Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Determined to sock it

Today the mail carrier delivered "The Knitter's Book of Socks,"  by Clara Parkes, to my door.   This is all part of my determination to learn to like knitting socks.

I have knit one sock in my lifetime.  That's not one pair of socks, it's one sock.  

Don't get me wrong, I like the sock, it just was a challenge to knit it.  It probably was the DPN thing that made me a victim of one sock-itis, which I understand is only just shy of epidemic proportion in the knitting world.  I know that you can knit socks with a circular needle, and even knit two socks at once on two circular needles.  I'm willing to give both of them a try, and even give the DPN thing another try.  As I said, I'm determined.  I WILL learn to like knitting socks.

I like the idea of knitting socks, I like the fun and funky, handknit socks that I see.  I love self-striped socks, I like cabled socks.  I CAN learn to like knitting them, can't I??? 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Today's installment in "Mad Dash to a Stash"

Today's installment in my Mad Dash to a Stash for retirement includes milk fiber and banana fiber.  The milk fiber is very soft, but I'm not certain it's going to draft very easily on its own; the banana seems even less draftable on its own.  I think they would do better combined with another fiber.

But I'm anxious to give them at try, and see how they feel!
(Fibers from Dyeing for Color)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A wondrous world!

This past week I've been especially grateful for my new spinning and weaving friends in the online social world.  In the #spinchat discussions on Twitter I learned about Cormo sheep and fleece, got expert advice on twist and energy in yarn, and plying. I'm learning to spin cotton on a supported spindle and, on Ravelry, I asked for advice on how to avoid creating slumps when I go back to drafting after pinching to add extra twist to a length of singles, and I shortly had advice from fellow support spindlers.

I love getting together with my spinning and quilting friends in person but that isn't always possible--and certainly not 24/7--but in this wonderful technological world I can connect with like-souled individuals around the world.  (The chances that I'd be able to find someone locally who spins cotton on a supported spindle are not great.)

So, today--and always--I'm grateful to live in a world where I can practice fiber arts that bring me closer to the source of the fibers, handling and working with fiber and fabric using traditional technologies, like hands and spindles and looms and wheels, but can also work magic with fancy sewing machines and cutting tools, and connect with friends doing the same, all over the world.

Isn't the world great??

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Looking like Christmas!

It was like Christmas around here yesterday, when I came home from work and found several packages waiting on my doorstep:  merino roving and locks, camel down, the January installment from the Sweet Georgia fiber club (this is Blue Faced Leicester), and some cotton cards.

I did a bit of carding (albeit it very untutored and awkwardly done) and I think I understand now why they had children do it in the olden days!  The carded cotton is on the left.  I doubt that this is exactly the way it should look--I'm guessing that it would be good for me to look for instructions.  But I wanted to give it a try without benefit of documentation, to get a feel for it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

More spindown: merino/bamboo/silk

I finished spinning the South African Fine from the Spunky Eclectic fiber club (I'll post photos when I have it plied--when I get more bobbins), and have started on a merino/bamboo/silk from Fiber Fancy.  It is glorious to spin--it almost drafts itself.   I'm not sure I"m doing it justice, given my beginner skills, but it is fun to do!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Yesterday I finished spinning some lovely purple and blue wool, and today I plied it.  One of the skeins came off the niddy-noddy perfectly balanced--a first for me!   The other still has some energy left it in but not too much.

I'm not sure what this yarn wants to be, but I'd like to make something from a yarn I've made and I think this is the first with that would be practical.  Maybe a scarf, or a hat??

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Another new spindle

The Takli spindle (and bowl) arrived today, and I gave it a spin.  It seems to work better for me than the Akha, but I probably benefited from the practice the Akha gave me of spindle spinning in general.  I am finding that if I spin the fiber too thin, the metal "point" wears it through as I spin, and it breaks there.   So, I'm going to have to do a little careful watching of some experienced spinners to watch the angle at which they hold the drafted fiber relative to the spindle.

It is great fun, though--cotton drafts so nicely!

And I spun a bit more on the Akha, to see if my greater ease with the Takhli was due to "experience" (albeit it very limited) or to the spindle, and I think it's a little of both.  The wooden Akha is lighter weight than the metal Takhli (and has a point much less dangerous to a klutz!) but weight of the Takhli seems to make it easier to spin it more freely.   Time will tell.   (Why am I unable to take a clear photo of the Akhi?)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

First cotton!

I embarked on this spinning journey because I wanted to learn and experience what my ancestors experienced in the way of getting thread and fabric, especially when making quilts.     That meant cotton and linen/flax and, while I'm having fun with wool and other animal fibers, I'm ready to get started with cotton.  After watching Stephanie Gaustad's "Spinning Cotton" video I ordered up some organic cotton (a lovely sample from Cotton Clouds) and a couple of spindles:  an Akha and a Takhli.  The cotton sample and the Akha spindle arrived to day...

and I'm giving it a try.  It's going to take some doing, but I love the way cotton drafts!

The tiny, uneven amount of brown cotton yarn on the spindle may not look like much, but it was hard won!   It's going to take a lot of practice, but cotton feels so soft and luxurious to me.  (The photo is fuzzier than the fiber, I see!)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Saffron Projects

I've come to the end of the saffron-colored wool.  I may still do a core-spun coil from one of the thick-thin yarns, but for now, here are the results of my practice and play.

Now I've started on some blue/purple fiber, just for some simple calming rhythm and practice.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Fiber Year!

I've been spending more time with learning to spin art yarn, or"textured yarn," as Jacey Boggs prefers to call it.  I am reasonably happy with my first attempt at supercoils, though it isn't a completely balanced yarn--I'll get there.
I'm still working on thick-and-thin, and think I'm doing better with that.

Beehives, though--not so much. I understand what to do (I think) but so far I haven't been so successful in actually doing it.   I'm not getting the core section spun correctly, and I end up with SERIOUS overtwist in the yarn ahead of the beehive.  I'll keep at it.   Maybe that will be my New Year's resolution, to perfect the beehive before the end of the year!