You are currently browsing articles tagged spinning.

A few quick pictures. I’m not sure what these will become. I haven’t quite figured out yet how much yarn I need to make stuff, sometimes I just spin it and then decide afterwards what to make.

This is oatmeal BFL that I handspindled, plied and then dyed with grape and cherry Kool-aid for a nice heathery effect. About 100 yards from 2oz making it about worsted weight I think. I’m not very good about figuring that part out. My WPI and swatches don’t always agree with the yards per fiber oz charts.

cherry plum heathered BFL blue-faced leicester hand spindled and hand dyed yarn

The naturally brown worsted below is also two-ply and came in at around 200 yards from 4.1 oz so about the same thickness although I spun it on the wheel and went for a little more rugged look to it since that seemed to agree with the fiber. I received the fiber through SpinCycle on Ravelry.

handspun natural brown two ply worsted wool yarn

More details on both in my Rav stash.

Tags: ,

hand dyed, hand spun Romney wool potholder knit on bias and fulled

. . . that I did not take any pictures of it until I knit it up into this potholder. Did you know wool is naturally heat and flame resistant?

This yarn started out as a little more than an ounce of Romney wool that my mother had cleaned and carded. I decided to try dyeing it before spinning. Fail. I nearly felted the stuff. I spun it up thick which I am not good at so it was all over the place and overspun to boot. I threw it in the yarn bin and forgot about it until my mother asked. Sigh. I decided that I might as well try and knit it up since sometimes doing so improves its looks. I chose to knit on the bias and then crochet with natural Lopi around the edge to counteract the inevitable stockinette curl. I then washed it aggressively to full the wool a bit. Fulling is like felting but you start with wool that is knit or woven. Felting starts with the unspun fiber.

How about that? It looks pretty good now doesn’t it? It even softened up in the process. The girl claimed it as a picnic (blanket) for her dolls before it was done blocking. I had to sneak it back to take the pictures. This may be its only chance to do its intended job.

hand knit potholder  made from hand dyed, hand spun Romney wool and crocheted edge in natural Lopi

Tags: , ,

I’d like to start an ongoing series where I show you a fiber or a yarn and track along in pictures as it gets spun/dyed/knit/crocheted etc. into a finished item. So we’ll start with something cute!

The animal: German Angora named Gabe. (I won’t generally have pictures of the actual animal the fiber came from so this is a bonus!)

german angora rabbit

The fiber: Minimally hand carded from brushed out fur. staple length about 4″? super soft. I think these would be called rolags but I don’t really know what I’m doing so maybe not but I can spin it easier. Although it was pretty easy to spin uncarded.

hand carded angora rolags

The spinning: Hand spindled into a lace/light fingering weight single. Spun on a DIY afghan hook/wooden wheel spindle.

angora spun on DIY spindle

The swatch: Swatched on US size 0 needles and blocked on my swatching cork board. Spinning got a little too thin there in spots. Can’t say I actually thought I’d be using those size 0 needles. Next time remind me not to knit angora on metal needles, slippery!

swatch of handspindled angora

And in this case the approximately 2×2 inch swatch is the final product as that’s all there was!

Tags: ,

Meet Gabe, the bunny, who lives with my parents. He is an 8mo German Angora. He has lusciously soft white fur which spins up into incredibly soft fuzzy yarn.

German Angora rabbit playing with grass ball

Gabe meeting the boy.

Gabe meeting the girl.

Name the author and setting of the title quote and I’ll send you something bunny! (fiber sample if you’re a spinner, yarn sample if you’re a knitter/crocheter, something else bunny otherwise)

(In the case that more than one person knows the correct answer, I’ll randomly choose one recipient.
ETA: comments are now closed. 1/25/10)

Tags: , ,

Last week a large box appeared on the doorstep. It was after Christmas and I wasn’t expecting any more packages. It was definitely addressed to me but the return address was unfamiliar. I opened it up to find this chocolate cherry colored fiber!

unspun wool and card showing castle style spinning wheel

I had forgotten that a generous stranger on Ravelry had arranged to send me 2 pounds(!) of spinning fiber that she had decided she wouldn’t be using herself. A second large bag underneath the first revealed a lighter brown fiber. This one spins up easily but looks like it would also be good for felting. Doesn’t it look like a good color for baby animals?

light brown spinning/felting fiber, unknown breed of wool

And here’s a little sample of the first one on the spindle. The color is hard to describe but it also reminded me of red velvet cake. The only caveat is that my kind donor did not know what type of wool either of these are so if any of you spinners out there want to hazard a guess, I’m all ears! I’ll probably bring some to SPA with me in February, surely someone there will be able to tell me what breeds these fibers came from.

reddish brown wool on a hand spindle

Tags: ,

My mother “bought” a Romney fleece for the ridiculous price of $15 from a local farmer. I didn’t see it to begin with but I gather it was very dirty. She and my dad scrubbed and sorted and washed and dried. The thing is probably worth $1500 in blood, sweat and tears by now. But we’re having fun with it, at least my mother and I are! Here are some before and after picks of us carding the washed locks into “top” which I then spun on a quickly improvised drop spindle.

