Week 10: Vanishing Point

New yarn.

I wanted to take a picture for this week’s topic (Vanishing Point) that wasn’t of a road or railway or river or path going off into the distance.  Mainly because the roads aren’t that exciting or straight around here. So after winding some hand-spun yarn onto my niddy noddy and staring at it over dinner, I realised its potential. The B&W shot is best as the yarn is white and pink, which was a little distracting from the theme.

Copyright © 2011 cgadavies. All rights reserved.

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Murphy Monday: Is there such a thing a too much yarn?

Back in August I took this photo to show you why I must stop buying yarn and fiber. Murphy is there for scale, and attention. BTW he is a long cat.
Recently aquired stash

This is the yarn I bought in July and August.  There was fiber as well.  Oh, it doesn’t include the yarn and fiber I left with my parents to work on when I am visiting. I find it annoying to have to pack knitting and spinning projects and as I visit often, I thought it was worthwhile to have, ahem, two stashes.

Spinning: Knitting with My Handspun

Coopworth Dark Gray

Coopworth Dark Gray Swatch

I even span the fiber to order!  I wanted to see if I could make something worsted weight and I could.

Obligatory Handspun with Dime Photo

Obligatory Handspun with Dime Photo

Details

Spinning

Spindle: Ashford Student (70 g)

Fiber: Louet Coopworth Dark Gray

Date of Spinning: January 2010

Swatch

Needles: US 9/5.5 mm

Size: 13 stitches x ~20 rows

Date  of Swatch: March 2010

Pattern

Cast on 13 stitches

Work 2 ridges garter stitch

Stockinette for 15 rows with sl, kl and k1, p1 at start and end of each row respectively.

Work 2 ridges garter stitch

Bind off

Spinning Saturday: Abby’s Batt

Spinning Abby's Batt and Lavendar

Abby’s Batts are famous in the spinning world and hard to find;  unsurprisingly if mine is anything to go by.  Called Midnight Madness, the fiber contents are merino, Tussah silk and mohair.  The batt is so soft and cuddly that you could wear it without any spinning and that’s from some one who finds most wool-based yarns itchy.  It is softer than Murphy and not half as meouwee but is is a close call:

Murphy on the window sill

The fiber makes spinning a breeze.  I am making the singles as thin as possible because I only have 35 g and I want this to go as far as possible and it be great for knitted lace.  I should have bought more, but I do have a yarn budget and I overspend on fibery stuff as it is.

Spinning my Abby Batt with Hi-lo spindle

Spinning my Abby Batt with Saacht Hi-lo spindle

On other spinning notes, I signed up for The Mannings Beginning Spinning class in June.  This will give me more information about how to prepare fiber including carding and most importantly I will learn to spin on A WHEEL!

Saturday Spinning: My First Yarn

As mentioned earlier, I’ve really taken to spindle spinning.  A couple of months ago I took my first singles and plied them into yarn.

First Yarn

First Yarn, from Sock Summit Learn to Spin Kit

I am not sure what I am going to make with it yet.

I also bought my self a new spindle and have filled it once with the groovy yarn I bought from Susan’s Kitchen.

Groovy fiber becomes yarn

Groovy Yarn on Schacht Drop Spindle, used as a top whorl (it can be either)

I have the other half of the groovy yarn to finish and Frog Tree Purple Meriboo, also purchased at Sock Summit:

Purple Yarn

Frog Tree Meriboo

Then I’ll need more fiber.  Oh wait, there is the Coopworth Wool Roving, Med. Gray that I purchased with the new spindle.  But I need color in my fiber collection.

As recommended by Abby and Denny, ten minutes a day worked to make me a drop spinner.  After Sock Summit for about a month it was all I could do to Park and Draft making fairly thick singles at that. One day, when the cat was on my lap and in my way for Park and Draft, I drop spun off to one side without even thinking about it. For another month, I did a mixture of Park and Draft and drop spinning while sitting down. Suddenly I realized that I was preferring to spin standing up.  For a while I would make the yarn as thin as possible if not thinner (hence the thick and thin effect in the top photo) and drop the spindle.  I now mostly have control over the thickness of my singles and usually catch the spindle before it hits the floor.

I have not worked out how to hold a lot of fiber and spin – I usually pull off a clump and hold it tight in my sweaty hand.  I was having difficulty joining in new yarn, but with practice, using smaller clumps, I overcame that challenge.

I succumbed to temptation and purchased Abby’s Respect the Spindle.   Good thing as it turned out as I needed it.  Abby has exercises to try to improve your spinning techniques.  I tried, and mostly succeeded, to spin while dancing or singing.  One exercise I have not tried, but I want to,  is spinning while higher than standing on the ground, she and her friends did it over a cliff! I thought I would try it from the bed.  I would also like to try the paired spinning exercise.  Oh well, as there does not seem to be an active spinning community here I’ll just have to teach a friend to spin so I have some one spin with.

Spinning

I made yarn!

I made yarn!

I’ve really got into spinning fiber this summer.  It started back in May when the Knitting Knutz, my knitting guild, had a two hour workshop about the basics of spinning which spent a lot of time teaching us how to draft.  I practiced a bit after this but not really seriously.

At Sock Summit, I took Abby and Denny’s Basic Spindle Spinning class and that was great.  Before even using the spindle we were shown how easy it was to make yarn from fiber:

Plied Yarn

Plied Yarn

Denny and Abby are funny together making the class very enjoyable.  They showed us how to make fiber using a spindle by wrapping and turning, it was a revelation as it was so easy. We learned how to adapt that technique to use the spin of the spindle.  It was very interesting to see the twist in a short piece of spun fiber move up into the unspun fiber making a thread.   One of the students near me caught her twist in a whole chunk (technical term here) of fiber and Abby stretched out across the room, the twist traveled up about 6 feet of fiber. It was very impressive and yet,  I didn’t even think of taking a picture.

The key point for me getting hooked on spinning was Abby saying that you would be a good spinner after 3 – 6 weeks if you practice daily. As that is how long as it takes me to learn new scientific techniques, so it really stuck as doable.

I made yarn

I made yarn

The photos are from the first week after Sock Summit and now, three weeks later I have got it and can almost relax while spinning. I’ve even did some spinning this afternoon with the Murphy-cat on my lap.  I’m not quite confident about drop spinning, I like to park and draft especially if I am using the spindle we got in our class kit (and if the cat is on my lap).  I’ve made quite a bit of yarn and I am ready to try plying when I have enough.

I did make some fiber purchases at Sock Summit and I am sure there will be many many more in my future:

Purple Yarn: Merino and Bamboo

Purple Yarn: Merino and Bamboo

I’ve started spinning with this one because I felt with one color I couldn’t really make too many mistakes.

Susans Kitchen Yarns

Susan's Kitchen Yarns

Susan was great at the Sock Summit, very helpful in giving me suggestions of starting yarn and I love the colors in this roving.  I was not brave enough to start spinning it two weeks ago but now I wish I had more than two spindles so that I could just try it.  Just what I need, another hobby that costs money.  Especially as I have already been told by a friend who also knits and spins that I must now need to buy a spinning wheel. What, huh? Sounds good to me.