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Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

Serious knitting has been put on temporary standby – I’ve been a little distracted with all the other fibery pursuits…

There has been spinning – 2 skeins of Merino, in varying weights.

There’s been carding and more spinning.  I was playing around with blending colors in the carder. This is fiber from a black alpaca – IttyBit, and a white alpaca – Franchesca.  The black fiber was very hair-like, and the white very downy so I hoped they would balance each other out.

The resulting yarn is very fuzzy, but quite soft.  I spun the single very gently, then added lots of twist during plying.  The final product is very strong and dense, and like most 100% alpaca yarns, rather heavy for it’s diameter.

Still not sure what I’ll do with this stuff. The black is not soft enough to wear on the skin, but it could make a sturdy outerwear fabric.

And finally there’s been dyeing. KnitPicks Bare fingering weight, handdyed in the Crockpot.  Love how this came out.

Knitting next time.

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This was the first fiber to come off the drum carder – I had this stuff dyed and ready for the moment the carder arrived at our house.

It’s some lovely soft alpaca fiber from Franchesca of Alpacas at Tucker Creek. 18.8 microns! Love!

It spun up into some very soft and fine 2 ply laceweight. That pic’s color is really off, it’s much pinker.

I only dyed 30 gms, which spun into 256 yds, not enough for a large lace project but perfect for a light airy scarf.  Tiennie just posted instructions for a very simple feather and fan scarf and it seemed like the perfect match for this yarn.  I took out one pattern repeat because I have so little yarn, but it should block to about 7 inches in width.

That’s a pretty accurate color.

I’m off to knit some more!

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Bad bad blogger I have been. Sorry.

We were sick, and then we were out of town, and then we were sick again, and now I have no more excuses, just a lots of pictures- be warned!

Nikolai turned 5 – Happy Birthday!

I knit Gabriel a vest: Check it out on Ravelry

I knit a shawl: Check it out on Ravelry

A friend’s son needed a dinosaur sweater: Here on Ravelry

I was gifted 3 fleeces:

A favorite sweater underwent the knife with very satisfactory results: Here on Ravelry

And I knit a little baby vest, and have been spinning spinning spinning.

There you have the very brief version of last month, I’ll try to be a better blogger now!

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Nikolai and Gabriel teasing alpaca fleece to prepare for carding.  We start ’em young around here!

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As I mentioned with Nikolai’s Tomten, I’m going full tilt to get school uniform things knitted for next year.  The jacket is done, and now a vest too. I might round the wardrobe out with a pullover, but I’m not sure yet.

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The Fishtrap Vest for Nikolai.  Started: Thurs, Feb. 28th  Finished: Mon, Mar. 3rd

Pattern: None. Measurements + growing room from his WCTPirates Sweater, and some EPS-esque logic.

Yarn: Knitpicks Telemark color Deep Navy 4.5 skeins / 225 gms.

Needles: US sz. 4 / 3.5 mm  Gauge: about 5.5 sts/in

Size: Boy’s size 5-6.  32″ chest,  17″ from shoulder to hem

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Poor guy is still sick sick sick. He likes this vest a lot (yay!!) so he humored me with a photoshoot before crashing for 2 hours – very uncharacteristic for my boy who hasn’t napped since before he turned 1.

Verdict: I’d never knit a pullover vest before, or a V-neck, so the design has a few things to improve. This turned out to be a perfectly serviceable and proportional garment, but next time I’ll make the armholes and V-neck deeper.

On the EPS-esque logic: I tried to apply percentages to various aspects of a vest, aspects not normally addressed in a sweater.  I did the normal 8% underarms, but the other proportions were guesswork. Through the working of this vest I’ve come up with a set of percentages that work for me, and hopefully they’ll also work for the EPS knitting public. Vest-knitters: I’d love your input on this!

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A note: None of the percentages reflect the ribbed borders which are added afterwards.  

On to the spinning.

Getting all that lovely alpaca fleece has lit the proverbial fire under my a** and I’ve been spinning spinning spinning to clear out some bobbins to make room for the new stuff.

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Another skein of natural dark brown Corriedale for the Cycling Aran (see the unspun fiber here) Woolen spun, Navajo 3 ply. 70 gms / 225 yds.

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And some lovely Wensleydale from Peggy (see the unspun fiber here) Worsted Spun, Navajo 3 ply.  70 gms / 220 yds. I think this will be a very special baby thing for someone I know…

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Serendipity

Sorry about the absence, I’ve actually had lots and lots of things to blog about, but both my boys woke up very sick on Saturday and we are still recovering. We’ve been busy none the less!

