Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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Happy Friday! These 2 day work weeks are the worst, aren't they? I'm pooped.

Scott got me a video iPod for New Year's:

Welcome to the podcast generation, baybee!
Welcome to the podcast generation, baybee!

I've been wanting something like this for a couple of years, but have been waiting for prices to go down, or technology to settle, or hard drive space to increase. It was worth the wait. I lurv it!

Pebbles sock yarn

I didn't mention the yarn I had dyed back in August because I was afraid it would look like crap. Pretty lame, hunh? It was dyed in the roaster without measuring anything (shocking!):

blues and purples

I just kept adding dyes until I liked what I saw, or couldn't improve what I had with more dyes. The good thing about Kona - it's superwash. Poking and prodding to get the dyes to migrate does not felt the yarn. 

Due to how I put the skeins in the roaster, I ended up with three skeins, two alike:

blues and purples

Here they are dry:

blues and purples

And wound:

blues and purples

The white was unexpected. The dyes didn't settle to the bottom as much as I expected/hoped. I've had this happen more than once. In this case, I think it adds a nice accent to the yarn. But in general, I'd like to have more control over it. Methinks if I adds more water for the yarn/fiber to swim, that would help.

On the topic of baby knitting

Nothing started yet, though I bought some GGH Java in 2 shades of peach and white from Little Knits to make a little blanket. I knit a tank top from Java a couple of years ago and really liked the sproinginess of the cotton. I'm thinking alphabet squares or something along those lines.

I also have some Debbie Bliss Cotton DK (also from Little Knits) earmarked for another Debbie Bliss knit, but I haven't picked it out or started it yet. There's some irrational part of my brain thinking, "I've got time." Could be related to the fact that it's knitting with COTTON, for gosh sakes (see? cleaning up the language around here, there's a baby due, donchaknow). I did feel guilty after saying I wouldn't knit something fancy for my wee one. You know I would, right? Eventually? Just gotta find the right project.

Dyeing

Beth asked if I'm "allowed" to dye while I'm pregnant. As far as I understand, some dyeing is fine, provided you're taking the usual precautions (dust mask for dye powder, gloves, etc). I did feel a distinct desire NOT to dye during the first trimester, despite being in the middle of dyeing up batches of corriedale for the carder. I followed my instinct and found other things to do (not hard around here). And then I was too pooped to do much of anything.

Recently I did get the urge to throw color on fiber, so I took advantage! My dyes are already mixed into solutions, so I didn't have to deal with dye powders. I threw a whack of finn and romney in the roaster, about a pound and a half total, and threw some dyes on. (Why yes, I did make calculations and measure dyes, so I'm just being glib.)

Luck of the dyepot
layer 1

3 hours in the roaster at 250 did the job. No bubbling or boiling.

I was definitely going for particular results, and I definitely did not achieve them. I wanted rusty reds to appear, and they didn't. Instead, I got a lot of nice greens reminiscent of the primaries dyepot batch. I shoulda had an idea of how it would come out once I added the water:

Luck of the dyepot

But really, by then, it was already too late (4 layers of fiber in there).

Luck of the dyepot
left: 8 oz romney; right: 1 lb finn

No worries, I'll try again and change my tactics. And I am curious to see how it spins up.

At the same time, I tried out my new electric skillet that I bought at Home Depot:

Dyeing in an electric skillet
4 oz superfine merino

I lurv lurv lurv the colors!

Superfine merino in Lagoon

Too much fiber and not enough water meant the dyes didn't penetrate to the lower areas without a bunch of jostling with a chopstick, so the fiber did felt a bit. Lesson learned. (Maybe.)

I spun up a sample on the wheel and lurv it:

Lagoon sample wheel spun

enough to bring to NC and spindle it:

Lagoon on the spindle

Lagoon on the spindle

This may be part of my Twisted Knitters project, but (good grief) I'm STILL undecided.

I loved reading your comments when I got home, it was a gift and I thank you.

The weekend was not what I expected, and then it was. There was no reminiscing, as we, as a growing family, have not figured out how to have group adult conversation time when the kids are around (especially during meals). But there was lots of family time, good food, and good memories. I was glad to be there for my mom and to just. be.

