spring singles.

Inspired by a whole host of handspun citron shawls, as well as too many stunning skeins of handspun singles on ravelry to mention, I decided to work on some singles of my own. This fiber is a new-to-me blend: 83% mohair, 15% nylon, 2% merino from the Hello Yarn Fiber Club in the Loch colorway. I did a bit of reading in the forums, as well as in a few spinning books, to learn more about spinning mohair, and found that the long staple length makes this a great candidate for thin singles. First, I thought I’d need my very fast flyer. When I went to adjust the mother-of-all to a different height, I found that it was stuck — I think the humidity must have encouraged the finish on the mother-of-all to fuse to the wheel base. I decided that dental floss might help, and with my fingers crossed, I forced the floss between the mother-of-all and the wheel base — victory! Now my wheel is minty fresh. (Turns out, actually, that my regular flyer is what I want in order to have a bit more control and to spin lower twist singles, so I re-swapped my flyers.)

I did a bit more spinning this morning, and snapped some photos of the bobbin in natural light. I am in LOVE. (I realize I say that a lot, but it is true.)

I had a slice (or two) of this pie for breakfast, and Boh continued to lounge.

In order to be comfortable with the windows open this morning, I added a few more layers, including my simple things shawlette. Here is an official knits-in-action shot:

Hello, spring.

Advertisements

first attempt.

navajoply attempt1

One of my goals for the summer was to learn how to Navajo-ply. There are a few parts, on the right side, that look alright, but the rest is an overtwisted mess. (I wound this right off the bobbin, so the twist isn’t set at all.) I watched a few more youtube videos, which illuminated some important things to keep in mind:

1. You really do need to pick up the loops with one hand. If you try to use a second hand (like I did, because the first hand was not doing a very good job), you no longer have a hand to control the twist, and you end up with the aforementioned mess. (Unless, of course, you have three hands.)

2. Treadle SLOWLY. Very slowly. If you don’t have a rhythm down for picking up new loops, there are several moments in the process where the twist has nowhere to go because you are grabbing the next loop.

I have A LOT of practicing to do, but I think I understand the concept now. I’m going to practice Navajo-plying with all of my leftovers, so I should have a bunch of mini-skeins that (in theory) chart my progress.

bohinknittingcorner

Here’s Boh amidst all of my knitting projects. He looks concerned. Also, I caught him investigating the other side of the room:

timetoply2

Taking inventory is getting to be a serious task around here!

skeined.

myrtleskein

Spunky Club Dark BFL in colorway myrtle, 4 oz.

183 yards of 3-ply, dk to light worsted (says my eye).

wpi: soon.

I caved and acquired a tool to measure this on etsy. I hope it will be here when I return from my parents’ house on Wednesday.

darkbflmyrtleFOcloseup

Yay! I’m thrilled with this. Now, what to do with it?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

targheeinprog

I couldn’t help but put something on my empty, forlorn-looking wheel. This is targhee from the Woolly Wonders Fiber Club at AVFKW. It is so smooth and shiney that even now, this photo is distracting me from my attempts at description. This is 3 oz of deep melon-y beauitfulness in the It’s a lovely day colorway. Although the Lendrum does fold and travel, I’m going to leave it here to await my return, mostly because I might ignore my family in order to keep spinning, and that would be poor form.

One more WIP today:

thujaturnedheel2

I turned the heel of the second thuja sock for my uncle last night, and am planning to work on it a bit more before Boh and I hop into the car. I will get these done in time to deliver them, I will get these done in time to deliver them, I will get these done in time to deliver them…

corrugated ribbing and cvm.

And cuffs, and cosy (fiber etsy shop here), if that helps to emphasize that somehow the letter C is at play here today.

First, the ribbing. I know I have been going on and on about this sweater, and also that it is a bit unfair that I have been doing so, because you can’t exactly go right out and knit it yet, but I can’t help it. I cast on the first sleeve late last night (after digging through every bin of knitting-related stuff in my apartment to find my size 8 dpns), and I just have to keep talking about it.

cuffs1

cuff2

I love this ribbing, and someday, in the not too distant future, I will be making mittens that start this way. Whitney, are you trying to trick me into colorwork? Because if this ribbing is technically colorwork, it isn’t that scary. (This is how it starts, anyway…)

The next C is for CVM, or california variegated mutant, which, apparently, is a kind of sheep. Cosy’s shop update last week included lots of this stuff, and I needed some. (Needed.) I sat down at my wheel this morning after a cup of coffee with the idea that I would just spin a little bit, see how this fiber felt in my hands, and then move on to other things.

impatienscvm1

impatienscvm2

2 bobbins and 4 oz. later, I realized that I really liked it. (Shocking.)

impatienscvm3

I spun this using my mid-sized whorl, thinking that this might help me to get a bit more twist in my singles, and in this regard, I think I was successful. At the very beginning, I thought I’d aim for a singles yarn, but now that I see my two bobbins, one slightly brighter and one a bit paler, I think they will be lovely as a 2-ply, and maybe even lovelier knit up as the yoke to a garter-yoke cardigan?! I do have some grey cascade 220, and some heathery navy blue as well…

the candle’s nimble flame.

verbfibernest

The title of this blog post is the name of this colorway of corriedale from A Verb For Keeping Warm’s Woolly Wonders fiber club.

