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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.
Sooo I accidentally skipped posting yesterday. Whoops. Anyway, I finished the yarn I was spinning, the first yarn on my new wheel:
It came out more or less exactly as intended–a heavy sport/light dk two ply with decent yardage. I got 240 yards and it did puff up a little in the wash. I spun it woolen with a short forward draw.
The spinning went by SO FAST. Less than a week. And the plying I did in just a couple of hours. I could only fit about 2 ounces on my bobbins so I had to splice the two halves together to get one skein. The join is pretty thick, so I’ll have to work on that for the next skein.
As I said, I’m going to send it to Lisa, who sent me the wheel I spun it on. Seems right she should get the first product of the wheel. I hope she likes it–and I’ll get to spinning the next skein!
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.
More spinning! Ravelry tells me I spun the yarn in about three weeks, which makes sense. It’s about three weeks worth of spinning for a couple hours in the evenings after work. I started with this roving:
Which I got from Maryland Sheep and Wool this past May. I spun it worsted and it spun up so nicely. The merino was nice and bouncy and crimpy and so soft. There were a couple of felted spots, but that’s probably as much due to how I had it stored as anything else. Here is the resulting yarn:
It’s SO SOFT which is just great. It’s not even by any means as I was aiming for a worsted weight and got more like a heavy sport/dk with spots that are fingering weight and spots that are bulky weight. It came out to 310 yards though, which is pretty excellent yardage for four ounces spun worsted.
I didn’t have a coin handy, so here’s a scale shot with my finger instead. It’s a two ply, and I spun it on the big-ass maple spindle. I split it in half for each ply, then tore off chunks which I then tore into strips and spun. It was not very scientific and I have no idea how the colors will knit up, but I think the result is absolutely gorgeous.
As usual, I have no idea what this loveliness will become. I’m thinking maybe a cowl or something that sits next to the skin since the yarn is so soft. I’m pretty happy just admiring the skein and squishing it for the time being though.
I’ve since started a couple other spinning projects I’m working on intermittently. There’s another 4 ounces of Cloverleaf Merino in purples and greys. There’s some BFL. There’s some Dancing Leaf merino on my Turkish. There’s a tiny little sample of bfl/silk I got from Corgi Hill Farms on the supported. And there’s some merino I took off the supported and am spinning on my little Knot my Day Job spindle. None of them has very much progress and only two of them are listed as WIPs on Ravelry (the two merinos), but they do have singles on the spindles.
In life news: I really ought to start looking for alternate (read: better) job options. I wish my job paid better/offered benefits because I do like it most of the time. I also need to think about looking at apartments so I can move in December. Not sure how that’s going to work out exactly. But I’ve got a little bit of time to think about it.
I’m still watching SG1 (I’m in season nine; Vala is adorable but not as great as Sam, who is my absolute favorite). Joe and I haven’t been making much progress on I, Jedi cause I have a jillion things to watch (Castle, SHIELD, QI, the Daily Show, Colbert, podcasts, etc etc). I’m not really reading any books in particular, although I’m kind of reading Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina. I recently finished reading Tales from Empire, which includes the Zahn/Stackpole collaboration Side Trip (which is the greatest thing ever–Thrawn and Corran and Hal and UGH LOVE IT).
Also, it’s shark mittens season. I have two open orders and I just got another as I was typing this. Which is great; I definitely need the money. And I don’t mind making them. But it does get to be a bit repetitive. It’s okay though. If the piles of sharks gets to me, I’ll just pull out one of my jillion spinning projects.
I know, I’m the worst blogger. Anyway, I finished a thing I’ve been working on for literally months: I spun a fleece! Okay, it wasn’t a whole fleece, it was only about 1.5 pounds. But it was 1.5 pounds of sticky, greasy fleece with very little discernible lock structure. I have no idea what breed of sheep it is. I got it when I bought my loom (I’m pretty sure I just mentioned it in passing). I’ve mentioned this project on the blog before.
Anyway, the fiber in question used to look like this:
It’s a hot mess, I know. Anyway, I smacked the fiber into line with my Schacht hand cards and spun it into super chunky yarn. Which actually turned out to be more of a worsted weight, but y’know.