The family

The memorial ceremony took me a bit by surprise. I missed the end so I'm not sure if anything was said, but the main part was the offering of incense during morning prayer. After my mom, dad and the rest of the family offered incense, other people offered incense, and before they returned to their seats, bowed to mom to pay their respects. It moved me, and I didn't expect it. It was fitting, and right, and brought a kind of closure I didn't expect. I left the weekend knowing my grandmother was gone. Not forgotten, and definitely missed. But gone.

There were lots of good eats, and I think my belly grew another inch or two:

All grown up
taken by my niece; our heads aren't chopped off!

The photo is shocking, it can't possibly be real. Can I really be that big??

We were walking off an amazing Chinese lunch that I hope we repeat. The little goober is taking up valuable stomach real estate in my belly, but I ate as if I were only 6 weeks pregnant.

Walking - 1

Walking - 2

Walking - 3

Skipping rocks
my dad teaching my niece to skip rocks

Wheeee!
oh, to be little again!

My nephew is adorable, we hit it off right away. Last time I saw him he was just starting to walk. He's a little monkey, a real Curious George; and he's so innocent and good natured that it's impossible to be mad at him. But boy, he has non-stop-on-the-go energy. Non. Stop.

Emerging from under the table  Hi!

My niece and nephew  After a granola bar

Sleeping
uncharacteristically still

At the airport on the way to DC, I spent an hour spindling. I have been a slacker Twisted Knitter, and haven't known what to dye, spin or knit. I found my project:

Chasing Rainbows Cashmere/silk

I love the colors, rich browns, earthy (photo is a little muted, see link below). It's the Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks cashmere/silk I bought at MDSW that I've been waiting to use. I've been trying to get the wheel up to (laceweight) speed and haven't wanted to waste the cashmere/silk until I had it running reasonably smoothly. But now that I've started it on my new Forrester spindle (and my, does she spin),

Forrester lightweight spindle

it seems the right way to go. I only have 2 oz so I'm spinning quite fine. I'm hoping to make a lacy scarf.

I also tried to work on the pink panther socks (remember those?), just to get them DONE and off my list; but I decided the broken striping after the heel just wasn't working for me. I'm usually a "let it be" knitter, and don't worry about such things. But in this case, it seemed strange to interrupt the striping:

Pink Panther socks, in progress

I also brought a few lace pattern books with me so my mom could pick out a pattern for her lace shawl. She wants something in black to cover up her shoulders when she dresses up. After I got over the "knitting with itty bitty black yarn" bit, I bought a cone of ebony Zephyr. My mom picked out a simple rectangular shawl from Folk Shawls and now I have no excuse not to get started! Once The Project is done (dang those buttons), I've promised to give Scott some knitty love. Then, swatching!

Phew, phew and Phew. It's good to be home, I missed my honey.

Thanks for your enthusiasm over Hansel & Gretal! I plan to write up the pattern and post it soon.

Post MDS&W, I felt overwhelmed by my fiber options and had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to spin. So many great choices, but also so many not-to-be-wasted choices as well. I didn't want to fritter away the cormo/alpaca or merino/silk, or (gasp) the cashmere/silk, but I wasn't in the mood to be overly focused and attentive to do these fibers justice. In the end, a non MDS&W blended batt pulled me off the fence:

Samples from The Artful Ewe
dyed mohair locks, dyed silk, dyed corriedale cross / silk

Pretty colors, no?

The batt (on the right) was a sample that came with my Forsyth combs that I ordered a few weeks ago from Heidi at The Artful Ewe:

Forsth combs
Forsyth double row combs, purchased on June's recommendation

scary sharp combs + I'm a klutz = recipe for blood shed   o.O

Heidi's prices on the combs and clamp are the best I've seen. The clamp was back ordered so I asked her to hold the order, and while waiting, I succumbed to several pounds of sale-priced natural blue faced leicester and corriedale cross. And cashmere:

Cashmere from The Artful Ewe
sooo soooft

And then forgot. Until I got back from MDS&W and got an email that my order was ready. Heh. I have a lot of fiber.

Heidi was great to work with, and included generous samples to accompany my generous order. :) In addition to the above, she sent:

Samples from The Artful Ewe
alpaca, yak, camel and Eucalan in baggies; corriedale cross, merino/alpaca and alpaca/blue faced leicester sample card

Cotton samples from The Artful Ewe
Pima and Acaia cotton

Cotton from The Artful Ewe
West Texas cotton

She also tempted me with these photos of her hand dyed fibers:

Handdyed fibers, The Artful Ewe
woah, fiber does grow on trees!

