• Spindles 07.04.2014 No Comments

    This is a reminder for new spindle spinners. When you’ve decided that your first spindle is too heavy and moved on to a new spindle, keep the old one. It will likely be perfect for plying. I very seldom ply on the spindle I used for the singles. The capacity will be too limited. Instead, I use an old, heavy spindle to ply. I can combine turtles or cops for longer yardage. The spindle might be too heavy for singles, but will work fine on multiply yarns.

    Here’s my no name turk in action on a three ply sock yarn. The singles were spun on the Enid Ashcroft Midge, weighing 15gr.

    Twilight plied

    I really stalled out on this project. It will be completed because I bought that TB travel stuff sack for the Midge. I stick that in my purse and it’s always handy. If I don’t want to knit or work on my other spinning project, I work on this one. I think I’ll continue to carry around a lightweight project like this.

  • Thoughts 27.03.2014 No Comments

    I’ve been spinning so long that I sometimes have to remind myself that few people spin these days. In fact, there really aren’t even that many people that knit. If you read one of the knitting histories and think about how common it was for a woman to carry her knitting with her everywhere, it really seems like you are the only knitter/spinner in the world. At least, that’s the case until you go to a fiber festival or hang out on Ravelry.

    I do tend to get pulled into more “challenges” now, so I find myself spinning shorter batches of fiber. I really want to make the Darrowby cardigan on Knitty and I think I have the Romney lamb fiber for it. It will be a pretty long project and I do need to comb the wool before I spin it. In all this time, I haven’t done a ‘sweater on a spindle” project and it’s long overdue. But first, I’ve gotta finish that Spring Fling challenge!

  • Projects 25.03.2014 No Comments

    Here’s what I’m working on right now.

    This is the East Friesian project. This will be 3 ply sock yarn.

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    This is Inglenook Fibers’ Crest. I love the colors of this.

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    Another ongoing project. This is Greenwood Fibers’ Twilight. This is also 3 ply sock yarn. And the spindle is next to the Tom Bihn mini travel stuff sack. I get a lot done with this in my purse.

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  • I realized that I should have shown how to use the yarn stuff sack for plying. So here you go!

    Yarn sack with a turtle from my Delight. I’m plying from both ends of it. I just snap the two strands into the triangular yarn guide.

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    The other end is on my trusty low whorl.

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    The turtle stays in the yarn sack, making it easy to ply.

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    I just hold the spindle off at my right side and let it spin.

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    Repeat until complete!

  • Projects 07.03.2014 No Comments

    East Frisian Wool:
    Three ply East Frisian yarn.
    3 ply East Frisian yarn

    Here’s the roving. This is an excellent product. It’s from Black Sheep Creamery and they do have an Etsy shop. (The cheese is excellent too!) This is not a soft yarn, in the sense that merino is soft. I’ve spun this up thicker on another turk as a two ply. I do like it and I will likely purchase more of it.
    East Frisian roving

    Piper’s Journey:

    I like this pattern and have made several. When I saw this in the latest SpinOff, I thought “Oh, I like that shawl!” Then I found out it was Piper’s Journey and I’d already made it. It’s very satisfying to knit. This is a wool/silk blend from Autumn House Farm, probably wheel spun. The last part of it is much thinner than the earlier part. I think I’m just going to use it anyway, since it’s on the edging.
    Piper's Journey 2

    BUT! Do not think you can do this out of a 4 ounce braid! Maybe there is a grist that you can spin for enough yardage and still have it come out okay. But I’ve tried this twice and every time, I wind up here:
    Piper's Journey 1

    I am out of yarn again. I did buy some more of this fiber from the same vendor, but it’s not exactly the same. It doesn’t have the brown. And, of course, right now I can’t find it anyway. So this will be ripped back and used for something else.

    Scrap Socks

    This is some sock yarn that I used for a pair of Jeffrey’s socks. I just don’t have enough for a full pair so I am making the cuffs out of another ball of scrap yarn. These are a bit wild, but will wear okay, I’m sure.

    scrap socks

    And that’s the project update! It looks like I need to think about my next projects, as I will be starting them soon.

  • Projects 05.03.2014 No Comments

    I’ve been a fan of Tom Bihn bags for some time now. I am finding that even people familiar with these bags don’t understand how great they can be for spinners.

    This is a small yarn stuff sack in Solar:
    small stuff sack open As you can see, this is the size you’d use for maybe a sock project. This sack fits in the top of my purse. Notice that there is a snap hook on the side of the sack. Tom Bihn bags have o-rings inside, to be used to secure organizational pouches and sacks. If I were using my Swift, a really great knitting bag, I’d attach this to one of the o-rings. I do have o-rings in my medium Cafe Bage (which is what I use everyday), but this is secure enough without them.

    goodies inside! And this is why I always have a spinning project with me! It’s a good size for my turkish spindles. The fabric is water resistant and I find that it doesn’t seem to cause felting of my fiber. The triangular hook on the side was designed for yarn, but it actually works well to tension singles when I am plying. You can see the remaining “turtles” from my recent plying project. Just run the ends up through the hook and pull the drawstring to close the top.

    small stuff sack closed And this is the sack closed up, ready to travel. These sacks have a lifetime guarantee (as long as you don’t machine wash them.) There are two larger sizes. I use the largest size to store my niddy noddy and plying spindles, in my Swift. The medium sizes are mainly used for knitting projects. The two larger sized yarn stuff sacks can be purchased with a clear bottom. This is a handy feature for your projects, making it easy to see what’s inside.

