spinning


OK, I know it’s positively depressing, the lack of knitting that has been posted on this blog of late.  So though it’s not terribly exciting, I have for you: Noro Silk Garden, knit up into a garter-brim hat.  I loved working with this yarn, which is a joy, and I enjoyed this simple hat pattern I ‘designed’, especially as I made a couple of modifications the second time.

Secondly, I’ve started on YET another hat, knit from Malabrigo Merino Worsted, which until my employment at Urban Yarns, I had not tried.  MMMMmmm it is lovely to knit with (like butter), but I fear it will pill and wear quickly.  But I’m withholding judgment for later.

So of course, I’ve also been spinning!

And loving the results – though they are but meagre.  Upper left is a single-ply mystery-wool that came in a box from a friend of my mom’s, and which I dyed into intense (offensive?) pink, purples and blue – about DK weight, and 170 yds.  To the right is 2-ply, fingering weight merino, spun from tiny balls of roving I bought at a lovely artistan’s shop during my bike trip of the oregon coast (december 08).  It’s about 40 grams, and 130 yds.  At the bottom is ‘wildflowers’ a single-ply silk which I hand-dyed and spun, also procured from the box of mystery handed down to me by a spinning friend of my mother’s.  I have TONNES more silk to spin, but I am seriously lacking the skills to do it effectively.  This little skein, ~ 100 yds, is uber lovely, though, I must say (so modest!).

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To wind a centre-pull ball of yarn by hand:

yarn spaghetti

1. First, unwind a skein (hank) of yarn using either a swift, or just by draping the skein over my knees, and gradually unwinding it and dropping it loosely onto the floor, or into a paper bag or box, so that it forms a loose pile of yarn spaghetti.  If you have pets or children, I think the best thing to do is to drop it into a bag or box, so the critters can’t tangle it up.

2. Holding the end of the yarn with your thumb, begin to wrap the yarn around 2 fingers, several times in one direction, then switching the angle at which the wraps are made every so often.

3. Continue winding until you have a little ball on your fingers, and then take your fingers out, and put your thumb into the centre hole, and then continue to wrap the yarn, turning the ball every so often to wrap at a new angle.

Wrap gently, being careful not to make too tight a ball, as this will put strain on the yarn.

Be sure to always have the yarn end poking out of the centre, and be careful not to lose it by wrapping over it.

4. Eventually you will run out of yarn, and have a lovely hand-wound centre-pull ball of yarn!

For most types of yarn, it works to pull from the centre of this type of ball, and this also allows for 2 strands of yarn to be held together from the same ball, or for 2 pieces of knitting to be worked from a single ball (for example, when knitting 2 pairs of socks at the same time from a single ball).

However, some delicate or ‘sticky’ yarns, such as mohair or lace-weight silk yarn can be difficult to pull from the centre, as their strands tend to stick together and tangle.  In these cases, it is best to knit from the outside of the ball.

Enjoy your lovely hand-wound balls!

I’ve been obsessively making these little 5 1/2″ crocheted circles.  I’ve just learned to crochet, and it’s SO addictive to make circles!! It’s so fast, and you use up little scraps of yarn, and it is a great way to use up all the odds and ends of hand-spun that have been piling up on my desk.

Circles are so satisfying and beautiful!  These are all started with single crochet, and continue with double crochet, and finished with a round of single crochet.  I’ve got 39 circles done so far, and I think I need at least 88, so I’m not quite to half.  And I really have no idea how I’m going to join them all together, but I’ll get to that eventually!!  Probably with black yarn.  Maybe with little tiny intermediary circles?  It’s hard to say now.

I have been having a great time lately dyeing roving and spinning – here are my latest creations:

Both yarns are quite similar – they started out as undyed polwarth which I bought at Birkeland Brothers Wool here in Vancouver.  I dyed them both in using Jacquard acid dyes, by putting my big dye-pot into the oven on 150-200 degrees for 1-2 hours.  The purple roving required more heat and time than the multi-coloured one did – I believe this is because the magenta dye has a higher strike point.

The purple yarn is a much belated christmas gift to my knitting friend Helen – I hope she likes it!  The multi is for me,  but I’m not sure whether I will use it for a hat… though it’s likely not enough… or I could use it in this crocheted afghan that I’ve started, and which is my current obsession!

