Category Archives: spinning

It’s a wrap! OFFF 2014

What a glorious weekend: Slightly chilly mornings (sweater weather!) giving way to sunny afternoons and smiling crowds. Perfect. I taught Blocking on Friday, and Tink Drop Frog (how to fix mistakes) on Saturday. My students were charming and eager to become the bosses of their knitting! We blocked my Snowy Woods KAL cowl, among other things.

Snowy Woods Cowlbefore blocking

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Sunday was my play day. I headed for the barns first, and I was not disappointed. This is Amy with one of the angora goats from The Pines Farm. Mohair on the hoof! Amy is wearing a sweater knit with mohair, and it is the most decadently soft fabric, with a luminous halo.

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Can you even see where you’re going?

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Haircut day!

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The coat of an angora goat grows an inch per month. These goats are shorn every six months, now and in March, but they still won’t be cold this winter!

I was captivated by this display at Upstream Alpacas.

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naturals?

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or colors? I liked them both.

Natural colors are not boring.
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For me this year, the fiber and spinning supplies were most enticing. Maybe because I already have more yarn than I can knit. No matter. Look at these spindles. The gateway drug to spinning.

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Spindles at Carolina Homespun

I have several drop spindles, but haven’t yet heard the siren song of the wheel. Then I saw people trying the HansenCrafts miniSpinner. Look how portable this is. I had to try it, too. See my blue yarn?

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There’s always a fleece sale on Sunday. The woman who lured us in here said that the first time she went, she bought two fleeces. And she didn’t have a spinning wheel, just a drop spindle. Uh-oh.

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I bought a Kromski…

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Kromski niddy-noddy, not a wheel! I wanted an upgrade from my one yard niddy-noddy; this one is a two yard model.

I did buy one skein of yarn, from Huckleberry Knits.

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It’s Teri’s fault. I loved the glowing colors in her Glitz on the Ritz shawlette, so I had to check out this dyer, too. Oh, and see Sherece’s Hitofude? Teri knit that for her. What a great friend!

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All in all, a perfect weekend. I spent some time with Lorajean and the divine Miss F in the Knitted Wit booth.

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You have to start them young!

Did you go to OFFF? What tickled your fancy?

OFFF 2014 is this coming weekend

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is this weekend. I’m really looking forward to it! I’m teaching on Friday and Saturday afternoons, and playing the rest of the time. The weather report is looking decent as of this moment, which would be great after last year’s monsoons.

Things I’m looking forward to:

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Knitted Wit’s booth. Always lovely things there, and this year she’s debuting her Cotton Candy yarn, 100% merino super bulky. You can see my Big Leaf Scarf and pattern in her booth this weekend.

Big Leaf Scarf

Hanging out with the Portland Spinnerati group. Always entertaining, and always inspiring!

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I went to the group’s meet-up at the Oregon Historical Society for Worldwide Spin In Public Day last Saturday. I was the only drop spindler in a group of wheels, but it was all fun.

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I’m also looking forward to shopping, and visiting the animals. For a much more comprehensive list of things to do at OFFF, see Mary Mooney’s post on the OregonLive Knitting blog. If you see me, say hello!

Snowy Woods Cowl

What’s on my needles? I’m almost done with my Snowy Woods Cowl that I’m doing for the knitalong. This is the last official week of the KAL, so there’s one more prize to be drawn next week. This week’s prize? Stitch markers, made by me. These feature leaves, snowflakes, and the blue of the custom dyed Snowy Woods colorway from Knitted Wit.

pdxknitterati stitch markers

This cowl is coming with me to OFFF, where it will be part of my blocking class on Friday, 1 to 4 p.m. There’s still a little room in the class, and there’s no homework! Registration is onsite only at this point.

Are you going to OFFF, or another sheep and wool festival near you? Who’s going to Rhinebeck? (Someday, me…)

OFFF 2014 is just around the corner

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is coming right up! September 27-28, and there are workshops on Friday, September 26, too. I’m teaching two classes, Blocking on Friday afternoon and Tink Drop Frog: Fixing Mistakes on Saturday afternoon. These are expanded versions of classes I teach in yarn shops, and we’ll have three hours to go through even more fun and demonstration on both of these topics. I hope you’ll join me.

If you’ve already mastered these knitterly topics, there are a lot more fiber-related classes available; you can see the full list here. Taking classes at OFFF is fun, and encourages the organizers to keep offering them from year to year. If you want more knitting classes, sign up for knitting classes! The same goes for spinning, weaving, felting, livestock management…The early registration deadline requires a postmark by September 5. This is the make or break day; if a class doesn’t have the minimum number of students by the registration deadline, the class won’t be offered. You can sign up for classes at OFFF, but only if they make the minimum by the early deadline, so why wait?

What else is fun at OFFF? Well, there are the adorable animals.

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baby

And the vendors! I love shopping the booths at OFFF. I’ve purchased spindles, yarn, fiber, books. There are vendors both outside on the lawn, and in the exhibition halls. (These pictures are from previous years.)

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Sincere Sheep, on the lawn

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StitchJones inside

And you can always find people to knit and spin with.

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So mark your calendar, and I’ll see you there, either in class, or shopping, or on the lawn spinning or knitting, or?

And here’s a teaser for you: My Snowy Woods Cowl KAL casts on September 1. I’m extending the discount on the Snowy Woods pattern through Thursday September 4; use the discount code FROST when checking out to get $2 off your pattern. Here’s the link to the pattern page on Ravelry. You can join the KAL on my Ravelry page for chatter and support.

snowy woods cowl

Check back tomorrow, September 1, to learn how to avoid running out of tail for your long tail cast on!

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

cattails

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.

swatch

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.

urban fiber arts

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.

yarn garden

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…

Twisted

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

urban fiber arts

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!