Apr 18

In the Spinning III class Wednesday night, we each sat with different fibers and test spun on the spindles Pat brought, plus a couple that I had.  Here are the results of my experiments:

1.            Russian Spindle – YouTube has several videos on how to use it.  This spindle weighed 1.85 oz.

russian spindle

I have to admit that this is not going to be one of my favorites.  For one, it was hard to keep the already spin singles from slipping up the shaft because the things is so smooth and slick.  Also, I need lots of practice with it.

Russian

This is what I ended up getting with it.  Because of the weight, it wanted to spin a thicker single, which I plied back on itself to create the 2-ply.  This is BFL (Graham  to be exact).  There are easier ways to get yarn.

2.            This spindle is a top whirl with the coolest rotating notch at the top.  Pat got it off of Etsy and I am going to have to look for one.  It weighed .70 oz and spun wonderfully well.

2nd notched spindle

notched1

This, too, is Graham’s BFL fiber and I love the soft and easy spinning that boy is.

3.            The next spindle is a simple on made with a dowel rod and one of those wooden wheels you can get at hobby stores like Michael’s.  It weighed 1.75 oz.  And I forgot to take a picture of it.

I think one of the reasons this spindle spun so well was the lacquer finish.  I think it had so little “drag” that it spun forever giving you plenty of time to draft.

largeshiny

Again, this is Graham’s BFL and this was one of my favorite spindles of the experiment.

4.            This spindle says it is a Nordic Spindle, and the Whirl is a separate piece that can be removed.  It weighed .85 oz.

Nordic spindle

I did not find this one to be the easiest to spin on mostly because it didn’t want to spin for very long.

nordic

Also, with as light a weight as the spindle is, I was surprised that the yarn I spun wasn’t finer.  Maybe this one just needs a bit of working with to figure out how it wants to spin.

5.            This tahkli type of spindle is made from a $1 coin and was purchased on Etsy, too.  It weighed .55 oz.

dollar takli

It spun like a dream for me when supported on a ceramic base.  I loved it and the yarn I got.

lgtakli

This is the first yarn I spun with it.  It is a merino and came out to be a superfine yarn.

lgtakli2

Again, merino, and, again, superfine.  Loved this spindle!!!

6.            This spindle was like #3 above, but was lighter only weighing .95 oz.

small shiny spindle

 

Just like #3, this spun very smoothly and for a very long time.

small shiny

And, I loved how Graham’s BFL wool came out on it.  This spindle was gifted to fellow spinning student, Brenda, by Pat and Brenda was so thrilled to get it.

7.            This spindle was a carved bit of bone on a Clover DPN – Clever!  It weighed .35 oz.

bone spindle

Now this spindle spun very well when first started, but the bone part was not perfectly round and it wobbled as it slowed down.

bone

Still, it allowed me to spin a very fine yarn from the BFL and I think I could just get used to the “wobble.”  It is a lovely spindle.  Though, if I were to buy one like this for myself, I’d want to make sure the balance was better.

8.            This spindle was identical to #2 above and it spun just as well.  As soon as I get my tax refund, I am going to have to take a tour of Etsy.

notched2

9.            The next was a large Turkish spindle which weighed 2.1 oz.

Due to its size and weight, it did really well making a heavier yarn.

lgturkish

I got a good fingering weight from 2 plies, but anything thinner wanted to break while spinning.  But that’s okay.  I like fingering weight yarn.  Pat gifted me with this spindle and I am looking forward to spinning more with it.

10.          Baby Turkish spindle – This is the one Lizzie is holding in yesterday’s post.  I did not weigh it because I would have had to remove what yarn was already on it and I didn’t want to do it.

babyturkish

This is merino and I really enjoyed spinning it.  I may have to find some “doll-sized” spindles to add to my arsenal.

11.          This Mayan-type of spinner is odd, but lots of fun once you get the hang of it. It weighed 1.4 oz, but I am not sure that it makes any difference since it is not “dangled” as you spin.

hand spinner spindle

It came from Fancy Kitty and there is a YouTube video on there on how to make it work.  I found out that if you hold your tongue just right, it helps.  Pat gifted me with this spindle, too.  I want to spin with it at the State Fair this summer since no one has ever seen anything like it before.

Mayan

The fiber in this is just plain old wool from a very mixed breed sheep, but it spins up beautifully and is soft.  I need to practice drafting with this better to see how fine a yarn I can get with it.

12.          The spindle in this experiment was made with a metal shaft and a lava rock as the whirl.  I forgot to get a picture of it, but it was heavey – 2.25 oz.

lava

Using the BFL, it spun a chunkier yarn, about DK weight when plied on itself.

13.          This spindle was just like #5 above but weighed .45 oz.

smtakli

I loved spinning on this, and, bless Pat, she gifted me with this one as well.

This has whetted my appetite for testing more spindles to see how they spin – also finding ones made from different materials and comparing them.  What fun!

