Posted in spinning, Strings, Sticks and Wheels, tagged bfl, fat cat knits, handpainted fiber, handspinning, handspun, handspun yarn, niddy noddy, variegated bfl on February 14, 2014 |
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I was going to call this finished yarn “Electric Lotus” because the two colorways I spun together to make this yarn were “Elektra” and “Lotus.” Based on pictures I’d seen on the site, I was expecting something much brighter but since I bought them on variegated BFL, it has totally changed the color profile of the yarn.
It was a surprising spin and I love it. Deep grays, rich burgundies, deep browns, streaks of cream and some surprising pops of midnight blue…
I didn’t really have a master plan when I spun this up, beyond, “Spin enough to knit Sorcha a generously slouchy hat.”
Wait. You mean I have to knit this gorgeous yarn into a hat for someone else? Fine. But I don’t have to be happy about it. I have no idea how much yardage I have from the 8 oz I spun because we were having niddy noddy issues* and I was so frustrated that I didn’t bother to count the wraps. There’s definitely enough there for a generously slouchy cap. Perhaps two. Which wouldn’t make me cry.
I went for a mostly Aran weight yarn, with some deliberately thick and thin bits here and there, just to give it some textural interest. As with every other Fat Cat Knits fiber I’ve ever spun up, it was a dream to spin, beautifully prepared, and the yarn is deliciously soft and squishy.
Not Quite An Electric Lotus. More like, a Luddite Lotus. A low tech, still on dialup, no I don’t have an iPhone kind of yarn.
*niddy noddy issues = For those following along at home, a niddy noddy is a helpful tool that you can use to make up skeins of yarn when winding it off the bobbin of your spinning wheel. Well I don’t actually own a proper niddy noddy, but I live with a grip. Grips, in case you didn’t know, are very good at solving problems with whatever bits of string and tape and wax that you might have on hand. Thus, my niddy noddy is now an old wooden chair. We turn it upside down and set it on the kitchen table when I need to wind yarn. Captain Sexypants put super clever clove hitch rope knots on each of the legs to keep the yarn from sliding down when I’m winding it off the bobbin. Rope + cats + before coffee + having to retie knots = hilarity has ensued.
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Oh my holy gosh, yum.
Seriously have you ever seen something so delicious?
I’ve had this bump of fiber sitting in my stash for aeons, and I finally pulled it out and thought I’d spin it up this week. A certain someone who lives in a wet, chilly climate is having a birthday later this month and a new hat is required.
This was a club fiber from Becoming Art, way back in 2011 or so. 100% Finn top. I originally planned it to be a worsted weight 2 ply, but, I ran into a little bit of trouble pretty much right from the start. It was so felted from being in a bag and compressed in my stash for 3 years. I could not get an even single, not even with some serious pre-drafting. After a really frustrating and hand crampy half an hour, I finally gave up and let the fiber be the thick and thin lumpy yarn that it wanted to be. “Express your inner art yarn.” I said. “Be free!”
Ok, that’s not actually what I said. But I probably shouldn’t repeat what I actually said. SO we’ll pretend I was all in support of this wild and crazy yarn idea.
Given who I was spinning the yarn for, I guess that wild and crazy isn’t too shocking.
Rumors of me throwing the lump of fiber across the room and swearing, while in a fit of fiber-induced rage are completely true.
Once the two bobbins of singles were spun, I realized that plying it against itself as originally planned was not going to be an option given that I didn’t want to mix them up. I like the little splashes of contrast in the long stretches of brilliant solo color. It really needed to be plied with something though, so I dragged out a cone of nubbly silk laceweight yarn and used that to ply with.
So the problem with plying a thick overspun single with a delicate silk lace yarn, especially when you’re doing things like coils (even loose ones) is that the lace yarn snaps. Of course. And there are several spots where that happened and I had to knot the ends together and keep going. I think it’ll be ok in the knitting but geez, it made for some exciting moments while I was plying. A little bath (and no thwapping, I didn’t want to snap the silk ply again) and it’s pretty much perfect. The silk fluffed up a bunch after washing too. I’d forgotten that coned yarns are often oiled, to be used in machines.
Catch Me A Rainbow.
Proof that sometimes things don’t go according to plan but if you can roll with it, you might just get something better.
