Spinzilla In Detail

Here’s the long version of my first two days of Spinzilla 2015. I hope to spin and ply at least a mile of yarn, and I’m off to a pretty good start.

My first project, which is lacking only the final finishing of the yarn, yielded 196 yards of 2-ply yarn, which is the equivalent of 588 yards of spinning and plying. (The singles would be twice the length of the plied yarn, so 196 + 2(196) = 588.) I started with a braid of Polypay roving from Yarn Hollow in a colorway called Third eye.

Polypay is a fiber I had never spun before. It’s a toothy wool that’s very springy, and I rather like it.

This fiber is a carded prep, so I spun it in a semi-woolen manner. I wanted to do long draw, but I couldn’t get the fiber to cooperate, probably because I don’t have a lot of experience doing long draw. I ended up doing a semi-long draw, which is kind of like short draw, only I let twist get into the drafting zone.

I was hoping for a fuzzy, thick and thin singles that would ply into a similarly fuzzy, thick and thin 2-ply, and that’s what I ended up with. I love it when that happens.

I wanted to get more of a woolen yarn instead of my usual worsted, and I was hoping for a thick and thin. I think I succeeded.

I love how the colors barber-poled in some parts and blended in other.

And these three braids of fiber are in various stages of spinning and plying.

The Savoy Truffle is very lovely. The colors are soft, and there are some white spots throughout the braid that soften the colors even more and give a slightly heathered look to the singles. I decided to do this as a fractal 2-ply. The spinning is done and the singles have rested and are now ready to be plied.

The bobbin on the right is the the half of the fiber I spun end to end. The one on the left is the one that was spun after splitting the second half of the yarn multiple times.

Squittles is a gorgeous colorway with bright, vibrant colors that seem to glow with their one light. The shimmer is due to the 15% tussah silk. Silk always adds a lovely sheen to any wool. I love the colors so much that I decided I had to spin this yarn end to end and chain ply it to preserve the colors.

I love the sheen in this fiber. If you look in the upper right of the picture, you can see the Polypay Third Eye singles on the bobbins before they were plied.

It will make a beautiful self-striping yarn.

The colors remain vibrant and the yarn retains its sheen even after chain plying.

Devil’s Daughter also have really vibrant colors that I wanted to preserve. So I split the braid in half vertically and plan to chain ply it make two 2-oz skeins of self-striping yarn for fingerless mitts. I have one half already spun.

Aren’t those colors totally kick-ass?

Now it’s time for me to get back to spinning.


Spinzilla 2015 Days 1 & 2

I’ve gotten a lot of spinning and plying done the first two days of Spinzilla. Here’s the condensed version.

I’ll try to post details tomorrow, if I can tear myself away from my spinning and plying long enough. :-)

I’m Ready!

Spinzilla starts in less than 90 minutes here in the Eastern Time Zone of the US. I’m ready.

Three spinning wheels and five braids of fiber. How much can I spin in one week?

Three spinning wheels and five braids of fiber. How much can I spin in one week?

Week Fifteen And Still Counting

I thought you might like to see the progress made this week, the 15th of our 3-4-week kitchen remodel.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 7.40.39 PM

Yep, for the 3rd week in a row, nothing has been done. We haven’t seen hide nor hair of our contractor, although someone did come last week to measure for the countertops. Our contractor told us that our job isn’t as important as the work he is doing for a builder he regularly works for, although he didn’t word it exactly that way. What he said is that he is finishing up some jobs for a builder who keeps him working during the winter. Same difference.

I don’t expect we’ll see him until the countertops have been installed, and maybe not even then. I had hoped the kitchen would be finished by Halloween, but that doesn’t seem likely, so now I’m hoping for Thanksgiving. Yes, it looks like our simple kitchen remodel is going to take longer than it took to build our previous house. :-(


And The Weeks Roll On

We have come to the end of the thirteenth week of our kitchen remodel, which was the least productive week yet. Absolutely nothing was done. Zero, zip, zilch, nihil, nada, nuthin’! Not one blessed thing.

But there is some good news. Someone will be coming next week to measure for the counter tops. Never mind that this was supposed to be done as soon as the base cabinets were installed. Never mind that a certain contractor who shall remain nameless didn’t bother to call to schedule the measurement until after we had asked him more than once when it was going to be done. Never mind that it’s going to take 7 to 10 days (or possibly longer) for the counter tops to be fabricated after the templates are done. Never mind that a renovation that was supposed to take four weeks is now heading for its 14th week, and the only unforeseen problem we ran into was a rusty elbow connected to the stack that was replaced in one day.

No, I’m not a happy camper. The best case scenario is that it will take another three weeks before it’s finished, and the reality is that it would take a near miracle for that to happen. At the rate we are going, it will be at least another 6 weeks. I’m hoping it will be done by Halloween. In the time it is taking to get this kitchen done, we could have had an entire house built.  That’s some crazy shit.


Football season has started, which for me means lots of knitting because I watch lots of football. And I cannot sit in front of the TV for long without either knitting or spinning.

First things first, I finished the Gray Vanilla Socks I was knitting for my DH.

I know, the picture is crappy. What can I say? I’m a lousy photographer, and I’m too lazy to try again. I’d probably just end up with more lousy pictures.

