Monday, February 13, 2012

Blog Resurrection

It makes me both sad and a little crazy that I haven't kept up with this blog.  I think about it, I create posts in my head, and I let it drift away from me.  Well, enough of that behavior.  This blog is now officially resurrected and I will not let it dwindle again. 

So what's been up in zeithound's fiber life for the past several months?  Sadly, not much, due in large part to elbow and wrist injuries, or at least to the tendon that connects them.  I did manage to knit three pairs of socks for Christmas gifts.  But the fiber prep and spinning work suffered from my arm & wrist pain.  I didn't use my wheel or any spindles for almost 6 months, and I didn't work on any of my fleece prep during that time either.  The handknitted gifts weren't a good idea for healing the injuries, but I was too stubborn not to have at least a few handmade gifts for family & friends at Christmas. 

And I have another confession.  My studio was such a complete disaster area that it wasn't exactly conducive to productivity.  The room had degenerated into the lily pad approach - you know, where manueverability was reduced to jumping from clean spot to clean spot?  Not good.  Cringe-worthy, in fact.

But these problems are on the mend now.  My arm & wrist are much improved (physical therapists are wonderful people!), and you can actually see the floor and the top of my desk in my studio.  The shelves are organized.  Mostly.  The shoveling out of my studio clean-up is still in process, but the space is useable again.  I'm lucky (and grateful to the Fates) that I have a room of my own for my work, so I'm very annoyed with myself that I didn't take better care of it.  But I will not continue to moan over it, I will just make sure that I keep it useable & orderly in the future. 

For the past few weeks, now that I have space, access to my tools, and a functioning arm, I've been on a bit of a spinning bender.  It's like I found a missing piece of myself.  I've had several "Oh yeah, I remember now, this fiber work makes me incredibly happy" moments.  I've managed to complete two new yarns from start to finish, as well as finishing one longstanding WIP.  It feels damn good to have fiber in my hands again, and it feels even better to have finished some work. 

So here are the three yarns I've made since reviving my spinning craft, listed in the order in which I finished them:

1.  Red/autumn colored yarn:
Process:  Spindle-spun from handpainted BFL top.  Left the top in rope form, drafted with a medium draw where twist was allowed into the drafting zone.  Plied on my wheel.  Finished in hot water with a bit of soap, agitated it a bit, shocked it back & forth with hot and cold water once, thwapped it against my wrists & hung to dry.

Vital stats:
100% BFL wool
3-ply semiworsted yarn
3.8 ounces, 13-15 WPI, 202 yards

2.  Polwarth blues yarn:
Process: I had started spinning this yarn about a year ago using a spindle, and then the singles sat on storage bobbins for months and months.  I finally sat down at the wheel and plied the singles together, creating my first ever 4-ply yarn.  Finished in my usual way with hot water, a bit of soap, not much agitation in this case, thwapping a few times, and then hung to dry.  The final yarn is really smooth and has a surprising amount of elasticity for a worsted yarn.  And I'm a bit smug with myself to have created such a thin 4-ply yarn by hand, which I hope will eventually make a lovely pair of socks.

Vital stats:
100% Polwarth wool
4-ply worsted yarn
3.9 ounces, 18 WPI, 312 yards

3.  Happily Ever After yarn:
Process: This yarn is named for the February 2012 challenge from the Spindler's group on Ravelry.  I wanted to design a yarn that was soft and bouncy using this blend of merino-angora fiber.  I created faux rolags out of the handpainted top, then used a woolen drafting style to create the singles. After plying the singles, I finished the yarn fairly harshly in order to encourage a bit of fulling as well as a soft angora halo.  The final yarn is really pretty with all of the character I wanted it to have, with a gorgeous softness & halo and lots of bouncy elasticity.

Vital stats:
80% merino, 20% angora blend
2-ply semiwoolen yarn
1.3 ounces, 20 WPI, 170 yards

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