Friday, July 31, 2009

Almost home...

Yay! DH is coming home tomorrow!

I've been concentrating on spinning for the last two weeks, hoping to make some progress on the stash and learn a new technique - woolen long draw spinning on the spindle. It can be done! Carol Huebscher Rhoades wrote an article for Spin-Off (download it here) showing how. So, I set out to try using the natural color merino I picked up at the Great Lakes Fiber Show.

I did a search on making rolags, since I haven't had much luck with from-the-fold. Look what I found! Psuedo-rolags - the art of making rolags without carding brushes. A million thanks, Rosemary! Here's a few I made

natural merino - psuedorolags

I divided the 4 ounces of merino in half, with the intention of spinning half woolen from rolags, the other have worsted with a short forward draw, 2-plying both sets, and comparing.

The woolen:
natural merino - woolen spun

The worsten:
natural merino - worsted spun

The woolen is quite thick and thin, but after a week of trial and error, and a helpful email conversation with Ms. Rhoades, I got it! Not expert spinning be any means, but I think the technical aspects of it are correct. I can't really tell any difference in softness or fluffiness - they both came out squishibly soft and fluffy.

Next up: color. I've never bought handpainted roving before but that doesn't mean I haven't drooled over the options. First up: Big Bang from FLUFFfibers, a 4+ ounce braid of superwash BFL.

Fluff Fibers Big Bang

And that's not all - it came with a little sibling, a 1 ounce sampler of 80%merino/20%silk:

Fluff Fibers

These fibers are so yummy! I tore off a little of the BFL to do a little sampling and OMG it is so easy to draft. Just tear off a chunk and draft from the fold. I've never been able to do that! I want to make a fluffy yarn to make a hat and mittens or something for Audrey. (You didn't think I bought those colors for myself, did you?)

Fiber heaven!

Friday, July 17, 2009

A little spinning break

Twilight Tank is finished (but no photos yet - maybe this weekend?) and I've decided to spend the rest of the month working on my fiber stash. So, you know, I can buy some more.

I finished up the "September Glow" Lambswool/Silk blend from Nistock Farms. This is 7/8 ounce, in my attempt to spin from the fold and/or from a "rolag". I didn't really know what a rolag was, so I ripped off a hunk of batt, then rolled it up like a cigar. Well, it's a start I guess. 56 yds of 3 ply (Navaho plied).


I love the colors, and I'm pretty happy with the yarn! It spun up much better than my first attempts to spin it worsted from thin strips off the batt.

Now I'm trying to do a true long-draw with the merino mix I bought at the Fiber Fest over Memorial Day weekend. And solo-parenting for two weeks (Singapore again). Anyone want to take a guess what will break this month?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Introducing Ellie

Here she is! Unfortunately, she thinks the other elephant is a bit of a doofus too. He's still lonely.


Pattern: Elijah
Designer: Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Universal Yarns Bella DK, color 08
Needles: US3
Began/Finished: June 8, 20th 2009

DH is getting ready for another trip to Singapore - my plan is to finish off July with spinning only, recharge my knitting batteries. I finished my Twilight Tank yesterday - it's blocking now upstairs.

The last day of our "vacation" is tomorrow - boy this one didn't go as planned. DH and I spent last Sunday and Monday down in the Finger Lakes doing the Cayuga Wine Trail Sunday and hiking the Taughanock gorge and Watkin's Glen gorge trail Monday. We returned before dinner to my parents house Monday to find Audrey on the couch with at 103+ degree fever. After 3 hours at the Urgent Care, we left with a prescription for Tamiflu and instructions to keep her isolated for 7 days. So we cancelled the Canada and Michigan portions of the week, and returned to Cleveland. Primarily so that if DH or I got sick, we wouldn't be hostage to the way-out-of-network urgent care in Rochester. So far, neither of us has fallen sick, and Audrey has been symptom free since mid-Wednesday. She had a very mild bout of the flu. We've spent a quiet week at home, doing assorted crafts and reading lots of books. On the plus side, I got lots of daytime knitting time in.