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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.

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.

Spinning Lately October 7, 2009

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

Color Gone Wild May 8, 2008

Posted by lunarawe in Uncategorized.
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Color.

There is nothing harder to resist in the glory of fiber. I am a tactile person myself… yet faced with beautifully balanced, lusty color I am helpless. I have been resting my eyes in lushness these many hectic and stressful months. Spinning, dyeing… dreaming of spinning and dyeing. One of these days I might return to my needles and knit. This roving above (half yet to be spun) is from Master Dyer Nancy Finn at Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks. I bought these four ounces of bombyx/merino blend from her at Rhinebeck in her Reds colorway. A complicated spin, but worth every minute. 205 yards so far of 3-ply, fingering weight yarn. Delicious. Helps me remember that delicate place where my sanity (or what’s left of it) lives.

To that end I have also been playing with one pot multicolored roving experiments. Always fun and the results are never what one might call expected.

Pour in the colors and watch them run! Not so much for the feint at heart. This fiber below, for example, was destined to become a roving filled with glorious yellows and fiery reds. ~delicate cough~ But hey, orange… and the colors are lovely nonetheless.

I also read the Knitty article on spinning silk hankies.

Well! Back to Nancy Finn and her More Teals colorway. There is something amazing about the strength of silk fibers. Also something odd about doing all the drafting separate from the spinning. Much less efficient.

But so beautiful.

This picture does no justice to either the colors or the shine. Remind me to hide the url on the lace flyer next time. Sigh. This is on a journey to becoming two ply laceweight. Pure silk. Oh the shawliness of it all!

Which of course got me exited about dyeing silk hankies. I mean, how could I resist? I sense projects in my future.

And some fabulously blessed person (Devorah) showered me in natural dyeing gifts for my birthday!

This after an adventure with weeding the waaay overgrown yard. And discovering (Devorah again) that the weeds were a dye plant. And not finding alum ANYWHERE. And now being prepared for next time.

Who knew mordants could be so pretty?

And last but not least I have been playing with the fabulous drum carder that wonderful Eric braved the frightening world of spinners to research and procure for Christmas. Yes. Haven’t blogged in a while.

Dyeing in solid colors to blend on a carder. SO differnt. Yet the heathered results. Yum.

These are waiting to be spun into a cabled yarn. Just as a soon as that second bobbin is spun.

Yep. Too much color. Poor me.