Category Archives: spinning

Spinners, weigh in! #tourdefleece

So, spinners, do you have a yarn goal in your head before you start spinning? The reason I ask:

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This is my first real yarn. I’ve played with the spindle before, but this is 4 ounces of fiber, turned into about 75 yards of single ply. I spun this on my Jenkins Turkish spindle.

It appears that I have made two different yarns here. When I started, I was trying to make a heftier single than my default accidental laceweight. Some of this yarn does that; it’s kind of like Malabrigo Worsted in heft and twist.

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The later yarn from this spinning is thinner and twistier, because I was afraid my fat singles were underspun. This thinner yarn would be great plied because some of that twist would reverse in the plying, right?

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This was all a grand experiment. But it’s like I have two different yarns in the same skein. And the first fatter singles weren’t underspun after all. The twist is lovely after washing and drying.

I also played with the mystery fiber that was at my house (leftover from a kids’ felting experiment). I used my Kundert top whorl spindle because it can handle a much bigger cop. The single was twisty, and then I wound a two-strand plying ball with my ball winder so I could ply it on the spindle. It’s pretty, yes? It’s only about 16 yards, 2 ply worsted to Aran weight. But pretty consistent! I like the barberpole look in the skein, but I’m not sure I’d like it knit up.

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I think all of this means that I need to decide what I want this BFL from Knitted Wit to be, before I start spinning it.

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I think because it has so many colors and I don’t want barberpole, I should aim for either a fat single ply, or a skinny yarn I can chain ply to preserve the color runs. I’m not sure which one I’m more likely to be able to do successfully.

This is as much fun as planning a knitting project. Everything is possible, until you start and then doors start to close…

Spinners, help me out. Am I on the right track?

Tour de Fleece?

Lots of stuff in the works: Design project at test knitter and tech editor (mmmmm, Indochine), design project that’s in time out after two tries, design project that’s just fun fabric to knit, design idea that wants a drapey yarn that’s being dyed up (hello, Knitted Wit Shine!), design proposal that’s cooking in my head, and an upcoming pattern re-release that needs a sample and some math in an alternate yarn. So since I don’t have anything to show you from that list at this moment, what should I show you?

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Spinning. Of course.

It’s Tour de France season, and that mean’s it’s also Tour de Fleece. I don’t really spin, but all the pretty pictures in my Facebook and Instagram feeds got me inspired. I have a couple spindles, but I was frustrated that my singles get skinnier and skinnier as I spin. My aim for TdF is just to play with techniques and try to get fatter yarn.

I’m working with my lovely Jenkins Turkish spindle; I can control the speed more easily than with my Kundert top whorl spindle, which is really fast. My yarn looks better so far, but far from perfect.

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I chain plied the previous skinny single and a new fatter single. (I think it’s merino and silk. Label is long gone.) One feels like string, and the other feels like yarn. Happier with the new stuff! But a long way to go before I get any consistency.

I saw Lorajean (Knitted Wit) this morning and picked up yarn for the sample I need to knit up, and she sent me home with this:

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Corriedale pencil roving. So far, it’s easier to spin with (longer staple? already uniform width?); I’m drafting it it just a little bit, and experimenting between park and draft and draft as I spin. It’s all research, right?

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I like what I’m getting so far. I don’t know if I’ll keep it as a single or chain ply it. I’ll figure that out later.

If you’re wondering why I chain ply instead of two ply, it’s because I don’t have a lazy kate (although I could jerry-rig one; I have before), and also because chain plying keeps the space dyed colors intact instead of mixing them. My sense of order is pleased…

Are you doing Tour de Fleece? Any hints for me and my quest for fatter singles?

OFFF report, 2013

It was rainy! And windy! And fun.