Here’s a bag of washed locks . . .
washed Romney wool locks

Note here that neither of us really have any idea how to card wool so constructive comments only please! Placing the locks on the cards . . .
romney locks on hand card before carding

Carding and the resultant fluff . . .
carding fleecehand carded Romney wool still on the carder

This picture to show that you can indeed spin wool with just about any old stick and round thingy (very fat crochet hook stuck through a spool of ribbon taped to a CD shown here) The top card was spun from a rolag-ish piece and the bottom card from a more top-ish piece. I can’t say I could tell much difference. I’m sure it will be more obvious as we get more practiced.
emergency DIY spindle with wool and spun singles samples

And one last picture to show the after – carded spinnable fluff on the left and the before – washed locks on a hand card on the right.
carded fluff and uncarded locks on the handcarder

And right now that fiber is in a dye bath in the oven. Better go check on it!

Tags: , ,

dye, dry,
spin, ply,
knit, block,
click, clock!

handspun and knit swatch dyed with kool-aid, blocking

Just a bit of superwash merino/tencel fiber that I dyed with black cherry Kool-Aid and then spun, knit up into a swatch and blocked last night. Pretty but not really what I want. That’s what swatches are for!

And a pumpkin-shaped grape for your amusement.
pumpkin shaped grape

Tags: , , ,

Meet Nutkin

knitted and crocheted acorn amigurumi

This is Nutkin, about 1.5 inches long. Made with handspindled silk dyed by Annie and handspindled Corriedale I dyed with Kool-aid. Knitted knut and crocheted cap. Alliteration, I crack myself up. Puns! Am I driving you nutty yet?

I didn’t have a pattern, just winged it. I think I’ll have to make some more. Just too cute.

I was inspired by this much larger crocheted acorn bag by Roman Sock.

Tags: , ,

handspun BFL wool dyed with red Kool-Aid to a watermelon color

Isn’t this yummy? It’s handspun BFL (blue-faced Leicester) that I spun on the wheel and then plied and dyed. With Kool-Aid. Yup. I know, I should get some real acid dyes but for now, this is easier. I don’t have to have special dye pots set aside, etc. I just do this in a glass measuring bowl in the microwave and it works. You can dye any animal fiber such as wool or silk with food dyes and a bit of acid such as vinegar or citric acid. The bonus with Kool-Aid is that it already has the citric acid in it. (Here are some good instructions for dyeing with Kool-Aid.)

I think this yarn is destined to be a little girl bag similar to the one I made for my friend Jan. The girl likes watermelon very much. Would it be too silly if I shaped it like a watermelon? Not with a rind and seeds and all, just a half moon shape. Then I could practice increases.

Tags: , , ,

superwash merino/tencel blend handspun fingering, color gunsmoke

Two cakes of superwash merino/tencel spun and plied to fingering weight on my spinning wheel from the same hand dyed “gunsmoke” roving purchased from Spunky Eclectic.

I do like the way the color came out. And I wish I’d spun some hand dyed to start with, the color variation made it soooo easy to see what was going on as I was spinning. And by some amazing accident the two cakes are only one yard difference and almost identical in weight which means I spun pretty evenly and they would be perfect for two matching articles. I wish I knew how to do that on purpose!

But . . . the color! I knew the color was all over the place as I was spinning but I thought it would even out once I plied the singles together. Somewhat. But after I balled the yarn it was obvious that one was thoroughly darker than the other and what you may not be able to see in the picture is that the darker one also hints distinctly toward brown while the lighter one has barely any brown in it. All the way to the core. I’m assuming that if I had asked the right people there would have been suggestions of tricks on how to deal with this before spinning but I didn’t. Too impatient. Sigh. The color differences would be fine for me but I’m a little concerned about how the intended recipient will take it . . . will they look like accidents or intentional siblings?


knitted wool potholder

I bought a bag of wool fiber samples when I bought my spindle. The spinning came out thick and thin and did not have enough spin in it but I was determined not to waste it so I decided to ply it and knit it up into potholders! I used a bit smaller needles size so they would be fairly tight, they knit up nice and thick and I did a row or two of single crochet around the edge. The first is just regular knitting, the second one I knit on the bias so I could practice making increases and decreases. They look much better knit up than the spun yarn did!

So I sent them to my dear friend Amy because I know she will love them because I made them, even if they are not so pretty! Maybe her little girl can use them in her play kitchen. These were done a while back but I waited to post them until after Amy got her “brown paper package”.

bias knitted wool potholder

Tags: ,

hand spun, Navajo plied and hand dyed Corriedale yarn

This is 35 yards of hand spindled, Navajo plied (3 ply) Corriedale yarn dyed in the microwave with Kool-Aid. I used a packet of orange and a generous pinch of blue something. It came out a nice slightly variegated pumpkin color, just what I was aiming for. This was a test dye job for the big hank below.

