Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yarn Pr0n - 2 new yarns!

First, the Zwartble I spun earlier this month is going up for sale, so it got the full photo treatment. :)

And here's the first of two skeins of alpaca, also up for sale, in a colorway called "Iris Garden". The alpaca is raised, shorn, carded and dyed by a local farmer who also happens to own my favorite yarn shop in the world, Criations in Somers, CT.

Go check out the yarns and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Numbers that Shape Your World

Since receiving the spinning wheel 18 days ago (on 2/10/07), I have spun 1633 yards of finished yarn on it, resulting in 14 different skeins of yarn.

Of that, only 125 yards were single-ply, which means the remaining 1508 yards of finished yarn actually represent 3016 yards of singles.

(This does not include the skein of practice yarn from my first attempt, nor does it include various smaller amounts of fibers to test. Those probably total another 50 or so yards.)

All but one skein is worsted weight and lighter. Most of it is DK, sock or laceweight.

I have put up 3 skeins for sale on my shop, and should have another 2 or 3 up by the end of the week. I also have pics of my latest spinning, though you may have to wait til later tonight or tomorrow for them. :)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Birthday Weekend, and Yarn for Sale!

ETA: OMG I TOTALLY forgot to mention this!! I'm selling a signed print on Ebay. It's The Mermaid, #2 of 20, signed & numbered in silver pen. The print is 8"x8" square and it's one of my favorite images from last year's Merchant Road series. Please check it out, and feel free to bid. ;)


So...Birthday Weekend is about 2/3 over, and it's been lovely so far. :)

Friday morning was spent mostly hanging around the house, spinning, and knitting. I got a few dishes done (strange how they keep getting dirty), cleaned out the corner near my desk here so I wouldn't have to deal with an avalanche, assembled some tax paperwork, and then did a little stash-diving. Came up with a gallon bag of about 6 or 7oz of that green sparkly batt I've been working on FOREVER and decided that it was time to just spin it up and say goodbye. So I did just that. Halfway through, the bunny got home and we went over to Dragonmaille's to hang out and spin and play video games. While we were there, a mutual friend, SkullX, came by to talk about a project with Dragonmaille, and we all ended up hanging out together. It's been a long time since we had a chance to really chat with Skullx. I asked him about the icons he'd done for Dragonmaille, which I love. The result of his inspiration is the new icon on my LiveJournal. Every color and element was chosen for a specific purpose, and I couldn't be happier with it. It's a new vision of the Divine Bird! :D After all that, we got home, and I grabbed some earlier attempts at spinning the green sparkly wool and decided to ply it with cotton thread. The results are below--I named the yarns "Mardi Gras" and "Mardi Gras 2-ply". Both are now up for sale on my Etsy Shop. There are about 80 yards on the Mardi Gras and 100 yards on the 2-ply.

Next morning, bunny & I got up and went to eat breakfast at The Diner. It's a little local place, owned and run by a retired police officer from our hometown. We love going there because it's cheap, the portions are huge, and the food is SO GOOD. Seriously. SO GOOD. After that, we headed to the bookstore where I received one half of my present from the bunny--a copy of "Knitting Beyond the Edge" by Nicky Epstein. We hung around for a while, I cast on another mitten and got a few rows worked on it before we went home. That night we went to my father-in-law's for dinner and good conversation. :)

Today, my actual birthday, I spun some angora (which is also going into the shop once I photograph it), went up to Criations to spend a gift certificate, and then had my official Birthday Dinner (tm) at my parents' house. Both of my grandmas were able to make it, happily, though it was a little odd not having Granddad there. He hasn't been gone for even a year; he was at my last birthday and it seems a little quieter this time around. Still, it was a lovely, relaxed time. I got to talk to my sister on the phone (she was stuck in DC, waiting for her severely delayed flight). Both of my grandmas oohed and ahhed over my yarn--I brought the Mardi Gras AND the Tiger Lily (from my previous post) to show them. After they left, my dad put in a movie--Master and Commander--and the four of us watched it together with cocoa and popcorn. I am thoroughly impressed with the movie; it was just amazing--and it didn't hurt that we watched it on my dad's awesome home theatre! Seriously, I felt the rumble of the waves. :D Coolest present--my parents got us tickets to see Macbeth at UCONN next Sunday!!

