Friday, July 27, 2012


Handspun gradient batt
I had a really fun opportunity to help out at one of our fabulous LYS's. The Eugene Textile Center caters more to spinners and weavers and dyers (but also has knitting supplies and books and classes). It is an amazing resource and also happens to be very convenient to my home. I end up there a lot.

While helping out, I carded up a batt as a demo and then spun it into this yarn:

And then I was left with figuring out what to do with it!

I wanted to keep it as an entire gradient. I thought a bag would be fun. So I grabbed up a skein of Lamb's Pride (a wool and mohair blend in a singles yarn) in lightly variegated yellow, and then eventually went back and got a second skein in red. I figured, let's try doubleweave! Let's make a bag.

Only I didn't bother to do the math very carefully.

Doubleweave sample by Project Pictures
The tube came out really interesting. The gradient is obvious. But the "bag" (if it gets that far) is long and skinny. I'd rather it be about half that and wider, but I got what I got.

I did have fun cutting it off the loom. I cut strands from each side of the warp and wove them into the remaining warp to get little triangles and then braided the last of it. It's a fun effect.

The whole thing is an amusing sample. I washed and dried it mechanically, so it's lightly felted, but if I want it to firm up more I'm going to have to beat it by hand.

It was a fun project, but I'd advise those wanting to "sample" that planning ahead a bit more than I did here might actually yield something usable, rather than something funky you have to scratch your head over to figure out how to use.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Round Dishcloth

Okay, I keep meaning to put this somewhere safe.. and I guess I'd better publish it if I ever want to reference it in the future.

When I work this, I usually link to this pattern in Ravelry's database. But that's not the pattern I started using. I originally received a print-out of some other pattern from my mother, and then I tinkered with it because it knit back an illogical (to me) number of stitches. And, I found I could skip the wrap-and-turn by slipping the first stitch on the way back.

My variation (on each new row, turn your work, even if you haven't knit all the way to the end of the row):

Cast on 15 stitches
Slip first stitch and knit 14 stitches back
Knit 3 sts, YO, k11 sts (leaves 1 stitch on right needle)
Slip first stitch and knit 14 stitches back
K3 sts, YO, k11 sts (leaves 2 stitches on right needle)
Slip first stitch and knit 14 stitches back
K3 sts, YO, k11 sts (leaves 3 stitches on right needle)
Slip first stitch and knit 14 stitches back
Cast off 3 sts, k10 sts (leaves 4 sts)
Slip first stitch and knit 10 sts back
K3 sts, YO, k7 sts (leaves 5 sts)
Slip first stitch and knit 10 sts back
K3 sts, YO, k7 sts (leaves 6 sts)
Slip first stitch and knit 10 sts back
K3 sts, YO, k7 sts (leaves 7 sts)
Slip first stitch and knit 10 sts back
Cast off 3 sts, k6 sts (leaves 8 sts)
Slip first stitch and knit 6 sts back
K3 sts, YO, k3 sts (leaves 9 sts)
Slip first stitch and knit 6 sts back
K3 sts, YO, k3 sts (leaves 10 sts)
Slip first stitch and knit 6 sts back
K3 sts, YO, k3 sts (leaves 11 sts)
Slip first stitch and knit 6 sts back
Cast off 3 sts, k14 sts (leaves 0 sts on right needle)
* Slip first stitch and knit 14 sts back

Make pattern 6 total times and bind off on last row. Sew cast on and bind off together.

* On the final row I don't knit back here. Instead I pick up stitches from the cast-on (which I usually do using backwards-loop because that leaves me a nice and non-bulky edge to pick up), and do and equivalent of a 3-needle bind-off to join the first and last rows.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A "Thank You"

Box Huck Scarf by Project Pictures
Box Huck Scarf, a photo by Project Pictures on Flickr.
I had someone help me out this year with the kids that needed a special something extra. I also had some lovely, squishy yarn that I wanted to use with pattern published in a recent Handwoven magazine.

