Feed The Stash

My fiber stash continues to grow. Here are some recent additions.

From A Verb for Keeping Warm’s Pro-Verbial Club, April 2016, I received 56g of Merino wool (purple) and 56g of silver alpaca (gray), meant to be spun separately, then plied together. This is my last installment of this club, and I don’t plan to sign up for the next installment. The fiber is gorgeous, but with the exception of this final installment, I really don’t know quite what to do with it.

This was something of an impulse buy when I was ordering some things from WEBS. It’s a limited edition colorway from Frabjous Fibers that was offered at an irresistible price, and it’s BFL and silk. And it has a baseball theme. And it’s gorgeous.

This is the April installment of the into the whirled Classic Club. The fiber is Cheviot ♡♡♡ and the colorway is Cattywampus. I think the colorway should be called Go Bubblers! because the school colors of the high school where I used to live, Boiling Springs Pennsylvania, are purple and gold, and the school nickname is the Bubblers, in honor of “The Bubble,” the place where a huge underground spring bubbles up to the surface and feeds the lake that you see in the picture at the top of my blog.

This fiber is Manx Laoghton wool, which is similar to Shetland wool, and just as wonderful to spin. It was dyed in the colorway Big Thaw by Amy King, the brilliant dyer behind Spunky Eclectic. This is the April 2016 installment of the Spunky Club. I’m really happy I chose the double shot for the Spunky Club.

I subscribed to the Spring fiber club offered by the amazing Felica Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns. Felicia is know for gorgeous saturated colors, and she has never failed to thrill me. This is the first of three installments. More BFL/Silk. Yum!

I made a big mistake. I was browsing on Etsy, and I just couldn’t resist this braid of Cheviot ♡♡♡ from The First Draft. I love the other braids from The First Draft that I have spun, and as a bonus, each braid comes with a small card on which to record all the technical stuff when you spin the fiber and a lovely hand-crafted stitch marker. This colorway is called For Alice, and the braid is 4 ounces.

Here’s another braid from The First Draft. I think Lindey is a brilliant dyer. Not only are her colors gorgeous and perfect for spinning self-striping yarn, a lovely fractal, or a marled yarn, the fiber is handled gently during the dyeing process. I’ve yet to get any that is compacted or felted. This colorway, which is called Indiana, reminds me of summer–blue skies and sunflowers. The fiber is Rambouillet, which I have never spun before but want to try. I couldn’t resist this happy colorway.

Yes, this is another braid from Lindey at The First Draft. This one is a gradient called Spring Shoots. The picture doesn’t do it justice. I plan to split the braid to make four skeins of a chain-plied gradient yarn for fingerless mitts and maybe a matching hat. If I don’t have enough yarn for a hat, I should be able to make a second pair of mitts.

I probably shouldn’t mention that I have also purchased yarn recently. Oh, my!

And So It Grows

Yes, my spinning fiber stash just keeps getting bigger, in spite of my efforts to keep it under control by spinning, spinning, and spinning. I’m not ready to give up any of my fiber clubs quite yet, so I will just have to find room for all the fiber. Of course, every time I complete a spinning project, my fiber stash gets a little smaller, but my yarn stash gets bigger. And so it goes grows.

New fiber from February and March:

Into The Whirled 24 1/2th Century Falkland top

Into The Whirled Madame Vestra BFL

Spunky Eclectic Aspens Farmer’s Sheepwool (BFL)

Spunky Eclectic Black Pillar Polwarth/Mohair/Silk

Current spinning projects:

I’ve started spinning one bump of this lovely superwash Merino from Into The Whirled in the colorway Godric’s Hollow.

I split the bump in half vertically and I am spinning each half end to end onto one bobbin. I plan to chain ply the singles to make a self-striping yarn. I split the bump so that the color repeats (stripes) would be small.

These two braids are the December 2015 installment of the Sweet Georgia Yarns Fibre Club. The colorway is called Wistmas.

Wistmas is on a base of BFL, and I decided to do a fractal spin. This bobbin contains the singles spun from the braid that I split into 12 strips vertically. I spun the other braid end to end without splitting.

The plying is almost done. Because I spun two bumps, approximately 200 grams, of fiber, I filled one bobbin and had to start on a second bobbin. This is a straight-up 2-ply yarn, and the second bobbin is about 2/3s done. I love the sheen of BFL.

 

Sweet Georgia Starry Night, Also Know As Installment Three

I know you have all been waiting with bated breath for Installment Three of my Sweet Georgia Fibre Club. And who can blame you? Installments One and Two were so incredibly fabulous, people have been lining up to see Installment Three like folks line up for the new iPhone. I exaggerate, but still. The fiber and resulting yarn are both lovely. You’ll see.

I started with this beautiful pencil roving that is 63% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Manufactured Fibers – Nylon, and 2% Manufactured Fibers – Silver. Yes, you read that correctly. Silver. This yarn is pure bling.

The colorway of this fiber is called Starry Night, and Felicia Lo (Sweet Georgia herself) dyed it to be spun from end to end, then chain plied to create the effect of a night-time sky with clouds and stars.

Yards and yards of pencil roving in gorgeous shades of blue with white and silver, too.

Yards and yards of pencil roving in gorgeous shades of blue with white and silver, too.

I spun and then chain plied this yarn on my Lendrum folding wheel.

DSC04898_2

It took three bobbins to hold all the plied yarn. Can you see the sparkle of the silver?

When I wound the yarn off onto the niddy noddy, I started with the last bobbin plied, then the second, then the first. This kept the colorway in the correct order.

I ended up with about 640 yards (228g) of DK weight yarn. I think it will be beautiful knitted up into something.

