Category Archives: spinning

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.

roving

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.

skeins

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.

2ply close

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?

navajo

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!

turkish

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.

peacefulknitter

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

peacefulbaby

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

pacificrachel

pacificback

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.

Pacifics

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

constellation

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!

StitchJones

A few more scenes from today:

spinners

bunny

grasshopper

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.

booth

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.

photo

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

o

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.

laptop

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!

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.

knit

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.

spin

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

dye 2

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!

all 4 2

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.

tak 2

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!

P1010044

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!)

kundert2

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.

niddy

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.

tammy

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

leila

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

viral

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?)

goatsithink

vgoat

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.)

sheep

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.

bunnies

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

loom

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

lj

booth

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

silverpurl

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.

roland

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.

pdxkb

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.

close

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!

rose city 2