I bought a spinning wheel!

Pic-free post because I didn’t think to take pictures today, but…

I drove down to Frankfort, KY to The Woolery take an intro to spinning class and pick a wheel.  I was surprised that the wheel I fell in love with was the Lendrum, because the thing looks too mod and silly to me.  But of the five or six wheels I treadled on, it was very clearly my favorite.

The class was great.  Since I already know how to spin on a spindle, the first hour of class wasn’t entirely necessary but it was good to spin with an experienced spindler right there to help me with the nagging issues I’ve been having. The instructor Nancy was incredibly helpful, and I’ll be going back for her intermediate spinning class at some point.

They didn’t have the Lendrum wheel in stock (which was probably a good thing – I had other things to do today when I got home!) but I should get one in my grubby little hands in a couple weeks.

So Excited!

Fixing a Spindle

My workhorse spindle (it’s a Greensleeves Bare Bones or Bare Bonesie, I can’t remember) is showing signs of wear. It has a hook on the top, and the hook has been loose lately, turning around when I try to load or unload wool on it.  I recently emptied  the spindle by actually finishing a spinning project, and just in time too, because with a small bit of pressure I was able to do this:

IMG_3460

I went to my best source of fibery info – Ravelry – and found this old thread.  Following the suggestions there, I bought some Gorilla Glue and fixed my spindle!  Feeling so accomplished.

IMG_3469

I’m already spinning a new batch of singles on this trusty spindle.  I’ve joined both a stash reduction group and a “spin X skeins of yarn in 2013” group (for me, X = 12) in Ravelry.

Handspun cowl

I have knit with yarn I made myself!

IMG_3434 IMG_3439

This is my first time knitting with handspun so forgive me if I am a bit excited.

I added way too much twist to the fiber as I was spinning it, apparently, so the beautiful silk and merino blend feels a bit like packing twine.  But nevermind,  I’ve still been wearing this thing constantly since I weaved in the ends. I only take it off to sleep. Was I this excited when I learned to knit? I can’t remember.

The pattern is a simple chevron tube, available free here. Details about this project on my ravelry page.

Woo hoo!

I voted today!

And I’m knitting with my first (project quantity) of handspun!

image

And I’m posting from my mobile device for the first time!

It’s a day of accomplishment here in my corner of the world.

A Reckoning

It was time to get real with myself.

These days, my job is overwhelming and I have precious little time to spend on hobbies.  I found myself knitting less and less and I came to realize that it was time to give my knitting basket a makeover.  It was full of projects I simply didn’t enjoy, but I felt obligated to finish.

A hobby should not feel like an obligation. I either had to stop knitting or get over my hangups about finishing what I start.  So I emptied out all my WIPs in one place,

And ruthlessly cut out the things that weren’t making me happy.

I frogged dozens of hours worth of knitting. My ball winder got a workout and it felt good! This was a few days ago and since then my knitting mojo has returned in full force.

I’m planning to revive this blog along with my knitting and spinning, so I’m going to try to post every day for a month to get in the habit of blogging. (Why? well, many blogs I follow have been revived this way when things get quiet.) So, over this week I’ll talk about the projects you see above along with new ones to replace the projects that got frogged.

Yee haw!

Plying and a Turkish Spindle

I can’t believe I will actually achieve my Tour de Fleece goal.  I was intending to spin and ply this bluish merino/silk roving, my first time spinning dyed fiber.   About a week ago I got the singles spun

Merino/Silk singles

which filled all available surfaces for holding yarn at my disposal.  (I’m working out of state for the summer, and this is what I brought.) Clearly I just had to order another spindle, so I thought I’d give a turkish spindle a try

Ashford Turkish Spindle

I used the spindle as a ball winder first, to make a plying ball. Here’s the plying ball and the leftovers:

3 singles wound together, using the turkish spindle as a ball winder

leftover singles, as all were not the same length

I was wary of taking this ball/cop off the spindle, but ta-da!

I’m plying now, and haven’t had any trouble with the funny-shaped center pull ball that the spindle formed.  The turkish spindle is much bigger than my others, so the plying is going well and I should be able to fit all the yarn in one big cop (since it fit as a plying ball it should fit at yarn). By end of day tomorrow I will have this done!

3-plying on the turkish spindle

Tour de Fleece!

I am participating in the Tour de Fleece as a rookie.  My goal is simply to spin every day.  Even that has been a challenge, since the last week has been full of driving home, catching up with loved ones, and driving back to Georgia.  In fact, this is all I have to show for the first week of the Tour:

Tour de Fleece, first update

The fiber is a merino/silk blend I got at a fiber festival from a Black Sheep Farm whose website no longer exists.

Speaking of handspun, while I was home I used my very first handspun as a guinea pig (it’s scratchy, lumpy, and uneven… not good for much else) and kettle-dyed it!

My technique is a hodgepodge of a few tutorials I found online… Once I’ve tried it a few times and perfected my method I’ll post a tutorial here too.  But basically, I skeined up the yarn,

Handspun on a niddy-noddy.

mixed up dye stock (concentrated liquid from the dye powder),

Acid dye powder and dye stock.

plopped my yarn in a simmering water/vinegar bath,

dribbled some of the dye concentrate into the dye bath,

Underneath the steam is a bubbling brew of yarn and dye.

and waited.  The result is this:

Handspun, hand-dyed yarn. Woo hoo!

It’s a lot more solid colored than I intended, and it’s hard to believe that there were actually two colors of dye in there.  The blue color I used clearly took over.  However, this yarn is my baby and it’s beautiful to me anyway!