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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.

I made some more yarn on my super amazing spinning wheel! I started with this:

I spun it worsted, short forward draw (which I think is how I’ll usually spin things on the wheel) and two plied it. The fiber was super great (it’s the same fiber as this) and it spun up like a dream. I drafted mostly end to end.

I had hella tension issues with this though. For some reason, the take up was super slow compared to the twist. This is probably because I don’t have a break band on the flyer, though I didn’t have that problem with the targhee. I’m going to fashion a break band out of some leather scraps I have, but I’m not really sure how I would go about attaching it. Maybe I’ll just lash it on there somehow.

A good, strong thwack evened out a lot of the tension issues. It’s not perfect and there are some spots that are definitely overspun, but for the most part, it softened up a lot.

Anyway, I got a total of 156 yards of a dk weight. I think it’s destined to be a hat of some kind. I mean, for the foreseeable future, it’ll just be stash because I have about a jillion other things to make first (two pairs of shark mittens; two pairs of mitts and a shawl for AnnaMarie), but still.

In life news: apartment hunting is soul-crushing. SOUL CRUSHING. That’s right, Joe and I are looking for a new place to live. Most likely a small studio or one-bedroom apartment, but that’s really all we need. The goal is to move in January right after the start of the year. I can’t wait to get out of my current place–it’s become untenable for a variety of reasons. But we’ve found some good options, so I’m sure we’ll find something. I just have to find myself a new job now. (And let me tell you, that is SO MUCH WORSE than apartment hunting).

Anyway. In fandom news: I think I mentioned before I was all caught up on Once Upon a Time. I don’t know if any of you saw this past Sunday’s episode, but OH MY GOD. sjkhsaf. Yeah. Anyway, I’ve started watching Lost Girl, which is basically a combination of the show Angel and that first episode of Torchwood with the sex energy alien. I completely adore it though. And I’m still reading Rogue Squadron. Oh my, but those books are good. SO GOOD.

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!

Sock yarn doesn’t count as stash, right?

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Especially if it sparkles?

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I didn’t think so.

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:

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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.

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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. : )

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:

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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:

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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.

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Having finished that, I spun up some leftover BFL I had hanging about:

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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:

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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.