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Or: Ravelry folks are the kindest people you will ever meet
You guys. YOU GUYS. Let me spin you a tale (pun ABSOLUTELY intended). A tale of kindness and goodness and generosity. So I’m a fairly poor 20-something living in a basement. My disposable income is not great. I make do. I spend a lot of time on Ravelry in various forums, notably (for this story) the Unravellers forum. We take apart thrift store sweaters to save money on yarn. I have, on occasion, bemoaned the fact that I can’t afford a spinning wheel to ply all my cobweb weight cashmere and also fiber. Anyway, I got a pm the other day from the sweetest person ever. She said her friend had given her a spinning wheel that had belonged to the friend’s mother. Having no use for a wheel but being a member of Ravelry (and thus access to people who might want and use a spinning wheel), she took it. And then pmed me saying she had this wheel and had seen my posts and would I like it?
Would I like it?
Would I like it?
I could have it, she said, so long as I reimbursed her for the postage.
Needless to say, I accepted her INCREDIBLY generous offer and the wheel was shipped off. It was delivered yesterday, and I spent a couple of hours putting it together and figuring out how it worked. I had some issues getting the flyer to spin and it was a whole thing, but I got it working. This is my lovely new wheel in her new home:
I’ve named her Alexandra. I wanted something sort of English and regal. My first thought was Elizabeth, but that’s what my dress form is called, so that was out. Victoria didn’t seem quite right. So Alexandra it is.
The wheel is a Saxony style of unknown make and model. There aren’t any markings or anything on it. It appears to have both flyer and bobbin whorls, so I can set it up with Irish, Scotch, or double band tension. I set it up with Irish tension since, after a bit of playing, that seemed to make the most sense to me. I played around with some extra bits of fiber and once I thought I’d gotten the hang of it, I started in with some nice fiber.
This is Mountain Colors Targhee, which I purchased at a yarn shop in Vienna, Uniquities. I’m going to two-ply it I think. It’s spinning up SUPER fast on the wheel. I’ve got about 2 oz of 4 oz on the bobbin here, and that was after about three-ish hours of spinning yesterday and maybe another hour tonight. No way I could do that on a spindle.
I’m going to spin this up for Lisa, the amazing person that brought this wheel into my life. I don’t anticipate it taking very long, since work today was an exercise in patience being away from my new shiny for so long.
I’m gonna have to buy a lot more fiber to satisfy my new spinning need. I’m in love.
Not the disease or even the Robert Browning poem (which is excellent, btw), the fingerless mitts pattern:
Yarn: MadTosh Merino DK in “Flashdance”, about half a skein
Needles: US 4/3.5 mm
Mods: Well I used a dk instead of a fingering, so basically I just took the stitch pattern and made it up as I went.
This is pair two of the first round of WWFY swaps for my new best yarn friend AnnaMarie at Corgi Hill Farms. Like the first, they were super fun and fast to knit in a yarn I am completely in love with. The stitch pattern for Porphyria is interesting–it looks like a cable, but it’s not actually. Kept me on my toes.
The MadTosh is absolutely gorgeous. The color saturation is amazing. The base is pretty nice too–really sproingy and squishy. The US 4 needles were a wee bit too small for the yarn, but the resulting mitts are gorgeous. The fabric is pleasantly dense without being unyielding. I might have added another stitch repeat to make them slightly bigger, but they stretch nicely.
I had to redo the thumb a couple of times before I was happy with it, but the result fits really well. The recipient’s hands are sized similarly to mine, so they should fit her well too.
I’d definitely like to knit this pattern again for myself. I might even use the same yarn since I have about half a skein left from the first pair that I get to keep. I also have another skein in return for the next round of knitting, so I can make a matching hat or cowl or something. If I make these mitts again, I’ll probably go up a needle size to make them just a wee bit less snug.
What did I get for knitting these mitts and the previous pair, you ask? (As if the gorgeous leftover yarn wasn’t enough.) I’m glad you asked, because I got THE MOST GORGEOUS braid of fiber ever:
60/40 BFL/Tussah Silk. Colorway Senoma. OMG DYING IT’S SO PRETTY. I have like three other spinning projects (only one of which I’ve mentioned at all and has any significant progress on it) so I should wait, but OH I want to spin it. Immediately.