It wasn't a perfect fit, but really.. I see a pattern or draft as a stepping-off point. A loose theme around which I want to improvise. Some of my improvisation is yarn (the project called for organic cotton, I had superwash wool; it wanted a heavier weight, I had fingering). Some of it is sett. Some of it is pattern. You have to make all of these dance to your own tune to really make a project work.

But after adjusting for minor differences between what I was told to do and what I had available, I came up with this scarf.

And it's delightfully squishy.

I feel it is a perfect "thank you" for someone that helped me out of a real jam.

Well, that didn't go as planned...

I had high hopes for the Tour de Fleece this year. Unrealistically high. I know in the past I've found a minute here and a bit of time there to spin while off on vacation. And of course, I have never been out of town for the Tour until this year. But I completely didn't reckon in the amount of pure fun we'd be having off with the Grandparents.

The Chicago area clocked in at high-90 to 100+ degree temps for the Fourth of July week. It was a huge shock to our systems coming out of the 65-70s of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Even today the temps haven't yet cracked 60. So when I eyed the lovely batts and silk I had brought along to spin, I can't say that they were very tempting.

But the kite was!

Furthermore, it's awfully hard to want to distract yourself from the pure fun of Disney World in Orlando (also high-90s weather makes you want to grab that nice, frosty glass of lemonade-slurpy and not drag the spindle out of your bag to get the fiber all matted, wet and messy).

And as lovely as the beach vistas are, they also don't do much to inspire pulling out wool and silk.

So, while I had a lovely two weeks away from home, I finished very little spinning. And I'm good with that.

Friday, July 6, 2012

TdF 2012 - day seven

Here's a little more silk in the last light of the day. We spent most of the day at a water park (not so conducive to spinning, I have to say). I seem to have escaped without sunburn, but tomorrow will tell for sure.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

TdF 2012 - day six

Did I spin today? Yes. Did I get a picture of it? Nope! I went swimming and had an all around wonderful vacationing time.

Hope you are having a good summer, too!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

TdF 2012 - day five

Day five. Happy fourth of July, everyone! I hope you had as busy and as wonderful of a day as I did. I spun a wee bit of silk when I had the chance, but spent the rest of the day dodging the heat and enjoying family.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

TdF 2012 - day four

Snuck in the last of four ounces this morning, then headed out the door and spent the whole day traveling. Now, it's time for bed.

Hope you all have a happy 4th tomorrow!

Monday, July 2, 2012

TdF 2012 - day three

Day three! Still working on this braid. I'm hoping to finish the four ounces tonight, since this project will have to wait for me to get back home to my wheel to finish the other braid!

I also broke out my spindle and worked through a little bit of dyed Polwarth top for variety. It is just so very springy! I love it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Sweet Little Girl

DSC_3193 by druzziel
I haven't posted about our Sheep to Shawl yet. I'd like to go into that in depth. But I also want to say a special "thank you" to Tom and Tracy Livernois of McTavish Farm Shetlands here in Eugene for letting Freya come with me for the Spinner's Lead on Saturday night for the Black Sheep Gathering. She was a sweet soul and I loved getting to spend a little time with her!

(That's the shawl we made, too. It happens to have a bit of Shetland in it!)

(And also a thank-you to David for a great photo!)

TdF - day two

Day two. Weekends are busy for us, but I found 15 minutes (it is the Tour de Fleece after all) to sit down and work from one end of the bobbin to the other.

You might notice that I am "cross lacing" my single across the flyer arm. This was an amazing take-away from a class I had with Judith MacKenzie. You often cross-lace the single on antique wheels, but I had never considered how to do it on my Lendrum wheel. Many antique wheel are double-drive, which can be more difficult to adjust for very light tension. Cross-lacing allows you to reduce the take-up which in turn lets you spin much thinner yarn. On the Lendrum wheel, not only does it reduce that take-up tension, but because there are no hooks or guides on the opposite arm it lets the yarn move around a bit more. This means more even filling of the bobbin with less stopping to move the year guide. It's a win-win.