Tag Archives: Spinning

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

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. 

Spinning Novice Thinking Process

So I told you I joined the Wool n’ Spinning Patreon sponsorship last month. 

I am gaining so much in knowledge through the workshop and conversation among the other supporters. I have found another tribe. For research resources, my normal resource the local library has only one very old book on spinning and weaving. Of course, there are plenty of YouTube videos of varying quality. Craftsy classes are definitely more thorough with great visuals. magazines. And my great enabler, Laura, has a full library for this deep dive of spinning books, and Ply magazines. 

I am in full on learning mode. 

Borrowed spinning books & magazines

The books by Judith McKenzie McCuin, Maggie Casey & others were wonderful background information on fleeces, fiber perpetration, and spinning techniques. Will have to refer to them again when I start playing with different sheep breeds.  Right now, I’m an still digging into the Color in Spinning book by Deb Menz and all the Ply magazines. 

The Craftsy classes I’ve been through are Know Your Wool by Deborah Robson and Spindling by Dru Pettibone. I am just now going through Ply To Knit by Jillian Merono. And must catch up on Yarn Substitution Made Easy by Kellie Nuss. 

The Wool n’ Spinning conversation has been wonderful and very interesting. At one point, we were discussing the ‘stages’ in our knitting journey. 

I assume spinning will follow similar stages as knitting. 

Stage 1: Try Everything

  • The first two projects were just to get use to the wheel and gain some control over my consistency. Really, they were just for the fun of spinning. I managed without difficulty to spin fine and medium singles. Still more to learn and develop that muscle memory. 

Stage 2: Souvenir Buying

  • At SSK this last summer, I went crazy and bought all the soft fibers, BFL, Polwarth and Polwarth-silk. Yep, just because they were soft or a bit shiny. I didn’t have a project in mind. Definitely souvenir buying. 

    Gale’s Arts and Ross Farms fibers from SSK market

  • And in Dallas, I bought some cotton. 
  • Understand, I bought all of these thinking I’d be spinning on a spindle…meaning smaller projects. I’m sure you noticed no colors. Definitely color dyeing play time. 

Stage 3: Reality & The Realistic 

  • Discovered an instant gratification project. Practiced 3 ply by plying 2 strands unraveling men’s merino thrift shop sweater sleeves with a Shoppel Wolle lace ball both from deep stash. (FYI, each men’s sleeve was about 800 meters.) Win Win with this. Using deep yarn stash, practice managing three strands and have new yarn I like a lot. 

    800 m merino 3 ply light fingering weight finished

  • 800 m merino 3 ply light fingering weight waiting for its bath

  • Breed studies is a topic in Wool n’ Spinning. I will watch & learn from the sidelines. 

The list below is still developing as there is so much still to learn. And some project supplies to get. 

Cardigan:

  • Need 8 more bobbins (600 yds each)
  • Fingering to Sport weight
  • 1800-2400 yards
  • Fiber: ? 24-28 oz
  • Deep Stash: Ply cobweb yarns
  • Woolen spun Singles at low twist:?
  • Plys:3 at balanced twist or 2 ply at high twist
  • Color: goes with everything 

Socks: 

  • Fingering
  • At least 350 yards
  • Fibers: 4 oz Cheviot or Suffolk
  • Singles at medium twist
  • 3-4 ply with a medium to high twist
  • Color: experimental 

Shawls

  • Fingering or sport weight
  • 600-800 yards
  • Fiber stash: 8 oz, Polwarth & Polwarth/silk
  • Deep Stash: Ply cobweb & lace weight yarns
  • Singles at medium-high twist
  • 2-3 ply with a low- medium twist
  • Color: gradients, semi-solids

Hats & cowl:

  • worsted to Aran weight
  • At least 400 yards
  • Fibers: 8-12 oz, soft against the neck
  • Fiber stash: silk hankies, Hedgehog fibers BFL
  • Singles at medium to low twist
  • 3 ply with medium twist 
  • Color: wild & crazy art yarns

October Crafty List

Creating the list last month seemed to help me check off a lot of languishing projects. That or being at home, instead of on a roadtrip makes a difference.  

