Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Adventures with singles

No, not that kind of singles.

I have wanted to spin and knit with singles for a long time, especially with Citron. There are so many beautiful handspun Citron knitted with singles on Ravelry that I am really tempted to try. But then I have heard horror stories about working with low-twist singles. They are unstable. They untwist; they bias and so on and so forth. It seems spinners have had a love/hate relationship with singles forever. It's not until the issue was much discussed in the Snobby Spinners group on Ravelry and an article by the venerable Judith MacKenzie McCuin in the latest issue of Spin Off magazine about spinning and knitting with singles that I decided to take the plunge.

The secret to achieving the perfect singles, it seems, is in fulling it! That is to say you spin a low-twist singles. Then you plunge the yarn in hot, then cold water. Then comes the fun part. You beat it a few times! Just whack it against the side of your bath tub if you are doing this in your bathroom or in my case on the countertop in the kitchen. Here is a pictorial:

The roving: Corgi Hill Farm's merino-camel-silk roving. Gorgeous.

Singles spun-up just off the bobbin. Pardon the off-color pic. You get the idea of how twisted and kinky it was:

Into a hot and cold bath it went. Then a few more "twacking" against the countertop. Voila. The magic happened:

Perfect, balanced singles!

Here's a swatch for Citron:

And four ounces of roving will give me plenty of yardage. Yippee!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hydrangea shawl

Proudly present:

The Hydrangea Shawl.

Handspun from eight ounces of Pagewood Farm merino roving. Two ply 12 wraps per inch.

Pattern: Faraway, so close

Couldn't be prettier than this!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Whirring away

I just can't stop.

More eye candy. I finished the Apollo and Starbuck roving that I got from Woolen Mill St. Yarns. Here are the roving and the singles:

And now the finished product:

I ended up Navajo-plying it. I didn't want to at first because I wanted a fingering-weight yarn. But when I started two-plying I saw right away that I was going to get too much barber-poling that it was going to be too muddy for my liking. Navajo-plied it was. As a result I got a thicker yarn -- about 12 wraps per inch making more of a sport/DK weight and less yardage out of the eight-ounce roving. I think I have less than 400 yards. Now the search for the perfect scarf pattern begins.

In the meantime I am plodding along with the Pagewood shawl. Almost done. It is turning out very pretty.

I am not going to have enough yarn for the third drop-stitch section the pattern calls for unless I get another four ounces of roving and spin which I don't want to do. I think it will be big enough with the blocking. I made one small modification.

The changed the second half-linen stitch section to the texture stitch instead.

I am working on the final eging now. It will be the same yarn too instead of a contrasting color as called for in the pattern. Should be done today. Great! Because I can't wait to get this on the wheel:

Eight ounces of falkland roving custom-dyed for me by Diana of Fiber Fancy.

Denim and grey. Two of my most favorite colors. I have never spun falkland before but it is really soft and squishy. I can't wait.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Eye candy Monday

More spinning fun!
I have been spinning, spinning and spinning!

This is Spunky Eclectric superwash merino roving that has been in my stash for some time. The colorway is the perfect storm which I think is a misnomber. It is really pastel and very springy to me. I have 8 ouncs of this and spun up two ounces and Navajo-plied it to keep the color:

About 14 wraps per inch. More than fingering but thinner than sport weight. I think this will be socks.

Then I picked up eight ounces of very pretty merino from Pagewood Farm at my LYS, Uniquities:

This one I did a regular two-ply. I got about 350 yards out of a 4-ounce braid. Because it is not superwash it blooms quite a bit when washed to set the twists. I started a shawl from it:

This is my version of the Faraway, So Close shawl. I am modifying it a little bit. First off the pattern calls for worsted-weight yarn. I am knitting this is a sport/dk yarn so it will come out smaller. It is going really well.

nother in the making is a merino/silk blend from Tempted Yarns that I got from the Loopy Ewe:

I am on a spinning roll. I picked up more roving from Uniquities because I have a birthday coming up and on your birthday you get a percentage off equal to half of your age! So I got -- yep -- 25% off. How could I resist?
Here is the loot:

Top are again Pagewood Farm. The bottom two are superwash Blue-faced Leicester roving from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I will spin and knit a scarf for Carl, probably Henry. Or some other herringbone scarf.

The last of my roving adventure has not ended there. I made a mistake of roaming the Etsy site. This just jumped into my cart and onto the wheel so fast!

I was super careful stripping the roving and spinning it because I really want to keep the color and minimize the barbar-poling yet I do not want to Navajo-ply it. I think I achieved that with the first braid. I am spinning up the second braid now. I am still debating whether I should Navajo ply it to keep the colors together. I do not want a three-ply yarn. We'll see.

In the meantime I need to finish this pair of socks:

Loksins! In Skinny Bugga

I want to finish these so I can free up the needles so I can try toe-up socks.

I need more time to spin and knit. If only work wouldn't get in the way...