My first Handspun

Well I have done it, I have spun up my first large quantity of handspun yarn and surprisingly I didn’t lose interest with it. I mean it is 100% undyed wool, it had nothing interesting or pretty to keep me going. What kept me going was my desire to learn, to get better, and to produce a finished item that I would be proud of.

For my first handspun I decided to leave them singles so I could get the most yardage for the amount of time put in.

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Here’s a picture of it before it’s bath. As you can see it is very kinky and in places over spun. So from reading different things I decided that I was going to shock the wool by washing it in hot, then cold, then hot and then cold water, thwacking it against the porch railings outside, and then hung them weighed them down with hangers. The end result looks a lot more like yarn.

The yarn hanging from the porch.

The yarn hanging from the porch.

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Doesn’t it look pretty! The end result is  695 yards single ply lace/fingering weight 100% cheviot yarn.

The comparison between the two is crazy. It's hard to believe that the yarn on the left turned into the yarn on the right.

The comparison between the two is crazy. It’s hard to believe that the yarn on the left turned into the yarn on the right.

Now I am now where close to being done with this yarn because I plan to dye it (I’m still unsure of what color) and then knit it up (still unsure of that too). Besides that I am contemplating getting more fiber so I can have more like 800-1000 yards to play with. 800-1000 yards has a lot more possibilities over 695 yards. So this isn’t the last that you have seen of this yarn.

In the next post I will talk about the latest yarn that I just spun up, it is colorful and pretty and I tried some new things!

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Nachtfalter

Well a few weeks ago I finished my Nachtfalter (my submission for the Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL), but with all of the spinning and knitting that I have been doing I am just getting around to posting about it now.

The Nachtfalter is a fun and addictive knit that looks way harder than it actually is, as long as you can read a pattern, knit and purl you should be fine.

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The butterfly lace section of the top was a lot of fun and was very easy to memorize. After the first lace repeat section was done I had the pattern memorized and I didn’t have to look at it until it came to the garter section.

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I lengthened everything about this top which I am very glad I did because I prefer my tops to be longer.

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Pattern: Nachtfalter

Project page: here

Yarn: Jilly by Dream in Color

Colorway: Poppy

Mods: I did the size small but followed the measurements for large on the baby cable ribbing and butterfly lace, medium for the sleeve holes, and small for the top garter section. I also used a fingering weight yarn, the pattern calls sport/dk, but I got gauge with the exact needles size called for.

I surprisingly only used 682 yards which I am kind of glad because I loved the yarn and color and now I have some left over yarn to use for stripes or something small.

The yarn is to die for, it is up there in my top three favorite single ply yarns. Northbound Knitting and Madelinetosh’s tosh merino light being the other two. Jilly is one of Dream in Color’s newest bases and it is amazing and has a ton of fabulous colors. I had a hard time picking what colors and I ended up buying two other colors  for other things.

 

 

DownEast

Well the never ending saga of me and the DownEast sweater finally came to a close today. It finally dried and the rain finally let up so I could take some pictures and blog about it.

As you have read or those of you who are new to the blog are lucky and haven’t had to read my endless complaining about this sweater. The complaining is now over. I think I have finally decided what ultimately is wrong with this sweater and it isn’t the pattern. It’s the yarn, I hate it. It wasn’t right for this project, as you can see in the pictures below the sweater is a little bit see-through and I have decided it is because the yarn wasn’t bulky enough.  Another strike against the yarn is the fact that I just didn’t enjoy working with it, though it is a wool blend it has acrylic in it and well I hate acrylic. I will admit that I am a yarn snob and well acrylic is not my cup of tea. I use it from time to time, but those projects are never for me and the person has generally hired me to make it so to keep it the item at a decent price I compromise and use cheap yarn.

*Disclaimer I am not saying that this yarn is horrible in anyway, I had no problems with the yarn its self. I just didn’t enjoy working with it and it was the right yarn for this project.

I think besides all of my mishaps stupid mistakes with this project ultimately not enjoying the yarn is why this project lingered on the needles so long.

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IMG_5108The pattern on the other hand is really well written and is beautiful. The sample of the pattern page is knit up on Swans Island (Out of my price range when I went to buy yarn, but is totally worth the money if you have it) and I figure that if I would have chose that yarn it would have turned out perfect and it wouldn’t even be see-through.

Pattern: DownEast

Designer: Alicia Plummer

Yarn: Berroco Vintage Chunky

Colorway: Tide Pool

Mods: none

Project page: here

Lets Spin Part 2

Well Part 1 was more about story involving the beginning of the journey. Part 2 is more about what I have learned and where my spinning is at right now.

So far most of what I have learned came from this book:

20140516-215859.jpgYou can get this book on Amazon.  It truly is a wealth of knowledge and talks a lot about the science of spinning and what to do. I feel that after reading parts of the book (NO I haven’t read it all, I have only read the parts that pertained to me in my current state) I had a better grasp of spinning, more so that when I first sat down to try. I have been told by a person who is a spindling instructor in Columbus OH  that the DVD of this book is even better than the book.

Right now I am still doing the park and draft method which is fine with me, I guess it makes me a bit slower, but it is what I am comfortable with and I’m sure I won’t have to park and draft for that much longer.

When I first posted about learning to drop spindle I was asked if there is a certain spindle that is better for beginners and the answer is no. Really drop spindling is a really personal thing, it’s best to use a spindle that feels good to you, there are tons of different spindles out there. Now I would suggest to start out with a cheap spindle. Like the ones at tinasangora’s they are very reasonably priced, but you can always try one from some one else, etsy is fully of different spindle sellers.

My spindle is a top whorl drop spindle and as I said in my last post it weights 1.25 ounces. The weight of your spindle can produce different types of yarn to, the book a posted talked about above goes into some detail about that.

