Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

Ann Arbor Fiber Festival – Fall 2013

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Brian took me to the Ann Arbor Fiber Festival today. He even got up early so that we could get there and back before our other obligations today. I love that man! And he brought a wallet full of cash and never said when I had to stop spending. Did I mention that I love that man?!

Today’s haul…

I plan on combining the Lincoln metallic locks with the chocolate alpaca. The Romney teal and cranberry will be combined with the black alpaca. And I may add the silk in to those mixes, or do something completely different with them just for fun!


So, for $158 I will get 2 sweaters and something small, but delightful, with the silk…and a winter of spinning pleasure!

Finally settled on a design

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

When I spun up the color blast yarn (which I started about 2 years ago) I put so much time and effort into this yarn that I had to find just the right pattern to show it off.  Well, adiposity I finally did!  And it’s done!  REALLY AND TRULY this time.  I started three different projects only to frog them when it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

Closeup of Colorblast Pullover

Closeup of Colorblast Pullover

Once I chose the pattern, medicine it knit up quickly.  That is, global burden of disease until I decided I didn’t like the way it was laying based on the original pattern.  So it got frogged again and started over.  I finished it all except the edging on the sleeves when I put it aside for a month because there were some parts I still wasn’t satisfied with, but I knew how it should look in my head.  After about 5 weeks, it hit me on one of my early morning “why the hell am I awake” moments.  I finished the edges and added some crochet lace along the neck, arms, and bottom and it turned out like my mental image.  I love this sweater quite a bit.

Color Blast Pullover

Color Blast Pullover

Color Blast Pullover

Color Blast Pullover

Color Blast Pullover

Color Blast Pullover

Weekend Projects

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Over Thanksgiving Weekend I made some gloves. Then the next weekend, traumatologist I made a cowl. I love projects that take me mere hours. However, I did spin the turquoise wool about 3 years ago. Iit was the second thing I spun and sat 1/2 completed for years in a project that I no longer cared for. I frogged the original project and modified several existing patterns to make what I wanted and I love wearing these!

Cowl & Gloves

Cowl & Gloves

I may eventually felt the gloves a little to tighten then up, but boy is this set warm against the cold winds we’ve had.



Won’t make excuses for how tired I look. I’m just going with the thought that pale is sexy.

Cowl & Gloves

Cowl & Gloves

Back of Cowl

Back of Cowl

Also…I am VERY geeked about my two Yule presents! The first one I used to take all these wonderful new photos. The other is in the photo below! A jumbo ball winder so that I don’t have to split my plyed skeins!

Jumbo Ball Winder

Jumbo Ball Winder

Michigan Fiber Fest in Allegan, 2008

Monday, August 18th, 2008

For my birthday, eczema Brian took to what he dubbed “Fuzz Fest 2008.”  It was wonderful!  It was very difficult to limit my purchases to fit within my income.  There were SO many wonderful things, web and I decided to only buy fibers that I can’t easily find.  It really is a wonderful event.  So many things to see and touch and pet and dream of owning!

I deliberately got some natural pale color fibers to spin and ply and then hand paint.   I want to do something with black, olive, and violet, and I already have about a pound of natural cream color Babydoll Southdown, so I’m hoping to do some really neat fiber blends to make it strong, pretty, and soft.

Here’s a breakdown of the haul:

From Mielke’s Fiber Arts:

On the left, 8 oz Tencel Top for $12.50  Tencel is a fiber produced from wood fiber (cellulous)  It’s very strong and silkier than silk (the biggest difference between this and silk is that this doesn’t stick to your fingers where they are a little rough)  On the right is 4.3 oz Bombyx Silk Brick for  $13.55

16 oz 70% Merino/30% Tussah Top in the Mckenzie colorway for $36.  I hope the photo shows the colors well.  It’s very silvery with color stripes of black, cyan, bright green, rose, and purple.  It’s super soft.