    TB also makes a travel stuff sack. I am finding these useful too. travel sack rolled up This is the largest of the travel sacks in Ultraviolet. This is how I normally have it down in the bottom of my bag.

    travel sack opened up Here’s the bag opened up. These are really designed for travel, so they do not have the snap hooks on the side. I’ve purchased extra triangular hooks and have one on this bag for my yarn.

    oval shape of the travel sack bottom See how the bottom is oval shaped? These bags can be used to put items into the small spaces of a backpack or one of the other traveler’s bags that they make. This particular size fits perfectly into the bottom of my medium Cafe Bag.

    rolled down to show my sock project I’ve rolled down the sides, so that you can see my sock knitting project. I use 8″ double points for socks. They fit just fine in the bottom of this bag. Since I’ve discovered these, I can carry my sock knitting project with me and my spinning project. They don’t take up much space and I can leave them home if I want. It gives me a lot of flexibility. I used to keep my sock project in a fanny pack. I’d have to remember to grab it, if I wanted to take it with me. I’m always working on socks, so this is an easier system.

    There is a new TB cross body knitting bag coming out later this year. I am really pleased with my new system, using just these two bags. I’m planning to buy more of both types of these bags. I don’t mind using cheap bags to store fiber and yarns that are not in use. I am really enjoying these more professional bags for my projects. And I am getting more spinning and knitting done, because I always have something with me.

  • Spindles 27.02.2014 No Comments

    Jenkins spindles

    More Jenkins spindles

    Lilac Delight

    I admit these have become my favorite spindles. I still use my high whorls. What I have found is that these turks put less twist into the fiber than my high whorls. That is nice when you like to spin the longer wools that I enjoy. I also enjoy the craftsmanship. They are nice tools and interesting to use.

    I still have not sorted out the differences in these spindles. The two Delights are slightly different weights, yet spin similar yarns. I find that some folks don’t care for the Delights, as they find them slow. I don’t have the Jay shaft yet for my Lark, and I suspect it does make for a faster spin.

    We can vary the way we spin, to create different types of yarn. An experienced spinner will have a certain comfortable style that will be preferred. It is very useful to have a spindle that can give you a totally different type of yarn, without having to change the way that you spin.

    But what I wanted to talk about is the difference in the Jenkins spindles. Some things still hold true. Lighter spindles will give you a faster, less sustained spin. Heavier ones are slower and spin for a longer time. My Egret feels like a lightweight spindle and I suspect it is due to the Pacific Yew that it’s made from. It’s not a dense wood. I like to use the Egret for plying and for low twist singles. It works well for chain plying too. The arms are longer and flatter than my other turks, so I have to have more room around it when I spin. It also has a longer, heavier shaft than my other turks. It is a mid-shaft spindle. My Aegean is also a mid shaft spindle. It’s quarter sawn oak and feels heavier than the Egret, even though it weighs a bit less. I continue to puzzle over the way these two spindles spin.

    I like my Delights for most jobs. They are sturdy little guys. They can be used in tight spaces and make great travel spindles. They are not elegant like the Lark, but work very well for me. I find that some folks with Jenkins spindles don’t care for the Delights. More of them for me!

    I think the best thing about my new turkish spindles is that it has me spinning again, almost daily. Anything that motivates more spinning is a good thing. I’ll keep playing around with the spindles and see what I can learn. I’m going to do some chain plying soon and that will be good experience.

  • Fiber 12.02.2014 No Comments

    Let me give you a brief view of the things I’ve worked on:
    chocolate & strawberries shawl

    Ebony Lark on small Tom Bihn yarn stuff sack

    Wurm sleeping toque

    vintage lace sample

    chocolate and strawberris singles

    Lilac Delight spindle

    new socks!

  • Projects 22.11.2013 No Comments

    The holidays are coming! I have a pair of socks on the needles, two more to do and a shawlette.

    Lon's sock
    This will be Lon’s first handknit sock. I’m using Regia sock yarn. I will also be making him a pair of socks from handspun. I’m still spinning that yarn.

    Shawlette

    This is the shawlette in progress. This is singles yarn, spun on my Egret. I’ll probably finish it this weekend, and have better pictures.

    Falklands yarn

    Isn’t this interesting? (Or maybe not, depending on how well the camera captured the colors.) It’s wine with some chocolate colored areas. I really do like it. Here’s a picture of the work in progress on my Aegean:

    Aegean project

  • Projects 13.11.2013 No Comments

    This is fiber from Wintry Flower by Design (on the Aegean) and Inglenook Fibers on the Delight. Both are Falklands, and I seem to be spinning a lot of that lately.

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    These are not all of my projects of course, just the ones here in the office. I don’t have plans for these two yet, but they are delightful to spin.