Either way, I like setting this up as a regular thing. A monthly list makes sense for now. 

October Crafty List:

Spinning:

Knitting:

  • ✔️ Doing: Start the On the Spice Market shawl by Melanie Berg. Using Leading Men Fiber Arts Soliliquy gradient in Midnight Rendezvous and Black Trillium in Black Jewel. Participate in Melanie’s gradient KAL 

    On The Spice Market shawl progress

  • Select yarn for Ketterdam shawl by Laura Linneman Favorite candidate: Leading Men Fiber Arts Soliliquy (interesting that Laura is currently doing the same.)
  • Swatch cardigan  
  • ✔️ Done: Finish Sister’s Christmas socks 

    Faux Wave sock pattern by Ann Budd,Regia yarn

  • Finish SSK socks, use Susan B Anderson’s SOS pattern 

Hand sewing:

I really like is switching between hand stitching and knitting when my hands get tired off one repetitive activity. Good thing, since I bought so much fabric already. 

If you are on Instagram there’s a tag #slowfashionoctober you might find interesting. 

 

  • ✔️ Done Get supplies for stenciling 
  • ✔️ Done: Swatch stencil paint colors for teal A-line dress or tunic (procrastinating…scared?!?)
  • ✔️ Done: Recut Maggie stencil 
  • ✔️ Done Cut fabric for teal tunic
  • ✔️ Done: Stencil teal tunic pieces
  • Hand stitch tunic pieces

Slanted Stitches Etsy shop:

  • ✔️ Done: Problem solve cable snaps
  • ✔️ Done: Finish Romi’s fortune cookie bag
  • ✔️Done: Eloise’s DPN holder
  • Fortune cookie bag – blue
  • ✔️Starting Purple take-out bags
  • Turquoise Japanese knot bags
  • Forest take-out bags

Gardening:

  • ❌ Fail. Botanical garden plant sale did not include veggies. 
  • ✔️ Done: Got veggies plants at local garden center
  • ✔️Done: Transition summer annuals to fall-winter plants. 
  • ✔️ Done: installed soaker hose to the dry sunnier yard. 
  • ✔️ Done:Start more veggies seedlings in the ground. Skip the trays. 

General Decluttering: not even thinking about these

  • Studio (straighten fabric, thread, patterns) SO NEEDED!
  • Kitchen (counter tops & pantry)

Wishing These Magically Get Done:

  • Marbling more fabric for Japanese bento bags. (make wire holders & order Orvis soap) 
  • ✔️done. Find label solution (source equipment/tools) 

    Prototype labels for shop bags

    Pyrographic leather labels for custom bags

  • Start grey fitted tank and skirt, and navy a-line dress.
  • 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
  • Every month declutter and organize one area. 

 

Crafting List Update

Writing a huge list is first overwhelming then somehow switches to motivational. Maybe because I like ✔️s. 

I like to tackle the easy, almost-done things first. Mainly to quickly shorten the list. But also, like TheKnitGirllls annual Stashdash, a way to clean out older projects to make room for the newest distraction. 
Another thing that’s helped tackling a lot of these in 15-30 minute slots a day. I wish all projects could be dealt with this way. Unfortunately the last stuff on the list are bigger week long projects. (Which is why they are at the end of the list)

✔️ Deleted over 75 fiber vendors from my Instagram & Feedly accounts.  Overexposure to too many pretties lead to too much impulse buying. 

Confession: Part of the social media deletion is that the Miss Babs order is the second one in a week. I ordered Habu linen. Unfortunately I didn’t read it correctly. It’s linen paper. I tested a tiny bit. Yikes. It breaks like tissue paper. Sigh. Should have looked on Ravelry for reviews. And nearly matches in color other yarns recently purchased. (Mind is lagging purchase wish list)

Impulse purchase mistake number one. 


