Orange & Turquoise Swirly

Ah, superwash merino, how I have missed spinning you.

blues

I’m back to spinning sock yarn, with a plan for Navajo-plying that looks like this:

swirls

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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!

Sustained Sock Saga

I’m was looking through my WIP pictures for the last two weeks wondering what happened to all my knitting time, when I realized: when I actually knit both socks in a pair, it takes twice as long. More so when those are size large socks on size US0 needles. It takes even longer still when I’m writing the pattern as I go.

The Moonrover testing socks are done. She’s named this yarn base “Whipple“.

MoonV

You’ll notice that the ribs on one sock are wider than the other. This was a major component in why I was actually able to complete this “pair” without getting distracted. My attention span leaves something to be desired.

Another reason for completion is that Shawna of Caliope’s Fibers liked the V in the gusset so much that she asked for instructions on how to knit it. This resulted in me writing most of the pattern for her as I knit the second sock. The second sock has the narrower ribs and I also modified the increases to make the rib points more pointy.

I’m still fussing with the pattern, like adding the points as increases to the toe.

showercurtai

That’s 80/20 SW Merino/Nylon sock yarn from Quaere in “Shower Curtain”.

Once I’ve got all the kinks worked out I’ll get it published on Ravelry, which will be my first publication in 2 years and my first sock pattern. Woo!

Spinning in the last two weeks? Zilch. The spinner in my head is understandably concerned, since I’ve got 2 more bobbins of the Grape Jelly SW BFL sock yarn to spin and there are only 10 days left until I need my wheel to be free for Tour de Fleece. That’s plenty of time to spin it up if I, you know, actually put some time in.

I’ll be traveling for the second half of the tour, so will be toting along spindles. I’ve joined Team Loop for when I have the wheel and Team Phat Fiber for my time with spindles. I have a whole batch of purple samples that I think I’ll take with me.

purple

I’m having a dilemma about the purple samples. I prefer to spin each sample how I would spin the full amount of something, because that way I can be fair to the original vision of the fiber artist. (It’s also good info for me, should I ever want to buy the full version.) That’s why I spun the Campfire and Wine yarns without carding the fibers together or otherwise altering the samples any more than my standard spinning prep would.

But I’ve done that twice now and want something different. I’m seriously considering blending this whole batch on the carder. I also think a blend will be more consistent and easier to manage on a spindle. But then, I may be mad at myself later when it won’t unblend…

A sock blog

I swear this was supposed to be a spinning blog, but after the survey to my relatives about socks, I have been in sock knitting overdrive. This does not actually mean I am knitting socks for the relatives.

The rainbow yarn on the spindle from last time has been finished, which is the bulk of the spinning I’ve done in the last few weeks.

fatrainbow

Oh, I spun a sample of an art yarn too.

[Not pictured because it is tiny and kind of pathetic]

But socks!

Socks in primary colors! (Farmhouse Yarns Fannie’s Fingering Weight in “Indian Corn”)

primarysocks

I need to do something fun with the gusset. Not sure what yet.

The socks I’ve been knitting with the Vicariously yarn got just far enough for me to figure out that I was unhappy with the toe, the fit, and the fact that I forgot to start a cable pattern in the gusset.

They got this far, which was also far enough for me to confirm that the yarn is fabulous.

Vicariendsly

And then they suffered a sad fate.

sadstory

They will get cast on again once I reclaim the size 0 needles from the sock I put them in. Which is this.

moonsock

Lacey of Moonrover has started dyeing sock yarn! I jumped on the chance to knit a test skein and am thoroughly enjoying myself. Instep gusset for the win!

moongusset

WILL IT BLEND!? The spiral socks I was working on before caused me to become temporarily obsessed with socks knit from scrap yarn. I went through the scrap bag again and made this pile…

beginblend

…which is slowly being converted into these funky socks using the Blender technique.

blend

I think of these as my “Arrested Development” socks, because that’s what I’ve been watching while I knit them. (Not the new stuff yet, I started at the beginning.) They also feel appropriately wacky in that way.

And that sweater plan from last time? Remember how I am fickle? Now there is a Loop plan. Winter Tour de France Fleece is coming.

loopstack

No, the whole stack is not the plan.

And to be clear, winter doesn’t come here.

Kind of a Rainbow Post

Spinning has been on the quiet side lately. The cat has far too much interest in freshly drafted fiber.

I did finish the first bobbin for the 3-ply SW BFL.

grapesingles

I have a Rose spindle from Gripping Yarn that I hadn’t tried out yet, so I grabbed one of the experiment batts off my wall.

batt

I drafted it down the length and starting spinning singles.

roserainbow

Supported spinning is a wonderful tactile experience and I am not yet very good at it. It does make for some neat thick & thin yarn while I get used to it though!

I recently sent a survey to family members asking what they’d like for sock colors for the holidays this year. I had a few that put no restrictions at all on me, or very few (“anything but pink!”) However, to my great disappointment, the majority of responses requested gray, black, tan, or blue. I don’t think these people understand how hand knit socks work…

First up, I’ve been trying to make brown interesting. Here’s a pair of Peeta socks in “Brew Pub” on Verve from The Unique Sheep. (I can also appreciate the Hunger Games reference).

wheat

I love the wheat motif in these!

I one survey responder wanted jewel tones, so I combined a bunch of leftovers to make a jewel tone mash-up. I am utterly in love with the leg on these socks. Less so with the heel.

rainbow

The socks are mostly just made up as I go using helical stripes, though I tried out Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato heel. I keep having to fight with myself because it looks so odd. You can see I used a different scrap color for each wedge of the heel and I’m trying to decide if I’d like it better if they were all the same yarn, or a 5th contrasting color entirely. I’m also not convinced that I like how it fits. The socks are kind of in time out for the moment while I debate.