So tomorrow, Bunny stays home and we have plans to go see Ghost Rider (movie passes), eat dinner at Outback (gift certificates) and then just veg out at home. :D It's the kind of day that we just love to have. I plan to knit & spin some more--gotta get my speed up--and add a few new things to the shop. The angora goes up tomorrow, and I just added a mohair scarf to my stock as well!

And that's the end of my boring (for you) and fun (for me) Birthday Weekend post.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tiger Lily

I can't help it--I just can't stop spinning.

This time you get one big collage image. :)

From Fiber to Yarn:

I couldn't quite get the light to work properly for me, and photoshop was no help today. The blues in the pic are actually much more purple, but that's what the lens picked up. It's a very rich and decadent looking yarn.

I spun two plies in the same color order: Red, Pink, Purple, and plied them together. The color runs, while in the same order, ended up overlapping, though there are places where the plies worked out to the same color nicely. I am going to be making socks from this yarn. :) I got about 385 yards in the big skein, plus another 50 or so in a smaller skein that was spun randomly instead of in order.

Enjoy! Comments and suggestions are always appreciated, too. :D

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Yarn Pr0n - some duplicate pics and some NEW ONES

Results of the Baby Camel/Silk.


Swinging Spinning Single:

In Flagrante Delicto:


*lights up, looks at yarn* So, baby, was it good for you, too?

Sunday, February 18, 2007


This is some Baby Camel and Silk top.

This is the single I'm spinning from it.

I feel happy. For reference, the orifice (the black tube that the yarn is coming out of) is 3/8" across.

The best part of this? I have been spinning it on my drop spindle as well as on the wheel, and both are the same weight/thickness. I'll be able to use all of it in the same manner. :)

And in today's episode of "Pimp My Ball-Winder"...

Sick of my spinning yet? :D

First off, two very awesome quotes from two chats I had today:

[11:17] friend a: [...] I've just felt my legs and have the sudden NEED to shave them.
[11:18] friend a: For the good of humanity
[11:18] friend a: You know, I should NOT have to be wearing pants in my own house.


Re: chocolate covered potato chips

[15:34] friend b: I call them PMS Wafers
[15:34] ChocoboNoMegami: LOL
[15:35] friend b: they're MEDICINAL
[15:35] friend b: health insurance should pay for them
[15:35] ChocoboNoMegami: LMAO
[15:35] friend b: they save our loved ones
[15:35] friend b: "You seem filled with rage. Here, shove this in your mouth and shut up."


And now for spinning news. I plied about 175 yards of the Scottish wool and have at LEAST that much left to do of what I already spun. I would like to point out that I haven't finished spinning even the FIRST batch I washed, let alone touched the second batch. A one-quarter of a fleece gives a LOT of yarn. :D I'll post pics sometime this weekend. I still have a lot to card, too. *sigh*

A picture of the plied Scottish wool

So anyway, I got it into my head that I wanted to try spinning a worsted-weight single. For the non-yarny folk, that's basically the most common weight people think of when they think of yarn. It's not especially fat or thin, but I know I tend to spin very fine. (Not as fine as Dragonmaille but still pretty fine.) It's actually work to spin anything thicker at this point.

Using the wheel and some wool/mohair roving that had been gifted to me, I started by spinning 'from the fold' (thanks, Abby!) and drafted what I thought was something VERY thick, then measured it. Yarn is measured by 'wraps per inch' (wpi)...literally how many times you can lay the same yarn next to itself over one inch. Worsted is generally about 14 wpi. My first 'thick' yarn came to about 20 wpi.

Had to go thicker, so I went on and added MORE as I drafted. This time when I measured, I was better at 16wpi, closer but not quite there. This time, I added WAY more than I thought I needed. I was sure it would be TOO bulky...

Nope, I got it dead on, 14wpi.

So I kept going, since I'd finally made my goal. Upon checking the wpi when I finished, I found it had gone back to 16. However, it's consistently 16 throughout most of the yarn, so I can't complain TOO much. All I have to do now is get used to doing the same thing only heavier.

I admit it's not bad considering it's my first time trying to spin heavy singles. This is also completely usable, of course. I have about 125 yards of the DK single and 16 yards of the smaller part plied.


Not bad for an evening of work! :)


I got my amazing package from my "Spin to Knit" secret pal yesterday morning--and I say amazing because it REALLY WAS. First off, I get this HUGE envelope from the Post Office--check out all the postage!

