Monthly Archives: May 2014

Yarn Crawl Finished Objects

Back in March, I did the North Shore Yarn Crawl and came home with some yarn to make some small-scale projects. Unlike most years, I didn’t overdo it on the spending and I actually knit most of what I bought instead of letting it sit around the house.  I bought two different yarns for two different cowls, and yarn for one pair of socks. Out of the yarn I purchased, I only have one hank of yarn/1 unknitted project remaining. But I kind of cheated. I liked the yarn I used for the first cowl so much I purchased another ball in a different color and made the same cowl all over again. I think the hank I didn’t use yet became angry with me, because when I went to untie it in order to unwind it, it became knotted up before I could put it on the swift. Now I have a tangled purple mess on my hands whose existence I currently refuse to acknowledge. Two can play at that game.

The first cowl I completed was the Tangier cowl, knit with Cascade’s Tangier yarn.  I  bought one ball of Tangier in Forest Glade in Gloucester, MA during the crawl.

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I still call this yarn “green” even though, once knitted up, the gold totally dominates all the other colors.

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This is a simple yet satisfying one-ball project using a mock cable, no cable needle required.

I meant to work on another cowl after this one, but after the yarn tangled, and because I enjoyed this quick knit so much, I bought another ball of Tangier in Denim Blues in Salem, MA a few days after the crawl.

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I love the pale blues/almost greys and how the bright turquoise pops for a nice burst of color.

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I knit both of these the week after the crawl. Once I was done, I moved on to the Mad Color Fiber Arts sock yarn I bought in Gloucester. The color is called Poison Apple.

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I do love a good sock project.

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About five weeks after the Yarn Crawl I received a phone call from Seed Stitch Fine Yarn in Salem. I won a door prize! It’s a pattern from Toil and Trouble for a lovely pair of fingerless mitts. This is the second year (in a row, no less) that I won a small door prize; last year I won a skein of orange Malabrigo. Hopefully my lucky streak will continue next year, so, you know, fingers crossed.

Now onto spinning for a while, even though my dog is waiting for his sweater and I’m still knitting one for me… *eyeroll*

 

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Because I Don’t Have Enough Spindles

…I had to buy a couple more.  So I have a spindle collection that’s shaping up nicely. Off the top of my head I’m not sure how many I have at the moment. I’ll have to go through them and see what’s what. I think the number is somewhere around 15-20.  I’m a natural collector, I need to accumulate stuff. Cataloging my spindle collection would be a nice future blog post, I’m sure. Most of my spindles are from Golding Fiber Tools in Vermont. After that, I have a couple of Greensleeves, a couple of basic Ashfords, two Turkish spindles (one Spanish Peacock, one Jenkins) I have yet to spin on (damn you, half-hitch knot, what am I, a sailor?!), a Spanish Peacock Victorian Ladies silk spindle that I can’t for the life of me get the hang of, and a few other assorted models. Yes, I think taking serious inventory of my collection is in order.

But on to my two newest beauties from Golding. Last week I noticed a beautiful spindle made with pink ivory and holly for sale. This is part of their “Gemwood” series.

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See the back of the attached card for the stats:

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At 1.8 ounces this spindle has a nice weight to it. I love how the pink and white woods pop against the darker walnut.

The second spindle is one I’ve been thinking about for a very long time. I love purpleheart wood’s deep purple color. But whenever I log onto Golding Fiber Tools with a purchase in mind, I end up being distracted by the gorgeous vintage spindles with their antique jewels and enamel and metal findings. On Friday, I finally bought a purpleheart spindle, and it’s beautiful!

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This one’s a bigger model. With a 3″ diameter whorl, It’s pretty hefty at 2.1 ounces, and feels nice and sturdy in my hand.

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The spindles came with a sample of fiber from Ingelnook Fibers in a color called Brick Wall. I love that name!

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I ordered my spindles three days ago, on Friday morning. They were on my doorstep the next morning!  That is usually the case when I order from the Goldings. I wonder if it’s because Massachusetts is right next to Vermont, so Priority comes overnight instead of two days. I love the almost instant spinning gratification I get when I shop on Golding Fiber Tools; I received a shipping confirmation email an hour after I placed the order. Do the Goldings run each and every order to the Post Office when they receive them?!

