Category Archives: fibre

In Progress

WIPs. “Works In Progress.” I really do have some!

I’ve been knitting, a little. The double-knitting “potholder” swatch from EZ’s Almanac has made me definitely want to knit up a baby-blanket in this technique. So yay, I’ve officially started the Miko Challenge!

I’ve also got most of a Koolhaus hat worked up for my Yukon-dwelling brother, but ran out of yarn 1 pattern repeat before the crown, boo. Do I buy another skein (Berocco’s Ultra Alpaca, pretty awesome) or fake it with some basic black merino?

Many false starts on other hats for myself have been made, and frogged, and tried again, and frogged again. I think I’ve given up for now, but will hopefully get a hat or two for my own head when I work up some of the EZ patterns.

And there’s been genuine spinning! I finally broke out the Joy wheel, and have spun up some lovely Enchanted Knoll batts in “Chai” (a decent, if ‘wobbly’ 2-ply) and some CopperPot Woolies batts in an indigo/blue/orange colourway called “Summer Iris” or something like that (DK/worsted singles, yay me!). It’s been fun getting back to spinning, and I think I need to make more time to sit in front of the wheel.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find my digital camera since we moved (in January, arrgh), so photographic evidence of all these things I’ve been working on has been nil. *sigh*

But I can leave you with one photo of another project I’ve been working on lately…

ultrasound.12weeks.Feb2010.2

Baby #2, due sometime in August. Better get knitting on “some baby’s things” from the Almanac!

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Filed under baby, fibre, knitting, pregnancy, spinning, WIPs, yarn

Good Mail: Spoiled rotten!!

I’ve been absolutely spoiled rotten by my SP12 pal, Tanya! Check out these lovelies:

SP gift - woven blanket
This is a better photo of the baby blanket/wrap she hand-wove (using some of her own handspun yarn!) that was sent in package #1…

SP gift - BSJ
And in this package there was both a hand-knit Baby Surprise Jacket (it’s so small and cute!) for my one-on-the-way…


And also a pair of lovely hand-knit socks for me!!

SP gift - socks that fit!
They fit perfectly :)

SP gift - polworth roving
She also sent me some wonderful purple Polworth roving to spin (and I’m even getting that wheel-spinning bug, these days!). And a handmade beaded DPN-holder!

I feel lucky to have been paired with such a generous pal. I have never been the recipient of so much of someone else’s creative energy, and am very grateful of these beautiful things. I’m sure I (and my baby) will love them for years to come!

Next time… I have been KNITTING!!

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Filed under exchanges, fibre, good mail, knitting, spinning, sweaters, yarn

Good Mail; Busy Week

What a week!
Fortunately it was perked up by the arrival of not one…
fiber package

…not two…
knitivity package

…but three packages of ‘good mail’! (and all within 2 days!)

The first little surprise had a lovely set of stitch markers (package & makers both photographed terribly, so no pic yet) sent to me by Vicki. I entered some suggestions in her “What can I make with…” contest, and if you’ve got odd balls or small skeins lying about and are looking for stash-busting ideas, you should definitely check out her amazingly long list of free patterns for small yardages.

Next up was a fantastically fibre-laden package from Allena (of Spindle and Wheel) — seriously, that photo above does not give a good indication of the scale of it!

Here’s a peek inside:
fiber package goods
From left to right, there’s a large grocery bag of lovely red/bugrundy (hand-dyed, I’m sure) roving, another large bag full of small twists of brightly coloured roving, one full bag of soft, crimpy unwashed fleece (my guess is Shetland), three handmade cotton washcloths, and that little orange case contains two needle-felting needles! I am so thrilled by her generosity!

(I think that needle-felting is going to quickly get a place on the list of crafts I do obsessively — I’ve only made two little cat toys so far, but wow is it ever fun to stab at fibre with sharp things!)

And last, but certainly not least, there was a gorgeous skein of sock yarn from the Knitterman Ray (of Knitivity.com).
knitivity sock yarn close-up

Ray’s a one-man hand-dyeing wonder, and this skein was given in trade for one of my spindles. Who says “barter and trade” economy doesn’t work anymore?

knitivity yarn  - from swap
As you can see, this skein is a one-of-a-kind, but if you’re wanting some of your own it’s close to his “Cygnus” colourway.

It was really nice to have these goodies waiting for me, as I’ve really been keeping on my toes lately. Beyond the usual office business and household chores, I taught two classes at the Purl this past week!

On Wednesday I taught my first knitting class, an introduction to stranded knitting. I’d made up little swatch-charts (that could be easily seamed an tuned into little coin purses), let my students mix-and match their front design and background pattern (like you’d have in a mitten), and then showed them the one-yarn-in-each-hand trick (basically teaching Continental style to English knitters and vice versa). I think that it went over well — there were several moments of happy-dancing in their seats, and a couple of “I thought this was going to be awful, but it’s really easy!” comments. I hope they all go forth and knit with many colours for here on!

