Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wooly Words of the Week: Border Leicester and CVM/Romeldale

Since my last fleece contained a mix of different sheep breeds, I wanted to add them to my glossary:

Sheep breed, Border Leicester: This breed comes from northern England, starting with the breeding of Leicester Longwool rams to Cheviot ewes in 1767.  There is likely a little Teeswater genetics thrown into the pot, too.  Their wool is crisp, with a well-defined crimp, and with their longwool heritage, can grow up to 10 inches a year.  This breed is often shorn twice a year, so the wool available for purchase is usually 4-5 inches long.  While white wool is very common, Border Leicesters can produce a range of colors.  There is also a range of fineness with their wool; the finer Border Leicester wools can be used for sturdy garments like sweaters or hats, while the courser BL wools are very good for rugs, bags, and other hard-wearing textiles. 

Wool aside, I love the Border Leicester breed for their striking good looks, with their pronounced Roman noses and upright ears:

Sheep breed, CVM/Romeldale: California Variegated Mutant (CVM) and Romeldale sheep are two sides of the same genetic coin.  Some folks regard them as separate breeds, but I fall in the camp of thinking of them together.  A uniquely American breed, and one of the rarest in this country, this breed began in 1915 when New Zealand Romney rams were bred with American Rambouillet ewes.  Romeldales were bred to remain white, but one of the breeders decided to encourage colors in his flock, leading to the CVM strain of this breed.  The wool from these sheep is fine and elastic, with a brightness and shine from its Romney heritage, making it a favorite among handspinners. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fleece 3 of 7: Corrie/BL cross is finished!

The first of my four fleeces from Thirteen Mile Lamb & Wool Company is finished!  Here is the washed wool, now all nice & dry and ready to be bagged up and added to my stash:

This fleece has staples of different lengths, ranging from about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches when washed.  It is not uniform in color, but is mostly a soft grey.  I have been thinking about this fleece, since its qualities offer a range of possibilities.  I've decided to dye this fiber, and the natural grey wool will lead to tones of color, rather than bright hues of color.  I really love tonal colors, so I'm looking forward to playing with dyes on this wool. 

The handle (or feel) of the wool is soft, but not quite next-to-the-skin soft.  I test this characteristic by holding a handful of wool against my neck, lightly brushing it against my skin.  I'm fairly sensitive to irritation, so any crispness or scratchiness in the wool means I wouldn't make a next-to-the-skin garment from it.  This wool is almost soft enough, but not quite.  I think it will be excellent for outerwear garments, like sweaters and hats, maybe a blanket.  The staple length is on the border between ideal for carding or combing, and given the loft of the washed fiber, it's likely that I'll opt to card most of this fleece to blend the staple lengths.  Looking ahead, that would give me a great fiber preparation for a more woolen drafting style to create very lightweight, lofty, elastic, warm yarns that will be lovely to use for sweaters or similar items. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fleece 3 of 7: Corriedale/Border Leicester x Romeldale

Remember how Forrest Gump was advised that life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get?  Well, his mama could've said the same thing about raw wool.  You really never know what you have until you wash it.  Case in point...

Next in the raw fleece pile was a 5.25 lb grey fleece that is a mix of Corriedale/Border Leicester crossed with a Romeldale.  This is one of four fleeces that I purchased a while ago from Thirteen Mile Lamb & Wool Company.  This fleece is organic and predator-friendly, meaning that the ranch practices pasture management without chemicals and they do not kill native predators.  I want to support this kind of work, so it was very satisfying to purchase wool from them.

Back to the dining room to face another bag of fleece:

It was challenging to sort out this fleece, since it was in a bit of a tangle. I did the best I could, just diving into one section and seeing where it connected to the next area.  Compared to the pristine Corriedale fleece that I just dealt with, this fleece seemed rough by comparison.  Obviously, I was a bit spoiled by the last fleece, because this wool is really very good.  The main difference is that the Corriedale fleece was coated, while this sheep wasn't.  (Some shepherds "coat" their sheep, literally putting a canvas coat over the sheep to protect the wool.)

There was definitely VM in the fleece.  It wasn't excessive VM, but I could tell this wool came from an uncoated sheep.  The worst of the VM was concentrated in one area of the fleece, so I imagine that this sheep enjoyed lounging on his or her side.  The tips of the locks were a bit weathered, but again, not excessively.  More than anything, I was concerned about the color.  In the raw state, the wool looked more tan than grey, with a few areas of much lighter, cream-colored wool, and other areas with streaks of dark color. 

