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Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

I’ve begun my first spinning for the New Year.  This is some roving a friend gave me for practicing drop spinning.  I did some of that, but I want to practice spinning a finer yarn on the wheel before I start into some gorgeous roving my sister gave me for my birthday.

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I’m spinning it about as thin as I can get it without it breaking constantly so that it will still be fairly fine when I ply it.

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I’m not sure what this roving is but it’s working very nicely.  I think it might be merino.

And I promise to go back and do some drop spinning this year also.  My wheel spinning has actually improved my drop spinning.  

Someone has finally started an online quilt group similar to Ravelry and I got invited to be one of the testers.  WhooHoo!  I’ve already spent way too much time on it this morning.  It’s looking very nice so far, and while it’s only by invitation now, I’m sure it will be open to others soon.  I’ll post the link when it is.

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So far I’ve spun and plied 400 yards of Coopworth yarn — yes, Meredith, it is Coopworth, not Coopwhite as I earlier incorrectly reported.  Check out the pictures of Coopworth sheep here.  There’s a particularly cute lamb picture on the second row.  

I still have more roving left and I think I’ll get at least another 100 yards out of it. So now I’m on a quest to determine what to knit with it.  I really like the natural color, so I think for this first batch I’ll leave it undyed.

Spinning is so much fun.  I really do think I need some sheep. Well, maybe not now.  Someday?

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As promised here are the pictures of my very first hand spun yarn.  I know it’s taken a while for me to post them, but now that I’m finally through my church’s big annual meeting, I’m hoping I’ll be able to be a little more present on the blog.  Which means I’m also hoping I’ll manage to allot a little more time to fiber work.

This yarn is two-ply, which means I spun the yarn first from roving that looks like this:

The spun single-ply yarn is on the spool to the right and you can see how it wants to twist together with itself.  I couldn’t get it to lie straight, which means I actually put too much twist into it.  However, it did make pretty nice yarn.

I plied together two strands of spun yarn to get this:

The label on the roving package says this is Coopwhite from New Zealand.  I’m not sure what that is, but I’m going to look it up and see.  It was recommended by my spinning teacher, Jennie, for a beginning spinner.  

I’m still waiting for the llama fleeces my friend has promised me.  In the meantime, I’m continuing to work on Christmas presents.  I still have those Pomatomous socks on the needles, too.  I have a mistake somewhere that I have to tink back to correct, so they’re on hold for a while.

Oh, I also got my first installment of the Walking Tour of Washington, D.C. Sock Club from the Neighborhood Fiber Company.  It’s gorgeous! I’ll show the yarn a little later this week.  

So, when will I get those socks knit?  I don’t know, but I hope it’s soon, because they’re going to be so yummy.

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Yesterday I finished the knitting on my scarf for the Orphan Foundation of America Red Scarf project.  Now all I have to do is block it.  It was a fun scarf to knit with some fairly “mindless” knitting for relaxation and a little challenge in the cabled sections.

I’ve finished my second bobbin of spun wool and I think I’m getting the hang of it.  Unfortunately, I only have two bobbins so I can’t do any more until I go back to the shop on Wednesday.  

So yesterday I tried out my drop spindle again after several months of doing nothing with it and found it much easier to do having done the wheel spinning.  I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with it so I don’t have anything to show yet, but the yarn is thinner and more evenly spun than my first attempts last May.

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Spinning

I took my first spinning class yesterday at The Woolery and had a lot of fun learning about how to “scour” wool and then beginning to spin.  

My friend Kay is in the class–we’re finding so much that we have in common–and it was great to meet Sherry.  We are going to have to find a common place to meet and spin and share our work.  

I’m renting a lovely little wheel called the Sonata by Kromski.  Very nice.  This will probably be what I buy when I’m able to purchase one.  Not only does it work nicely, but it folds up for traveling to classes and workshops.  I spun on the Polonaise in the shop, but thought this one would travel better.

I spent about an hour yesterday after I got home and spun this bobbin of yarn.  Some of it turned out pretty well, but some turned out too thick or too thin.  But the main thing is that I’m beginning to get the hang of it and occasionally can feel it when it’s working right.

 

My friends who spin are right, spinning is very calming and meditative.  Even, surprisingly, when you are first learning.

My goal is to get as much of the 16 ounces of roving spun as I can before the second class next Wednesday. Only problem is that I don’t know what to do once I’ve filled the two bobbins I have, so I’ll have to e-mail Jennie and see what she suggests.  I know this newly spun yarn will be plied, but I don’t think we’re supposed to try that yet.  

Off to do some more spinning!

