get finished, and I literally had to take it to Colorado unblocked and block it in a friend’s washing machine, but it got finished. I wore it a lot and really, really enjoyed it. Several people commented on it (in a good way). Yay! The photo, or rather a piece of the photo, I snagged from a friend’s picture of the trip. We were playing an acting game called Freeze.

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.