I plucked out a few representative staples:

And here are the exact same staples after being washed:

See Forrest?  You never know what you're going to get.  It was like scratching off a box on an instant lottery ticket and seeing you won the big prize.  I was very pleased to see the pretty grey wool that fluffed up so nicely when washed. 

Here's a close-up of one of the locks from the really VM-heavy side of the fleece, comparing it as raw and washed wool.  A lot of the big pieces of VM fell out during the washing process:

I have several bags of this wool soaking in water now, and the rest of the raw fleece has been put into vacuum-packed storage.  I'm really glad that I worked on the last two fleeces in this order, because the comparison & contrast between them was a good reminder to me to enjoy the process.  I had so much fun with that gorgeous Corriedale fleece, but in some ways, I've had even more fun with this crossbred fleece, because the change from raw to washed wool was so dramatic.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

update on Femme Fatale yarn

In between sorting, washing & storing fleeces, I've tried to keep up with a bit of spinning.  Most importantly, I'm trying to finish my Femme Fatale yarn in March in order to meet the Spindlers group challenge for this month.  I've managed to spin half of the fiber:

Reality has descended and I'm a little concerned about my chances of finishing this yarn by the end of the month.  T minus 9 days and counting!  In that time, I plan to wind the first single on to a bobbin, spin the second single, ply the singles together for the final 2-ply yarn, and lastly, wash and dry and measure the finished yarn.  I have a feeling that finishing this yarn will be pressing very hard against the March 31st deadline. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wooly Words of the Week: fleece terms

Inspired by my current work with raw fleece, I wanted to add common fleece terms to the glossary:

Crimp: the natural bends formed along a length of fiber as it grows from a follicle in the skin.  Crimp can be two-dimensional, like a wave, or three-dimensional, like adding a spiral to the wave.  When a fiber is stretched, it is the crimp that allows the fiber to return to its original length, acting like a miniature spring.  This quality is referred to as memory or elasticity.  There is also a relationship between crimp and the softness, luster, and strength of the fiber.  Generally speaking, the more crimps per inch (leaning on the Merino side of the spectrum), the finer and softer the fiber will be, while with fewer crimps per inch (leaning on the longwool side of the spectrum), the fiber will be shinier and stronger. 

Grease: the natural oil in wool that is secreted by sebaceous glands in the skin.  When collected & purified, it is called lanolin.  Handspinners commonly call this oil "grease," while the commercial wool industry uses the term "wax" (or wool wax) to describe the exact same oils in raw wool. 

Lock: a naturally occurring clump of fibers in a fleece.  Some sheep breeds have very well-defined locks.  Other breeds do not have defined locks, resulting in what is called an "open" fleece.

Second cuts: small pieces of wool that are the result of a shearing mistake, which are annoying to a handspinner because the pieces can form neps in yarn if they are not removed.  A few second cuts are normal, but a fleece that is riddled with second cuts from sloppy shearing will lose a lot of value and sell for a cheaper price. 

Skirt: the process of removing undesirable wool from a raw fleece.  This would typically include wool from the belly and outer edges of the fleece, as well as any wool that is full of VM or manure.  The vast majority of raw fleeces offered for sale are skirted fleeces. 

Staple: synonymous with lock, referring to a group of fibers that clump together in a fleece.  Staple is most often used when describing fiber length, ie. "this fleece has an average staple length of 4 inches." 

Suint: basically, this is sheep sweat.  Suint is the natural salt that is secreted from the skin of the animal and is is water-soluble. 

Yolk: a collective term to describe the combination of both grease and suint in a raw fleece.  It is becoming a more old-fashioned term, or perhaps used more in the commercial wool industry, with handspinners simply saying "grease" to describe both the natural oils & salts in a raw fleece.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fleece 2 of 7: Corriedale is finished!

If I thought this Corriedale fleece was gorgeous as raw wool (and I did!), I performed a very flamboyant happy dance after seeing how beautiful it was when washed.  The fiber is next-to-the-skin soft, with outstanding loft & elasticity.  Here is a side by side comparison of raw to washed fiber:

There is a small band of what is likely canary staining (a permanent stain) across the staple, but it is very minor and did not affect the soundness (strength) of the wool. 