Way way back in December we went out to a tree farm in the country to get our Christmas tree. The tree was purchased, and we were driving toward home when I briefly glimpsed — was that a herd of alpacas?? After a U-turn we went and investigated the farm. Indeed, there is an alpaca farm 20 minutes from my home.

Since I didn’t have a spinning wheel at that time I pushed this knowledge aside as “very tempting but not very practical.”

Then I got a wheel for Christmas, and I’ve been more tempted to arrange a visit, but life happened and I never did. Until my good friend Mrs. Fishtrap asked me if I knew of any farms where we might take the kids on a little field trip. An excuse to visit the alpacas!! and I emailed the owner (coincidentally, another Peggy) last week.

So this past Sunday brought us out (camera-less, sorry) to Alpacas at Tucker Creek, where I received my first introduction to these wonderful animals. The boys and I spent a wonderful 2 hours there, meeting some animals, burying our hands in their fleece, and just talking.

After visiting all the animals our talk turned to spinning and knitting. This farm belongs to a cooperative, which means they pool fleeces when sending them to a mill. Peggy was interested in having a local person spin only their own animals’ fleece to be sold in their shop. It’s a little more special to visit a farm and then buy yarn spun from a particular animal you just petted 5 minutes ago. I was game!
So, more serendipity and I walked out with 2 years of blanket fleeces from Franchescascroll down and click her name. Check those micron counts: 17.2 and 18.8. Yes my friends, those fleeces are sitting in my bedroom right now.

And alpacas secrete no lanolin, you can process this stuff without washing it!

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The fact that I’ve yet to acquire handcards does not disturb me in the least.

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I’ve been combing locks with an old plastic hair-comb. Lowtech works for me!
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And spinning.

I chose a white fleece so I could dye some too.

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This stuff will need to wait for actual carding equipment, but still! Anyone else for spinning a sunrise?

You can bet we’ll be visiting again soon!

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Finally Finally Finally.  The socks that wouldn’t get done are… DONE!

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Pattern: Moody (Blues) Hose.  I was inspired to design these socks after the kilt hose we see Professor Moody wearing for one little second during the Yule Ball in the 4th Harry Potter movie.  And I like the Moody Blues.

I was interested in the construction of Moody’s hose because the calf shaping is not like any I had seen before. The decreases occur at 4 points, one each side of the clocks running down the side of the legs.

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Whether or not this is actually how the original socks were knitted is moot, I liked this method of shaping. Spreading the decreases around the leg may not be very anatomically correct, but it has a nice effect.

Yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy, colorway VS160 Blue Lagoon.  Purchased at Knitting Bee.

Started: (ahem) August 2007  Finished: February 21, 2008   Finally!!!

Needles and Gauge: US sz. 1 / 2.5 mm double point needles. Gauge: varied… The first sock was knitted at about 8.5 sts/in the second at 8 sts/in.  The more I knit the looser I get, but I think that’s pretty typical for most knitters.

Spinning:

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This was more fiber Peggy sent me. There were small samples of Gotland and Border Leicester of similar colors so I spun up both and plyed them together.  This is the first stuff not overspun, I might even call it a bit underspun, but it would make a lovely drapey fluffy lace if it were a softer wool and there were more of it.

And Spinning a Sweater’s Worth?

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I bought a full pound of this natural dark brown carded Corriedale sliver.  Lots of vegetable matter, but O so soft.  I’m doing a woolen spun, Navajo 3 ply yarn.  The first bobbin yielded 50 gms/170 yards.  Sportweight.

So far I’ve only spun up one bobbin, and already knitted it up, so I really need to sit back down at the wheel!  I love how light and sproingy the woolen 3 ply is.  It’s heavenly to knit with, if you like that sort of thing.

The sweater will be Helloyarn’s Cycling Aran.  This was the first sweater I ever lusted after as a brand-new knitter.  After an unsuccessful first attempt last winter due to a poor yarn choice, I’m trying again.  Adrian’s blog is also one of the first I started reading that involved spinning, so it seems appropriate that this is my first handspun sweater.

Plans for a February Baby Shawl were scrapped in favor of getting started on birthday knitting, our family has 2 in March so I need to get going!

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Firstly, thank you all for all the wonderful comments you left about the “Amazing Tri-Cable Sweater.” Thank you for the new name Peggy.

Several of you commented on the fit, so if you’re curious- I blocked the chest to 34 inches. My bust measurement over undergarments and a thin t-shirt is 31 inches. So 3 inches of positive ease. I’ve noticed with the Knitting Daily Sweater Galleries how many people like seeing the ways sweaters look of different sized folks and using it for a reference point, so I think I’ll start doing that here too.

