Category Archives: spinning

Spring fever…

This week I finished a couple projects, including the straps for the felted slip stitch tote. I felted it last night. It’s drying, so I’ll take pictures tomorrow. This project took more yarn in the heavier Brown Sheep Lanaloft than the original KnitPicks Wool of the Andes; I’ll edit the pattern notes to make reflect that.

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I had a fun day at Pico Accuardi Dyeworks. I taught an entrelac class in the morning. We even purled back without turning our work! This saves so much time when you’re working stockinette over a small number of stitches.

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I also took a drop spindle class with Deb Accuardi. We worked with wool roving and with top, and mixed in some other fiber, too. My goal was to spin a more consistent single, and I did. And then we plyed some of it, too.

dye

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Stevanie Pico taught dyeing. All in all, a fun day.

The days are getting longer and lighter, and the air is getting warmer. Weeds are springing up like crazy in the garden. The boys helped me weed the front flowerbeds, and we’re in the process of taking out all the Japanese anemone. It was only slightly invasive when we had a big birch tree to shade it, but when we had to remove the tree, the anemone got too happy in the full sun and took over the garden. Buh-bye.

With spring, I’m also feeling the urge to jettison my unfinished Heather Hoodie (bulky yarn) and cast on something breezy and new! But I’m afraid if I set it aside, I’ll never go back to it. Yikes. I think it’s all a result of spring break.

I headed up to Seattle last weekend to play guitar with a piano friend. Yes, that sounds nonsensical, but it’s true. We met in 2000 at September Sonata, a piano camp in Bennington VT. We were roomies then, and have been friends ever since. In fact, there’s a whole group of us west coast “Piano Babes” that get together at least annually. Some of us aren’t playing the piano a whole lot right now (moi, for one), but we still have a lot in common.

tak girls

Last fall, I bought a new guitar, and Sheryl did, too. They’re both Takamines with the same body style (NEX); mine is cedar and mahogany with a satin finish, and hers is spruce and maple, with a gloss finish. We’ve been trying to get together to compare them, and finally did. Hers sounds warmer/mellower from the back (playing) and more forward/pushy/rock from the front, and mine is mellower from the listener’s point of view, and brighter from the player’s perspective. I happily played them both!

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Some of the other piano babes came over on Saturday; we played/sang Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. We also web-surfed to check out kd lang’s version (she opened the Olympics with it), Jeff Buckley’s (hailed by some as the best) version, Bon Jovi’s acoustic version (my favorite), and of course, Leonard Cohen’s version (Live in London). C played this last year in Carmel, so it seemed like good common ground.

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We had a great time! Thanks to Sheryl for hosting. There was more spring break activity, but I’ll leave that for another post.

What is spring inspiring you to do?

Last of the last of the last minute!

Lorajean thinks she’s last of the last minute, but I’m posting after her…

I’m teaching at a fiber fun day at Pico Accuardi Dyeworks here in Portland tomorrow. There will be classes in spinning, plying, dyeing, and knitting, as well as some shopping opportunities (Lantern Moon, Knitted Wit, Pico Accuardi, of course!).

I’m teaching entrelac in the round, specifically Athena.

athena 4

And hoping to take a drop spindle class with Deb.

Deets on the day are here.

Crafty Mom Weekend 7.0

What I didn’t tell you about the Portland Yarn Crawl: I wasn’t going to be there! I had a Pippi Hat at Happy Knits in the scavenger hunt, but that was it for me. I was at the beach for Crafty Mom weekend. This was the seventh annual getaway; there were 10 of us this year. The weather doesn’t matter much. If it’s nice, I get some good walks in. If it’s not nice, the view from the window is enough.

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I had a very productive weekend. I started my Felted Slip Stitch Tote shop sample for Twisted. I love the vibrant colors of Brown Sheep’s Lanaloft. And the pattern just flies along. I would have finished it, but I had a few other projects that needed work, too.

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I started and finished a secret project; I’ll tell you about that someday soon. I played the guitar. I wrote lyrics for a song. I did a little spinning with my drop spindle. I enjoyed the view!

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I worked on my Heather Hoodie. The cables are lovely. I love how the cable pattern ended at exactly the right place to make an “O” when I joined the shoulders. Serendipity!

