Spindle: Amazon Rosewood Turkish & Purpleheart/Amaranth

A while back, someone commented that a good spouse is one who surprises a loved one with, say, a bouquet of flowers, and that my hubby should take a leaf out of the book.

If you’re not familiar with my husband, well, the only few times I received flowers from him was on my birthday and Valentine’s Day for one year…twice in the years that we have been together (nearly coming to 10 now). He may be French but he is not the stereotypical French romantic. In fact, his idea of romance is asking me what I want or teasing me to high heaven or listening to me talk about my blogging assignments like scouting for metal church chairs. Heh.

One thing I must say though is that despite his lack of romantic gestures, he is supportive of my hobbies and whenever a little (or large) parcel shows up in our mailbox (and it’s for me), he just smiles and go “You got something huh?”. My mother did ask him about it; all he said was that he gave up on getting me to stop stashing a long time ago.

“As long as she’s happy, I am okay with it.”

So yeah, my hubby may not buy me flowers; he gets me spindles instead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The latest acquisitions from a French spindle maker, Anne from Bulle. She makes lovely spindles, especially supported and Turkish spindles. Aren’t these babies pretty?

Spindle: 0.7 oz Amazon Rosewood Turkish Spindle

Amazon Rosewood Turkish
Whorl | Amazon Rosewood Turkish
Shaft | Beech
Total weight | 0.7 oz
From | Anne from Bulle

Spindle: 0.88 oz Purpleheart/Amaranth Top Whorl Drop Spindle

Purpleheart/Amaranth
Whorl | Purpleheart/Amaranth
Shaft | Beech
Total weight | 0.88 oz
From | Anne from Bulle

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Spindle: Pink Sea Jasper

Spindle: 1.0 oz Pink Sea Sediment Jasper Stone Top Whorl Drop Spindle

Pink Sea Jasper
Whorl | Pink sea sediment jasper stone; 50mm diameter
Shaft | Carved hardwood
Total weight | 1 oz
Total length (including hook) | 9 3/4 inches
From | Tina’s Angoras

Ain’t this gorgeous? 🙂

When I first saw this on sale, I fell in love with it instantly. It reminded me of Eva and how much she loves pink. When it arrived, I couldn’t help but marvel at the flow of the colour, the intertwining veins…a flawless beauty!

Spindle: 1.0 oz Pink Sea Sediment Jasper Stone Top Whorl Drop Spindle

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Spin spin spin!

WIP: Dyeing4Colour in Scottish Heather

Of lately, the only craft I have been busy exploring is the one in front of my spinning wheel.

Yes, I caught the spinning bug…and a bad one as well. On top of this braid that I’m working on, I have some Wensleydale on the side that I am spinning up with my Paua spindle. I don’t think I can ever tire of spinning. With each wheel rotation, each spin, the colour changes and shifts, and depending on how the fibers have been dyed up, these changes can be dramatic or subtle. The possibilities are endless with spinning. You can draft a fiber in such a way that you end up with a gradient plied yarn or you can spin it with minimal drafting and ply it to give you a candy cane, colourful yarn.

My once little bag of handspun yarn is now fast growing, and to make matters fun (and challenging), I decided to join a little group on Ravelry called the “13 in 2013” which is this – spin 13 pounds of fiber this year! I’ve already done nearly one pound so far and this will be great in helping me to bust my fiber stash. Trouble is…what do I do with all that handspun yarn? I could use some of it but I reckon, if there is a demand, I’ll put some of it on sale. At least it’ll get some use instead of sitting pretty in my cupboard.

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Sugar Pie

Sugar Pie

Ply | Single
Yardage | 952 m
WPI | Laceweight
Fibre | 50/30/20 Alpaca Merino Silk from Squoosh in Sugar Pie
Tool | Serenity Wheel [5.5:1]

I bought this fiber sometime in 2008 and had spun up some of it using a spindle. After a while, with all the moving, packing and unpacking, it was forgotten and stayed hidden away in my stash. While clearing out my yarn & fiber armoire a few weeks back, I came across it and decided to spin it up again. I tried with a spindle but after years of spinning with a wheel, I didn’t really seem to have the patience for spindle spinning. I should still get back to it since it’s a really lovely art and I don’t want my spindles to sit around gathering dust.

I wanted to keep this as a single ply yarn so I went back to spinning with a low ratio but with still zero to little tension. I tried putting in some band tension but that result into a too low spin which then lead to my singles breaking. Due to this practice, I had to discard a good amount of singles AND fiber. Once everything was spun up, I finished it with a hot water bath to felt it a little and lots of twacking in my bath tub to distribute the spin so that the resulting yarn is smoother but still strong enough to be used for lacework.

There is a certain halo to the yarn thanks to the alpaca fiber and the shine is just amazing. I must say that this is a gorgeous blend to work with. Sadly, I don’t have a lot of this blend in my stash – I have a lot of superwash and superwash blends (for sock purpose) – but I am going to consider stocking up on this blend in the future!

Sugar Pie

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Firestar

firestar-fin-b

Ply | Three
Yardage | 431.2 m
WPI | Fingering
Fibre | Simple Scarves Superwash Merino in Firestar
Tool | Serenity Wheel [10:1]

I started spinning this right after plying up my previous handspun. I was in the momentum and groove, and didn’t want to lose the drive. Since I still had some stock leftover from my yarn store, I decided to destash those first. The braid didn’t look very promising in terms of colours (hence it being a leftover from the store) but when I dyed it, I had a certain way of spinning and plying it in mind. I wanted to achieve a heathered look with “candy-cane” stripes on the singles.