From Lissabeth Alpacas:

2 lbs 6.3 oz of black Alpaca with Brown tips from an Alpaca named Empire for $57.  This is earmarked to spin with the nearly 22 oz of heathered grey Jacob I got last year from the Mt. Bruce Show.  This will make for a very attractive spotted yarn that I am going to make a cardigan out of for Brian.  He’s more info

never worn this style, but he likes it and I’m thrilled to make something he wants in colors he’s chosen.

12 oz  of creamy Alpaca from an Alpaca named Zen for $24.

From Wool and Water (a shop local to me in Royal Oak!!):

My favorite item from this trip was 2.5 oz of Tussah Silk Lap for $20 in the most exquisite jewel tones from Sapphire to Ruby.  I want to spin this and then ply it with some black alpaca.  Don’t know what I’ll make from it yet, I may just spin it and lay in it!  I really have no idea what the yardage will be, but I have to look to make something that will showcase this fiber.  Perhaps a shawl.  We’ll see.  This is both laps together.

This is the lap unrolled.

I just know that I can’t wait to start working on all of these!


I have major project I’ve been working on quite hard that needs to be spun first before I start on the new stuff.  Back in September I posted about some lovely grey angora.  I also had some recycled cotton denim.  When I got my drum carder for Christmas, I immediately set upon blending the angora, cotton, and a bit of sparkly fiber.

I’ve already spun up 6 spools, and the above batts are what I still have left to spin.  I suspect I’ll have 9 more spools from what’s there.

I’ll be making this a 3 ply yarn.  It is deliberately nubbly as I want to make a shaker sweater out of it to match one I have nearly worn out from over loving.

And on this very happy note, I think I’ll go spin!

For the love of a finished project!

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

I am pleased as can be to say I am 100% finished with Brian’s shaker sweater with the shawl collar. I’m ever more thrilled that he really likes it. He was amazed at how soft and warm it is. The Babydoll Southdown wool is super springy. It holds it’s shape and has an elastic nature to the yarn. Where cotton would stretch out of shape, physician this sweater will hold its shape really well. (click pic for larger detail)
Brian's finished Sweater

This project took me a year to complete for a couple of reasons. The first was the dumbest mistake. I knit the second arm on the wrong size needles and had to frog it. Threw me off my game so I threw it to the side for months since the weather was turning to spring. Then I ran out of yarn and had to find the vendor who just -happened- to have more of the roving from the show where I got this batch, which is nothing short of a miracle. While it’s a natural color (not dyed) there was no guarantee that I could color match, but having some from the same show/same batch was exactly a perfect match! These are some thumbnails of the roving turning into the yarn I used taken from previous postings.

I have more of the babydoll southdown wool in white that I want to spin and then dye. I really like this wool a lot. It isn’t scratchy and the springy-ness of the fiber will help keep a garment’s shape like a pro!

Another project that I just finished for a sweet friend who is about to have a baby is a baby blanket that matches the gloves and scarf I made for her last year. I never took pictures of the scarf, but she really loved this silly muppet looking glove.

So, I used the same Lion’s Brand Fun Fur fringe on a blanket with an ultrasoft butter yellow boucle for the rest. I also need to have her get a picture of the cap I made for her baby from the same combination. I made the band from the boucle and the cap from the fun fur. She’s excited about matching when they go out now! (click pic for larger detail)

I have more spinning to do so that I can dive into some more knitting projects. I’m currently knitting up some holiday presents, so everything is in various states of completion.

Blanket adapted from this pattern.
Brian’s Sweater pattern available here.

Happy 1 Year, Craft Blog!!

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

I started this journal after returning from the Sheep & Wool Festival at Mt. Bruce Station in 2006. I returned for the fourth year in a row yesterday and left with 3.5 lbs of fiber and about $144 less in my bank account.

I imagine when I’m through, salve I’ll have been able to make 3 sweaters and some extra for striping in other projects.