I washed a good-sized portion of this fleece using my usual method.  I was very picky about how I loaded the mesh laundry bags, because I wanted to maintain the lock structure of the wool.  I kept the wool in a very thin layer and used more pins than usual to create compartments in the bag to reduce any chance of the wool shifting around during the washing process:

The washed wool came out perfectly clean, with no felting or matting, and with the locks beautifully intact, so I'm quite pleased with the results:

The remaining raw fleece has been vacuum-packed into storage bags, and now I have all of this lovely fiber to play with whenever I want.  I've had a tremendous amount of fun thinking about how I can use this fleece.  I love all of the natural shades of grey, and I have decided not to dye any of this fiber.  There are several knitting projects with stranded colorwork that would be perfect for using the yarn that will eventually come from this fleece.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fleece 2 of 7: Corriedale

After putting the Icelandic fleece to bed (so to speak), I began working on a gorgeous Corriedale fleece.  It comes from a ewe named Elinor who lives on a family farm near Duluth, MN.  Her fleece ranges in color from pale to charcoal grey.  There is hardly a speck of VM in the entire fleece and the consistency and softness of the staples could make a lumberjack cry.  You can imagine what it did to a confessed fiber addict. 

The raw (skirted) fleece weighed 6 lbs, 11 ounces.  I'm still using my dining table with a plastic tablecloth as my fleece sorting station:

I picked out several staples to measure and compare colors.  The staples average 5 inches long, with some of the staples along the edges of the fleece around 4 1/2 inches long: 

I've sorted out a portion of the flece to wash, and the rest will be put into my raw storage with vacuum-packed plastic storage bags.  It is positively dreamy to work with this fleece.  Simply beautiful fiber. 

Fleece 1 of 7: Icelandic is finished!

I have finished vacuum packing all remaining raw fiber from my very pretty Icelandic fleece.  The washed fiber has been drying for a couple of days.  I err on the paranoid side when it comes to drying fiber - I don't want to store it while there is any chance of dampness that could lead to mold or rot in the fiber.  So once it feels dry, I keep it on the drying rack for another day to make sure it is really dry.

Here is the washed Icelandic wool:

The washed wool is really lovely - no matting or felting of the fibers, no permanent stains, and it should be very enjoyable to comb or card this fiber for spinning. 

I washed all of the darker fibers of the fleece, so only oatmeal colored fiber is in raw storage.  I love knowing that I can grab a handful of this wool and work with it whenever I want.  My plan is to sample a few different processing and spinning methods with it.  I would like to separate the tog and thel, as well as create a combined preparation of them.  And then I will spin each of the three preps to see what range of yarns I can make from the fleece and find out what appeals most to me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wooly Words of the Week: Icelandic, Tog and Thel

Since I started my fleece work with an Icelandic fleece, it seemed only fitting to add Icelandic terms to my glossary:

Sheep breed, Icelandic:  A member of the Northern European short-tailed sheep family, this ancient and primitive breed is a living piece of Viking history.  Viking settlers introduced these sheep to Iceland more than one thousand years ago, and no further introductions of other sheep have ever been allowed.  Their primitive wool is dual-coated and highly versatile, and comes in almost all natural colors from white to grey to browns to black.  The outer coat is called tog and the inner coat is called thel.  Their wool can be used for anything from hard-wearing rugs to next-to-the-skin clothing, depending on how the spinner chooses to prepare the fiber.

Tog: the outer coat of an Icelandic fleece.  Tog can range from 4 to 10 inches in length, and it can be quite course or somewhat silky, but it always very strong.  If it is separated from the staple, it is perfect for worsted spinning.

Thel: the inner coat of an Icelandic fleece.  Thel typically ranges from 2 to 3 inches in length, and it is extremely soft.  This fiber rivals Merino and cashmere for softness, and if it's separated from the staple, it is perfect for woolen spinning.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fleece 1 of 7: Icelandic

Here I go, diving into my fleece ocean...

First up, I have a pretty Icelandic fleece from a ewe named Frani who lives at Misty Meadows Icelandics.  The fleece is a heathered cream color with a few spots of dark brown.  The raw (skirted) fleece weighs 3 pounds, 9 ounces. 

