More Handspun Confetti Yarn: New Colors

More handspun confetti yarn has been added to the website. I like to call this light & lofty yarn “confetti” because before I spin the roving, I card it with bits of leftover wool, silk & angelina fibers (for sparkle!). ๐Ÿ™‚

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One of the first yarns I made & knitted projects from evolved into what is now confetti yarn. Currently it is mostly made up of roving from a small mill in Maine that I re-card adding my own bits of fiber throughout. The dyeing/overall color has to be credited to the mill. Now that I am dyeing my own fleece confetti yarn will most likely evolve into a product designed completely from raw, but that still remains to be seen. So long as I can obtain the base roving at a decent price I’ll continue to buy it. Plus I could never replicate the colors seen here (nor would I try!).

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If you enjoy a thick yet light feeling yarn like I do, you would most likely enjoy this series. I love to knit a winter hat or a scarf/cowl with this. It also makes a nice trim for projects. I normally us a US9 knitting needle.

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I love to process my fleece from raw but there is something so satisfying about drum carding roving and being able to spin virtually right away. I used to spin this particular roving straight out of the package but I like to spread out the fibers even more on the drum carder as well as add my own flair.

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As this is a wool mix and spins up quickly it is one of my least expensive yarns for sale. I can give a sizable discount if bought in person since I do not incur any shipping/packaging fees.

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I have spun more yarn than I can ever use so I’m happy to share it for those interested in purchasing it. That said, I’m also happy to squirrel it away & wait for the inspiration to hit for a new knitting project. ย ๐Ÿ™‚

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New Alpaca Handspun Yarn Listed

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I have several skeins of natural brown alpaca handspun yarn listed on the website. My first completed batch of alpaca yarn spun from raw. Unlike sheep wool, alpaca does not need to be prepared ahead of time to spin: shear and go! The fiber does not contain any oils and is relatively straight, so it can be easily spun without carding ahead of time. After this batch however, I have decided to give my alpaca a quick soak to remove excess dirt or mud as well as give it one quick round in the drum carder. I found it quite dusty, and find it a huge time savings if I can get most of the fiber going in the same direction. The batch I’m currently working on was pretty muddy underneath, to boot!

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This is a 3-ply probably best suited for a US#4 knitting needle. This batch of fiber was obtained from a small producer in Upstate New York.ย Being alpaca it is on the pricey side, but I can offer a sizable discount if you can buy in person, since I don’t have to incur shipping fees.

As usual with my yarn I am reluctant to let it go, however, I have spun so much of it I’m happy to offer it for sale if someone is interested in taking it. Otherwise this will turn into a wonderful project for me down the road. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The Dye Binder: Recording Fleece Dyeing

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Last month when talking about the dyeing experiments I was conducting in the studio on raw fleece, I meant to post a photo of my dye binder. We went through 3.5 bags of sheep fleece: horned dorset, finnish landrace & half a bag of grey-white romney, to see how the dye would react on darker color saturations, as well as small batches of mohair I had on hand. I am so glad I took notes because thinking back now without them I would never remember how to duplicate them! Needless to say i am *dying* to card & spin all the 200g samples, but the holidays has me totally locked down jewelry making & I still have a 3lb. bag of brown alpaca to spin (not that I am complaining about either!). ๐Ÿ™‚

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Some photos from our dyeing fleece experiments

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We’ve been experimenting with dyeing fleece with Greener Shades acid dyes & I wanted to post some pictures of how it turned out. We’re doing mostly water immersion in a crock pot but I also did smaller batches in mason jars as well as a bit of low immersion dyeing.

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I honestly don’t know why I was so intimidated about dyeing fleece. Once I figured out the dye-to-fleece ratio, it is *super* easy. And ridiculously addictive! My 6 year old has volunteered to help me, and she asks every day if we are going to dye fleece.

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I really like using a crock pot, as I can literally set it and forget it. It’s nice & stable and contained which fits great in the studio, and I don’t have to worry about little fingers getting burned as opposed to using a pot on a burner. I like it so much I want to start scouring thrift shops for used ones so I can do several colors at once.

