Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Handspun Yarn

I have been finally getting some yarn spun up one my spinning wheel. I have has my wheel since July but I just never seem to set aside time to get any spinning done but this last week I finally got some new yarn spun up.

I thought today's post I would show you some past and present yarns that I have spun. Any before you ask, I have no idea what I am going to make with them. That is not the point. Remember for me it is about the process. I know this seems odd to lots of people. But don't judge me, this is what makes me happy and as it my birthday today I get to do as I please.

I don't always remember to take before an after pictures but I am getting better.  I took these rolags and spun them into their own singles.

This is a good shot on how the rolag looks when spun.

Here both color ways are on their own bobbins. Hard to photograph.

Now I will say that the colors are washes out but the skein in the middle is the one with both colors spun together. The skein on top is just the white/blue/green colorway and the skein on the bottom is the grey/green one. Looks not much better in person even though it looks a little washed out in this picture. The yarn just looks dull and I am not sure why other than I think the grey wool I used was just dull and lacked any luster to begin with. I had high hopes for this one.

This next one I took a roving that was hand painted and split it up between all the colors as best as I could.

Then I spun each color in long color runs.

And here is what I got.

These skeins are interesting. The one on the right is mostly purple. I used it and mixed it with another colorway to get the skein on the left. Both are again better looking in person.  I hope I get better at taking pictures as my blog moves along.

This is a beautiful skein I spun up with burgundy and an olive green.

I am moving back in time now. This is the second yarn I made. Its think and thin and not very big but oh so pretty.

Last but not least, this is my first ever attempt at spinning and it is not good.  I will hold onto this yarn and never use it as I want to have something to remember where I started. In July when I have had my wheel for a year I can look back and see how much progress I have made. In 5 years, 10 years I can do the same and remember that I didn't give up even when I didn't get it right the first time. That is a lesson I need to remind myself over and over.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chinese Auction Donation

Most, if not all of you know that I have been volunteering with the local high school band for many years. Yesterday I received a text from the current band booster president asking me if I could put something together for a Chinese Auction the band is having on April 15th.  I took a minute to think about it and then said yes. I knew just what I would do.

Since this is the year of dishclothes I decided to put together a basket filled with yarn and patterns and some needles to make your own dish clothes! (Hint hint RoxieAnn this is the basket for you!)

First I started off with a basket that will be great looking to hold knitting, it has a lid for those people who have cats.

Then I added some Easter grass that looks maybe like soapy water? Just go with it.

Next I added an instruction booklet on how to knit dishcloths that have a quilting theme. See what I did there...married a few of my talents.

Add in the needles and the yarn. All that is missing are a couple finished dishcloths so that whomever gets this basket has a few samples to study. (Hint Hint RoxieAnn)

Look at all these beautiful patterns.

The instructions are really well written.

Now I just need to knit up a couple and my basket will be done to donate.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


My Tadpole socks are coming along...slowly. I have been doing so much with my spinning and fiber that these have lagged behind.

I have finished the leg portion and heel flap and I am now working on the gusset.

You can see the heel turn here and how you make the turn to start on the instep.

I am not happy with the way the yarn is "pooling". This is when the same colors pool together. I think it would be prettier if the colors were more spread out but I am to far along to start over with another pattern.

You can really see it here on the back of the sock. Its a little disappointing but what are you gonna do? From experience I will tell you that the second sock will not do this. It never happens that the socks will match that well.

Friday, March 28, 2014

From Blending to Yarn

I started this yarn with these rolags that I made on my blending board. Please know that as I am blending I really have no idea what the end product will be I am just mixing colors that I think go together. This first set of rolags are mostly purple with blue and a splash of green.

(From Wiki: rolag (Scottish Gaelicroileag) is a roll of fibre generally used to spin woollen yarn. A rolag is created by first carding the fibre, using handcards, [I used my blending board] and then by gently rolling the fibre off the cards. If properly prepared, a rolag will be uniform in width, distributing the fibres evenly. The word derives from the Scottish Gaelic word for a small roll.  Just thought you would want to know.)

This 2nd rolag has browns and olive greens with some purple and blue.

I spun each colorway on separate bobbins. You can really see the difference in the colorways once they were spun up, these are called singles. One bobbin does have more on it than the other one and that is because I didn't weight our my fiber as I was blending so I ended up with more of one than the other.  This happens no big deal.

 Then I plied the two singles together to get a 2 ply yarn.  So pretty!

No idea what I will make with this yarn but I like it and I am happy with the results.

Up next...I again am taking 2 colorways and making one yarn. This time it is a grey/green and a white/blue.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blending Board part 2

Just what you all wanted was another look at my blending board.

Lets start with the fiber. I have some wool roving that is multi dyed. There is also some color dyed wool, angelina, silk, alpaca, and some other bits and pieces.

I start by laying down some fiber.

Burnishing the fiber into the board.

 Continue on until the board is full.  Then I can start making my rolags.

First one off always looks a little funky.

Continue drafting and pulling off rolags.

Now I filled the blending board again to show you how a take the fiber off in what is called roving.

This little disk is called a diz. The 3 holes are for pulling fiber through.

I chose the largest hole but I should have gone with the middle size. Anyway I draft and pull fiber through the diz working back and forth across the blending board.

This results in the fiber being in one long strand called roving and its ready to spin. You can see the rolags next to the roving. Both are done in the same colorway.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blending Board

This is a new tool in my tool box!

Not as excited as me? Well let me show you what it can do. I gather up a bunch of fiber and I start laying it on the board. The blending board has hundred of little needles that grab on to the fiber.

I just add color where ever I want.

Layer upon layer.

When the board starts filling up I use a stiff brush to burnish into the needles so I can add more. Why am I doing this...just wait, you will see.

Add some more fiber.

When the board is full I then pull the fiber off the board with a couple dowel rods or in my case a couple of wood needles.

I draft and pull and roll the fiber into tubes that are called rolags or rologs.

Draft and pull over an over again until I get all the fiber off the board.

Here the are all ready to spin.

Rolags or rologs are my favorite way to prepare my fiber for spinning. Why go to all this trouble? Because I get to be the designer and decide how my finished yarn will look.  Its not store bought and no one else will have a yarn like mine, good or bad. That to me is super exciting!!

I am a fiber artist!