In the knitting realm where I have a bunch of pregnant friends, look! A Baby Surprise Jacket!

BSJ

I knit the whole thing ~5 years ago in grad school and all I had to do this week was sew one arm seam and attach buttons. Win.

In the topic of knitting with other people’s handspun, this mitten has been in hibernation for awhile because I screwed up the kitchener and it needed a thumb. I finished it up this week. No word on when the second mitten will be started.

mitt'n

Pattern is Gloaming mittens and the yarn is a gorgeous set of 4 coordinated 2-ply handspun mini skeins from WhimsyKnits.

AND THEN.

I am brewing a handspun sweater plan. I’ve actually been dreaming it up since last year. My stash of Moonrover batts looks like this:

moonroveroverload

The blue-brown cluster in the top right has been classified as “sweater” and the rest as “not sweater”.

I know that I need to spin it no thicker than fingering weight (the weather here at its coldest is really only “chilly”.) I have not been able to move past the first decision of 2 ply with mixing up the colors vs n-ply for more bold stripes.

For the moment, I just get to sit in the yarn room and smile at the colors all over the floor.

Historical Yarn: Candy Maker

I love making gradients this way. I spun this one during Tour de Fleece 2011.

It’s a traditional 3-ply, the trick is all just how I spun the singles.

It started as 3 separate bundles of BFL from Sosae Caetano, each about 2 oz.

roving

I tore each color into 3 pieces:
Butterscotch into 3 equal pieces (1/3, 1/3, 1/3)
Chocolate and Cream each in half, then the remaining half into 2/3 and 1/3 of that half (final bits are 1/2, 1/3, 1/6 of the original length)

Then I lined them all up as Cream, Butterscotch, Chocolate, matching the long pieces of chocolate with the short pieces of cream and vice versa.

Line 1 = 1/2 Cream, 1/3 Butterscotch, 1/6 Chocolate
Line 2 = 1/3 Cream, 1/3 Butterscotch, 1/3 Chocolate
Line 3 = 1/6 Cream, 1/3 Butterscotch, 1/2 Chocolate

placement

Then I started at Cream on each one of those lines and spun each into a single. Plied back together, they lined up with 3 plies of chocolate at one end that gradually changed to 3 plies of cream at the other:

gradient

I actually fudged it a little to get plenty of 3 plies of butterscotch in the middle – you can see from the roving lines picture that the 1/2 bits of cream and chocolate meet at the center, which means I would have had hardly any of 3-plies-butterscotch.

I didn’t find a pattern I liked for it until this year.

started

The pattern is Synchrony, and was originally designed for gradient yarns from Twisted Fiber Arts.

All knit up, you can see that the gradient isn’t perfect. The nature of the semisolid roving means the colors fade in and out of intensity and it starts to break up the pure flow of the gradient.

finished

It’s an interesting effect that makes me think of antiques fading around the edges, so I love it anyway.

In other WIPs, here’s a picture of the Oasis Toffee shawl all blocked and dry:

OasisToffeeLoop

How’s your May treating you? Phoenix is expected to hit 100 F this week…

 

A Story to Tell

My swap recipient happily received her package last week, so I can share the spinning now!

The theme was “Tell Me A Story”, and I told a story by way of a choose-your-own adventure. If you want to read it, most of the story is on a Ravlery page here. The recipient posted pictures of the corresponding items starting in the forum here, and the ending is in that forum on the next page too.

One of the things she got to choose was “flower colors”, and she opted for hot pink, coral and yellow. My mystery picture from a few weeks ago is those colors. I thought these colors as a set would be completely out of my zone of likes, but I utterly fell in love with the combo and took a bunch of pictures of the strands reclining.

coralpinkyellow

The actual “flowers” are all MADE OF MINIS!!

flowers

I was proud of me because I felt this was clever. I spun her a series of mini skeins + a few leftovers of interesting handspun and dyed bits from other projects I had. The whole spread was this:

spread

Most of them are minis I spun deliberately for the swap out of fiber from Sosae Caetano and Three Little Crows, but if you look closely, you may recognize the mini leftover skein from the Vicariously yarn, a sample from DebbieB’s Prism, the teal end of the Sleeping Beauty socks, and a yellow bit from the Arabian Night socks. Spinning minis is silly amounts of fun. It’s a whole bunch of tiny instant gratifications.

Bolstered by my success last month with sewing, I made another reversible project bag, this one in a forest theme with a rectangular bottom. So much was my enthusiasm that I got tools and even learned to make stitch markers. I thought it would be handy to have a stitch marker clasp directly on the bag, so I sewed one on. Plus it was, you know… charming.

forestbag

For WIPs this week, I had a sudden urge to do fairisle. I scoured the Ravelry pattern database and found a bunch of things I wanted to cast on, but then had an abrupt attack of knitterly responsibility and made the other Namaste Mitt. Stranded knitting always looks so much better after blocking.

mitts

And yes, the pattern intends for me to reverse colors on the second mitt, but I felt the need to at least try to make things match. It did come out close.

I cast off the Loop Oasis Toffee shawl too!

oasis

I did run out of yarn before finishing the whole edge, which I expected to do anyway. I haven’t blocked it yet because the mats were occupied with the Candy shawl.

candycandy

Wait, what? Candy shawl? What is this?

It needs a whole post.