Monday, April 13, 2009

Back on track

It's been awhile since I've had anything to talk about with spinning and knitting, so here's a post to get back on track.

Last Saturday was the April meeting of Portland Spinnerati.

We had some familiar faces and some new ones, too.

Melissa (that's her in the middle), gave a lesson on making tweedy, bumpy, lumpy yarns by spinning directly from the locks.

Not only did she bring some examples of the yarn and the start of a shawl knit from these "free form" yarns,

but she also brought materials to play with!

I had a bag of young adult mohair locks that Barbara left with me last year at OFFF, so I brought those to share, too.

Melissa has a one-of-a-kind wheel with only one bobbin, so she plies with a drop spindle with one ply on the bobbin and one wound into a center pull ball.

But, she wasn't the only spindler there! We usually have at least a couple people working on drop spindles and this week it was Melissa and Jessica, both with lovely Turkish spindles.

I spun some of those adult mohair locks, then plied it with a silk single in an S-twist, and then re-plied it with the silk single again with a Z-twist to get a lovely soft boucle.

And, I have been knitting as well. I used up another single skein in my stash for this little shawl. The yarn is "Precious Metals" from The Unique Sheep, and the pattern is The Reading Shawl from Sheep Geek, except I haven't put the the lace edge on it.

And that little square there is the swatch for the driving cap pattern. Now, I have to count the stitches and rows for gauge and rework all the numbers before I can re-start writing the pattern. Again.

I, well actually, a group of us, rented an electric carder from Susan last week. None of us had a week's worth of carding to do, but we each had enough to do a couple hours, at least.

I had nearly the full pound of this alpaca in combed top that I bought two years ago at OFFF. No matter how I tried to spin this, it just didn't work for me. I even tried dying it to give it a little more "tooth", and even that didn't help. But carding it into lovely, fluffy batts should give something to work with. At this point, I've got nothing to lose with this fiber so if it doesn't work, I'll rent the carder again and blend it with something. No way I'm letting this fiber get away with this behavior; I'm going to beat it into submission, if it's the last thing I do!

I also had that pound of Jacob that I bought at Dublin Bay on the LYS Crawl in February. It is a lovely, tweedy grey, but was in a jumbled mess from being shipped and handled. So, I re-carded it into pretty little batts, too. Eventually, this will become a cardigan for moi.

And I finished that 50/50 silk/merino in "Mother of Pearl" from Lisa Souza. It spun beautifully; "like silk", as they say! I got 630 yards of 20 WPI laceweight out of this. But, it stunk. Literally. I'm one of those people who can smell silk and this batch was particularly rank. When I mentioned it at my Wednesday Spinning group, Sheila January told me to wash it with washing soda. Well, let me tell you, it worked! I put washing soda into a tub of hot water with a little sweeze of dish detergent and submerged the hank. Within about 15 minutes, the water had turned yellow and felt slimy, which I assumed was the sericin being dissolved. It took about 4 or 5 rinses to get the slime out of the yarn, but at least it no longer smells! It lost some of its softness in the process, but I think that will return when it's knitted up.

But the color is fantastic and the photo does not do it justice.

I know, I know, it looks white, but it really isn't. See? Sure, there's a lot of off white, but there are subtle blues, greens, pinks, corals, and yellows in there, too.

I also spun up one of the mystery batts from Fantasy Fibers last weekend into a fluffy, woolen spun bulky weight and started another shawl. This one is to be gifted when it's done. After all those shawls in fingering weight and lace weight, it's nice to crank along on this bulky weight on size 11 needles! Just look how much I got done on Sunday!'

We went to SIL Faye and BIL Jim's house for Easter Sunday dinner (where I cranked on that shawl). One of our neices had given Faye a bag of fiber to be given to me for spinning. I haven't weighed it, but it feels like 3 or 4 ounces. It was a little dirty, so I washed it last night (because Andy Rooney went absolutely wild over the smell). It looks cotted in the picture, but it isn't. I'll be hand carding this later in the week and will try spinning it.

Any guesses as to what it is?


  1. Is the gifted fiber mystery fiber too?

  2. Now that looks like MY kind of fun!
    As for the the carded alpaca, good luck, it should be ok. (I'm just learning to use the carding machine, so I'll keep you in mind.)

  3. Good carding! I envy you your mystery batt and applaud your mitered shawl.. ARen't size 11 needles a treat? And I think your mystery fiber is canine. Did someone shear a labradoodle?

  4. I had enough wool to use the carder the whole week -- just not the energy. The Lincoln locks weren't done, but they'll be good for practicing making boucle yarn.

  5. Tami: LOL! No, it's not mystery fiber; I know what it is! And it's one fiber, not mixed.

    Roxie: Nope, not labradoodle! No curl or crimp to this one, but it is very soft.

  6. Your spinning group looks like so much fun. I'm envious...
    Love all your batts!
    Is your mystery fiber some kind of doggy?

  7. Hey, thanks for the great pics of the day. I always wondered what I look like when I'm plying on the drop spindle! Good thing I've got long arms, huh?


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