August 15, 2010

Night musings

When my leg acted up the other night and I couldn’t sleep, I wound up checking out YouTube videos on Navajo/chain plying, both wheel and spindle. There seem to be more videos for the wheel version, but there are some good ones on spindle plying. Enough that I could figure it out. On the grounds that if you don’t use a new skill right away you forget, I decided to chain ply the Fading Into Neutral Polwarth roving I’ve been spinning that week instead of making it a 2ply as originally planned. I considered trying the “ply on the fly” technique too, but decided that would break the rhythm you get into when spinning and plying separately.

All in all, I think I prefer regular 2 or 3ply, although I can see how chain plying would be useful depending on the type of colorway. This is the first yarn I’ve done that will require whacking as part of the finishing process. Two skeins and a bit gave me a total of about 318 yards at 18 wpi. Here’s the completed skeins and a closeup:

Fading Into Neutral Polwarth

Fading closeup

Right now I’m spinning up a Merino/Bamboo/Tussah Silk blend in white that I got months ago from Crown Mountain Farms. It is really slippery and easy to draft, almost too easy. It will be a 2ply that I will use to make Mom a shawl, and one for myself if there’s enough left over (I have a pound to spin and am hoping to get at least 800 yds of 2ply). My singles are at approx 40wpi+/- which seems to be just about my default spinning weight. Here’s my first plying ball that I’ll start plying tonight:

BMT Blend 2ply plying ball

On the knitting front, well I haven’t been knitting much of anything, except maybe the Risk socks. I'm about five inches down the foot of the first sock.

Risk sock

I’ll be taking it to bowling tomorrow so I should get another inch done. This week I'll have to set aside an hour or so during the day to knit and save the spinning for the evenings at the nursing home with Mom. That way maybe I'll get the majority of the sock knitting UFOs done by the end of August. Well, that's the plan....

August 1, 2010

TdF, UFOs, etc

Spinning: TdF is over and my spinning UFOs are no more. I managed to get all three of my UFOs spun, if not plied, by the end of the TdF, so I’m considering my goals met. I finished plying the Intentions roving a couple of days later (Wednesday, I think):

Intentions 2ply

But I ran out of oomph to finish skeining after plying both spindles worth, so I took pic while I had some light and there you go. Um, still not skeined.

Next up for spinning will be new fibers to try: a recently purchased Polwarth (which as I understand it is an Australian breed, a cross of Merino and Lincoln sheep), some alpaca I got from Queenknit, a merino/bamboo/silk blend, and some BFL (Blue Face Leicester).

The Polwarth is up first and will be a 2ply. It looked so pretty all braided up I almost hated to disturb it. The colorway is called Fading Into Neutral and is by Perchance to Spin.


I’m finding it not as easy to draft as the superwash merino I’ve been spinning, but it’s nice and I like it.

On the Needles: way too much, as usual. Socks, of course: Monkey and Glynis (from Cookie A), toe up in Dusk colorway (Cat Bordhi patt), Tucson Nights (my fair isle patt), my standard basic sock in Risk colorway, and footing BBS for SFS; a couple of caps; a sweater or two (that I haven’t touched in ages); pillow cover (in knitted Ohio Star patt, mine), and about another half dozen out of sight/out of mind projects. And I’m getting ready to cast on a couple of shawls for Mom (and maybe one for me). Problem is, I’m just not feeling the love for too many of any of these projects right now. I know it’s blasphemy, but I think I’d rather be spinning. For now, I will concentrate on finishing the BBS, Risk & Dusk socks while I contemplate frogging the Monkey and Glynis socks and what pattern (mine or someone else’s) to cast on for the first shawl.