I have a green plastic tablecloth that is dedicated to sorting raw fleece.  I often work on the floor, but decided that I wanted a higher work surface today.  Using the dining table, I spread out the whole fleece to take a look at what I had:

I picked through the fleece a bit, and it is beautiful.  There is incredibly little VM and hardly any second cuts.  Icelandic fleeces are dual coated, meaning there are two very distinct types of fibers in the fleece.  The courser outer coat is called tog, and the fine inner coat is called thel.  Additionally, there are different lengths of staples in the fleece.  I picked out some of the most representative staples:

Some of the tog is as long as 8 inches, while the thel is around 3 inches.  I'm really pleased with the variety of fibers in this fleece, which will give me lots of options about how I want to use it.  The versatility of Icelandic fiber is one of its best qualities.

A close-up photo of the shorter staple shows the really pretty heathered cream color, almost an oatmeal color, that is the majority of the fleece:

I sorted all of the darker staples from the fleece and loaded those into bags to wash.  Then I sorted the cream-colored staples into bags until I had a total of 10 bags to wash. 

The remaining fleece will be put into raw storage as part of my stash.  I've begun to load plastic storage bags for our vacuum sealer.  The raw fiber will be compressed for maximum storage, as well as protected from any possible damage from light, heat, water, or pests. 

I have the 10 wash bags soaking in water right now.  Icelandic fleece is a low grease fleece, so it actually washes pretty easily, but it does require a light touch, since Icelandic fiber also felts beautifully.  I'll let the bags soak for a few hours, and then my plan is to put the fiber through one wash with soap and two rinses.  Then the washed fiber can be laid out on my stackable sweater racks to air dry, and I can't wait to see how it turns out!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Drowning in fleece

I am drowning in my personal ocean of raw fleece.  All in all, I can think of worse ways to go, but it's still overwhelming.  I was like a little kid whose eyes were much bigger than her stomach and now that I've gorged myself silly, it's my own fault that I have this queasy sensation. 

Although, I have to admit there is an edge of excitement in my queasiness.  This is going to be a lot of of work, but I expect to have a lot of fun working with all of this fiber, too, even as I recognize it's more than likely that I really do have too much of a good thing right now. 

The challenge over the next two weeks is to get through all of my raw fleeces.  All freaking seven of them.  Over 50 pounds of raw wool.  I would have had ten raw fleeces to face, but I have completed vacuum packing my three raw Shetland fleeces, so they are no longer in the oh-lordy-what-have-I-done-to-myself pile.

So what does it mean to "get through" a fleece?  It means that I've taken the fleece out of its plastic bag, sorted it, made a decision about whether or not to wash it right now, and then stored it properly:

1.  If it's raw (unwashed), then it needs to be vacuum packed into a storage bag to both protect and compress the fiber in order to maximize my storage space.


2.  If it's washed, then it will be stored in a sealed bin where I can easily access the fiber. 

It's practically guaranteed that my really big fleeces, like the border leicester mixes that weigh several pounds each, will have both fates, with half or more of the fiber in raw storage.  However, I really want to wash a portion of each fleece so that I can work with the fiber and think about what I want to do with the rest of it.  Of course, this occured to me after I had already vacuum packed my remaining raw Shetland fleeces.  I do have one washed Shetland fleece, though, so I already have Shetland fiber available right now. 

There is a third possibility that I'm considering, which is to sort out a portion of my fleece to sell online to other fiber-loving folks.  I haven't made up my mind about this yet.  Do I sell it raw?  washed?  by the ounce?  by the pound?  do I keep my sale informal or open an online store?  I know that I want to start dyeing my own fiber soon, so I might really like having plenty of fiber to have on hand for testing dye gradients.  In that case, should I just keep all of these fleeces? 

I'm not quite sure what to do.  I figure the correct path will present itself once I really start working with these fleeces.  Once I've dealt with 10 or 20 pounds of fleece, and am still facing several more of them, it might be an easy decision to sell some of it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

First use of handspun yarn

I finally, actually used some of my handspun yarn!  Up until now, seeing the skeins of handspun in their basket was enough to enjoy a sense of accomplishment from successful spinning.  I felt no great desire to make anything from them... that was something for "later." 

Well, "later" arrived.  I suppose I reached some critical mass where I just had to use some of my own yarn.  Plus I found a pattern that I loved that I thought would be perfect for some of bulky yarn. 

