• Fiber 15.11.2014 No Comments

    I love working with raw fleece. And I love natural colored fleece. I realize that the world just sees brown or grey. I see all those variations and sometimes I just fall in love with a fleece.

    I still remember when I saw this fleece. I was at Black Sheep and didn’t have a lot of money to spend. I was over looking at the unjudged fleeces, when this one caught my eye. It’s an Icelandic fleece, moorit, with very sunburned tips.
    Icelandic fleece

    There’s just something about that contrast of the almost blond tips and the dark finer fleece of the undercoat. I bought it, washed it and played with it a bit. I think I did a beret out of a two ply I did on my high whorl. It was just a bit too coarse.

    Then I found out about how turkish spindles produce a more low twist yarn. Here’s one of my first tries.

    two ply

    Just for fun, I am going to try a little as three ply yarn. I’m spinning this on my new EA Olivewood Mindi. I am going to ply it on my no name turk. I use my Viking combs to prepare it and try to draft so that the undercoat is mixed in with the outer. (Thel is name for the undercoat, tog is the name for the long outercoat. You can separate the fibers using Viking combs.) I still wind up with mostly long fibers at the beginning and shorter ones at the end.

    three ply soon

    There is something about the feel of a fleece you prepared yourself. I do like to buy the commercial stuff, but after awhile, I get bored. I find myself spinning something brown or grey again and I marvel over those colors only I seem to see.

  • I’d written earlier about “butterflying” the roving. I am almost done with my first braid, Emily in Border Leicester. I have another braid of it in merino. I am going to order the same colorway in Polworth and do a three ply yarn of those different breeds. The problem is that I won’t know what this looks like, until I get the next two braids spun up. Then I can ply. I’m already considering a larger project, maybe a sweater or the Easy Folded Poncho for this yarn. It was odd to go for two weeks without spinning.

  • Spinning has been on hold a couple of weeks. I’ve done some of the Churchmouse Yarns patterns. First was the Ferryboat mitts. Then I did the Easy Folded Poncho. Now I’m working on the Go To Cardigan. I’m using commercial yarns, mostly Rowan Felted Tweed. I like the yarn and the patterns.

    It’s supposed to turn colder next week. Most of my sweaters are cold weather stuff. I’ve needed some lighter weight things. I think these will work out well.

  • Spindles 08.10.2014 No Comments

    Okay, time for a new spindle! This is my new Enid Ashcroft Mindi in Olivewood with a Walnut shaft. Weight is 25 grams.

    Mindi in Olivewood

    EA Mindi

    I’ve really wanted an Olivewood spindle. We even have a chunk of it in our collection of pretty wood. I am very pleased with it. I don’t have a project for it yet, but have ordered a TB small yarn stuff sack in Iberian for this larger spindle. I am still giving the Mini and Midges a good work out. I am finally starting to feel like I have a Turkish spindle for any project. I stiil think that I need another Midge and I’d like a Midi and Maxi to round out my collection. I also like Enid’s high whorl spindles, so maybe I’ll find a need for that too. Mostly, I need to get busy knitting up some of this!

  • Spindles 20.09.2014 No Comments

    I am a fan of my Enid Ashcroft spindles. I have two Midges. They spin well and she has a nice eye for wood grain. I like the way the wood of the shaft compliments the spindle whorl. The shapes are not as elegant as my Jenkins’ turks, but I’m okay with that. I can buy Enid’s spindles and know that they are her own designs.

    Front of the mini

    So this is my new Mini and the first I’ve bought directly from Enid.

    Back of the mini

    This is Ovangkol with a Burmese Teak shaft. I hadn’t heard of Ovangkol, which seems to be used in making guitars. It’s beautiful wood. It’s 18 grams, 3 5/8″ whorl with a 4 5/8″ shaft. It’s very similar in size to my Jenkins’ Lark.

