Tag Archives: yarn

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?

Road trip with the Traveling Ewe

It was a fiber-full weekend! On Saturday I went on The Traveling Ewe‘s inaugural road trip. JJ Foster is putting together fiber-related tours, and this one was grand.

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How awesome that the license plate on our bus said “YARN”? Too funny. Our trip took us out of rainy Portland to the drier side of the Cascades. We shopped at Knot Another Hat in Hood River, a very lovely store with a view of the Columbia River.

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We had lunch at Celilo. I’m thinking these hefty picks through my sandwich would make very cute little knitting needles.

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From there we hopped back on the bus and visited Cascade Alpacas of Oregon, which has a cute little yarn shop and even cuter alpacas. Thomas demonstrated spinning and weaving for us.

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And Connie told us about raising alpacas.
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Can you get more bucolic than this?

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Snack time!

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This cria (baby alpaca) is 2 days old.

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And this cria is 3 hours old. Check out the wobbly walk!

Our last stop was at Mt. Hood Winery. We sampled some wines, and had show and tell with the day’s purchases. (Angela wins. She did some major shopping!)

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Melissa is going through a blue-green knitting phase. All her yarn seems to match.

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Mt. Hood made a valiant effort to peek through the clouds. All in all, it was a fun day! JJ Foster has a knack for planning. We had just enough time at all the places we visited, and the bus was a great venue for chatting with other knitters. I’d do this again! You can, too. The next trip is August 16, and will visit Corvallis and Eugene. More details here. Bring knitting you can multi-task with, because you’ll be chatting and laughing the whole time.

Sunday’s fiber fun? Open studio at Knitted Wit; Lorajean is doing this on the second Saturday and fourth Sunday of each month. Stop by and craft, and shop, too. This weekend Lorajean was getting ready for Tour de Fleece. Me? I just knit. Oh, and we are coming up with a very cool color for a pattern I’m releasing soon. I edited and formatted two patterns this weekend. Lots of fun things in the works; I’m looking forward to showing them all to you. Soon!

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Fiber appreciation starts early!

How was your weekend?

Sophie’s Rose shawl, as seen at Madrona

Introducing Sophie’s Rose, an asymmetric triangle shawl with an extravagant ruffle.

sophie's rose

I designed this for Anne Lindquist at For Yarn’s Sake, using two very special yarns. The main color is Sophie’s Rose, the semisolid brown with raspberry pink accents that MadelineTosh dyed as a custom color in honor of Anne’s new granddaughter, Sophie. The coordinating color is Knitted Wit‘s Madge, on her Merino Single Fingering base.

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The theme is a garden trellis interspersed with rows of roses.

sophie's rose detail

I wore this at Madrona last weekend, and the big ruffle makes it really fun to wear.

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This pattern is available through Ravelry, link here. The MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light is available at For Yarn’s Sake, and they also have a good supply of Knitted Wit‘s Single Fingering in Madge. You can see it during the Rose City Yarn Crawl, and after, too. I’ll be wearing mine at For Yarn’s Sake on Saturday, March 1; I have a trunk show there from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come by and say hello while you’re on the Crawl!

RCYC KAL begins in one week! Parties and more…

Can you believe it? One week until the cast on for the Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Shawlette KAL. The official cast on date is Friday January 17; the first clue will be released that day. If you’re local to Portland, I’d love to knit with you! I’m having a cast on party at Twisted from 5 to 8 p.m. We’ll have refreshments and prizes; drop by any time and knit a bit with us. I’m thrilled to be the designer of this mystery shawlette!

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I’m also knitting with the KAL/CAL group at the Knitting Bee on Sunday January 26, from 1-3 p.m., and bringing a little trunk show there, too.

And Lorajean (Knitted Wit) and I are planning a trip to For Yarn’s Sake on Friday, January 31 during their KAL time, 4:30 to 6 p.m. I love having these opportunities to knit with you; knitters are the nicest people.

I’m ready to cast on! Well, I will be, once I get my yarn from Knitted Wit next week. This is what happens when you hang out with a dyer.

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I changed my colors, because I finally realized that I’ll get the sample back next year. My new yarn colors: clematis and tugboat.