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I think the most important thing is to write everything down so I know how to replicate the color later. I’ve started a binder which has a sample of the fleece, the kind of fleece & the process used to obtain the color. We’re concentrating on doing 2 colors at once to see what shades and effect can be obtained.

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This is washed fleece but not yet carded. My mind would glaze over carding plain white fleece over & over! I find it easier to wash the fleece, then dye it. Carding takes place after. We (my oldest & I – her second favorite thing to do these days is to turn the crank on the carder) carded a sample of dyed fleece & I’m happy with the results. For now I see no advantage of carding to batts or roving first before dyeing. Especially since I plan to blend colors before spinning.

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I am going to keep a binder as well of what the fleece looks like carded, as well as “recipes” of the fleece types and colors blended so if I want more in the future it will be easier to replicate.

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Writing everything down is a big deal for me, because I am such an “on a whim” kind of spirit. But the binders will definitely keep my sanity! Let’s face it: art yarn is one of a kind so I will never be able to make a totally identical replica. But if I like something and want to spin it again this will be a good way to get at least a close second. ๐Ÿ™‚

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If you want to watch a great video on getting started dyeing fiber, I recommend “Dyeing in the Kitchen“.

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The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: Invaluable

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The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebookย has been absolutely invaluable in my studio. It is my fleece “bible”. I go to it every time I buy a new fleece before I even start to process it.

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I love the knitting examples that also are provided, & hats off to the authors, this must have been crazy to compile, not to mention fun! ๐Ÿ™‚ Fiber geeks: you need this book!

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Knitting Handspun by the Fire…

I’ve been going at a pretty steady pace lately. ย Jewelry making/orders, pricing my handspun yarn, working on packaging for yarn & stitch markers…oh yeah and running my busy household on top of it all. It’s no surprise it all came to a slamming halt as soon as we arrived at our Nova Scotia residence.

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I’m trying to work. Reeeeeally I am. But there is just something about the atmosphere of the Annapolis Valley – I grew up here so I know it all too well. It’s not that I’m not motivated, it’s just the pace is slower, and I came to realize just how tired my brain really is. So I’m curled up by the fire, knitting my handspun. This is a mohair/wool blend, and I’m loving the feel/texture. Officially hooked! Must put mohair at the top of my shopping list for the Rhinebeck wool show next month…now if you’ll excuse me… ๐Ÿ™‚

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Campfire Knitting

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I don’t know what it is about fire that makes it so perfect for knitting. Campfire in the summer…fireplace in the winter.

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This is a self striping yarn I spun – Navajo (chain) plied – really bulky. Wool/silk mix. It wasn’t my favorite spin, that is for sure. Yet, it worked up rather well, I’d say. The finished hat is rather thick, but hey – winter in Quรฉbec is just around the corner…

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Icelandic Handspun

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Last year at Rhinebeck I bought a bag of raw Icelandic fleece, a wool I had only minimally worked with in the past. This was my first try at Icelandic handspun yarn. I absolutely adore the Icelandic Breed of sheep, they are small in stature and have both a long straight overcoat (tog) and a short curly undercoat (thel). ย I washed, carded and spun/plied/set/fulled several 2-ply skeins, keeping some for my own personal use and setting some aside for sale in the near future.

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Yarn always looks a little sad to me when it is wet after being washed/ fulled. It’s amazing to see the yarn plump up again after it dries…I immediately get “the itch” and want to start knitting it.

Check back regularly to the Yarn/Fiber section of my website, I’ll be adding yarns as they become available. It’s all done by hand so it’s a labour of love, making this yarn. I spin for me first but will always have more than I could ever handle since I am officially addicted to spinning. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Angora Rabbit Fiber

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I still cannot believe that this is from a bunny rabbit…an angora rabbit to be precise. I can’t help but feel bad for this breed. Cute looking, but having this much fur must really suck!

