Tag Archives: Spinning

Where am I gonna put…

8 Nov

All this fiber!

See, all I wanted was a niddy noddy.

It began last week when Doug had asked me why I hadn’t taken my wheel out yet. (It’s only made one appearance since I’ve moved — for a brief 2-day spinning run.) I figured that in 3 months I won’t have the time or energy to get to know my wheel, so, since there’s no time like the present, the wheel came out of closet-hiding.

All of my bobbins were full of bits and pieces of wool or silk that I had spun. There was a bit of the parrot crock-pot dyed singles (which I hated and, after spinning a few yards, decided to over-dye with purple). A whole bobbin-full of the over-dyed yarn. Some silk on 2 bobbins that I naively thought I would spin to make a shawl for the wedding (with 106 degree temps, didn’t miss the fact that I didn’t get anywhere near done…).

The first thing to do was to clean up a few bobbins. Even though I haven’t spun more than two bobbins’ worth of singles, I decided to learn how to navajo/chain ply (see Spin Off for a great article on how to do this). First I practiced with the parrot singles. Then with some singles from a round with the spindle that had been sitting in my stash. And finally with the purple parrot over-dye.

Navajo 3-ply
Bottom to Top – Parrot, Old Singles, Overdye

Now I had two bobbins ready to start on a bigger project — I want to spin enough to design a sweater. My mom’s friend, Helene, had graciously given me tons of roving. The last batch contained 2 bags of brown combed top (about 1/2 lb. each). Since brown is not usually a color I’m excited about, I thought that I would use this wool to practice spinning with on the wheel. I got out the fiber and realized that I had gotten a pound of spinning gold. Not only is it super soft (maybe has some mohair or down carded into it) but that it is a dream to spin.

First Skein Brown Roving
First Skein Brown Top

Initially I wanted a worsted weight for knitting but decided to just let the yarn speak for itself. I wound up with a skein of semi-worsted bulky weight yarn that really works well for this fiber.

But, since this was my first foray into spinning 2 full bobbins, I had a problem. To date my niddy noddy has been my lower leg (knee to foot). It’s worked well for small bits and pieces on the spindle, but for more? (Not to mention that it’s getting harder to reach my leg these days.) I needed a real niddy noddy…

This was Saturday, so on Sunday, I was going to head on over to my local fiber store, Stick and Stone Fiberarts. I was surfing their site when I noticed that they’d be closed. They were going to have a booth at the Southern California Handweavers Guild which was having their annual Fiber Fest!!!

It was incredible! Three large rooms full of fiber vendors, yarns and books. What was a fiberholic to do?

I decided to take it slow. I knew I wanted a niddy noddy. There was a book I wanted as well and I was hoping to get some bamboo to play with on my spindle. I made a pass around all the rooms and decided to sit down, breathe (well, by then honestly I was slightly out of breath carrying little one around inside of me — I don’t think it was all due to the fiber…) and eat lunch.

When I made my rounds I found that within 20 minutes a lot of the place had already been cleared out. Yep, it was like those other fiberholics had descended onto the goodies like a swarm of locusts. And saddest of all…

The bamboo I had been longing for was gone!

Oh well. Never one to let something like this completely get me down, I decided on a budget and to get just a few things…

schg goodies
SCHG Goodies

I got my niddy noddy (realized when I got home that it’s metric, though…) A pound of wool, mohair, tussah roving from Nancy’s Custom Weaving, the book Teach Yourself Visually Spinning (lots of hints not in my other books) and some really soft cotton roving from Stick and Stone.

There was also a vendor who had everything marked at $4 — cones and yarns. They had some of the softest cotton imaginable! I must say I restrained myself and only picked up 4 320 yard skeins.

$4 yarn
Newton’s Cotton Yarn

All in all not a bad day’s take. I restrained myself quite well. Found some interesting fibers to spin.

And, I got my niddy noddy.

