Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gone Shoppin!

As you may have noticed, I've been bit hard by the spinning bug and this weekend was the Woodstock Fiber Festival. The WFF is a cute little fair that included an exhibit of our lovely fur-bearing friends. Sheep, and rabbits, and lamas, oh my!

Lots of people would have been willing to bring this cutie home.  Those big brown eyes are as soft has his fleece.

Inside the building was a good variety of vendors that included basket weaving, rug hooking, wheels, fleece and wool.  I had a definite shopping list in mind that included spindles, all Forresters of course.  I'm lucky to have such a resource in my area.  The festival had no other spindles of this caliber and in such a variety of weights, in my humble opinion.

The are two for spinning fingering weight singles that I can then ply off from onto my larger first spindle.  And the wee holey spindle is for laceweight. 

Of course I also bought fiber, like this pretty.

And romantic fiber like this black welsh,

And some more fiber till I accumulated this stash.

And finally niddy-noddy was crossed off my shopping list, to help me manage all the beautiful yarn I'm going to make.  Hopefully this will be enough to keep be busy through the year.  I'm not as good a spinner as I'd like to be and I only know one way of getting better.  Practice.  And that requires fiber!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's all about the Yarn

Knitting is happening, but these days I seem to be all about the yarn.  Spinning does that to you. 

I was working on my Koigu Braid when something just clicked.  It occurred to me that when I let the twist enter the fiber to pinch just ahead of the part I'd drafted.  In other words, to leave some of the drafted fiber out of the twist.  This made it easier to draft the next bit of fiber.  And from there I flew!  I don't even know if I'm still doing that any more, but it was the magic moment.  I am now beyond park and really drop spindling.  I feel like the training wheels came off my bike.  

Oh, I still have so much to learn though!  Consistency for one thing.

I still think I can make something out of this yarn.  Especially if I stretch it with some commercial yarn.

I got some beautiful batts from Paula at All Strung Out that I'm not ready to spin yet. One is a merino/silk blend and the other is a merino/cashmere blend.  I think the merino/silk should be socks and the merino/cashmere should be a shawl.  But I can't spin them yet.  I want to finish my Koigu braid first, but I also need a lighter spindle.  No worries, because next weekend is the Woodstock Fleece Festival!!  I'll be there with bells on.

And in other yarn news, I'm very pleased to show off these naturally dyed beauties:

These were originally natural-colored wool I bought at the Waterloo Farmer's Market.  Mary Jane cooked them up with some natural dyes and now I've got these coordinated skeins to play with .  I love them. 

I'd better get back to knitting though.  The stash is experiencing a growth spurt.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Catching by Breath

I'm barely on top of it all these days.  Work, family, home improvement, knitting, spinning and oh don't forget to walk the dog... whew!

Last weekend I drove my mom in the rain to Toronto to get her pottery supplies at Tuckers.  We had fun in spite of the weather but I caught a cold and that's why there was no blog post. 

I'm still spinning and something just clicked this week.  I'm getting a fingering weight now on my 50g spindle which is awesome, plus I'm past the park and draft.  I'm not trying to make yarn for a project with the Targhee Koigu braid. Instead I'm trying to learn to make good yarn.  Easier said than done, but I'm getting there.

I knit my first handspun into a hat, which has already been adopted by a teenaged girl.  It's my fault because I asked her to try it on and she squealed.  Who can resist a squeal for hand knits? 

Top down on a 6mm needle, I started with 5 stitches and increased 5 stitches every other round until it seemed big enough around.  Then I knit till I ran out of yarn and used a sewn bind off to finish it.  It's a cute little hat, but no good on me what with all the curly hair.

I've also finished another pair of socks.  I'm getting a supply in before the really cold weather hits so that my family has warm feet.  This pair will be going to Luke, who very much appreciates his handknit socks.

I was trying to use every last bit of yarn in the skein so I worked these toe up with an afterthought heel.  I was too aggressive though and ended up short by just three little rows at the end of the heel.  So I subbed in some Trekking and you can barely tell.  At least I think so.  Can you see which sock I had to fudge?