Category Archives: Spinning – No Needles

A new adventure starting with a turkish spindle.

SSK KAL Plans

Silly me. I started & finished a KAL project a day too early. Duh!!!! The KAL started January 15th and will run until July. I knitted a hat on the 14th. I’ll consider it practice. And it will still go to charity. 

Boun’s hat pattern by Ann Budd


What I did right. I did try to finished as many old projects as possible. Otherwise, they won’t be touched until after July. 

Basic afterthought heel, gifted unknown sock yarn


I didn’t finish any handspun. No regrets. I just wasn’t ready. Deadlines, even arbitrary ones, are enough to push a decision. 

It’s only January but I already feel a bit too rushed and already behind. Time for some strategy and deep breathing. 

Silly. It’s all self imposed pressure. Not a lot at stake, except missed opportunities for door prizes. Even so, it’s great motivation to use up stash. 

Handspun (focus on vendor fibers)
Blue-purple-turquoise lace weight 700 yards

✔✔ Done. Red DK weight 750 yards for Robin shawl by Leethal Knits. Already on the second swish. 

Robin shawl by Leethal Knits in handspun

❌2 Guys BFL in Royal (spinning now) fingers cross it will be 350-400 yards. 

❌Gale’s Arts BFL in Iris (spinning soon) Still in a quandary about how to spin this one. 

Gale’s Arts BFL in natural

Gale’s Arts Polwarth in natural

Gale’s Arts Polwarth/silk in natural

Vendor Yarns:

2 Guys standard fingering in Salt on the Rim

✔Gale’s Arts Extreme sock blank in Crossing Paths by Ann Budd. Yuk. switched to a simple plain pattern. 

Wrong pattern for this yarn

✔Gale’s Arts sock yarn that I hand dyed in Gale’s workshop, in Crossing Paths by Ann Budd. Yeah! Loving this. 

Right pattern for this yarn

Gale’s Arts gradients

Gale’s Arts sock yarn in natural

Gynx Yarns Strong sock in Confetti & champagne

Knitty and Color hardcore sock in 1,000 of Oceans

Knitty and Color hardcore sock in Blueberries

Marigoldjen sock yarn in Street Graffiti

Miss Babs Yet lace in Franklin

Miss Babs Yowza in Baids Whale

Miss Babs BFL fingering in natural

Stranded Dyeworks Oasis in Magpie

Charity Hats:

25 weeks until the retreat means I should easily get 25-30 hats finished. Both Ann Budd and Lee Meredith have lots of hat designs to knit. 

Boun’s hat by Ann Budd is my current favorite hat. I could easily knit several a week.  


Patterns:

This could change on a whim. 

Right now there are lots of hats and socks in my Ravelry Queue from the two designers. Better get a pair of socks on the needles.

But first up is Robin shawl by Lee Meredith. I’ve wanted to knit this one for several years. I’m taking a chance using my first real handspun, the purple-navy-turquoise with Miss Babs lace in Franklin and the stripes in Huckleberry Yarn lace. 

And in 24 hours, I’ve already changed my mind. After winding the purple-navy-turquoise into center pull balls, I decided it’s too light, thin and not enough yardage. 

Instead, Robin will be a longer term project. I’m spinning the 2 Guys BFL in Royal now.

Guys Yarn, BFL Royals top & single in bobbin

2 Guys Yarn, BFL Royals 3 ply

That will be the main color. Gale’s Arts BFL in Iris will be the two contrast colors. I’ll comb the green and gray together for the second contrast color. Fingers crossed for enough yardage. 

Nope. 

Scratched the whole idea. Not enough yardage (264) in the 2 Guys Royal. I might try to find another fiber to handspin for a new main color. Right now, I am too scared to tackle the Gales Arts Iris. 

Gale’s Arts BFL Iris, separating the green & gray.

In the meantime, I am knitting Robin with the red handspun. Contrast color was a challenge. And also decided to modify the pattern. Switching the contrast and main colors in section 2. 

Left 1st swatch, right 2nd swatch

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January Crafting List

I listen to a lot of podcasts while working at crafting, mostly for background noise.  The Happiness Project with Gretchen Rubin is always a favorite and for the New Year, she suggests having a yearly theme, a word. 

I can’t decide. My word was going to be Home, since ours was neglected in the last two years. Or it will be Homemade/Handmade. Either way, I am adding to my crafting to-do list. 

