Spinning to Knit

Spinning to Knit

Last week, Jillian Moreno’s highly anticipated (at least by me!) book Yarnitecture was released. I got my copy on Friday and that sort of derailed any other reading plans I had for the weekend.

And, today being Tuesday I am going to share you my 10 favorite things from the book!

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  1. The cover. Really. Did Jillian plan this just for me? I mean who could resist a book with all that great green on it!
  2. Are you a knitter who wants to spin? This book is entirely focused from a knitter’s perspective about the creation of yarn. In other words, she tells you the absolute best way to create a yarn you will want to knit with!
  3. There are fantastic photos (of course, that is sort of a given) that show clear photos of crucial things that new and old spinners struggle with – things like drafting, twist, and plying.
  4. She spends the entire book talking about spinning prepared fibers – and especially the amazing fibers available at Fiber Show’s and on Etsy. This is especially great if the idea of processing an entire fleece to spin is not your cup of tea!
  5. That being said, she still talks in depth about the LARGE variety of fibers there are available to spin!
  6. Yarnitecture takes you through yarn construction like you are building a house! She breaks it down into very manageable stages that help you make the yarn you want to make. I have been spinning a good bit of time and I had a number of “aha” moments!
  7. There is an entire chapter on the multitude of ways you can finish your yarn. Menacing your yarn is such a great phrase!
  8. Jillian demystifies grist for the spinner and breaks it down into something that is understandable and meaningful. (Especially if you are spinning for a large project)
  9. There an entire chapter on color and how to make color work for you as you are spinning – especially those lovely dyed braids of fiber. She inspires your imagination by showing you the tip of the iceberg on how they can be broken down to spin. After reading her inspiration, my mind is just flooded with dozens of ideas for fiber in my stash!
  10. Last, but certainly not least, there are 12 stunning patterns by a variety of talented designers using handspun yarn – from socks to shawls to sweaters – there is sure to be something that calls to you! I promise you my “knit list” has grown!

Jillian shows us that the possibilities are limitless when we are sitting at our wheel. Yarnitecture gives you the tools you need to build the yarn you want and then offers encouragement to knit something with it! Jillian is absolutely correct when she says, “I love knitting period, but handspun (yarn) takes it to a different level…” It absolutely does, Gentle Reader – and if you’d like to share that experience, this book is for you!

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Behind the Eight Ball

Behind the Eight Ball

Hullo, Monday… nice of you to bring the cooler weather. Too bad you did not bring some organization with you because I am feeling decidedly unorganized today!

Friday Happy Hour was an inside affair, but it was good. And, that Tomato Jam is to die for! Couple that with some icy cold Martini’s and a bit of music and you have the makings for a perfect weekend!

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We did a little retail therapy over the weekend and did some walking of the indoor type (thank goodness the mall is air conditioned!) And, then there was some Olympic viewing, which was a pleasant way to spend some quality knitting time!

I would like to say that the remainder of the weekend was wildly exciting, however, it wasn’t, and that was fine with me!

However, I did finish Jen Lucas Mystery Shawl (2013). I did need to break into the second skein but I only used a few yards. Blocking will commence shortly as the weather is perfect blocking weather. My Autumnal Pincha will be joining in on the Soak wash and a light blocking as well!

I did some reading as well. I am only about halfway through Knitlandia because I got derailed on Friday with the delivery of my friend, Jillian Moreno’s new book – Yarnitecture.

Last week, Kay and Ann talked about having a little Wash-Along that I am going to be joining in on this week. The humidity has departed, so things should dry fairly quickly. I am also going to be doing a bit of Knitting Kon-Mari. (Thanks, Vicki for this fantastic idea!) There are so many knitted things that I no longer wear (or never wore, if I am perfectly honest). These things need to either find a new home or discover a new life by either repurposing the item or repurposing the yarn!

This weekend was the Michigan Fiber Festival, which was kind of melancholy for me because Blogless Karen and I always went together. However, she came up with a fantastic idea – we are going to knit the shawl that Ann Hanson has in the latest Interweave Knits! It will be a little fall knit along we do and we are knitting it with the same yarn! Twinning in separate states is so much fun! Thanks, Karen for helping me feel like I was there, without being there!

