Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I'm totally behind on updates on my alpaca processing. I'm now over halfway into skein 6 of "Sanya" and have all the rest washed and have washed about a pound of "Miz Scarlet." I also have some Corriedale cross on my Maine Woods top whorl spindle which is zooming along fabulously. But I don't have much time for updating tonight so I want to touch on some big firsts today.

I'm most proud of this one:


I spun LACE!!! I can't believe it!
This is some Ashland Bay Merino Top in Laurel. I have 4oz of it intended for some sort of project for my mom because the colorway is something she would love. I hadn't decided what it wanted to be yet but today it started becoming a beautiful laceweight. I'm thrilled. This is on my new MicroTrindle. I love it. I haven't been able to spin anything like this before without seriously overspinning or having it fall apart. Can't wait to see how much yardage I can get out of it.


I also got my Valkyrie Extra Fine Combs today. I must say, they shipped amazingly fast. I have never done any combing before but I want to turn Miz Scarlet's fleece into some lovely smooth combed top. Didn't have much time but I had to try them out so I combed a few locks and pulled them off (need to whip up a diz).


Meet my very first bird's nest. :) I think I'll need to use a little oil spray when combing the bulk of the fleece but this was just a quick one-off sample.


Then of course I had to spin it up. Spun like a dream on my MicroXL. I think I have to declare this my very favorite spindle ever.



Did a quick 2-ply job with an Andean bracelet. Not the best picture but you get the idea.


I definitely have a renewed interest in spindle spinning now. The Trindles are amazing. I was immediately able to start spinning totally suspended, no need to resort to park-and-draft. I feel like I can do anything now. Lol. I was even able to go back to my MW spindle and spin without parking as well once I got my groove down with the Trindle. And by the end of the day I was able to produce the aforementioned lace!

These pictures really don't do any of the new tools or fibers justice but I had to share.
I'm beyond excited. ;)

The Tour de Fleece was perfectly timed for me and it has definitely driven me to become a much better spinner. And it's soooo satisfying!

Ok, ok, I have to share the Sanya progress...

Skein #4


Skein #5 (atop some clean Miz Scarlet... but the color is totally inaccurate)


Ok, that was longer than I planned. Lol.
Now it's definitely bedtime. Haven't been feeling well or getting enough sleep. Spinning has helped keep me occupied though so I focus less on feeling like ass and feel productive anyway. ;P

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Ok, I finally sat down and made tags for my handspun so here are the details:
(length measured before set; weight final)

Knit Picks Bare: "Kool Aid"
Kool-Aid: 2x Berry Blue & 1 Grape + 1 Black Cherry
2ply on 1.6oz spindles
46 yrds
2.8 oz

Maine Woods: "Maine Autumn"
2ply on 1.6oz spindles
108 yrds
3.85 oz

Knit Picks Bare: "Cotton Candy"
Food coloring (Southern Home): Blue, Yellow, & Red
2ply on Ashford Traditional w/ Scotch tension
112 yrds
3.2 oz

NZ Sliver
3ply on Ashford Traditional w/ Scotch tension
132 yrds
5.85 oz

Ashland Bay Fine Alpaca Top: natural Fawn
2ply on Ashford Traditional w/ Scotch tension
304 yrd
3.8 oz

"Sanya" Huayaca Alpaca
2ply, flicked (locks) & hand carded (semi-worsted rolags) prep
on Ashford Traditional w/ Scotch tension
242 yrd
6.9 oz



First Fleece Progress

The first fleece (Sanya) is almost totally clean! There's only a tiny bit left that I didn't want to cram into one of the begs yesterday because it had some nice lock formation. I hope to finish washing that today and maybe start on Miss Scarlet's fleece. I want to get it all clean as soon as I can even though I might not get the other two fleeces prepped and spun immediately.

Today I'm having lunch with a friend and have some schoolwork to do but I should be able to get some flicking and carding done as well. I have separated all the dry fleece into locks and fluff so I'm ready to roll on that. Might even get some spinning in!

I was hoping to do one skein of this on a spindle but my current spindles are either too heavy or too small (and the small one is occupied anyway) and my Trindle orders are taking quite a while to ship. I thought from the details on the site that my order from the 6th would have shipped Monday but I was wrong, I guess. Hopefully I'll get it before the end of the Tour but it's not looking very promising. I guess I'll have to try some other alpaca on the spindle because I hope to have Sanya's done by the end of the Tour. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TDF progress

I've been doing some serious spinning since the tour began.