It didn't really sink in that the package was from AUSTRALIA until I got into the car. :D

Check out that haul!! My pal sent one big package rather than two smaller ones, and I couldn't be happier. The two yarns are called "snow" and "no snow". Both are very thick and OMG-soft. There were also some candies (whoo!), two postcards (double whoo!) and vying for attention for 'favorite part of gift' was a bag of Polworth poufs. :D Since I opened the package while we were out to breakfast, I ended up grabbing a pouf and a pen from the table so I could start spinning RIGHT THEN. (Good thing we were in our favorite diner where everyone knows us--all the waitresses came up to us and had to fondle the yarn & the wool! XD)

What a great intro to a day of...YARN STORE CRAWLING. Yep, Dragonmaille and I went off to Avon to visit an LYS that was closing. It's very sad to see a shop like that close, but the owners were retiring. At least it wasn't because they were forced out or something. Still, Wool Connection was the very first real LYS that I ever visited, and it's where I bought my first 'real' non-craftstore yarn. Holding true to my "no buying yarn for a year" promise, I walked out of there with some baskets and a pair of Mission Falls 1824 Wool skeins purchased specifically for a commission. Note: no stash enhancement took place. :D I almost broke for a trio of the same yarn in three shades of green (OMG COME ON IT WAS LIKE $3 A BALL) but I resisted temptation and put it all back.

Dragonmaille bought a TON of MF1824, though. I do love that stuff.

After that, we decided to go in the opposite direction, past BOTH of our homes to Northampton, MA. Yep. WEBS.

Again, resisted the impulse to buy yarn. It was easier there, actually; everything I loved was something I could make on my own. Why buy it then? I did pick up 2oz of Ingeo fiber in a royal purple and 1oz of Firestar in greens and blues with a hint of yellow and red. I want to use the Firestar sparingly in an upcoming spinning project idea, and I have wanted to experiment with Ingeo.

I also got to try a Louet wheel (not sure which model, but wow did I love it!) There was a man sitting over there when I was checking out the wheels; I thought he was a spinner himself but he confided that he was only back there because the 'man chairs' up front were full. WEBS really was packed, I have to admit. So we got to talking, and I sat down to try the Louet. The guy was FASCINATED. His wife came back and she, too, started asking a lot of questions. XD I felt like a master spinner sitting there, making up samples of wheelspun while talking about why the flyer moved at a different rate than the bobbin or what the hooks were for. :D Dragonmaille also came over and showed them how a drop spindle worked. I think the guy left with a new appreciation for textiles and how they were produced.

Oh, and Abby--I got to use your line about how machines were made to replicate what humans could spin, not the other way around. XD I think that was when the guy got really interested. haha!

All in all, I am very proud of my ability to resist the lure of new yarn. I went out yesterday with a definite plan in mind--to buy a ball winder--and I fulfilled that goal. I even got to test it out later at Dragonmaille's when her thread-thin singles were tangling while she plied them. :D I think I wound like 200yards and it didn't look like ANYTHING. :D

And now for some ball-winder porn. CHECK OUT THE LEOPARD-SPOTTED PILLOWS, AWWW YEAH!

See you later. I've got some yarn to wind. :D

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Weekend Spinning: Wheel Version

Well, you all know I got to borrow a wheel this weekend. I will be keeping it for about a year, which means that I'll have plenty of time to spin my stash down to nothing! ;)

Thought I'd post a few pics of the result of my spinning. First up, we have Zwartble (the dark brown black, 120yd) and an unknown wool (the white, 70yd). The extra pic of the Zwartble is a flash pic so you can see it a bit better.


And here's the Alpaca (caramel, 2 skeins equalling 140yd) and Llama (oatmeal, 70yd).


Add to these another 200yd or so of singles spun from that Scottish wool, and you have my spinning on the wheel since Saturday. :D

I'm also working my way through that baby camel & silk; pics of that next time!

Monday, February 12, 2007

No, I mean it, I REALLY love fibers.

It might kinda sorta be obvious to the casual reader of my blogs that I kinda sorta like yarn. Not to put too fine a point on it, I kinda sorta like fiber.

I know a lot of spinners and knitters out there. Some like coarse, heavy fibers like Navajo Churro. Some like fine, soft luxury fibers like silk and cashmere and angora. Some like soft, spinnable wools like Shetland, Romney, and mohair.

Me, I like 'em all.

