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Yarny Goodness March 25, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in dyeing, fo, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, stash enhancement, yarn.
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Hooray for the first yarn off of my new wheel! This is just over 540 yards of DK weight three ply yarn. The wool roving (breed unknown) was dyed by dudleyspinner. It started as 24 times more than this little nugget of fluff. About eight ounces.

Sorry for the blurriness. Cell phones just arent the best. I took the original roving, divided it randomly into three (by length) but then carefully separated each third into eight repeats. Happily, my attempt to balance out the rich colors seems to have worked. All suggestions about what to make from this are welcome!

I also had a ton of fun doing natural dyeing using beets. My housemate loves them, sadly enough, yet after boiling a pile in the crock pot I had a fabulous dye bath to work with. I used two different mordants on wool: alum and copper sulfate.

Here is the dyebath:

The cheesecloth was for straining out the beet bits. The pot below has wool mordanted in alum. That riotous orangey color definitely stuck! Fabulous! Time will tell if it will be colorfast, etc. I am thinking these rovings need to be turned into something that gets washed a bit less often.

Mordanting the wool in copper sulfate was beautiful! Aqualicious…

What happens to the color of beets once the copper sulfate is in the mix though… well, maybe greens should not be brought out of oranges. Lol. This looks a little too much like intestines. Ick! But the roving really is lovely. I cannot wait to see it spun.

Rinsed, dryed, and ready to spin! Both of these rovings are actually a bit darker than in the picture.

And finally I ordered some batts from Grafton Fibers! These are GORGEOUS! I am going spin them together. About one and one third ounce per batt… this is a three ply waiting to happen. We love the fibers!

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HONK! March 15, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, handspun, Rhinebeck, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, stash enhancement, yarn.
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I want to begin with apologies for the lateness of my honk, and yet honk I must for I was one of the many caught off guard by this latest revelation. Fluffy, delicious batts. They are so much fun to spin! We all want them. Let’s be honest… making fiber potions of fluffy goodness is the main reason why any of us owns a drum carder in the first place. For example, I can’t wait to card some milkweed into… well, that is a story for another time. For now, suffice it to say that when I read on our beloved YarnHarlot’s blog that wool fibers should be loaded onto a drum carder sideways I was as stunned as most of the rest of you.

So here I am honking because yes, I was told to load my fibers facing toward the drum and yes, even my written instructions say to do the same. In fairness, I have an amazing drum carder. I got fluffy batts the other way… but nothing like this. The one drawback is that so much less fiber fit into this batt of lusciousness. Here is the story.

I started with this beautiful mass of wool locks that I purchased at Rhinebeck this fall. The vendor never told me the breed of sheep, and the locks were already dyed. While one of my friends tells me this looks a bit like a diseased brain, I see only fibery goodness waiting to be spun up into something heavenly.

From this mass of potential I separated out the  individual locks (above) and teased them open with my fingers (below).

I then did what I think we all ran to our carders to do (if we were lucky enough to have a drum carder. Mine was a gift for which I am constantly grateful). I loaded up my carder with overlaping locks laid sideways so they would be pulled at from their sides by the rows of tiny metal teeth.

Even the sound was different! I could almost hear a chorus of young girls complaining about their mothers being too rough with the tangles in their hair. It takes focus and grim determination sometimes to keep that handle turning. Oh the flashbacks of it all! As the fiber started teasing apart between the almost touching metal I could instantly see the depth of color that would be in the final batt. Lustrous. I don’t know what breed of sheep this is from but I wish I did.

The full drum looked like this after the first pass. It took three total passes through the carder to make the batt above.

By the time the batt was really finshed it had an even color, great loft, and a wonderful shine. I did a test twist that doubled back on itself into a two ply just to see what the fibers would do. Though in truth I really just have a hard time keeping my hands off of the wool.

I made three batts in all just 15 grams of wool each. I only purchased 70 grams to begin with… just pulling a bit out of the basket of fluff to try on my carder. I still have some wool in glorious reds from the same basket. I will have to card that into a blend with something fun. In the meantime I decided to start learning to spin using the long draw technique. It is humbling, and a good reminder, to start learning to spin all over again in a sense. So different from a nice (read control freak spinner) worsted method. The result is 50 yards of three ply. A happy and fuzzy green ending to my story.

A Quick Little Knit March 11, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, free knitting patterns, knitting, Knitting - FOs, lace knitting.
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Valentine’s Day saw me wanting to knit something for my sweetie. Something fun, a bit naughty, and of course red. Had to be red. This FO is super hard to photograph. Apologies for not getting a clear, logical shot for you. But it was super fun to knit and really well constructed!

This is a great pattern from Interweave Knits by Laura Rintala. And it is very well constructed… I was impressed. The one change I made was suggested by another raveler, and that was to use elastic ribbon which makes the wearing of this lacy thong a lot more comfortable. This pic has a clearer shot of the lace in front. I will warn you that this is a ~small~ pair of undies, even for small undies. I did expand the waistband a bit.

Hooray for Valentine’s Day (and the great blog catch up which continues).

Knitted Votive Holder March 6, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, knitting, Knitting - FOs, Ravelry.
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Just a quickie for another update blast. This holiday season (yes… we are doing the catch up thing still) I made a votive holder for my grandmother. There is not a lot that she wants at this venerable and wise stage of her life, but lighting a regular candle for Santa Marta matters to her. So, knitting with wire it was. What a strange and different thing to do. All blessings upon Ravelry for being the place where I could get advice on how not to totally trash my fingers while doing this knitting.

28 gauge wire turned out to be the trick.

It was pretty easy! And Devorah, may she be forever blessed, was a huge help when she strung over 300 beads on this wire for me in advance so I could simultaneously work on knitting another (probably not to be pictured here) knitted gift. Time was tight. And she, as always, was a saint. Maybe next year she can have a votive holder of her own!

I decided to use Christmasy colors for beads and a red votive just to be festive. The doily in this picture was crocheted by one of the women who cares for my Grandmother. She is forever stitching… woman after my own heart.

I love you, Grandma.

The Stripes of Madness March 2, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, knitting, Knitting - FOs.
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There was a time way back these many weeks when one of our favorite knitting mentors, The Yarn Harlot, was helping her body adapt to stressful conditions by watching the pretty colors form under the k1p1 rib of a Noro Striped scarf. I remember reading that post and being drawn to the prettiness, for all that she was bemoaning how many other knitters had already knit the exact same thing. Like others, I have no doubt, I felt compelled to go out and knit with some Noro… something which had never called to me before. Usually I find their yarn too scratchy, but I hunted up some silk garden and gave it a go.

There was one thing that went fatally wrong however. In my colorway selection (and I am ashamed to admit I no longer remember which colors these are) I was swayed at the last moment to swap out one colorway for another that my housemate preferred. It was a lovely colorway… but… I dont think it goes so very well with the other one chosen. Kierstin (the lovely model above) disagrees and happily took this scarf off of my hands. The prime color clash (bright pink and bright green) are not so terribly obvious in that photo, so here is another:

Sigh. BRIGHT. But it was very soothing to my stressed out fingers while I was finalizing my grad school applications. So much so that I ended up purchasing more yarn in Silk Garden Light (and in happier colors) and am making another scarf for myself. More pics of that one in the future. But here’s to sharing another FO… and more importantly for finding out yesterday that I got into my top choice for school. I am so excited! I hope they have a good spinning guild in New Haven.