Ravellenic Gradient

I have spun 16 lots of yarn. This is my favorite.

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The color gradient is perfect, and it is a fairly even 360 yards of heavy fingering. I Navajo plied onto my giant Bosworth spindle that I got at Rhinebeck last year. All 4.6 ounces fit!

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I finished Sunday at 11:30 am. For a few hours I considered submitting the finished yarn to Rhinebeck. Then I decided that the yarn would shine better in a half-circle shawl that showcased the sunset colorway.

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I cast on for Shattered Sun less than four hours after I finished plying. Yes, I washed it. Yes, it was (mostly) dry. Hey, the Olympics end in a week, I don’t have forever!

Ravellenic Spinning

I am super excited to make my Tour de Fleece yarn into a Harvest Moon Cardigan for Rhinebeck. But that’s going to be a fun, relaxing pattern. Cramming it in to 16 days would ruin it, and wouldn’t be true to the Ravellenic spirit.

Instead I decided to reprise my Winter Games 2010 victory with a fleece-to-FO challenge. For some reason the 2012 games do not have such a category, so I’ll enter both the spinning and the shawl categories.

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I got this beauty from Into the Whirled at the 2011 New England Fiber Fest. I have never spun from a batt, and I have never done a gradient yarn. My goal is to Navajo ply the singles to preserve the color progression, and ideally wind up with fingering weight.

I watched the Opening Ceremonies with Jacie, and had made good progress by the end of the night.

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Per Jacie’s suggestion, I tore the batt into strips. I pre-drafted and rolled into roving balls like I always do, so it was not that different from spinning from top.

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By the end of a rainy weekend watching the Olympics (am I allowed to say that?) I had finished the singles.

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That tiny bobbin is there because one of my little roving bundles rolled under the couch. I’ll try to find where it should have gone in the sequence and splice it in.

It went well, but for one issue:

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When the first bobbin was about 2/3 full, the yarn stopping winding on evenly and started kinking up. I fiddled with the band tensions and it did not seem to help. When I switched bobbins the singles wound on evenly again. Experienced spinners, what is causing this?

Tour de Fleece – Victory!

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Huzzah! I have succeeded in spinning all of that berry-colored fiber into just under 1100 yards of slightly variable worsted-ish yarn.

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I am pleased with how it turned out, both the weight and the marled coloring.

In particular, I am astonished at how well my plan of plying light with dark worked out.

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When all was said and done, this was all that remained of unplyed singles. I very seldom wind up with a bobbin that small at the end, even when only spinning 4oz!

One thing I was not thrilled with is how many times I had to wash to get excess dye out.

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I had expected this, given how the fiber turned my hands pink and left a nice pink streak on the left thigh of my PJ pants (it washed out fine). But still, it’s annoying. I rinsed four times and the water was still pink, but I was starting to worry about agitating the yarn too much.

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So now the yarn is drying. I don’t think I felted it. Should I try to knit my sweater during the Olympics or would that be dumb?

Tour de Fleece – Days 3, 4 and 5

On days 3 and 4 of the Tour de Fleece, I spun.

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On day 5, I spun some more. I am getting over a nasty cold, so I had a very quiet Fourth and got a lot of spinning done. While experts advise that you should spin all your singles before you start plying, who has that many bobbins? (Don’t talk to me about winding singles off bobbins and into cakes – I know that for me the singles would get hopelessly kinked. I just don’t view it as a workable option.)

Anyway, once I had four bobbins worth of singles (two dark and two light) I got out my jumbo flyer for the first time and got to plying (on the left, with regular flyer on the right for comparison).

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This bad boy can hold a lot of yarn!

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That’s 150 yards of heavy worsted, to be exact. From the other set of bobbins I got 122 yards.

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I am pleased with how it’s turning out. It’s more even overall than I had predicted.

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So, the quest for a Rhinebeck Sweater pattern continues, now with more detail. I estimate about 1000 yards total, suitable for size 9 needles. Any good ideas?

Tour de Fleece – Days 1 and 2

I’ve never done the Tour de Fleece before, but as with many spinning-related things, Jacie has inspired me.

You may recall that I bought a preposterous amount (2+ lbs) of raspberry-colored fiber from Spinner’s Hill at Rhinebeck last year.

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This fiber will become my Rhinebeck sweater. I might as well spin it up now!

Day One was spent planning and organizing. I had some work to do before the giant balls of fiber were ready for spinning.