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I’m starting to get a better handle on spinning angora (not to be confused with angora goat, whose fiber is known as mohair). I’m getting the hang of spinning this by itself…usually I blend it with wool. I have found it slippery and at times hard to draft, but like any fiber you get used to the feel and how it needs to be handled in order to get spun. It is very light and lofty. My Himalayan cat’s fur is similar. Many people like the feel of angora in hand but can’t wear it on their head/neck as it tends to tickle/feel itchy…and I can totally see that. I would like to ply an angora yarn on its own though just to see how it works up. I’ll share the finished product whatever I decide to do… ๐Ÿ™‚

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Spinning Singles

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I’ve gone back to spinning singles lately…the “traditional” idea of spinning where you spin thinner singles to ply together to make the finished yarn. I am hoping these are the start of yarn for sale…I again am at a loss at pricing because if I take into account the amount of time put into prepping fleece from raw to spinning/plying my price point would be simply too high for consideration. I’m liking the barter idea, so that may be the way to go. In any event I need to finish these into something before my mind gets away from me. I have angora rabbit, icelandic sheep fleece & my “wool soup” (taking odds & ends fleece/roving/batts – running it through the drum carder to make one of a kind batts for spinning) so far spun. Either way, I simply enjoy the process of creating the yarn – more so than knitting it into something! I get far more satisfaction in feeling the fluffy fleece between my hands become a wonderfully soft textured yarn. Not that I don’t enjoy knit/crochet, I simply enjoy carding/spinning more…so yes: when these are completed I must work on finding them new homes. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Drum carding with the Brother Drum Carder

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Back in January, I started a thorough search for a drum carder…I had massed a decent amount of fleece and really was not looking forward to hand carding it all. If you have ever looked for a drum carder for equipment you know that they do not come cheap, and do I ever drool at all the different kinds out there on the market. I have spent a small fortune on jewelry making equipment over the years, I can`t really justify $900+ for something that is at the moment, solely a hobby. So I started my search for a used one on ebay…and was I shocked to find one in the $300 range…brand new.

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Yep, Brother Drum Carders are a no-frills economic made in the USA drum carder. I ordered one straight away in January from their website (they also sell on Etsy & Ebay). I must say, I am impressed having zero expectation & zero experience with a drum carder. I’ve used it to blend roving/angelina fibers/silk, and also to process my own fleece that I have washed.

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It is hard work cranking that thing by hand…I do dream of a motorized one if I ever get busy enough to warrant it. And the medium coarse carding cloth I chose doesn’t work very well with my alpaca or angora rabbit fibers…I will have to buy a cloth with teeth appropriate for fine fibers for this (that does make me wonder if a more expensive model could handle all/most types of fleeces) but can I really complain at the price point? I simply feel very lucky to have this tool at my disposal at such an affordable price!

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Washing Raw Fleece…

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In the beginning, I was really leery of washing sheep wool. It seemed like a really time consuming (& potentially icky) task. But spinning roving started to bore me, I wanted more control over my creativity & I started to gain much respect for this wool fiber, the animal who gave it & the process from start to finish.

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I obtain my fleece from scouring fleece sales at various wool shows in the North-East. Although I get taken in by the wonderful alpaca fiber from time to time (which doesn’t need washing before spinning – which is a nice perk), I generally stick to the piles of passed over inexpensive bags of sheep fleece…the extra-dirty or not-so-well-known breeds. I don’t even entertain merino…it’s a lovely wool, but highly over-rated for experimentation purposes. ๐Ÿ™‚

I add the fleece by the handfuls in my basket here in the laundry sink, that I had installed in my studio specifically for this purpose. I pick out as much VM (vegetable matter) or poo/manure tagsย  that I can from this stage…I can’t say that I have ever skirted any wool in the traditional fashion, maybe I *should* but I have never found I needed to at this point (or perhaps I am blissfully ignorant).

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After reading and trying out slightly different variations of washing fleece here is the method that I use:

Soak in hot, hot water with a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dish detergent for at least 3 hours – sometimes I even leave it to soak overnight if there is a lot of lanolin or dirt. I generally find this soak 3 times gets the majority of the dirt off. It is a really pleasant surprise to find a yellowish fleece is indeed a lovely white color after a couple good soaks in hot water & dish detergent!

