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Saturday late January 10, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in Etsy, spinning.
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I don’t have a lot to say right now, it’s late and there’s more I need to do before bed. I did get some photos taken of the other yarn I finished up last week, I think they came out pretty good. I still need to measure them out, ugh boring.

Speaking of ugh boring I am really done with winding yarn to dye off of cones. Yes, you can get a much better deal buying by the cone but good lord, I can’t afford an electric skein winder and doing by hand with a niddy noddy makes me crazy. I talked to the owner of my LYS about buying commercial wool from her by the bag and she is able to offer me a nice discount. I figure I’ll do a few bags with her and see if the time savings makes up for the higher initial cost. Being able to just unkink a skein and toss it in a pot = priceless.

Shetland wool, 2 ply:
Shetland yarn

Shetland yarn

Merino wool, 3-ply:
Merino yarn

Merino yarn

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Wash and thwack, hang to dry. January 5, 2009

Posted by jeninmaine in spinning.
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I actually got quite a bit done over the weekend, considering I was feeling sickish and had two kids running around (which Michael wrangled much of the time, I so do not deserve that man). Here are some fiber photos of about half of what I worked on.

It’s bath time!
Yarn bath!

Yarn bath!

This, my friends, is why one must wash yarn, especially if using wool dyed by someone else:
This is why you wash yarn.

Fortunately a couple of rinses fixed that skein, thankfully.

I looked at my other skein (some Shetland from the UK) and ta-daa, a perfect dye job:
This is why you wash yarn.

After thwacking and drying, they looked a bit more presentable and less like soup.

Shetland:
Shetland wool yarn

Shetland wool yarn

Merino:
Merino wool yarn

Merino wool yarn

This is more Shetland from the same UK source.
I Navajo plied this skein and ended up with a very sturdy, dense yarn. Not sure if this technique suits it.

Shetland wool yarn

Shetland wool yarn

That is all the news that’s fit to print for now.

Spinning, cat, socks December 17, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in kidlet, knitting, spinning.
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Spun some Shetland top and navajo plied it.

Shetland top

Munchie

Finished kidlet’s socks. He loved them so much he immediately wore them to school.

Kidlet's socks

Kidlet's socks

Kidlet's socks

My Ravelry project page: Socks for The Boy
Pattern: Child’s Sock Pattern by Lucy H. Lee (Ravelry link) | (non-Ravelry link)
Yarn: Regia Color 4-Ply, color #4737 (Ravelry link) | (non-Ravelry link)

The socks are knit toe-up so the heel is just a flap with a gusset, only the stitches are being picked up along an extended sole instead of the heel. It’s wicked easy and looks nice. Kidlet’s feet are bigger than the pattern allows for so I came up with some modifications as I went. They’re listed on my Ravelry project page but in case you’re not able to make it there here they are:

1. I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On for the toe because it’s awesome and I love it.

2. From the toe I increased to 44 stitches total instead of 40.

3. I started the heel flap at 4″ as instructed, but then because my son’s feet were bigger than I remembered and too big for a 6″ sole I went to 8″ before starting the heel shaping.

4. This made the heel gusset larger so I picked up 16 stitches instead of 14 for a total of 64 stitches – it worked out to picking up every other row along the flap.

5. I then decreased back to my original 44 sts for the cuff.

6. I used the Elizabeth Zimmerman Sewn Cast-Off which made a nice stretchy cuff.

I got them to match as kidlet didn’t want tall socks, and the height he specified just happened to end the first sock right before the pattern repeat for the skein, so it really was serendipity. I may even have enough of the skein left to make a wee little pair for Margaret :)

Judy’s Magic Cast-On is so totally worth learning if you knit socks. It makes a perfect, beautiful toe that requires no seaming. I hate seaming. You can even knit your loose end into the first row so you won’t even need to run it in – just snip it when you’re done! Couldn’t be simpler. The cast-off is extremely easy, too, and worth it as I always tend to pull too tightly.

I chose this pattern as I was looking for an easy, basic sock pattern in childrens’ sizes that used fingering weight yarn. This was deceptively difficult as there are tons of wee baby socks made from fingering yarn, or childrens’ socks made from sport or worsted weight yarn. Perhaps if I ever became a knitwear designer I could find a niche in the 4-to-11 year old sock arena.

As the yarn turns. December 3, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in spinning.
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I soaked, thwacked and twist set that pink one-ply. It came out a lot fluffier and I’m not really sure I like it as it’s over spun just about everywhere. I guess I could call it an energized art yarn ;)

Pink one-ply

Pink one-ply

Then, there was kind of a fiasco with that (expensive!) Creatively Dyed fiber I spun up – I got the 7-odd ounces to fit on my bobbin, just barely. Then I wound it off into a cake so I could make it into two-ply, only it got hopelessly tangled multiple times where it was coming out of the center of the cake. Craaaaap. I guess seacell likes to stick to itself because it was a mess.

I untangled the first two or three train wrecks but quickly realized that I was going to destroy all that work if I didn’t change my plan. So I tucked in the mess, tossed it in a bowl and Navajo plied it from the outside strand.

This is the second time I’ve Navajo plied anything substantial and I got better at it as I went. I think this came out okay – it was a major bummer practicing a skill like this on something that cost me so much money but, oh well, live and learn.

Seacell wool yarn

Seacell wool yarn

To keep in the groove (since it’s so easy for me to get distracted and summarily disinterested) I immediately started in on some Shetland top I got from a UK eBay seller. It’s somewhat rougher than super-soft merino but the staple length is huge so I can pretty much go on auto-pilot while spinning it. It’s great for practicing long draw drafting, which incidentally goes a LOT faster than what I’ve been doing.

I think I like the idea of spinning sturdier yarns, ones that can be used for durable outerwear and won’t pill to high heaven as 100% merino tends to do. People love how soft merino is and the yarn is gorgeous, but no one thinks of what happens to the yarn after it’s knitted up into a garment and actually used. So, yeah, I guess I’m trending toward utility rather than skein attractiveness at the moment. Pictures when I’ve got em.