handspun

I was finally taking some pictures of the various handspun things I've done for Ravelry, so why not go through them here as well?

(Pretty much all of these are spun S, plyed Z.)

Spunky Eclectic club April '15, Golden Fields on Cheviot

This one was spindle spun. On the left spun semi woolen, using faux rolags, then chain plyed.  On the right spun semi woolen, two ply. It's very soft, but very wooly feeling.

Spunky Eclectic club, Nov 14, Black pearl on Black Merino

The Black Pearl merino is spindle spun, and my first attempt at chain plying.  I actually like it a lot, despite it being slightly over plyed.

Spunky Eclectic Sept 15 club fiber, Squash Blossom on Corridale

Practice 8 oz that I spun on the mini spinner, just messing around.  Some of it is semi woolen spun, some is worsted.  I did two ply here after winding into two plying balls. 

Spunky Eclectic club, Dec 14, Anemone on BFL

aka the fiber in the blog header!  Spindle spun, chain plyed.  Probably the finest spun and most even spin as well.  I'd say this is about a fingering weight.

Spunky Eclectic club March '15, Nebula on Falkland

Very fluffy despite being spun semi worsted weight.  Two ply, and I'm pretty happy with the amount of ply twist here.  Spun on a spindle.

My second ever spin, of green BFL top from Rhinebeck last year.  I can't remember where I got it from though.  A bit heavier than fingering weight, two ply on a spindle. 

Briar Rose polworth top

third ever spin, and probably the biggest amount on a spindle.  I'd say it's about sport weight and three ply on a spindle. From Briar Rose.

Rhinebeck, the aftermath

I finished the sweater, including the buttons, even allowing time to wash and block it!  I'm really pleased with how the sweater came out, especially after blocking.  

Why yes, I DID crop out as much of the mess on the bathroom floor as I could! Thank you for noticing!

And Rhinebeck was perfect sweater weather this year.  My cousin Betsy and her daughter Kristina drove up to meet me at my house and get coffee for fuel, and then I drove us all up the rest of the way.  It was a gorgeous day and perfect for shopping and fiber stuff!  

Rhinebeck! Kristina is not holding fiber, but MAPLE COTTON CANDY.  

First mission, get one of these kickass tote bags!

 I think this was the longest line we waited in all day (neither Betsy nor I have the patience to wait for hours for Miss Babs, gorgeous though the yarn is, or Jennie the Potter), and it was WORTH IT.  This bag is killer, nice heavy canvas, pocket inside and two outside and a ZIPPER!  (Yes, we did collectively "OOOH!" when we saw it zip).  Plus this year's logo is really effing cute.

Then I'd created a list on paper and on a notes app, with a wishlist for specific patterns and yardage/weights required for said patterns.  But my real wishlist was for trying out spinning wheels and coming home with one. 

Readers, I was not disappointed. Behold, the Hansen Minispinner that came home with me as an early birthday present:

Behold the mess in the hallway!

This thing is so damn light and portable! I carried it in said tote bag for most of the day, and I am telling you my purse was heavier (granted, my purse is really heavy with the shit I pack in it). I also looked at a few wheels, but I think that for where I am right now, this sucker is perfect.

I've already spun up and plied 8 oz of fiber from the Spunky Eclectic fiber club.  It's so fast! 

I have to say, I'm SO PLEASED that I learned to spin on a spindle first.  I feel like I have a greater understanding of the mechanics, of  drafting, of all the bits and pieces that go into spinning yarn.  But damn do I love this thing.

I also got a few batts of beautiful fiber from Loop, and some truly gorgeous squishy cormo worsted yarn by Sincere Sheep in soft grey and cream from Carolina Homespun's amazing booth. These are earmarked for Lee Meredith's Triyang shawl--as big as I can make that sucker. 

And while I was Rhinebecking, JBB took the boys to the zoo, and the biggest little wore his blue hoodie (I FINALLY finished and set in the zipper).  A fitting ending, as I bought that yarn for his hoodie last year at rhinebeck. I, of course, still have no decent pictures of it on him. Alas. 