I’ve started spinning some Ashland Bay merino in Cyan on the pink ivory spindle. I’m working my way through a three ounce bag in order to do something fancy: ply two different colors together. I’ve been spinning for about 5 years now, and I’ve always been content to just spin. Except for a little experimentation, I haven’t really moved on to the plying stage yet. I find the act of spinning alone to be pretty satisfying. But that’s all going to change. Yes, I’m finally pushing on to the next step! It’s about bloody time, right? I have various balls of handspun stored in my home that are crying out to be plied and knitted. So I give in!

When it comes to my crafts, I’m not very organized. I work at a leisurely pace. I go with the flow. I spin but don’t ply. I knit something, put it down, pick up something else and put that down, too. I lose needles and tools and end up digging around in my stuff when I want a specific item in hand.  I always thought of myself as a product knitter rather than a process knitter because my original reasons for learning to knit was to have sweaters and other garments for myself. But I’ve come to realize that I enjoy the process more than anything else; a sweater at the end is just icing on the cake.

I suppose my crafting philosophy can be summed up as follows: Enjoy the journey, don’t worry about the destination. It will always be there.

 

A Much Needed Spinning Post

It’s been way too long since I pulled out a drop spindle and worked on making my own yarn. I’ve been doing a lot of knitting these last few months, but no spinning, despite a cabinet full of spinning fiber. Did I pull out some of the stash I already have lying around the house? No! I joined a fiber club so I could get monthly shipments of even more brand new spinning fiber! Cool, huh?!

I found myself browsing the Paradise Fibers website a couple of months ago and saw their fiber club options. I have always wanted to join a fiber club, but the only ones I knew of were run by independent dyers and, while the fibers were gorgeous hand-dyed works of art, the clubs seemed pricey and hard to join. For a good price point, members get to test-drive a generous variety of fibers, from different wool breeds, silk and silk blends, to exotic fibers such as yak, with the occasional neat-o gift thrown in.  I joined the 12-month club; for $40.00 a month I receive very generous samples of beautiful fibers, both natural and dyed. I’ve received two shipments so far and I am blown away by the quality and beauty of the fibers, which are a generous 3-4 ounces per sample. The April shipment had a bonus item thrown into the mix: an adorable Lantern Moon tape measure with a carrot-eating rabbit on top.

The bag I grabbed for my current spinning is from the April shipment. It contains an Ashland Bay merino/tussah silk blend in a color called Mallard. It’s a bluey-green hue that is truly reminiscent of the colors found on Mallard ducks: sometimes it’s blue, sometimes it’s green, depending on the light. I took a lot of photos of this fiber today–most of them were taken in the same lighting conditions–and the color never looks the same twice.  It may be hard to pin down, but it’s gorgeous in any light.

Today I took my spindle and some Mallard to the park for some spinning. It turned out to be a little too windy by the water to get any spinning done, but I got some great photos.

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The spindle is one of my Golding spindles. It’s called Inuit Snow Dance. The whorl is made out of linden.  (yarn=bright blue)

 

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I have a lot of spindles,  but Golding spindles are my favorite. I love the vintage ringspindles and the different and unique findings used on the whorl. (yarn=medium bluey-green?)

 

Some blue handspun in front of a blue sky. (yarn=medium blue)

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Look at my spindle as it encounters NATURE!! (yarn=light/medium blue?!)

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The merino/tussah silk blend is easy to spin, for the most part. I started out on a smaller spindle but I was having trouble getting started with the drafting each time after winding what I’d already spun onto the cop. I’m not an expert at the technical spinning stuff but I want to say merino is a longer staple than, say, bluefaced leicester. I switched to the heavier Inuit spindle and the spinning became a lot easier.

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(yarn=bright blue, again.)

I have a lot of plans for spinning the rest of this fiber, but none yet for knitting it. I am going to spin the Mallard first. Then I’m going to spin the sample of merino wool in Cyan separately. Then I’m going to ply the two colors together. Since I don’t know how many yards I’ll get, or what the drape and nature of the fabric will be, I’m not sure what I’m going to knit with it. Full disclosure: I loved these two colors and fibers so much I ordered a pound more of each from Paradise Fibers.  I have a feeling a pound of each is a lot more than I bargained for. Should I make a warm throw to drape over my lap in the winter? A hat and mittens? Dare I say it–will I spin enough to make a sweater? I don’t know what this yarn is going to be yet, but I’m having a lot of fun making it in the meantime.

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(yarn = dark greeny-blue.)