April 18, 2012

BFL Redux

I believe I mentioned last month I'd joined the Spin-ALong/Knit-Along or "SPAKAL" that the Knitmore Girls (http://knitmoregirls.blogspot.com) were hosting over on the Ravelry boards. This is a sheep (or fiber) to sweater project wherein we would spin the yarn for and then knit up a sweater by the end of 2012.

I tried doing this last year, spinning 36 ounces of BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) fiber, but I never cast on for the sweater. I didn't think the 1,100 or so yards of worsted weight yarn I spun would be enough for a sweater to fit me. When the SPAKAL project came along it was the perfect incentive to finish last year's sweater project, as well as stash bust some of the fleece I've got for a second sweater.

So on March 27th I split the one pound bump of natural multi-color BFL into sixteen approximately one ounce sections and started spinning. I finished plying my last skein on Apr 15th (1lb in 20 days - I think that might be a record for me). I did not get as much yardage as I had hoped, but overall I'm pleased with the yarn itself. I think it's slightly denser than what I spun last July (average wpi 8/9 vs 10/11 of last year's yarn), but it's still worsted weight. I can always use the "thinner" yarn for the yoke and upper arms and the heavier below.

Final results: six skeins, 292 yards of 4ply 2x2 cabled yarn (1,168 yds of singles).

BFL Natural multi round two

BFL natural multi round 2 closeup

April 13, 2012

The Margarethe Blues

Alas, my Knitting Mojo has gone the way of the dodo, and that's one of the reasons I've got the Margarethe Blues. The other is the Margarethe Lace Shawl. Or more specifically, the feather and fan based pattern in the shawl's border.

I have always had a problem with this pattern and this time is no exception. It's a simple enough pattern, but for the life of me I cannot keep the stitch count right. I've checked for errata and found none. It's just me. Can anyone say frustrated!

So the shawl is in timeout, at least until Sunday when I can sit down with it and figure out where I went wrong, how many rows I need to tink back, and PUT IN A LIFELINE! Also, I'd rather be spinning. And I know myself well enough to know that if I force myself to work on the shawl while my mindset is elsewhere, I'll only mess it up so bad I'll have to frog instead of tink.

In the meantime, I'm getting a lot of plying done, and that pleases me greatly,

April 12, 2012

Finished Objects Part III - The Blue and Grey

Cape Cod colorway

This was four ounces of a hand-painted merino/silk/angora 50/30/20 blend from Spirit Trail Fiberworks in the "Cape Cod" colorway. It worked up nicely to a total of 547 Navajo/chain plied yards with a wpi of 22 (sport weight). I'm very pleased how this yarn came out - it's the first time I've gotten that much yardage in a 3ply yarn that close to a fingering weight yarn.

Cape Cod was a lesson in spinning different staple lengths, and the lesson learned was angora is too short to be spun within a blend, in my opinion that is. The angora did lend a nice halo to the yarn, but then again, I could get the same halo effect by spinning it woolen instead of worsted. Actually I spun this semi-worsted, i.e. Top spun from the fold, either point of twist or occasionally from short longdraw. I almost always spin silk or silk blends from the fold; I feel it gives me better control of the fiber. I think, if I were to make an agora blend yarn, I would spin a pure angora single to ply with whatever other fiber I planned on blending it with.

Total Yardage Goal: 17,600. Yardage to Date: 5,001