50 Mattresses

I may have to do more secret spinning, because these transformation process posts are my favorite kind.

My Fairy Tale Swap partner (Brenda!) received her package, so now I can share the yarn!

Before I had even been assigned a partner, I knew I would be spinning a custom yarn. Brenda’s favorite fairy tale is The Princess and the Pea, and I was determined to make a yarn that went with it. I initially thought I’d do a semisolid green for a Pea ball, but then it struck me: self striping yarn so that it would stack up like mattresses!

Brenda lists her favorite colors as pinks, violets, blues, lavenders, and greens, so I decided to use ALL of them. I scoured the stash and found my bag of merino Wooly Cupcakes from The Wool Peddler.

cupcakes

I picked out the ones with the right colors and then added more solid colored merino from my carding stash. (I pulled out the brown bits too).

spread

I realized that spinning the hand-painted bits would not make sharp color changes like I needed for mattress stripes, and would have a different look than the solid merino. So I pulled apart the hand-painted pieces and threw them on the carder.

carding

Each color blended into a really nice heathery mini-batt with lovely depth of color. The solid merino also needed to be heathery, so I grabbed dark and light bits of other colors and blended up the solid merino too. I ended up with a total of 7.7 oz of carded bundles.

buns

I split each little batt into pieces that were 3-5 g and lined them up in a sort of random color sequence. It isn’t really random, because I didn’t like the high contrast when bright pink was next to green, and I have a fondness for grouping 2 or 3 different tones of the same color in a run, so there was some pretty deliberate manipulation of the order.

twists

I spun each bit one after the other, trying to make the color transition as fast as possible for the sharp stripes.

singles

I Navajo-plied to keep the stripes and soaked thoroughly.

sink

It came out light worsted weight, 490 yards.

skein

I was so happy that it came out like I planned for! I love the yarn, but since I spent the whole process deliberately planning it for Brenda, I wasn’t even sad to put it in the mail. I was just so excited for Brenda to have it! There are 50 stripes of color in the yarn, thus I dubbed it “50 Mattresses”.

I also dug out my sewing machine and made a little round-bottomed reversible “Rags to Riches” project bag to go in the swap package.

ragsriches

I don’t often sew, and I just made it up without a pattern. I was so ridiculously pleased with it that I may have to make another soon.

For WIP Wednesdays, the Steampunk shawl has been cast off but not yet blocked.

steamdone

The Malibu & Maison Moderne Falklands fibers have been plied together into one big skein that is destined to become a woven scarf.

2ply

There are Moonrover Darkside singles on the wheel.

moonsingles

And the Bluebell and Clover yarn got started as simple socks.

socks

WIP Wednesday Walkabout is now in the sidebar!

Graupel

I feel like most of the US is covered in clouds today, and that includes here. I love storms, especially snow storms. Sadly, here is a desert, so while my hometown in Kansas is getting snow with the storm, all the sky can manage here is hail and graupel. I miss snow, and while graupel can look almost as pretty, it is significantly less fun to play in.

WIP Wednesday!

Clouds mean poor lighting, shown here in this picture of the Malibu singles.

Malibu

This is the second of the two Falklands fibers from last week that I’ll be plying together. This one really is awfully bright on the wheel and I’m becoming nervous about the end result, but also quite excited to see what happens.

Disappointing lighting conditions means I opted to use pictures from this weekend for knitting WIPs, so these are a few days old. The steampunk shawl is now almost through the red bit and has 3 out of 4 beaded rows done, but here’s where it was on Sunday.

steampunk

And in my characteristic habit of starting new projects, here are Namaste mitts, also as of Sunday.

namaste

It has been awhile since I’ve done any fairisle and I always forget how addictive it is. Leah of Spin Shoppe and I discovered that we both had this kit and so we’re having our own miniature Knit-Along for them. It makes it much more likely that I’ll finish these in a reasonable amount of time!

WIP Wednesday Walkabout: Sosae Caetano, Knit Happens, Spin Shoppe, PrettyPurly, One Saylor’s Log

Fickle Wednesdays

It occurs to me that a regular once-a-week sharing of progress that I’ve made will quickly reveal just how truly fickle I am with my fiber projects. I do love seeing transformations of fiber to yarn to object though, so I’m going to attempt to always show forward progress on at least one thing from the previous week.