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But even before the weekend, my hands were already aching from knitting cables with bulky yarn. Manipulating the stitches makes my hands tired. I’m cabling without a cable needle (see tutorials on the sidebar), but I don’t think it would be any better if I used one, because I’d still be manipulating the stitches. I’ve been playing a lot of guitar, too, so my hands feel used and abused!

I joined the fronts to the back, and I did the math to knit sleeves down from the armholes. I’m going to make the sleeves plain stockinette rather than cable some more. I’d like to finish this and wear it before it gets too warm! It snowed on us on the drive back over the Coast Range, so there’s still time…

What did you do this weekend?

OFFF stash enhancement

So what did I get at OFFF?

A few very carefully chosen goodies!

stash

My main goal for this festival was to buy another spindle. I love my Turkish Delight, but I wanted one more spindle so I can experiment with one while the other has an ongoing spinning project. I thought I’d try a top-whorl spindle. I found out that there are a lot of spindles out there, with a wide range of prices. I bought this cherry and red cedar Kundert spindle and the book, Productive Spindling, at the Carolina Homespun booth.

kundert

Here’s the underside. The fiber is a sample from Abstract Fiber; it was in the goodie bag from WWSiPDay. (Thanks to Susan for donating, and Tami for organizing!)

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It spins for a long time, and I’ve learned to roll it off my leg so it really gets going fast. Just another hint from the Productive Spindling book by Amelia Garripoli. I have a lot to learn!

I also bought four one ounce fiber knots from Knitted Wit. I love the colors, and I could see using handspun from these for colorwork, interspersed on a background of commercial black or white yarn. At $3 a knot, it’s a completely non-threatening experiment fiber (merino, yummy).

My last purchase was a small maple niddy-noddy from Ol Lar’s Drop Spindles. Isn’t it pretty? I almost bought a bubinga top-whorl spindle from them, but it was gone when I went back. That’s probably a good thing, because I was just going to impulse buy it because it was so beautiful! I had already bought the Kundert the day before.

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It comes apart and turns into this.

noddy

Pretty restrained, huh? Now to go spin all that fluff! And Lorajean gave me a braid of merino/silk in her Rose City colorway to thank me for helping her set up. It’s gorgeous. Thanks, LJ!

rosecity

Turkish Delight goes viral

You may remember that I fell for Leila’s Turkish delight spindle back at Sock Summit. Leila’s quite the enabler. She was trying to get me to try out her spinning wheel at OFFF, but I’m not falling for that. Yet.

Last week at the WWSiPD event, Rachel fell for my Turkish spindle. She bought one at OFFF.

rachel

I think Rachel is stalking me. First, the February Lady Sweater. Then the Turkish Delight. Next, she says she’ll be making some Leyburn socks…

Anyway, when Tammy saw my spindle last week and Rachel’s spindle this week, she had to have one, too.

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Leila enabled another spinner, my friend S (seen here). Who then enabled L. (Names are hidden to protect the innocent.)

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And so it goes. Pretty soon, you get this:

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All Turkish. Except Duffy. We let her spin with us, anyway, because she’s nice. She and I broke out into song: One of these things is not like the other. Shades of Sesame Street!

By the way, my new Maya Floral bag from Lantern Moon is perfect for holding a little bit of roving and my Turkish Delight. I love it!

maya floral

OFFF report

Finally catching up with myself. I had a great, if brief, time at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival last weekend. After helping Lorajean set up on Friday, I returned Saturday afternoon with three friends. The first thing we did was make a new little friend.

puppets!

Last year I completely missed the animals; I never made it into the barn. I only experienced the Fiber part of the festival! This year I made it a priority to see the flock.

We saw goats. (At least I think they’re goats. I’m a city girl; what do I know?)

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V loves goats. She has a business plan for our goat farm. DH makes a million dollars, and then he bankrolls our hobby farm. Perfect, no? I stipulated that we hire someone to shovel goat poop. Or she does it. Anyway…

We saw sheep. (I think.)

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And alpacas. (I’m sure these are alpacas; note the helpful sign.)

alpacas

alpaca chocolate

And bunnies. Definitely bunnies. What kind? Um, the bunny kind. Oh, there were chinchillas, too, but I don’t have a picture of them.

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It’s not all animals in the barn. We also saw some cool knitted items, dyed fiber, and this exquisite little exhibit.

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There was a lot of fiberlicious eye candy. Here’s Lorajean’s booth.

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booth

Karie (silverpurl) was there with her beautiful silver jewelry and stitch markers.

