Thursday, March 27, 2008

Two for one

I've got two finished yarns for show and tell today. Let's start with some good old superwash merino.

se yyz skein
Fiber: Spunky Eclectic superwash merino, "Toronto" colorway
2 ply
420 yards
111 grams

se yyz roving
The fiber seemed to have an alarming amount of white, the full extent of which is not really visible in this photograph. Since I'm generally not a fan of white, I was a bit skeptical about how it would spin up. At the same time, however, I know that those stretches of white tend to look less white in the finished yarn.

se yyz macro
Meh. I don't love it, and I don't despise it. The color sequences ended up being a lot longer than I had anticipated. Even though I did make some attempt at planning how the colors would come together, in the end it was all for naught. There are some particularly long stretches of—you guessed it—white.

Moving on to a yarn that exceeded my expectations in almost every way...

aef tf skein
Fiber: The Arts at Eagle's Find 100% merino, "Tropical Fish" colorway
3 ply (Navajo/chain plied)
500 yards
118 grams

aef tf strands macro
This yarn is just plain fun. Look at those colors! The childlike side of me is clapping with delight. The fiber itself was a joy to spin, and it was really reasonably priced to boot.

aef tf skein macro
This was my first full-skein attempt at Navajo plying, and all in all, it came out quite well. I think it's ever-so-slightly underplied, but not enough to make me want to do anything about it. Interestingly, my natural tendency is to overply conventionally plied yarns. Go figure.

aef tf crazy skein
Final verdict: I love Navajo plying! The process did seem to take forever compared to my normal 2 ply, what with spinning the extra-long single (1500+ yards) and then making the big loops during plying. However, the end result is totally worth it. Yay!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chocolate & raspberries

All right, I take back everything negative I ever said about pink. It's a fine color.

fgf razz skein
Fiber: Freckle Face Fibers 100% Merino, "Razzleberry Pie"
2 ply
approx. 285 yards
92 grams

ftf razz twisted
Bea asked me to do some spinning for her in exchange for some of her lovely handmade things, and of course I happily agreed. She was maddeningly delightfully vague about how she wanted the wool to be spun, so in the end, I just let the fiber tell me what thickness it wanted to be.

Of course, I had more singles left over than I would have liked. (Drat! Why does that happen when I'm spinning for someone else?) I decided to Navajo ply the leftovers, so Bea also got this mini skein.

fgf razz mini
In return, Bea presented me with this treasure trove of handmade goodness.

goodies from bea
That's merino roving she dyed herself, her own YarnPig 100% superwash merino sock yarn ("Painted Desert" colorway), and one of her plum velveteen project bags. Really, I feel like I won the lottery. She showed me three more of her rovings, and all I can say is that I hope she puts them up for sale in her shop. They are so beautiful that it's hard to believe they're the result of her first attempt at dyeing fiber.

Thanks again, Bea!

Monday, March 17, 2008

A bit o' green

At last, I have proof that I still know how to knit!

mc dlr socks done

Pattern: Double Lace Rib socks (from More Sensational Knitted Socks, by Charlene Schurch), 60 stitches
Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot, "Juniper"
Needles: 2.25 mm DPNs

mc dlr socks macro2
These socks seemed to be forever in the making. As some of you may recall, I originally started knitting Nutkin in this yarn. Although I love both the pattern and the yarn, the match just was not meant to be. Once I hit upon a stitch count for Nutkin that allowed for the correct amount of stretchiness, the yarn pooled badly. Badly. I know when to give up. Really, I do.

I finally decided that a simpler pattern was called for. Enter my trusty copy of MSKS. This is really just a simple 2x1 rib with yos. It's simple, but pretty. (Ahem, that's "pretty" in a very manly sort of way, of course. These socks are for the Professor, after all.)

And since I can't have a completely spinning-free post these days, here's a bobbin of rainbow singles just waiting to be plied.

aef tf full bobbin
Since I'm planning to Navajo ply, I'm letting this rest for a few days to let the twist energy settle down a bit. My hands don't like to be idle, though, so I may or may not have also started spinning a new yarn. Empty bobbins just look so sad.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Just call me Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin could spin straw into gold. I can't quite do that, but I did turn these...

...into these.

wollmeise trade
Ms. B wrote a blog post recently suggesting that she would be willing to trade Wollmeise for handspun. With all the skeins of handspun I have piling up, how could I not jump on board? At last, I have obtained the long-coveted Spice Market! (Insert evil laugh.) She also sent along some Knitters Uncensored stickers, so now everyone will know how cool I am (ahem). Thanks again, Ms. B! I just love the barter system.

I do have some finished spinning that I'd love to show, but unfortunately, it'll have to wait until next week. In the meantime, here's some spinning-in-progress.

aef tf bobbin
Since five of the last six skeins I've spun all had brown in them to some degree, I wanted to spin something that is NotBrown. This rainbow merino is about as NotBrown as I can get. It's as though I'm releasing my inner 7-year-old—the one who drew rainbows, suns, and clouds on every blank piece of paper she could get her hands on. These days I'm not much of a girly girl, but this? This makes me happy.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wild horses

Now that Grace has the yarn in her hot little hands, I feel like it's OK to show it all to the rest of you. It was a little difficult to hand these skeins over to her. Oh, how I love brown!

cmf wh skeins
Fiber: Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino, "Wild Horses"
2 ply
Skein 1: 440 yards, 111 grams
Skein 2: 430 yards, 120 grams

cmf wh strands macro
These turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, the roving wasn't as easy to work with as the previous CMF fiber I used. It looked as though the fiber had taken a bit of a beating during the dyeing process. There were lots of neps and scraggly bits that needed to be picked out. I do think the state of this particular roving was a fluke. The other CMF rovings I have appear to be in good shape. All in all, there wasn't as much waste as I was expecting, so really, I don't have a lot to complain about.

cmf wh skein macro
Both skeins were within the yardage range I targeted too. Whew! Grace said she wanted sock yarn, and I believe I delivered sock yarn. It's enough to make me feel like I almost know what I'm doing. I'm very excited to see how these knit up.

cmf wh macro2
I'm nearly finished with yet another spinning commission, this time from the lovely and talented Bea. Here's what she gave me to spin up for her.

fgf razz roving
Isn't it delicious? I'd better be careful, because I'm in danger of becoming accustomed to people giving me pretty fibers to play with. Of course, they do expect me to give it back to them as yarn. There's always a hitch.