I then soak it in the hottest water possible 3 times for about 30 min. each time. The last time I add 1/4 cup of vinegar to remove any remaining soap residue. I am careful to keep the temperature consistent while washing as, hot/cold water plus agitation will felt wool. I also do not manipulate the wool much, just gently push down into the water with rubber gloves.

The basket is fantastic as you need to drain the water several times – and I found when not using some sort of basket the fleece would just clog up the drain. These are old fixtures from a Zellers store that closed locally last summer. Bonus is that the square baskets have a lip for hanging on a display rack – and they fit perfectly onto the edge of my laundry tub when I want to lift it out to drain the water.

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The Zellers fixtures also make wonderful drying racks…in the summer, these move outdoors to dry naturally n the sun shine. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Latest Textured (Art) Yarns…

I am terribly behind on posts, and doubt I will bother to catch up. Earlier this year my hard drive failed and we have not yet had luck recovering the data…there is ways but very time consuming and for the self-employed parent time is limited. So I guess you can say I lost interest in blogging. ย I’ve also lost faith in WordPress & will be switching most likely to Drupal hopefully this fall. It’s just been one thing after another, and I apologize for any inconsistencies or problems viewing this site.

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But to begin anew here are the latest yarns I have made. These were a total experiment but I love the end results. I took the first two art batts I made earlier this year & turned them into these two skeins of yarn. Here you see them freshly fulled and hanging outside to dry (I love this time of year!). I’m also washing my newest fleeces obtained at this year’s New Hampshire Wool show (below you see a bit of it peeking out, also drying in the fresh open air).

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Both skeins are bulky one plies with beads spun in. I love how fast bulky one ply yarn spins up, but am always afraid of an unbalanced yarn. These are not bad, as you can see they hang fairly straight. The one on the right was from an art batt I made & named “The Fog of War”. I don’t always name my projects, but if a name pops in my head right away I figure there is purpose there. I’ve had these wood beads kicking around forever – probably a closeout I bought from a wholesaler. They never made it into the “for jewelry” making pile, and I am so pleased to have them integrated into this yarn.

The second skein, “Pink Candy Crush” has tiny 4mm pale pink crackle (glass) beads spun within. I loved the effect of the smaller beads just as the large ones. Far more cute & subtle but it works for such a happy colored yarn.

“Fog of War” is a blend of many different wool leftovers…I call these kinds of batts/rovings wool confetti as it is very light, fluffy & airy with tiny pops of color within. “Pink candy crush” has merino, tunis & a purple wool of unknown breed (odds and ends again) along with banana fibers . Both also have angelina fibers for added sparkle. The beads are attached with a Habu stainless steel thread.

These were really fun to make & I’m already on my 3rd. Spinning is my zen. Jewelry making is exciting; new designs make my heart race, while spinning keeps me calm & happy no matter how sore my back may get. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I know people have asked if I will be selling my yarns…I hope to add fiber product of some kind to the website by the end of the summer. I am having a hard time deciding how to price my yarns. I’m thinking of selling my yarns by barter exclusively rather than by exchange of money. I think that feels more fair to me…

Fantastic Handcrafted Yarn Swift

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That’s a horrible picture of a fantastic product. I have wanted a yarn swift for quite some time, even before I was spinning my own yarn, but really cringed at the thought of buying those made in China umbrella ones for $50+…I also thought they’d take up quite a bit of space. So I was happy to find this table top yarn swift handcrafted in the USA by Knitting Notions in Nashville. I also could not believe it was only $55 and love that it comes apart for storage in its own bag. You can move the pegs up/down to get the right tension (so don’t go by my sloppy photo ;)).