Handdyed silk, The Artful Ewe
hand dyed silk

And my jaw literally dropped to the floor when she told me this was the view out her front door:

Gorgeous view, The Artful Ewe

Sooo jealous.

Heidi has a workshop / dye studio and her shop reminded me of London-Wul in New Brunswick where another Heidi taught me to spin last fall. I wished I lived closer!

Incidentally, London-Wul Heidi has started a blog and is having an amazing contest. Go check it out! See, I'm sharing the love. It means less chance for me to win, so if you win, throw me a bone.

Speaking of new blogs, Lucy at Mind's Eye Yarns in Cambridge started up a blog and etsy store. You might know Lucy from her appearance on the Harlots' blog. Last week I was in town for a doctor's appointment and decided to take advantage of city-proximity and stopped in for their weekly spin-in. I had a lovely time! It was my first time hanging out with my wheel. BASD meetings have always had some kind of workshop so it's never been just hanging out. I liked just hanging out.

So yeah, the spinning. A simple 2 ply with the corriedale cross/silk batt:

Dyed Corriedale X and silk, 2ply

A little overplied, but pretty. I enjoyed drafting, and I enjoyed not worrying about what I was making. I also liked spinning semi-woollen from a batt. It was less work than spinning from top. It's fired up my enthusiasm for a drum carder.

After the batt, I sampled some rambouillet (at top):

sampling silk, cormo, rambouillet
from top to bottom: fiery rambouillet from Touch of Twist; dyed cormo from Winterhaven Fiber Farm, and Interlacements dyed silk

The rambouillet was soft as a 2 ply laceweight, but felt rougher as the weight increased. Surprised me.

The cormo has nice bounce and because of the neppiness is uneven. I still need to experiment to find the right grist.

The silk was spindle spun while at MDS&W. I think I want to spin up some fingering weight for a lace shawl. I'd also like to try some silk singles.

Post fiery rambouillet, I jumped on the rambouillet/silk, which was so much softer:

Rambouillet/silk

It's a joy to spin.

Finn

Finn wool
arrived in my stash...

Dyeing fiber - rolled Food coloring dyed Finn
dyed with food coloring, prepped...

33: handdyed Finn
spun on a spindle...

33: handdyed Finn 33: handdyed Finn
plied.

Surprisingly soft, sunshiny goodness. Only 1 oz, wish I'd done more.

Merino-Silk

Silk/Merino fiber
joined the stash...

34: merino-silk
spun and plied...

34: merino-silk
from the fold...

34: merino-silk
to make yarn.

Not the yarn I would have expected from seeing the top in my pre-spun-from-the-fold days.

Spun with a lot more twist than I'm used to; realized the other day that it takes a lot more twist than I thought to make a ply, and I didn't want a loose twist. Plied to a state of balance, but I would have liked more twist.

Questions

If I add more twist when plying to get the look that I want, then set the twist, does this have any "long term" effects? Will the plied yarn remember how it was set and not try to untwist itself? Assuming, of course, that I'm not adding waaaay more twist in the plying.

Also, is it "better" to add the necessary twist when spinning, versus adding extra twist in the plying? It seems that lots of twist in the spinning might make the yarn more "rope"-like, whereas adding twist in the plying wouldn't do that. Does that make any sense?

Let me know your thoughts!

I tried. Really, I did. I know these holiday knits will not knit themselves. But. Somehow... Not enough brain power for argyle in the round. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Here are some in-progress pictures:

Argyle Caddie - in progress Argyle Caddie - closeup

and the inside:

Argyle Caddie - inside

Not the best pictures, but you get the idea.

Somehow this got spun up during a "break":

33: handdyed Finn 31: merino/silk

That's the Finn I dyed the other day; the merino/silk was spun from the fold before yesterday's panic and decision to focus. Really, it was.

I won't tell you how many programs I had to install just to add these few photos. Craziness, I say, sheer madness. 'Tis the season!

Job hunting is making me crazy. -er. Crazier. So glad it's the weekend.

Stopped in at The Fiber Loft in Harvard, MA after an interview today. Lots of nice yarns downstairs, but I spent my time and energies trying out 4 wheels upstairs: Ashford Traveller DT, Joy DT and Traditional ST, and Louet S10 ST (I'm pretty sure that's what it was). Reba, a non-spinner (or not-yet-spinner?), pointed me in the right direction with wool and a threader, but I was on my own to figure out how to make it all work.