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This is not the actual yarn, just the color. The yarn will be Knitted Wit Single Fingering, rather than this plied sample. Lorajean gave me yarn for the KAL, but now she’s talked me into the blues. I asked her if she wanted the silver lining and madge back, and she said that I should give it away on the blog! This is your chance to win these two skeins of gorgeous yarn. Leave a comment by midnight January 13 to enter to win. (Fine print: Winner must be a USA resident, so I can mail it out quickly in case s/he needs it for the KAL.) Thank you, LJ!

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I hope you’ll be knitting along with me. And when we’re finished with the KAL, I hope to see you on the crawl with your beautiful shawlette! I’m also hoping that we can get a group picture at the Yarn Ball on February 26. That will be a rainbow of awesome! Rose City Yarn Crawl is also giving away prizes in conjunction with the KAL and CAL; more info on that later. The actual yarn crawl dates are February 27 through March 1, and includes 18 Portland-area yarn shops.

Here’s the scoop on the KAL: The pattern is available through Ravelry here for $6. You’ll receive a pre-MKAL information sheet telling you about yarn and dates. Every week beginning January 17 the pattern will be updated with the next clue so you can download it.

The RCYC group on Ravelry is here: Pop on over and see what colors people are choosing in the pre-MKAL thread!

Are you ready to cast on? Do you want to win yarn? Leave a comment, in either case!

Linocuts!

Lino-whats? Linocuts!

I went to a printmaking party at a friend’s house on Sunday. It was a new crafty thing for me. We traced images, transferred them to linoleum blocks, and then carved the blocks so we could print with them. (Cool carving tools, no picture though.) This block is about 3 inches square.

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I used a knit snowflake motif, because, hey, it’s me.

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I love how my prints turned out. The gold on black paper didn’t have as much pop as I expected; the silver was better. I like the gold on the cream paper, though. The blue print is the first one I made. I’d love to try this again. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it wasn’t nearly as intimidating or complicated as I thought it would be! I’ll cut these prints out and mount them on cards for stationery.

Knitting continues, and I picked up some new yarn for no reason.

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The one on the left was purchased in Ellensburg when I was there at the beginning of the month, because I wanted to support the LYS there. It’s Ella Rae Lace Merino, but really more of a light fingering weight than lace weight, 460 yards/100g. The one on the right is KnittedWit’s CSY offering for November. It’s Bling, colorway is Solstice, 438 yards/100g. I saw it when I was labeling yarn for Lorajean, and had to have a skein. “It followed me home, can I keep it?”

Hope you’re having a great week! Happy Thanksgiving, to all who celebrate. We’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and the beginning of Advent this week. Bring on the holidays!

This is what 10,000 stitches looks like

after they’ve been frogged.

frogged!

Approximately 10,000 stitches. Why didn’t I listen to that little voice sooner? But I love the revised version that I’m knitting, and I think I’m back up to about 7500 stitches so far. The little voices are laudatory this time…or are they just playing me? o_O

It’s rainy and windy today, perfect for knitting. The forecasst for tomorrow looks worse. I’m teaching at OFFF in the morning, and shopping after that. I’m not sure the outdoor vendors will hang on that long! I helped Lorajean set up yesterday, and she just messaged me that they’re going to pack it in today. Some of the outdoor vendors didn’t come at all, and the one scheduled to be behind us looked around and decided not to set up. There’s still shopping inside, though, and the animals in the barn, so I plan to enjoy it all anyway.

black and white bfl, dyed

I’m kind of coveting this fiber, even though I’m not currently spinning. Isn’t it gorgeous? Black and white BFL, hand dyed by Knitted Wit. Even prettier in person.

If you’re local, I hope you had a chance to get to OFFF today, or are planning to do so tomorrow!

Entrelac madness

I just noticed that Twisted’s sale of the week is all about long color repeat yarns. These are my absolute favorite yarns for entrelac; it looks like you’ve changed colors a million times, but the yarn has done all the work for you!

My Infinity Entrelac Infinity scarf can be knit with any weight yarn, from fingering to Aran. The Mochi line is perfect for these, both Mini Mochi

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mochi cowl

and Mochi Plus. Schoppel-Wolle’s Unisono and Gradient would work, too.

My Athena Entrelac Cowl is meant to be knit in a worsted weight yarn, but Aran is fine. This one is in Mochi Plus. Again, Schoppel-Wolle’s Unisono and Gradient would work, too.

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And my Entrelac Socks are meant to be knit in sport or DK. Zauberball’s Starke 6 (sport weight) would work (these are not Zauberball).

