Tag Archives: drop spindle

The Spinning Continues

…on a spindle. The plied merino and silk yarn that I worked on last week is now hanging from my shower curtain rod, drying. I’ll post pictures when the skein is dry and finished up. In the meantime, I’m still plowing through the fiber club monthly samples from Paradise Fibers. I’m having a great time with it and I’m so glad I joined this club. The samples are generous, and compared to a pound or more when spinning for a big project, they’re the perfect bite-sized introduction to a variety of fibers. I’m not spinning with any particular project in mind, I just want to perfect my technique and tweak my results.

I’m a little behind on my club spinning. Last week I finished up the April shipment. Now that it’s June, I’m just getting started on the May shipment. As I write this post (on June 7th) my June shipment is sitting at the post office downtown and should be on my doorstep later today.

Updated on June 14th (the day I published this post): the June shipment did in fact arrive later that day. Deets and photos to follow.

These pictures feature the last of the April samples and the first of the May samples that I started spinning. Here’s the April sample:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The fiber is a merino/silk and get this–Tibetan yak blend. TIBETAN YAK, PEOPLE!! It’s from Ashland Bay. The spindle is a lightweight Golding .84 ounce top whorl called Night Owl. I like owls, and I love my little owly spindle! I chose it to get a fine yarn from this fiber. I enjoyed spinning the yak blend. It was easy to draft, it was smooth and it has a beautiful sheen to it, which you can see in the picture. Compared the the merino wools I was knitting and plying earlier, this yarn is much thinner, which is what I was aiming for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sample was 2 ounces, and it didn’t produce a lot of yarn. I have two adorable little balls of yarn that are ready for plying. I would like to try a lace pattern with this yarn. Depending on the yardage, I am hoping to perhaps knit a lace kerchief to go around my neck, since I don’t think there’s enough here for a small scarf or cowl. If I don’t get a lot of yardage I’ll do some lace swatches. I think this yarn will be soft and drapey and perfect for lace. Time will tell if I’m right…

On to the first of the three May samples that I’m working on. I grabbed the 4 ounce bag of painted merino and Tussah silk fiber first. This is much loftier than the other samples and the amount looks huge! It looks like they gave me a lot more than other samples, although some of the April bags had 4 ounces in them, too.

This colorway is called McKenzie. Look at all the gorgeous colors swirling around in there:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It reminds me of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night:

 

thestarryngiht

Here’s the McKenzie on the spindle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Out of all the bright colors swirling around in the fiber, the black is very prominent. The yarn has a fuzzy halo when spun. There are so many colors in there that there’s a barber pole effect taking shape as I spin. I’m disappointed that the little bit of bright minty green you can see in the previous photo is barely noticeable in the spun yarn.

I’ve started two little balls of McKenzie.  I’ll add to each one as I finish spinning the fiber and then I’ll pull out my flowerpots and ply them together. 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yarn. It’s what’s for dinner.

I’m happy with this yarn so far. Again, I was able to spin a thinner, more consistent yarn. Maybe I was out of practice when I picked up the Cyan and Mallard spinning fiber. I think this yarn is shaping up nicely.  I can’t wait to see McKenzie as a two-ply.

The weather has finally warmed up but my hands have not stopped spinning and knitting. I have a lot of things to write about and lots of photos to share with you. As always, I thank you for reading Spin. Dye. Knit. Love.

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(yarn = dark greeny-blue.)