Spinning:

  • ✔Wool n’ Spinning workshop Default spin
  • Wool n’ Spinning workshop Ratios
  • Purple Iris 
  • Fall leaves

Knitting:

  • ✔Finish the Ketterdam shawl.  Lost at yarn chicken by 12 yards in December. 
  • ✔Renamed that problem over-dyed yarn Evergreen (because it’s no longer a problem) and make a big winter cowl
  • Write pattern for Crisscross hat

    Crisscross hat in Evergreen overdye yarn

  • Doubleknit Ikat cowl 

    Ikat sketch needs a rework

  • Hats for charity
  • Continuous sock on needles
  • SSK KALs

A New Thing: 

  • A sketch a day
  • Calligraphy practicing the alphabet in a new to me font (www.surelysimple.com challenge). Brush is harder than I expected. 

Homemade/Handmade: 

  • Storage buckets for yarn & fiber
  • Winter crossbody bag
  • Finish project bags already cut (save for gift giving)
  • ✔Finish hand stitching for Alabama Chanin A-line dress
  • Printmaking

Home: Decluttering & Organizing 

  • ✔My closet & bathroom 
  • Garage & attic in warm weather
  • Taxes

Wishing These Magically Get Done:

  • Marbling more fabric for fun (make wire holders & order Orvis soap) 
  • Create practice Alabama Chanin jacket from Craftsy class. (Grey woven linen) Rethinking this whole project. 
  • Triptych painting in hall way (start sketches) finally settled on an general idea of a map
  • Paint dining room walls & ceiling Step 1: pick colors (Dover white & Sedate gray) 
  • Declutter and organize studio, attic and garage 

December Crafty To Do List Or Not

Spinning:
After discovering I probably over-twisted all previous handspun…..(my spinning enabler, Laura gave me some tips and reassurence)

  • ❌SWATCH: red 3 ply problem yarn (hoping to knit another Ketterdam shawl)
  • ✔SWATCH: black 4 ply problem yarn. I did untwisted this one a bit before it was set. (Hoping to knit a mosaic pattern that looks like Japanese ikat) 

    Hot mess of plied yarn before setting the twist

  • ❌Continue developing a default spin (falling behind now): Wool n’ Spinning Patreon workshop and the December homework on ratios (no clue yet)
  • ❌Wool n’ Spinning Patreon Fibre Club project
  • ❌Wool n’ Spinning Color Theory project
  • ❌Go through the Craftsy class, Worsted to Woolen Yarn by Jacey Boggs
  • ✔️Sweet Georgia fiber (Black Friday sale)
  • ✔️Kimber’s shop Fiber Optic
  • ✔Then get right back on fiber/yarn diet
  • ✔️Gave the Ashford Traditional spinning wheel a spa day. 400 grit sandpaper all surfaces including the new bobbins and 2 coats of Danish oil  
  • ✔️Play with my new tool, Amish style yarn swift

    New Amish styled swift by George Sichterman

Knitting:

  • ✔️Deadline: very soon! Cardigan for friend’s new granddaughter (Harvey kimono by Louis Harding)
  • ❌Deadline: later. Baby booties, another Baby kimono and a baby poncho 
  • ✔Finish Ketterdam shawl by Laura Linneman in the 3 ply red handplied yarn. Knitting with Director’s Interpretation, Soliliquy, by Leading Men Fiber Arts instead. 

    Lovely texture on Ketterdam shawl

  • ❌Swatch cardigan (not even thinking about it)
  • ❌Finish yellow grey socks & start another pair (didn’t touch)

    1st sock almost done

  • ✔❌Hat & cowl with Problem yarn (overdyed Swish DK) Created a hat but not cowl. 

Hand sewing:
If you are on Instagram there’s a tag #slowfashion you might find interesting. 