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To make the most of this opportunity, I’m offering 20% off any or all of my three entrelac patterns. Use the code entrelac on the Ravelry pattern page for Athena Cowl, Infinity Entrelac Infinity Scarf, and/or Entrelac socks, now through August 11.

Feedly’s a winner! and 5 years of PDXKnitterati means you could be, too

I’ve posted about my angst over Google’s impending shutdown of Reader. I’ve tried several alternatives, and really just wanted something as quick as Google Reader’s titles view for skimming through blogs. Feedly was pretty good, but only offered a titles view in a browser, and I do most of my reading on an iPad. They asked for feedback from Reader refugees, and it sounds a lot of us were looking for this option.

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As of this morning, Feedly’s iPhone and iPad apps now have a Title Only view. Talk about responsive! It’s not an April Fool’s joke. I’ve updated my apps and I. Love. It. I’ve played around with it, and it does what I want. I think it may be even better than Reader; I haven’t figured out all the shortcuts yet. You may have issues with Feedly on a computer, because it requires an extension on your browser, but the extension issue doesn’t bother me. Feedly is working on cloning Google Reader’s API, and says that the transition will be seamless when Reader shuts down on July 1. Sounds good to me. Done!

Hmmm, knitting content. I can’t show you what I’m knitting right now. Sometimes design work means nothing to show, for months and months! But it’s spring, I have a new blog reader, and I just realized that I’ve been blogging for five years as of March 17. That went by in a flash! To celebrate, I’d like to share some yarn with you, because that’s what knitters do.

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This is Knitted Wit Silky ‘n’ Single, worsted weight, 60% Merino/40% Silk, 220 yards, 100g. I don’t know if this color has a name, I got it from Lorajean’s Community Supported Yarn club last year. It hasn’t told me what it wants to be, but maybe it will tell you!

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And this is Three Fates Yarn Eponymous Sock, 2 ply 100% superwash merino, 400 yards, 100g, color Mulch. I chose this rich brown yarn at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival last fall because I had a brown project in mind, but I ended up using a different yarn. I can’t show you that project, either, until later this year, but it turned out just right. But I digress.

Hmmm. Tell me what you think each yarn wants to be, and I’ll do two random drawings to choose the lucky winners. I’ll take comments through next week Monday, April 8. Good luck!

Support your local indie dyer

Remember last year, when I joined Knitted Wit’s Community Supported Yarn club? I received five unique yarns, and helped enable Lorajean to play with new fibers and dyeing techniques. I grew my tiny stash, and she grew her business. And now she’s doing it again! Five skeins of yarn over five months, beginning in September. Signups are going on now.

Let’s review what I got last year:

A beautiful raspberry pink Rambouillet single, which I used for my Zen Rain knitalong.

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It was perfect! I wore this a lot last winter with a grey sweater dress. So cute! LJ is now dyeing a Rambouillet 2 ply on a regular basis.

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This sea green Silky ‘n’ Single worsted weight is cool and serene.

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I haven’t decided what it wants to be yet, but I take it out and admire it on a regular basis. LJ now has a plied version of this in her lineup, Silky ‘n’ Plied.

I also received this apple green merino/cashmere/nylon blend, fingering weight.

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It’s on the needles as a shawl design project, waiting for me to come back to it. I love how it knits up. (The reason I’m a monogamous knitter is that I tend to go on to the next thing and not come back, so it’s better if I just finish before moving on. But this one is calling my name loudly enough that I WILL go back to it.) I can’t show you a picture, because it’s a secret!

Some sparkly Bling in Huckleberry, which was almost a finished sock, but I, um, got distracted! Now that I look at it, I think I actually want to finish these. I’m not loving the fit of this heel variation (gusset decreases under the heel instead of along the sides) so I’m going to rip back and go back to my standard heel.

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And my favorite yarn of all: DK weight Polwarth/silk. It was a fabulous orchid color, but I traded it back to her for Beaujolais, and knit my OXO mitts with it.

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I also had a chance to design my Pointer Mitts and Hats with it for the {Among Friends} club.

pointer set

This is one of my all-time favorite yarns to knit with, and it all started with Knitted Wit’s chance to experiment with this yarn base through her community supported yarn program. It’s a big win for all of us. Being part of a CSY is extra thrilling, because you never know what you’re going to get. Beautiful yarn just shows up on your doorstep. Unlike vegetables, it doesn’t go bad before you can use it. That’s good news for me!

I wonder what this year’s CSY will bring?