Monday, May 26, 2008

Too hard and too easy

One of the things I love about spinning is how relaxing it is. There's something about having fiber sliding through the fingers that I find almost meditative. Occasionally, though, I come across a fiber that just does not want to play nicely.

ek td fiber
The colors in this merino are so deep and rich that I was really excited to start spinning it. Unfortunately, the fiber ended up being slightly felted and full of neps. Full. Of. Neps. I spent an eternity picking them out.

ek td skein
Fiber: Enchanted Knoll 100% merino, "Tia Dalma"
2 ply
430 yards
110 grams

ek td strands macro
Despite all the travails of spinning, the yarn did really did turn out well, so I shouldn't complain too much. My other Enchanted Knoll fibers don't seem to be suffering from the same neppy affliction, so I think this bit of merino is just a fluke. All's well that ends well, I suppose.

After such a labor intensive spin, though, I wanted something guaranteed to be easy. Enter the pencil roving.

cmf cor fr skein macro
Fiber: Crown Mountain Farms Corriedale pencil roving, "Finding Rainbows"
2 ply
420 yards
110 grams

cmf cor fr swirl
I had never spun pencil roving before, and good grief, it was like spinning on autopilot. Spinning pencil roving is the equivalent of knitting a garter stitch scarf. In the right mood, it can be just what's needed to maintain sanity. In the wrong mood, the monotony can drive one batty. Fortunately, monotony was just what I needed at the time.

Monday, May 19, 2008

First handspun knitting project

Look! It has only been eight months since I started spinning, and I already have a finished object to show.

cmf utb socks done
Yarn: my own handspun (from Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino, "Under the Boardwalk" colorway)
Pattern: 6x2 ribbing
Needles: 2.25 mm DPNs

cmf utb socks heel macro
Initially I was concerned that I might not be able to eke out a respectable pair of socks with my 350 yard skein, but halfway through the first sock, my worries disappeared. My trusty scale told me I had nothing to worry about. In fact, I could have made the legs longer, because I have about 20 grams of yarn left over. (Please don't advise me about the virtues of knitting socks toe up. I'm aware of the pros and cons, and I still generally prefer top down construction.) I'm actually happy to have a bit of the yarn left. It certainly won't go to waste.

cmf utb socks foot macro
What can I say? I adore these socks! (However, I don't adore them enough to model them in today's 100°F heat.) The subtle colors and the random blending of stripes thrill me to my toes...literally. This is why I started spinning.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The perils of spinning to order

Just when I think I'm getting the hang of this spinning thing, the spinning gods manage to give me a light smack across the cheek to remind me that I still have a long way to go.

A while back I exchanged a few emails with Oiyi about doing some spinning for her. She had some merino that she had bought with the intention of learning how to spin, but she had never been able to find the time to do it. Nevertheless, she did want to see the wool spun up. We arranged a trade, and shortly afterward, I received these in the mail.

sc braids
We discussed the possibilities for spinning these up. It was clear that the two blue ones could be spun together to make a 4 oz. skein, but it seemed best to spin the pink one on its own. Oiyi said she would like the yarns to be in the sport-DK range. No problem, said I. (You can probably see where this is going.)

sc pf skein macro
Fiber: Skeintily Clad 100% merino, "Peacocks on Broadway" and "Aegean Fantasy" (plied together)
2 ply
250 yards
116 grams

sc ss swirl
Fiber: Skeintily Clad 100% merino, "Sonoran Sunset"
3 ply (Navajo/chain plied)
116 yards
65 grams

sc both skeins
If you look at the specs, you'll see that both of these yarns ended up closer to worsted weight than sport or DK. Oops. In my attempt to spin thicker than I normally do, I definitely overcompensated. While they're both nice yarns, I can't help being just a little disappointed.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to my fingering weight spinning comfort zone for a while.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A winner at last

Thanks for being so understanding about the delay, everyone! And good grief, y'all are jonesing for the handspun, aren't you? I really love the way contests bring people out of the woodwork.

Without further ado, the winner—as chosen by the random number generator—is...peaknits! Winner's choice:

sgw hc swirl
Many thanks to all who commented! Now I just need to decide what to do with that other skein...

Monday, May 05, 2008


Sorry, folks. I'm going to have to postpone the drawing for the handspun yarn for a few days. One of our computers has died, and the Professor still needs to finish writing his final exam. We're also in the midst of some turmoil related to house-hunting. Please bear with me.