Back to Spinning

Today is my birthday. I took the day off work and was all set to spend the day pondering the past and the future too, but thinking back over just the last year I got totally sidetracked when I realized I have finished only one spinning project this year, and it was on January 1st so it barely qualifies.

I never even blogged that spin. I started it during Tour de Fleece last year. (I skipped TdF entirely this year…)

It was SW Merino fiber from Quaere, in the colorway Jovial:

I stripped the roving into 8 skinny pieces and spun for my usual 3-ply sock yarn.

I n-plied it.

Then I knit it into man-sized socks with a toe-up heelflap and gusset (my dad wears holes first in the bottom of his heels, so I thought it would do nicely to have most of the reinforcing there.)

There’s a Loop bump on the wheel right now, and as soon as I finish posting this I’m going to pull out the wheel and get back to the joy that is spinning.

The bump is Inner Warmth, and I used the same method that I did in Splitting a Loop Bump to split it into three parts.

I’ll do a three ply. I know, I know, I could have just spun it as-is and done a Navajo ply if I wanted a 3-ply gradient, but I wanted to stagger the color transitions so that the fade is more subtle. Plus tearing the bumps up is really fun.

The year so far

Well I’ve been quiet lately. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the crafting realm…

Spinning:

I finished spinning the rainbow yarn from last post. I tried for a little less twist in this one than I usually do, because the blend already has some nylon for strength. I’m quite pleased with the result.

rainbowI also finished up the Orange & Turquoise yarn. For that one, I had 2 ounces each of two different SW Merino fibers. I vertically stripped each piece into 4 bits, then tore each of those bits into 4 pieces. Then I alternated spinning one from the turquoise & gray batch with one from the aqua & orange batch (have a look at the picture from that post for them all lined up), and finished by chain-plying.

fishKnitting:

Aaaand that yarn has already been knitted into socks. I felt like mixing up the colors even more, so I opted for 2-row striping plain toe-up socks with a modified short-row heel.

fishsocks

I’m quite amused how the colors matched back up on one of the cuffs.

The Moonrover yarn we saw last post has already been knitted into socks too, also of my own invented design. The cables look cool but kind of make a mess of the fit, especially at the ankles.

8-8

Also those Bluebell & Clover socks from I-don’t-remember-when were frogged because I was unhappy with them and knit into something much more pleasing: Puschkinia socks from Kirsten Kapur.

bluebell

The silver shawl pictured in the last post was also finished! This was really a win for me, because I’d been working on it for at least four years (it had gotten to the point of only being airplane knitting) and I thought it might never get done.

Modeled by my lovely friend T

Other Adventures:

So the sewing became all-consuming for a little while, because I became a little obsessed with the idea of a TARDIS box bag (idea supplied by the delightful Chris.) I ran through several prototypes, but by the fifth or sixth bag had worked out all the details. So naturally I stopped there and haven’t made any more since.

Tardis Bags

I was also recently sent to Alaska for work for two weeks. I took the only full day I had off and visited the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer. I scored some sweet, sweet qiviut in the raw form and I’ve spun just a tiny bit of it so far.

muskyMy brief searches of the internet so far haven’t yielded an abundance of info on spinning raw qiviut, so I mostly winged it and it seemed to work out. I’ll take lots of pictures when I spin the next batch.

 

 

There’s no knitting in this post

I know, I know, I haven’t posted in ages. Plus this post is all about sewing.

So I do these themed swaps with knitters, and I’ve been getting into sewing again to make project bags for my packages. The latest theme was “Chinese New Year”.

It’s been really fun and I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve developed a favorite style: drawstring top, round bottom, fake leather fabric at the base so it’ll stand up if you set it down. I realized after polling the swap forum that there’s another element many knitters prize in their project bags: pockets. So I got to it with a zipper!

bagI cut the top above the drawstring at a slight angle and I think it makes a very fetching fan shape.

But even before I got to making the bag, I had decided that what my package *really* needed was a fortune cookie-shaped notions pouch. I scoured the internet for ideas, but the only thing I really liked was these high-end coin purses.

Well, leather is likely beyond the ability of my antique sewing machine, so I found some Marine Vinyl in the right color, the perfect lining fabric from pennycandy on spoonflower and a sew-in purse frame of the right size, and made it up as I went. I am sort of giddy at the cute result.

fortune

There’s really not too much to it: Measure the curve of the purse frame and multiply by 4 to get the approximate circumference of circles to cut. Fold in half, sew the points of the lining and the outside, fold in the edge of the lining and sew it into the frame by hand. Garnish with a stitch marker and away you go!

cookie

I did one prototype where I tucked the vinyl seams inside, but the vinyl was too stiff and made the inside a wrinkly mess.

