Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Olympic spinning challenge: first and last place

Maybe not really first place, but first completed skein goes to the blue merino/angora blend. There is 230 yards of a 2 ply yarn, and it is lovely enough at this point to hold first place in my eyes.

Last place? A total failed attempt to save a dyed roving that I had no business saving. The fibers were corriedale (the off white color in the blend) and cotswold, the dyed part of the blend. The corriedale fiber was moderately decent, it had a few tangled areas and short cuts. It tended to clump and not draft well, probably due to maybe not being completely carded. The cotswold turned cottony after dyeing, and was filled with short cuts (slubs) that no amount of picking out could remove. Add up all of these factors and the blend was almost impossible to spin. I loved the dye scheme though and will consult by dye notebook again to use it. It just was not worth fussing though 8 oz of this terrible roving to try and spin any kind of yarn. I will not spin lousy roving to try and come up with a 'designer yarn'. So the 20 yards of 2 ply lumpy awfulness will stick around my spinning basket as a reminder that it really is not worth working with lousy roving. The rest of the unspun went in the trash. Oh I know I could have used it for stuffing, or for felting fiber, or even mulching my roses. I prefer to have it gone for good.

Now to find something satisfying to spin. Will it be the silky speed of the icy track, the colorful figure skating of a wonderfully dyed roving or the mundane cross country slogging of spinning a pound of natural colored border leicester?


Saturday, February 04, 2006

My personal olympic challenge

I have been reading many comments about the knitting olympics, with knitters gearing up to start and finish a major project during the olympics. I just could not get into the spirit of that challenge, and have come up with my own personal goal, a spinning olympics.

I have been so immersed in knitting projects over the last year, and my spinning wheel has lanquished in the corner. I realized I was going to have to make it a bigger part of my life, if I ever intend to spin the mountain of fiber I have in my spare room.

So it's a spinning olympic challenge for me. I plan to only spin while watching any olympics on TV (no knitting) and plan to keep track of how much I yarn I produce during the olympics. I have so much roving ready, I should not even have to spend any of the time in fiber prep. I am truly curious how much yarn I will spin given this space of time.

I'll be sure to post the end totals, sometime in March.


The finished shawl

It's finished! I haven't said that about any large skill knitting project for a long time.

I have heard that blocking will do wonders to a lace shawl, and saw it for the first time with this shawl. It looked nice unblocked, but looks amazing after blocking.

I was concerned about the alpaca yarn not holding the blocking, but after I took the pins out and have worn it, and shown it off, I see no change in the size, so I think this yarn is going to hold the blocked shape.

Here's some of the details on it:

Yarn: Baby silk (alpaca/silk blend) color is no on the label, it is a raspberry color. Yarn was purchased from Elann.

Size after blocking: 52" along top and 28" along the midpoint line.

Pattern: Mystery shawl 2 from the Yahoogroup. Pattern is now available from: www.bopeepswoolshop.com

Needles: Size 3

The next shawl to be done as a knit along will start Feb 16th. This one will be a square knitted from the center out. There are details on the above web site, a yahoogroup formed for it, and the swatch information available. You have to pay $3 though to join and get the pattern sections. I am going to be knitting this, but will be focusing on my Aran knit along (FLAK) first.