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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kool-aid is to dye for

Got a second wind last night and decided to go ahead and try my hand at dying the handspun with some Kool-aid. It went well. I went with blue and purple. An unlikely combination, perhaps, but I think it looks pretty cool. Took pictures but am not currently on the right computer to upload them. Also took some pictures of how the room is coming along.

Today I hit the storage to get some more clothes out and grabbed some of the yarn I haven't inventoried yet. Having my stash sorted on the computer is proving to be very handy. Found a bag I missed before. I knew I had some more somewhere. Also located a couple minor displaced UFOs.

Speaking of UFOs... Last night I also got some updated pictures of most of those and uploaded them to my Ravelry. Now I have a better idea what's going on. Have most of them in one basket now too. Imagine that. Lol.

Have more organizing to do and must log in to me online courses today but I'm pooped now so better go eat and take a rest. It's soooo friggin' hot out so the trip to the storage drained me, especially in my somewhat weakened state. At least I'm feeling significantly better. Hopefully can get back to full functioning next week and start exercising again and all that jazz. :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Where did my weekend go?

This weekend has been far less productive than I'd hoped. Unfortunately I am still a little under the weather. Woke up feeling pretty darn good and thinking I was ready to take on the day, finally. Within an hour or so I was having second thoughts. Still having some tummy issues and such.

Got a little more spinning practice in yesterday but not much. Still working on getting everything set up properly, as far as position and seating and stuff like that. Experimented a little with the Scotch tension option but I'm not sure about all that yet. It was interesting though.

One problem I'm having is that my sweaty little hands are making the fiber a hot mess by the time I get to the end of each piece in my hand. Bleh. Must find a fix for this problem.

Another problem I'm having is the wool being very grabby. I think I might need to play around with something a little less grabby for a bit. This was an issue I had on my spindle at first too. I do have an assortment of fiber I got from Webs a while back so maybe I'll dip into that in a bit (once I feel decent enough to sit up properly). Went ahead and ordered some more Knit Picks roving just now too. I liked working with their Bare WotA on my spindle so maybe it'll be good on the wheel. If not, I can work it up on the spindle anyway. And I can experiment with dying it without worrying because it's inexpensive.

Speaking of dying... I got a boatload of Kool-Aid and food coloring a couple days ago so I'm prepared to take on my first spindle creations finally and jazz 'em up a bit. Why not? Even if I ultimately decide to keep them in skein form and use them as decoration, they at least need some color. They're begging for it.

I am 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through the cuffs for the Magic Loop sample/baby socks. Also got through the first full repeat of the three charts for the Skull Isle hat swatch. My stranded tension is evening out and loosing up, thank goodness, but I'm still not crazy about how it's working up on US1 needles so I'm doing another section on 1.5's to see how that goes. Much better so far.

Might just work on that a little more now. There's so much I want to do today, spinning, dying, and around the house (not to mention how badly I need some exercise) but I just can't do much yet and it's driving me nuts.

If I feel better by tomorrow or Wednesday I'm planning to head out for a little shopping. I want to try to find the yarn store an hour or so away that is rumored to carry spinning stuff. I also want to check out a couple office supply places to see about a chair for the crafting room. Then I want to hit the bookstore so check out a couple books I'm considering ordering. And finally, I need to stop by Target and pick up my brothers belated birthday present because I didn't feel well enough to stop when I was up in Charleston last week.

Here's hoping I can get going soon before I go totally stir crazy. Until then, I guess I'll turn the TV on and knit and maybe read a bit more later My brother thinks I'm totally bonkers for reading the Big Book of Handspinning recreationally. This coming from a guy who reads history books for fun. To each their own I supposed. We're probably both nutty. Lol.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


First of all, I would just like to say, "Ta-Da!"

My wheel arrived yesterday!

Also, the lovely yarn and a big bag of wool

I didn't have the time and energy left to put it together last night after my brother's birthday dinner so had to wait until today. Spent the morning getting the rest of the room ready. I need to get some pictures of the whole thing. I finally have my craft room / closet room now. Cleared everything out of the extra "storage" bedroom (previously the fish tank room), pulled the carpet, and repainted the walls. Then put in a couple dressers and some shelves with places to hang clothes underneath. Also a long table for workspace and eventually to put my sewing machine once I get it out of storage. There was a perfect little spot left for my wheel. Granted, I don't have a great view while spinning and can't watch tv or anything but I think I need to concentrate right now anyway. Lol. And I can set my laptop up in there for music or movies or whatever if I decide I need some entertainment. It's a work in progress but a great little space. And a cat-free zone so I don't have to worry about anyone eating fluff or stealing yarn or scratching my wheel or anything. (Not to mention an area where I might be able to keep the fur off my clean clothes for five minutes).