It’s rough and uneven and still a little sticky but it’s DONE. All six skeins. A total of almost 700 yards (686), which is enough for a smallish sweater. I won’t make a sweater probably because it’s pretty rough and there’s not enough for a serious waterproof outerwear sweater (which this yarn would be perfect for).
I have no idea what it will become. Maybe some day it’ll become a serious waterproof sweater jacket for a tiny person (read: child). It would have to be my own child though because of the sheer number of hours that went in to spinning this stuff. For the time being, it’ll just marinate in the stash and think about what it wants to be.
I spun this yarn woolen, and it actually did puff up a bit with washing. I suspect that if I wash it in some grease-fighting dish soap it’ll puff up even more. (As it is, I just dunked it in a bucket of warm water with some Euclan, swished it around a bit, then let it soak for an hour.) I have since started another spinning project (some soft beautiful merino that is nothing like this coarse mystery wool), and I spent so much time spinning woolen that when I went to spin the merino worsted, I forgot how. I’ve picked it back up again, no worries.
In life news: I did not get the position that opened up at work (I wasn’t even aware they had been taking applications, actually) and I haven’t heard back from my other prospect yet. Looks like I’m stuck at the reception desk for the time being. Which is okay, I guess. If Congress (sorry to get political here, kids) can grow up and stop acting like petulant kids, I can even buy health insurance (which I am currently without) on the market, fixing part of my dissatisfaction with my job (which is to say low pay and no benefits thanks to being a temp). And I’ll start looking again for a better, more permanent position that requires me to do work that doesn’t make me all anxious (which is to say writing or editing instead of answering phones).
Anyway. In fan news, I am still watching through SG1 because it is the best ever. I’m currently on season four, which is the best season, hands down. There’s very little filler, a couple of truly excellent episodes, and tons of Jack/Carter shipping (and you know I’m all about that). At AUSA a couple of weeks ago (did I mention I went to Anime USA? I can’t remember–I did and it was fun and I took zero photos) I bought an SG1 patch (like the team patch) and a SGC patch (the one with Earth and the stars and the symbol for Earth), so I’m going to look for a green jacket/shirt to sew those on to. Katsucon is in February and I’d like to cosplay as Sam Carter. My hair will be pretty long, but I think I can tie it back or wear a baseball cap and it’ll be okay. Her hair gets pretty long in the later seasons anyway.
In reading, Joe and I are STILL reading I, Jedi (I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s been literally months). Part of the problem is that there are a billion other things I want to do and part of the problem is that the first third of I, Jedi is really annoying. It is muchly a rehash of everything that happened in the Jedi Academy trilogy except with Corran thinking he’s so freakin’ special that everyone on Yavin 4 would be Sith meat without him there. It makes sense stylistically since it’s written in first problem and it’s been previously established that Corran’s biggest flaw is his arrogance, but still. In the passage we read the other day they finally beat the Big Bad (well, the one from Jedi Academy anyway), so hopefully things will be more interesting from here on out. Mara has been great though. I mentioned when we were reading the Thrawn books how much I adore Mara, and it hasn’t changed. She’s The Best and I Love Her.
Sorry for that last paragraph if you’re not a huge Star Wars nerd like I am. And if you are: I’m considering making a cross stitch with the Rebel crest and the words “I aim to misbehave”. Because everything’s better with multiple fandoms.
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).
I spun a thing! Which is good because I have a hell of a lot more spinning fiber thanks to MDSW. I’m kind of in love with this yarn.
It’s an art batt from Dancing Leaf Fiber Studio that I got at the first Uniquities Fiber Fest I went to back in July. It used to look like this:
It’s got wool/glitz/mohair/tencel/bamboo and came to about 2.2 oz. I attempted to spin it worsted and was partially successful.
It’s a two ply, a little thick and thin but somewhere around a sport weight. It came in at 154 yards, enough for a little something or other. I’m open to pattern suggestions.
I used my Schact Hi-Lo to spin and ply. Well, the second one. The first one I bought met with an untimely demise on one of several moves. I’ve found I really enjoy spinning batts and clearly need to buy some more.
I’ve started spinning a variety of things, including some BFL I got at Fibre Space a while ago and some of the bird nests from the last post. I have a lot of the fleeces and I want to spin some of them down. But that’s for next time.
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*