But I should back up: Thank you. Your kind words  and, perhaps, the catharsis of blogging about my hurting, helped me to sit down at my wheel late last night and early this morning.

Thank you.

Now, would you like to see what I spun? I thought so.

verbcorriecandle

verbcorriefullbob

One more, involving me playing with the macro button:

verbfulbobmacro

This is a bit thick and thin, and to my eye, mostly light worsted. I initially thought I would try for singles, but now I’m thinking I should ply this (I filled two bobbins of 2 oz. each) to even out the thickness and to make a sturdier yarn. I’m beginning to understand that singles require more spin to make them sturdy, and I am still learning to balance the pull of the bobbin with the treadling of the wheel (and thus, twisting of the yarn). These colors are hard to photograph, but absolutely lovely in real life. I am being good and letting the singles rest, but I’m hoping to ply this yarn soon…

katie

A morning surpise: a facebook wall scribble told me to take a look on my porch — friends headed west (for good) left a love note and this lovely plant on my stoop long after I was asleep last night. I found her a nice spot in one of my bedroom windows, and gave her a good drink. Here’s a close-up:

katiemacro

And I had to grab a handful of these mums at my favorite farm stand today:

mums

Boh and I went for a great run today, and I may or may not have cleaned out the bottom half of the refrigerator. Keeping busy indeed.

Things to look forward to: my best friend M (who offered to be on a bus moments after I called last week) will be here for the weekend. My farm share starts Tuesday. Inching forward…

that other stuff.

sillydog

Lots o’ pictures today — I have a (digitized) pile of shots (like this one) to share! Yesterday, the wheel won out, and rightly so. I may have spent another hour and a half spinning last night. I’m still breaking the yarn every so often because I haven’t quite balanced the pull of my bobbin with the speed of my treadling, so I was getting underspun yarn that wasn’t quite strong enough to be pulled onto the bobbin. (Does that make sense?) I am already way better at starting and stopping the wheel, and at sliding the guide around to get a more evenly filling bobbin. Though the specific mechanics are the same, drafting with your hands in your lap is different from spindle spinning, but I like it. (I like them both.) More writing today, but I will be rewarding myself with time at the wheel — that luscious undyed oatmeal BFL is going to be all spun up by the end of today.

First up: Food. Here’s a picture of the last piece of quiche. I forgot to take a “before” shot. We were too busy eating.

last piece quiche

A strawberry cake I baked last night, totally impulsively. Deb at smitten kitchen posted this around dinner time, and I could not resist.

strawberrycake

Pile o’ cookbooks — they looked pretty to me when I was in the kitchen snapping food pictures.

pileocookbooks

Those pears need to become pie, stat. We’ll see how far I get with the paper today. This next one does not fit into a category, but it was chilly early in the week, and I was wearing my 28thirty for added warmth. (I’m one of those people who would rather throw open the windows and put on a sweater than keep them shut and not need layers.)

28thirty in action

I love it. I may have made the upper sleeves a tad tight — in response to how loose the shoulders seemed — but I think with a little more wear, these will stretch just enough.

Next: Work photos.

workspace2

This enormous primary source was way too big to rest on the desk next to my computer, so we had to curl up on the couch. Boh was not pleased that the book took his spot. There’s my whisper, about an inch into the ribbing, for “thinking” while working.

yarnwinding

Yarn-winding is work, right? Here’s my technique. I’ve got about an inch and a half of the whisper ribbing, and I’m ready to start the second ball. I’m glad it is already wound!

spinning corner

Okay, one more wheel pic. This is my spinning “work” space, at the moment. Bright yellow bowl for fiber, sturdy chair to sit in, rug for wheel to stand on…Have I mentioned yet that I love my new wheel?

Blogging helps me to get words in my fingers — time to pour the coffee and switch over to academic writing. Have a great day!

rooster = in love.

I actually have a bunch of pictures to show you — boh being silly, the last piece of quiche, the couch covered in books, etc. but I know what you really want to see…

treadle

I know I said I wasn’t going to take this out of the box until I met my last deadline. But I wrote 4 pages before lunchtime! And I have no will power. None.

yarnonwheel

I heart my new wheel. I opened up some of the softest BFL I have ever touched (from Paradise Fibers), and set to it. Here’s an up close shot of the bobbin after about an hour:

wheelyarnmacro

The yarn at the bottom (what you can’t see) isn’t quite this pretty, but man! I love this! I got out my Maggie Casey book to look through the spinning wheel section, and have been playing with the tension on the brake band. This wheel is so intuitive. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to tear myself away this afternoon to keep writing. Boh was (of course) terrified of the cardboard box the wheel came in, but has been surprisingly calm, if a bit wary, of the wheel itself.

lenbohinback

Hooray! I have a spinning wheel! Can’t wait to be on the other side of this chunk of writing so that I can spin, spin, spin.

Along these lines, do you, oh wise readers, have any recommendations in the realm of books on spinning technique? Maggie Casey’s book is fantastic, and covers a few different kinds of drafting and some troubleshooting, but is there something else I should be reading/working through to build a good foundation?