First I plied (on my bottom whorl spindle) the two top whorl spun singles of the Maine Autumn wool (~81 yrds... need to check the weight... I think around 3.8oz)


Then I plied the Cotton Candy roving on the wheel (first plying on the wheel... yardage and weight is written down but not accessible at the moment):


Here are a couple skeins of the practice wool waiting to be washed/set.
I did this as a 3-ply (my first). About 99yrds (pre wash). Not sure about the weight offhand. Again, need to check my notes.


Next I spun up the fawn Ashland Bay fine alpaca top I ordered a while back from WEBS.
Got about 152 yrds and 3.8oz total. Spun up very nicely, fairly even, and pretty thin. Need to check for WPI. I think I will end up swatching this up soon. I like the sheen and drape it has a lot.



Last Tuesday, I opened the door to find ~9lbs of alpaca on the doorstep! Hooray!


On the right is 2lbs of Sanya, which I am spinning into a lumpy bumpy chunky 2ply for Julie Wier. For this, I get to keep the 2lb 12oz bag on the left of Miss Scarlet's lovely reddish brown (dark fawn) fleece! And in the back, still in the box, is Amos' 4lb 5oz full fleece which I got from a lovely lady on Ravelry.

I've acquired quite a bit of alpaca lately. I have some very special roving (oncluding some suri/huacaya blend) and a pound of Tom's very lovely fleece from North Star Alpacas on Etsy. I can't wait to dive in to that stash but I want to make some special projects from that so more on that later.

For now, I'm focused on processing and spinning Sanya's fleece for Julie.
I have some pics of the washing and prepping but running low on laptop battery so better wrap up this entry.
Here are the three completed skeins I have so far (a total of about ~7oz and 181.5 yrds, I believe):


Also, here is a skein I completed prior to the TDF:


I'm very excited about all my progress. I'm also working on some superwash merino on a laceweight spindle but that's not terribly interesting to look at yet so I'll get back to that.

Ok, so there's the quick and dirty recap of my TDF progress from the last week and a half. Not bad, if I do say so myself. ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I've started to post a number of times over the past couple weeks but haven't managed to get a full entry ready. Have been fairly busy with this 'n that. The time has flown.

WWKIP Day was great. I got some nifty pictures of the local 19th century fiber work items from the museum. Met some lovely people. Got a good long walk in, did some window shopping, and had some tasty food. Then went for a swim. It was a good day.
I will try to get those pics up soon. Didn't get as many as I would have liked because my camera battery mysteriously went dead although I thought I had charged it. :-P

My efforts to get out and meet more crafters is off to a good start. Sunday I went to my first TKGA meeting for the new chapter in Savannah. I am excited to help that get off the ground in the coming months. Then this afternoon I finally made it to my first spin-in at Unwind in Savannah. I really enjoyed it. One of the gals from the knitters guild meeting came along as well and was even kind enough to let me borrow her hand carders! Can't wait to experiment with those soon.
In addition to finally putting me in touch with a lovely group of spinners (Fiber Guild of the Savannahs), the spin-in was also super productive! I took my top whorl spindle and finished up the rest of the Maine Woods wool. Now it just needs plying. Haven't decided if I want to do that on the wheel or my other drop spindle. We shall see. Then when I got home I spun up the last 22g of the Cotton Candy fiber and plied it! It's drying now. I will try to get some good pictures of that tomorrow and post specs. I'm proud to say I actually got over 80yrds in this skein!

This weekend starts the Tour de Fleece! I am spinning with Team Rookies, Team Ashford, Team Suck Less, Team Wonder, and Team Spindlers. Sounds like I should also be on Team Hopelessly Overcommitted! Lol.
My goals are not terribly specific though so it's not that crazy.

Rookies: Spin daily, try new things, and document my progress
Ashford: Get to know my Traddy better
Suck Less: Work on consistency and plying
Wonder: Spin alpaca. Start learning to process raw alpaca fleece.
Spindlers: Spin as fine as possible on a laceweight spindle

Overall, I want to ply the Maine Woods singles (2-ply) and the mystery wool singles (3-ply), dye some more roving, and spin as much fiber as possible. I think a couple pounds is doable. At least a pound total, for sure, but I'm fairly confident that it'll be around 2lbs.

I can't wait to get started! I'm ready and rarin' to go now that I have my bobbins and spindle freed up. I also couldn't resist taking advantage of the TDF discounts at a few Etsy shops. More on that as the goodies arrive (which should start tomorrow).

I have been knitting as well and have a few hats to show off soon too. Of course, my knitting will likely take a back seat for most of July but then I should have a bunch of nifty handspun to start experimenting with!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy KIPing!

