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Or two, actually. Tax refunds are a beautiful, wondrous thing. Sure, you could be boring and dull and pay bills or put it into savings, or whatever. Or you could buy two spinning wheels.

Yes, you read that right. Two spinning wheels. I now own three spinning wheels. I had been meaning to own two, using my tax return to buy a modern wheel, but then a nice little electric Clemes and Clemes came up on a Ravelry equipment destash board and let’s just say I lack anything close to impulse control. So I snagged it.

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And I completely adore it. I love it. I brought it home, set it up, and spun 100 yards of a two ply in a couple hours. I’m talking divided, spun, wound off the bobbin (cause it only has the one), plied, skeined, and dunked it in the bath, all in a couple of hours. OMG FAST. This is the yarn in question:

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The fiber was sent along with the wheel, courtesy of the person who sold it to me. It was Shetland roving, from her own sheep, I gather. It was true roving, not top, so I played a little with long draw. It didn’t puff up in the wash like I’m told long draw spinning does, so it was to limited success. I suspect part of the problem was too much plying twist and part of the problem was trying too hard to control things instead of letting them be.

The weekend after bringing home Cecile, which is what I’ve decided to call the e-spinner, I went to Uniquities, my LYS, for a spinning open house and to try out some wheels. I test drove a Majacraft Pioneer, a Kromski Fantasia and a Minstrel, and a Schacht Ladybug.

I brought home the Ladybug:

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I am completely in love with the Ladybug, y’all. It’s so quiet and the treadling is so smooth and it doesn’t wobble or shake or fall apart. It has a proper brake band and I can adjust the tension. It’s beautiful. It doesn’t currently have a name besides “the Ladybug”, but I’m sure it’ll tell me what it wants to be called at some point.

My first skein on this lovely wheel was a second attempt at long draw, to much more success this time:

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The fiber was targhee/alpaca/mohair/glitz from what is rapidly becoming my favorite fiber company, Avalon Springs. The prep is just so lovely, perfect for woolen spinning, no predrafting required. Love. I got about 155 yards of around a dk/worsted weight. Very lofty, very puffy. Still not quite the yardage I would expect from woolen spinning and four ounces, but I completely adore the resulting skein. It’s pretty soft too.

Needless to say, between the two wheels, I’ll be spinning up a storm.

I was definitely a doll kid when I was little. I had baby dolls and stuffed animals and Barbies, and I loved making up scenarios for them. I loved dressing up Barbie in all sorts of clothes. I had a hot pink Barbie car at one point, but I don’t think I ever had a big dollhouse. I’d have loved one when I was kid; hell, I’d love one now. It’s less about dolls now and more about a deep love of miniatures, but still. I don’t have a Barbie Dream House or any Barbies anymore, but I do have some yarn that brought Barbie instantly to mind.

I spun this up on Alexandra, my wheel, in just a couple of hours. Speaking of the wheel: about a month ago, I took a spinning lesson at Uniquities, my super fabulous Local Yarn Shop. I wanted some Official Instruction on how to set up the drive band and tensioning and stuff and, if there was time left over, to learn a little about corespinning. We decided to set up the wheel as a double drive. The difference between the bobbin ratio and the flyer ratio is pretty small, but it’s big enough to work. And I can finally tension everything properly, so plying isn’t a mess of too much twist. Anyway, I managed to get through some practice corespinning and moved over to the BFL I had started, but the drive band kept popping off! Because the wheel is a bit old and a bit wiggly, things tend to move around. The other day I really wanted to do some spinning, so I sat down and studied the situation and (I think) managed to mostly fix it so that doesn’t happen any more.

All that to say I spun up the Barbie yarn in no time flat and had absolutely zero tension problems, and it was wonderful.

The fiber in question is merino that I bought from the Spinner’s Hill booth and Maryland Sheep and Wool. It used to look like this:

SO PINK. I used a short forward draw and it just flew by. It’s a two ply and the bobbins matched up almost perfectly, even though I didn’t actually divide the fiber until I was about halfway through the first half. I knew I’d purchased four ounces, so I just measured off about two ounces and set it aside for the second bobbin. There were few enough singles on the second bobbin that I could wind them off into a modified Andean bracelet and continue plying with no real break in the yarn.

I got a total of 188 yards of about worsted weight, which is pretty typical. I actually managed to get all 4 ounces of finished yarn onto one bobbin while I was plying, and I have no idea how I accomplished that. I really love the finished yarn though. It’s pretty soft and super squooshy. Nice and dense. It will probably become mittens at some point. With that much bright pink, it’s perfect for cheering up dreary January days.

I really want to pull out some more merino and spin something very similar to this. This ends up being my default spin. I sometimes wish I could spin thinner and get more yardage (because fiber is expensive, and I want to get maximum knitting out of it), but the truth is, I just prefer knitting with worsted weight yarns. I’m going to try and remember this and not be too worried about yardage and getting the most bang for the buck. I tend to spend less than $20 (ideally under $15; I think this was $10 or $12) per 4 ounces, and getting to spin it, knit it, and then wear the FO is plenty of bang for that buck.

In life news: I am moving! Joe and I finally found a place of our own. It’s a little one bedroom and it’s a little more than we wanted to pay, but it’s a space of our own. We’ll sign the lease next week sometime and move in February 1st. I am SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS, you guys. It’ll be a little cramped, I think, but we’ll have our own kitchen and balcony and WINDOWS. LOTS OF WINDOWS.

There’s some furniture I need to get (some bookshelves for yarn storage, mainly; I’d like the Ikea Expedit ones, but they’re a bit pricey) and a LOT of packing to do, but it’s finally happening.

