I wanted to talk about spinning, today, since that’s been a big part of what I’ve been making this year. (Also, my new spinning wheel corner gets really good afternoon light, and I have been enjoying how easy it is to take Super Dramatic Wheel Shots like this.)
I’ve been participating in spinning challenges over Ravelry – 15 lbs in 2015 (which – I am not spinning that much, but they have a sub-challenge to spin 7.5lbs of fiber, and I’m trying for that), the Mega SAL, and now the Tour de Fleece. All of these have been really great for seeing other spinners’ work, which I find really inspiring and motivating.
I’ve been keeping up with my practice of spinning every day-ish* for the past year and a half, now, and that’s been helping a lot with making me a spinner who can be more consistent, and slowly I’m learning how to spin finer yarn when I want to.
I’m still not as skilled at controlling what I spin as I’d like to be. I do a lot of thinking that I’m going to get a certain weight of yarn, and often I end up spinning one weight heavier than I think I’m going to. But I’m getting better at that, and I’m still succeeding at making a lot of nice yarns – it’s just a little harder to figure out what to do with them when I can’t reliably spin to an intended purpose.
I spun my first ‘combination’ yarn, plying two separate 4-oz colourways together.
(Ravelry info here. Into The Whirled “Inconceivable” and “Cat’s Pyjamas” on 75/25 Polwarth/Silk.)
And then I spun another. This was MegaSAL fiber, and my first time spinning targhee. This consumed a lot of my May spinning time, as I started with two 6-oz braids. I have a lot of this, and am going to have to figure out a good plan for knitting it, soon.
(Ravelry info here. Fat Cat Knits “Noble Dragon” and “Ankh Mopork” on Targhee.)
I spun some more Mega SAL fiber – this was my first time working with fiber from Nest Fiber Studios, which has been on my spinning bucket list for a while. I have another bag of a complimentary colourway to this one, and I’m hoping to spin it similarly so that I can use them together.
(Ravelry info here. Nest Fiber Studio “Maiden’s Wish” on Superwash Merino.)
I’ve also been spinning for the Tour de Fleece, and spun down some of my Indigodragonfly club stash into these skeins of worsted weight.
(Ravelry info here. Indigodragonfly “Ostrichie Ostrich”/”D’ohne”/”Gaseous Clay” on Falkland.)
I’m starting to get into the rhythm of the Tour – I find I tend to spin a lot more per day for these two weeks, and some of my favourite yarns from 2014 were spun this time last year, so I’m sure I’ll have more to update about soon.
(*There are, obviously, some caveats. If I’m not in the same city as my wheel, I don’t spin. If I’m busy and I forget or can’t work spinning in, that’s not a failure, but I try to sit down for at least five minutes on the day I remember. It still works out to more days than one would think.)
Hello. It’s been a little while since I’ve had the time to write here, which is a shame. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll know that life has been pretty busy, lately, and it’s only recently that I’ve felt settled enough to get back to the blog.
The last time I posted was in the middle of May, and here’s what I’ve been up to since then:
1) Went on a trip: C and I visited Belgium, England and Scotland for two weeks, which was lovely. Everything edible was delicious, I picked up some choice knitting and sewing souvenirs, and we tasted a lot of really lovely Belgian beers, and fell in love with Scottish gin.
2) Packed everything: I’ve mentioned this before, but C is starting a new work/school program that required a huuuuuge cross-country move. Once we got back from our trip, we had two weeks to pack everything up and hand it over to the movers. This was really tough, partly because packing is the worst, but also because it involved a lot of saying goodbye to really special places and people.
3) Drove across the country: The next step in the moving process was bringing ourselves and our car and our cats to Calgary. We packed the cats up in the backseat (ask me about that, sometime. One of them (the one not in this post) was super not a fan of driving) and did the four-day car trip to our new apartment. Google tells me we travelled 4002km, which is 2487 miles.
4) Waited: the moving company gives a date range of when things will arrive, and it’s not always exactly the amount of time it takes to get from Location A to Location B. We spent a good week and a half living out of suitcases in our new apartment, waiting for the call from the moving company. There was a lot of IKEA furniture assembly in this period.
Our truck arrived last week, and now we are 90% unpacked and sleeping on a real bed again, which is a huge relief. My new job starts in a little while, and we’ve mostly figured out stuff like where to get coffee and groceries and comic books.
I made a lot of things through the past couple of months, as well. Knitting has always been what I do with my hands in times of stress, and I definitely needed it through parts of the last few months (oh god, that car trip). I started and finished a sweater, which I’m excited to talk about, and finished a pair of socks. I’ll get to the backlog in time, but for now, here are some photos of what I’ve been working on lately.
When I said I’d still been making a lot of things, I totally meant it. I’ve been keeping up with my 7.5 pounds in 2015 spinning challenge. Because I’ve been travelling a lot less, it’s been easier to spin daily, which makes stuff fly off the wheel! I try to fit in at least 10 minutes a day, but most days it ends up being about a half hour.
In March I finished some more of my Indigodragonfly club fluff, which spun up into this gorgeous, insanely soft DK weight skein. It’s Merino/Yak/Silk, and C stole it almost immediately after I showed it to her.
I also spun some Into The Whirled braids – the first one is called “Eleventh Hour,” and it’s a BFL/Nylon blend. I spun it specifically as the finest 3-ply I could, with an eye to making sock yarn.
I definitely succeeded at making a nice, firm, fingering-weight yarn. The yardage is not stellar, but I think I can work with it – I got about 225m, which should be enough for some shortish socks, or longer ones if I use commercial yarn for the heels & toes.
I also spun cheviot for the first time! This is ITW “Second Spring,” which reminds me a lot of carrots. I spun this for a fingering weight sock yarn as well, but tried for a traditional 3-ply that barberpoled instead of a chain-plied yarn. I love how the colours play with each other in this skein, and I love the hand of this cheviot – it’s sheepy without being hairy, and the crimp and bounce is so fun.