In life news, I am leaving this evening to head up to New York for the long weekend. It’s to visit my grandparents but also it’s to pick up my car! My grandfather owns a business buying and reselling cars, so I asked him to keep an eye out for me. He found a 2003 Pontiac Aztek and it’s mine, all mine! I’m super excited. I’ve been without a car for a while (I rely on my boyfriend’s to get around) and I’ve never had one of my own. I am thrilled and there will definitely be pictures of my baby when I get home. (And bumper stickers, especially geeky ones, are a go).
Sooo I’ve started swapping again. I signed up for an Alice in Wonderland swap and I’m doing ows again. I claimed A2K for some plarn and an ewok pin cushion.
Plarn is a portmanteau of plastic bag yarn. I used this tutorial to make yarn from the collection of plastic bags I’ve got kicking around.
I got a total of 202 yards in two skeins. I used my rotary cutter to slice the strips and it actually went pretty quickly. I keep forgetting to bring my reusable bags when I go grocery shopping, so I’ve got quite the collection of plastic bags. I might make some of this yarn myself and use it in weaving.
The other thing I made for the swap is an Ewok.
Pattern: Wicket the Ewok but I mostly just winged it
Yarn: Scraps. Cascade Eco and wool recycled from a sweater with a bit of colorwork.
Hook: 3.75 mm
Mods: I mostly made things up as I went, so there are a lot. Plus I used fabric for the hood and stitched it in place.
Once I finished all the pieces and stitched him together (mostly just the arms since I made the legs, body, and head all in one piece), I used a hand carder to brush out the yarn and make him fuzzy. He’s stuffed with yarn scraps from weaving, so he’s wool all the way through.
I’m particularly pleased with the hood. I played with the fabric and draping for a while before I stitched it down. I tried to crochet the hood, but I kept running out of whatever color I started it in. I guess it takes way more than I was allocating. Oh well. The fabric hood came out really nicely.
There’s a good chance that by the time this posts, the little ewok and the plarn will have made it to their destination. I hope A2K likes them!
MDSW! I was finally close enough to go, and go I did. I left the house about nine aiming to arrive near ten. I was totally pumped: had my car jamming music, ready to spend all the money. Then a mile from the fairground, I got into a car accident. I was fine, the car got a little banged up. But it sort of ruined my zeal, y’know?
Anyway, after doing all the things you do after a collision, I continued on to the festival. I neglected to take pictures of any kind except for of what I bought, which I photographed later. I did go to the podcasters meet up and awkwardly introduced myself. Suffice it to say I was not feeling especially social after the trip up.
Anyway, here’s what you really came for: the pretties. I ended up under my budget, which is good. I’ll need the extra money for car stiff and stuff. But now, pictures.
Avalon Spring Exotic Fibers Roving. Bump one is Warm Forge, a gorgeous sparkly red.
A second Avalon Springs, this one in Merlin’s Cape. No glitz, but a lovely subtly colored black.
4 oz. Wesleydale from Liberty Ridge. I’m trying to collect wools I haven’t spun before, and this one is one I haven’t spun yet.
2 oz merino/silk. I haven’t spun silk yet, plus this is super dark and gothy. Love it.
4 oz Jacob, another new to me fiber.
A whole pound of Ramboilliet for only sixteen bucks! I’ll be dyeing this one in bits.
I got a spectacular deal on the four bits above. The green was two lz for w bucks. The other three are between three and four oz and were about five bucks each. STEAL. They are from Cloverhill.
These two are 4 oz each, ten bucks a piece. They are from Spinners.Hill and I adore them. Look at that pink! So bright. And the orange is all sunset like. Joe says it reminds him of Thanksgiving, but I like sunset better.
This is probably my favorite bit of fiber purchased Saturday. It’s Gale’s Art polworth silk in Emerald Hummingbird.