  • ✔️ Done: 2 back panels finished of hand stitching the Magdalene stencil
  • ✔️Done: Handstitch 1 front panel

    Last bits of hand stitching on front panel

  • ❌Handstitch last front panel
  • ❌Stitch seams & facings of A line dress
  • ❌Stencil next project to start in January. (grey) (new leaf)(long fitted skirt/tank top)

Slanted Stitches Etsy shop:

  • ❌ Momentum has turned into inertia
  • ✔️Officially closing the shop

Or work on these

  • Fortune cookie bag – blue
  • Purple take-out bags
  • Turquoise Japanese knot bags
  • Forest take-out bags

Gardening:

  • ✔️Rake leaves (still haven’t fallen)
  • Finish mulching
  • ✔️care for veggies

Wishing These Magically Get Done:

  • Marbling more fabric for Japanese bento bags. (make wire holders & order Orvis soap) 
  • Create practice Alabama Chanin jacket from Craftsy class. (Grey woven linen) Rethinking this whole project. 
  • Triptych painting in hall way (start sketches)
  • Paint dining room walls & ceiling Step 1: pick colors (Dover white & Sedate gray) New colors on top row, old colors below 
  • Declutter and organize studio, attic and garage 

    Ugly mess of a garage

Or lower expectations and go with the flow of the season and move the list to January. 

I’m starting to like the last idea. 

Chat with you next week. 

Lesson: Swatch! Swatch!

Spinning is my new obsession since the summer. 

Read a half dozen books and watched a few Craftsy spinning classes. Makes sense. 

So far, I’ve spun four projects. Love the yarn. Was blissfully believing “It’s all good. I got this.” Spinning seemed natural and easy, until the fifth project. 

The fifth project was a real struggle getting the smoothness and thickness right. I decided it was time to pay attention to every step of the process. I will follow ALL the steps from the classes and books. No skipping. I will test run the different processes, keep notes on thickness (wraps per inch), twist angle, general characteristics and knit a swatch. No big deal. Just follow the book and class examples. 

The other motivator, the Wool n’ Spinning group is working on their default spin. Since I haven’t developed a default spin yet, I thought this is a good time to create one. 
My ideal default spin is a 3 ply fingering weight yarn spun worsted for socks. Shouldn’t be hard, right?

It took five tries to get a yarn that MIGHT have worked. I learned a lot from the experience.  

Lesson learned: don’t skip testing & swatching.  I ignored that step in the first projects. Now, I’m afraid all of them are junk (not worth knitting).

Here’s the process I went through in project 5. The fiber is unknown wool, mixed coarse with fine, sticky and matted with neps and vegetable matter. It’s 15-20 years old stored in a ziplock bag with a handwritten card, 5 oz. $6.50. Each test is approximately one quarter to a half a bobbin. I didn’t weight them. I probably will for the next project. 

Test 1: too thick single worsted spun and too twisted ply creates a hard heavy rope. (No picture)

Test 2: too lumpy single & ok 3 ply but it’s almost Aran weight yarn. Need to get thinner single. 

Test 2: 3 ply knitted swatch & card notes


Test 3-4:  thinner but not thin enough single, 2 plied is good but still too large. 3 ply is ok until I knitted a swatch. LOOK AT THE SWATCH! The swatch shows I overtwisted the ply.  If I had spun & plied the whole bag of fiber, it would have gone into the trash bin. 

Test 3-4: 2 ply & 3 ply knitted swatch

Now, I’m worried about all the previous handspun. Can’t bring myself to swatch them quite yet. 

Test 5: worsted spun, much better, but still too fluffy

Test 5: nice 3 ply yarn knit on size 0 US

The last lesson learned: Not all fiber is worth spinning. This one is destine for the center of dryer balls. 

In order to get as nice a yarn as I could in test 5, I had to pull off every tedious and frustrating nep. 


I had to prove to myself that I could do this. Test 5 is not a useable sock yarn. At least, it is pleasant to knit. I’m much closer to developing a default spin. 

Crafty Retreat Wish List

Cooperative Press send a survey request last week to their newsletter subscribers. 

One question has been mulling around in my head since taking the survey. 

“If money were no obstacle, what retreat would I want to attend?”

It was funny that they hinted Iceland is the answer. No thanks. I have other ideas. 
I thought you might like to know what’s out there beyond the knitting world. 

My instant answer was to tour Japan for indigo dyeing, ikat weaving and shibori dyeing. 

But my old back-of-the-mind wish list came to the front.

If I had unlimited resources, I’d go to one to two workshops at each of these schools. And try all the things, (pottery, weaving, basketmaking, dyeing, printmaking, enamel,  glassblowing, and everything else). 

But if I did that in a year’s time, I would also feel a bit bonkers and scatter brained by the end. Remember, this is my dream, so let’s revise it to one workshop from one school a year. And let’s prioritize direction to printmaking, dyeing, spinning & maybe weaving. I need some focus. Right??