How was your weekend?

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A Tale of Four Swatches

A Tale of Four Swatches

Happy FriYAY from a MUCH cooler, LESS humid Pittsburgh! The AC is off and the windows are open!!

Cranky Pants level has been dramatically reduced.

AND!!!

Dark Sky™ is forecasting temps in the 70’s next week, with overnight lows in the mid 50’s – low 60’s!!!! Funny how a little change in your surroundings can have such a huge impact on your emotional well-being (and FriYAY does not hurt either)!

That brings me to the Fiber portion of the post (if you are not a spinner, please feel free to skip ahead to the Friday Links below):

Last week’s yarn has become this week’s swatches, with some very interesting results! I knit up four swatches – two 2-ply swatches, and two single lace swatches. All yarns were washed in hot water with a little Soak Wash and laid flat to dry – they did not hang. The single yarns were fulled slightly by agitating them lightly in the hot water and plunging them into cold water. I repeated this process twice.

First up, the yarn spun and plied on my Matchless (details are here if you are interested):

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The first swatch with the finished plied yarn, the yarn bloomed some, but not so dramatically that it changed the weight of the yarn. The finished yarn is 27 WPI and 5.5 TPI. This swatch came in with a gauge of 8 stitches per inch and 11 rows per inch.

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The single yarn bloomed dramatically and ended up between 18-20 WPI and 1.25 TPI. It created a stiffer swatch, but it blocked out beautifully. Because I fulled the yarn, it has fairly good strength, however, it is still a fragile yarn. I do not think this yarn would wear well, but it does make a lovely open lace swatch.

Next, the spindle spun and plied yarns:

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The first swatch with the finished plied yarn, the yarn bloomed a bit, but this yarn was less consistent than the yarn spun on my matchless. The range of TPI went from 23 to 14, however, the TPI was consistent at 5. I knit both swatches on the same size needle (US4), and this swatch got 7.5 stitches per inch and 10 rows per inch. However, I like the fabric that I got with the Matchless spun and plied swatch much better. It is much more even and uniform.

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The second lace swatch with the finished single yarn is my favorite! The finished yarn has a little more twist (2 TPI) and it is consistent at 20 WPI throughout the skein. It created the most lovely, airy fabric! This fabric has beautiful drape, and it allowed for some aggressive blocking! While this yarn would not be perfect for a hard wearing garment, it would make a lovely shawl.

Now for those fabulous Friday Links:

That’s all I have this week, have an amazing FriYAY and an even better weekend! I will see you back here on Monday!

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Thursday Things

Thursday Things

On Being Cranky: As the heat and humidity stretch on unbearably, I am sitting here longing for a change. I am cranky pants at so many endless days of a closed up house, encased in air conditioning. And, when I say cranky pants – I mean really CRANKY PANTS! Perhaps, even more than a little verschimmelt, as my nana used to say.

Reading, reading, reading: I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird and wow. How appropriate on so many levels. I really loved it, so much! It started out a bit slowly for me, but from about chapter 13 the book grabbed me and pulled me in and kept me engaged to the very last pages. I, like Jem and Scout, could not understand the guilty verdict. I am profoundly struck by how the more things change, the more they stay the same – and it is something that disturbs me greatly. If you never read this when you were in school – try it! I think you will enjoy it! And, today I will begin my last book for my Cover All and I am so excited! I had hoped that I could listen to Clara read it as I read along, but alas, there are still 3 people ahead of me at the library. So, I will read it solo first and then listen to Clara and see how that changes the dynamics of the story for me!

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Knitting like the wind: I pulled one of the Jen Lucas shawls out of my basket (one that has a delicious autumn flair) I have plowed through the knitted on border (I had seriously less done than I thought, I was less than a quarter of the way through it, but after an afternoon’s worth of knitting I am about halfway done. My goal, finish this baby up today. This might be a bit ambitious because I think I will have to wind another skein of yarn… I am hoping not… yarn chicken makes for an exciting Thursday.

