Hey, I made more yarn

No matter how much I do it, it always feels magical to me. Fiber+twist=yarn. It’s a straightforward equation with a thousand variations yielding endless fascination, satisfaction, and delight. Not a bad way to start a day. Or end one, for that matter.

I’ve still been spinning like crazy, but my production has slowed down because I went from doing some fat, fast, bulky yarns to spinning thin. So I’ve had a single fiber on the wheel for the past three weeks or so. But that’s okay, because the fiber was a dream.

Hello Yarn Polwarth/Silk in "Slumber," September 2014 Fiber Club

Hello Yarn Polwarth/Silk in “Slumber,” September 2014 Fiber Club

Soft and silky, with deep luscious colors, this has been nothing but happiness to spin.

halfway-ish done

halfway-ish done

I continue to spin on my Ladybug for maximum joy and ease. I spun this in scotch tension (my standard) using the fast whorl at a 10.5:1 ratio. I was trying to do a pretty explicit contrast to the bulky yarns I made earlier this fall. And I think I managed to do that:

"Slumber" on Polwarth/Silk

“Slumber” on Polwarth/Silk

I ended up with 768 yards (out of 4 ounces), light fingering towards laceweight. YES! Sadly, the pictures don’t remotely do the glowing colors of this yarn justice. I am dealing with technical difficulties on every device I use, so I haven’t managed actual camera shots of this yarn yet. These iPhone pictures are a poor representation, but they do give an idea.

silky and soft

silky and soft

Sometimes I spin a yarn with a particular project in mind. Other times, I spin more on impulse, and let the yarn tell me later what it wants to be. This spin was the latter. I spun it as thin singles because that’s what felt right for this fiber – I just kept imagining it that way. Only when I pulled it off the wheel did I realize what I wanted to make with it.

slinky

slinky

I’m very excited about knitting with this yarn, which is kind of a bummer, since I’m basically never going to be finished with the sweater I have on the needles. But I guess that’s okay, because the cats seem to have claimed this yarn as their own.

the guarding of the wool

the guarding of the wool

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Achievement unlocked :: Spinning Mojo

All of a sudden, I am spinning. And spinning. And SPINNING.

All it took was getting my creative confidence back (in three easy steps). The final of those three steps was to “get back to basics,” which I did by going back to my “beginner” wheel, a Schacht Ladybug. I had intended to switch right back to my Matchless, but I’m having so much fun on the Ladybug that I’ve been sticking with her for now. I’m pretty pleased with the outcomes.

In the last month since I posted about trying to get my spinning mojo back, I’ve made the following:

"Artifact"

“Artifact”

This is 3 ounces FLUFF Silky Cashmerino in “Artifact,” which I spun up into 294 yards DK 2-ply, and I lurve it:

so silky

so silky

Next, I decided to completely switch gears from a lightweight silky yarn to a bulky, wooly 2-ply. I pulled out my favorite wool, Shetland:

Widdershins

Hello Yarn Shetland in “Widdershins”

You can’t tell from this picture, but this yarn is huge. Maybe you can tell from this picture:

Raggedy Ann?

Raggedy Ann?

That’s some pretty plump yarn, y’all! It came out to 169 yards (4 ounces) bulky 2-ply and I am so in love with it. I had planned to knit it up into more Mukluks, but what happened next might have changed my plans.

I decided to go for another bulky 2-ply. Usually, if I’m spinning bulky, I’m going with thick-and-thin singles, which I really enjoy. So the 2-ply has been an interesting switch for me. I put some Hello Yarn Polwarth on the wheel:

those colors!

those colors!

And in a flash, I’d made this:

Hello Yarn Polwarth in "Tiny Flicker"

Hello Yarn Polwarth in “Tiny Flicker”

This one slays me. It’s like a perfect autumn yarn. I totally adore it.

fat fall yarn

fat fall yarn

It’s 4 ounces, 196 yards bulky 2-ply goodness.

I made this yarn just because I wanted to make it. I had no particularly knitting plans in mind for it. But then I did this:

fat yarns

fat yarns together

I put these two yarns side-by-side and all of a sudden they seemed to want to play together. I’m suddenly envisioning a super-fast fall vest or some such, with these two yarns striped. Wouldn’t that be yummy? Or maybe I’ll try to get my hands on more of the “Tiny Flicker” to make a vest just from that and then stick with the “Widdershins” for the Mukluks as planned. Who knows? It’s been fun plotting.

a month of spinning

a month of spinning

So one month into spinning on the Ladybug and I’ve already made as much yarn as I had made in the entire 8 months leading up. I doubt I’ll continue at this pace, but I’m pretty happy with all this spinning for now. And with the inevitable knitting with handspun that will result!

 

Spinning a little sunshine into my wintry world

Let’s call today “Fiber Friday” instead of “Fashion Friday,” shall we? Because my fashion today is a smart wool base layer, my favorite hoodie (“Upper Peninsula, Michigan, est. 1837”), jeans, and shearling slippers (a favorite Rhinebeck purchase). With the -20 degree wind chill we have going on today, warmth is my only measure of fashion.