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Racing Stripe

Snapped this quick (read: terrible) picture of a single ply racing stripe textured yarn, still on the wheel. Inspired by Jacey Bogg’s technique in her book & DVD Spin Art, this is bluefaced leicester with a racing stripe of both handspun one ply wool and metallic thread. The picture does not do it justice of course. I wonder what to make with it. Spun on my jumbo flyer so I have a decent sized skein. Hmmmm…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thick & Thin…

Sorry for the terrible picture…this is my first attempt doing a single ply thick/thin yarn using Jacey Bogg’s wrist flick/turn-key-in-lockย  method as she describes in her book/dvd Spin Art. I absolutely adore this book & accompanying dvd, and although my yarn is not perfect, I was encouraged at just how nice it actually *did* turn out. I think the biggest testament is that it drapes nicely. Single plies can never be balanced as it does not contain any counter twist like a plied yarn, so the goal is to achieve as even a drape as possible. If your yarn hangs fairly straight after washing/fulling, then that is a good “balanced” single ply yarn. I don’t tension my yarns either, simply let them hang dry after a good thwack or two. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This yarn is a superwash merino which is a first for me. First time spinning a thick/thin, and using superwash. Not a fan of the smell of superwash wool (chemically treated so that it will not shrink/felt). I like the fresh barn smell of sheep fleece (unlike an unclean barn smell har har! ;)). We live in a virtually chemically free home so smells and odors particularly of a chemical nature seem very strong to me. I think I will stick to untreated fleeces and care instructions if I ever gift any yarn or knitted/crocheted pieces. Merino itself is a very good choice for thick/thin yarn since it is short stapled; therefore the short movements created to make the fibers “catch” in the thin section are easily achieved unlike in a long stapled yarn you wouldn’t get as much variation in the thick/thin.

I’ll be sure to post what this looks like knitted up, however it may be awhile – I don’t see me stepping away from the spinning wheel anytime soon… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Rhinebeck 2012

So excited to announce I finally got to go to Rhinebeck this year! I have been wanting to go to this show for several years now, and the gorgeous weather was one of the deciding factors to take off and go last minute (we even got the chance to spend the night in Manhattan making this the perfect trip for me. I love the country, but adore that city – the creative energy!). I picked up some great raw fleece at the fleece sale (the most organized I have ever been to I might add) as well as a few other goodies – check out my bounty!! I will be posting all about the show on my family’s blog; once it is completed I will post a link to it here! Can’t wait ’till next year! ๐Ÿ™‚

Fiber Experimentation

From left to right: mohair, mohair/wool mix, colorfully dyed llama, brown yak down & angora/wool mix.

 

I’ve been going through my fleece bins ans spinning/plying yarns from different fiber sources. I want to get a feel for the different fibers so to determine what I would like to continue to spin on a larger scale in the future. So far I have enjoyed every type and learning the pros and cons of spinning each. It is going to be hard to narrow down. ๐Ÿ™‚

Spinning Yak Down

This summer I purchased a small bag of yak down to try spinning. It is amazingly soft/fluffy/airy and short stapled, so a light touch is definitely needed as well as a very short, inch-worm type draft. I put my pulley on medium with a soft uptake (my Lendrum is a scotch tensioning wheel). I found the large pulley didn’t give the enough twist so the fibers drifted apart easily which would be annoying during plying. I really wanted to keep that light airy feel in the finished yarn. The finished project in another post…

Spun Recycled Silk

Frabjous Fibersย has these awesome bags of recycled silk bits…some long, some just tiny chunks of many different colors. It spins up in this wonderful bumpy texture – kind of like when you tail spin wool locks only much finer. Spinning takes a bit of skill because you do have to inch worm draft quite carefully. Once you find your groove however, it is so much fun to spin and the texture is so rad! I have plied this with wool and it adds a wonderful softness and fun color texture. I’d like to card this together with some wool…another reason why I so need a drum carder! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Leclerc Bobbin Winder & Storage Bobbins

Spinning so many singles means my handful of bobbins for my wheel just isn’t cutting it anymore for storage. Upon doing some research, I was happy to obtain a bobbin winder and 2 dozen storage bobbins from Leclerc Looms here in Quebec. I purchased their larger size styrene 4in spools, not the typical boat shuttle spools that are too small to hold much yarn for plying.