Only one was "ready to spin"; with the rest it was varying degrees of: "hmm, the wheel's not turning... ahh, this tube thing is off"; "hmm, the bobbin's not moving... ahh, this springy thing must need to go somewhere"; and "man the take up is tight... maybe if I turned this knob..." I tinkered and poked around and learned a lot about how wheels work. And without someone over my shoulder I felt no performance anxiety. The "patting your head while rubbing your stomach" thing wasn't an issue; my hands and feet knew what they were supposed to do. They weren't great at it, but I didn't feel that schizophrenic pulling apart and twisting of my mind's attention. (Okay, I'm exaggerating, it wasn't quite so bad before.)

In the end I liked the Joy best. Liked the feel, easier to thread, liked that it has so many ratios, and overall felt most comfortable on it. By then (it was wheel #3) I was comfortable enough to do some experimenting so I made yarn with puffs:

32: First wheel spun 32: First wheel spun

Here are two puffs separated from the flock:

32: First wheel spun

It's hard to tell from the photo, but the puffs were not just thicker bits of fiber; I had to manipulate the fiber to get it to be a puff and not just a "thick" (of "thick and thin"). A bit of the puffiness was lost in the plying. Looking at the puffs now, I'm thinking, not so practical; but it was fun to make! (Man, I wish I could ply as fast with my spindle. PumpkinMama, you are so right, it's like lightning on a wheel.)

Speaking of spindles, yep, still lovin' my hi-lo:

31: merino/silk

That's merino-silk that I spun from the fold. Very different texture and look than spinning straight from the top (see a sample from a different color). I likes it, I likes it! I haven't figured out how to get a good join when adding the next bit of fiber. Fiber ends are easier to sneak in than folds; folds are thicker and produce a bulkier join. Any suggestions?

And finally plied the Winderwood Farms Wensleydale (here it is before plying). Had to add extra twist to get it the way I wanted; I have learned that more twist than I expect is required for plies.

28: Winderwood Farms Wensleydale

One last photo, the pre-drafted food coloring dyed Finn from yesterday:

Food coloring dyed Finn

I'm so excited - look what came home with me today:

Schacht hi-lo spindle

That's a Schacht hi-lo spindle and she spins fast, she does. Sigh. My second spindle. She shall help me a-ply my pile o' stuffs. Mebbe even spin heavier than fingering and sport weights. 

I picked her up at Mind's Eye Yarns in Cambridge. Lucy demonstrated spinning from the fold and getting a good spin by rolling down the thigh. Wheeeeee! She also showed how to get a wicked fast spin by flicking with the feet. Man oh man. Between the faster, heavier spindle, spinning from the fold, and picking up speed on the spin, a whole new horizon just opened up for me. I had read about the fold and thigh thing but couldn't visual the latter or think of a reason to try the former. While I was gazing longingly at her merino/silk top, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I could spin my merino/silk top from the fold. Might make it much more spinnable! It was so finicky I was waiting to get a wheel before going back to it. Enter demo and childish glee.

I could barely contain myself on the (long) drive home. And here I am, telling you about it rather than practicing. Laters!

PS: In the interests of full disclosure, I also picked up these:

My first Spin-Off magazines

PPS: I had a dye fest last night using food coloring. Tonight's goodies preempts the chronicling; details tomorrow.

Can you tell I haven't been in a plying kind of mood?

Needs plying

These are the most recent additions to the collection:

29: Winderwood Farms Blue Faced Leicester

It's the last of the Winderwood Farms blue faced leicester, which I'm sure came out much thinner than the first 2 oz I spun a few weeks ago. What I said about this BFL not being as soft as Fleece Artist's BFL - not true. I pre-drafted a bit and suddenly it felt very soft. Pre-drafting has become my friend.

And the first of the Winderwood Farms merino:

30: Winderwood Farms Merino

This was tougher to spin; the weight of the spindle seemed to work against me. I wanted a looser single for a looser ply, but without more twist, the spindle wanted to fall to the ground (and did a couple of times). The merino is very soft and the colors are brilliant sunset; looking forward to seeing how it comes out.