I am not complaining about the weather. I really love that we are having a true winter. It seems like the optimum conditions for my hobbies, you know? Knitting, spinning, reading, drinking hot stuff out of favorite mugs – I can do all those things in the summer, too, and I do. But I feel like winter gives me the psychological boost of feeling like these are things I actually should be doing, rather than just things I want to be doing. I know this is silly, but whatever. I like winter!

It also gives me extra cheer at this time of year to spin up something especially bright and happy. And so here is the first yarn off the wheel this year:

Hello Yarn Superwash BFL, "Mochi"

Hello Yarn Superwash BFL, “Mochi”

I started this yarn in December, when I was working on spinning 10 minutes a day, but I was soon foiled in my plans when I lost the end of the yarn and could not find it for the life of me. Seriously, I tried several times over several days and then finally gave up. After the new year, I took a deep breath, and tried again, using my orifice hook to pick up each strand on the bobbin until I finally found the end. After that, it wasn’t long before I was done.

Those colors!

Those colors!

It’s 205yds light worsted chain-ply (4 oz.). It’s actually two skeins, and they are almost exactly the same length, which is a minor miracle – 101 yards in one and 104 yards for the other. These are slated for mittens for me, to go with my new chocolate brown down coat. But it will be awhile before I can cast on, due to many other projects on deck.

For now, I am keeping this in a very visible place in my study, so I can see it and pet it whenever I need a little boost. I have so much love for this one, and can’t wait to knit it up!

 

 

I’m never not amazed …

…by the magic of spinning.

I started with this:
fiber :: Hello Yarn Polwarth
Hello Yarn Polwarth, “Troll” (December 2012 Fiber Club), 4 oz.

I’d originally been envisioning spinning it as a chain-ply, but never got around to it. Then at Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law asked if I might make her a hat like mine:
knitted :: Handspun Norie
That’s a Norie Hat, without the lace bits, from my handspun Hello Yarn Falkland (in “Broken Things”). This hat has been in heavy rotation for me this fall, and my MIL was taken with it. I told her I could make her one but the colors would be different because I didn’t have enough of that yarn left to make another hat. She was fine with that, so I went stash-diving to see what fiber might be a nice choice for a hat for her, and I came up with the Polwarth in “Troll.”

Hello Yarn Polwarth, "Troll"

Hello Yarn Polwarth, “Troll”

I am super-pleased with how it turned out.

the flip-side

the flip-side

I did a basic two-ply, mostly matching up the colors, with some occasional barber-poling for transitions. I ended up with 312 yes DK weight 2-ply.

floofy

floofy

I enjoy spinning the toothier wools (think Shetland, Falkland, Corriedale) and the longwools (think Wensleydale, Romney, Masham) a bit more than I like spinning the fine wools (think Merino, Polwarth, Rambouillet), but it’s certainly hard to beat Polwarth for softness.

yummy yarn

floofy flipside

And the colors! Adrian worked her usual magic here, and I couldn’t be happier with how these colors played together.

I’m still dedicated to spinning at least ten minutes a day, and it’s remarkable how that simple discipline can affect not only my output (i.e., yarn production) but also my mindset and sense of well-being. I am never not amazed that I can actually create yarn – and I’m never not grateful for the effect spinning has on me, the way it seems to connect my head, heart, and body. It’s a remarkable craft.

planned :: Tour de Fleece!

fiber :: Tour de Fleece plans!, originally uploaded by earthchick.

Just popping in to show you my very ambitious Tour de Fleece plans. They’re ambitious because I’m traveling for most of the tour, but I did bring my wheel with me (I still need to show you my! new! wheel!). I’m excited about what I’ve got planned:

Above is my main plan for the tour:

From left to right:

4 oz. Spunky Eclectic Mixed BFL, “Forest

4 oz. Funky Carolina Mixed BFL, “Carrots”

4 oz. Southern Cross Fibre Mixed Shetland, “Dessert Sun”

4 oz. Spunky Eclectic Mixed BFL, “Cranberry”

3.8 oz. Southern Cross Fibre Mixed Shetland, “Decadent Chocolate”

I’m planning to spin this up for a Sugar Maple . GAH! Isn’t that just a totally gorgeous sweater?! I’ve had my eye on it since before the pattern was published. This will be my first gradient type spin – any pointers?

One of my favorite knits from last year is my handspun Cladonia . I’d like to start a beach-inspired one while I visit the Emerald Coast this summer. So I want to spin this undyed Masham to go with these other handspuns:

options :: handspun TTL Cladonia

The yarn at the top is my handspun Hello Yarn Wensleydale singles in “Smells of the Sea” – I’m thinking to stripe it with itself for the main part of the shawl. I think I’ll use the undyed Masham for the lace part of the Cladonia. And then the trim will either be the teal (Funky Carolina 2-ply merino in “Dragonskin”) or the yellow (Spunky Eclectic Romney singles in “Sumac”).

I’m also breaking out my spindle for a few days of the tour – I don’t think I’m going to take my wheel to the beach with me, so I figured the spindle would be a good alternative. I totally suck at spindle spinning but figured I would give it a go. I brought along this Abby’s Batt that’s been in my stash for a few years:

the goods

I got a lot of spinning done this month and hope to show you some soon. I also finished my Through the Loops Mystery Shawl but still need to get it blocked and photographed.

Happy tour, y’all! And happy summer!