On Sunday I taught my beginner drop-spindle spinning class again. It seems like this is becoming a once-a-month regular class! I’m really please with that: it’s so much fun to watch people turn fluff into real live yarn for the first time, and the students are always so different! This time around one of them had been given several bags of fiber already, so we even had some “show-and-tell” time, and she even had collected some qiviut (musk-ox down), fresh from the rocks, in Greenland (what a lucky new spinner!). I’m really please to be able to hook in more people to hand-spinning, and think that I should probably start working on a “Beyond the Basics” spindle class for the future…

So, while I have accomplished practically no spinning or knitting of my own recently, there has certainly been a lot of two-way enabling going on!

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Filed under crafting, drop-spindle, fibre, good mail, spinning, teaching, yarn

Scattered and Spinning

I’ve been feeling very scattered lately; overtired, unfocused and distractable. It seems like there’s been no progress on anything! Intellectually I know that I’ve “produced” things (the shawl, Nate’s hat, many spindles…) but creatively I feel unaccomplished. (Guitar Hero hasn’t exactly helped either, save to rock.)

I’m uninspired at the knitting end of things. I have more languishing socks-in-progress than I want to count, a pair of Icewines for myself that have lost all momentum, and a shawl, and… I just can’t seem to find a project that addicts me. Any suggestions??

I have, however, tried to take a bit more “calm-time” and give myself space to sit and spin. While spinning is another thing I feel horribly under-accomplished in lately (having produced not a single full bobbin from the Joy, nor a spindle’s-full, in a very long time), I’m trying not to let that get me down. Dru pointed out last night that in the summer I was spinning on a borrowed wheel — I knew that it would go away, that I had to get as much experience from it as I could before it left — and now there isn’t that kind of pressure or drive. I can relax about spinning-time, and I should relax over it!

spinning nook

Me in my spinning corner, at the Joy wheel: Ikea lamp and large windows behind, Fortuna and the Joy carry-bagin the background..

I’ve been working with this lovely fluff from Copperpot Woolies that Krista gave me for my birthday:
Wild Siberian Iris -  fiber blend
“Wild Siberian Iris” 100% merino

It’s an even balance of indigo-purple, teal blue, and a melon orange, which I find very intriguing. It’s also the first time I’ve had the chance to spin from a more batt-style fiber preparation (it’s in a very wide “roving”, about maybe 6″ across). Here’s how it’s spinning up so far:
Wild Siberian Iris - singles on bobbin

I haven’t fully decided on how I’ll ply it (probably just plain vanilla 2-ply). But I can say that I ‘heart’ my WooLee Winder!

When I can’t handle/get to/be bothered to sit at the wheel, I’ve been picking up my new spindle. It’s a Hound Designs ‘laceweight’ top-whorl in rosewood (I think?) and comes in at a teensy 16g. It is also the first spindle I’ve ever had that I haven’t made myself!
hound designs spindle whorl hound designs spindle

I’ve been spinning away with little pieces of a Pat’s Colours merino/silk batt. (Both were picked up from the Purple Purl). I must be in a batt mood… or maybe I’m just going “batty”?
purple merino-silk batt
A small batt-bit. Soft and shiny!

More crafts keep intruding themselves into my mind, as well. In particular, I’d really like to try my hand at some nuno felting and ATCs (not necessarily at the same time!).

What about you? Are you focused lately, or being distracted from/by/with various crafts?

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Filed under drop-spindle, fibre, rambling, spinning, spinning-wheel

Happy Holidays!

Back again from the Grand Holiday Tour, and hoping everyone had as happy holidays as I! Apart from being internet-free for the better part of a week (and none too active before that) many things have been happening!

I survived my pre-holiday bake-a-thon, including Icing Night (a new tradition of mine), and all my friends and family got cookie trays.


christmas cookies

Thanks to the Pioneer Woman, I had beautifully decorated sugar cookies this year.

I finished all my holiday knitting (mostly). Some things were gifted to other folks than I had originally been knitting for (Koolhaus, Endpaper mitts), but everything worked out just right.

The big one was a Swallowtail Shawl I was knitting for my MIL — finished knitting at 5:30pm Christmas eve, blocked in secret later that night, ready for sneaking under the tree in the morning!
swallowtail shawl
Swallowtail’s lacy tip.

I myself got some fibery gifts: Vogue Stitchionary #1, a 1/2lb Coopworth and 1/2lb merino-silk blend to spin, oh, and just a tiny bit of something else…
qiviuq yarn
My brother in the Yukon loves me!

Also received, not as a Christmas present but coincidentally timed…
wheel whorl

And now I’m back home, looking forward to New Year’s parties, hanging out with friends, spending days in my pyjamas, and knitting things just for me!
knitted clog

FiberTrends felted clog, pre-felting — it’s huge!

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Filed under fibre, FOs, knitting, lace, out & about, rambling, spinning, yarn

The Spinster’s Sad Story of the Spun Singles Snarl

Once upon a time, there was a spinster with two cats.