219 yards of bumpy, lumpy, springy Finn deliciousness. Thanks, Becoming Art!!
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Still flirting with sticks and string when I can, when the spirit is upon me. And oh, how I’ve missed it. What with missing my LA show and very slow Etsy sales this season, I have some extra time that I hadn’t expected. Which is good because, there’s a great whack of Christmas knitting… I am experiencing a lot of anxiety over the slow store, I have to admit. That might be an understatement. But I keep telling myself that it is time to trust in the process, to know that we are still recovering, and that it will be ok. There are deep changes afoot and they are not ready to be born just yet.
With all that and the clouds of depression that have been hanging so very low over my head lately, it’s good to remember that knitting helps when one is sailing upon deep, dark seas of emotion. Mostly I am knitting small things. Simple things. I am knitting for comfort these days. A pair of warm woolen mittens for my daughter. A striped hat for the Captain’s sweet boy. Not a lot of challenge in them for the most part, but sometimes you just need simple comfort.
Knitting, as always, serves as an apt metaphor for life. And sometimes it does double duty as a flotation device. Spent a frustrating couple of days trying to knit a pair of mittens as a gift for my daughter. I have never done mittens before. The first pair wound up being a bit lumpy and the decreases were clumsy and uneven. My needles were a bit small for the yarn I was using (Manos), hence the frustrating part. It worked out, though, as the extra tight knit wound up being great for the subfreezing temps we are experiencing right now. I decided to hang on to the lumpy little things and executed a second, more perfect pair, in soft white Malabrigo. Finally got the hang of it now, and a formula for making a thumb gusset. Crazy mitten ideas are racing through my head like wildfire. It’s too bad the bulk of my friends are in Los Angeles because now I want to make mittens for everybody.
Warm things. Useful things. Small things. Things made of Malabrigo. That’s just how things are rolling right now.
There is lace on my horizon, count on it.
Sometimes I wish…
If only I could read the future like a piece knitting.
Discover each dropped stitch just in time,
and tink it back carefully
before it all unravels,
leaving no unsightly ladders.
No gaps in what should be unbroken.
Or better yet, to catch the thread before it drops
tuck it back into place
avoiding disaster gracefully.
As if to say, “I meant to do that.”
If only it were as simple
as these loops of yarn,
sliding off these bamboo needles.
The thick and the thin, sometimes splitting and fraying.
If only spit splicing new strands
into the whole
to mend what has broken
really came off quite this effortlessly.
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Actually, I can make a yarn! I’ve had this Blue Moon Fiber Arts S2S kit (Atomic 6) in my stash for well over a year. Maybe even close on to two. It was given to me in a secret pal swap. I was overjoyed to get it then and have been overjoyed to spin it now. Thanks again Secret Pal, you gave me a double dose of joy!!
I’d been saving it until I felt “good” enough to spin such amazing top, and I finally felt like maybe my skills were up to the challenge.
I take lousy pictures and my camera isn’t great, but you get the idea. It is, without a doubt, the most consistent yarn I’ve ever spun in terms of wpi, and it’s definitely right in the heavy fingering/light sport weight ballpark. I have at least 640 yards, possibly even in the >700 yard range. I could not be happier! My only complaint is that I have no attention span so by about the third bobbin I was really getting impatient to get to the plying. These kits are very generous. I had 3 bobbins filled >3/4 of the way full by the end of spinning.
The plan is plain toe up socks, as long as I can knit them, just plan to keep going until the yarn runs out and the socks are about even.
Pure socky wonderment.
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Posted in knitting, spinning, tagged handspun, knitting on December 13, 2009 |
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So this might be considered my Chanukah gift to myself, I cast it off last night.
Laura Chau’s Simple Yet Effective Shawl [ravelry link] done up in my handspun. Half a skein of Oliver New and one full skein of Lovesick, dyed by Funky Carolina; A full skein of Mephistopheles, dyed by Pigeonroof Studios; About a quarter of a skein of Amor, dyed by Becoming Art.
It’s not a large shawl, just perfect for slipping over one’s shoulders on a chilly winter day. Rustic and thick, it is exactly what I was hoping for when I started knitting!
Mods: cast off with a picot point cast off, did one picot every 5 stitches. Will pin them out when blocking.
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