Apr 17

Last night’s Spinning III class was a special one.  One of the students, Pat, brought her spindle collection, and I brought several different types of wool, and we spend the night testing the spindles.

Pats collection

What a great collection, right?

Lizzie Turkish
Even Lizzie got involved with testing a couple of them.  This teensy Turkish spindle really spins nicely and I got the finest two-ply yarn from it that I have ever gotten before.   But knowing it was coming, I had to bring Liz to photograph with it.  Isn’t it the cutest little spindle???

I am in the process of writing up a detailed report on each spindle I tested, including sample yarns, and will have that posted tomorrow.  Also, I will talk about this:

hand spinner spindle

A free Walking Through China pattern for the first person to guess what this is and how to use it.

Last month, I had challenged my students to spin a single of BLF and another of superwash BLF and ply them together, then wash it thoroughly to see what happens.

SW BFL vs BFL

The yellowish ply is the superwash BLF.  Brenda spun this, knitted it into a swatch and spent the last month washing it with every load (her washer doesn’t have an agitator, so it took a while to felt up) and this is what she got.

cloth

Excuse the puppy hair in it, it also got washed with a dog blanket.  But look at the texture!  The superwash didn’t shrink or felt like the normal BFL did and the resulting fabric is thick, soft and would make a great jacket to keep out the cold and wet.  But it is the texture that I love so much.  I wonder how this would dye up?

Experiments like this just make my job that much more fun.  Now I have a few ideas I want to try to see what else can be achieved.

 

Apr 16

As those of your who have been playing YARNO know, it has been on hiatus for a few weeks dye to tax season.  Well, now that tax season is over with, YARNO will be starting back up where it left off.  So, I hope you haven’t cleared your boards.  YARNO will begin again at midnight Thursday night/Friday morning and will go back to its normal, twice a day listing of new YARNO numbers.

I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the delay in the game.  I use to work for a CPA firm and tax season was always very busy, very long and very rough then.  This year nearly matched those bad old days.  For the past couple of months, I have had very little leisure time, and, I have to admit, what time I had off was spent catching up on my sleep.  I feel like I am waking up from a particularly bad dream.

So, tell your friends and dust off you game board.  As I have said before, it’s good to be back in the real world.

Apr 15

Apparently Old Man Winter is having some insomnia issues because he woke up yesterday, plunging temperatures and bring this to us this morning:

IMG_7729

It started as freezing rain, then changed to snow.  Someone please put the old dude back to sleep so we can get on with spring.

In other news, Walking Through China is up in the shop in both pattern and kit versions.  I am pretty pleased with both the pattern and the story that goes with it.

Stay warm!

Apr 14

Now that I have tax season under my belt, I decided to celebrate by completing the pattern and picture for the next sock pattern I am releasing.

You remember the first, Trip Up The Nile?  Well, the next is Walking Through China.

WalkthroughChina

It will be available at Dyed in the Wool and on Ravelry tomorrow if nothing derails my plans tonight.  The pattern will be $6.00 and the kit with the yarn and pattern will be $32 (there are 5 colors in this pattern, versus 4 in the first one, which is why is costs a bit more).

I know I should have waited to show you this tomorrow, but I couldn’t stand it any longer.  I am really proud of this pattern and the story that is told through it.  Story, you ask?  Why, yes!  These are sequential art socks and there is a story included with the pattern that follows the design of the sock as you knit it.  In fact, all of my designs have stories with them.

So, what do you think of the new design?  Also, just to give you a heads up, there will be matching mittens, hat and scarf patterns to go with each of the sock designs I create.  I am currently working on the Trip Up The Nile mitten pattern, have the scarf pattern nearly done and have a good idea about how the hat is going to look.  Once I get them done, I’ll begin on the same for Walking Through China.

It’s so good to be back into the real world once again.

Apr 11

Ever wanted to know how far 50 grams of sock yarn goes toward a pair?  Remember, this is for my sister-in-law, who wears size 9 shoes and likes her leg part at 8″ rather than my typical 7″.

missysocks

It went farther than I though it would.  A full sock and half a leg.  Not bad!  I think if I were to have tried this on socks my size, I could have gotten into the gusset, at least.

Last week, I met the same SIL and my MIL at p.f. Changs for lunch and got two fortune cookies.

fortune

Do you think God is trying to tell me something?  Maybe I ought to play the lottery for once and use those numbers.  :)

Apr 10

Good morning, Fiber Friends!  The sun is up, the sky is blue and the temps are to get up to near 70 today.  I think Old Man Winter has finally gone beddy-bye for a few months.  I hope he over sleeps this fall.

Check out what one of my students has done.

stephply

This is Stephanie’s first foray into spinning top and she is working hard at getting a good, balanced ply.  Doesn’t that look lovely?  It’s funny about this color combination.  It’s purple and a gun-metal gray.  Once it was plied though, the gray had a greenish cast in real life.

stephskein

The photo doesn’t show the green as much, but it’s there.  Don’t you love how colors change when they are combined?

