September 27, 2012

Off My Spindles Part VI

Off My Spindles:  
  At Last!  Tex, the Texel crossbreed fleece is finished.  I plied the last three skeins on Monday morning, making the total number of skeins, 26.    
  Tex batch 5  
  There are over a half dozen rolags left to be spun (I originally didn't spin them because I didn't get all the lanolin out) and some singles, but they, as well as the leftover combing waste, are being held in reserve in case I run out of yarn for the sweater.  And frankly, I've been working on this for six months, and I'm kinda sick of it. It's on to the finishing baths for this stuff, and then I can start swatching.  
  Also finished two out of three four-ounce bumps of the Gotland fiber in shades of wine and pink.  I'm spinning this semi-woolen (mostly point of twist, from the fold) and chain/Navajo plying. It's a little twisty because I haven't set the twist on it yet, but this is the first skein:  
  Gotland 1st skein  
  Brought To Me By:  
  DVDs etc: True Blood S4.1-2; Buffy TVS S7.8-10; H5O S2.1-9;   
  Pod/VideoCasts: The Knit Girllls; Cast On; SpinDoctor;      

September 21, 2012

On My Spindles

On My Spindles:

I finally finished washing Tex, the never-ending Texel crossbreed fleece - all of it. And I've been combing and carding enough every few days to fill a two-gallon bag with rolags to spin. So far this week that's two bags which spun up to seven variable sized bobbins of singles. I'm guestimating that I will end up with enough singles for at least two maybe three more skeins of yarn. I also need to start "finishing" the 22 skeins I've already spun, i.e. giving them a soak to set the twist and see how much they'll poof up. With any luck I'll be finished spinning this fleece this weekend. Yay!

As part of my WIP Busting efforts, I've pulled out the rest of the white fleeces I started spinning last year and before. That's a Shetland, a Merino cross, and a Columbia. They're the washed stuff, and range in weight from half a pound to about two pounds. There's also the other half of Mo, and the original never-ending fleeces: the two Clun Forest. They need scouring.

After all that white, I needed a little color so this past weekend I started spinning the twelve ounces of Gotland I got last Spring from Two Sisters Stringworks.
Gotland wool
I'm spinning this mostly from the fold, semi-woollen, and planning to chain/Navajo ply. It will probably be a thicker yarn than I'd originally envisioned, but since I have twelve ounces I'm pretty sure I can get enough for a good sized shawl.

Brought To Me By:

DVDs etc: Doctor Who (season 6); Downton Abbey (S2);
Pod/VideoCasts:  Knitting Pipeline; The Knit Girllls; Round The Twist; Yarnspinners Tales;

September 13, 2012

Finished Object: Ohio Star Pillowcover

Ohio Star Pillowcover
Ravelry Project Page

This UFO (UnFinished Object) dates back to around 2006 when I picked up a couple of quilting magazines with an abundance of block schematics. Now, I'm not a quilter, although I do love looking at them, especially the more classic designs.  I can appreciate all the work that goes in them.  Maybe someday I'll try it, but for now I'm more interested in translating the quilt block designs into knitting designs.  And these two magazines had a number of block designs that readily translated.  My original intention was to make a sampler afghan from different block patterns, but opted to start smaller with a pillow cover.

I picked the Ohio Star pattern because it consisted of squares and triangles I could easily duplicate in knitted fabric.  The only problem I encountered was in seaming the blocks together.  For some reason I made the join a randomly striped two-and-a-half inch saddle shoulder seam.  I say it was a problem because I seamed a little more than two sides and then stopped.

Closeup seam/edging

After six years I can only guess that either I was bored (understandable) or unhappy with what I was doing.  Or both.  Probably both.

I'm certainly unhappy with how the striping looks.  I think it detracts from the overall block pattern and is distracting.

Pillowcover old seam/edging

So as I previously posted, I ripped it all out and went with a simple single color (green) applied I-cord seam.  This seam went smoothly and quickly and I'm very pleased with the results. For a closure I went with a simple I-cord lacing for which i put in I-cord 'buttonholes' approximately every two inches. The Pillowcover measures approximately eighteen inches square. The yarn is Lana Gatto California DK 100% cotton.

Pillowcover icord border seam closeup

Pillowcover closure closeup

Ohio Star Pillowcover finished

 Now to find the pillow I made it for...

Brought To Me By:

DVDs etc: Downton Abbey S2; Doctor Who S6; Vampire Diaries S1;
Pod/VideoCasts: Round The Twist; the Knit Girllls; Electric Sheep; Knitmore Girls;

September 6, 2012

Spinning FOs

I finished spinning the second four ounce bump of the yak/merino blend over the Labor Day weekend. "New Moon" was spun semi-woolen (longdraw from the fold or the end) into approximately 230 yards of 2ply.

50/50 yak/merino blend, New Moon colorway from Abstract Fibers:
New Moon yak/merino 2nd bump

I was lazy and didn't pull the first bump's skeins to check what weight/diameter my singles should be. I just spun what I thought I remembered it should be. Not one of my most brilliant ideas. Second bump skein came in at a third less yardage (about 230 yds) than the first bump's skein (360 yds). Lesson learned: my memory sucks.

Another spinning project that changing parameters brought mixed results in is Rasputin. This was an eight ounce bump I divided into eight approximately one ounce braids. All were spun worsted from commercial top and chain/Navajo plied. Here I got variations in yardage by spinning singles on different spindles or switching between spindles and wheel. Weight varies between lace to heavy fingering weight. Total 3ply yardage is 921 yds (2,763 yds of Singles).

Wensleydale, 8 oz., Rasputin colorway from Crown Mountain Farms:
Rasputin finished 2

September 2, 2012

Again With the Oddments

Scouring with soap nuts:
Soaps nuts in the pre-scour cold soak helps cut the dirt and suint. Love it. Also seems to act as a pre-treatment for removing lanolin in the hot wash. Cuts down on amount of detergent or Power Scour needed when used in conjunction with detergent. Whole soap nuts by themselves don't get lanolin out entirely in hot wash. Haven't tried it yet but others say soap nuts liquid alone does remove lanolin. Will have to try that myself someday.

And just when I think it's safe to come out of the scouring water... I find more to scour. Turns out that last seven ounces I thought I had to wash wasn't the last of Tex. I found another bag with a little over ten ounces that needs scouring. Sigh My SPAKAL spinning will never end, I think

Stash Enhancement:
Two month fleece buying binge netted me at least a pound each of these breeds/crossbreeds:
E. Friesian/Corriedale lamb
E. Friesian/Corriedale adult
And Under a pound of these:
Oxford/Border Leicester
Bluefaced Leicester lamb
Border Leicester/Romeldale
They are all raw fleece, except for the Cormo which I had the seller wash for me. I didn't want to deal with the heavy lanolin, plus if you even look at it wrong it felts.

I had a "When Knitting Attacks" incident earlier in the week: finished the first sock, kitchenered the toe, measured length, then realized I made the foot three inches too long. So I had to rip back and redo. (Well, at least i didn't work a heel instead of a toe like I did the last time I had a major sock knitting attack!)

Rasputin spinning finished :::insert muppet flail::: Yay, that was another "I thought it'd never end project".

10 Mile Goal Update: at 95% of goal (17,600 yds spun/knit/crochet). At this rate should reach goal by the end of September. Major raising of the bar next year.