Sunday, April 24, 2011

First skeins

I have a couple of first skeins to show off. First the oogly one - the colors are ugly, the yarn is ugly and I just don't like it at all. This was spun up from miscellaneous fiber which included the first and the last of my first bobbins. This picture shows some of the better and the worse parts. The black and red isn't bad - it is composed of the last singles I spun. The grey/taupe and red are the worst parts. The red is among the first stuff I was spinning when I was struggling to draft. The gray is the same Shetland top I am currently spinning but it is just awfully drafted - big blobby bits. The two singles I plied together were spun on the Hansen - the black and the taupe - and the Tina, the red and the gray.

On the whole, I am not disappointed as it shows the progress I have made. But not something that I would show off with pride.
This is the second skein. Also miscellaneous fibers but plied using Navajo plying. The singles are more consistent although all of them weren't spun by me. The teal and purple were on the Hansen bobbin when I got it. The rest of the colors are my singles. This is not bad. It is pretty consistent yarn and I could make something like a cowl with it. I plied it on the Hansen. I am enjoying spinning on the Tina and plying on the Hansen.

Not bad, eh? I could show off this skein.
Lastly, some progress on the RLC. Sleeves are started and making progress, albeit slowly.
Wish me luck on finishing the two sleeves by the end of the month. I have to stop then and work on a couple of things that have deadlines. It would be nice to have completed the knitting and just have the finishing left to go when I have to stop.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I have a number of things to talk about this week. I didn't post last week because I was traveling. Also, I had nothing to say. This week is different.

Let's start with a surprise. I got a surprise gift from a friend/colleague in Germany. Two balls of lovely sock yarn. The colors are nice and spring-like and they made my week. What a thoughtful gift.
Next, I finished the body of the RLC last night. I bound off the hem. It is meant to be a short cardigan/jacket. Next it is on to the sleeves which should be more interesting since there is at least some shaping.
Here is a close-up of the picot hem I am doing. It will be on the sleeve cuffs, the neck and the bottom band. I think it is in keeping with the feminine colors.

Lastly, I just finished plying my first handspun yarn. You can see the mess I started with - the gray and the red. The brown is much later spinning and you can see how much nicer it is. The beginning of this skein is a mess. The ends (inside the bobbin) is much nicer. But it is a huge accomplishment and the red yarn really showed how much progress I have made since I started. Much more even both in spin and in grist.

This is my kate set-up. I still have half a bobbin of singles from the Hansen. I think I will practice Navajo-plying with it. The empty bobbin is from the Tina. That was where the red yarn was. The Hansen is a breeze to ply on! However, I found that it is hard to start and stop plying, and my hands did get tired. I will have to work on how to put down the plying half way to take a break.

All in all, a good week for accomplishments but not a great one for energy. I was very tired this week and it is only now that I am recovering my usual energy level. I was a bit nervous trying to ply for the first time when I was tired. But I think now I can do it even in the evening. It is much more mindless than spinning.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A love story

Many, many moons ago, I saw some Shetland top and fell in love. I wanted to spin that top so badly, I decided to learn how to spin. I bought a wheel (Little Gem) and didn't love it. I sold it and bought a lovely Tina II. I loved the wheel but didn't love the spinning. It was too much like work, and not enough like fun. But that top - sitting in my guest bedroom - was still calling to me. So I persevered, and struggled, and finally tried a Hansen mSpinner, and it was so easy. I played. I spun up all the miscellaneous fiber I could find as practice. I filled a bobbin. It was easy.

Then I went back to the Tina. Remember, I loved her. I wanted to have the same fun with her. It was a bit of a struggle. She was petulant, sulky, and moody because I had neglected her for the Hansen. She didn't want to spin, she squeaked, she dithered. But I lavished attention on her. I oiled her, I adjusted her bands, I fussed and fawned over her.

Remember this photo from the beginning of the Tour de Fleece last year?
It is OK, not the greatest yarn. Looks more like a mess, but it is yarn.
Here is the result of yesterday's spinning. The braid is done and the singles are resting , waiting be plied with the miscellaneous singles spun on the Hansen. I don't have high hopes for this yarn. It is my experiment and I'll be happy if it is usable. If not, it was good practice.
This is a dyed BFL I bought at Rhinebeck two years ago. It has a lovely sheen which you can see in the photo with the flash.

So Tina and I are a couple again and I will start spinning the Shetland top on her today. Again, it may not be the best yarn, but it will be fine, and I'll have something to show for it. There is always more of that Shetland when I want more.

In the mean time, here is the RLC. I have made good progress on the body. Of course, it seems endless. But I love knitting it because the yarn is so luscious. Also, it is pretty mindless so I can pick it up and put it down any time. 5 mins here and 30 mins there add up.
Hopelessly in love