A couple of my students, Stephanie and Marta, started their spinning off on wheels and had never had the chance to spin on spindles.

spindling

So, I showed them the ropes, and off they went.  Both are contemplating trips and love the idea of being able to spin in tight quarters.  All three students went home with a homework assignment and the different fibers to get it done.  The next class will prove to be interesting indeed.

And all three of these students in this beginning class are graduating to my Spinning II class beginning in May.  I now have three spinning classes that I teach at Starstruck Cat Studio in Greenwood, Indiana.

Spinning I is for those who have never spun at all, or have spun very little and want to learn.  This class will get the student spinning, plying, blending and being able to work with roving and top with forays into long-draw and true worsted techniques.  I provide all of the fiber for this class.  This is the 2nd Tuesday night of the month from 6-8 PM.

Spinning II takes the student on to different plying techniques, how to use the wheel to greater effect (i.e. tweaking the wheel for different thicknesses of yarn), getting more consistent yarns in the weights needed for specific projects and spinning for a project either crocheted, knitted or woven.  Carding and combing are also taught in this class.  I provide most of the fiber for this class.  This is the 4th Tuesday night of the month from 6-8 PM.  This class will begin on May 27th.

Spinning III delves more into designer yarns, blending fibers, spinning different fibers from different breeds/plants (some pretty exotic) and how they would best be used in projects.  Yarns learned are beaded, core-spun, thick and thin, and many others.  This class opens up for more student driven desires and allows the student to begin specializing in what he or she wants to create.  Yarns spin from many different materials will be explored as well.  While I still provide a lot of the fiber for this class, students are encouraged to bring in fiber or materials that they want to explore to add to the experience of the students. This is the 3rd Wednesday night of the month from 6-8 PM.

I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying each of these classes.  The students bring so much joy into my life.  I hope I can teach for many years to come.

Apr 9

ll140402.gif

This cracked me up.  Another stereotype out the door, eh?  :)

Apr 8

Laura of Gynx Yarn is hosting a Dye-A-Long at her site that goes through April 15th, so you still have time to join and get something dyed up.  More information can be found on Ravelry as well.

I really had wanted to be a part of her next DAL, but, let’s face it, one from March 15th through April 15th was not good timing for me, so I’ll have to try for the next one she has.  But, I still wanted to participate in it in some format, so I donated one of my Trip Up The Nile Sock Kits as one of the prizes.

If you don’t know much about Gynx Yarns, you really ought to check out both the podcasts on her site and the lovely yarn she dyes that are in her Etsy shop.  I have bought some of her yarn, and have my sights set on another when she dyes it up again, so I can really recommend her products.  And her podcasts have lots of great information about dyeing, setting up a shop, vending at fiber shows, designing different colorways for yarns and so forth.  I know I look forward to each of her nearly weekly updates.

So, if you have wanted to get your hands into dyeing, then try her DAL.  Looking at what some of the people have already shows in the FO thread, there is a lot of creativity going on out there.

Apr 7

Sandy and I drove up to Chicago yesterday to attend YarnConDyed in the Wool has been invited to vend there, so we wanted to see it and talk to some of the other vendors there before making up our minds.  Right now, we are planning to be a vendor at the 2015 YarnCon.  Also, we were one of the first 50 people through the door, so we each got a goddie bag.  I love goodie bags!

I wish I could have taken pictures of some of the items we saw while there.  There was a lot of lovely, hand-dyed yarn as well as some touchable fibers, bags, jewelry, books, tools, handwoven/knitted/crocheted items, soaps and hand creams.  We bought a book from Cooperative Press

anna-egypt-cover

this book, which has some lovely, Egyptian-themed shawls in it.

When we decided it was time for lunch, Sandy and I walked to Paradise Grill.  It came highly recommended by a couple of those in charge of YarnCon, and they were right.

paradise

It was a slice out of Americana and watching the short-order cooks at the grill cooking up the food was entertaining.   And the food was good!  We will be eating there again.

One of the best things about YarnCon was the free parking and no admission fee.  This gave people the chance to shop more, and people definitely were shopping.  I saw lots of bags of goodies leaving the room where the booths were.

The trip up and back was quiet (except for an hour-long traffic jam on the way home).  I knitted on my SIL’s second sock of a pair, and got far more out of a 50 grams skein then I thought I would (a full, large sock and about 4 inches on the second sock’s leg).  I’ll have to dig up the second skein and finish this pair for her.

windmills

Of course, we never get tired of the wind farms along that stretch of I-65 in northwestern Indiana.  They were all turning slowly and looked like giants in some three-armed dance.  And they were so many of them – as far as the eye could see.

And it was a nice break from working on taxes, let me tell you!

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