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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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