Happy Knit in Public Day!
I'll be here, how 'bout you?

I woke up way too early from a really whacked out dream and have opted to get a jump on getting ready for the day since I have a pretty decent trip ahead of me and have to leave fairly early if I am to make it to the above linked curator-led tour of the knit & crochet exhibit at the Charleston Museum.

I will be working on the matches to these socks:

And just for good measure since I've been too busy to do a proper update on the cotton candy roving from the other day, it has gone from this:

To this:

To this, so far:

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Well, Summer semester is underway and has been keeping me rather busy for the past few days. Taking a break from some work right now.

I have been able to get some spinning and dying done (and a little knitting) but I was not able to attend the spinning group at Wild Fibre in Savannah yesterday. :( I'm going to try to find out when the other group is meeting later this month and hopefully go to that one. Then I hope to be able to attend the Wild Fibre group next month. Maybe I'll be able to transport my wheel by then. It's definitely not going to fit in my Miata! Lol.

Is it bad that I already have my eyes on my next wheel? I'm really enjoying spinning and I love my new wheel a lot. I'm not looking to replace that at all. But I'm already in love with the idea of the new Schacht Sidekick that was just released. I know I want to be able to do some spinning on the go and without borrowing another vehicle, I am limited by the space in the aforementioned Miata. The Sidekick would be perfect! Way out of my price range though. But I'm hoping that the financial area will pick up a bit and maybe I can put enough aside to afford one some time next year (maybe with some assistance around my birthday).
Obviously the spinning bug has hit. Lol.

Basically the whole thing started to 'click' Thursday night and I started producing something I was actually please with and enjoying it rather than enjoying it, then getting frustrated, then getting it again, then getting frustrated again. I finally started to get the Scotch Tension worked out and that is going much better. Also, I was able to slow down my treadling and get a little more control over my drafting so things don't just go to shit all of a sudden and throw me into a panic as often.

I now have three relatively consistent singles spun from the brown practice wool, which I plan to make into a 3-ply. I only done some spindle 2-ply thus far but I really think this yarn will behave better as a 3-ply so I'm going to have to give that a shot. Nervous though.

Since I couldn't make it to the spinning group yesterday, I decided to try my hand at dying some of the new Knit Picks roving. It turned out pretty well, I think.
The pictures are less than ideal because the lighting in my kitchen didn't seem to agree with the camera and I don't have time to tweak them or anything but here goes anyway:

I used food coloring this time. BiLo store brand (Southern Home, I believe) yellow, red, and blue. Figured it would be best to do a test run with the primaries and go from there.

Went with the basic blue -> yellow -> red.

For the sake of time and ease, rolled it up in a pyrex dish and popped it in the microwave for a bit.

Here it is cooling. You can see how the colors did spread out a but more but there wasn't a lot of blending (which was kinda my goal because I didn't want a muddy mess).

And the finished product drying.

I think it turned out well. It has fluffed back up a bit since drying but I think I did poke it a bit too much and cause some felting. I think it'll still be usable though. Lesson learned. I wasn't working with heat until I put it in the microwave but I guess I still moved it a bit too much and may have squeezed too much when getting the water out. Boo. :( I'll just have to work a bit more with the predrafting.
At least it's pretty! (Prettier than the pictures, I swear.)

If it spins up ok, I think I'll dye another 100g in a solid color (same as one of the colors in this one) and ply them together. Or maybe just ply with a white single. I haven't decided yet. For now I'll just admire it while I work on freeing up some bobbins!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The crafty goodness continues. And I'm feeling so much better today! :-) Tummy seems to be returning to "normal" (for me anyway) and I have a good bit more energy.

Yesterday Momma and I made a trip down to Savannah for a little fiber research and shopping. Located two nifty LYSs and found out about a spinning group! And lucky me, they're meeting next Monday! Very excited about that. I may have to just take my drop spindles this first time because I'm not sure how to lug my wheel down there (will have to borrow Momma's car at least) but I'll definitely check it out and then try to bring my wheel next time.

