Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Airport Spindling.

We had a long wait for our flight out of Bozeman, MT. So, I opted to use the drop spindle instead of knitting in the restaurant & terminal. It was nice because I didn't need to pay that much attention to what I was doing, and could pack it up quickly without the need to finish a row.

The waitress at the airport restaurant exclaimed she hadn't seen a drop spindle in nearly 25 years, and "did people still do that?!?" I most assuredly told her they did; I think she might be getting one relatively soon because she kept coming by and just pelting me with questions.

In the terminal, spindling got me strange looks from one of the airport TSA officers (male) who was walking with his partner (female). He just kept staring and I did my best to not stare back. As they walked by, I could hear the female officer explaining that it was to make yarn and how it worked. LOL.

The airplane to Seattle was super tiny (being a prop plane) and there was hardly room for DH to sit comfortably, so I put away the drop spindle and opted to just work on the slouchy cardigan. I got a bit more spindling in while at the Seattle airport, waiting for our connection. However, on the plane home, I put away the spindle again, because I was in the middle seat between DH and another gent.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yellowstone Sky Socks

Lots of traffic conjestion in Yellowstone had me finishing my lovely pair of socks while *in* Yellowstone. I'm rather pleased. A lot of the knitting was done at night before bed while waiting for photographs to download onto the hard-drives.

I even got to work on a few rows while sitting on a river bank waiting for the light to turn so I could take a photograph. There's something rather "zen" about sitting in nature and knitting. LOL

Luckily, it was a small project that fit into my camera bag very well.

Therefore, I'm dubbing these my "Yellowstone Sky Socks" (Photos to come later...)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bison Fiber!

In Lamar Valley, where a lot of buffalo roam, we wandered some of the fields before Lamar River, taking care to stay away from the bison on the *other* side of the river.

We were avoiding bison patties, when I saw them....fur. Specifically bison fiber. I nearly jumped up and down in excitement. DH laughed at me. I picked up a bit of down -- very soft; as well as darker fur (probably the hump fur) which was very very coarse and very very dry.

There were a lot, but most were all matted. But I managed to get some that looked relatively clean and mat-free. I didn't get enough to spin a lot, but maybe if I work it in with other fiber?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Trip Knitting & Spinning

We're off to Yellowstone for the week. I've packed two knitting projects & a spindle to go with me...just in case I get bored.

Project A: A new pair of socks using Colinette Jitterbug. I've just recently cast on both socks at the same time, and have worked my way through the toes.

Project B: the Slouchy Cardigan. I'm currently working on the front right piece of the cardigan

Project C: The last 2 oz of the night sky project I'm currently *trying* to slog my way through. It's on the Kundert Spindle.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Blergh. I had to frog way back on the cardigan front I had been working on for the past week, because, I , like a dumbass, did not check the measurements between decreases; I just blissfully kept knitting stockinette. So, now, it was at least 2 inches larger than the back piece.


What I should have done is double check the measurements given in the pattern, then made sure I had the right length before moving onto each section of decreases. As it was, each section was about one inch too long.

I had to frog nearly 1/2 of my work.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spinning at the Ren Faire

We spent most of the day at Ardenwood Ren Faire, where I basically got to spin all day yesterday whilst walking around (with the drop spindle, of course) and be ‘period’. LOL.

I got stopped plenty of times mostly by little kids, thinking I was one of the performers. I gave them quick introductions to the art.

And I got to hang out with a few of the Ren faire guilds who had spinning stuff (yarns, spinning wheels, carders, fleece, etc) out in front. They’d see me walking around and wave me over then we’d geek out on fiber.

All in all, a lovely day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bits & Pieces

On the train, I finished the back piece of my very first cardigan. Then proceeded to cast on one of the front pieces. As it's an asymmetrical front, I have to do it piecemeal versus steeking it.

I'm sorely missing having a pair of socks on the needles, and will probably cast on a pair tonite at one point.

This past weekend, I dye'd up some superwash roving that I had. And discovered that the crock pot is *just* a wee bit small for 2 oz of largish dth wroving. The coloration wasn't as consistent as I wanted (being white splotches in places), but still the final product looked kinda neat, and should spin up nicely.

What's nice about crock pot/kettle dye'ing is that once the dye is mixed in and the roving added, you pretty much leave it alone until the dye is completely absorbed, which can take several hours.

It's like a stew you have to only check on every now and then to make sure it's going well.

The mohair I started spinning last week was starting to become a severe PITA, and I haven't even gone through the first 2 oz! It's starts out nice to spin, and then it turns on me, and I start not to like it as much.

I had to put the project down and started spinning the sky blue roving I dye'd last week JUST to give myself a break from the mohair. I finished the sky blue roving this past weekend, and am going to trudge back into the mohair.

I think that while I kinda like mohair, it'd be better for me to have it in a blended roving with a lot of wool.

Once I'm done with spinning the next 2 oz of mohair, I will probably ply it with either alpaca or merino. I keep waffling between the two.

For fun, I took apart the sweater I picked up at the thrift shop last week. It took a while to pick out all the seams, but it wasn't too bad. Then I discovered that it was knit double-stranded.