I had 3 50-gram balls of Socka, but I managed to knit these socks with only one ball per sock and even had a few yards left over. Usually 100 grams of sock yarn isn’t quite enough to knit a pair of socks for the DH. He likes the cuff to be a little on the long side–about two inches longer than what I knit for myself–and the foot is about an inch longer than mine, and I usually cast on 8 more stitches than I do for my own socks. So whereas 100 grams of sock yarn is plenty for knitting a pair of socks for myself (and for the other sock-worthy women in my life), it’s usually not sufficient for a pair of socks for my DH.

These socks are just plain, old 2 x 2 rib with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel and a round toe, utilitarian rather than decorative, so I’ll have to dig around in my sock yarn stash and find something a little more splashy for the next pair I knit for him. He rather likes socks with a bit of flair.

Socks are just the beginning of my knitapalooza. For me, football season and hockey season are knitting season. September 5th was the first Saturday of the college football season, and although it wasn’t as productive as it normally would have been because we had a wedding to attend and didn’t get back home until mid-afternoon, I did get a good start on a pair of fingerless mitts knitted with Cascade 220. I used the Center Ice Mitts pattern, a free download on Ravelry, but with Steelers colors. I really like this particular pattern. It’s well written and includes options for using either two or three colors, so it can be adapted to just about any team in just about any sport. I prefer Brown Sheep Nature Spun to Cascade 220 for knitting hats and mitts, but I had Cascade 220 in white and yellow in my stash already, and only had to buy one skein of  black.

Unfortunately, after knitting about half of the first mitt, I tried it on and decided it was a little too tight. I ripped it out and started over with a needle one size larger. Don’t tell me that I should have swatched first; in the time it would take to knit a swatch, I can knit half a fingerless mitt, so the mitt is my swatch. Anyway, during football weekend #1, I finished the first mitt sans thumb and got a good start on the second mitt.

Steelers on Ice Mitts without thumbs

The second Saturday of college football was shaping up to be a very productive knitting day, but we ended up having the DS and DIL here to watch football, and the DIL and I decided to walk up to the boulevard to get tacos, and then we got caught in the rain and thought we’d wait it out in the library. But after about 10 minutes in the library, we realized the rain wasn’t going to let up any time soon, so we walked back in the rain, the whole time kicking ourselves for not bringing an umbrella. But I still got Steelers mitt #2 completely done, and got the thumb knitted on mitt #1.

Steelers on Ice with thumbs. This pattern is quick and easy. The most difficult and time-consuming part is weaving in all the ends.

These mitts should be nice and warm.

But that wasn’t the end of my Saturday football knitting. I also got a skein of my handspun wound into a cake…

A lovely cake of handspun yarn made from Bee Mice Elf “Rustle” BFL

and I cast on for another pair of fingerless mitts.

Mitt #1 early on

I love the pretty autumnal colors of the yarn, so I am calling them Autumn Leaves Mitts. I got the first mitt sans thumb finished on Sunday while watching NFL games, and even got a good start on the second mitt.

Mitt #1 just needs a thumb, and mitt #2 is off to a good start.

I’m trying to get the mitts as close to matching as I can. With handspun yarn, the color repeats are not as precise as they would be with mill spun, commercially dyed yarn, or even with mill spun, hand dyed yarn. I don’t expect total matchy-matchy identical twins, but I would like to end up with obvious siblings.

The pattern I’m using for the Autumn Leaves Mitts is Braided Mitts by Tera Johnson, and it’s a free Ravelry download. The pattern as written makes a mitt that is too small for my hand (and I have fairly small hands), so I had to make a couple of modifications to the pattern. I knitted a 2 x 2 wrist cuff for 24 rounds instead of 12, and I did the thumb gusset repeats at a rate of every 4th round instead of every 3rd round because otherwise, the thumb gusset would be too short. I could have just knitted a bunch of plain rounds after completing the increases before putting the thumb stitches on waste yarn, but I like the look of the diagonal lines the increases create, so I changed the rate of the increases.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is that the designer took great care to place the beautiful braided cable so that it is in the center of the back of the hand when the mitts are worn. All to often, a cable will be placed so that it is in the middle of the mitt when the mitt is not being worn, but when you put the mitt on your, the cable will be off center.

I’ll work the thumbs when I have both mitts finished. I want to try to use a piece of yarn for the thumbs that will match the hand. I will probably have enough yarn left from this skein to make another pair of mitts. And I have a whole other skein, so I could knit a hat to go with the mitts. Or I might use the leftover from skein #1 along with skein #2 and knit a scarf using Yarn Harlot’s pattern for a scarf knit from handspun. This yarn is BFL, and it is incredibly soft and would feel wonderful around my neck.

I’m happy to be knitting again, and it will only get better because in just a few short weeks, hockey season starts. And hockey means more knitting!

As The Twelfth Week Comes To An End

I sound like a broken record. Not a whole lot was done this past week, although the painter is supposed to come today to finish painting the trim and maybe do the second coat on the walls. I’m not sure about the latter.  And no one is coming to measure for the counter tops until next week. But enough was done to count as progress.

The roller drawers are now installed in the pantry unit, but they need some serious tweaking.

The range hood is installed, but it isn’t hooked up to the vent pipe yet.

And the dishwasher is in place, but not hooked up to the plumbing.

The trim has been painted, window sills have been primed, and the place is starting to look like a kitchen. That’s something, and something is better than nothing as we approach week 13.

I love the look of the white appliances and white trim with the paint and cabinets.

I love the look of the white appliances and white trim with the paint and cabinets.


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