A Bountiful Bevy

Yes, it has been almost 3 months since a post last appeared here. What have I been up to? Let me tell you! 🙂

First and foremost was school, school, and more school. Now that I am done for the semester I have a few weeks to breathe. Most recently, and most exciting – I finally got my spinning wheel! Here is a photo:

Meet Jean Louise

She is a Schacht Matchless, and her name is Jean Louise. She was born on 11-20-2009 and was the first wheel made that day! She is named after the narrator in my favorite book, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. In the short 3 1/2 weeks I have had her, we have been quite productive, see:

Group Photo

A Bountiful Bevy of Beauty

There is 30 ounces of lovely goodness in that photo! They are shown in order spun, first to most recent. While I still love my spindles, I find I can get more done with my wheel, and that my yarn comes out better.

I leave you with a few photos of my most recent project. I just finished the first 2 ounces of this last night – a lovely Merino / Silk combination that will be a beautiful lace weight yarn when completed.

Iris 1

Merino / Silk in Iris

Iris 2

First 2 Ounces

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A Quicky

Just thought I would get something up for your viewing pleasure today. Here is my finished yarn that I was working on during the Tour de Fleece. It came out lovely. I just adore the colors. It is 138 yards and 1 ounce of fiber, it was Navajo plied. Click on the photos to see a larger version.

 

A Pretty Skein

A Pretty Skein

Close Up

Close Up

 

That is all for now! 🙂 Coming soon..a post with pics of all the lovely birthday loot my lovely friends graced me with! 😀

TDF 09 Update #3

Happy Friday!

This past Wednesday was the challenge day for the Tour de Fleece. I tackled a few things all in one fell swoop. I decided I wanted to try spinning a batt and see what the difference was. I also wanted to try a new drafting method, long draw. I did both of those, and tried a new fiber too – Falkland! It was a fun challenge day. 🙂

I started to work with the batt on Tuesday night at knitting. I really like working with batts, and I think I prefer it to braids. I will still work with braids, but it is a bit of a different experience. I really love the Falkland too. It is so soft and is spinning up beautifully. It even has a bit of a nice sheen. It is going to make one pretty yarn! Special thanks to Cris from Into the Whirled for such pretty stuff to play with. 😀

I will be curious to see the end result I will get from spinning long draw. 

Here are some photos of what I have been working on. Click on any photo to see a larger version.

 

Look at that lovely color!

Look at that lovely color!

I REALLY love these colors!

I REALLY love these colors!

More Pretty

More Pretty

TDF 09 Update #2

I guess I have been bad at posting my Tour de Fleece progress. Then again, I wasn’t making much progress, to be honest. I am getting faster with the drop spindle, and I am able to spin for longer periods of time. I am still amazed how fast the last bit of Shetland went, it seemed to just fly out of my hands! A special thanks to Jen, of Contended Butterfly Farm for such well prepared roving. It really was a joy to spin. Give Celebrian extra love from me for donating her lovely fleece. 😀

I hit more great milestones, I finished my first batch of roving (total of 4 ounces), and I plied my first skein of yarn. This skein was navajo plied. It really came out great and I am proud of this one too. It is soft, squishy, and the color is great. It is going to make something lovely for me, that is for sure! The stats on this are:

  • Name: Celebrian
  • Colorway: Moorit
  • 148 yards
  • 56 ounces

Did I mention that I really loved navajo plying?! It is a lot of fun, and was so easy to do on the spindle. I liked that I only had one strand to worry about, and that I had no leftover bits at the end. I will be doing this technique again, and I may even use it on what I started to spin last night at knitting. I will have more on the new stuff Friday. For now, here are some pretty photos. Clicking on any of them will bring you to larger versions on my Flickr page.

Close up on the spindle, after plying.

Close up on the spindle, after plying.

Spaghetti, anyone?!

Spaghetti, anyone?!

The finished skein.

The finished skein.

Mmmm....Detail

Mmmm....Detail

The Best Laid Plans…

Ah, yes, how grand my plans were for the shetland I have been spinning for a while now. Well, ok…maybe not grand, but I was excited about them anyway. 😉 I originally had 4 ounces to work with. I took that and split it into 2, 2 ounce sections. The first 2 ounces has been spun and resting on its uber-fancy tp holder bobbin for a few weeks now. I wanted to take that 2 ounces and navajo ply it. I was going to spin the second 2 ounces into 2, 1 ounce balls and then ply those together andean style.

I started to navajo ply the first 2 ounces yesterday and was immediately unhappy with how thick it was. I just did not like the way it looked. So, like a true artist, I made a decision on the fly. 😛 I decided to leave this as singles, because it is so thick as is. That led me to another decision, and that is to keep going with the second (and MUCH thinner) half and navajo ply that. I think the second half will look great plied that way, and I seem to be getting a lot out of it. I love the way it is coming out and would love to use it to make something.

Since I decided to leave the first 2 ounces as singles, they went into a nice, hot bath with some lavender wool wash yesterday. I let it soak for a bit, and then hung it to dry. I am amazed at how wonderfully lofty this came out. It is soft, and beautiful, even if it is a bit uneven. This is my very first ever finished skein of yarn. So exciting!

Here are the stats:

  • Name: Celebrian Singles (after the sheep that graciously donated her fleece)
  • Colorway: Moorit
  • WPI: 11
  • 83 yards
  • 46 gram skein
My FIRST Skein of Yarn

My FIRST Skein of Yarn

The Close-Up

The Close-Up

 

I also finished my niddy-noddy, and it came out really nice. A simple oil rubbed finish and it really brought out the color and the grain. All I used was mineral oil. It doesn’t get much easier!