This week’s thing is the steampunk fiber. Actually it’s not fiber any more, but yarn.

steamskein

It’s a basic 2-ply, mostly matching the colors back up. I deliberately let one color get “ahead” of the other so that it makes a fetching color fade through all the steampunk-y tones. It fluffed really nicely after a bath and feels very fuzzy and cuddly. I’m always surprised at the softness of long-draw spun yarns; I think I get too used to my super smooth sock yarns.

sq2

And actually it’s already on its way to becoming an object!

ageclose

This is the Age of Brass and Steam from the KAL in Sosae’s forum. I’m using what I believe are size 8/0 glass seed beads and doing the crochet hook method of beading with a tiny size 11 hook. I want to use all my yarn for the shawl, so I adjusted the number of stockinette rows between the beaded ridges. Math, weighing and comparing to other projects tells me I ought to finish with 4 beaded rows. The beads are re-purposed from a sock club I never knit up, and I just kind of squinted at them and decided I would have enough. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

This week’s “I ditched everything else to play with this instead” project is something I’m going to blame on Sosae. Last month she mentioned a Spin-Along in the Knitabulls forum designed to make a 2-ply with two fibers you’d never think of plying together. I didn’t join right then because I thought I wouldn’t have the spare spinning time in February, but I did become quietly obsessed with pairing fibers together. Once I pulled the Steampunk yarn off the wheel, I decided I did have time for playing, and this pair of Falklands fibers got to play first. “Maison Moderne” from Cloudlover, “Malibu” from Sosae Caetano.

plyfiber

The green one is already spun up.

ply

I don’t know how thick it will come out, maybe sport or worsted. I didn’t really aim for a certain thickness, but just let the fiber do its thing.

I’m so used to doing 3-ply fingering weight singles that anything thicker feels crazy fast.

WIP Wednesday Walkabout: Sosae Caetano, Knit Happens, Spin Shoppe, PrettyPurly

WIP Wednesday 2/6/13

I spent most of my crafting time this week finishing up the Mystery Spin. It’s done and washed and just waiting for the rest of the swap items to be ready so I can get it in the mail.

mystTime for a new spin! The February SAL/KAL in Sosae’s Ravelry forum is for The Age of Brass and Steam. I gravitated toward this because I am totally a fan of the Steampunk aesthetic. Last year I got a set of BFL fibers from Sosae dyed in semi-solid colors that I thought were kind of Steampunk-y, so I carded them together with some silk and sparkle into a Steampunk smorgasbord. This is what I will spin for the SAL.

batts

The two batts have the same color progression, so I drafted them down the length to, um, “roving-ize” them and then I’ll make a two ply. (Colors better above, the sun has gone down now.)

rovized

I was going for a more rustic look to this yarn, so I started spinning it in a fast and sloppy long-draw manner. It turned out to be a good thing I was going so quickly, because my spinning habits have become very trained for high twist Merino over the last year of spinning sock yarn. BFL doesn’t need quite as much twist in it as Merino, and this yarn further needs less than my usual because I’m trying to spin more for softness than hardiness. It’s been a bit of an adjustment so far. I started at the light gray end and I am loving the heathering of the gray and brown. I think it looks almost rosy.

singles

On the needles, the Leftie has a few more leaves, but it’s slow going on the long rows now. This is, at least, way better light than last week.

leaf

The DebbieB handspun socks are approaching the first cuff. I’ve been knitting on this during lunch at work and my friends keep commenting on how *happy* the colors are. It’s certainly a nice bit of bright after sitting in a cubicle all morning!

prism

How’s your Wednesday?

WIP Wednesday Walkabout: Sosae Caetano, Knit Happens, Spin Shoppe, PrettyPurly

Phat Fiber: Wine Country

Back in November 2011, the Phat Fiber Box theme was “Wine Country”. As part of Loop‘s monthly Bump Club, I happened to receive a bump coincidentally titled “Wine Country” a few months later, and they looked beautiful together.

bits

Since I spent most of last year spinning sock yarns, I found myself wanting to spin something non-superwash and a Phat Fiber Box is always a good excuse to play with lots of different fibers. The plan was to make a 3-ply blended yarn from the samples and a 3-ply navajo-plied yarn from the bump, and then knit them into some kind of striped symphony later.

The Loop Bump in the picture is still unspun for now, but the samples became yarn last week. (A few more samples got added to the group above and two in the picture were re-assigned to other sample groups that I’m building).

I prepped this in just the same way as the Campfire Marshmallows yarn – split each sample in thirds, made three piles of pieces and spun three separate bobbins in a pseudo-random order.

bobbins

A regular 3-ply brought it all together into a mostly burgundy skein with a fair amount of green and little shots of all kinds of colors. It’s fingering weight and about 580 yards.

skein

I love this sampling method so much that I may just spin all my samples this way every time. I’ve already got sample collections in the works for “Enchanted Forest”, “Neapolitan”, and one I’ve ended up calling “Electric Rainbow”.

In the meantime though, I’ll have to spin up that Loop Bump so I can have a big Wine Party. :D