Enough with the rolling of eyes and stuff, you guys, I know this is nothing new. It's just...I found myself getting choked up over the page for the Foxfire Fiber Farm. Specifically over the parts that talk about spinning. Also over the Jager Icelandics webpage, and their pictures of "Fresh Fall Fleeces".

I don't know what it is, really. I started spinning only a little under two years ago, and I've been knitting for maybe five or six years. I have always loved patterned, woven fabrics. I do have an appreciation for textiles in general. Still, there's nothing in my past that I can recall that makes me go all emotional for fibers and yarns.

My husband jokes that I'm part kitty because I play with yarn. My beloved Drakonlily once said, "CG, I think you don't just like yarn. I think you...LIKE...yarn." I go to Guild meetings and get a contact high from just being around so many fibers in different stages of preparation. I love the smell of lanolin, the feathery texture of angora and baby camel, the smooth sliding of silk or alpaca over my fingertips while I spin. I seek out every different possible fiber I can find, just so I have something new to try.

I revel in a thin, even single. I keep going thinner and thinner until it's hair-fine and still strong, always thinking of how I'll ply it to make a finer and finer finished yarn. I hold the yarn or the fiber or the single up to the light to study the halo of fine hairs surrounding it, and to see how deep the colors appear, like a newly-engaged girl admiring her diamond ring.

I do the same thing with my spindles. I sometimes take out my box of drop spindles to admire their different qualities--the slender, handmade, unique ones; the heavy beginner ones; the one I made myself; the unusual stone ones. I like to see how the bloodwood inlay on the top of my favorite spindle can look satiny when I turn it. When I spin on the small purpleheart spindle, I barely feel it moving, it's so well-balanced.

I dream of the day I own a parcel of land and can put sheep, maybe an alpaca or two, out to graze. Maybe I'll have a few different breeds, maybe even have a goat! I want a bunny. I'll get a llama or a dog to watch over them all.

I wonder if I'll have a wheel of my own. Or two! Or three! One to spin fine yarns, one for production, and one to take with me wherever I go. I'll settle for one. I'll probably end up making it myself.

I dream of spinning. My husband woke up a few weeks ago to see my arm sticking up in the air, and when he asked what I was doing, I made the motion as if I was winding on the single and put the 'spindle' down. All as I slept. I woke up this morning to find my foot 'treadling'...that is, pedaling the spinning wheel.

Here's the wheel I'm borrowing:

It's a Thumbelina "Sleeping Beauty" wheel, made in the early 1970s. It's older than I am, though not by much. :) I'm borrowing it from a fellow guild member, who will forever be thought of as 'the awesome lady who fed my fiber addiction in a big way'. ;)

And here are the first two bobbins of singles that I spun on it. The one in my hand is actually only about 100yd of singles; there was already some commercially-done yarn wound on the bobbin that I used to work on my treadling. The bobbin still on the wheel is more of the Scottish wool. I've since added more.

And now I'm some more of that baby camel/silk to spin. :)

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I just want you all to know, if you're trying to reach me and I don't answer the phone, or my email, or smoke signals, or banging on the door, or...well, you get the picture...

It's because I'm a bit distracted.

I am borrowing--BORROWING--a spinning wheel from a Guild member who lives down the street from me. I will be, shall we say, 'occupied' for the next few days. ;)

Please ignore the loud swearing for the first few hours; I am still getting the hang of treadling/pinching/drafting/treadling/keeping-the-yarn-in-one-piece-ing. And stuff.


Monday, February 5, 2007

I love fiber

Five times a year, I make space in my schedule for an all-day meeting. I pack up several bags, a lunch, and a carefully-measured amount of spending money, and head across the Connecticut River to my alma mater. I come home hours later, happy, tired, my head brimming with ideas and new techniques--my pockets are usually empty at that point, and my bags are even MORE full of stuff. ;)

Yep, I'm a member of the Nutmeg Spinners' Guild.

This month's meeting was the pot luck lunch meeting, where everyone brought food to share. We also didn't have a speaker or mentor this time, which meant everyone just sat around spinning, talking, sharing knowledge, sharing wheels & spindles, and experimenting with new fibers. It was amazing.

I always love the meetings to begin with, but this one was just so laid-back and relaxed. It's cool to have mentors and teachers, but sometimes I think we all just like knowing we can connect with other spinners. This time around, I tried baby camel/silk for the first time, learned the proper method for carding wool and bamboo fibers, tried a Great Wheel, tried a Traveller wheel, and arranged to borrow a wheel from another member.

