Friday, June 4, 2010

Adventures in Handspinning and KAL news...

So this week, I really haven't been doing too much knitting. Actually I don't think I've picked up the needles since I've picked up the spindle (don't worry, that'll change soon - I have some things I need to finish up already and I'll have to do it over the weekend to make way for other things). And let me tell you, I really think I'm getting the hang of this.

I'm sure you recall the blue BFL I had on my spindle at the last posting, right? All slubby and thick and thin?'s a picture of the finished yarn.
That's actually just one mini-hank of three that I managed to spin out of 4 oz of fiber - got a whopping (note the sarcasm here folks) 64ish yards of pretty much what you see in the above photo. Thick, thin, slubby - my splicing of new pre-drafted strips of fiber onto the spun yarn horrible. Still, I was damn proud of it and still am. It might not be knittable but it sure is purty to look at. And since I was having such fun, I decided to pull out that oh so fruity smelling merino/tencel fiber and see if I could spin that up! And here's what I got!
Still thick and thin, not really all that slubby, but my splicing still leaves a lot to desire. And yes, this time I managed to skein all my little mini hanks together to make one very short but very fat skein of heavy fingering to almost bulky thick and thin - this time managing 116 yards! I know, still not really knittable (though I might see if I can manage a Calorimetry out of it) but once again, very pretty to look at. :D And I was still having such fun!

So much fun that I decided to get ambitious. I had this 8 oz hunk of super soft,shimmering 50/50 combo of merino/tussah silk that I had purchased from The Sheep Shed's fiber festival booth at Rhinebeck of 'o7 hanging around in a plastic tote. Every now and then I'd take it out to sniff it, pet it, and rub my face against it, but whenever I got the urge to try and spin it, I'd hide it away quickly for fear that I'd try and fail.

You see, I knew when I bought that fiber that I wanted it to be a lovely delicate lace-weight (single ply would more than fit the bill), and well, I kept doubting my ability to be able to spin a yarn that fine. Well, after I finished with that fruity merino/tencel I pulled out that fiber and separated it into two strips - then I took one of those strips and split it into fourths, and then eighths, and then rolled those little eighths up into balls and went to work on drafting out those eighths into nice, thin strips workable for spinning up a nice shimmery lace weight. And well, I hate to sound cliche' but Eureka, I think I get it!

Ta-DA! Oh I know it's not perfectly even - still a bit on the thick and thinnish side (though not even close to the degree it was just goes from a lace weight to a slightly heavier lace weight) and I'm down to the last three eighths of that first 4 oz strip of fiber and I already have 143 yards spun up! If I keep spinning at this rate, then I think that I'll have surpassed my goal and possibly have spun up enough for the Calais Shawl - nevermind my original goal of 198 yds of heaven!

Speaking of the Calais Shawl(Rav Link) - apparently it's a FAIL in the KAL department for the official True Blood Group on Ravelry, BUT I still want to knit it, and a couple of my friends do as well. I'll be starting a group for the Calais Shawl KAL over on Ravelry and while we'll officially cast on on June 13th at 9 p.m. I'm thinking that it'll be more of an on-going thing, that way whoever wants to hop on in whenever they want to, they can. :D And like I said, if you're participating in the 10 shawls in 2010 KAL, this shawl kal does double duty. ;)

Now the only problem is, I only know of two people besides me that want to join in, sooo...if you're interested in participating in the KAL just shoot me a private message over on ravelry (I'm girlmeetsneedle there too) and once I get three people interested then I'll set up a group! Also keep in mind that while this will be primarily a KAL group - there will be other fun groupy type activities in the future! Like swaps, and possibly a contest or two! :D

Anyway, it's 3 am and I'm going to actually go knit a little bit instead of spinning up any more fiber and then maybe head off to bed. Don't forget to pm me on Ravelry if you'd like to participate in the KAL and wait!

One more thing. While I was digging through my stash of fiber, I found this.
This, is an Ann Grout support spindle - turnip based. Pretty, isn't it?
Sweet how it rests in that little bowl right? Well, you'll notice that there's a tiny bit of blue fiber attatched to the spool of the spindle - but let me hasten to assure you that only a very small amount of fiber was ever spun using that thing. It is not for me, which is why it remained hidden for so long. However, I found a group on Ravelry and put it up for trade. I got quite a bit more interest than I thought I would, but I made speedy arrangements to make the trade with a very kind lady named Stacey (the oh so talented creator of Spindipity yarns and fibers) - for a 4 oz braid of her very aptly named "Pansy" colored SW merino. So recently, that support spindle has become this.
Don't the colors just make you happy in your soul? As soon as I got it, I sniffed it (smells vaguely of lavender and soap with the deep down earthy smell of sheep...mmmm) and petted it, and hugged it. And I squeed for about fifteen minutes. ANd then I squeed even more about the little post card she sent with a little code to use to get 15% off my next order from her (and oh there shall be plenty). Yes, I tucked the pretty away before I abandoned spinning up my lace weight to get that all drafted. And yes, I'm hoping I can hold off on spinning it for a while because I'd kind of like to savor all that happiness. :D She thanked me for the trade, but really I'm feeling like I'm getting the better part of this bargain here. Totally.

Now...I'm going to bed for realz. Night folks!