Spinning:

  • ✔️ Done. Finish plying the blue bat. 
  • ✔️ Done. Ply the Rose Quartz roving. 
  • Start spinning a 3 ply (select which fibers). Or read/research more about spinning techniques. 
  • Thinking about subscribing to a 3 month club. 

Knitting:

  • Start the At the Spice Market shawl by Melanie Berg. Using Leading Men Fiber Arts Soliliquy gradient in Midnight Rendezvous and Black Trillium. Participate in Melanie’s gradient KAL
  •  Select yarn for Ketterdam shawl Favorite candidate: Leading Men Fiber Arts Soliliquy (interesting that Laura is currently doing the same.)
  • Swatch cardigan 
  • ✔️ Done. Finish Leslee’s socks 
  • Started Sister’s Christmas socks
  • Started SSK socks, use Susan B Anderson’s SOS pattern

Hand sewing:

  • Started business card pocket for my handbag
  • ✔️ DONE. Finish right pocket detail on Alabama Chanin A-line tunic 
  • ✔️ DONE. Finish felling seams on Alabama Chanin fitted dress. 
  • ✔️ Done. Finish neckline & arm holes for Alabama Chanin fitted dress
  • ✔️ DONE. Finish cutting Alabama Chanin New Leaf stencils
  • ✔️ Done. Finish Alabama Chanin Paisley stencil
  • Swatch stencil paint colors for teal A-line dress or tunic, grey fitted tank and skirt, and navy a-line dress. (Oops, get supplies)
  • Create practice Alabama Chanin jacket from Craftsy class. (Grey woven linen) Rethinking this whole project. 

Slanted Stitches Etsy shop:

  • This week: Romi’s fortune cookie bag
  • This week: Turquoise take-out bags
  • Eloise’s DPN holder
  • Turquoise Japanese knot bags
  • Forest take-out bags
  • Marbling fabric for Japanese bento bags. (make wire holders & order Orvis soap)
  • Screen print fabric for labels and bag fabric. (source equipment/tools) (create stencil designs)

Home:

  • Triptych painting in hall way (start sketches)
  • Paint dining room walls & ceiling
  • Summed up: Declutter and organize. 

 

Reverse on Spinning Wheel

Ok. I can look at this two different ways. 

  1. The last few months of consternation was  a waste of time and emotions. 
  2. It was a necessary thought process for understanding what was most important.

As you recall, I firmly decided I didn’t need a spinning wheel. I am thoroughly enjoying my spindles. I am spinning on the Akerworks drop/supported spindle most nights. (Still need to problem solve the best motions for better ergonimics. Sore shoulder blade is not a good thing.)

Something besides fiber and fabric came home with us from Dallas. And she’s beautiful!

Whenever we are in Dallas, we spend a bit of time with old friends. Leslee inspires me with her craft experience and enthusiasm. It is always fun to see what she’s into next. Apparently I follow her lead but lag behind by decades. She was spinning twenty years ago and has moved on.

Ashford Traditional on hotel elevator. She’s beautiful!


I showed her my little bit of spindle spinning. She showed me her Ashford Traditional. AND loaned it to me. 

A Saxony wheel single treadle was NOT in my wish list. And I might still get a castle style wheel for portability. 

A Pollywog is still on my wish list. It’s designed for kids. Hopefully that means sturdy, easy care, small & portable. 

But I reversed immediately with this Ashford. I love it. My first bobbin was ok until I lost the leader. Not sure what to do with it. Cutting hasn’t solved it yet. 

1st bobbin: plenty of mistakes


The second bobbin is full now and much better. Attempting to do a little color management, by splitting the roving into separate colors. Even so, it will probably become very tweedy/muddy looking. 

Palanca Farms, merino top roving



I’ve been watching Rachel of Wool n’ Spinning podcast’s tutorials on drafting. Watch every Abby Franquenmot video I can find. Both are on YouTube. VERY VERY helpful. 

2nd bobbin


Looks like I will be taking every spinning class I can at next year’s SSK retreat. Oh, I forgot to tell you, I won 1 of 2 SSK 2016 charity raffle tickets to skip to lottery for next year!