I Got A New Wheel!

After a lot of research I ended up getting a Schacht Ladybug wheel. I went through at least 3 iterations of this is THE wheel and then changing my mind until I decided on this one.
I sold my old Baynes wheel to someone local. I will miss it but apartments don’t have much room for spinning wheels let alone two. 
I got the ladybug because I wanted options. I wanted tension options; the ladybug allows for scotch, Irish and double tension. I wanted options when it came to accessories along with assurance that the company that made my wheel would be around a year after I bought my wheel. The people who made my last wheel closed up shop about a year after I got it and its accessories are now hard to come by. Schatch is one of the main wheel manufacturers I need the world. Plus Akerworks has models for their bobbins! Although the accessories are pretty expensive. Last I got a double treadle but it definitely can work as a single treadle when I want it to be. I found out a couple of weeks after getting the wheel it comes with a second whorl too! (Each whorl comes with 2 diameters on it). 
I’ve already spun a couple pounds of wool on it! I can’t wait for Spinzilla this year! 

What I’ve spun on my new wheel so far! 

And this is one of my Akerworks bobbins! The other is the teal bobbin on my machine. 
I’m always inspired to spin more when I have a project in mind. Right now I’m aiming for another blanket (my guilty pleasure). I think next time I’ll try spinning some sock yarn!

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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.

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!

 

Spinning Wheel Here I Come!

A couple of months ago I was invited to attend Knitting Vogue by a friend of mine who was going to be working at a booth selling knitting machines. Due to a mix up they had some extra tickets to the marketplace so she invited me knowing my knitting passion. It was even better than I expected with knitting and crocheting art and runways and so many people with the same interest as me and, oh my, the yarns they were selling. Every fiber you could think of from muskox, to wool of every breed, to rabbit, to soy, to milk, and on and on. As you can imagine there were a few farmers who do most of their business in craft shows like this one. One such farmer who lived not far from where I am from had her spinning wheel set up to keep her occupied while tending her booth. Her chair was set up with a sheep skin on it and seeing the actual spinning wheel I was so excited.

I have been telling my friend who invited me that we had to learn how to spin (in my mind with a drop spindle) for a couple months now. Now I am might lose a few on you on my reason why. I am pretty obsessed with dogs and mine in particular so my hope was to eventually spin up something with a little of her in it so I could knit with it and have it forever (apparently this idea isn’t knew in my family since my mom still has some fur from the Newfoundland I grew up with).

I started talking to the woman who was spinning on this wheel right before my eyes. My friend quickly pointed out to the woman that I have been dying to learn to spin and she, beyond my wildest dreams, asked if I wanted to try! I definitely could not say no to that. She sat me down and had me just learn how the treadle spun the wheel for a couple minutes (it is harder than it looks). Then she showed me how to draft the fiber and soon I was spinning! She warned me that it would be frustrating, which it was, but I wasn’t discouraged. Now I am pretty sure that it was just for encouragement but she told me I did very well for my first time. I broke the fiber and she showed me how to join more. I made some of the yarn way to thin and other parts way to thick and I had to try and concentrate as my friend kept making me laugh which looked more like a grimace with my concentration.

Pretty Scary

Pretty Scary Looking

 

To my surprise and joy when I had finished her bag full of roving she quickly rolled it up into a skein and handed it to me. Thinking back, what would she do with a small skein of poorly spun yarn? I appreciate it either way though and hope to one day repay her. Here is my finished result.

 

Fail Yarn

Fail Yarn

 

I was obviously enchanted and went straight home to look up wheels. Now a spinning wheel isn’t really something they sell at every corner store or even surprisingly on amazon.com. It took a while but I picked out what I think will be a good beginner wheel at a reasonable price (for a spinning wheel). I had found the Baynes Scotch Tension Spinning Wheel and found someone who sells them practically in my backyard! Well cheap for a spinning wheel is still about $400 which is a bit of change. So after complaining about it A LOT to my poor poor boy friend, who could really care less (his whole family knits and I am sure her is THRILLED he found someone just as enchanted with the hobby šŸ˜‰ ) , I settled on a drop spindle.

I just got the drop spindle today (well depends when you think today is) finally in the mail along with a few ounces of dyed roving.

Drop Spindle with Pippy Longstocking's Braid

Drop Spindle with Pippy Longstocking’s Braid

I was more than a little excited to try it out. I had already watched some introduction videos on youtube and thought myself relatively prepared. None of the videos really showed how to stop in the middle of spinning so I just kept on going and going and going. The drop spindle gives you a little more time for drafting the fiber before it is spun but I am not sure I could necessarily say it is easier than the wheel. I used the “Park and Draft” method of pausing after charging the spindle and pulling out the next section of fiber. I really have no idea how you are suppose to draft while the spindle is still spinning. I guess that is something for the future. If my thickness is any more consistent than my first attempt it isn’t by much. I will let you be the judge of how I did.

It might be yarn!

It might be yarn!

 

I really have no clue how I am suppose to wrap the yarn on the drop spindle but this way seemed to work alright but then again maybe it didn’t since occasionally the yarn would fall off the top hook and I would have to jump and catch the spindle before too much got unravelled. I am not quite sure what I will make with it. I was thinking of plying it but I don’t have a lot. What ever I end up making with it I will show it off proudly as my first drop spindle yarn.

Yarn Ball

Yarn Ball

 

Thanks for listening to my spinning story!