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How is your week going, Gentle Reader?

Fiber Friday – August 12, 2016

Fiber Friday – August 12, 2016

This installment of the Sheepspot Fiber Club is a lovely Shetland top and, I have been doing some sampling to see what it can do and it is interesting what I am learning, thus far.

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I spun my first samples on my Schacht Matchless using the largest whorl I have (10.5:1) and I slowed my treadling way down and I increased my take up. My single ended up with about 3 TPI (twists per inch), my twist angle is 65-degrees, but I think that might be a bit too much twist. I’d like it at about 2 TPI, but I don’t think I can do that on my wheel with the whorl I have. I just am not certain I can treadle any slower! (The bottom skeinlet is the singles yarn)

I then spun up a sample that I plied. I did not change the whorl or my treadling for the singles, although I spun them a bit finer and decreased my take up significantly. I plied the yarn with a 40-degree twist angle and 3 TPI. I like this yarn very much before finishing. (The top skeinlet is the plied yarn) It is very interesting how different the two samples are in color as well.

I then sampled using spindles.

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I spun the same amount of fiber on my Ann Grout Acorn Spindle – my goal was to create a low twist single. I got much better and more controlled results using a spindle – 1.5 TPI, a 25-degree twist angle, and it is a cohesive yarn. I have yet to wash and set the yarn, but I will full it a bit to help it stay together. (The skeinlet on the left is the singles yarn)

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I spun a much finer single on my Jenkins Kuchulu Turkish Spindle. I wound the singles off into a plying ball and plied them on the same spindle. My twist angle was 50 degrees in the plied yarn and I got 4.5 TPI before finishing.

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Now, here is the shocker – I like the yarns spun on the spindle much more than I like the yarns spun on my Matchless. I know. I am stunned!

My next step will be to finish the yarns and knit up swatches. I will be interested to see what my thoughts are once I have done that.

Stay tuned, swatches will be next Friday’s post!

Now for some linkage to usher in the weekend:

That’s all I have this week, Gentle Reader. May your weekend be much cooler than it is forecast to be here!

Finishing Well

Finishing Well

I have two fantastic finished objects that just might be the perfect things to help me when summer withdrawals start happening about mid-October!

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First up – Tales from the Isle of Purbeck. This was a MKAL that I was late to join, but join I did. I spent some time thinking about what would I like to knit this with and I settled upon a truly spectacular yarn; ElsaWool fingering weight, woolen spun Cormo. Now if you have not tried any of Elsa’s products – you need to. Really. The wool is from Elsa’s own sheep and it is expertly crafted into the softest, yummiest yarn. She sells both woolen spun and worsted spun yarns, as well as knit garments. And, the sheep pictures are lovely! Add to this the incredible service you get from Elsa herself, it is an experience not to be missed. If wool “makes you itch” you need to try some of ElsaWool, you won’t be disappointed – it is baby soft! I also love this brown with my Indigo Linen Dress No. 2! The pattern is really very simple and once I had the flow of it, it went very quickly. I did a partial repeat of chart 3 to increase the size. And, I really love the Icelandic bind off. If you wanted a light, but warm shawl for the fall, this might be just what you are looking for!

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The finishing did not stop there, I also finished up Nahant. It really did not take much time, thanks to the Lava Field on Netflix! I had been moving right along on this until it got too big to be good “travel knitting”. The yarn is some vintage Yarn Hollow BFL that I spun up some time ago. I had two bumps of fiber that were in similar colorways, as I recall. Anyways, I spun up each bump and then plied them together. There are times when the colorways match harmoniously, and times when they barber pole together. I really like how this turned out – and it is LONG. I can wrap it twice around my neck and still have scarf hanging down. Plus, the colors remind me of the changing leaves.

I am left looking at my basket of WIP’s wondering what will I pull out next. There is something so gratifying about getting something done quickly. And, crossing another item off the list is always a bonus. Pincha, I think this means you are up next! With the temperature in the 90’s and the humidity so high it feels like a sauna outdoors, staying in the air-conditioned house is not hard.

What are you finishing this week?

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