Lovin’ the Handspun

Blogged under Fiber Fun,spinning by Tammy on Thursday 30 May 2013 at 9:16 am

See, this is why I am learning how to spin! Is this stuff not gorgeous or what? And in person it is so much nicer. It has a little bit of sparkle, just a little, and it is textured but still soft. I would love to claim that I spun this, but no, I bought it at my LYS. A local woman spun it and sells at at the shop. I lost the band, so I can’t tell you what is in it or the yardage, dang it, but no matter. I’m knitting it into a scarf, making my self get back to practicing my knitting, and I’ll have a scarf that will look great with these crocheted fingerless gloves.

And they will all go with this hat I made awhile back too, not matchy – matchy – but enough in the same color family I think I can wear them all together.

Alpaca Roving Score

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Monday 27 May 2013 at 4:09 pm

I have picked up the spindle again this summer, something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile now but just didn’t find the time. For some added incentive, I also acquired some super soft alpaca roving at my LYS. I just got a few ounces in light brown and dark brown with the idea that I will ply them together.

This is so soft and yummy! Though I have spun some wool I already had opened recently and I had told myself that I was not going to open another pack of roving until I finished it, I went ahead and dived into this. I know I could wait and claim that I should save this for when my skills are better, but that is probably so far down the road that this could sit untouched for years!

As a holiday treat for myself, I set up my ipad to watch a few podcasts while I spun. Even though I only have two ounces of each color, this is going to take a while, but I’m in no rush. I’m trying to find that Zen feeling again and just enjoy the process.

Spindle Home in My Thirty-One Tote!

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Friday 22 March 2013 at 3:41 pm

I finally have a home for my spinning supplies!

Since adding spinning with a spindle to my long list of crafting endeavors, my roving, spindle, and various other tools have not really had a “home,” other than a cheesy card board box.

When I saw a friend’s Super Organizing Tote from Thirty-One Gifts, I immediately thought of my spinning supplies. This is a huge bag, measuring 14”H x 19.5”W x 7.5”D, and it has a zipper on the top.

Of course, I do not have nearly the amount of craft supplies for spinning as I do for jewelry or yarn crafting, but I have a fair amount, enough that it was starting to be a problem. And, awesome sauce, everything fits great! Plus there’s room to spare.

I’m pretty impressed with the quality of this bag. It’s made of a thick canvas-like material with a lining that feels like vinyl. There are large pockets all around the outside, three on one side, two on the other, and then mesh pockets on either end.

There are grommets on both sides too. These are in case you want to connect another bag to the inside and use it as an inside pocket.

This is a huge, huge bag, so at least for me, it would be too big to use as a book bag or tote that I’d carry around all day; however, as home storage and yet something I can easily move around the house (because of the straps) – or heck if I ever get brave enough to spin in public – then this is perfect.

Along with this big hunking huge tote, I also got a very cool Cinch Sac. Now until April 1st, Thirty-One Gifts has a deal where if you spend $31, you can select from seven different totes and get one of them half off. Normally, this tote sells for $20 retail, but I got it for $10 because of buying the Super Organizing Tote, which retails for $50.

I’ve heard these called “day sacks” too because they are great for tossing a few items in and heading off for a day trip. It is a pretty good size, but not overly large, 18.5”H x 14.5”W, and like all the other products from Thirty-One Gifts, it comes in different colors and patterns and can also be personalized.

I thought this would make a good craft project bag because I like drawstring bags for storing projects. Plus it has a zipper pocket on the outside where you can store tools or notions.

In fact, this bag is available as one of my giveaways this month. You can find out how you can enter to win by going to this page on my blog.

I am genuinely impressed with the quality of both bags, and have to admit to being a tad excited now about becoming an independent consultant for the company. I am in the middle of running a virtual Thirty-One Gift party right now, and once I get my land legs, I hope to be able to do at least one or two web parties every few months. For anyone interested in either learning more about the company’s products or finding out about hosting a virtual party, email me at tammypowley @ yahoo dot com.

An Almost “Real” Skein of Yarn!

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Tuesday 12 March 2013 at 5:56 am

It is not perfect by any means, but I’m so proud of it, my actual first practically “real” skein of yarn made by me and my little spindle!

I used Wool of the Andes roving from Knit Picks in the Dill Heather and Amethyst Heather colorways. Then after spinning each, I plied them together. I think this is only about 28 yards long, so it’s not a big guy. However, I would not have been able to have much more on my spindle. It just would not fit. I plan to attempt to make more of this same combination so that I can have enough to make something with it.

As you can see, I am in no way consistent as far as thickness, but as long as I make something simple like a scarf or cowl, I’m deeming this yarn “usable.” It is some progress when I compare it to my first skein, and this is skein number 5, so I’m encouraged.

Organzing the Handspun

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Saturday 9 March 2013 at 2:04 pm

It feels strange to say this, but I now have some handspun yarn. Of course, it is pretty wonky looking. I have yet to produce a skein of yarn that I would knit or crochet with, but I’m hopeful. In fact, I’m back at the spindle again, and I should have another skein finished this weekend. I realized, though, that before I made any more attempts at spinning yarn that I should organize my first attempts and document them so that a year from now when I (hopefully) make something amazing, I can pull these out and see how much progress I have made.

I got some zip lock bags and old business cards. I punched holes in the cards, and added scraps of yarn to create tags. Then I wrote the dates, the attempt (1st skein, 2nd, etc.), and the type of fiber used. I’m going to store this in one of my larger project bags, and I will just keep adding to it as a create my personal homespun yarn stash, yeah!