Not the disease or even the Robert Browning poem (which is excellent, btw), the fingerless mitts pattern:

Pattern: Porphyria
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).

As previously mentioned, I bought a set of handcards at MDSW. I bought them cause I have a couple of fleeces I bought on the cheap that need serious wrangling. Which I have been doing.

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There isn’t even really a lock structure. Anyway, after smacking the fiber into submission, I rolled it up into rolags and pulled the rolags out into roving. Voila, my very own prepped fiber.

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I am currently spinning this up into a chunky yarn on my big ass spindle.

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But straightening fussy locks isn’t the only thing you can.do with hand cards. So I took to blending some nicer fiber. Brush it out a little, roll into rolags, pull into roving, and wind into these:

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Little birds nests of fluffy fiber. Each one is only a couple grams. Not enough to do anything with. All six of these together is less than an once. But they’re so fast and fun to make. And the colors!

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Sunset orange and burgandy.

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An irishy green and orange.

The possibilities are endless. I’m going to blend all my fiber in cute little nests and hoard them. Maybe I’ll do a couple sets of the same color-enough little nests to do an ounce or two ounces or even four.

And I’ll be making one-color nests of my unruly fleece bits. Perhaps the resulting yarn could make good socks. I do like knitting socks.

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.

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Avalon Spring Exotic Fibers Roving. Bump one is Warm Forge, a gorgeous sparkly red.

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A second Avalon Springs, this one in Merlin’s Cape. No glitz, but a lovely subtly colored black.

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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.

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2 oz merino/silk. I haven’t spun silk yet, plus this is super dark and gothy. Love it.

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4 oz Jacob, another new to me fiber.

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A whole pound of Ramboilliet for only sixteen bucks! I’ll be dyeing this one in bits.

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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.

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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.

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This is probably my favorite bit of fiber purchased Saturday. It’s Gale’s Art polworth silk in Emerald Hummingbird.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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Solitude Leicester fiber in this COMPLETELY GORGEOUS emerald. 4 oz.

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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!

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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.

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8 oz. Romney/bamboo, same vendor as above. GORG.

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4.5 oz. wool/mohair/glitz/other things maybe from Feederbrook Farms.

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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.

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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.

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Same as above. This colorway is Spellbound. It’s so pretty.

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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!

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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*

The other dy I finished spinning the orange sparkly fiber I got at the Uniquities Fiber Festival. It was a super fun, fast spin, and I am thrilled with the resulting yarn.

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Fiber: Avalon Farms Targee/Mohair/Glitz in Avebury Circle, 4 oz.
Yardage: 208 yards
Weight: DKish

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I spun the singles on my .9 oz KnotMyDayJob spindle and plied with my big ass maple spindle. It’s my plying spindle. I currently only have three usable spindles (those two and my supported; my Schatt Hi-Lo had a bit of an accident) which seems like not enough, but then I don’t usually do more than one spinning project at once (though I am working on support spindling some merino which I started after I started the Avalon Farms).

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I have basically no idea what I’m going to make with this yarn. I love it and it’s super squooshy and springy but it’s not the softest. My singles were a bit overspun and I wouldn’t want the yarn next to my neck. I’m thinking hat for right now, but maybe not. Maybe it’ll just be pretty and sit in my stash. : )

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:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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 know what you’re thinking. “I didn’t know Brinn was spinning anything. Does she even do that any more?” I know. It appears that yes, I do in fact do that anymore. And the reason I didn’t mention it was because there was no time. On Saturday afternoon I spent some time by myself and decided I wanted to do some spinning. And not the thin solid colored singles I have on my smallest spindle. No. Big singles. To make big yarn. Or at least biggish yarn.

I wanted color. I pulled out this fiber, 4 oz of corriedale from Lakehouse Loft (on Artfire):

I grabbed my giant spindle.

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I spun quickly, not paying attention to thickness or evenness. I just spun, figuring I’d ply it eventually. I spun for hours. I spun for like four hours. Then I took a brief break. Then I spun some more. I spun and spun. I went to bed. I woke up, ate lunch, and spun some more.

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And then I plied because I finished the singles in less then two days of more or less continuous spinning. I plied and plied. My shoulder was hurting and my boyfriend was off at a choir concert I didn’t go to (he tells me not to; it’s a class requirement for him anyway, and anyway I am Not a Fan of choir) but I watched several episodes of series E of QI and kept plying.

And then it was plied. I skeined it up, threw it in a bath with a little wool wash, and smacked it on the table a little. Then I hung it over a chair under a vent to dry.

On Monday, I took pictures.

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I spun four ounces of yarn to roughly worsted weight in two days. I made a two-ply yarn of about 140 yards in less than 12 hours. On my spindle. On my enormous spindle.

I think that’s quite an accomplishment.

Okay, so technically it’s late on Tuesday morning. Shhh.

Anyway, what I picked up at the Holiday Fair I went to on Saturday. Some yarn and some fabric and also a skirt (which I don’t have pictures of). Unplanned Peacock was there, and I splurged (really, since it was more expensive than I’ve ever spent on one skein of yarn) on some sock yarn in the delightfully phoenix-y color solar:

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I also picked up a lovely skein of sport weight alpaca for five bucks (I KNOW):

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And two silk bells weighing about 38g total, even though I’ve never spun silk before:

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And finally, at one of the tables selling fabric, there were two bins of free scraps of fabric. Some of them were really large pieces (like a yard), and I scored a couple:

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The brocade will probably be a corset (with several muslins). Not sure about the other ones though.