Second, On the topic of the Shawl Collar Sweater. Jeanne wondered whether I would publish the design? Well, I hdan’t really thought about it, is there much interest? I have been thinking of putting up a shaping/steeking/shawl collar overview with lots of progress and process pictures. Essentially I would be giving you the recipe EZ style so you can design something made for you. Is anyone interested in something like that? Please let me know what you’d find most helpful.

Third, I’ve started the Gathered Pullover from the Winter 2007 IK.

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Yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. That’s a pretty accurate color. When I first started knitting this I thought I wanted it to be loose, like wearing a cloud, so I’m knitting on 8s and getting 4.25 sts/in. Later I went on Ravelry and noticed that the versions with negative ease looked the best (IMHO). So that’s why it’s off the needles in this picture.

I measured it and it came out only 30 inches around the cable pattern so this might work out. For now it’s back on the needles awaiting judgement. Perhaps size can be corrected with some aggressive washing, but I kinda want to just start over now. Opinions?

What number are we on? Spinning.

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This is more fiber from Peggy. I noted on the back of the label “First bobbin sucked. Second one much better. Still a bit ropey, overspun.”

It’s a start. I’m still learning.

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Currently on the wheel is more fiber from Peggy, this time some Wensleydale. When I first started spinning this stuff I was drafting a really fine strand, so I used the smaller whorl on the flyer. But as I went along I started making it thicker and the smaller whorl was too much. On the far left you can see the softer strand produced when I went up to the larger whorl with thicker drafting. Hopefully I can correct the overspinning problem.

Just random stuff today. If you’re only here for cute pictures of my boys here’s one of Gabriel and me sharing his ‘lovey.’

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Have a great week everyone!

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I had 8 people favorite this hat it’s first 24 hours on Ravelry. For a small knitter like me that is unheard of. I wasn’t planning to write a pattern for this hat, but there was interest so here you go. I don’t yet have the cabability to create PDF files, so for now the blog format will have to do. If you experience any problems please let me know.

The pattern is adapted from a Binge colorwork pattern found in “Traditional Scandinavian Knitting.”

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Size: 20″ around / 8.5″ from brim to crown

Gauge: 5 stitches per inch over stockinette in the round

Materials: 50 gms each of 2 colors in a (preferably) woolen-spun DK weight yarn. I used my own handspun yarn.

Needle: 16″ and double point needles in a size to give you the above gauge, I used US sz. 5 / 3.75mm

Pattern Notes: Each round has three pattern repeats, each is 34 sts, so I would recommend using gauge for minor size adjustments. If you are clever you can hide the pattern jog and keep your patterns intact by anticipating them at the end of the round. There are some very long floats so keep everything loose, and weave in the unused color every few stitches if this helps you. The contrast brim is picked up afterward from the CO edge, decreased to hold in the edge and bound off.

Using your contrast color and the Long-Tail Cast-On CO 102 stitches, place marker and join to work in the round. Note: this is not what I did on my hat. Casting on with the contrast color will give you a more distinct stripe for the brim.

Start working from the chart, chart is repeated 3 times per round. Chart is read right to left bottom to top, all rows are right side. The crown shaping looks very odd charted out, but it makes more sense once you get there. Switch to double point needles when necessary.

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When you have completed the chart you will have 12 stitches left. K2tog around, break wool, thread through remaining stitches and fasten off.

Try on your hat and decide how much brim you need to make the hat the right length for you.

Contrast brim: Using your contrast color, pick up and knit all 102 cast-on loops. Next round: P5 P2tog around. Next round: Bind-off loosely in purl. Note: if you need a taller hat, knit a few rounds of garter stitch before binding off.

Weave in ends, wash, block, and enjoy!

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I’m back. And I will try to be a better blogger.

Want to see something exciting?

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When I saw my brother carrying this up the walk on Christmas day… well… I was so shocked and happy I cried.

Isn’t it beautiful?

The Ashford Traditional. Single treadle, Single drive, Scotch Tension. Thank you Barney and Heather! I’m in love.

Yes, I spent most of the holidays behind the wheel and I’m producing mostly even yarn. Peggy sent me all that wonderful fiber a few months ago and it’s finally seeing some use. Starting off I found the woolen preps easier to spin from so that’s what I did first- there was some deep brown Cotswold and some creamy Alpaca which became: DK weight 2-ply woolen spun. Which became:

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I designed this hat based on a Binge colorwork pattern found in Traditional Scandinavian Knitting. I knit this on sz. 5 needles and it came out 20″ around. The double layer created by all the floats makes this a very cozy hat, and the alpaca has a nice halo.

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Hoping everyone had wonderful holidays and a Happy New year!

There’s a wet sweater blocking behind me so next time another FO to share with you!

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