Unfinished

Unfinished - Bone White and Boring!

Finished - A Nice Golden Color

Finished - A Nice Golden Color

Tour de Fleece ~ Day 9

I am still here and still plugging along. The update for today is of the roving I am spinning up on my Brandywine Woodworking spindle. It is superwash merino in the Night Sky colorway from Actual Size Creations. I really like spinning this stuff too. It is like spinning buttah! I also have an updated photo of my beautiful Garden of Alla shawl that I have been working on. It is really coming along.

 

Spinning Progress

Spinning Progress

Close Up

Close Up

Pretty Alla in the Sun :)

Pretty Alla in the Sun

Tour de Fleece Update

So far, I have been really happy with my progress. It is slow going, but I am plugging along. I really do like how this is coming out, but I am so eager to be done! I decided to leave the nepps in because I like the color they add to the chocolate yarn, and I love the rustic quality they lend as well. I am going to finish this as a 2 ply, so I only have .20 ounces left to spin until I finish the first half of this. It will be 2 ounces of yarn when all is said and done.

Here are some progress photos:

 

Here it is as roving, with the spindle I am spinning it on.

Here it is as roving, with the spindle I am spinning it on.

Here we are, almost half way through!

Here we are, almost half way through!

A lovely close up. :)

A lovely close up. 🙂

Tour de Fleece

So, as Tina over at Rows Red said, we knitters can be a strange bunch. For those non-fibery people, the Tour de Fleece is where you spin every day that the Tour de France runs. Each person sets their own goals, and if you accomplish them by the end of the Tour, you get a badge for your blog. It is much more than that though, it is an opportunity to accomplish something, and to challenge yourself. My goal is quite simple, but perfect for me. My goal is to spin for a minimum of 10 minutes per day.

Now, that might not sound like much to most people. However, just a few weekends ago, I injured my shoulder from spinning for too long. It was not intentional. I just got caught up in the moment, and forgot to put the spindle down. Spinning for a period of time every day, will help build the muscle memory I need to spin for longer spans of time. It will also help to improve my spinning skills. It will get me in the habit of spinning on a daily basis too, so that I am doing more than knitting. After all, it is kinda hard to knit when you have no yarn to knit with. While I can always buy from a store, there is something magical about making my own yarn, and then making something beautiful out of that. It feels like such an amazing thing, a true accomplishment that leaves me with something tangible and useful.

In other news, speaking of accomplishments, I knit my 100th row on the shawl I am currently knitting. It is my first lace project and it is coming along beautifully. I will try to get a photos of that up, and my spinning progress soon.

Oh, the pretty….

When I first started to look for a spindle, I knew what I wanted. I wanted a rich rose wood whorl with an ebony shaft. I looked high and low and contacted a few sellers on Etsy, but no one had what I was looking for or could create it. My first drop spindle was made from Italian resin instead. It is beautiful, and I love it, but I still kept looking for that one spindle.

I found a seller on Etsy, who had some beautiful things for spinning, including spindles. I took the plunge and contacted the seller, then waited with breath held to hear back. I didn’t have to wait long. They were willing to create just what I had been looking for all along. The seller is Brandywine Woodworking and I cannot say enough good about them! The communication was quick, responsive, and friendly. The spindle was made quickly but still with an amazing attention to detail. This little one is truly a work of art. However, it spins like a dream and just wants to spin forever and ever. This was my first custom made spindle and it really was a joy to work with them. I will not hesitate to go to them again when I want to add to my spindle collection. 

The package showed up today, and just the box it shipped in made me grab my camera. I knew it would be one of those worthy of unboxing photos. It took quite a bit of restraint to not rip into it, but I am glad I didn’t. I truly enjoyed just opening it and then seeing it for the first time. It is everything I had pictured in my head and more. 

Without further ado — photos!

 

The Box -- Loved the leaves stamped all over.

The Box -- Loved the leaves stamped all over.

Look at that packaging. Nice!!

Look at that packaging. Nice!!

WOW!

WOW! Cocobolo whorl, Ebony shaft.

WOW again! :)

WOW again! 🙂

Nice touches. This heart was what was tied to the bag. Also handmade by them.

Nice touches. This heart was what was tied to the bag. Also handmade by them.

Goodies!

Over the last couple weeks I have ordered things here and there. Of course, they all seem to have come in at about the same time! I have some lovely new roving, and a new and beautiful spindle. I also finished my scarf over the weekend. I blocked it to get a bit more length out of it, and it came out great. I love it!

Here are the photos:

Tada! Here is my finished scarf!

Full Length View of Finished Scarf

Full Length View of Finished Scarf

 

Another View of FO

Another View of FO

 

Below is 4oz of Romney, that I got for $4.60. Purchased at the sheep and wool gathering in Altamont this weekend. 

Roving from Maranatha Acres

Roving from Maranatha Acres

 

Next we have roving from Actual Size Creations. It was difficult to capture the color of both of these. They are rich in color and so lovely in person. They are both superwash merino.

Cloudless Sky

Cloudless Sky

Night Sky

Night Sky

 

Last, but certainly not least, is my beautiful new spindle. I love the one that Tina let me borrow, but I loved drop spinning so much, I wanted to get one of my own. This thing spins like a dream, and is less than an ounce which makes it good for spinning lace. I cannot say enough good about this. It comes from Butterfly Girl Designs and I *highly* recommend her!!

My New Spindle - Italian Resin

My New Spindle - Italian Resin

 

That is all for now. I will have my new goodies with me at knitting tomorrow night so that everyone may see and feel them up. 🙂

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