After getting all the yarn and clothes baskets and half put-away stuff cleared up and the shelves up and all that, I put my wheel together. It went pretty well. I just have this totally OCD fear of messing something up when I put things together so it takes forever because I want everything to be just right. But everything was so nicely packaged and grouped and labeled that it was much easier than I feared.
So here she is:

Once I got it all together I practiced treadling for a bit with nothing on it. No problems there.
After dinner I pulled out the wool and a book and got down to business. :)

Ultimately, I ended up with this:

It was great fun once I started figuring out the adjustments. I don't really have a problem with the treadling and moving my hands at the same time. I do stuff with my feet a lot anyway. Lol.

One area I did have a bit of issue with was working out how to hold the fiber for drafting.
Apparently I'm a weirdo because when I spin on my high whorl spindle, I use my right hand as my "fiber hand" and control the twist with my left. (I also roll it down my right inner thigh with my left hand, which I guess isn't the norm either but it does get it going in the right direction so it works for me.)
I tried that with the wheel but it just wasn't quite right. But I'm so used to having the fiber on my right that it took a while to reverse that. I finally got pretty comfortable with it though.

Then I had to work through some adjustment issues with getting the drive band tension right. I have it set up in double drive right now. Haven't tried the Scotch tension yet.

In the process of all of this, there was a bit of yarf created...

That bit is pretty much beyond repair at least it got better.

At one point this was created and I immediately had to yank it and save it. Behold my first bit of balanced yarn:


I may very well mount it. Lol. Maybe on that blank wall behind my wheel.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The bad news, and the GREAT news

Well, the bad news is that my weekend camping trip plans fell through. The person I was supposed to be going with did not plan ahead properly and ended up having to work Friday night which would have thrown the whole thing off and made it too hurried and stressful, not to mention it would have caused us to miss the first day of festivities. Not cool. So I decided it just wasn't in the cards this time. I guess that turned out to be a good call because a few hours after I found this out Tuesday afternoon, I spent the evening being suddenly violently ill. Bad enough to suspect food poisoning if not for the fact that I was pretty sick one night last week and have been feeling a little less than fabulous overall. I guess I've been fighting some nasty virus and it got the better of me that evening after a long day out in the heat.

So I've been laid up for the past couple days trying to take it easy and avoid the 100 degree weather. I've been working on some sample socks I started on Sunday to learn the 2 socks on 1 circ toe-up Magic Loop method. It is going great. While I won't declare myself a total Magic Loop convert or devotee, I am most definitely a fan and I'm loving the 2 at once thing. Pics forthcoming... my camera seems to be hiding again. :P

Anyhoo... on to the super awesome fantastic news!
As of tomorrow I shall be the proud new owner of my very first SPINNING WHEEL!!!!!
I found a lovely Ashford Traditional for sale on Ravelry and it decided to be mine. :) Got a wonderful deal from the ever-so-fabulous Debbie of Debbie's Handspun Yarn.

Here are the pics borrowed from the listing:

Beautiful, no?
She's a 2005 Ashford Traditional, double drive, single treadle, w/ factory lacquer finish and obviously infused with lots of love.

Then I saw some of the lovely things Debbie has made with her and absolutely had to have this as well:

Llama merino blend! How could I resist?

I also saw some of her finished spin/knit projects and must say I hope I can produce lace even half as lovely as the previous owner.

I'm so excited it's downright ridiculous.

I have wanted a wheel since long before I ever even considered knitting or anything like that. I was one of the kids who saw Sleeping Beauty and the like and immediately knew I *must* have one.
I don't know anyone who spins but that didn't stop me from learning to knit either, right? I went to a knit night a few years ago where someone brought a Lendrum and while I thought it was neat, the upright style just didn't tickle my fancy like the traditional style. There's just something about that classic look that makes it even more appealing. So I knew that's what I wanted for my first wheel.
I haven't had the chance to try out wheels or receive instruction in person but I've done a lot of research and reading and came to the conclusion that an Ashford Traditional seemed like a safe bet for me. It seems very versatile and has or can have many of the things I want (or think I want). It seems to be as good a place to start as any.
I started saving a little money here and there last year in hopes of eventually having enough for a wheel, then I saw the prices of new ones and was greatly discouraged. I kept reading that used was a good way to go if you knew what you were looking for and could find one in good working order but those sort of items just don't pop up around here so that didn't seem like it was going to happen.

Then I discovered the wonder that is the Ravelry marketplace groups. I browsed and drooled and researched and compared... then I realized that since I decided to put off buying a new phone until after my trip, I might actually be able to swing the right purchase! A couple days later the deal was done! I don't waste any time once I decide I want something. Lol.

Doing business with fellow crafters has just been such a joy. I'm constantly amazed at what a supportive and upstanding community my fellow fiber fanatics are. :)

So that definitely softened the blow of my weekend trip falling through. Miss camping trip, fulfill a lifelong dream... pretty decent trade off. And my mom has agreed that we'll take a trip up to NC at some point later in the year when some interesting festival or fair is going on or we can visit some alpacas or something. We've been wanting to get back up there for a while anyway since that's the area my mom is from.