My class was great. Thanks to the intrepid students who made it out to the fairgrounds. They all went home with little swatches of cast ons and bind offs. And now they have many to choose from when they start and end their next projects. Me? I’m kind of in love with the Chinese Waitress cast on. It makes a lovely chained edging on both right and wrong sides of the fabric. I want to use it to edge some fingerless gloves…

After class, I went upstairs in the main pavilion to find my peeps. In normal years, we knit and spin on the lawn. This year, groups moved inside.

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I didn’t bring my Turkish Delight spindle because I knew I couldn’t linger. But I should have brought it for a photo op! OFFF is the time the Turkish Delights get together. Leila, who tempted me into buying *my* spindle, has a tinker toy spindle here. And Rachel, whom I tempted into buying *her* spindle, has hers here.

At OFFF 2009, we were spinning on the lawn with our new spindles. Time flies!

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Duffy had this awesome shirt:

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I chatted a bit with Ed and Wanda Jenkins. Ed makes these beautiful Turkish spindles. He remembered me and asked if I was spinning. Not much these days, unfortunately! Knitting away.

I spent a little time in the barn.

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Alpacas always make me grin.

Is it weird that I was munching a lamb sandwich while walking through? The lamb is from SuDan Farm. They raise sheep for both food and fiber.

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(Sorry about your bro, guys…gals? It was delicious.)

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I spent some time chatting with Susie from SuDan Farm about her hats. I want to make one! So I bought some green and yellow dyed locks to play with. I can’t quite capture the awesome kelly greenness, sorry. (Go Ducks!)

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I did a little shopping. I picked up a skein of Socks that Rock mediumweight from Tina at Blue Moon. This is her last year at OFFF (going to concentrate on wholesaling rather than shows), so she dyed this gorgeous commemorative colorway.

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I also bought a shawl pin from Michael and Sheila Ernst. They make glass pens, knitting needles, crochet hooks, buttons. I have admired their work at many shows over the years. Isn’t this lovely?

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How was your weekend?

Road trips, and swatching

The week has flown by! The weekend is here and I’m still on last weekend, which I began at Menucha Retreat Center in Corbett, in the Columbia Gorge. This is spring on my side of the mountains…damp and cool.

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I always walk the labyrinth at Menucha. It helps me quiet my busy mind, and focus. A meditation and a revelation, perfect.

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I don’t remember ever seeing this much color in the mosaic stones before. I guess all that moisture can have its advantages.

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And Diane became a new spinner! I’ll pass along a spindle to her; I have more than I need.

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I went home Saturday night, and on Sunday morning I headed to the other side of the Cascade Mountains with my friend Vickie. We went to Kahneeta to hang out with her mom in her mom’s new RV. Nice digs.

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The landscape is completely different over there, sunny and dry.

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trees

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The cattails reminded me of spindles, with their loads of fluff.

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The cottonwoods were shedding their loads of fluff, too, and it made me think I should try to spin that…

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With all that fluff going on, you may ask if there was any knitting. Yes, a bit.

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I’m going to call this swatching, mostly because I’ve completely frogged it. I’ve started and ripped three times now, as I hone in on what I want from this piece. There have been a lot of “aha!” moments. I’m about to start my last (I hope) rip, because now I think I know exactly what this needs. This time. Real swatching would be smart, but I get so excited about getting started, I just jump right in. Oops. We’ll just call them “very large swatches.” At least this yarn can put up with repeated froggings. I may be impetuous and lazy, but I’m stubborn, too, and I will prevail…

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The original colors, below. It turned out that the pale green in the variegated didn’t pop against the gray, so I had to choose a new background. It’s Violetas, also in Malabrigo worsted.

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On our way back over the mountains, we stopped up at Timberline Lodge for the view. Here’s Mt. Jefferson from the parking lot:

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(Love that sky!)

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And Mt. Hood out the back window of the lodge, near the bar.

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The bar window is pretty cool looking, too.

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And now mama bird is home, for a while.