I also bought this grey masham, also from Gale’s Art. I will probably dye.it.
And there you have it! I bought almost six pounds of spinning fiber. But fiber is not all I bought. I got some buttons:
I didn’t buy the Knit Girllls button obviously, but I did purchase the other three, which I adore. I also bought a fiber tool:
A pair of Strauch hand carders. I love them. I’ve been using them quite a bit since I got home on Saturday, but more of my playing with fiber later.
Did you go to MDSW? Did I see you and not register it? (probably.) Get anything good? If you have a MDSW post, please link it in the comments!
I have like, a ton of FOs and WIPs to post about but instead, I will show you the pretties I bought at the Uniquities Fiber Farmers’ Market today. Just a bit ago, actually. OH DAMN did I buy a lot of things. My bank account is weeping, especially since I won’t be working for like three weeks. But so many pretty things. So much new fiber.
Solitude Leicester fiber in this COMPLETELY GORGEOUS emerald. 4 oz.
Solitude art batt, 1.5 oz. I bought one of these at the last market and it spun up into a super fun yarn. Now I have more!
8 oz. Romney wool. The vendor did not include a card and my memory sucks, but I’m pretty sure it’s from Wool N Quilts. There might be bamboo in here; I don’t recall.
8 oz. Romney/bamboo, same vendor as above. GORG.
4.5 oz. wool/mohair/glitz/other things maybe from Feederbrook Farms.
4 oz. bfl/glitz/something else maybe? also from Feederbrook Farms. The glitz doesn’t really show up in the photo, but this is beautiful. I love grey and I adore BFL.
Avalon Springs targhee/alpaca/mohair/glitz. I made a bee-line for the Avalon Springs booth. I bought some of this roving there last time and the prep is AMAZING. It spins like butter. And is gorgeous. Colorway’s called Dragon Scale.
Same as above. This colorway is Spellbound. It’s so pretty.
4 oz. merino from Dancing Leaf. I bought a batt from them last time but they didn’t have any this time. They did have gorgeous fiber. This chunk of gorgeous wool was only $12. For hand painted merino!
4 oz. BFL, also from Dancing Leaf. God I love BFL.
So that’s my haul. I spent… um, a lot of money. And later tonight I’m going out with friends in Old Town Alexandria for some drinking/company. Truthfully though, this is a TON of fiber for the money I spent. The prices for what I bought were all SUPER reasonable. And this haul’s got nothing on what I’m going to spend at MDSW this year (cause I’m local and TOTALLY GOING). Oh my goodness, I’m going to spend SO MUCH MONEY there. Mostly fiber probably cause I’ve got a ton of yarn already.
It’s going to take ages to spin this up on my spindles. Which is AWESOME. Fiberrrrrrrrr. *pets*
So remember how I bought that supported spindle from the Uniquities Fiber Market? I have been practicing my butt off and I’ve finally got the hang of it. It took a couple weeks and some serious frustration, but I’ve found the key: a loose prep and fiber that’s not boring. I spun up this batt the other day:
It was only about 1.5 oz so it took practically no time at all. Plus I stopped caring about evenness, which was pretty impossible considering the yarn/neps/bits content. I two-plied it and got this:
It’s only about 50 yards of a dk-ish weight. Not sure I’ll ever knit it into anything (maybe a little stuffy). It’s kind of the ugliest yarn ever, but as my first supported spindle skein, it’s not bad.
Having finished that, I spun up some leftover BFL I had hanging about:
This one required a ton of predrafting because the fiber was so compacted, but it came out pretty nice. I navajo plied it. Not sure of the yardage but it’s a tiny tiny little skein. Mostly just decoration I think.
I then started a new supported spindle project:
The fiber is the other half of a four oz braid I got somewhere online a while back. It’s merino in the color way “Storm Front Coming”. I bought it from LakeHouse Loft on Artfire I think. It’s pretty compacted from being smooshed in my stash, but it’s spinning up pretty evenly. So yay.