I'm ecstatic about that last thing--I have wanted a wheel for so long, and haven't had a chance to try one for more than a few minutes. This way, I'll have a chance to experiment for a much longer time. I have a pound or so of wool that came with my Louet spindle--something I swapped for. I was planning on giving it away or selling it. Now, though, I think I'm going to use it as my test wool--I won't be crushed if it doesn't come out the way I want, since I didn't buy it in the first place.

I did buy a new spindle, as I mentioned in the last post. It's a Spindlewood mini drop spindle, made of purpleheart and yellowheart. Here's a pic of it from The Wheel Thing's website:

Next to it is a pic of my bloodwood Kundert spindle, also from The Wheel Thing.

The mini is so pretty and cute, and I barely feel it moving, it's so well-balanced! I'll post a pic of my own later on, when I receive my Aztec spindle, too. Right now, the mini is being used to spin some of that baby camel/silk top.

Which brings me to my fiber acquisitions of the day. I bought the baby camel/silk top from a vendor I hadn't met before--the colors called to me from the moment she put it out. They're mossy, deep greens and browns, with a few hints of russet in there for good measure. Then I headed over to Dragon's Lair Farm's table to look over the Navajo-Churro roving she had. I found three smallish bumps in her clearance bin, one pink, one orange, and one yellow. They were coarse and hairy and exactly what I wanted--I have wanted to make a felted bag in those colors for a while, and Navajo-Churro should wear like iron. Last, I bought an ounce or two of Shetland from Cairn Farm's table--a lovely heathered warm grey.

That was supposed to be the end of it. I had my existing stash at home, plus the Scottish fleece (which didn't get drum carded, sadly, but now I know how to card by hand), plus my new stuff. Then, however, I went to reclaim some sock needles I'd lent to C from Dragon's Lair. She was working on a pair of socks, and decided she didn't want to take the needles out. "Would you be up for trading your needles for some roving?" she asked. WOULD I. I ended up with about 1/2lb. of heathered grey Navajo-Churro--this stuff was much softer than the colored roving I'd bought earlier. Hurrah!

So we were packing up. My husband and Dragonmaille's husband & son had stopped by, and they were talking to another Guild member, T. Turns out she and her family do Revolutionary War reenactment, which appealed to my husband. Then she heard me exclaim about how much I loved fiber (while brandishing my new roving) and she said, "Come with me."

We went out to her van. She opened up the back to reveal a large box of dark caramel-colored alpaca roving. T reached in, grabbed a large handful, and gave it to me. ALPACA!! :D I learned how to spin on alpaca! This was lovely, soft, and so warm. Then, when we went inside for our stuff, she brought over a bit more, as well as a nice handful of pale grey llama.

It was just so nice. SO NICE.

When I went home, I pulled out all of my stash and re-packaged everything. I'd been using shopping bags and plastic grocery bags for most of it, but now that I have a real stash, I don't feel comfortable doing that anymore. I put everything into clear plastic ziploc bags, labeled them with fiber content, weight, and approximate date of acquisition, then neatly put the bags into some fabric cubes I got from Target. I now can see everything I have, and it's safe from moths or bugs or whatever. Heck, they're safe from my cat's mischief! :D

The spindles have a new home, too--I've been hanging them on my wire cubes, but I don't really like them there. Now they reside in a plastic shoebox with a lid. My small niddy-noddy also fits in there--bonus!

All in all, I have a really nice stash, though I think I'm done for a lonnnnng time. I had purchased enough to spin over the next few months, but with the gifts, I'm set for the whole summer at this point! I'm also done buying spindles for a long time, too. The only one I truly want is a Turkish spindle in Osage Orange that always makes my heart skip a little. However, just like last time, I am going to hold off on the purchase until the next meeting or two. If it's still there, then it was meant to be. If it isn't, well, I'll always find another one someday. :)

I'll take pics sometime soon so I can show off how pretty everything is.

OH OH!! And The Wheel Thing is now going to carry some of my peg swifts!! Watch for the update soon! :D :D

And now for a Project Update:

Sock yarn for husband: FINISHED
Calorimetry (from Knitty): FINISHED
Art Scarf--Neutral colors, Plant fibers: IN PROGRESS
Green Scarf in Alpaca yarns: IN PROGRESS