The winder is a simple heavy duty tool that I am really glad I bought. Not only is it faster than winding off by hand, it winds nice and even, and not too tight as I find the case with hand-winding. I have it screwed to this side table for my rocking chair in the livingroom for now until I move back into my studio again. What can I say it does the trick. ๐Ÿ™‚

Making Handspun Yarn – the Tools Involved

I have been having a fabulous timeย learning all about spinning since purchasing my first spinning wheel in February.ย I’ve been spinning wool roving mostly from my collection of roving by Bartlettyarns obtained from the New Hampshire Wool Show last year (they had a buy 4 get one free sale…or something like that. At the time I had no idea I would learn to spin; I simply stocked up because it was a darn good deal and you can never have enough wool roving for felting :)). It’s very light and fluffy and I enjoy the texture it creates once spun. I am still waiting for the plying head/jumbo flyer I ordered for my Lendrum, so for now I have been spinning and storing my singles…for the most part anyway. I also have been experimenting with plying just to get a feel for it (you can most certainly ply with the regular head you just get less yardage).

I own two lazy kates and I use them for storing my bobbins when I am not plying. I tend to get bored spinning one color so will switch it out for another fairly often. I watched a wonderful video called “The Gentle Art of Plying” by Judith Mackenzie. Judith calls these marvelous contraptions just “kates” and I chuckled because I agree with her – how can you call something so useful lazy? When she made this remark in her video I was nodding my head in agreement! If you are looking to understand more about plying and a good method to do it, I highly recommend her video. It certainly took the intimidation out for me. I even tried plying cables. It is a whole lot of fun and really addictive. I think once you understand twist and counter-twist (S and Z as it is called in the spinning world) plying is not so intimidating. I always thought I would only make fun bulky singles, but I am really loving plying and the balance created in the finished yarns.

A niddy noddy is another useful tool with an entertaining name. One you have finished plying your yarn (or spinning your bulky single yarn as it may be) you wind it onto a niddy noddy. This helps straighten the fibers as well as a tool to count how many yards was made. For my particular niddy noddy, I count the wraps and multiply by 1.5 to get the yardage of yarn made. Winding yarn on a niddy noddy takes a bit of skill and this is where my jewelry making experience really help me out. I have heard of people who, even after years of spinning, never could master wrapping on a niddy noddy. For me, I find it quiet fluid! ๐Ÿ™‚

After winding the yarn onto the niddy noddy, you tie off the yarn and then set the twist and/or full. I will talk about this in another post. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lendrum DT Spinning Wheel

 

 

This is my new baby. Surprising, no? It’s definitely not for jewelry making, although you can spin beads into the fiber. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We are a Waldorf Inspired household. Before I had my children I could have cared less about knitting and crochet. I had been slowly making time to teach myself to knit last year,butย  finally decided to make a concerted effort at it during the holidays. I had a 3 month old, and spent a lot of time nursing & rocking…and I thought it would finally be a good time to dedicate a good amount of time for learning (read: a nice, quiet creative project so not to disturb baby). It went okay at first, but I found myself wanting to know more about the textile I was working with. How is yarn made? What is the difference between natural and synthetic fibers? Between machine or hand spun? Drop spindle or spinning wheel?

After watching a few videos on YouTube, I was totally intrigued about spinning and really wanted to get a wheel (I was pathetically clumsy with a drop spindle).

So after considering my options, I ended up purchasing a Lendrum Double Treadle. This is a scotch tensioning wheel, which meant nothing to me at the time, but I so enjoy spinning on this type of wheel now. Another post is needed for technical whatnots…

I chose this wheel because it is compact, folds for storage (not that I have never had a chance to store it!) and is locally made in Ontario. I am waiting for a plying head/jumbo flyer that I ordered back in the spring. Lendrums are in demand and worth the wait.

You can find ย a local Lendrum dealer by visiting his website.

Spinning, understanding fiber and how yarn is formed has been like a kick start to my brain as far as knitting and crochet goes. Although I am still very much a beginner, since spinning patterns/stitched/formation make so much more sense to me. I bought this wheel in February and spin pretty much everyday we are home. A joy!

