Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spindle Galore

Do you ever get inspiration at 10pm?  If you do, I bet you file it away, go to bed and get a good night's sleep.  Am I right?  Sure I am.  Is that what I do? Of course not. 

Last night I was sitting spinning when an idea hit me.  I've been wanting to try my hand at making some spindles that were a little more special than just the toy wheels and dowels.  By 1:30am, I had my first attempt:

That's silver wire and an agate stone. I like how it came out and it spins fine but it's a little out of proportion.  I do like the idea, though.  I'm going to have another go with a finer dowel and some other stones I've got. 

I went to La Bead Oh this afternoon and found some likely items and came up with these:

I did 3 top whorl and 1 bottom whorl.  I'm not so crazy about bottom whorl spindles but I'm trying to give them a chance.  These are all glass beads and I had very little to do to make them fit.  The middle one standing was a little large for the dowel so I used a silver wire to wrap around and fit up through the bead to make it snug.  Looks so pretty against the clear glass bead.  The 2 standing on the right spin wonderfully and are just the right weight.  The others wobble a little bit but they do spin. 

I'll post more if I get more made.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ocean Blue

It's been back to spinning.  I've got a couple of projects on the spindles (more about that another day) and one on the Minstrel. 

This is some Louet Northern Lights wool in the colorway, "Ocean Waves."

I got this when I was in Lansing, MI, a while back and I've been dying to get to it.  The wool's not too soft but I love the way this is prepared.  Having the smaller roving makes it so easy to draft. 

Here's what I just took off the wheel:

It's merino spun to 3-ply lace-fingering weight.  I got this several years ago from Outback Fibers.  They have sample packs of merino featuring different colorways, which is a great way to try out the fiber.  As you can see, the colors are great.  The original plan was to spin it as finely as I was able, then ply it with a singles of black but I got impatient and bored! I can be fickle that way, sadly.  Imagine my surprise when I got it plied and it came out like this!  It's Navajo plied ("z" singles/"s" ply).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Selbu Mitts

When I was in Michigan a few weeks ago, I came across a wonderful book called Selbuvotter, Biography of a Knitting Tradition by Terri Shea.  One of the things I like most about the book is that, in addition to amazing patterns from authentic Selbu mittens and in addition to notes on construction, etc., there is a great overview of the history of Selbu knitting and the knitters who originated it and popularized and spread it.

I decided I wanted to spin some yarn to make one of the patterns to really get into the feel of it.  The yarn was 2-ply, more or less fingering weight or a little less and "rustic."  I'll leave it at that!

So, here is the first mitten done:

Traditionally it would have been knit with black and white but I had blue so mine are knit in blue and white.  So there!