New Projects for the New Year?  Well I did start another pair of Monkey socks…

My knitting resolutions for the upcoming year are:

  1. Enjoy making beautiful things in this beautiful city
  2. Write out patterns for some of the projects I’ve knit up.
  3. Spin more; specifically, dye and spin enough for a sweater, then design and knit the sweater.
  4. Document my finished objects more carefully
  5. Pick up and COMPLETE some if not all of my unfinished projects – at least those projects which are promising.
  6. Knit myself a puppy…  OK – the story is I really want to get a dog, but since I’m moving, and it’s pretty much impossible to find a place in Vancouver that allows dogs, I think that at this point in my life, I’m just going to have to be realistic, and move on.  Thus I figure the solution to my problem is a knitted puppy.

Monkey Socks part deux

belated xmas spinning

belated xmas spinning

HANDSPUN FINGERLESS GLOVES:

These are really easy, fast and satisfying. They’re a great project that takes very little yarn, which is good for a beginner hand-spinner.

Size:
These were designed to fit a fairly average female hand measuring 7 1/2″ to 8″ around just above the thumb.
Yarn:
Any yarn that will allow you to make gauge will do. I’ve used a combination drafted hand-spun single that is 11 WPI (wraps per inch), and looks like somewhere between DK and sport weight. I used about 110 yards, but your yardage may vary depending on the row gauge you get.
Gauge:
4.5 sts / inch, 8 rounds / inch in stockinette stitch on US #6 needles (or size to obtain gauge)

I knit these gloves on a long circular, using the magic loop method. They could just as easily be knit on double pointed needles.

HAND:

CO 30 sts.

Place marker at start of round, and work 15 rounds (@2″) in *K2, P1* rib. (30 sts)

Knit 10 rounds knitting all stitches. (30 sts)

To increase for thumb, alternate these 2 rounds 4 times:

Increase round A: K2, inc 1, K to last 2, inc1, K2
Increase round B: Knit

Now there will be 38 sts on the needles.

Now knit around to last 3 sts. Drop live yarn, and using scrap yarn, knit the next 3 stitches (to end of round), then the first 3 stitches of the next round, so you have 6 stitches knitted in the scrap yarn. Then transfer these 6 scrap yarn stitches back onto the left-hand needle, and pick up the live yarn, and knit over these scrap yarn stitches again, using the live yarn. Finish this round knitting straight. (38 sts.)

To decrease after thumb, alternate these 2 rounds 2 times:

Decrease round A: K2tog, Knit to last 2, SSK
Decrease round B: Knit

Now there will be 34 sts on the needles.

work 10 rounds (@ 1 1/2″) in *K2, P1* rib. (34 sts)

Bind off using decrease bind off:
K2tog through back loops, put the stitch created back on LH needle, then K2tog tbl again, … etc.

THUMB:

pull out scrap yarn, and put the 11-12 live loops created onto needles.

1: With new yarn, starting by working across bottom loops (closest to the wrist), knit 6, knit up 3 stitches in gap between bottom and top stitches, then knit across 6 top stitches, then knit up 3 more stitches in gap between top and bottom stitches. (18 sts.)

2: K10, K2tog, SSK, K4 (16 sts)
3: Knit

Knit 7-8 more rounds even, then BO using decrease bind-off (described above).

FINISHING:

Knit second glove same as the first. Weave in ends, block if you find it necessary, and enjoy!!

So after a bit of a break from spinning, I’m back to it!! And I’ve finally made friends with my spinning wheel – that took me a little time, but I think it’ll just get better and better from now on.  These yarns are from hand-dyed polwarth roving.

And here are some more details of the yarns:
1. A 2-ply:

2. Single-ply spun from a variegated roving with blues / greys

3. Single-ply spun from by combination drafting the variegated blue/grey roving with a charcoal grey roving:

There are a few knitters who I’d like to spin some hand-spun up for in time for Christmas, so I’m excited that I’m building up my skills and learning to make nicer and nicer yarns! I bought 2 lbs of the polwarth roving that each of these yarns are spun from, so I’m just going to keep on practicing and practicing with it!

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