Spinning my wheels

Not really wheels, actually, since I don't have a spinning wheel (YET--that's my big plan for Rhinebeck! I'm coming away from that weekend with a wheel, or espinner). But I am catching up on the list of projects I have in my head, somewhat killing time until I do get a wheel.  There are a few bumps and braids of fiber I'm dying to spin, but that I don't want to tackle on a spindle quite yet. So meanwhile, I'm filling in the gap with some other projects.

chain ply (3 ply) on the left, two ply on the right

Last year, after learning to spin, I joined the Spunky Eclectic fiber club, and so every month I get 8 oz of gorgeously dyed fiber, all different sorts (I signed up for the double option, thus the 8 oz).  I'm a few months behind on spinning some of the fiber, but I just finished up April's Cheviot Sheepswool in the colorway Golden Fields.

Since yellow is rarely my bag--love the color but I can't wear it well at all--I figured I'd experiment and practice with technique a bit here, and tried a semi-woolen spin on the spindle.

The first bump--shown on the right--I spun a two-ply, making faux rolags by tearing chunks off the bump, fluffing them, and rolling them into a little sausage and spinning from that.  I spun as the colors came and stopped and rolled off the cop into a ball about halfway through, spun the rest and then plyed together.  It's a bit barberpoley, and the singles were wildly uneven as I was getting used to the technique (and it was a put down-pick up kind of project), but I'm happy with how the final product turned out.

The second bump--shown on the left--I decided to pull apart and sort by colors and spin the single kinda as a gradient from yellow to white/grey to blues.  With this bit more of fiber prep, I took the opportunity to really pull the fiber bump apart to be more of a woolen prep approximation, and spun from color to color.  To keep the color progression I chain plyed (chained it as I wound it into a plying ball and then added twist--a lot of twist actually).  I beat the hell out of this one in the finishing, and I'm really pleased with how the twist settled and spread out through the yarn.  It's still a bit uneven in thickness, but eh, second time attempting something like a woolen yarn. 

Now I just need to figure out what to make with them.  That's a whole other ball of wax. 

 

A new toy (from Akerworks spindles)

I warned y'all. I'd be getting more of these suckers.

shiny new toy from akerworks

 

This one is a brand new spindle from Akerworks, who have some of the most beautiful spinning bobbins I've seen created on a 3-d printer in some gorgeous colors and designs!

I mean, really, how can you resist these? 

  They've recently created a line of modular spindles, using their 3-D printed designs for the interchangeable whorls, and carbon fiber for the shafts.  The whole thing is quite genius--you can pick the whorl size and color, and get various different shafts as well, so you can spin a bunch onto one shaft, then swap out the whorl on top to another shaft and keep on spinning.

Also, pretty pretty colors. Mine is dark teal. they have a bajillon options.

3-d printing is like magic, and I love that practitioners of one of the oldest known crafts are also some of the most innovative users of  modern tech. 

 

look I made a hat!

 Not a hat. Almost a muppet.

Not a hat. Almost a muppet.

Well, almost a hat.  And in fact, probably not going to wind up a hat, maybe socks? Or a shawl?  I don't know yet.

JBB suggested doing a stuffed muppety dinosaur with it, because muppet colors.  But I'm not sure a fingering weight handspun would work, plus I'm wary of how the gradient would work up on a figure.  I'll think about it anyway.

This is the December 14 Spunky Eclectic club fiber (4oz, BFL superwash), spun on a spindle and then chain plied on the same spindle to keep the color gradient. It goes from Big Bird to Zoe to Elmo to Tully to Rosita to Grover. 

I figured out chain plying! Which is apparently more advanced than I'd anticipated! But also pretty straightforward when you figure it out.  I pulled long loops of the single through loops, essentially making a big ole loose crochet chain, and wound that into a plying ball. then I added twist with the spindle from the plying ball.  If none of these words make sense to you, here's a tutorial on chain plying from Craftsy. It has pictures that might help. 

I was expecting this to come out more as a light worsted weight yarn, since this is a chain ply--so a three ply--but I guess my singles were way lighter than I'd realized.  Which actually makes me very glad that I did not do my original plan of spinning the other 4oz I have and making a 2-ply yarn.  

Speaking of that other 4oz . . . I am thinking that I'll split it in half, and try to spin that to about a worsted weight two-ply, then maybe make mitts or a hat? Suggestions anyone?