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What’s up for you this weekend? I think the boys (young men) are going to help me whip the back yard into shape. It’s Mother’s Day, and that means they’ll do it, even if it’s not their favorite thing to do! Don’t worry; I’m making a fabulous dinner as their reward…

Late night fiber finds

I’m waiting for something to finish downloading, and found this through the Knitty Blog: a link to the corgi pattern from Knit Your Own Royal Wedding by Fiona Goble. Just a little something for you to celebrate the royal wedding…or not. But the dog is cute!

What’s downloading? Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont. Interweave Press currently has this for sale for 10 cents! How could I say no? I have this book, but sometimes a video is worth a thousand words. And the price is definitely right.

No pictures tonight; I wasn’t planning to post!

SEA-PDX yarn train 2011

We interrupt this TNNA blog-fest with a report on the Seattle to Portland Yarn Train Yarn Crawl.

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I started my day at Urban Fiber Arts, Cindy Abernethy’s shop. It was full of happy knitters. Susan Stambaugh of Abstract Fiber was there, and she brought spinning fiber in a new colorway, Urban Joy, in honor of Cindy’s fairly new shop. Gorgeous!

Urban Joy

The PDXKnitBloggers/PDXSpinnerati were out in force, too: Karen’s mom, Karen, Judy, Bobbie.

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I met Kathee of Kathee Nelson Art Yarns, and she showed me some of her pretty fiber.

Art Yarn

I ignored the siren song of the cupcakes at Cupcake Jones (a coupon!) and went over to Knit/Purl next. There were lots of happy knitters there, too. I actually ran into my across the street neighbor who teaches there, too. Hi, Judy! And I saw Jared Flood’s yarn, Shelter, for the first time. The colors were deep and luscious.

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After Knit/Purl, I went to Starbucks across the street, and found more PDXKnitBloggers: Camille, Kathy (also a Turkish Delight spindler), Angela, Rachel, Tami. Please note that Tami’s shirt and shawl are raspberry, not pink.

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We were discussing where to go next, and talking to the yarnies at the next table, who wanted to know how to get to Yarn Garden. I offered to drive them, and I assured them that I was not an ax murderer. Norma, Sandi and Anna trusted me, and we went to Yarn Garden, where they had a good time.

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We also went to Happy Knits, and Twisted, because Sandy wanted to see Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn, up close and personal. She got her wish! And she definitely got some yarn, too…

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OT: Interweave Knits is offering a free download of 7 hat patterns here.

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There’s a new yarn shop in Portland’s Pearl District, Urban Fiber Arts. Cindy Abernethy, the shop’s owner, carries yarn, spinning fibers, patterns, and accessories from regional dyers, spinners, and other fiber artists, many of whom are local to the Pacific Northwest. Cindy is one of the PDXKnit-bloggers, and she is realizing a life-long dream of having her own shop.

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I missed the grand opening last week, but I finally had a chance to visit on Wednesday. I saw fiber from Abstract Fiber and Dicentra, and yarn from StitchJones. The shop will also carry hand-dyed yarn from Knitted Wit and Pico Accuardi. Urban Fiber Art’s focus is “quality yarns and fibers from the Northwest and beyond.” It’s almost like going to OFFF without having to wait. And they now carry most of my PDXKnitterati patterns, too. Thank you, Cindy!

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Here’s some fun handspun from Trtlgrl Crafts.

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While I was visiting, I bought this drop spindle learn to spin kit from Krafti-Kit.

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I love the carved scrollwork on the spindle’s whorl. Pretty! And the alpaca fiber is really soft, like a cloud. It spins pretty easily, too.

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In other news, I’m scheduled to teach a class on the Pippi Hat at Twisted the next couple of Thursday evenings. If you’d like an introduction to color work, this hat is a great way to learn. Contact Twisted to register.

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Knit on!

Playing with plying

I finally finished spinning my pink (colorway Rose City) Shimmer merino/silk that I got from KnittedWit last summer at Sock Summit.