WIP diving

Earlier this week I picked up an older WIP project, Brown Sock. Great name, eh? (Oh, the creativity.) In her abandoned state, all the ribbing for one cuff was done. Here's sock 1, finished a few days ago:

Brown Socks - sock 1

As I worked, the reason for abandonment became clear: boring pattern and color, dpn's, too many stitches for the foot. Can't do much about the first, switched to 2 circs (for socks, it's all circs all the time chez 2LN), and made some modifications for the third:

Brown Socks - sock 1

After turning the heel, I began a series of decreases for the foot so that it wasn't so balloon-like; the resulting fit is very snug (hopefully not too snug).

Brown socks - sock 1

Sock 2 cuff ribbing was done on the circs, and feels a heck of a lot tighter. I wonder if I was negligent in choosing the right needle size?? Bleh, it doesn't matter. They are not the prettiest socks, just good, sturdy, hard-wearing socks that will keep my feet warm on days like today.

Brown Socks - sock 2

Look, I made a mistake! See that little bump in the ribbing?

Brown Socks - sock 2

Didn't notice until 6" were done and couldn't bring myself to care enough to redo all that ribbing.

And now for something completely different

Came across this: Crock pot dyeing (she has a photo gallery of her projects which was inspirational to browse through). I may try this out, dye some more roving. Natasha has been enabling, er, encouraging me, so my near future will include more roving dyeing.

Here are my first pictures of Esther Williams:

Esther Williams Esther Williams

The color is somewhere between the two, but closer to the first. I was going to trial the pattern and then make one for my friend, but when I went stashdiving I saw this color and went "oooooh, perfect" and got started. So much for the trial.

There is a lot of stranding involved, which requires my attention, which means it's a little hard to get going these days. But I know the finished hat will be worth it, so I'll buckle down.

In other knitting news

The Buttercup is all knitted up, just needs some blocking:

Buttercup

I know, it looks just like all the other photos, except there's more of it. What? Yes, there's more of it, that proves I did do some knitting on it! The edges curl so I'm wondering if a pinned steam blocking will take care of it.

On the spinning front

Spun up the rest of the Wensleydale! That makes just under 4 oz spun to the same weight! That's the most of any one batch I've made! I waited to ply them all (3 spindles full) because if it's not there unplied to look at, I forget what I did and spin thinner. It's hard (for me) to tell from yarn that's already plied and set what thickness and twist I had put in. Is that something you get better at figuring out? Or do you just wait to ply, like me?

28: Winderwood Farms wensleydale

I joined me a new knitalong over at Poor Miss Finch:

It's for a cute hat that she designed. First one will be a test run, and then I have the perfect recipient in mind!

Ahh, that's more like it!

The first time I spun some of the Winderwood Farms Wensleydale, it came out microscopic. That's what it wanted to be, so that's what I spun. But no way am I knitting that up. This time, I decided what I wanted it to be:

28: Winderwood Farms Wensleydale

Muahahahaha! To be plied.

She's checkered, she's done

Trimmed the fringe yesterday and she's now a done deal. No recipient in mind, just wanted to use the yarn. She's soft, and a quick knit. And for a handdyed cashmere blend, quite affordable!

Summer Rain Checkered Scarf

Summer Rain Checkered Scarf
Started:
7/30/05
Finished: 11/27/05
Pattern: my own
Yarn: Danette Taylor's 70% lambswool / 30% cashmere in Summer Rain, one 3.5 oz skein
Needles: #9
Notes: The dye came off on my hands and needles on this yarn. Same thing happened with another Summer Rain yarn, so it could be something specific to that colorway. Haven't had that problem with any of her other colorways, though. Also, the photo doesn't do the colors justice!

This yarn is crazy soft for only 30% cashmere. It's fluffy without bits fluffing off. The #9 needles give it good drape, but for a non-scarf item, I think 8's, or possibly 7's, would be more comfortable.

To knit:
Cast on 18 sts.
* k3p3 across x 4 rows
* p3k3 across x 4 rows
Repeat these 8 rows until desired length or out of yarn. Fringe.

Introducing... Buttercup

I mentioned her briefly one day, but I don't think her photo made it out. Here she be, in all her foot and a half glory:

Buttercup - in progress

Cashmere loverliness. I worked on her at the Knitsmithy yesterday. Lucky for me I didn't have to reknit everything, it's hard to follow three conversations and knit at the same time.