The yarn is a beautiful soft chocolate tweed. The back piece, I simply kept as two strands and will knit something out of it like that, but I'm trying to separate the two yarns on the arm pieces (each strand is probably a fingering - sport weight) and being a swift PITA.

I finally put it down after a bit of frustration.

The sweater was *huge* and I will hopefully get a thousand yards of the yarn out of it. Unfortunately, I accidentally cut outside of the seam, so there's one skein that has a whole bunch of little knots that I'll spit splice later.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I dragged my DH over to Purlescence yarns today in order to pick up some more generic Louet wool so I can show W how to use the drop spindle. They only had a superwash wool, so I picked that up (1/2lb).

Why the 1/2 lb?
Because I also wanted to try my hand at making a 3-ply sock yarn and keep in the theme of the Spindler's group Sept. challenge -- the night sky. I don't know if I'll be able to spin up 1/2 lb of fiber in 1 month, but I'm going to try!

So, I got it home, and started the dye'ing process.
I broke up the whole thing into 2 oz lots, and then went ahead and dye'd them separately

Lot 1: Colors: dark red/burgandy, dark blue.
Lot 2: Dark blue / sky blue
Lot 3: Black & Blue
The last 2oz are being saved for helping W learn how to drop spindle.

I used the crock pot I had gotten at the thrift store several weeks ago, and I've discovered a small problem -- it's too small. It was fine with smaller amounts of fiber or just yarn, but this fiber is really "thick" so I had to really push it down into the crock pot.

All of the fiber didn't fit well in the pot, and after removing it from the crock pot, I noticed all the white splotches of undyed fiber. Being an "organic" type craft person, I decided to just let it ride, and hung up each lot to dry. We'll see how it spins up.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Just a few photos

Since the evening's plans fell through, I took some photos before practicing the fiddle. This is especially for those friends *cough* who complain I don't take enough photos :-P And, for those of you on Ravelry, I managed to actually update those projects & photos.

Sky Blue Roving -- It's some generic Louet roving I dye'd a Sky Blue.
First Dyed Roving: Skyblue

Icelandic Wool Skein = ~ 162 yards
Icelandic WOol

Brick Red Corriedale = Worseted
Corriedale Dyed Brick Red

My First 3 ply = ~15 yards
My First 3-ply

Mohair I'm currently spinning

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wrong Wool!

I *finally* finished spinning my wool late Monday night(I had 1/2 oz left, and wanted to finish, dammit!) And, it turns out that what *I* thought was Finn, turns out to be Falkland wool. Oopsie!

I ended up with 264 yards of laceweight yarn from the 2 oz top I had bought, of which I am very very pleased. Once I ply it with itself, I'll (hopefully) end up with about 132 yards of wool of fingering - DK weight, which I think I'll be doing my first 2-color project with it and another yarn.

I'm debating on whether to dye it a nice dark blue or keep it the lovely natural ivory white. Hmm. Decisions, decision.

I also attempted to spin a sampling of mulberry silk on the lighter spindle. I have not had really great experience with the "slippery" fibers as of yet, and this was really no exception. I went through half the sample, then wound what I had onto an empty thread bobbin and put the un-spun half away. Ick.

I might just stick with wool or wool blends.
Tonite, I did try out the new-to-me-crockpot dye technique, while I made dinner.

I had about 1 1/8 oz of generic pencil wool roving I had (unknown sheep). I used a little bit of Jacquard blue, and set the thing to "HIGH". I'm deathly afraid of felting wool during the dye process, so I figured this was a good test run.

By the time dinner was done, the wool was pretty much done, so I let it rest while I ate dinner, then rinsed it out. Now it's hanging, and is just this lovely lovely sky blue. It's got slightly darker blue patches here and there with bits of white and light blue.

I can't wait for it to dry and see how it spins out. I know dye can make something a bit more difficult to spin, so I want to see how this pans out. I know I'll probably have to draft it out more than its previous cousins whom I spun THEN dyed.

Also, I made myself a small distaff from some of the practice spinning I had done a few months earlier. I had a small skein at about 50 or so yards, which makes for a perfect size distaff. I'm hoping that it makes using the drop spindle a wee bit easier.


I *love* thrift store shopping. It's always amazing what you can find. I wanted to get a used crockpot for dye-ing purposes. It was the first time I'd been in this particular thrift shop, although I keep driving by and thinking I needed to go inside.

Yeah, I came out with more than I anticipated and spent > $20.00. LOL
I found a lovely wool fair isle cardigan made in "British Colonial Hong Kong", which fit me, and will be nice for winter. It's only a little bit itchy (heck, it's wool), but won't be so bad with long sleeves. And I found a lovely tweed men's cashmere / mohair sweater made in Italy (SO SOFT!) that I plan to totally unravel and re-use the yarn. Oh, and I did find the crockpot I wanted, which works just fine. The crock pot was the most expensive thing at $8.50.

I had to drag myself out because I still had grocery shopping to do. I love treasure hunting in thrift stores.