A note on the spindle bowl: I was previously using a tiny tea cup. When I was in the Outer Banks, I went to a store called Michael’s, where they sell all manner of fossils, shells, geodes, stones, etc. They had a bunch of stone mortar and pestle sets and I was going to get one to use as a spindle bowl. On the last day, I spotted one that had been marked down for its missing pestle. Perfect. So I got an amazing spindle bowl for $5. It’s stone, so it’s good and solid and won’t tip over. WHOOT.
When I click on the Yarns tab on Ravelry now, it tells me there are a whopping 13 yarn stores near me, which is many more than the 2 I was getting in Virginia Beach (even though there were about 4). There are tons of yarn stores in Northern Virginia, as far away as Bethesda, MD and as close as Vienna, which is the city I’m living in now. The store in Vienna, Uniquities, held a fiber market on Saturday at the Vienna Community Center and I couldn’t not go.
The focus was definitely on spinning, though there was a lot of yarn too. The list of vendors that were there is listed here. I bought… many things. Because, apparently, to hell with my budget/unemployment. Anyway.
From Dancing Leaf Farm, I purchased this GORG Fairy Batt:
It’s 2 oz, wool/glitz/mohair/tencel/bamboo and I love it. I’ve never spun from a batt before and this was super affordable ($12). Also pretty!
From Solitude Wool I bought this art batt:
It’s about 1.5 oz ish and it was $4. FOUR DOLLARS. Yeah.
From Mt. Airy Farm, I bought an oz. of dyed mohair locks. PRETTY.
It’s sort of a darker purple than what appears on my monitor. But love. Will have to spin up some art yarn.
From Avalon Springs Farm 4oz of Targee/Mohair/Glitz:
Not my usual colors at all, but it’s so happy! Also, it’s sparkly! I love it. I already started spinning it as you can see.
Finally, I purchased a Tibetan supported spindle from Spanish Peacock:
That is a terrible photo because it’s been rainy and gloomy, but yeah. I’m practicing on some left over BFL. I think I sort of have the hang of it, though I end up spinning straight up off the tip rather than 45 degrees. Also it falls over a lot, but I did just start like, three days ago. So yeah.
I have lots of things OTN and The Event Formerly Known as the Ravelympics (TEFKA Ravalympics) starts in just a few days. There will be more on that when it actually gets started.
I finished spinning the Romney I’d been working on. It was a fun, quick spin. The original roving looked like this:
And with my heavy spindle (I really only have two; I should get some more mid-weight ones) I turned it into this:
Aww yeah. Here’s some specs:
Yardage: 176 yards
Ply: Two plies
I have honestly no idea what I’ll make with it.
I love it though. It’s very well balanced after a soak and a good thwack. The good thing about the warm weather is that when I wash yarn and leave it outside to dry it’s done in a couple hours.
I like spinning. Must do more spinning.
AWW YEAH day one of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! Today’s post is all about COLORS. I like them. Especially jewel tones cause I’m a slob and it’s harder to stain dark colors. My stash would support this statement and so would my projects. Out of all the things I’ve made for me, there are only a handful made in light colors. There’s this:
and some other things. But my favorite knits are darker colors. Like my Girl Friday, my favorite sweater ever:
It’s kind of hard to tell judging from my projects what colors I tend towards because so many of them were for swaps where I didn’t choose the color. So going to my stash, for which I apparently did not select actual colors, there’s a lot of undyed/white/ecru/natural. That is because the vast majority of my stash is recycled yarn because I’m poor (and it’s fun) and that’s the most common color of sweater I find.
If I could get my stash to filter correctly, I would show you this pictorally buuuuuuuuuuuuuut I can’t. Possibly I should start adding the color family names when I upload new stash.
This is sort of a lame post but I got home yesterday and I had to work today and I can’t find my camera charger. So forgive me. At some point I’ll have pictures of the Hexagon Petal Tee, which is finished, and the Whedonverse swap package I received. At some point. And there are some KCBW posts and stuff.
I’m gonna go back to marathoning the X Files (I’m on season five and OH GOD I LOVE THIS BUT THE UST I AM DYING) and knitting. I’ll see you tomorrow.