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I spun most of it last year, and then set the spindle aside. Last week I got a bee in my bonnet to finish the spinning, and then I knew I had to ply it because it was so thin. I keep accidentally making laceweight. I had two center pull balls off my Turkish spindle, so I used my Kundert top whorl spindle to ply them together. The 2 ply is the bigger skein on the left.

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The singles had been sitting around a long time, so they weren’t very energized any more. This 2 ply is fairly loosely plied, but it didn’t seem to want to be more twisted than this. I like how the color changes cross each other, at least in the skein. This barber poled/marled look is sweet. The yarn is still pretty thin, though.

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The two center pull balls weren’t close to each other in length; there was a lot left in the second ball after the first was gone. I decided to try Navajo chain plying with the remaining single. It’s basically making long crochet chain with the single, and putting twist in it to hold it together. Jenna showed me how last weekend at OFFF, so why not?

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I love it! The three strands in the chain plying make this a more rounded, fatter yarn. And because chain plying is so linear, the color changes keep to themselves; there’s no barber poling. I’m sure there’s a lot more finesse to this technique; I’m still playing with it and learning how it works. I think I could make the chain loops a lot bigger as I do this, but haven’t figured it out yet. But I will.

Friends and Fiber

A perfect combination! It was a glorious sunny day at OFFF today, perfect for a fiber festival. I never did sit down to knit, but I became reacquainted with my Turkish drop spindle. I had forgotten how much I like it. Several people reminded me!

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I saw lots of old friends, and some that I hadn’t met in person before. I’d like to especially welcome PeacefulKnitter to Oregon; she just moved here. What a lovely way to get to know the local fiber scene.

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PeacefulBaby and Sweetie were here with her, too. PeacefulBaby seemed quite taken with Lorajean’s Baby O.

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I got to see Rachel‘s finished Pacific shawl. She used Malabrigo Sock yarn in Abril.

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Our shawls hung out together. Thanks for test knitting for me, Rachel! The pattern is available on Ravelry, and I have some paper copies at the Knitted Wit booth at OFFF.

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And I broke my “I don’t stash” rule for this:

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Constellation beaded worsted, 50/50 merino and silk, with beads from StitchJones.

I believe this is the first yarn I’ve ever bought that didn’t have a plan for it. And I probably won’t knit with it for a long time. I just want to look at it, pet it, and admire it. Thank you, Sharon!

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A few more scenes from today:

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Off to OFFF

The big fiber event this weekend is the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby. I helped Lorajean (KnittedWit) set up her booth today.

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She’s sharing her booth with Pico Accuardi Dyeworks, so there is a lot of fabulous fiber in one small space! I’ll have patterns for sale there, too, including a few copies of my new Pacific Shawl pattern. It hasn’t even gone up for sale online yet, but I was doing a big print session for OFFF, and it told me that it wanted to go, too.

There’ll be some Lantern Moon product in the booth, including Sox Stix (their 6 inch ebony needles are my favorite dpns). Lantern Moon doesn’t have an official presence of its own at OFFF, but I sweet talked them in to having some of their super-cute fans there. It’s going to be 80 degrees and sunny, so it’s the right place at the right time. The fans are at the Knitted Wit/Pico Accuardi booth, and are a gift with a purchase of $10 or more.

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We got the booth set up in record time. We had good help! (LJ’s youngest)

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Also this weekend, Lantern Moon is extending their warehouse sale. There are still a lot of cute things left, including lots of silk needle cases, lanterns, wall fans (still have to put mine up and take a picture), ceramic pots. doormats. I even saw things this morning that I didn’t see last weekend, like this laptop case.

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Cute! (It’s actually black, but I took the picture with my phone in my back yard, so it’s not quite WYSIWYG.)

Now I just need to pick a project or two to bring with me, so I can hang out with the PDXKnitBloggers, and dust off my poor neglected spindles so I can hang out with the Spinnerati. And find my Ravelry button. And…

Have a great weekend!