    Ebony Lark on top of Mini

    Mini under my Ebony Lark

    Ebony Lark on top of Mini

    The Mini is lighter than the Ebony Lark but does have a similar spin. I like them both, of course! I try to keep all my turkish spindles busy, so I have too many project going right now. And I picked up another of the #1 Tom Bihn travel stuff sacks in Ultraviolet, to have a place for this new project and spindle.

  • Projects 19.09.2014 No Comments

    completed turtle

    I’ve invented a new term! I have no idea how this will look, so we’ll see if it’s a useful technique. I like to break up the colors in multi-colored roving. In my project from the last update, I pull off a chunk of roving, split it, and spin one half on one Midge and the other half on my other Midge. I combine this with another turtle for a three ply.

    This project is BFL from Greenwood Fibers in the colorway Emily. I’m trying what I will call “butterflying”. It’s a technique people use on things like tenderloin steaks. You cut it in two, so that it splits but leaves the steak joined. I am taking a chunk of roving, splitting it, then spinning from one end. When I run out, I attach the other piece from the end with the same color. Then I spin to the end of that. I’m thinking this will be two ply, but I may decide to go with three ply. I think this may give me some longer stretches of a single color. We wll see. I am spinning this on my new Enid Ashcroft Mini, which will have a separate post.

    first strip of roving

    Showing how the second strip will be attached.

    attaching the second strip

  • Projects 08.09.2014 No Comments

    I’m still working on the same things. I’ve finished another hank of the East Friesian. I am working on the last of the wine and silver Falklands from Wintry Flower by Design. It looks like this:

    wine and silver

    It’s hard to get a good picture of it. I’m on the last bit of this. I picked up another 4 ounces of similar colored Falklands. I can’t really tell you why I like this so much, other than to say that I like grapey colors. I had a little extra money this month, so I picked up a few new braids of fiber for the winter. I don’t know if I’m going to bother with Oregon Flock and Fiber. I have one new spindle that should get here soon. I think I am going to buy a few more of the Enid Ashcroft spindles. I really like my Midges. I am starting to think I need one of each size. And maybe one more Midge.

  • Spindles 31.08.2014 No Comments

    Feeling much better about online spindle buying today. I managed to get a Mini from the Enid Ashcroft update today. I had problems with checkout and still managed to get it! I’m looking forward to getting this (and I may need to pick up some special fiber!)

  • I was thinking yesterday how long it’s been since I’ve used a wheel. I don’t think I’ve touched one, since I loaned out my Louet to a friend that wants to learn to spin on a wheel. I have two wheels that I will keep for sentimental reasons. I love the great wheel, but the wheel is warped and it’s tricky to use. I will always love my Pipy, which I bought in the 70s. So many memories with that one. I almost sold it, but Jeffrey told me I should keep it. I’ve had some repairs done to it, but haven’t tried using it since it’s been fixed.

    Mostly, I just love my spindles. I can use them anywhere. I’m working on the East Friesian and the Midge projects. I like to trade off, as the two fibers feel and draft differently. I finished my first skein from the Midges yesterday:


    The Midge project

    Skeined up

    First skein

    I have my little Tom Bihn project bags. When I have enough turtles, I take my Tracy Einheim low whorl and ply it up. Then it’s skeined and washed. I’m using my excess TB CafĂ© Bags for storage. It’s just a different process than using a wheel. It’s just plain fun!

    I do need to start knitting, as I have some projects on tap. The knuckle on my right index finger has been swollen for a few weeks and I’ve been babying it. I did knit for awhile this weekend and it seemed okay.

  • Projects 10.08.2014 No Comments

    The East Friesian project continues:

    East Friesian

    I am working through a pound of this and will likely order one more pound. I am thinking of making Pumpkin Ale (pattern available on Ravelry). I typically spin three turtles, ply together, then repeat.

    These are my two Enid Ashcroft Midges. I had a few ounces of this braid left, so am working up some three ply sock yarn.

    Two Midges

    The Pau Amarillo/Yew midge was pickup on destash. The tulipwood/pink Ivory is one that I’ve had awhile. I like them both.

    Midges sans yarn