These are schools I have wanted to attend since college days and they are still going strong. 

I discovered these retreats since I started knitting:

All except for SSK, I would go once to these retreats. Rhinebeck (New York Sheep and Wool Festival) is probably on every knitters list. It’s not something I could manage. Too many people. 

Lots to day dream about and look forward to…

Can you tell, I’m not cooking or hosting the Thanksgiving feast this year. I have time to daydream about things besides turkey, side dishes and dessert. 

I hope y’all have a wonderful time with family and friends. 

2016 #2 Knitting Bucket List

I couldn’t sleep last night. 

So while lying in bed, instead of reliving what we watched on tv, I thought about my knitting bucket list from the beginning of this year. I was tempted to get up and check the list. Instead, decided to think about what I want to accomplish for the last few months if the year.

Mentally inventoring your stash & dreaming up projects to knit actually kept me awake. For some reason, I focused on the problem yarns. 

(Just checked the old list. Everything is done or scratched. So satisfying.) 

Now on to the problem children. 

Problem Yarns:

  1. Buffalo Wool Company Sexy – It’s too precious to knit. Can’t find a worthy project. I’ve carry this skein around to fiber festivals & shops for three years.
  2. Habu linen tape – broke too fast when sampling. Do I just trash it? Zig machine stitch over it? Experiments needed. 
  3. Too many lace & cobweb weight yarns – can/should I combo ply them now that I have a spinning wheel and just read about combo plying? 
  4. Overdyed Knitpicks Swish – Originally bought for first cardigan. Should I risk overdying again? Or Make a dozen hats. Hats sounds good. 
  5. Too many gradients – Fiber Optic, Infinite Twist & Gales Arts

    Maybe I’ll focus on one or two of these problem yarns for the rest of this year. 

    Knitting Project Criteria:

    • Something I really want to wear
    • Something that works with existing summer and/or winter wardrobe
    • Knit from stash or my handspun (Patreon support is my whole yarn-fiber budget.)
    • SSK 2017 instructors list for new patterns to queue (I was one of the lucky raffle winners to bypass the lottery system. So nice since I was wait listed till the last minute a few times.)
    • Always a pair of socks on the needles
    • Always a few matching winter hats, cowls & maybe mittens. 
    • Alternating with using old/new in stash

    What I have worn a lot in the last year:

    • Viajante (big warm hug)
    • Bermuda (color & size)
    • Artisian (great neutrals & big warm hug)
    • Romi cowl (color & easy wear)
    • Little Arrows cowl (easiest for summer)

    Now to meld the lists and develop a plan. 

    • Problem 1: Buffalo Wool Company. I was thinking the yarn I just finished spinning would be a good companion to the bison. But the bison would recede into the backdrop. Paid too much for it to be the supporting actor. I saw a friend knit Mixed No. 3 by Kristen Ford. I really like the simplicity but luxury. A light blue silk yarn that could work with the bison.  I’ll just do it in an oversized cowl/poncho. 
    • Problem 3: too much lace & cobweb yarns. I like the idea of plying a few of these into something fingering weight. Fingering is my favorite weight to knit. This will probably be an ongoing project since I have lots and lots.

      3 plying cobweb weight yarns together

    • Problem 4: Overdyed Swish. Most definitely one hat, cowl, & mitten set for me. The rest will be charity hats for SSK2017 KAL.
    • Problem 5: too many gradients. Currently enjoying my On The Spice Market shawl by Melanie Berg. Very subtle colors. This one is going to be very wearable. I might use the Fiber Optics gradient in the same pattern or Solaris also by Melanie Berg. 

    This feels like a good plan that will carry me through the next six months. This list only leaves the Habu linen tape. I’m good. 

    Other things I want to knit right now:

    • Ketterdam by Laura Linneman in Leading Men Fiber Arts Soliliquy Director’s Choice. Or maybe in that 3 ply I just finished. This one is next in line. 
    • Meridian cardigan by Shellie Anderson in fibra natura flax
    • Maude tunic by Julie Weisenberger in linen
    • Either the Boo Knits or Joji Locatelli shawl from the Sight Is For Life book. Book proceeds went to a charity. Handspun experiments?
    • My best friend from Dallas is about to have her second grandchild and first granddaughter. 
    • Two more baby projects for friends’ grandkids. Next in line. 

      Harvey Kimono by Louis Harding

    Time to edit my ravelry queue

    Or take a nap.