Missing My Spindle & Craftsy Sale Alert

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Wednesday 13 February 2013 at 6:47 pm

My spinning has been on hold going on about two weeks now because I’ve been sick, and I have really missed it. Before this stupid cold came on, I had been spinning in a spare bedroom because, as you can imagine, my cats and dogs would not be that helpful if I tried to do this with them around. I’ve, therefore, kept all my spinning stuff in one room that neither has access to. On top of getting sick, my husband finally insisted that I pull out the extra bed, which goes in that room, because my coughing and snorting has woken him up a few times. The room is not that large, so once the queen size bed is made up in there, I’m barely able to move around.

I am really hoping I find some time this weekend to get back to it, even if I have to find another room, haul my spindle goodies in there, and close the door on my furry helpers. Hopefully, my hands will remember what to do. Two weeks seems like forever!

And, as a side note, Craftys.com – where I originally took an on-line spindling class – has its classes 75% off again. If you have ever thought of giving this a try, for $9.99 (and of course the cost of supplies) I think it is a major deal. If you still aren’t ready to try spinning, I can also suggest the amigurumi classes. In fact, I haven’t gotten through all my Craftys classes yet (the freebie ones included), but from the ones I have completed, I feel comfortable recommending any of them, especially when you can get them for such a great price. The sale ends Sunday 2/17/13. I will probably sign up for a few more. I just have to figure out which ones!

2ply on the Fly, as in 2ply Yarn

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Thursday 24 January 2013 at 4:30 pm

These small skeins are my first attempt at plying two single strands of yarn together, and they turned out okay. In fact, these now look like yarn I could actually use to make something with for a change. I’m still not spinning as consistently as I would like, but I do not have huge chunks of roving that ends up looking like dreadlocks.

Here is a close up of one of the better of the two skeins.

Fuzz is still a factor, but I’m going to assume that fuzz, like consistency, will improve as I improve my skill level.

Finally! Some Colored Roving!

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Wednesday 23 January 2013 at 5:34 pm

I told myself that I would not touch my Knit Picks roving order until after I used up all of the roving in my kit, but I finally caved the other day. I am so, so tired of gray roving! Not that I do not like gray. In fact, I actually bought some with my order, but after doing 2 ounces of gray, 2 ounces of white, and then about 1 ounce of the other gray roving, I just had to touch the colored stuff!

I decided to start with the Dill Heather colorway. Each is 5 ounces, so needless to say, that is way more than the small 2 ounce pieces I’ve been working with. I divided it a few times in to sections, and I have a fat and tangled cop (notice the use of the spinning lingo there) on my spindle. It became extra tangled because I dropped the spindle a few times. Yes, it is called a drop spindle, and I know why now.

I have tried plying already (more on that later), and it turned out okay. So I will probably ply this with another color from my new roving stash. I am still loving the spindle!

Small Skein Spinning Experiment

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Tuesday 15 January 2013 at 4:01 pm

The last roving in my kit is 2 ounces of Jacob grey wool top. Before I let myself dive into my Knit Picks fiber (more on that later), I decided as a way to practice more and slow things down some that I would make smaller skeins and review them afterwards to see how I am doing. I split the roving into 4 strips. I thought I’d make a skein for each, but this first one broke on me, so I ended up with two.

I have learned that one ply yarn will be more spun than double or triple ply yarn, so that may have been some of the issues on my previous spinning attempts. However, I think these small skeins turned out pretty well as far as not being over-spun. I slowed myself down, spinning a little, drafting a little, spinning a little, drafting, etc. One issue I did have with this, and I’m not sure if it is the fiber or me, but it broke on me a lot. I had to really be careful not to draft too much or it would just break before I could even spin it.

Now my next problem I plan to deal with is the fuzz factor. The thickness is a little more consistent, and the twist looks much better, but this stuff is fuzz-o-mania. These close-up photos might show what I mean.

I’ve been told that the fuzz will not be that noticeable once I knit or crochet with it, but I would still like to tone down the fuzz. Still, things are looking promising.

Spindle Skein Reveal

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Thursday 10 January 2013 at 2:41 pm

Ummm…yeah…believe it or not, this is a skein of yarn, my first. The fiber was 2 ounces of medium Coopworth, and as you can see I spun the bajebeez out of it! The colored bits of yarn hold the skein together. It’s part of the process before you set it and let it dry. It is single ply because, seriously, why ply this chunk of stuff?

Now here is my second attempt, also a single ply. This is from 2 ounces of Blue Faced Leicester Silver. While this is also over-spun, I can see that my thicknesses are a little bit more consistent. And, I mean a little.

As I was taking the yarn off the bobbin and putting it on a contraption called a Niddy Noddy (a contraption that allows you to form the yarn into a skein without getting all tangled up), it broke, so this is the last bit of the spun fiber from above. Since this was at the end of my bobbin (aka TP roll), it was the very last few bits that I spun, and again, I see improvement. It’s not a breakthrough amount of improvement, but…

My first few ounces look pretty rough. I know that I’m rushing things. I over spun them, and they truly look awful. This is not an immediate gratification craft, and I’m learning patience and persistence. Hopefully, it will pay off. I’m not going to think about giving up until I spin some more. I have ordered some roving, and I’m giving myself a one pound challenge. If I can’t get it together and make something that is at least semi-usable after practicing with a pound of fiber, then this may not be for me.

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