On to this year’s stash:

Tops on my list was an Alpace 50%/Mohair 30%/Wool 20% with sparkly bits. This is soft and the colors are incredible. The best way to explain it is that it looks like flame. I got 16.3 oz for $46 I ended up spinning one bobbin of it last night and I’m planning on spending the better part of this afternoon with it. If you click this pick, pharmacist you’ll get the original size so you can see the detail, viagra order it’s really gorgeous.

China Town Roving

Wiley Woolies had their angora rabbits which I am always fond of wishing over. This year they had bags of batts for felting or spinning. I picked up 15 oz of a 50/50 angora/merino blend for $45. There are actually 2 batts, one pale grey, one charcoal grey. I seriously want to wrap my body with these batts, they are so soft!!

Mohair batts

I fell in love with the rich olive color of this next roving. It’s not my favorite wool to blend, being 100% Border Leicester, but the color really got to me. I have a wonderful sweater I want to make in charcoal with scalloped stripes of this olive wool. I got 8 oz for $18

Olive Leicester Roving

And my final score was 21.8 oz of a heathered grey Jacob that is about as fluffy as summer clouds for $39. I want to make a thick sweater out of this that either I or my husband can wear during the winter. I’m searching out just the right pattern. I have enough of this to do a triple ply if I want! These are the same local folks that provided me with the amazing babydoll southdown that I used to make Brian’s sweater.

Grey Jacob Roving

The show wasn’t as big as years past, but it certainly provided me with some fiber that make me very happy. And speaking of which, my break is over (I also ran out to make a 3′ grapevine wreath with some wild vines Brian found while prepping wood for the winter’s heating), now it’s time to go back to spinning the pretty things I have!

Gearing Up

Friday, September 28th, 2007

What have I been doing instead of updating? Well, syringe I’ve been putting together a lot of projects and prepping for winter projects. I am nearly done with Brian’s sweater from last year, this after frogging an entire sleeve and putting it away in frustration. *note to self: Check second sleeve against first several times before finishing. I have about 40 rows left then the collar and finishing work. It’s looking good that he’ll have it in time for the weather to be appropriate for wearing it!

I got nearly all my roving stash from last year’s Fiber Festival spun. I have about 2 lbs of babydoll southdown left that I want to try my hand at dying, information pills and about 1/2 lb of the alpaca/mohair blend left. Here’s what I have hanging ready to be made into skeins:

yarn stash

And, of course, some close ups:

Teal mystery roving.

Teal Mystery Roving

Mystery roving

Chocolate Babydoll Southdown: (This is the second batch after I spun 2 lbs for Brian’s sweater.  This is slated for a hat/scarf/gloves project.  I love this because it’s a natural chocolate brown!)

brown babydoll southdown yarn

Babydoll southdown roving

Leicester multi-hued yarn:

leicester yarn multi colored

leicester roving multi colored

And here’some roving, rolags, and finished projects!


This is the Romney & Corriedale that I made the hat from.

mixed berries Romney & Corriedale

The shawl was knit from a purchase of alpaca/wool yarn. The black and multi striped bag on the bottom was made from yarn left by Chris when he moved out and left it here too long. I made a hat out of it as well that he got and promptly gave to his wife. Never leave yarn here, folks. It gets made into things! Brian’s sweater parts are in the bottom bin along with some cotton roving.

Today I am making a huge vat of chicken stock so that I can freeze it and to also make a nice Chicken Potato Leek soup tonight for dinner. Tomorrow is the 17th Annual Mt. Bruce Sheep & Wool Festival and a stop at an orchard so that Sunday will be for making and devouring an apple pie and lots of spinning!!

Protecting the tools

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Inspired by Berrocco’s Kable and Kluster, and I set about to design something to store my growing stash of double pointed needles.

I started by finding some gorgeous, more about bold purple felting wool roving (about a pound of it).

handspun yarn

I spun it up and knit a large rectangle with a ribbed border. Then I felted it in the washing machine until it shrunk up to the size I wanted, treatment which was a little wider than the biggest double points I might keep. The final measurements were 24.5″ x 11.5″ I probably shrunk it down by nearly 2.5 inches to a nice tight felt.