Now so far with my spinning I have filled up my spindle for the first time (currently I am spinning an undyed 100% cheviot wool). I hope to spin enough yarn up from my 3 oz of fiber to make a shawl or small cardigan with and also dye it myself.

Here is my full spindle. The spun yarn on the shaft of the spindle is called the cop.

Here is my full spindle. The spun yarn on the shaft of the spindle is called the cop.

The concept of a full spindle is all relative, the best rule of thumb for spinning is if you aren’t sinning the same consistency or if you are having trouble getting the spindle to spin it is probably too full (mine was the later).

I'm planning on making singles for my first time around spinning. On that niddy noddy their is about 168 yds give or take a few inches.

I’m planning on making singles for my first time around spinning. On that niddy noddy (I made the niddy noddy) their is about 168 yds give or take a few inches.

The yarn weight is between a lace and light fingering weight.

The yarn weight is between a lace and light fingering weight.

I really am enjoying this, and for those of you who are experienced drop spindlers feel free to chime in and tell me I’m wrong or to give advice. Also I am sorry if this seemed really instructional, I had been asked different questions about drop spindles and I wanted to cover those in the blog for those people and others who have no clue about drop spindles.

Let’s Spin Part 1

Well as I have mentioned in past posts I have just started spinning with a drop spindle and so far it has been a rather fun experience this second time around and I feel like I may have fallen down the rabbit hole of spinning. I have always wanted a spinning wheel and spinning with my drop spindle has really cemented my desire for a spinning wheel.

My first experience with a drop spindle was in a class that I was taking my final semester in undergrad called The History of Textile and Design. It was a really interesting class where we started with the earliest artifacts and knowledge of clothing and finished a little bit after the Victorian period. We learned some about spindles, looms, natural dyes, carding fiber, and different fibers in that class besides fashion and design and we also had an assignment where we had to replicate an artifact using the technology of that period. My teacher who was also a knitter and a semi-decent drop spindler  had used grant money to purchase some cheap drop spindles for the class (along with other things, like different natural dyes that students got to try out also). I tried my hand at the spindle then and got frustrated because it wasn’t going fast enough for me , I also might have been kind of impatient (I was also working part-time, writing 4 multiple page research papers, doing research for those research papers, writing essays for grad school, and trying to find time to hang out with friends).

Here is a picture of my first attempt at the drop spindle while in that class, back then I thought it was horrible, now looking back I realize I really didn’t do that poor of a job.

IMG_5078Now these may look familiar because I have already posted these, but for those of you just tuning into the blog here is what I spun on my second try with my new spindle. The yarn is a wool Angora blend that came with the spindle.

IMG_5077Now in NO way am I claiming to be an expert with any thing involving spinning and fiber, but I hope to be able to chronicle my experiences and what I have learned along the way for future reference, but also for those of you who are intrigued by spinning, and the drop spindle.

Now I know that this post has gotten extremely long so just stick with me just a little bit longer and I will tell you about my spindle, and the rest can be saved for another post.

Meet my spindle

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She is 1.25 ounces Larvikite Crystal Stone Top Whorl Drop Spindle. She came from an Etsy shop called tinasangoras. I am really happy with her and the owners of the shop send out the spindles super quickly and always send sample fibers. Another plus are all the spindles are super pretty especially if you are like me and are a fan of semi-precious stones.

 

 

 

Trillian

The Trillian shawl is finished, blocked, and properly photographed. This shawl from Martina Behm was and absolute joy to make, but I think what made it so much fun was the yarn from Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting. Lisa’s yarn is always amazing, her colors are beautiful and the yarn no matter the base is perfect. I could not recommend her yarn enough (this is all me, I was not asked to talk up her yarn in the least).

The Trillian shawl is the perfect shawl for those variegated skeins of fingering weight yarn that you just had to have, but you have no clue what to do with it. Actually a lot of Martina Behm’s designs are perfect for variegated yarn, because they allow the yarn to really show off its colors without distracting from the design. Also Martina’s designs are wonderfully well written, and for this shawl in particular she gives you a good estimate for you to start working the finishing edging so you can use up every last bit of your yarn. I know I had less than a yard left over of my yarn.

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Pattern: Trillian

Yarn: Northbound Knitting alpaca/silk/cashmere (70%, 20%, 10%)

Colorway: Wine O’Clock

Project page: here

Mods: This shawl isn’t as long as the one on the pattern page. I went until I ran out of yarn.

Progress

Slowly and surely inch by inch things are getting closer and closer to completion. At this point in the game I remember time and time again why monogamous knitting is ideal, it’s ideal because you get stuff finished quickly, but then I forget that and want to cast on two new things for every finished object. I feel like I haven’t made any progress on any of the WIP’s except for the Nachtfalter. Besides working on way too many projects life has also been slowing me down. I was hoping that with my two week break between semesters I would be able to bust some major projects out, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. So far every baseball game I have been at the weather has not cooperated in terms of letting me knit. Either it is too hot (so I’m sweating) or raining. Also I have had an impromptu part time job interview, have had to mow the yard, weed the flower bed, and to take my Uncle who’s visiting from Wyoming shopping.

Well enough of that here are some project shots, the project shots make me feel like I have made progress because everything is slightly bigger than last weeks pictures of them.

If you look at this post and last weeks post you can see that in Deviate the yarn overs have started going a different way, Nachtfalter is well past the baby cable ribbing (the front side is almost done), and well the socks show the least amount of progress. Also exciting news I filled up my first spindle, I’m not quite sure if I will ply it or not, or how many yards I have.

What have you been working on? Has life been slowing down your knitting life?