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Book signing and a few other fibery things

12 Oct

So, yesterday I found out from one of my Stitch and Bitch friends, Catherine, that Laurie, aka Crazy Aunt Purl, was doing her very first official book signing here in LA to promote her book, Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair. For any of you who read her blog regularly, you will find the book just as witty as her blog posts. This was her first book signing and I have to say that Laurie was her usual witty and very Southern self (in the good way — you know the way that all non-Southerners think is cute on people who don’t wear Red Man chewing tobacco hats or have tall bouffant hairdos). She did a great job and there was a really nice turnout of all the SnB peeps from the area (some I haven’t seen in while). Kinda like a SnB reunion of sorts.

I think that her book will do really well. She may be the next Yarn Harlot. (Maybe knitting books could actually become their own genre — instead of Chic-Lit, we could have Stix-Lit???)

I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures, but here is one with her and book in hand. (And no, she’s not drunk or demonic, I just haven’t figured out how to work the red eye feature in my camera yet. )

Crazy Aunt Purl
Crazy Aunt Purl aka Laurie Perry

I have to say that Laurie is truly an inspiration in terms of writing & I hope the rest of her book tour goes as well as this signing did!

Aside from that I have a few leads on jobs (kinda hard to job-hunt at 5 months pregnant, I have to say!) and I have…been…knitting and spinning! Yeah! It’s been so nice to have cooler weather and a little more time to get things done (aside from working on the 2 pairs of socks I’ve had going since March).

So, here is my main WIP, a baby blanket for our future little one, who, by the way, is a girl. (I wanted to have primary colors and big shapes that were not gender-specific…)

Baby Blanket

Baby Blanket WIP

It took me a while to decide what I wanted to do for this. I really love primary and contrasting colors for kids, and although I usually crochet blankets for my friends’ & relatives’ kids, (because they are so much faster to make, sorry to say) I decided that my kid’ll have a knitted one. Most of the patterns in the books I found were really super pastel-like or required gobs of expensive yarn (hard to do on my current yarn budget these days). So, I opted for choosing a few squares, doing them in Cotton-Ease, and modifying the patterns as needed from Debbie Abraham’s afghan square books. It’s been a while since I’ve done any colorwork, (fair isle) so doing intarsia was a really nice (albeit tangled) change.

Originally I wanted to make up 12 squares altogether, the border squares being stripes and such. But then I realized I’d have to seam all of those suckers and, unless I’m doing whipstitch or crochet, I really hate seaming. So right now I’m trying to figure out what to do for the borders.

I also finally set the twist in my first skein of wheel-spun yarn. It turned out okay — overtwisted — but fine for a first attempt. Would love to get back into spinning on the wheel but have do something with my bobbins — all of them are filled with singles! I’ve also done some handspun on the spindle with the rainbow roving I got in Toronto.

First Handspun on Wheel

Rainbow Handspun (on spindle)

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Fibery Goodness

26 Sep

Okay, I must be one of the last knitters on earth to finish up a Calorimetry headband. But the other day as I was organizing my fiber stash I realized that I had enough of some of my handspun to make one. With a winter storm approaching, I decided that it was the perfect time to make one of these. I finished it up on Friday evening, just as the first raindrops started to fall. (For some reason WordPress won’t let me upload this picture file normally — but here is a thumbnail to give you an idea…)

handspun fo
Calorimetry using Handspun

I also got some really nice roving at Lettuce Knit in Toronto. I wanted to get some Canadian roving, and it was the only place that really had cool colors. I started to spin some of the rainbow colored merino on my new Ashford spindle as soon as I got the roving. (Sitting in a cafe in Kensington Gardens spinning must’ve looked a little strange, but, oh well!) I love this little spindle. I have a Kundert which is really nice, but the Ashford seems so much better balanced and it is versatile enough so that I can spin thick or thin yarn.

Hand-dyed Merino from Lettuce Knits

canada roving
Roving from Nova Scotia

I also broke down and purchased a whole bunch of yarn. Actually I got a bag of random cottons on sale at Romni Wools and some Karaoke yarn. I also found some corn yarn that I have yet to see here in the States.

Yarn Purchases
Cotton, Karoke & Corn Yarns

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