Merino plied with Corriedale on a yarn swift

Above is Merino plied with Corriedale on the yarn swift. It’s about 250 yards if I did my math correctly, enough to make something . . . The resulting yarn is soft like Merino but has a pleasing firmness to it because of the Corrie. I don’t know much about yarn so I’ll have to figure out what to make with this and dye it accordingly.

The very lovely BFL is still on the bobbins waiting to be plied. I am making myself finish some projects with deadlines first before I do any more with that but I like to touch it every so often.

Tags: , , ,

Here she is, a Baynes double treadle spinning wheel, basking in the morning light.

Baynes double treadle spinning wheel

And from the side:
side view of Baynes spinning wheel

New to me from SpunkyEclectic. Yes, I am totally crazy, I just started spinning when? But sometimes you just know. Here’s the description that won me over. And I got a shockingly great deal from Amy on this wheel as it was a floor model (thank you Daddy). I picked it up from her booth at Fiber Frolic. I gave it a light cleaning that night and started treadling without fiber to get the feel of it. Then I did some plying with two different colored singles so that it was easy to see what was happening. Then I broke out the sample of BFL. That’s Blue-Faced Leicester, which is a kind of sheep, not to be confused with BFML which is Annie‘s Jim.

It took me about an ounce of wool to get things going fairly well. Oddly enough I felt like I was starting over from where I’d gotten to with hand spindling. Which I suppose just means that my hand spindling has improved since I started. By the second ounce I was getting a fairly consistent single pretty easily and enjoying it. I tried to figure out what my techique is by poking around on the internet. As with my hand spindling, apparently I’m not doing exactly one particular technique but I think it’s most like what is called “long draw”. Here are pictures of the first bobbin at the beginning and then the second bobbin, you can see the improvement from left to right.

first attempt on a spinning wheel spinning bfl (blue faced Leicester) on my Baynes spinning wheel

At the beginning it was a little like stopping at an intersection when you are learning to drive a stick shift. Slow down too much and you might stall out! I was a little hesitant to use the BFL to start out with but I didn’t really have anything else. I don’t think I ruined much of it. We’ll see how bad the beginning is when I ply it. Hopefully I’ll get fingering weight yarn in a quantity enough to make something . . . hmmm. I don’t know?

In any case, now that I’ve gotten to try it out all by my lonesome I may be comfortable enough to go take a class. This is the reason I’m terrible at group sports—I hate learning in front of other people. Okay, it’s probably not the only reason!

Tags: ,

. . . but since I neglected to take any pictures, you get a picture of homemade jambalaya in the pot instead. Hope you like that, it was delicious if I did make it myself.

jambalaya in a dutch oven

But about Fiber Frolic . . . it was held at the Windsor Fairgrounds, about an hour north of me. My good friend and fellow artist, Jan, went with me. We left all the kids at her house with their dads (thanks guys!) They had fun, we had fun. We figured out the most obvious difference between llamas and alpacas, alpacas are a lot smaller. We oohed and aahed over the baby goats and the bunnies, and the sheep too. For the kids, we brought home some brightly coloreed handpainted silk cocoons, complete with the dried rattling worm inside! And we sampled some of the local handmade goodies including kettle corn and slightly sweetened, dried salmon, yum.

There was an overwhelming amount of fiber and yarn in a riot of colors from natural, right-off-the-sheep-dried-grass-and-all fleeces, to gorgeously dyed braids of shiny, soft roving, and beautifully colored skeins of handspun yarn hanging in the sun. It was a great opportunity to feel all kinds of different wool and other animal fibers and put a feel and look to some of the sheep names I’ve only read about. I only wish there was a book available that held actual samples. Maybe there is and I just don’t know about it yet. Since I’ve been working through spinning the five variety sampler bag I bought from Spunky Eclectic, I am appreciating how the differences that are only somewhat perceptive to the touch and eye can cause significant differences when spinning, and I’m sure to the knitted or crocheted project.

One of the most interesting things we saw was primitive rugs being made with narrow strips of wool hooked through an even weave canvas. Lots of felting, some really beautifully done felt paintings, lots of knitted and crocheted items of course, beautiful handmade spindles and lampwork glass stitch markers and other tools of the needle arts. Amy of Spunky Eclectic was in the last building we came too. Shame on her she had no sign, but I recognized her space immediately from the racks of distinctively dyed wools. I’ll save what I bought from her for my next post since I can at least take pictures of that!

Next year I promise to take cute pictures of the animals, especially the shaved angora bunnies, surely the funniest thing I’ve seen all week.

Tags: , ,

hand spun merino yarn

This is 2oz. of merino wool hand spun on my new spindle. It’s much more consistent than my first attempts with wool. To wind it into the center pull ball, my dad held the spindle in a coffee cup while I turned the handle on my mother’s ball winder. Much faster than the thumb method! Although that can be quite useful and curiously enjoyable with a small amount of yarn such as the silk below which came from SpinKnit.

hand spun silk yarn dyed by SpinKnit

Tags: ,

« Older entries § Newer entries »