Sunday, May 10, 2009

Still here ... barely

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but back at the beginning of the year I joined the Grafton Fibers ColorWays club. Every month, you get a big, fluffy batt of corriedale, died in wonderful colours and blended in interesting ways. I opened the first package and was totally petrified. The one time I'd used a batt before, I just grabbed handfuls of fiber and spun them together. Although you could use that technique with these, you'd lose the wonderful colour progressions. Yup, each batt so far has been carded so that the colours gradually shift from one end to the other. January went from red to turquoise and back to red, and February from red through yellow to blue, March from ultraviolet through blue and brown, and April from gold through green to burgundy. They have been gorgeous. Rather than end up the year with a stack of 12 nice neat boxes,, I decided it was time to just dive in.

I started with February. I must confess that none of these pictures accurately reflects the true colours. The original batt was sort of like this, but the red is way off, and it doesn't show much of the green:



I tore the batt into four sections length-wise, then pulled each section out width-wise into a tube (rolag?) and then dizzed them into a long strip (roving?).

To keep the colours true while spinning, I had two choices, either Navajo ply or singles. I did two chains of N-ply and got bored, so singles it was. :-)

One end of the yarn is red, some with a bit of brown. The yellow is gradually introduced, with some green, and it shades through blue with some black to clear blue.

Spinning a single is a bit scary, because normally the plies in a multi-ply yarn give it strength. In a single, you need enough twist to hold it together but not so much that it gets all kinky. I used a fairly heavy spindle -- my Bossie maxi --so I could try to keep my yarn thick. It took some planning to keep the colour progression so I had the right ends to join together as I built the total length. I finished it by alternating hot and cold washes, with a bit of agitation, to slightly felt it and give it some strength.

This picture shows the blue and green, but the red is off.

In this one, the red is right, but the blue and green are off. I'm not really a red person, but I do love this colour.

I ended up with about 175 yards, 10 WPI, of the softest, fluffiest yarn I've made so far.

I'm thinking it wants to be a scarf, probably like the Noro striped one that's very popular, but I haven't quite decided if I want to match it with some plain black or maybe wait to see if another batt later in the year will coordinate with it. I think I'll just pet it for a while. :-)

I finally finished a pair of socks.

I posted about these before and how much I was NOT enjoying them. The yarn is Regia Kaffe Fassett, and when I bought it, I thought I was getting the striped variety. Turns out I must have been distracted by some other nearby pretty and reached into the wrong bin and got -- whatever that is. I was determined to finish them, though, because I was in one of those "Next time you go yarn shopping, remember to check the bin!" self-improvement masochistic modes. A good way to just get through something that isn't appealing? Rent a couple of DVDs and just sit and knit and don't look at them. I have Battlestar Galactica Season to thank for getting these done. I hadn't seen any Battlestar before, and it looks to be a good series. I still kind of hate the socks, though.

With those two projects done, it was time to start another. It's been very busy at work, and stressful, and I've been generally grumpy and tired. But every time I pick this up, I can't help but smile a bit. If the red and purple sparkles don't do it, the spindle itself certainly does.

It's batts from Enchanted Knoll Farm, Red Silk Kimono colourway, being spun on my Tilt-a-Whorl drain strainer spindle. Big fun, and I have absolutely no idea what I will do with the finished yarn, and I don't really care. :-)

24 people had something to say:

Yarndude said...

Your singles yarn looks absolutely gorgeous! Way better than kureyon. I also love tilt-a-whorl spindles, they're always so creative. And hooray for being done with socks you hate! I think the yarn you got is the "mirage" version of the stripey (landscape) yarn. I've got some in my stash somewhere too.

lexa said...

Nice socks. Someday I must learn to spin. :)

fleegle said...

Love your spinning, but admit that the socks don't do much for me.

That's really a sink drainer? Just think--you can catch onion skins and spin them too!

Opal said...

oh your singles are just gorgeous! so is your tilt-a-whorl spindle. isn't it great creating yarn that just -is-? no purpose in mind really. it's just there to pretty up the world. :)

Jean said...

Dear fellow, I am a bit envious, the single yarn is so gorgeous, the colors so rich. Homespun yarn is very special, I got to touch some the other day at a Knitting Group in Los Angeles and I loved it. Take care of yourself, life is precious and we need to recognize and take into account every moment. Thanks for sharing your beautiful spinning.

KnitNana said...

Hmm...I like the socks! And as far as what to do with the resulting yarn? How about skeining it and plopping it in a wooden bowl on the coffee table to LOOK AT? Art you created!
(((Hugs)))

Charity said...

I've been thinking lately I need to pull out my old spindle and give it a whirl - this beautiful yarn is just the motivation I need! :o)

JessaLu said...

You're making yarn, that's a plan in and of itself. ;o)

v pretty singles! Sorry you don't like the socks...

Terby said...

Awesome spindle, and great yarn. You're really tempting me to pick up my spindle again and try to make some yarn.

Sorry about the socks. I have a couple skeins I regret piled up in my stash.

Chriss said...

OOh. Love those singles and I could definitely see a scarf in their future. Maybe either a natural dark brown or a handyed with shorter colour repeats? The possibilities.

Bea said...

Your socks might have been ugly to knit, but the colour fits almost everything. So, enjoy wearing them :-)

Kay-From the Back Yard said...

I don't think the socks are ugly, just utilitarian. House socks, if you don't have clothing that coordinates well with them.

And your spinning is gorgeous! You do all that on a drop spindle?

SJ said...

That has to be the coolest spindle I have ever seen!

Monika said...

Your singles yarn looks fantastic! Your new spinning project looks lovely too. :o)

Alwen said...

I have a CD spindle I made, and now I want to go browsing through the dollar store kitchen department & see what I can find!

sgeddes said...

The yarn turned out fantastic. You've got to stay on top of those club shipments or eventually the stash will topple over and kill you. Mine is threatening that now!

elizabeth said...

I SO wanted to join that club! The batts are fabulous, as is your yarn!

LaurieM said...

Fun spindles! I'm glad I don't spin, because if I did, I'd have to have one. :-)

I'm glad you dove into the roving because you did a bang up job spinning it. The yarn is lovely.

Why do you hate those socks? They look nice to me. I use the exact same technique to push through a project. If there's something interesting on the TV, I'll knit just about anything.

Carrie K said...

Battlestar Galactica is an excellent series. There's two good things those socks brought! The series and a well learned lesson. ;) I like them though. I seem to like all your so called ugly socks.

Good thing you didn't end up w/12 nice boxes! The yarn came out beautifully.

Jackie said...

When I saw your yarn, I immediately thought of the Noro scarf. I think you should hold onto it and see if you come up with another handspun that will go well with it! Gorgeous!

Cynthia said...

I love your yarn Dave - I am so impressed with the fact you get such consistency and wonderfulness with a spindle. I love your tilt a whirl so much!

I have to say the Kaffe socks look pretty blah which of course has nothing to do with your awesome knitting - the colour looks so muddled.

HPNY Knits said...

wonderful to see the process!! love the colors!

Natalie Servant said...

Oh, the socks aren't that bad. I'm impressed that you persevered.

And I love your sentiment in the last line. I like working on something just because it's beautiful even if I don't have a plan for it.

Angelika said...

Dave, you do amazing things with your spindles. You make yarn with it like others do on the wheel. And what an interesting spindle you have there. I followed the link. That guy and his creativity are amazing.