My own handspun

Muahahahaha. Think of that TV bit that followed X-Files episodes - "I made that". That's what runs through my head when I work on this:

Blue Biffle Wristwarmers

It's knit with yarn I spun! My first handspun handknit! It's Fleece Artist blue faced leicester, and the first half was spun much before the second half was spun and plied. This means the first wristwarmer is a little bulkier and the yarn less even and the twist not quite so nice. In the photo you can see the one on the right is just a little bit skinnier. But I don't care! It's soft, it's cozy, it's purty.

Blue Biffle Wristwarmers

Catharina Rose is done! She's my second shawl, my second faroese shawl, my first lace shawl, and my first blocked shawl. Here she is blocking:

Catharina Rose - blocking

And some close ups:

Catharina Rose - blocking

Catharina Rose - blocking

Catharina Rose - blocking

Catharina Rose
Started: 7/19/05
Finished: 11/26/05
Pattern: "Catharina" by Myrna Stahman, The Best of Knitter's Magazine: Shawls and Scarves
Yarn: Danette Taylor's lace merino in Bramble Rose, ~5 oz
Needles: #5
Notes: This was an easy knit. Because it's knit from the top down, you increase 8 stitches every other round; around 300 stitches, I was getting batty, took soooo long to finish 1 row! But, as with other monotony, I settled down, and the last few inches were no problem at all. Also, with Myrna's shawls, you cast on invisibly and then pick up and graft stitches shortly after, so you get the nice continuous seed stitch border that goes around most of the shawl and only 2 ends to sew in.

Blocking was time consuming and since it was my first blocked lace shawl, I really didn't know where to begin. The faroese shawls have a bit of shoulder shaping that helps the shawl sit on your shoulders, but that makes them a bit trickier to block. In the end, I started with the middle section, stretched it out good and tight, pinned the wing tips, and then stretched everything else 'til it was tight.

I love the colors in this pattern. When I chose the yarn I wasn't sure if the colors would obscure the lace, but after the first triangle I was pretty happy. The yarn on these needles was a good fit.

Pink Clapotis

With the Hourglass Sweater done, I turned my attention to the Pink Clapotis. Because I was worried about running out of yarn, I frogged several inches and settled on a narrower scarf.

Nope, it's not holiday knitting. Yes, I know, only a couple of dozen days to go, and plenty of projects left. Just. Can't. Do. It.

Pink Clapotis

Fun locks

Locks are fun. The colors are off, but you get the idea. No carding (don't own anything resembling carders), just fluff and go!

27: dyed locks 27: dyed locks

Woke up to snow today:

Thanksgiving snow

We spent Thanksgiving with Gram. Hope everyone had a good day!

Saw Harry Potter last night at the Jordan's Furniture IMAX. Was cool to see it so big. There were moments during close ups that I realized, man, that head is 3 stories tall. Hehe.

Plied while waiting in line. By the way people were looking, you'd think this was not a common occurrence... Turned this (Winderwood Farms Corriedale):

26: Winderwood Farms Corriedale Cross

into this:

26: Winderwood Farms Corriedale Cross - plied

Just looking at it makes me queasy. The colors were just not meant to be combined this way. Oy. I know navajo plying would have been better but got optimistic. Now what? Is there an easy way to un-ply this?

To soothe the visual palette, here is some Winderwood Farms merino silk, which is quite soft.

25: Winderwood Farms merino-silk

We ate at Minado in Natick before the movie. Man, all you can eat sushi. Need I say more? I've never been to a Japanese food all you can eat buffet before. I LOVED it. Yummmm.

Most of the knitting on the Hourglass Sweater is done!

Hmm, scattered mind. Can you tell?

Was all ready to do a WIP Management update, but it's raining, it's pouring, it's mucking up the lighting.

Instead, here is the Winderwood Farms blue faced leicester navajo plied:

23: Winderwood Farms Blue Faced Leicester - navajo plied

The colors just pop! I am always amazed at how different it looks after plying. (Before plying)

Warning: non-knitting content ahead

I've been very sad lately. I thought of a few things that might be contributing:

  • Feeling cooped up and disconnected from people because I'm home job searching
  • Going to the MIT Dramashop reunion and getting nostalgic and heartbroken that it is so much harder to keep in touch with people and do theatre outside of school
  • Seeing Gram not doing so well
  • Feeling restricted on starting new projects because I'm trying to get my WIP count down

I didn't love MIT, except for theatre. I went there excited and saucer-eyed, happy to find some place where I fit in, where being smart, even book smart, was not a liability. I really flailed trying to find something I enjoyed, something I loved. Some place to fit in, belong. Until theatre.

