Thursday, April 15, 2010

Going missing this week

Sorry, no blog post this week. We're packing up and heading to Idaho Falls to visit our youngest son. There will be much eating, hiking, and laughing, hopefully a trip to Yellowstone again (we've never seen the park in the off-season), and general lollygagging about the countryside. I've been busy getting everything ready for our absence--teaching the catsitter how to use the security system, doing laundry, finishing dyeing some superwash wool, yak, and tussah silk, packing the sock knitting, etc. Of course, the last thing I do is pack the clothes; travel knitting is ALWAYS packed first!

Sock yarn has not been started yet, but it's on the To Do List for later today. I'm off to buy catfood so HRH Mercury has a decent selection for the coming week. Enjoy the week, and keep on spinning!

Friday, April 9, 2010

How to spin my Posy Toes batts--Caladium

First, let me apologize for the photo quality--it was a rainy dreary day and I had to shoot inside with incandescent light--ugh!

For the third and final technique, I chose the Caladium colorway (none in my shop presently--I think they're still packed from the move!). It's a deep green/teal/ruby batt that I love and that will go with many things in my wardrobe. The technique for spinning these is a semi-woolen technique. Start by rolling the batt into a sausage shape--widthways if you want striping, longways if you want more of a blend. I want a bit of striping so have gone widthways.

You then begin to attenuate the roll, stretching it out in stages until it's a fat roving. I usually start at one end and gently pull the roll with one hand while holding the roll with the other. Keep enough distance between your hands that the wool will slide easily--it shouldn't be a tug-of-war!

Once you've gone from one end of the roll to the other, start again and work back to the beginning. This way, you achieve a more even thinning of the fiber roll as we all have a dominant hand. If you continuously start from the same end, that hand will overtake the non-dominant hand and eventually pull the roll apart completely (yep, did that once or twice!).

You will continue thinning the roll till it's the thickness you like. I like mine to be about 1-1/2" wide because I will spin with a long draw to trap air in the yarn and that's my preferred prep for the technique. If you haven't done the long draw, you probably want to practice before spinning sock fiber until you're comfortable with the preparation and the spinning technique.

Finally, I'll roll the lengthened batt into a ball of roving. Actually, since my batts come three-to-a-bag, I split one of them in half so that each ball of roving is actually 1-1/2 batts-worth of fiber.

Next, doing the actual spinning......

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tweed yarn, at last!

I have finally managed to card wool and spin a tweed yarn that's to my liking. It's all about what kind of bits you add to the wool, and what kind of wool you use for the base--took me 3 months to figure that out! I'm finishing up the last of 2 skeins, then need to wash them, knit a sample and photograph both the skein and sample. Pix coming soon.....

I'm also working on the third and final installment of spinning my Posy Toes sock batts. Prepared the fiber while taking photos of the process this morning, and will have a new post up next week. Just not enough time today, with preparing for Easter dinner tomorrow (roast leg of lamb with mustard/soy glaze, spring peas, scalloped potatoes and coconut cake for dessert--yum!)

And I managed to get my Phatfiber samples in the mail in time for the April box. April's theme is "All Creatures Great And Small", and I was inspired by the Easter holiday and all those pastels in the stores to do something with lavendars and purples. I made 2 sets of samples--Little Blue Heron is the marbled spinning fiber, and Lavendar Waxbill is the new cashmere sock fiber.

Must run to check on the cake in the oven. See yinz next week!