Well, actually, she was happily married and just happened to have two cats, but she was a spinster, in that she spun.

She loved to spin. Spin yarn, of course — although who doesn’t like to put their arms out and stare up at the sky and twirl and twirl? at least, until you get dizzy and need to stop, but it is fun every now and again — but this spinster was a spinner of yarns.

She would spin yarns on her drop-spindles, both bottom-whorl and high whorl. She would spin yarns on spinning wheels, both single treadle and double treadle, though sadly her own spinning wheel was away being fixed (still) so she had to borrow wheels from her other spinster friends (also happily married; cats optional).

One week, one of the spinster’s spinster friends (happily married, with a little dog) had lent to her a lovely Lendrum double-treadle spinning wheel, so that she could spin up some of the many beautiful fibres in her stash. What a happy week that was!

She spun up some 2-ply Blue-Faced Leicester…
BFL skein

She spun some thick-and-thin lambswool…
grey thick and thin skein

She spun some thick-and-thin blended lamb and llama…
lamb and llama, thick & thin

And some more lamb and llama singles, both white and grey.
white lamb & llama grey lamb & llama

By the end of the week so much fibre had been spun; but, of course, she still wanted to spin just a little more. She had some absolutely lovely silk and merino roving, hand-dyed in beautiful peppermint pinks and burgundy reds and toffee browns, that would be just delicious to spin. Even though the wheel had to go back to her friend soon, she decided to spin just this last little bit.

She started to spin, and it was glorious — soft and slippery and smooth and silky. Such beautiful singles! They flowed through her spinster’s hands and gleamed on the bobbin like a thread of jewels. She was spinning better than she felt she ever had before. In no time at all (or a few episodes of Cast-On), all the precious fibre was spun into singles.

Carefully, the spinster wound them onto her Andean plying tool, which was thoughtfully made for her by another spinster friend (happily married, with one cat, one dog, two sheep, and about 50 chickens). They looked lovely!
silk/merino singles

Carefully, the spinster took the singles, now wrapped into an Andean plying bracelet, off the wooden tool and onto a cardboard tube. She knew the wheel would have to go back very soon, but surely she could ply just a bit of it, right?

She sat, and spun the singles into the beginnings of a very pretty 2-ply (fingering weight). When her spinster friend’s husband came to take the wheel back home, she casually broke singles, set down the singles, wound the plied yarn onto her niddy-noddy, and folded up the wheel, happy with the spinning she had done. She bid farewell to the wheel and the husbands (who were going out to play games), and settled in for a quiet afternoon.

And then it all went wrong.

Who knows what really happened? Perhaps the spinster had set the singles down too carelessly. Perhaps it was the cats, entranced by the silken sparkle of the spun singles. Perhaps there were mischievous fairies in the room that day, who could not wait until night-time to tie their elf-knots.

All that can be said is that the two plying ends of the singles disappeared as if by magic, and when the spinster tried to find them, they were nowhere to be found…
And then the Andean-wrapped singles came off the cardboard tube…
And then things got a little strewn about…
singles carnage

Until all that was left of the soft and slippery and smooth and silky singles was a sad snarl…
singles snarl

And a sorrowful spinster.

Now, there is not really a happy ending to this tale. Eventually the spinster put the sad spun singles snarl away, and went out to the newly-opened yarn shop, and had supper with her friends, and did some knitting. The next day she carefully placed the snarl in a ziplock baggie, along with the mini-skien of 2-ply, and placed in at the back of a cabinet. Perhaps she’ll take it out again someday, and guided by helpful fairies she’ll untangle the whole mess. Or perhaps not: maybe the whole thing will someday turn into felted flowers, or soaps, or cat toys.

But there is probably a moral in this tale nonetheless, for the reader clever enough to find one, and you may be happy to know that the spinster is spinning again — with her drop-spindle, of course, and some cheerful merino/tencel…

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Filed under fibre, rambling, spinning, spinning-wheel, storytime, yarn

Good Mail:Surprise Prize!

When I got home (late) yesterday, there was a happy surprise waiting for me!

package

A bundle of fibre from Katie!!

rovings
2oz. Stick & Stone natural soysilk roving; 2oz Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks’ Dyeworks “Hallie’s Berries” merino/tencel roving.

A while back she had posted a contest to guess where she would be taking her honeymoon, and I guessed correctly (Niagara Falls, of course!). She also was here in Toronto, but with her busy newlywed schedule we didn’t manage to meet up. Anyway, this is the first blog contest I’ve ever won, so yay for that –Thanks so much Katie!

Well, I was really needed something cheerful to pull me out of my funk, and who can’t help being happy about pretty rovings to spin? Inspired by MamboCat‘s post on spinning for All Hallows, I think tonight I’ll take out a spindle and begin working on that lovely merino/tencel.

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Filed under fibre, good mail, spinning, Uncategorized