jump to navigation

Graded Love January 10, 2011

Posted by lunarawe in Fiber Optic Yarns, fo, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, stash enhancement, yarn.

I just can’t stand it. I. Cannot. Stand. It!

Love. Overwhelming, head turning, foolish-making love. One day merino met silk in the hands of a wonderfully gifted dyer. That dyer layered, and layered, and layered, and kept on layering until the object of my affections emerged from the dye studio dripping with promise. Well, perhaps rinse water. But still radiant I have no doubt. The photo below is from Kimber’s etsy shop.

I have been collecting layered gradient rovings from Kimber since she began dyeing them. Frankly just admiring them in their braids gives me joy, but I figured I should spin at least one. To see if it might actually be prettier once drawn out and twisted.

Oh it was. These two photos (above and below) are soaking wet, right after fulling. Fulling would be the nice term we use to describe taking the object of our affection and stressing it between hot and cold water then whacking it firmly against a hard surface. The yarn evens out, relaxes, and drapes beautifully.

I will admit to being woefully behind on blog updates (ha. as always.) but I had to move this most recent spin to the front of the blogging list. Did I mention that I’m in love? Oh yes.

Here it is dry and skeined. About 350 yards. It is hard to tell how soft this is. The yarn is 80% merino and 20% silk and its shine is not to be believed. I know there is nothing to be done. The ultimate proof is that I am already about to knit with it, having just barely finished a completed project made from the tempranillo that I finished months ago.

Gradient yarns. So pretty!


Rhinebeck, Day One October 17, 2010

Posted by lunarawe in Fiber Optic Yarns, goats, NYS Sheep and Wool Festival, Rhinebeck, sheep, The Fold.

Rhinebeck! Is there any event in the fiber world that I look forward to with greater glee every year? Not even close. Not even spinning on the beach. Not even on a tropical beach. Rhinebeck is just heavenly. Where else but the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival can you find so many like minded fiber obsessors artists in one place! OK, yes there are other wool festivals. I happen to love this one.

Look at all these people! Clearly it is Saturday morning at Rhinebeck. Ravening hordes Dedicated shoppers and enthusiasts are making their way among booths and animal pens, admiring each other’s handwork and elbowing their way to the goodies.

And boy are there goodies! I didn’t actually take pictures of any booths today (those who have read my posts during Rhinebeck in years past will know my camera tends to be drawn to fiber animals), but a few special things did catch my eye. Check out the treadles on this spinning wheel. Gorgeous! I will try to remember tomorrow to actually LOOK at the sign and tell you the name of the delightful man who made it. Apologies. We’ll blame it on the wool fumes.

And look at this amazing felted tapestry. Yep, again, I didn’t read the sign. Terrible, I know. But this is gorgeous wool craft! Worth admiring.

This year I had a plan, and it was a good one. I ignored all the wondrous and distracting things and went directly to what mattered to me most. The fleece sale (whoops, got there an hour after the fair opened, most of the goodies were gone… I’ll do better next year), the Fiber Optics Yarn booth (many goodies scored! gradient dyes, and some lovely OOAK pencil roving), and The Fold (Socks that Rock, Rare Gems! Not to be passed up). I even managed to stop by the Woolee Winder booth and grab some high speed bobbins. Happy spinner!

Then I stopped by the spinning competition to fondle all the yarn (which sadly this year they wouldn’t let us do. boo.) and check on the eight skeins that I entered this year. I have to admit my shock when I saw Grand Champion hanging from one of my skeins (it was the Footnotes UNSPUN in Mayan Chocolate from Fiber Optics. Yum!). I remember when I was scared to enter my spinning at Rhinebeck. To win for best skein is humbling. Of course I didn’t get a great picture of that. And I haven’t blogged about that yarn yet. Oops. Again, I’ll try to do better tomorrow. The yarns above were for the 3-ply wool class, and I am delighted to say that that blue ribbon is also mine! Rhinebeck spoiled me this year – two firsts, two thirds, and a fourth place ribbon. Hooray!

You also have to admire some of the rarer sights when a large fiber crew gathers. This is Susan Stapleford demonstrating spinning on a pendulum wheel. It’s so huge I didn’t manage to get the bobbin in the shot. It’s just off camera at the end of the long pendulum. Good Grief! She was very gracious about letting me take a photo. It is hard to tell but that pink skein fourth from the left is the sakura documented in the post below. It won fourth place in the exotic fibers class.

What else? This stunning shawl won Best of Show and deservedly so! I wish they had taken the space to stretch it out completely. What a lovely job this knitter did.

All in all it was a fabulous first day. I got to see Toni from The Fold and Kimber from Fiber Optic Yarns, and both things just brought me great joy! Kimber, this blog update is in your honor! Thanks for checking on me so regularly even when I am terrible about posting. To that end, I chose to update the joys of today. I will work on catching up with all the fun spinning and knitting from the past… groan… three months and change soon. As always, here are some of the most adorable sheepies and goats ever! I will have alpacas for you tomorrow.

Join us if you can!

The Tour de Fleece July 4, 2010

Posted by lunarawe in Fiber Optic Yarns, handspun, spinning.
add a comment

… has begun! Or began yesterday, I should say. This is my first year participating and I am delighted to be a part of Team Fiber Optic Spinners – Spinning at the Speed of Light! Or trying. *laugh*

I decided to return to the second batt of Sakura and complete what I am hoping will be a lovely color graded two ply heavy lace weight yarn. It looks like it might be closer to a light fingering weight, but we shall see. Above is my spinning from the beginning of day one. I did get back to it last night and progressed further, but the light was not good for taking pictures. I will upload more action shots later today.

