Spinzilla 2015!

This year I decided to join the spinning competitionĀ Spinzilla. It is a world wide competition that focuses on raising awareness and teaching children about the fiber arts. It can be done completely at home or on the road or at your local yarn shop. You can either join a team or spin rogue and at the end of the week you send pictures and yardage of what you spun.

I decided to join a team this year. Last year I was going to spin rogue but Spinzilla ended up happening the same week I was out of town at a conference. I might knit at conferences but I don’t think I could spin. So this year I was going to do better and actually try to join a team. I wanted to join a local team so I joined Maupston Jumbo Flyers. The team was hosted out of a new fiber study near NYC called Maupston DESIGN STUDIO LLC. The team captain was very nice and encouraging mostly communicating by email.

You can set your own goals but the suggested goal for Spinzilla is to spin a mile’s length of yarn. A single will count as the yards spun. A 2-ply (without counting the singles separately) is 3 times the finished yardage (2 for each single and 1 for plying). Likewise, 3-ply (or navajo / chain ply) is measured with 4 times the ending yardage. Plying seems to be a fast way to get yards since the actual plying run is much easier without having to draft (at least for me). I was trying to spin as much as I could when I wasn’t at school. Here is my week in yarn.

On Monday I was able to finish 486yds of white coopworth single ply for the blanket I am making.

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I wasn’t too worried about twist or even consistency. The roving was a little rough but the blanket I am making it with is worked with 3 strands of the same yarn which will hide some of the bumpiness. Also it’s going to be a picnic blanket so it doesn’t have to be super soft.

On Tuesday I spun up this gorgeous roving I got from hipstrings on etsy. It is 50% 23 micron merino in a rich assortment of browns, golds and sienna, 25% Baby alpaca in medium and dark brown, 12.5% Bamboo and 12.5% Black Tussah Silk.

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I did chain ply since it has some variation in color. I am happy with how it came out. I haven’t decided on a project for it yet but it will probably be something dog shaped since I have a similarly colored dog.

On Wednesday I spun brown recycled wool I got from knitpicks. I had 7oz unspun after spinning the first 7oz for a bag I made. It is nicely prepared roving and went really fast.

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I really like browns.

On Thursday I decided to spin the hand dyed roving from Spinning Bunny. I don’t remember the colorway but I think it was something like midnight. It was very pretty and blue and shiny and soft.

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It was fun to spin up so the next day I decided to do some more from Spinning Bunny.

On Friday the roving from Spinning Bunny I spun I was a little disappointed. The texture and prep were the same but when I ordered it I was trying to get a nice brown roving but when it came it was a very purple roving. I am hesitant to order from them again because of this. It is a pretty purple but not what I was expecting.

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Eventually I will spin the rest of this I have. Maybe I’ll ply it 2 ply although a single ply fingering weight shawl could be very pretty.

On Saturday I dove into my bag of alpaca. I got 2 8oz bags of alpaca a year ago from etsy. It was medium grade but still really really pretty and soft. It was a little dirty and tended to turn my fingers brown when I plied it. Since alpaca doesn’t have lanolin it isn’t necessary to wash it before processing the fleece. The natural alpaca was very different to draft than the dyed wool and took me a bit to get the rhythm down. I split one of the 8oz bags into 3 piles and spun them all up separately and three plied them together. As what usually happens, there was a small amount of single ply left over when I was done.

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When I took the alpaca off the niddy noddy the yarn did something my yarn has never done before. It hung straight down. Somehow I had actually spun it balanced. I am really looking forward to spinning with it.

On Sunday I was able to spin up some gorgeous polwarth I got from hipstrings.

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It is so pretty but I have no idea what I am going to do with it yet.

Throughout the week I was able to spin 4331 yards (including plying) which is 2.460795 miles! It was like working on a knit stash busting project. I can’t wait until next year!

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This is my week in spinning.

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A Mountain of Wool

I found some nice roving on knitpicks.com on sale. The wool was Wool of the Andes Roving and Full Circle Roving. I decided to buy 5 different colors for a special pattern that I bought from ravelry (fox paws). The wool was surprisingly good for the price and really easy to spin up.

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In process

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I had 200g of each color and 2 plied them. It took about a month to finish it all but that mostly was because I was away from my wheel for a while. At the end I could easily finish one of these skeins in 2 days and I think I did for the last two.

I will update you on what I plan on making with these beauties when there is something to show!

Spinning Update, My Journey Through Homespun

It has been 3 months since I decided to try spinning. As you might have seen in my earlier post it all started with a nice woman letting me try her wheel at a show which led me to get a drop spindle. My next post showed me dabbling in some 2 ply yarns of different colors making some colorful yarns. This post will sum those beginning yarns and show what I have done since then. The first thing I learned was you can only have as many spinning projects as you do drop spindles (or wheels but I am still saving for mine) so unlike knitting projects I have to actual choose what to work on next and am stuck with that for the next couple of weeks. Of course the solution to that was to get another spindle ;).

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This picture shows all of the yarn I have spun since I began. The furthest left was my first attempt on the wheel followed by my first attempt at the drop spindle. The next couple are the two ply of different colors I tried followed by a two ply of one color. The green was my first try at 3 ply and after that I used my leftover green and plied with a thicker blue single that I had spun before.

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The left is a three ply next to the two ply with the right being a thick single ply. The three ply does look a lot more “round” than the two ply. I have read that three ply yarn actually knits with less yardage than the two ply because it is round. Talking about knitting…

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Here is the first yarn that I have made that I have actually knit with. I plied some yellow and purple together because i had some extra and they looked nice together. This is just a square of moss stitch. This brings me to a very good point. I am not really sure what I should make with my random amounts of different weight yarns. Do you have any ideas?

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This picture really shows how far I have come in my spinning. These are both single ply with the pink in the back being the first thing I spun on my drop spindle and the green the last thing I spun on the same spindle. So if you are just beginning get ready for some pretty fast results!

 

Plying My Homespun

You might have seen my previous post on spinning with my drop spindle. Since getting my spindle and my first fiber that came with it I got another package of fiber. In my package I got a variety pack along with 8 oz of lime green, gold, and indigo. I decided to start with the variety pack to get the hang of it. Here is what came of them.

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You can’t really tell from the pictures but these are pretty small balls of yarn so I decided I wanted to try plying with them. My first combination was the top two, the dark blue and turquoise.

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Since I am still new at spinning I wasn’t able to make the two the same thickness. With different thicknesses and also not exactly the same amounts of fiber for the two colors I ended up with extra dark blue. I think the blend worked out well but see for yourself.

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Since I still had some extra of the other yarn I decided I would ply that with the purple yarn I spun.

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To finish up a newly spun yarn you have to wash it. I had gotten some wool wash with my spindle and first fiber. I washed the newly plied yarn with the wool wash and used my pasta drier to dry it on.

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The plying and the washing both made the yarn softer. I think they turned out really well.

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I have about 300 yd of the turquoise and blue and about 150 yd of theĀ  purple and blue. I am really excited to see how it knits up!