More info to follow…

 

Creativity 2011 – Learning to Knit! Basic garter stitch…

With the stick weaving mastered in no time flat, it was time to try my hand at the needles. Knitting is another skill on my list of things to learn in 2011.

So on this same trip, I brought along with me some size 7 needles and a great skein of wool I had picked up at the Vermont Wool Show. I should mention that I have knitted before – when I was about 10 years old. I don’t remember actually completing a project, just casting on/off and doing what I know now is the basic garter stitch. I can’t even remember how got to doing it – if it was a kit as a gift, if someone showed me or I just figured it out somehow, but I can picture the plastic knitting needles. In any event I don’t remember a thing about how to do it, so to me this was like my fist time. ๐Ÿ™‚

The thing with me is, I simply do not learn in a conventional manner. I find books and instructions rather confusing as they are too one dimensional, and videos I never seem to be able to keep up with or I am too concerned with copying exactly what the person is doing in the video rather than actually learning. In other words, take the video away, and I freeze. If my work doesn’t look like that in the book or my technique doesn’t go as smoothly as the person in the video, I get discouraged. This is probably due to anxiety of my conventional schooling: text books are intimidating & due to the learning anxiety I simply regurgitated what I was “taught” in school – nothing truly retained. I guess that’s why with my jewelry making I’d rather just figure it out for myself than be taught…regardless of how many hours extra it takes me…I can be stubborn like that!

So after reading through & studying diagrams from an ebook on my Nook, and watching a video on our Tab – I felt I had somewhat of a foundation of what I was supposed to do – so I threw them to the wayside and practiced myself.

First of all I loved the size 7 needles & found them easy to maneuver – I can see why this size was recommended to me for a beginner. But, I really wanted to work with a larger size while I was learning. Smaller needles = smaller stitches so my work was progressing really slowly.ย  I wanted to see some results fast just to keep me motivated. I also realized I needed to get some cheap yarn for practicing. I kept unraveling the good stuff if it wasn’t perfect…I just felt like I was wasting it. As with jewelry making, it felt like leaping straight into the fine silver wire when you don’t even know how to wire wrap yet… ๐Ÿ™‚

So the next day I was off to the craft store. I bought a pair of size 10 bamboo needles & some yarn that was on sale for about $2. The instructions for the project on the yarn called for a larger needle than a size 10 so it had the “fatness” I desired to see larger stitching.

My very first knitted – anything. It’s a simple cast on & garter stitch. Believe me there are a lot of mistakes here…yarnovers, double stitches…oh well. My goal was to get comfortable with the feel of knitting, so rather than going back to fix mistakes I simply carried on.

My tensioning gets tighter as I go as well. I think I struggled with this the most even more so than holding the needles. My stitches were loose in the beginning and would easily fall off the needle, as well as looked sloppy…with practice they got better & will continue to get better.

See how loose the stitches are at the bottom…

I keep this project in the car & work on it while we are away. Obviously, I am not the one driving. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love being able to have something to do with my hands…jewelry making was never a practical traveling project for me since I work with beads. I love how easily yarn & needles tuck into a bag. “But what are you making?” My husband says. He only pictures knitted socks & hats! For now, I think I will stick to making blankets for my girls’ dolls. ๐Ÿ™‚ When this is done I’ll try a different stitch to make another one. Those dolls will be nice & warm. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Once the movement becomes totally natural with a variety of stitches I will then tackle an actual project…other than just square objects. ๐Ÿ™‚

So I am finding knitting, now that I don’t have to think so much & the feel is natural, very soothing & satisfying. I wondered if the repetitive motion would bore me but I found just the opposite. Interested in seeing if other stitches feel as natural, or what actual projects I will be inspired to do.

I couldn’t tell you if I knit in the “English” or “Continental” method. Or even if my form is correct – hell, even if it looks correct. All I know is, in my hand, it feels right, and that’s all that matters. If there is a new project that you want to take on but you are intimidated because you may not do it “just so” or the “right way” – what makes it right is if it is right for you. Make it your own…Own it! Make 2011 your year to try something you’ve always wanted to do! ๐Ÿ™‚