Voila!  A hat made with handspun yarn! 
If you're on Ravelry, here is the pattern link

As a side note, until this hat, I have been almost exclusively knitting socks for several months. Thin yarn, thin needles. Moving from that to a bulky hat made with huge needles was a wicked funny transition for my fingers, but what was even worse was moving back to the thin stuff. My fingers were slow and clumsy for several rows on the current sock project and I was laughing the whole time.   I went from a size 10 needle on the hat to a size 000 needle with the socks:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kicking off a new yarn: Femme Fatale

The Spindlers group on Ravelry has monthly challenges, where a theme is named and those who choose to participate must create a skein of yarn during that month that is their interpretation of that theme.  There are no rules other than producing the yarn within the calendar month of the challenge (well, spinning the yarn on a spindle, not a wheel, 'cuz you know, it's the Spindlers group), so you can pretty much do whatever you want within those boundaries.  I really love this whole idea - sometimes the month's theme is more appealing to me than at other times, but regardless, it is always fun to see what other spinners make for it. 

For March 2012, the theme is Femme Fatale, which is awesome.   

Here is my paraphrase of Wikipedia's definition of Femme Fatale:

A seductive enchantress using irresistible desire to lead victims
into compromising, dangerous, even deadly situations.

My translation of that into yarn?

I imagine slinky, fine threads of rich jewel tones that seduce the yarn lover with their luster and drape.  It entices a knitter to the depravity of lace knitting, its beauty blinding them to the dangerous footing of p3tog and centered double decreases.

I plan to accomplish my Mata Hari of yarns using handpainted BFL-silk blend top that has shimmering colors of red, eggplant, and dark teal.  I will use worsted drafting to create smooth, shiny singles that will hopefully end up as a gorgeous skein of 2-ply laceweight yarn.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wooly Words of the Week: Worsted and Woolen

When I write about yarn design and when I record the final statistics of my finished yarns, I use specific drafting terms to describe how the yarns are made.  I wanted to make sure I added these terms to my glossary:

Drafting:  The method of how fiber is pulled out from the fiber supply and presented to the twist, which enters the fiber to form yarn.  There are two main yarn families based on drafting method: worsted and woolen.  Drafting fiber is one key component of yarn design, as it determines the size (diameter) of the yarn and also strongly influences yarn characteristics such as luster (shine vs. matte), loft (dense vs. airy), elasticity (drape vs. stretchiness), strength, resistance to abrasion, stitch definition, and surface texture (smooth vs. fuzzy). 

Worsted:  Worsted yarns are always made from a combed top fiber preparation. Creating combed top removes all short and weak fibers, leaving only the longer and strong fibers that are aligned parallel with each other.  The most traditional, "pure" worsted yarns only use fibers that are at least 3 inches or longer with 7 crimps or less per inch.  In worsted drafting, twist enters attenuated fibers and does not enter the fiber supply.  This means that twist enters fibers that have been straightened and held under pressure, therefore the fibers in the yarn are locked into place by the twist and cannot shift sideways.  This structure empasizes shine, drape, strength, and smoothness of the fiber.  It is a denser yarn, since the drafting method compresses air out of the yarn as twist enters the attenuated fiber.  These yarns are not terribly elastic, but they resist abrasion with excellent durability and have crisp stitch definition.

Semiworsted:  This drafting method uses worsted drafting with any fiber preparation, not just combed long fibers.  Twist is not allowed into the fiber supply.  A semiworsted yarn will be more like worsted than woolen yarns, but it will be different from traditional worsted yarns by having more loft and elasticity with a fuzzier surface texture.  They will still have more drape and stitch definition compared to woolen and semiwoolen yarns.

Woolen:  Woolen yarns are always made from carded fibers that are short (less than 3 inches) and highly crimped (more than 7 crimps per inch).  Carded fiber does not line up fibers in a parallel formation, and can have fibers of different lengths in the preparation.  In woolen drafting, twist is used as part of the drafting process and enters the fiber supply.  This means the fibers are not perfectly aligned next to each other within the yarn, but can move sideways.  This structure emphasizes loft, stretch, and elasticity with a matte, fuzzy surface of the yarn.  Woolen yarns are not as durable or resistant to abrasion as worsted yarns, but they are lightweight & airy, with lots of stretchiness, having an almost spongy texture.  They do not have crisp stitch defintion, but have a soft blurring effect on stitches and colors in a pattern. 