I am, as usual, way behind in sharing recent spinning, so here is a quick update as well. I have been spinning a lot of Kimber Baldwin’s fabulous fiber in preparation to knit a triangular entrelac shawl for Devorah. The North Woods BFL is completely finished, with both skeins totalling 360 yards of three ply yarn. To that I have added the first of two skeins of BFL in the Elia colorway which resulted in another 270 yards of three ply (the yarn pictured on top). The Elia came in five ounce braids instead of four since they were from the monthly club. Luckily I really like this color! Here is the yarn spun for the shawl to date:

I also took a brief break from shawl spinning to play with four ounces of Merino dyed I believe by Pigeon Roof Studios. More details when I find the pesky tag. This is about 220 yards total of chain plyed (3-ply) yarn. This may be destined to become some sort of short fingerless gloves.

Back to the tour to hopefully finish the second single of Sakura today. Good luck to all those participating!

Fiber Optics Extravaganza May 19, 2010

Posted by lunarawe in Fiber Optic Yarns, fo, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, Uncategorized.

Well the best news is that I finished my first year of doctoral study. Hallelujah!

As the semester drew to a close (read as I sat unmoving for hours on end at my desk writing papers) I allowed myself small spinning breaks to keep my brain from melting into a small, pitiful puddle of ooze. As excited as I am about finishing the second sakura batt and choosing a wonderful triangular shawl to show off its color gradient, I knew I needed something easier to spin for the moment. I had recently received my second As the Whorl Turns fiber club mailing (from Fiber Optic Yarns) and I decided to spin that.

Footnotes UNSPUN in the tempranillo colorway –  4 ounces of 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon fiber. I love these colors! This is pencil roving, already split in two exact matching halves (notice below how this did not result in evenly spun color, lol, my control is just not that good). After finishing my last paper on Friday night, I rewarded myself Saturday morning by sitting down to ply. The result is 370 yards of fingering weight two ply yarn.

I may finally have to knit a pair of socks out of my handspun – it’s about time!

Next I turned with real excitement to another Fiber Optic roving that I purchased from Kimber at Rhinebeck last year. This is 4oz of Blue Faced Leicester in her Northwoods (OOAK) colorway. Happily, I have two braids – 8 oz total.

I spun this as a straight three-ply, dividing the roving straightforwardly by length into thirds. Each third I carefully split in four, maintaining the color repeats while spinning in the hopes of having an overall balance of color in the final yarn. After pre-drafting the depth of the colorway really came to life.

The picture above is the pre-drafting for just one of the three plies. This was also my first full spin on my new woolee winder attachment for my Schacht wheel – a fabulous birthday present from Devorah. It is wonderful! I am still getting used to how densely packed my bobbins are now. This is the full four ounces of fiber!

It looks like there is almost nothing on them. But in the end they spun up to 188 yards of 3-ply, super sproingy and still very soft. Next on the list is the second braid of this fiber, and I am hoping to spin two other colorways in greens, also on BFL for some mad handspun project.

Here is a closeup of the final yarn, apologies that the color is a bit washed out. The full skein picture is truest to color.

Sakura in Progress April 17, 2010

Posted by lunarawe in Fiber Optic Yarns, spinning, yarn.
1 comment so far

The cherry blossoms have been absolutely stunning this spring, so it has been an extra joy to spin Sakura – a cherry blossom inspired batt of wool, bamboo, and silk from Kimber Baldwin at Fiber Optic Yarns. This was my first selection in the As the Whorl Turns fiber club, which I highly recommend! The club will open to new members on May 14th.

I asked for two batts this first month, with a 2-ply, heavy lace weight yarn in mind. My plan is to do a long color grade, working a triangular shawl from lightest at the center to darkest at the edge.

At the beginning the color was dark and rich, and the flash in this first photo shows how the fibers create a beautifully light reflective yarn.

I took several pictures as I got closer to the end of the batt in an attempt to document the color shifts, really enjoying the changes in hue.

Here is the final single, and I am off to work on the second! There are bits of pink gossamer lightness floating about my house (and clothes!).

Sample on Retreat March 7, 2010

Posted by lunarawe in drop spindle, Fiber Optic Yarns, fo, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, Uncategorized, yarn.
add a comment

I had the absolute blessing of being on retreat with colleagues at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA this past week. I took a tiny sample of Unspun Foot Notes with me from my favorite dyer, Kimber Baldwin of Fiber Optic Yarns. Here is the result from a short evening conversation. About 18 yards of heavy laceweight yarn.

Soft and delightful if a bit wonkily plied due to my lack of finesse plying on a drop spindle.

Spun sample October 15, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in drop spindle, Fiber Optic Yarns, fo, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn.
1 comment so far

Sometimes the very best thing to do is take on something small and savor it.

During my last visit to The Fold, Toni introduced me to something wonderful! A new dyer (to me anyway) by the name of Kimber Baldwin, the creative force behind Fiber Optics. Her shop is worth a visit and I can tell you that her eye for color is spectacular. In my hand (above) I am holding a tiny sample of her pencil roving (Foot Notes, 80% superwash merino wool and 20% nylon) in the black coffee colorway.

This sat on my desk for just a couple of days, spun on my ringspindle in spare moments stolen from other tasks. So delightful. Simple, satisfying drafting, gorgeous colors, and a perfectly matched set of double pencil rovings that I split to create two singles.

Yes those singles were stored on bamboo skewers… inexpensive and long enough to fit into my industrious kate reasonably well. This was a very tiny amount of roving, and I wanted to use the same spindle for both plies. On that note I would like to sing the praises of the recent addition of Seth Golding’s work to the ringspindles collection.  This one is an ebony ringspindle, 0.8 oz.

The result was 25 yards of laceweight in lovely colors.

The colors are easier to see here.

Simple. Satisfying. Utterly worthwhile.