I was just going to the yarn stores "to look" and for spinning tool/info research purposes and I held strong despite the very lovely fibers and yarns at Wild Fibre, but I will be exposed to that temptation again on Monday. My wallet didn't fare as well at Unwind though. I have three words to support my moment of weakness: sale, alpaca, bamboo. I think that is justification enough.
It's safe to say I'm fairly obsessed with alpaca, both the fiber and the animal. Just the thought of alpacas is enough to make make me go *squeeee*. I am also currently in love with bamboo. I love the drape and the sheen and I really love the way it feels cool and light, something that is veeeery good around here. So when I cam across this for 30% off, I was a goner:

My downfall started early on when I spotted some black and white Berroco Seduce, which normally would not be "my thing" but it was speaking to me. I could see small, simple, light openwork scarf that would be a little snazzy, but casual enough to be wearable and light enough that it could just be an accent piece rather than only being able to wear it when actual warmth is warranted (which for me is very rarely). Of course I could not see that piece making it past my mother but that's not the point. Anyway, I picked up a couple of those and carried them around with me. Not too much, just a little something to take home without blowing the bank. Then I spotted a few more things that just had to be picked up as well. The next was very out of character for me. It was a bamboo blend but very bright colors (hot pink and bright blue) with some shiny bits. The bright colors is not all that out of the ordinary for me to be drawn to but I usually don't go down the shiny or 'novelty' road. It was quite lovely though. Then I found some awesome feeling yarn that was 100% sugar cane. How cool is that? Then another bamboo blend that was dark brown with a little black and strikingly similar to my hair (which was actually down for the first time in weeks). At this point it became apparent that some choices would have to be made. Lol. Worked my way around.. my typical yarn store method is start at one spot, systematically work around the room/shop touching almost everything at least once and try to resist the urge to smell most of it (because I think that makes appear even weirder than usual)... until lo and behold I came upon the sale yarn. Sometimes I'm relatively safe in the sale area since often it is a lot of novelty stuff or things I'm not crazy about (although my taste was a bit off center yesterday so who could say at that point), and sometimes you hit the jackpot. This was a case of the latter. I found some lovely kettle dyed 100% bamboo, then some bamboo/nylon sock yarn which I really really wanted. I didn't even realize they were on sale at first. Then I found the Mirasol Qina alpaca/bamboo heavenliness and it was all over. Once I realized I was indeed int he sale section (?*!*?*!) I first grabbed a couple skeins of a lovely green... then a couple more... and finally I did a little math, ditched the Berroco and sugar cane and bright colors and hair matching yarn (after making a list of them all for later, of course) and snatched up every last skein in that colorway. All in all I think I ended up with enough for a light cardigan-y creation for myself, which is no small feat for that price range. I mean, I'm not huge but there's enough boobage real estate to consider that a proper sweater that fits me comfortably is rarely in the budget, especially considering my alpaca fetish. I still don't have enough for a full on high neck, long sleeved, cabled masterpiece but there's plenty for something like a February Lady Sweater with a little left over for something else small and fun. Maybe not that exact patter but who knows. I did enjoy making Momma's and have been on the lookout for some of that super fabulous Sundara yarn to make one for myself but it has been out of stock or out of price range (Momma's was super expensive but totally worth it).

Anyway... I made out with the Qina, the On Your Toes Bamboo, and one skein of Bonnie's Bamboo.

Then we had to pop into Michaels for a minute to see if they had one of those yarn guides you put on your finger for colorwork and a crochet hook and buttons for Momma. There would be no yarn happening there for sure. Almost made it out alive until this nearly jumped off the shelf at me. How did I not know about this sooner? Being a stretchy cotton blend, there is hope for this turning into socks FOR ME and my hot sweaty little feet!

Usually I knit for my mom or for someone else or for no one in particular because it helps me justify the yarn expense (but it's a present for _____!) and because I am so warm bodied and live in such a sweltering climate that I rarely get a chance to use my own stuff. Only every now and then and usually just a practical shawl or something. Out of my 5 1/2 years of knitting, I think I myself have actually acquired one hat (which is not in my possession currently but I keep telling my mom is not hers), one pair of fingerless gloves (which are in need of repair because some sort of beastly critter dared to gnaw a hole in one *dies*), two shawls (an acrylic Clapotis and my beloved SWTC Karaoke Lady Elanor), and to pairs of socks. And I didn't even make the socks myself (Sock Wars)! It should be noted that only the Clapotis, one pair of the socks (which need darning... thanks for nothing Debbie Bliss :-P), and the gloves (which also need darning) are actually in my possession. I had a Malabrigo Clapotis as well but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to get that back from my mom.

So a day filled with yarn for *ME* is unusual. I just hope I can make those projects come to fruition! Most of my personal stuff never gets finishes (*ahem* Gamecocks Sweater *ahem*) if it even gets started (Ultra Alpaca sweater, Lotus Blossom Tank, etc).

Ok, now I must go do some boring things like grocery shopping and dishes and other undesirable activities. Later I must post the results of my dying experiment and updates on the colorwork swatch and such to verify that I do actually *do* things other than stash acquisition. Lol.