Semiwoolen:  This drafting method uses woolen style drafting with any fiber preparation, not just carded short fibers.  Twist is allowed into the fiber supply as fibers are drafted.  Semiwoolen yarns will lean towards woolen characteristics on the yarn spectrum, usually having lots of elasticity and will feel very lofty compared to a worsted yarn, but they can have more shine and stitch definition than what is typically seen in woolen yarns.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Update on the WIP Eradication Campaign

Back when I made the announcement about my WIP Eradication Campaign, I listed all of my old spinning projects.  Of the six WIPs on that list, only one WIP remains.

Only one WIP remains. 

And we're going to take care of that one right now. 

The last old spinning WIP is a project I started with inexpensive mill ends wool in order to practice over-the-fold spinning on my wheel:

The problem is I have no particular vision or plans for this yarn.  I've been staring at the fiber in its basket and it's just not talking to me.  It was skill practice more than anything else, so I have decided to demote this work from its WIP designation.  Instead, I'll chuck the yarn into a bin with other odds 'n ends singles.  I may resurrect it at some distant point in the future, but I think I might want to use this fiber for a different project.  So the yarn is in the "bits bin" and the wool is back in the stash as "unspun fiber" and voila! no more old spinning WIPs remain!

So as far as I'm concerned, my spinning WIPs are now under control, and in a fraction of the time I thought it would take me to do this!  Now it's time to tackle the next major WIP categories:  fleeces, fiber prep, yarn inventory, knitting, and crochet. 

I'm still on a bit of a high with my unspun fiber inventory work, so I think I'll next focus on yarn inventory and all of my fleeces.  The fleeces are going to be quite an adventure.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Finished! Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore yarn

Let's follow the saga of this yarn.

A long time ago, back in August 2010, I started spinning BFL-silk handpainted fiber on one of my favorite spindles.  I originally purchased the handpainted fiber because it reminded me of my hometown area in northwest Indiana, where I spent a lot of time playing on the dunes at Lake Michigan:

The spinning went well - it was the finest and most consistent spinning I had produced at that date.  I was proud.

Giddy with my spinning success, I decided to buy a bobbin winder and storage bobbins, with the intention of having the proper tools for better, easier plying.  I wound off the first cop from my spindle to a small, innocent 4" plastic storage bobbin.  And I was still proud.

And then I realized I was an idiot. 

Because overloading a bobbin like that is just begging for a yarn avalanche. 

I began slowly, painstakingly untangling the mess and rewinding the yarn on to a larger bobbin.  In the meantime, I finished spinning the rest of the fiber on my spindle and immediately wound the second single on to a large bobbin.  As for the tangled first single, I got through about 10% of the mess and then I put it the lid on the shoebox and set it aside until I could stand to look at it again.  I unearthed that shoebox during my recent studio cleaning project and got back to work on rewinding the large bobbin by hand. 

I hated this work.  Hated.  Loathed.  Despised.  It was good penance for something.  Not quite sure what I did, but whatever it was, I have atoned for it.

But eventually, by gritting my teeth and just getting it done, I had two lovely bobbins ready for plying:

I plied the singles together for a final 2-ply yarn, and had fun earlier this week playing with my slinky toy of yarn with active plying twist:

I washed the yarn to set the twist, then hung it up to dry for a few days.  And now, only 18 months since I first started spinning this fiber, I have a finished yarn:

Blue-faced Leicester wool & tussah silk blend
2-ply, worsted drafting
3.9 ounces, 28 WPI (laceweight), 598 yards

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Can't help myself, but that's okay

I've been working pretty diligently on finishing up old spinning work before starting new spinning work, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to avoid playing with new fiber for long.  But I'm in the home stretch on my spinning WIP eradication campaign, so I feel no guilt over new spinning. 

One of my habits is to always have a spindle project handy, something I can grab and work on for a few minutes here and there throughout my day.  I have a quart-sized glass jar that is perfect to hold up to 4 ounces of fiber with the spindle stuck in the top.  Easy to pick up, spin a few yards, then stick the spindle back in the jar.  I can spin while I'm waiting for water to boil for pasta, or for laundry to finish in the dryer, or when I'm talking on the phone.  And it's really nice to see how spindle-spinning a few yards throughout my day really adds up quickly. 

You can typically find the jar either on a kitchen counter or on my desk:

This new spinning project is 4 ounces of handpainted BFL wool.  I love the blend of deep red, maroon, dark purple, and charcoal grey.  I'm spinning my "default" yarn on a 1 ounce top whorl spindle.  I expect to get around 300 yards of fingering weight 3-ply yarn, so we'll see if I'm starting to be able to predict my spinning results accurately.