The finished skein

The finished skein

Sweet Georgia Bougainvillea, Also Known As Installment Two

In my previous blog entry I showed you the yarn I spun from the first of three installments of the Sweet Georgia Fibre Club I purchased late last year. Here are pictures of the second  installment, and I’ll let you decide for yourselves whether the yarn turned out as lovely as the yarn from the first installment.

 

Installment 2, Bougainvillea, BFL

Installment 2, Bougainvillea, BFL

Right: Singles spun in double drive on the Ladybug Left: Singles chain-plied on the Lendrum (in Scotch tension)

Right: Singles spun in double drive on the Ladybug
Left: Singles chain-plied on the Lendrum (in Scotch tension)

Both skeins just off the niddy noddy

Both skeins just off the niddy noddy

The finished skeins. Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn't get a single picture that showed the color accurately.

The finished skeins. Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn’t get a single picture that showed the color accurately.

The final tally is about 500 yards/106g of DK weight yarn. It’s BFL (Bluefaced Leicester), so it’s really, really soft and squishy. Yum!

Fall In The Springtime

Apropos to nothing, I drive my husband, who is a retired editor, just a little bit crazy with the capitalization I use in the titles for my blog posts. I capitalize the first letter every single word, even the articles and prepositions. I know they are not supposed to be capitalized, but I like the way the titles look when the first letter of every word is capitalized, so I do it even though it breaks the rules. It’s my blog, and I can do what I want. 🙂

Now on to the serious business of knitting and spinning. It seems like it has been ages since I blogged about knitting. The only knitting I have OTN is a very boring “vanilla” sock in gray that I cannot even finish until I find the rest of the yarn. I know it’s somewhere in my house, but I’ll be damned if I can remember where I put it. I’ve looked in all the likely spots, but no joy. I also seem to have misplaced my knitting mojo. If you happen to see it, please tell it to phone home. I miss it.

On the other hand, there is no question as to the location of my spinning mojo. It’s right here where it belongs. And since there is no knitting to talk about, let’s get started on the spinning.

Last fall I bought a 3-installment, double-shot fiber club from Sweet Georgia Yarns. The owner, Felicia Lo, is an absolutely brilliant dyer who uses very saturated colors that produce fiber/yarn that seems to glow with its own internal light.

The first installment of my club, which for some reason I spun last, is a 50/50 blend of Merino wool and silk that spun up with a beautiful sheen. The colorway is called Fall Bouquet.

The silk content and the rich colors make this fiber practically glow.

I decided to spin each braid end to end, then ply the two singles together for a subtle barber-pole effect.

I packed a lot of yarn onto the first bobbin.

When plying this yarn, I did a little experimentation. I love spinning in double drive. In double drive, the drive band is doubled in a figure 8 and one loop goes over the flyer pulley while the other loop goes over the bobbin pulley. When you treadle, the drive wheel turns both the bobbin and the flyer, but at slightly different speeds. This results in a gentle but steady take-up onto the bobbin. This works really well for me when spinning, but I haven’t yet gotten a feel for plying in double drive. I need a stronger take-up, especially when I chain-ply my singles. For this reason, I normally ply in Scotch tension, which is also called flyer lead.

In Scotch tension, the drive band is just one loop that goes around the drive wheel and the flyer pulley, and there is a separate brake band goes on the bobbin. When you have tension on the yarn, the bobbin and flyer spin at the same rate, and this puts twist into the fiber. When you let up on the tension, the flyer spins faster than the bobbin because you are slowing the bobbin with the brake band. The result is that the flyer wraps the yarn around the bobbin.

As much as I love my Ashford Traveller, I’m not very fond of its Scotch tension set up. I really need to play around with it and try to find a set-up that works better for me. I had been doing my plying on the Lendrum, which is a single-drive wheel (Scotch tension only), or on my Ladybug, which is a multi-drive wheel that works really great in Scotch tension. But I really wanted to ply these singles on my Ashford because of the larger bobbins, so I tried something new. I plied this yarn using Irish tension.

Irish tension, which is also called bobbin lead, gives the spinner a very strong take-up, that is, the yarn is pulled onto the bobbin pretty hard. In Irish tension, the drive band goes over the drive wheel and the bobbin, so that when you treadle, the drive wheel turns the bobbin directly. The brake band goes over the flyer pulley. When you hold the yarn under tension, the bobbin and flyer turn together at the same rate, but when you let up on the tension, the flyer slows or even stops, and the yarn winds onto the bobbin.  You usually don’t need much, if any, tension on the brake band when using Irish tension. Just the friction of the band material itself often provides all the braking you need.

I found the Irish tension set-up on my Travvy was much more to my liking than the Scotch tension, so for the time being, until the spirit moves me to fiddle around with the Scotch tension set-up, I will be using Irish tension on my Travvy for plying.

But for spinning, double drive is still my spinning heaven, and my Traveller is a sweet dream in double drive.  I used the sliding hook flyer, which has larger bobbins than the Ashford standard flyer. Four ounces of fiber fit on a SHF bobbin with room to spare, so I spun each braid onto its own bobbin.

But when I plied the singles, I couldn’t fit all eight ounces of 2-ply onto a single bobbin, so when I wound the yarn off the bobbins onto my niddy noddy, I actually spit-spliced the yarn to join it and ended up with a single skein. A big single skein. 220 grams, 837 yards of a heavy fingering to sport weight yarn.

The yarn is soft and shiny because–Merino, silk!

If you are wondering whether the other two installments of my Sweet Georgia Fibre Club turned out as well as this one, you won’t have to wait long for the answer.