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First, I had to get a sense of what, exactly, I am working with.

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With the help of my assistant, the lovely and talented Fiona, I laid out the roving in five-foot sections.

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I count 21 of them. I have over 100 feet of roving.

It’s not just the lighting, the fiber to the left is a lighter color than the fiber to the right.  Much the way I did with the fiber that became Shalom, I split the roving into type A and type B, with the goal of plying types A and B together (for a more consistent but marled yarn).  I have had issues drafting Spinner’s Hill Crazy Balls before, so split the roving into fairly small strips before getting started.

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The types are more similar than they were for Shalom though. With the berry fiber, both types have more or less the same predominant color, but one has lighter areas and the other has darker areas.

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On Day 2, I started spinning.

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I’m using Penelope’s lowest ratio, aiming for a final weight between worsted and bulky. The drafting is indeed somewhat difficult, so realistically I’ll get a final product that varies from DK or worsted to bulky or thicker. Drafting issues aside, it’s going well so far!

Nothing to do but Pray

My friend K just learned, very late in her pregnancy, that her baby has a congenital brain abnormality which will likely cause serious difficulties. There is nothing I can do.

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Nothing I can do but pray, and try to turn that nervous energy into something tangible to remind K how loved she is.

Kink

As you may have heard, Connecticut had a record-breaking snowfall yesterday.

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It was the perfect opportunity to finish a little short-term project that I’ve been working on.

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Pattern: Kink, Knittyspin First Fall 2010
Yarn: Handspun Singles, from Corgi Hill Farm Merino/Silk

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It was really fun to knit, and I think it was a very good use of that yarn. I especially love that I FINALLY finished something, after spending so much time on as yet unfinished long term projects.

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Yes, the singles are uneven, but the pattern works with the unevenness rather than against it.

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It’s not exactly my usual style, but I can pull it off.

Happy Birthday Mom!

It’s my mom’s birthday, and she loves the color red.

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When I saw this fiber at Rhinebeck, I knew that it had to be hers someday…

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Frabjous Fibers Silky Cashmerino (70% superfine merino, 15% cashmere, 15% mulberry silk) in Chocolate Cherry

…and now it will be.

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I got about 290 yards of sportweight yarn, with fairly short color repeats. I split the roving the long way into eight or so segments and then did a two ply. The red was really bright on the bobbin, so I’m glad it mixed in nicely with the other colors and toned down a bit.

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I haven’t been spinning all that much lately, but I think it still turned out well. I think the weight will be nice for a scarf or something.

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My mom can knit, but seldom does (actually, I ruined knitting for her. That’s a story I should tell some day). I told her that she could use it herself if she wanted, or I could make something for her. Either way, I’ll post an update on what the yarn turns into.

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Happy birthday Mom!

Socktoberfest!

In honor of Socktoberfest, I decided to knit socks with my own handspun.

So this

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was turned into this:

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Fiber is 60% superwash merino, 30% bamboo rayon and 10% nylon, hand-dyed by Cloudlover, in R’lyeh

I spun it when I was waiting to hear about the bar exam (passed!) so it’s a bit uneven. The Heelless Sleeping Sock by Nancy Bush (in Knitting Vintage Socks) is very forgiving.

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The pattern calls for the ribs to rotate in an S-twist direction, but just for kicks I decided to do one Z-twist.

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They’re the most fraternal socks I’ve ever made, but I still like them.

Speaking of socks, this is all I bought at Stitches East:

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I see a lot of socks in my future. Perfect, because I have a TON of sock yarn in my stash!

Rhinebeck!

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This weekend I went to Rhinebeck with my knitting buddies. We began with breakfast at Pete’s Famous, a tradition Kris has had going for years. Here are Jacie, Jenni and Tracy in front of some gorgeous trees. The weather could not have been better.

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I finished my Katarina sweater on Thursday night, and I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Even better, my Slither handspun won second place in the novice class.

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What’s that up in the corner?

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Jacie’s Valeria shawl won first place for small handspun item!

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Jacie continued her streak with a blue ribbon in the spindle spinning contest, and Jenni was third! Go team go!

On day two I wore my handspun Shalom, which was made with Spinner’s Hill fiber that I got at Rhinebeck last year. I went to show the ladies at Spinner’s Hill, and picked up a new ball of fiber.

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You’ll see me wearing something blue next year!