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One more round is completed on the snail trail.

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Yesterday we did some driving around the area.  We were on some back roads south of Petersburg and found this water area.  We weren’t able to find the name of it–don’t know if it is swamp, pond, or river–but we were amazed at the thousands of blossoming pink and white water lilies.

I took some pictures across the water and a few close ups of the water flowers near the road.  I wish I could have gotten across the water to see this mass of flowers close up.

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We also drove a short distance into North Carolina and had lunch at a lovely tea room called Timeless Tea in Roanoke Rapids.  It’s a really neat place divided into separate tea rooms, including a princess tea room especially for little girls and a tea for two room.  We’ll definitely be going back there.

We also found the Roanoke Canal Trail along the Roanoke River.  There’s a very nice museum that details the lock system that used to be used to move goods up and down the river.  We didn’t have time to explore the museum and trail yesterday, but will as soon as we can.  It’s an eight mile long trail than can be walked or cycled.  Roanoke Rapids is about twenty minutes from Emporia.   

Our third stop was The Woolery in Mufreesboro, NC.  It’s known as one of the best sources in the country for spinning and weaving materials and tools.  Sadly, I forgot to check the hours.  They are only open a few Saturdays and this was not one of them.  Another place to return to.  I did peek in the windows and saw lots of great things.   

That also means I didn’t get the needles to start my shawl.  I’ll be checking out the Yarn Lounge in Richmond this afternoon.

‘Went out for my first bicycle ride in VA since our return, this morning and was amazed how much easier it was.  Elevation really does make a difference. 

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We couldn’t have asked for a better day.  We kept saying that over and over as three of us from the Taos Yarn Lovers knitting group traveled from Taos to the Pagosa Fiber Festival in Pagosa Springs, Colorado yesterday.

The sky was crystal blue punctuated by fluffy clouds that appeared to be painted onto that gorgeous blue background solely for our pleasure.

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Snow capped mountains border the valleys through which we drove, and in many places there was still snow along the sides of the road.  Sparkling streams of snow melt water ran through the brilliant spring greens of the valleys.  It was a day on the edge of winter into spring where aspen were fully leafed in some spots and still winter bare in others.  Spring calves and foals were abundant among the herds grazing in the valleys. 

The Pagosa Fiber Festival is quite small compared to many–only about 30 venders.  But that was part of its charm.  All of the venders had quality products to choose from, and the lack of crowds made it easy to casually chat with the folks displaying their wares.  It was extremely hard to narrow our choices of what to purchase.

I wanted to replenish my sock yarn stash, since I’ve used up all but two pairs’ worth of cotton for sports socks.  I had lots to choose from.

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Judy Ditmore of Interlacements, LLC has some truly passionate colorings in all of her yarns.  While I was tempted by the crinkly rayon yarns among many others, I stuck to my plan to purchase sock yarn and picked out two skein pairs of Tiny Toes II.  The teal, blue, burgundy, brown colorway is #218, and the blue, green, gray colorway is #403.  Both are 100% superwash merino wool and machine washable.

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I really enjoyed meeting and talking with Judy.  We not only talked about the yarns, but about Ravelry and using the internet to promote yarns and share information about all things related to yarn and yarn lovers. 

Another vendor with wonderful sock yarns was Crazy Monkey Creations.  We had a lot of fun talking with the Christina Cooper who dyes the lovely colors of yarn hanging on the display rack.  Christina graciously allowed me to take her picture while she was working at her spinning wheel.

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Look at the yummy colors of sock yarn I got from her.  I love the colorway names almost as much as the yarns.

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Left to right:  Grapefruit Diet, Amethyst Dreams, Greens of Summer, and Rushing Water.  Aren’t those fabulous?  These are all 100% superwash merino wool (Monkey Toes), except Greens of Summer (Panda Toes) which is 65% superwash merino, 35% rayon of bamboo, and are all machine washable and dryable. 

I have some great sock knitting ahead of me. Now to pick out patterns that will show off these great colors.

Although it was terribly tempting I managed to resist buying any fibers for spinning.  Meredith got some great ones, though, including an angora rabbit/wool blend and some tussah silk that just begs to be touched.

We lunched outside on the lawn at Victoria’s Reign which houses both an antique/gift shop and a lovely little cafe on the main street.

Before getting back in the car we walked down to Edelweiss Needlework Chalet which has a really nice selection of quilting, needlework, and knitting supplies. 

On the way home we made a quick stop into Tierra Wools in Los Ojos, NM to see their magnificent handwoven rugs and to touch some more wool before returning to Taos.

Altogether a perfect day.   

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