Thursday, January 25, 2007

Latest Handspinning & Spindle Update

Just a few pics of my latest handspun.

First, a comparison. The fiber is Corriedale, from Yarnpunk on Etsy. I first bought some back in August, spun it up, and promptly ordered more. The first batch was...not bad, for my spinning at the time. I ended up with a heavy worsted-to-chunky single, somewhat consistent but still varied. I was really proud of it, though.

After the first batch, however, I discovered that I wanted something softer that would show off the colors more. In that time, I attended two Guild meetings and worked on spinning some angora, which was an amazing fiber yet required more attention than I had ever needed to give before. Once done with the angora, I started spinning up some Rambouillet/Border Leicester that had been given to me back in April. Imagine my surprise when I was suddenly creating even, thin singles that plied into a nearly perfect (for me) sock yarn!

I turned back to the green and tried working with it on my current level of finer spinning, and ended up with the lovely 2-ply you see on the left of the picture above. The old single chunky yarn is shown for comparison on the right.

Here's that Rambouillet/Border Leicester I told you about (thanks, Patty!):

The green--I don't know what it will be yet. I have about 100 yards plied with some black Corriedale, plus all the chunky stuff, and now this pretty thin I have another 6oz or so left to spin. The grey-brown wool will become socks for my husband as I promised him. The heavier grey-brown, my first skein that I spun before realizing it was a bit too thick for what I wanted, may go to something else for my husband or else I'll gift it to someone.

All in all, I'm really happy with what I've done in the past month. I feel like my spinning has taken a turn for the better, as well as becoming FAR more consistent and predictable.

My spindle collection is growing, too! In my possession now, I have:

Ashford 'boat anchor'--sturdy, heavy, and my first top-whorl spindle. Also the first spindle I actually owned, given to me by a secret pal early last year.

Louet beginner's spindle--lighter, though with a very large hook, with sheep woodburned into the whorl. I entertain thoughts of replacing the hook and turning the shaft on a lathe to make it a bit prettier, as it's an otherwise blocky piece. Still, I have used it for several fibers and it's a good, solid spindle. Received as part of a swap.

Kundert Bloodwood & Maple spindle with Walnut shaft--my main workhorse spindle. I adore it, I love it, I am lost without it. It was the first one I'd bought for myself, at the Guild meeting in October. I was expressing frustration with the Ashford because I couldn't get thin singles that wouldn't break, and two guild members (one of whom ran The Wheel Thing, who may be carrying some of my swifts soon) said, "The spindle makes a difference--try spinning on a lighter one." So I did, and almost cried at how pretty the single turned out. I experimented with a few different ones, but ended up with this one because of the gorgeous deep red color of the inlay. I now use it constantly.

Stone Whorl spindle from Running Moon Farm--the newest addition to my collection. I heard about RMF through the spindlers group on Yahoo; a stone whorl spindle intrigued me and I checked it out. Boy am I glad I did! It's light, unique, pretty, and spins forever. I got some very nice, very thin singles with it, though I haven't used it enough yet to really get to know it.

Prototype Turkish spindle--made from a Windsor chair spindle and two pieces of cherry. I have a few things to iron out before this can go into production, but I have the basics. It DOES spin, and it DOES work, but I still need to play with it for a while. It doesn't spin long enough. I'll show pics of it at some point.

Coming soon:

Stone Aztec spindle--from Salome on Etsy. An early birthday gift from my husband to me. The whorl is an authentic archeological find from the end of the Aztec empire, about the time Cortez brought them down. Salome turned a new spindle, and I can't wait to play with it when I get it.

??--from The Wheel Thing. I have my eye on a small Purpleheart & Yellowheart spindle, though we'll see if I can still get it when the time comes! I may change my mind, though I've been thinking about that particular one since December. Actually, since October, when I had to choose which one to buy. I got the Kundert then, but I've been thinking about that small one ever since. I recently sold a scarf on Etsy, and the deal was that I could get something at the meeting if I sold new spindle, here I come!

And that, as they say, is that for the night. :)

Friday, January 19, 2007



It's not much, maybe an inch at best, but here it is 10am and it's still hanging on. I am so happy about this. I was really worried that we'd make it through January without so much as a flake. :)

Speaking of which, I think that's what my friends think I am for loving this stuff so much. Of course, I got no less than 3 calls (one from my husband and two from RL friends) who all wanted to make sure I saw that it was snowing. :D I can't help it, I know you guys think I'm nuts, but I really really REALLY love snow. It hasn't felt like winter without it.

I was very warm going outside in my new mittens and my artscarf--the scarf is long enough to wrap around my neck twice AND tie in the front, and the mittens are SO thick and warm. All I need now is to complete a hat that I like (I ripped out my Calorimetry and decided to start over--it was WAY too big) and I'll be set. I have some leftover green from the mittens and a whole other ball of the purple as well, so maybe I can do something that matches.

My art has stalled out; I had a small pair of commissions that were cancelled, which is sad, but I understand why. Now, though, I need to get my butt in gear and start doing SOMETHING. Same with my writing--I reworked the beginning of one of my stories and I like it more, but it's still missing something important. I think I just need to keep going and I can figure out what I need later.

I fell far behind in critiques on, which means I need to catch up. That'll be 'fun'. ;)

Oh, and as I mentioned in another post, I decided that this year would be not only Knit from Your Stash year, but also Spin from Your Stash. In light of that, the first thing I chose to spin once the angora was done was some really pretty grey-brown wool that was gifted to me last year. I'm glad I'm doing it now--it practically spins itself! I am also much better at getting a uniformly thin single. This is going to become really nice sock yarn for my husband. :D I've done 100 yards so far--that was within less than 24 hours of spinning!! I need about 300-400 for a decent pair of socks, so another few days of spinning and I should have enough.

My arm is totally feeling it, but it's a good ache. I never thought of what a workout spinning could be, but it forces me to raise & lower my left arm a LOT. I figured out that for every 100 yards of finished yarn, I probably raise my arm to its full extension about 350 times. This is really good for me. My left arm is the one that had problems a few years ago, and I've been coddling it for so long that I was losing flexibility. I'd like to get to where I don't feel a difference anymore between my arms. I am good about taking long breaks between spinning periods and shorter breaks during.

I guess that's it for now. I was only planning to write a 'SNOW' post, but you guys get the scoop on my life as well. :D

Monday, January 15, 2007


I made my first pair of mittens this weekend!

I've done gloves and all sorts of other items before, but I've never done mittens. I wanted this particular pair, ever since I saw someone on DeviantArt who had made hers in blue & yellow. I almost did the same thing, but then I saw the purple & green next to each other and...well, I had to have it.

The strings on the cuffs will be knotted into loops for hanging the mittens when they're wet. :)

x-posted to my personal LJ & the punk_knitters LJ community.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Joshua's Sweater

I can't believe I didn't post this here. My aunt had a baby 2 weeks before Christmas; his name is Joshua. Since he is likely the last baby to be born on that side of my family for a VERY long time, I decided he deserved a sweater of his very own.

I've never knitted a sweater before, actually--but the One Skein book by Leigh Radford had an awesome baby bolero in it. I happened to have some Mission Falls 1824 was just meant to be. :)

So here you go:


PS: More spinning, knitting and sewing stuff to come. Honest!