It all works out in the end.

In the meantime, I finally set the twist for my first batch of spindle spun yarn yesterday. It is the common beginner's thick-thin masterpiece. Lol. Next I need to ply the second batch. But first, I think I'll grab some Kool-aid and try my hand at some dying. I have two small skeins from the first batch so I'm thinking about doing them each one color, then doing half of the second batch in each color and doing a 2ply from that. Then I'll knit it all together into... something. Probably just a big swatch, honestly. Lol. I figure I can make a few of those from my first few trial run creations then put them together to form something artsy. I have no delusions of my first few yarns being highly functional.

I also did a little more work on the fiber shown in the my previous post. After getting that off the spindle, I started working on the remainder. I thought I only had about an ounce left but it turns out I have just over 2oz left! Perfect. I have no idea I had half of it left. That should make plying a bit easier if I can keep my yardage about the same.

So it's been a week of immersing myself in fiber-y goodness and I'm planning more of the same for the weekend.

School starts again next week so this is a good way to spend my last few days off. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's been an eventful couple of days for crafty goodness here...

Next week I'm going on a long Memorial Day weekend trip. Well, it suddenly occurred to me yesterday that I don't have anything small or simple on the needles! No socks or hats or dishrags or anything. It's all sweaters, shawls, afghans, lace, etc. And of course this calls for new yarn, right? In my defense the stash was all in storage. So I was poking around online then considering a trip to the LYS (over an hour away) when it occurred to me that we have an LYS here in town now! So I made my first visit to Coastal Knitting. It was a very pleasant experience. Finding parking downtown is a bitch but I finally found a spot not too far away (thankfully, since I had to go feed the meter a couple times because I spent too long fondling yarn). The owner, Judy, is lovely. She was very nice to chat with and helpful. I'm looking forward to some advanced classes this summer. Then I had a nice lunch down the street while she wound my haul for me.

I ended up getting some Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine for some experimental magic loop socks for the trip. I loves me some Ultra Alpaca so I have high hopes for the lightweight version.

I also picked up some Cascade Heritage sock yarn to make the Skull Isle Socks from Stitch 'n Bitch Superstar Knitting. Today I decided to start with the Skull Isle Hat first since I've only toyed around with stranded knitting once or twice. I have a better chance of ending up with a hat that fits someone around here than if the socks go awry. Between my mom's smallish head and my brother's big ol' curly topped pouf there's bound to be someone who can wear the hat... I hope. Of course now my mom wants the mittens so I may end up getting more yarn and making the whole set. ;-P

I also got a pink skein of Heritage to swatch for the Dockside Cardigan from the latest IWK. And a couple half priced balls of Knit One Crochet too Ty-Dy Sock yarn in a cammo color. Irresistible.

Oh, and 16" and 24" HiyaHiya stainless steel circs. Today I used those to teach myself 2-circ small circumference knitting and start swatching for the hat. So har I like them. And I love the price (half the price of Addis). I'm not sure how much I'd love the cord for magic loop but It's good for anything else. It's nice and flexible and doesn't loop up or anything but isn't quite as soft as the Addi or Knit Picks cables. Better than anything else I've tried though.

I hope to have both the hat and the magic loop socks on the go by the time I leave Thursday so I'll have one simple(ish) project that I can knit in the car and one more interesting one I can do if I have a little more downtime at some point.

Also, today I taught my momma to knit! She loves the washcloths I have her for Christmas and asked if I I thought she could make one. Well that's all the invitation I needed to get some needles in her hands. ;-) She said "I can't learn to knit! I just want know how to make washcloths!" Lol. I tried to convince her it was not that hard and kinda like 'crocheting with sticks' (since she used to crochet a little) but she didn't believe me. I got her going with my favorite US 8 bamboo straights and some Cotton Ease in her favorite lime green color this afternoon and she was truckin' right along on a garter stitch cloth in no time. I cast on for her because that would have been too intimidating but otherwise she picked it up quickly. I'm thrilled because I've wanted her to try it for ages but she's convinced she can't learn things like that.

And finally, to give myself a break after working on the fair isle this afternoon I picked up my spinning again but unfortunately my spindle had gotten too overloaded to continue on through the last ounce or so, so I transferred it to my new niddy noddy:

I also spent an undisclosed amount of time inventorying most of my stash and uploading the info and pics to Ravelry. The family seems unfazed by my odd fiber driven OCD-ish behavior at this point so no one asked too many questions when they saw the giant bags of yarn all over the living room and caught me taking pictures of the individual skeins ona taple I set up with a cloth for a uniform background and then typing madly on the computer. Lol.
The biggest upside to this is that now I have a good idea of what I have and how much so I can put it away a little better without having to dig it out and go through everything each time I want to start something or want to know if I have enough of something.
Working on inventorying my needles as well because I have a ton but never know if I have what I need.