The idea was to have a roll that would store and travel nicely. I want to eventually finish the outside with two attractive buttons with loops, but I am waiting until I get a few more of the larger DP needles to see how tight/loose it should be when rolled up.

I went looking through all my lace patterns and found one that worked with just a little modification. It’s a vine and cable mix that allows two areas to encase the needles with makes the whole thing far more stable and secure than a single cable would. I used an acrylic worsted weight yarn which has a wonderful grip to it. The needles don’t slide out at all when held on edge.

What I love best about this carrier is that it holds any size DP needles comfortably. I didn’t have to make adjustments for my size 11 needles or my size 2’s.

This is the finished DP needle case. It was fun to employ a lot of different techniques and styles to make a fun case to protect my DPs and keep them all in one place.

My next toolcase is going to be a similar style, but instead of the cables, I’m going to make a series of pockets to store all of my circular needles in one place. I’m still working on the dimensions for that.

Clicking on most pictures will display a larger picture for detail.

Paying homage to the muse of color and soft yarn

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

I posted this picture of the yarn I was spinning back in September.

With all the glove, public health sweater, neuropathologist and snake making for the holidays, hemorrhoids I didn’t have time to get back to spinning and being the addict I am about it, I’ve really been jonesing to get back to working with raw fiber.  After going to the fiber festival in September, I had this grand idea of using my hand carders to blend my own mix and spin something quite unique.

I had 1 lb of gorgeous smoky grey mohair roving, 8 oz of jet black alpaca roving, and 3 oz of various source dyed wool locks in a rainbow of colors.  I wanted to blend the mohair 2-1 with the alpaca, and then add a shock of color.  The idea was to roll up a bunch of rolags with varying colors and spin them randomly together.

This picture shows a close up of the spun single with at least 3 colors.  You can see the color fibers shot through, with the occasion deliberate small nub of color.

The last little bit of the rolag is on the left and you can see how the color blends in.

I did a small photo montage of the process I used to make the rolags.

  1. shows the 2-1 blend of mohair to alpaca.
  2. gently holding on to the rovings and dragging them across the carder to cover it.
  3. some of the color locks on the coated carder.
  4. the locks combed out and positioned near one end
  5. picking up the fiber from the teeth on the carder.
  6. rolling the fiber into a rolag

Here’s what that rolag looks like finished:

You can see a little bit of the color fiber peaking out on the near end.  When I spin this, I get a nice mix of the mohair and alpaca.   I put a concentration of color at one end, which ends up being most of the first part that gets spun.  The color doesn’t span the entire length of fiber, but gets slowly more concentrated and then blends back to the mohair/alpaca.  This gives more distinct color to parts of the single and the blackish grey to the rest so that the color ebbs and flows.

And this would be the entire 1.5 lbs of fiber rolled up.   I sorted them by colors and then hands mixed the colors and bagged them up for spinning.  There are 139 rolags in this picture, plus 10 already spun.

The current plan is to ply these together to a 2 ply.  If I decide to attempt a 3 ply, I might try to use Navajo plying to maintain the single color.  I haven’t decided yet if multiple colors in a strand of yarn would be more fun than keeping the colors more distinct.  If I try Navajo plying, it will be my first attempt to learn, so that has an appeal as well.

This project has really helped me feel like an artist, and not just a hobbyist.  It’s really satisfying to take the raw fiber and make it into something that existed only in my head.   Once I spin up the entire lot and see what my yardage is, then I will decide on a project for this.  I’m currently leaning towards a tunic type sweater to show off the color in a simple knit.

