Saturday, July 10, 2010


In keeping with my goal to sample with fibers and spinning and such, I had a good time this morning.  I plopped in my "Roman Holiday" dvd, got my variety of fibers I'd put by to sample with and my cards and had a good old time.  First of all, how could you not have a wonderful time with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.  I LOVE that movie.  So sweet and bittersweet.  Always brings a little tear to my eye when they meet in the middle of all those reporters at the end.  Sigh...  Love that movie.

Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn and surrounded by scrumptious fibers.  Nothing better. 

For this morning, I just wanted to see how the fibers acted together.  I had corriedale, generic wool top, merino, silk noils, tussah silk, bamboo and tencel.  I loaded my cards with a little of this and a little of that, mixing them as seemed good, adding colors as it seemed good.  Once I had the fibers carded lightly and rolled them into a rolag, I spun them on my Ashford drop spindle and plied them Andean style to get a good 2-ply sample skein.

These were straight off the spindle and these are after they've been washed.  I don't know if you can see the difference in these pictures but they really "bloom" after they've been washed.  As always, you can click on the pictures to see a larger view.

I enjoyed myself immensely, not only because it was fun to figure out how much of each color and each fiber to load up and, of course, I always love the wow factor of how the yarn looks as it is spun into singles and then plied into a yarn.  It always seems a little magical to me and never quite predictable.  I like that!

My exploration of cotton continues, too, with this little wrap of tri-colored natural cotton that I've had for ages.  You can see the top and then how the color deepens once the yarn has been boiled good and proper.  Our spinning group took to the park the other night and I took my "coyote" cotton (that's the reddish/brown color) top and I spun and I spun.  I told some of the ladies that I never ever thought I would fall in love so deeply with spinning cotton.  I just can't get enough of it.  I realize that much of that has to do with the preparation of that particular top that makes it so easy to spin.  Believe it or not, I love cotton.  Next time I'll let you in on the little experiement in cotton my Mom and I have going.  Actually, she's done all the work to this point!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Silk Vid

Take a look here and see what you think.  Just remember, it's nothing fancy!


Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.  I spent mine visiting yarn shops in Bloomington, IL, such as MaryLynn's Yarn Garden and Ewe Knits.  Both are wonderful, warm, friendly spots and I thoroughly enjoyed the chats I had in both places.  Don't think I got out without buying stuff, either!  More on that another day.

The rest of the weekend I spent sampling, getting some knitting started and also some dull things like getting the house straightened and washing clothes and dishes.

The fun stuff included...
finishing a project I've had in mind for a long time, which was to spin some black wool roving to match some beautiful jewel tone Nashua Creative Focus worsted yarns I got in South Dakota a couple of years ago.  It's a wonderful singles yarn and, although the actual Nashua yarn is wool and alpaca, I just used wool for my version.

It was mildly successful but I really had a hard time walking the fine line between getting too much twist into the singles or not enough.  I knew, too, that no matter how little twist I was able to get away with, I would still have an unstable yarn.  But, lo and behold, the first time I've gone on Ravelry in about 3 weeks, I stumbled on a discussion string about this very thing and was told that it should go into a really hot bath then into a cold one and it should be "roughed up" (their term, not mine!).  This fulls (slightly felts) the yarn which gives it strength and stability for knitting.  Who knew?

Oh, yeah, the reason I wanted to do this is because I thought this yarn in colors I've got would make a wonderful mondrian sort of something.  I've always liked that look.  I'm thinking I might do some sort of bag.  That could be cool, right?

The other finished project pertains to some silk hankies I finally got spun.  These were a purchase from Stitches a couple of years ago.  I started spinning them by poking my finger through the middle and drafting out but then I thought I'd try spinning from the corner.  It worked a lot better for me so I'll definitely be using that technique in future.  I did a video showing how to do it and will post it when I get it edited.  It's nothing fancy but it does show the process.

I spun the singles medium to very fine and, of course, with the hankies you get a good bit of texture in the yarn.  Then I navajo plied it, mostly because I was too lazy to try to wind half of it off onto another bobbin.  They say that necessity is the mother of invention but I have to say that sometimes it's laziness that's the mother of invention.  I would never have originally thought to finish this as a 3-ply but it looks great and I'm much happier than I would have been otherwise.  And when I got it finished, I suddenly realized that the colors matched exactly some linen in my stash.  I've decided to do a little vest in stripes with the purple and green linen and this beautiful veriagated silk. 

But, is that all?  Nao, there's mooorah!  (Remember that from My Cousin, Vinny?)

Anyway, back to spinning...

I started playing around with some red hankies and red merino/bamboo that I think will go very pretty together.  And I started playing with some tri-colored cotton.  You can see a little of both here.