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Roland from Laurel Hill had a small corner carved out for himself at the Carolina Homespun booth. They have some interesting new straight needles that are triangular in shape (you may have seen Kollage’s square ones before). I tried them, and they were easy to hold, but I remain a circular needle fan. Pretty woods, though.

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And here’s my favorite set-up at the festival. This is the Bellwether Wool Company van (mini-bus?) from Philomath, OR. Note the cool awning for sheltered yarn shopping.

bellwether van

But even better is the inside of the van. Yes, you can shop inside, and it looks like this! (I’m shooting from front to back.) So cool.

bellwether van 2

And the PDX KnitBloggers and PDX Spinnerati were at OFFF, too.

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More on that in the next post. Stash enhancement post is coming, too…

Dizzy, my head is spinning

Are you old enough to remember this song? Apparently I am! But it was an oldie when it first came across my radar. Honest.

Here’s my first yarn! The fiber is Shimmer, 80% merino, 20% tussah silk, from Knitted Wit. The colorway is Hydrangea.

plied

I did the shoebox lazy kate, but my center pull ball didn’t want to pull smoothly from the center. It kept tangling around the knitting needle because the outside yarn was wrapping around the needle in the opposite direction. I ended up putting the knitting needle up through the box and using it like a flagpole so it could unwind over the end of the needle. Whatever.

flagpole

Plying seemed to be pretty straightforward, and the resulting yarn isn’t wackily twisty at all. I don’t know if it’s true, but it seemed like the twist of the single was untwisting itself into the twist of the plying. Is that what makes the whole thing balance? I just let them twist together, and if it didn’t go twisting back on itself in one direction or the other when I took the weight of the spindle off it, I considered it to be ready to wind off before plying the next bit.

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I haven’t washed it or thwacked (!) it yet, but I will soon. I have some blocking to do for a friend, so I’ll use a packet of soak for all of it.

plied skein

And apparently I’m a spinning fool. Because look what I’m doing now. Dizzy…

rose city

This is more Shimmer from Knitted Wit. The color is Rose City, and I love it!

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What happens next?

I finished spinning my first bit of fiber. What do you call that thing, anyway? It was in a pretty braid. My spinning isn’t very consistent yet; sometimes there’s a clump of almost roving, but mostly it’s a nice single. I’m getting to the point where I can feel if it’s doing what I want. I love it when the twist jumps up between my fingers and the fiber is nicely drafted and takes up the twist with a little zing.

Here’s Day 1.

first spin

And here’s where I ended; I think it was 4 sessions in all.

first spin done

This is the sum total of it, on a small Turkish Delight. It’s a center pull ball, if I can screw up the courage to take it apart. Will it explode? There’s a lot of twisty energy in that little ball of yarn! It’s all new to me.

I’ve read that you should ply your singles to balance the yarn. There’s not a lot of yarn here, so it won’t amount to much. I think I can take the end from the inside and the end from the outside, and ply them with the spindle in the opposite direction that I spun it. How do I hold the ball, on a knitting needle maybe? And I’m guessing that I somehow need to keep it under tension so the twistiness doesn’t curlicue everything up? Any and all hints welcome!

Down the slippery slope…

I’m having a hard time getting started on a post-Sock Summit project. I have several ideas in my head, but haven’t found the right combination of yarn and idea. The Jojoland Melody turned out to be not the right yarn for what I’m planning, so I went back to Twisted and came home with this.

Noro

Noro Kureyon Sock. Still not soft, but such gorgeous colors. I like purples. I like gray. I like black.

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And I love purple with green! Noro skeins are always a surprise inside. I like this combo a lot. And while it seems like I’m sliding down the slippery slope for a self-avowed non-stasher, it’s not quite as bad as it seems. I exchanged the Jojoland Melody for the Noro.

On the other hand, I also said that I didn’t want to learn to spin, but then I bought a Turkish Delight drop spindle from Jenkins Woodworking at Sock Summit. Today I met up with the local spinners’ group, Portland Spinnerati. They meet monthly at the Central Library. Tami and Leila got me started on some beautiful merino and silk roving that I got from Knitted Wit.

first spin

I spun some yarn! And liked it. After I spin some more, I’ll have to learn how to ply…a slippery slope indeed. Oh, later today I brushed the cat. I found myself drafting out the hair from her brush, wondering if it could be spun. Help.