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.
5 comments

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!

Advertisements

Fiber Optics Extravaganza May 19, 2010

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

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.

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.

Spinning Lately October 7, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, pokeberries, Rhinebeck, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, Uncategorized, yarn.
add a comment

I have been pretty bad about updating the blog with recently spun yarns, but that does not mean that I have been ignoring the wheels completely! Here is a taste of what has been drafted between my hands of late…

This Leicester Longwool is lambswool actually, my first spun single! I was playing with this in preparation for Rhinebeck, where the annual New York State Sheep and Wool festival is held. Leicester Longwool is the featured breed for 2009. This is about 250 yards, spun at a low ratio (7:1) and unbelievably soft. I am working on a companion skein for some colorwork from the Leicester Longwool I dyed with pokeberries.

The roving that became this two-ply Romney came from a store near Edmonds, WA. The wool was from a local sheep named Chris and purchased mainly because I loved the colorway. This was also spun at a low ratio, and the resulting yarn is softer than I would normally expect Romney wool to be. That is not to say that it is super soft by any means, but it is sweet.

And finally some color graded Polwarth. This roving and I have had a rough time of it. There was a lot of felting and tons of little neps and pills. Highly irritating. I had been holding on to it because it seemed so terrible to waste wool as soft as Polwarth and then I finally had to stop myself. I got rid of all the terribly felted bits and and spun a heavier yarn (this is a heavy worsted) while simply allowing the neps to spin right in. At this weight they just became incorporated and we got along much better. This 200 yard skein will likely become a hat at some point in the near(ish?) future.

Spinning Milkweed October 5, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn.
Tags:
2 comments

I have always been enamored of milkweed fluff. It floats beautifully, shimmers in the sun, it’s soft and light and magical. As a child I even decided to love monarch butterflies because they loved milkweed. Then one day someone told me that it can be spun. Into yarn. Really.

I started by carding those cotswald curls that you see at the top, opening the locks before adding the shimmering milkweed into the mix. I read that you can only use up to 70% milkweed in a fiber blend before the resulting yarn becomes too brittle to spin. It is best blended with wool. This blend was only about 5% milkweed, because it was just an experiment.

The drum carder took up the milkweed well, once in was sandwiched between two layers of wool. I removed all the seeds of course, but wish I had separated the fibers from their connection point before carding. The might have all floated away of course, but I think the blending would have gone better. It is amazingly hard to keep your milkweed from blowing away. There was much holding of breath in this endeavor.

Here is Devorah kindly modeling the fluffiness of the final batt.

This was spun up long draw again. Another 50 yards or so like the green curls. Shiny!

New Spinnings May 5, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in drop spindle, fo, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn.
3 comments

I have been watching with some envy the gorgeous rovings arriving at the homes of those participating in the Grafton Fibers Colorways club. I was proud of my resistance against  joining immediately when I saw the pretty colors. Instead I do what I usually try to do. I ordered some of their fiber to experience it before jumping into any rash decisions.

Gorgeous. Soft, delicious corriedale wool in such lovely batts. I ordered three (as can be seen at the bottom of this posting) in what I hoped would be complementary colors for a nice three ply yarn.

bobbins

bobbins

On the bobbins the variegations of color are nice and clear. These were jewel-like in tone and so easy to spin. The smooth softness was a joy to the hands.

I absolutely love how the colors complement each other. I wanted something with depth that resisted the traditional barber pole look. I think this suceeded nicely.

The shifting hues of color definitely keep my interest. This yarn has an overall blueish cast but mainly whispers lush, rich tidings at you quietly. This is about 3.5 ounces of corriedale, 162 yards of three ply yarn. Yum! That Colorways Club may well be in my future once I land at my new address.

Finally, I picked up a Ringspindle much more suited to my spinning style than the ponderously heavy Schacht drop spindle I was (attempting to use) using before. At 0.84 oz of weight this ebony wood spindle spins fast enough to create the types of singles that I adore without crashing to the floor. Much better for my ego than the clangs and bangs of my earlier attempts. My only remaining challenge is convincing myself that spinning 50 yarns of laceweight at a time makes any kind of logical sense! Oh well. Travel spinning. Yes. Um… I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Yarny Goodness March 25, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in dyeing, fo, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, stash enhancement, yarn.
4 comments

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!

HONK! March 15, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, handspun, Rhinebeck, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, stash enhancement, yarn.
3 comments

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.

In Love with Lace Weight Spinning October 25, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in fo, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, stash enhancement, yarn.
add a comment

I am aware that this is now the second non-Rhinebeck photo laden post in a row. Yikes. We will have to fix that later in the day.

That said, I had to share my new love of spinning lace weight yarn. I am biased, because that is what did so well at Rhinebeck, but also it has been such a joy. I picked up a lace weight flyer for my Ashford Traveler Wheel at The Fold before leaving Illinois. The kit came with a short length of undyed New Zealand merino wool for spinning. I started with that and spun half of it before my big move.

Then my wheel and all sundry supplies were packed up and shipped (or in the case of the wheel itself, driven by me, to Orlando). I finally started spinning the second bobbin of the merino this week.

I just spent a huge amount of time plying and ended up with 406 yards! From half an armspan worth of wool top! These photos are before wet setting. The soft squishiness came off the wheel nearly perfectly balanced. I just can’t stand myself. This photo is the yarn posing with my new niddy noddy, lovingly provided by Devorah at Rhinebeck. This was its first use!

Hooray for pretty tools.