You spin me right round, baby, right round

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Ode to my Lendrum

I love this spinning wheel. It’s made in Canada. No, order it’s finely crafted in Canada. It folds for travel, it has a modest footprint and it flies so smoothly and quietly. I’ve spun everything from laceweight to chunky yarn with great success. It uses Scotch Tension which is a really fine adjustment with a knob, cotton cord and a rubber band. I can tighten and losen it with small movements for precision. This controls the take-up speed of the fiber onto the spindle.

It’s a double treadle (two pedals, two feet) which I am so grateful I could get instead of the single treadle. Spending a lot of time spinning and only using one foot is not optimal. With two pedals I can stop and start the wheel using my feet on the pedals. The fatigue factor is tremendously reduced and worth the extra money.

• Single Drive, Scotch Tension
• Wheel Diameter 19”
• Regular Flyer Ratios: 6, 8, 10:1
• Orifice 7/16”, 29.75” high
• Double Treadle
• 4 – 4 oz bobbins and tensioned kate
• No assembly, just unfold and attach head
• Maple hardwood with clear lacquer finish
• Weight 13 lbs
• Fast Flyer Ratios 12, 15, 17:1
• Plying Head Ratios 3, 7, 9:1

As you can see in the photos, that’s a lot of equipment standard with the wheel. I purchased four more spindles recently, and tonight I ordered the quill head so that I can try spinning cotton on this wheel. If it does that, then I will never need another wheel. The quill head only works with the double treadle. It spins at ratios of 6, 25, and 37:1. (Ratios are how many times the flyer head spins for every once the large wheel goes around. The more twists, the finer the thread you can spin. Fiber with very short staple length needs fast spinning to bing the fiber, like cotton.)

Here you can see the new bobbins I just got which I ordered in walnut, even though everything else is in maple. This was pretty much everything that came with the wheel (it did include 4 maple bobbins).  The bobbins are on a lazy kate, with a scotch tension cord along the bottom of the bobbins.  The piece to the right is the bracket for the regular flyer heads.  On the pedals are the two flyer heads.  The normal one on the right, the fast flyer on the left (you can see the smaller circles, which is where the band goes to set the ratio.)  At the top of the wheel, the larger plying bobbin and bracket are attached.  There are two bands, on the wheel, one is for the plying head, the other for the regular flyers.  The bracket can also be raised and lowered to adjust tension to keep the bands flowing free.
I have the wheel on a piece of rubber fabric that you put under rugs to keep them from slipping. The wheel is light, so without it the wheel tends to walk a bit. I sit in a really nice padded chair we bought when we got our sewing table. The padded back is a godsend.

I have some thoughts on drop spindles as well. I have two and I still love using them. I learned on a bottom whorl and I believe that it taught me a lot in preparation to moving to a wheel. There’s something wonderfully visceral about using the drop spindle. I tend to overspin a bit on the wheel still, but the yarn I spin on the spindles now is perfectly balanced when I wind them off on the swift into a skein. I can’t wait to get to that stage with the wheel. It’s also still a lot easier to travel with a drop spindle than with the wheel.

The first spindle, on the left, I got from Heritage Spinning in Oxford. The owner, Joan, has her father make these. The channel up at the top is excellent for keeping the yarn balanced and held. It’s a very simple spindle, reasonably priced, elegantly made, and it served me really well in the beginning. The second spindle Brian got for me this past Christmas. It’s a ring spindle from Golding that can be either a top or bottom whorl. I’ve tried spinning from a top and I don’t like it as well as a bottom, which is slower. This has some incredible features, like the notches in the ring to keep the fiber from slipping and the hook at the top works like a champ. It’s beautifully weighted, but because of this, it requires understanding what a fiber needs for spinning. For example, it’s too heavy for cotton. The spindle on the left, my first one, has a little bit of recycled cotton denim I tried spinning. The spindle is still a little heavy and that makes for a very uneven thread. Cotton can easily take 1000 twists per inch and the drop spindle just can’t quite go fast enough.

I am enjoying everything about spinning. It’s easier and often times cheaper to go and buy yarn, but I really love knowing how much a part of the process I’ve been.