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Graded Love January 10, 2011

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

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Fiber Optics Extravaganza May 19, 2010

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

Turn a Square April 8, 2010

Posted by lunarawe in fo, free knitting patterns, hats, knitting, Knitting - FOs, turn a square.
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Who doesn’t love the genius of Jared Flood? When Kierstin’s housemate (househusband) Adam was seen one too many times in public without handknit winter accessories, we had to make an intervention. She and I conspired to make him something that he would like (notice the lack of bright pink *grin*) and this is what he chose. She made the gorgeous scarf and I matched it with a Turn a Square hat. Rather than work with Noro which was brighter than he wanted, we chose Rowan Tapestry for it’s wonderful drape and hand and nice color shifts.

The colors are more true in the first pic… sorry, I didn’t take these photos myself. I think he looks super cute!

Pretty Thing Cowl March 31, 2010

Posted by lunarawe in fo, knitting, Knitting - FOs, knitting lace, lace knitting, Pretty Thing Cowl.
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A pretty thing for a beautiful woman! I am sure that many of you, like me, were itching to cast on something soft and delightful the instant you saw our very own Yarn Harlot’s Pretty Thing Cowl. What a gorgeous pattern! I immediately thought Holiday Knitting, and that fact should clue you in to how far behind I am on blogging.

Given my tendency to knit smaller than most, I went up a needle size and knit this on 4s U.S. This gorgeous, shiny, soft, wonderful yarn is Artyarns Silk Rhapsody Glitter – made of silk, mohair, and shine. It is lovely when knit up, the multiple colors making for a somewhat heathered lace instead of something that distracts the eye. Here is a close-up of the cowl, oddly stretched because it has a folded pillowcase inside to show the pattern.

Going up a needle size made for good gauge in terms of stitches per inch, and I added a repeat of the lace pattern as well so that the cowl would fit her better. I swear the Yarn Harlot must have a tiny neck. That said, I did not account well for the increase in row gauge. Ooops. This is definitely too high for her neck after blocking though she seems to like it folded over. If I make this again, which I well might since I love the pattern, I will likely keep the 4s and the added repeat but reduce chart repetitions. I might also choose a yarn with less of a halo.

Still, this gift was appreciated and that is the entire point. She’s happy. 🙂

Sample on Retreat March 7, 2010

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

Gold Medal Shawl February 28, 2010

Posted by lunarawe in clapotis, fo, knitting, Knitting - FOs, plus size, shawl.
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Huzzah it is finished! I finished at a leisurely pace (yes, that means I didn’t get any reading done yesterday… it was a rough day) last night and finished sewing in the ends this afternoon while watching the men’s 50K cross country race. I will post pics of it on once it has been blocked. That will have to wait until my wires arrive. This is too long a straight-edged shawl to be buggered bothered with tons of pins. Hopefully they will arrive tomorrow!

Here is a close-up so you can see the detailing. Those few odd dropped stitches will even out once it is blocked. I am loving the pairing of the Rowan Tapestry with this pattern, though it is a huge pain to drop those stitches because the yarn is grabby.

Modifications:

I followed other knitters’ advice in several ways. 1) I purled the stitches to be dropped on the right side and knit them on the wrong side rather than bother with stitch markers. 2) I purled through the back loops on the stitches bracketing the stitches to be dropped (on the wrong side of the shawl) to keep a clean edge at the end. This made the pattern MUCH nicer. 3) I added several more repeats to the body to use up my yarn and increase the length of the shawl.

This is perfect tv knitting. Simple, pattern free after just a short investment of time, and very satisfying in the end. No wonder so many of these have been made! I am still cheering the rest of you on. So close! Keep breathing!

Christmas Knitting December 25, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in calorimetry, fo, knitting, Knitting - FOs, lace knitting, scarf.
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Just a very short post to share two projects. The first is a hat (sorta) and scarf (sorta) that I made for Eliana, my father’s wife. She is lovely and when she saw my calorimetry expressed glee at the idea of having one. So of course that was an easy Christmas idea. But then I got to thinking that she could probably use something to go with it and when I saw the Cedar Leaf Shawlette, by Alana Dakos (ravel it here!) I knew it would be perfect for her. I also figured it wouldn’t look too strange with a calorimetry in the same yarn. I highly recommend doing this in a silk blend yarn for drape. Beautiful.

She looks gorgeous (as usual)! The shawl pin and yarn are both from Webs, Mirasol Tupa (50% merino, 50% silk) in colorway number 808. Did I mention that Eliana loves red? Here is a close up although the color is true in the first picture, not this one.

The second project is an afghan that I made for my father in 1996! Such a long time ago! To my delight he put it on my bed last night and I was able to take a picture of a very old FO. I rarely crochet, but granny squares were a novelty to me at the time. Nice to see that my taste in witchy colors is not new! This is a lap blankie, about twin size. I have absolutely no recollection of the yarn or anything else.

Winter Warmth December 14, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, free knitting patterns, hats, knitting, Knitting - FOs, scarf.
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Even in the midst of pesky things like final papers, a woman has to stay warm! Oooh the transition from Florida to Connecticut has not been cute! Snow. We are not loving it.

That said, it does inspire me to knit. And knit. And bemoan all the time I spent knitting socks. At least my feet are warm. So two more warm things have been completed.

This is a scarf for Kierstin (another scarf for Kierstin, we should say). It is loosely based on the scarf patterns distributed by Schaefer to go with their yarns, yet the yarn itself is not Schaefer. It is Lana Bambu which is 79% wool, 21% bamboo and comes in gorgeous colors with fabulous drape.

I also had to make another calorimetry to go with my purple coat. Note cute thistle button. Hooray for warm ears! This is a great quick pattern for anyone still looking for winter woolies. This one is made in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.

Calorimetry November 6, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, free knitting patterns, hats, knitting, Knitting - FOs.
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This is such a fabulous pattern! After Kierstin made me one like a total love, I realized how perfect this winter gear solution was for locs. Problem… I have a bright red coat which I cannot wear with her delightful mauve calorimetry. I wear that one with my other coat. So what is a knitter to do the night before leaving for Montreal in November with said red coat? Knit of course! This is in Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica with a happy pewter spinning wheel button.

Too satisfying.

Spun sample October 15, 2009

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