The finished yarn came out as I had imagined it to be; it was still a joy to watch the colours unfold as I spun the singles and then again as I plied them. I made these into fingering weight yarn – the resulting colour and fiber type would make for a pair of lovely socks or a smallish knitted outfit for the kids.

And as you can guess, to maintain the spin momentum, I have started work on another braid of fibre! Tehehehehe.

firestar-fin-a

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Morrocco

morrocco_fin-a_medium

Ply | Two
Yardage | 871.7 m
WPI | Laceweight
Fibre | Pigeonroof Studios Merino/Soysilk Roving in Morrocco
Tool | Serenity Wheel [14:1]

Part of this year’s crafty resolution is to break into my fibre stash and churn out some two-ply laceweight yarn. I usually spin up fingering weight yarn that is navajo-plied (three-ply) so this is considered something semi-new for me.

For those who are spin-challenged, yarn is commonly can be made up of a few strands called ply/plies. Singles – one strand – are lovely to knit with but if you ply a few strengths together, you give yarn an added strength and structure. Navajo plying is a kind of technique whereby you retain the colour blocks in the fiber but because the resulting yarn is made up of a single strand, any breakage along either one strand can lead to the entire yarn unravelling. Still, people like to work with this technique because of how you can hold on to a colour sequence. Regular plying – putting two to three different strands together – often results in colour sequences in the original fiber being broken up. It’s nice for achieving an overall heathered look in a knitted project but unless you plan things properly, this technique doesn’t really give you a nice colour block you would want when, say, knitting self-striping socks.

I choose this particular colourway to churn out two-ply laceweight because of the nearly semi-solid shades. The resulting yarn looks pretty and quite uniformed in terms of colours. Plying this took quite a while as I was working with about 4.2 oz of yarn and very thin singles. I had to ply nearly 1700 meters of yarn and therefore broke the plying sessions into two – took me two nights (about six to eight hours in total) to finish this!

The singles were a little challenging at first as I am used to spinning yarn at a 10:1 ratio. Spinning at 14:1 with no tension required some focus, especially when drafting the fiber! There were a few instances where the fiber just flew out of my hands!!!! I guess it is good that I actually set this as one of my resolutions for this year – practice makes perfect! Now to head back to surfing the Net for my assignments – I need to find vehicle lifts (don’t ask).

morrocco_fin_medium

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Stash enhancements 2013: Part I

Fiber stashing 2013: Part I

(Pictures above are taken from the store.)

It looks like I’m well into my stash enhancements for the year and it’s just January!

The recent shipping increase for international purchases from the US have put a damper on my stashing. It will now cost USD11 for a a 4 oz braid of fiber instead of USD5-6. Increments are still relatively low so it’s the first braid that will be hefty…unless I’m buying more – at least two braids instead of just one like before. I’m planning to reserve my purchases from the US for special colorways and fiber blends from my favourite sellers. I am also scouting for fiber sellers based in Europe to save on the shipping – so far, I have a few and am “trialling” one of them out (top & bottom left). Can’t wait to receive the braids and spin them up!

In the meantime, I’ve also started stashing up on Wollmeise yarns again but this time, I’m aiming for just semisolids instead of variegated colourways. It appears to be less hectic stocking up on WM yarns since the updates are very regular now – twice a week. My last purchase saw me getting three skeins of the 80/20 blend in Aquarius (turquoise blue), Pistache (green) and Himbeere (raspberry red/pink) and the We’re Different standard semisolid set in the 100% wool blend. As you can see in the picture below, they sent over a pastel pink shade (I think it’s Babe) and a soft brown (Feldmaus). I reckon the pastel pink will make for a nice flowery lace shawl so that’s definitely earmarked for prototype knits.

Yarn stashing 2013: Part 1

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Golden Red

SS Handspun in Golden Red

Skein 1
Ply | Three
Yardage | 77.7 m
WPI | Fingering
Fibre | Simple Scarves Superwash Merino-Nylon in Golden Red
Tool | Serenity Wheel [10:1]

Skein 2
Ply | Three
Yardage | 74.7 m
WPI | Fingering
Fibre | Simple Scarves Superwash Merino-Nylon in Golden Red
Tool | Serenity Wheel [10:1]

I remember dyeing this very delicious fiber blend a while back and for some reason, I thought of Chinese New Year colours (very festive and reminiscent of people selling gold coins during this season as gifts!) and because it was the end of the roving bulk bundle I got for the store, I didn’t have the full 4 oz to work with. Instead, I had about slightly under 3 ozs – not even enough to put it on the shelves for sale. So I decided to keep it in case I needed to spin something quickly or to blend it with another fiber.

I forgot all about it until last week when I dug around my fiber stash and found it sitting pretty with some of my other handdyed stuff. This was a wonderfully quick spin due to its small quantity – I finished spinning and plying the first skein in under three days! To keep the colour changes the same – I plan to knit slippers/ankle socks with these – I split the roving down in the middle, weighed them to ensure that I would get similar yardage for them both and wound them up loosely in the same way. The result is two very lovely skeins of yarn with a 3-meter difference in yardage.

After hunting around, I decided on a gorgeous pattern (see below) for these two mini-skeins. I think it’ll go great with the gloomy autumn and winter weather that is to come. What do you think?

 Babouches by Lori Law; picture by oceanwindknits

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