Monday, May 31, 2010

Fit to be plied.

In more ways than one. I feel like someone has gone and started twisting various strands within my reality - but that is neither here nor there other than it rather delayed my update!

When I left you last, I left you with some rather enticing photographs of my many yards of singles wound onto a book. I should warn you that andean plying this quantity of yarn is not for the faint of heart - it also requires a LOT of patience and care - especially since the singles are still energized. It may be easier to spin from the center and outside of a center pull ball rather than attempt to ply from a bracelet....with all that said, I apparently was not thinking of the potential fiasco that could have been in the making and proceeded anyway.

Here I've carefully transferred the singles to my wrist - this is done by carefully sliding the singles over my hand while ever so carefully working the spatula free of the singles in addition to keeping track of the two free ends. Once the yarn is wrapped, I tied both ends of the yarn to my leader and away we went. It was a bit touch and go a few times, and certainly this was probably not as fast or smooth a ply-job as it would have been had I been plying off a pair of bobbins. There were some times when I thought for sure I would have to break the yarn - there were other times when the singles threatened to snarl into an unruly mess....

It seems my slow and steady approach was to be awarded though:

here is the yarn, freshly washed, whacked and dried. Some areas were not quite as evenly plied - but thus is the nature of handspun.

here is one side, once wound into a skein....

and here it is from the other side.
If you are wondering just how big a skein this is, you can see my fingers peeking out from underneath here.

It is 8 ounces of lovely yarn (~635 yards) - a blend of Targhee and superwash merino wools plus bamboo and nylon fibers. I actually blended two different colorways from Hello Yarn to make this finished skein - Grim (superwash merino, bamboo and nylon) and Garland (targhee). The yarn is semi-fractally spun. First I split each roving half lengthwise. Then I took one half of each and split those lengthwise into eighths. When spinning the singles, I spun the large 2 oz sections first - one after the other, then I finished off the fiber by alternating the smaller pieces from each colorway.

Monday, May 24, 2010

taking a break

...from knitting...

...and based on the date of last publication, from blogging as well :P
In any case, I decided I needed to make some headway on the rather large pile of personal spinning I grabbed a couple of bags from HelloYarn and split the fibers up for spinning, aiming for a thinnish single with plans to turn it into a 2-ply. After spinning, the jumbo bobbin was nearly full...and the singles, I thought, were rather lovely.

Normally when I make 2 plies, I wind everything into an andean plying bracelet and ply away until everything is done - I rarely ever split my singles onto two separate bobbins for plying, mostly because 1) I'm lazy and don't plan ahead and 2) I like making sure all of my singles are "consumed" and I honestly don't think I could balance my yardage out on separate bobbins. What I hadn't been thinking of, however, is the fact that I have never gone to the trouble to andean ply quite this much yarn before.

I at least had the foresight to wind onto something other than my hand - thanks to this post from Rosemary Knits that suggested the use of a book for winding on. As I was winding away in preparation, the foolishness of this idea began to sink in.

Behold: over 1200 yards of energized singles wound onto a book, ready to be transferred for plying. The sheer winding on process was enough to trigger some slight muscle soreness in my arms from holding the book out and the winding-on motion.

viewed from another angle, you can see the spatula I stuck into the book to take the place of my finger (had I been winding onto my hand). Clearly, if I had wound all this onto my hand, I would likely no longer have circulation in the hand, much less the finger....

stay tuned to see how it all turned out :)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Lucky me!

I've been meaning to get back to my wheel - it seems I always get distracted - so much to do in my spare time and spinning seems to get bumped easily. I had been contemplating some fiber from my HelloYarn fiber club shipment for a pair of socks for my husband but I'm not terribly good at spinning particularly fine - especially given that socks really should be knit from multi-ply yarn and not singles. It was a bit of a conundrum.

Kiki took pity on me and we arranged for a "spin" trade :) She'd spin my fiber for me, and I'd spin up some of her fiber for her! Her daughter wanted a thick squooshy chunky yarn - that I can do! So I spun this:

Becoming Art Love Love on superwash merino - 4 oz of navajo plied chunky goodness. While Kiki spun up my HelloYarn Loch into some stunning navajo plied fat fingering weight yarn!

I'm pondering sock patterns now, but I suspect the socks will be fairly simple in pattern to fully show off the gorgeousness of this handspun. Do you have any pattern suggestions??

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Two Years

in the making....f new finished object is off the needles :) I can't believe it took quite so long. What is it you ask? come over here and find out!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Final bits

I adore this agave - I wish I knew what kind it was, as our large agave in the back yard is sprouting a huge stalk, which generally means it will be dying off soon. I adore this one for its contrasting edge on the foliage - it reminds me of a deckled tear on heavy paper.

I have no idea what these are, but they are tiny, and they make me happy.

These are a non-native cactus species - but the blooms remind me of sea anemones.

This is another look at a different type of agave -I adore the frosty leaves with spine impressions. That does it for the current round of macro photos...tho I have to admit to picking up a Lightscoop recently...and I've been chasing the cats around ever know, to test it out! Photos of actual knitting, coming soon ;)