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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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!

So My Friend Is Allergic To Wool…

One of my only yarn friends is allergic to wool. She is one of the few people who understand and have a similar sized stash of yarn in her apartment. The only difference is most of her stash is cotton or bamboo or acrylic or anything else that she can knit with that doesn’t make her break out in hives. Her choice to work at a yarn store where she has to stock angora, wool, and mohair seems a little silly when she texts me from the basement getting hives because someone was knitting with mohair and she was having trouble breathing from particles in the air. Like I said though, she really really likes yarn too.

As a fellow yarn lover she was pretty excited when I started spinning. We live in different cities so I would send her pictures of my fiber and my drop spindles and my newly spun yarn. A lot of people told me when I was starting spinning that wool is the easiest to spin. The longer the staple length and the courser the wool the easier it would be so I got mounds of wool to spin. And I would send pictures to Bronwen. Now being allergic to wool and animal fibers doesn’t make her immune to how pretty natural colored yarns are so when I showed her the back of my door hanging with an array of yarns in natural hues all she could think about was a nice sweater just for her.

IMG_20141015_141415Then she came and visited me! We had the best time eating out and drinking beers and hiking. I got to show her all of my yarn in person! Which she tried not to touch so much (and not because I didn’t wash it because I did!). I had her feel around my fiber drawers to see if any of the random fiber I had gotten might be Bronwen compatible. I had ordered a bunch of random fiber ends which was a pretty good deal for the amount of fiber but meant I had weird amounts and no idea but guesses what the fiber was made out of. She picked a nice blue from that that didn’t seem to make her break out. I spun it right in front of her. It was only a few ounces so didn’t take long at all. I felt like I was at a crafts fair showing off my artistry in front of my customers (well customer). I felt like my spinning wheel and I should go on the road. I sent her packing with probably 50 yards of some light blue fingering weight handspun yarn that she wasn’t allergic too!

I still felt like a bit of a tease so I went back to the part of the internet where they sell fiber and looked at different super wash (I am not yet brave enough to attempt cotton). Here is some of it.

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This was also a chance to try some chain ply on my wheel. I won’t say it went great but my motto at the moment is practice, practice, practice! Looks like my friend is going to ooing and awing over my new yarn 😉

From Wool To Sweater

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Last winter was very very cold. My poor dog was pretty cold on her walks so I decided that next winter she needed a sweater. I didn’t want too nice of yarn since it is for Angel to go outside in so I found some easy to spin, unwashed wool at Mind’s Eye in Boston, MA. I got 12 oz in total and it smelled like lanolin. I spun it on my new Baynes spinning wheel.

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White is obviously not the best color for something that will get dirty so I decided to try my hand dyeing! The first step was to soak the yarn in acidic water so I mixed some acetic acid in water and soaked the yarn overnight.

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The magic combination when using acid dyes is acid+dye+heat. The next step for dyeing was to heat the yarn in the acid mixture. I got a pot just for this since you should not use your food pots for dyeing.

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The dye comes in a powder form. I mixed it with some boiling water to pre mix it in an old pasta jar. I decided on orange because it was my first dyeing and if I messed it up I didn’t want to do it with one of my favorite colors. Also my brown dog looks really good in orange. Her collar at home is orange and as my Mom said after I showed her the sweater “Now we can walk Angel during the day in hunting season!”

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When the yarn was finally warm enough I added the dye to the pot! I carefully mixed it so that the dye got on all of the yarn without felting yarn. Wool felts easily when heated so it is important not to agitate it.

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The next step was the hardest; I had to wait for the dye to take making sure the water didn’t boil. It took forever and I was so excited for it to come out.

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They way you tell when the dyeing is done is that the dyeing water is clear or almost clear. You have to let the yarn and water cool on their own which with such a large amount can take a while and while it is cooling it can absorb the last bit of dye so I impatiently turned off the heat when it was mostly clear.

After the yarn cooled which took FOREVER I had to rinse it off but without agitating the wool again. After it was rinsed I had to let it dry. It took a while to dry. I had the three skeins I had dyed hanging around my room on door knobs.

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The next step of course was the fun part, knit with it! It wasn’t the most consistent single since it was one of the first things I spun on my wheel. I also never took the time to wash the lanolin off, which some people will say disrupts the dyeing, so it gave the yarn a kind of waxy feel to it. I wanted to try and keep the lanolin though since it is suppose to water proof the yarn a bit and since this was outside wear for a dog I liked that idea. I started knitting it on my camping trip with my family so Angel saw me working on it although she had no idea what was coming!

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I got the pattern off of ravelry here.

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I estimated the wool amount pretty well. I used almost all of it and thank god didn’t run out!

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And here is Angel wearing her new sweater!!!

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 the  purple and blue. I am really excited to see how it knits up!