The faculty there are amazing. They care so much. About theatre, about their students, about the journey, and helping you along the way. Midway into my junior year I took a leave of absence, and they were the reason I came back to MIT. It was so wonderful to see them, and to know that they still care.

It finally arrived! My Winderwood Farms handdyed roving:

Winderwood Farms handdyed roving - in bags

ahhh, they can breathe:

Winderwood Farms handdyed rovings Winderwood Farms handdyed roving

They are (clockwise from top left): corriedale cross, merino/tussah silk, blue faced leicester, and merino; the blue/green in the second pic is wensleydale. 4 oz of each.

(The wensleydale is in its own photo because somehow I missed it, then emailed Winderwood Farms, then on a whim checked the bag again, found it, and ran back to my desk to email Winderwood Farms again. I think in my excitement, I upturned the bag, let fall what fell and the wensleydale was shy and didn't come tumbling out.)

Of course, I had to play immediately:

23: Winderwood Farms Blue Faced Leicester

This is half the blue faced leicester. It was nowhere as soft as the Fleece Artist BFL, but easy to spin. I plan to navajo ply to preserve the color shifts; also, if just plied, I figured the red and green would "cancel each other out" and result in murky looking stuff.

24: Winderwood Farms Wensleydale

And this is the wensleydale. My first time spinning with it, and somehow it wanted to become this thread like stuff. I begin to see what the more experienced spinners mean; you spin finer and finer and then spin some bulky to prove to yourself that you still can.

The Wensleydale has a long staple and you can see the wave in the fiber. It's more coarse; I have no idea what I'm going to do with "thread", even when it's plied. Then again, I haven't made anything with anything I've spun yet... I was planning to try socks with one of these batches. Would the merino stand up to sock wearing? It is very soft and plush, would it just pill or felt?

On a side note

The colors are much more vibrant than the photos on eBay. But... it was a week before these were shipped out, and they smell a little funny. I don't know if it's something from the dyeing process. Also I emailed them a couple of times to find out why it took so long to ship and I haven't heard back. So would I order again? I don't know...

ETA: Would definitely order from them again.

Done with the knitting, just need to weave in ends, add some fringe, and give it a gentle bath. Bought the yarn on eBay and it's supposed to fluff out and get softer with washing.

Black Fluffy Thing - almost done!

Black and fuzzy are a difficult photo combo. It looks a little washed out here, but you can see the checkerboard pattern.

In other knitting news

Knit the body to the armpits on the Hourglass Sweater:

Hourglass Sweater - body

and started on a sleeve. I'm using 2 circular needles and I actually cast on for both sleeves at the same time, finally had an 'A-HA!' moment on how to do it without transferring any stitches. But, while 2 circs and 2 sets of knitted items may work well for socks, it's way too confusing and complicating for sleeves. Every time I switched needles I had to follow the cord to find the other end of the needle. Too much work. 2 circs work nicely for one sleeve, however.

Hourglass Sweater - sleeve

And as I previously mentioned, I did try the body on once I hit the armpits and it looks like a nice fit. Likely will need to wear a t-shirt underneath, though. As I figured.

It was a plying kinda day

As promised, here is how the Kool Aid dyed roving looks plied:

21: Kool Aid dyed merino - plied

and a close up:

21: Kool Aid dyed merino - plied

Doesn't it look kinda tweedy?

I look at it, squeeze it, turn it over and over, and can't believe I made it. I dyed it, spun it, plied it. It was just some (nicely prepared) wool before I played. Now it's interesting yarn. (Granted, only 1 oz. Work with me here.)

Here is the plied Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester, also from yesterday's post, though with the harsh early morning lighti you can't tell the colors as well:

22: Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester - plied

And here is some older spun wool that I finally got around to plying (the fifth thing I ever spun!). Before:

5: White Coopworth

And after:

5: White Coopworth - larger, plied 5: White Coopworth - smaller, plied

Dey curly! Haven't been set yet. Came out much bulkier than I expected. The top one barely fit on my spindle. It's white Coopworth and now I want to dye it! Muahahahaha... It has a very crisp texture, unlike the merino and BFL I've been using lately. I generally prefer soft wools, but my horizons are expanding.

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