Sewing it into the frame is definitely the trickiest part, because it naturally won’t lie flat. My prototype has pretty dreadful frame seams. But one careful stitch at time forces it into place, and then the stiffness of the vinyl and purse frame are all that’s needed to make the whole cookie keep it’s shape.

Oh, look, I’ll throw in a bit of spinning content. I finished that Moonrover yarn; it’s navajo-plied fingering weight squishiness.

MR yarnAnd then I started “Tie Dye Rainbow” SW Merino from Quaere; it’s split in half by weight and also to be Navajo-plied fingering weight for matching socks, because why not?

rainbow

Any Way You Sock It

Spinning blog? What spinning blog?

I mean, oh. Yeah. Tour de Fleece. Here I am, a day shy of a month between posts, and I have failed so far to share my TdF spins here.

I’ve been on travel for work, which is not half as exciting as it sounds. It’s actually mostly hanging out in a hotel room with a slow internet connection, reveling in the solitude. I do mean that. I have been enjoying the solitude. It’s amazing how well I can sleep without Farnsworth nomming on my hands in the morning.

Kitty is innocent!

Kitty is innocent!

Ok. First up. Another one of my mystery spins for the Steampunk Swap. My package has already been received, but most of my full color pictures are on my desktop computer at home, so this is all I’ve got for now. This was SW Merino from Shadawyn Fiber Arts in “Tea Pot”, spun into n-ply fingering weight yarn.

singlesdoneskeinsepia_medium2

Next I spun “Basilisk” and “Waterfall” from Loop into a 2-ply I called “Snake in the Water”.

loopbumpsloopbobbinsloopplying loopdone

Then I got on a plane and went to Ohio. I had pre-carded all those purple Phat Fiber samples from last month’s post into 6 little batts.

cardedbattsI’m spinning for 3-ply fingering weight (each stacked pair together has one bit of each sample and will be one ply). Each batt fills a trindle pretty handily. I’ve finished 2 and am working on the third. No way I will finish in time for the end of TdF, but it does make for entertaining spinning on the go.

Spindle 1!

Spindle 1!

spindle2

Spindle 2!
I swear it’s different! The trindle arms move.

When I wear out my left shoulder from the drop spindle, I’m getting in a tiny bit of practice on my supported spindle with Moonrover fiber.

supported

Yep. Totally matches the hotel bedspread.

But the SOCKS, man!

There’s this one, which I can’t believe I left at home. That’s yarn from String Theory Colorworks, with Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato heel that I fiddled with almost to death to get the stripes to come out nice.

stripeyAnd THEN.

You may notice these two have some similarities, namely that the ribs make big Vs in the insteps. (I know, the ribs are hard to see on the striped sock. They’re there.)

somesocks

Is that a companion cube earring or did I just forget to bring row markers?

This is because that pattern I was writing last time is now available!

Kind of!

It’s called Vergeven.

The lovely Janel over at Quaere started a Sock-a-long in her Ravelry group for my pattern. I’m sending the pre-published version (i.e. still slightly rough around the edges, though I’m pretty sure it’s mistake-free) of the pattern to anyone joining the Sock-a-long by September 1st. When that’s done in October, I’ll stick the final pattern up for sale on Ravelry!

Snapshots

Today’s WIP Wednesday reveals…

One Namaste Mitt is done in all its bright glory.

onemitt

The Darkside singles have been Navajo-plied into 250ish yards of squishy delightful heavy fingering weight.

darkside

The wheel is finally getting a taste of the Oasis Loop bump that I split in two a while back. I’m going for 2-ply laceweight.

bumpsingles

The Bluebell & Clover socks keep getting worked on since they are my traveling project and they’ve gotten to that stage where they look like bunny ears.

bunnyears

The 2-ply Malibu + Maison Moderne yarn has been woven into a simple scarf. I still have some yarn left. It might be enough for a striped hat to go with.

2plyscarf

And the easiest to finish sock from the pile of socks has been finished. It just needed a toe. In classic abandoning fashion, I have not bothered to cast on for the second sock and have instead moved right on to another of the unfinished socks (the fancy lime one).

donegray

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!