Spinning with friends

Originally uploaded by mmmyarn

While it is possible they were admiring my technique or wondering which salon they needed to go to to get their locks dyed just such a color, it turns out they were lining up to use the bench as a scratching post. One of the lambs played with my shoe and pants cuff a bit; the sheep here are all accustomed to humans wandering in their meadows and get pretty close.


After 3 more hours of knitting, I lost at yarn chicken. The little coil of orange is all that remains of the Annapurna yarn, with 2.5 rows to go. I hoped it would be enough to finish this row and I would just do the next two rows in gray instead of orange, but no joy.


Nothing apt turned up in the scraps bin, and the pretty terra cotta color is hard to match, but I dug around in my handspun and came up with that skein on the right, BFL from Tactile Fiber Arts in a color called Geranium. It’s only 2-ply and darker than the Annapurna, but I have plenty of it (184 yards!) and it will work if I use it symmetrically, so I will rip back to the start of the first orange-and-gray section and use it as the background in both those sections. Unfortunately, this means losing some 14 hours of work, so I won’t finish this in time to show it off in the mystery shawl prizes thread. Disappointing, to be sure, but I finally get to use some of my handspun to a good purpose and that’s kind of nice.

Drat the cell phone picture at night, even under a daylight lamp. I look forward to finished items photos under a cloudy sky to show the colors off properly.

This week, I got to play that sometimes exhilarating, sometimes mood-dampening game of yarn chicken. Twice. I won on the hat, with far more pale gray left over than I thought there would be. The game is still afoot in the mystery shawl, for which we’re down to an anxiety-riddled finish on this skein. I have 8 more rows of orange to go and 10 grams of yarn remain. The rows are loooong at this point, and this section is striped with the gray, so it’s going to take me a few more hours to know. Wish me luck!

WIP 2018-04-28

I am weeks late with this post, but here it is. These are the spoils of Stitches West 2018:


Top row: Annapurna from A Verb For Keeping Warm as part of Romi Hill’s 2018 mystery shawl KAL (starts on April 6!); Oink Pigments DK; project bags from KC’s Pockets to Go and Front Range Bags; BFL fiber from Wonderland Dyeworks

Middle row: fiber from Shaky K Fibers; 3 skeins Jamieson & Smith Shetland; books and fringe twisting tool; green yarn from Dragonfly Fibers; gray yarn from Backyard Fiberworks; mixed BFL fiber from Houndstooth Fibers; Cotton DK from Paintbox yarns; Yowza from Miss Babs

Bottom row: gifts from Craftsy at the Friday night Pajama Party: possibly Romney fiber and 5 skeins Cloudborn Fibers sock yarn; grip-fid tool from my ply-split braiding class; Harry Potter stitch markers

I had loosely promised myself no more fiber from Wonderland Dyeworks, because I have a lot of it at home. I love her colors, though, and got sucked into her beautiful booth again, and gosh, some of her fiber found its way into my bag. Funny how that happens.

The Friday night pajama party was fun! This is the first year I have been alert enough at 10pm to want to attend a social event (I have one of those “early to bed, early to rise” internal clocks), so I went. One of the rules of the party was that you can’t talk about it outside the party, but I will dare mention that the mini-skeins of sock yarn in the bottom row of my photo were part of the fun, and the spinning fiber is a prize I got for showing up in my pajamas.

I used up most of the orange Oink yarn for a pair of fingerless mitts, the gray and green yarns are in the planning phases for mittens, I begun swatching for the sweater pattern I bought, and I’m looking forward to starting the mystery shawl on April 6.

I am grateful I am able to go to Stitches West and hang out with such fun friends every year. And shop for yarn with them! Such good fortune!

I present to you today my longest spinning project ever, as measured in years. Four years and 3 months (sheesh!), not counting the 17 months it took me to get around to measuring the skein and writing up my notes.


The fiber is merino wool from Tausenschön, a nice vacation souvenir.

The bottom (lumpier and more uneven) skein is what took ages. It is 97 yards (50g) of 2-ply that I spun over the fold on my 18g spindle. I started it in June 2012 on a trip to Oregon. Making this has good memories because I taught my grandmother and uncle and aunt about spinning, and my uncle even had a go at it. The day after that discussion, we went to the woolen mill museum which had spinning machines and looms, so all I showed the day before had context. But I digress… spinning over the fold is what killed this project for me. It was a technique I wanted to try, but I found it fiddly and unpleasant. I worked on this off and on and finally plied the yarn on 9/18/2016 at 15:1 on my Lendrum wheel. I read in the intervening years that merino is typically considered to have too short a staple to spin over the fold, although I know some spinners do so successfully. Perhaps I should have tried with my 35g spindle instead of 18g.

The top skein is 200 yards (90g) of 2-ply that I spun worsted on my 35g Cascade Bay spindle, and that zoomed along much faster from 5/23 to 9/10/2016. At first, I didn’t want to spin with a different technique because I knew it would not be matching yarn, but the thought of 90g more to go decided that one! Plied 9/19/2016 also at 15:1 on my Lendrum wheel.

Have you had success at over the fold with merino?


My local newspaper’s report is correct — it’s unusually warm for early February. What does this mean for a knitter/spinner? It’s washing day! Things will dry quickly! They will dry before they can mildew! Huzzah! Well, OK, I’m not that ecstatic about it, but I am motivated to get recently-plied yarn off the bobbins and I washed Revontuli and a few new-ish projects that haven’t had ideal blocking conditions yet. You have to take advantage of these things.

What knitters do on warm days

I also went out for a long walk in the park, enjoying the lovely breeze and all the happy bird noises. Now it’s gotten a bit too warm for exercise so I’m off to knit in the library’s windowless cave of a conference room.

I learned today you can get a lot more exercise while weaving if you warp your 10-dent rigid heddle reed with a yarn that’s too fat for it. It’s hard to open the sheds and hard to slide the reed to beat the picks. My legs are getting a workout, too — I have to hold the loom stand down with my feet when I lift the reed.

Scarf in progress

It’s slow going but turning out OK. This color combination is from Mr. MmmYarn’s stash, which still has a ways to go before I work through it.

Because the Force is present in all living things, it must be present in Stormtroopers, although it isn’t necessarily with them. It must be with me because I managed at last to finish this little guy:


Pattern: Stormtrooper by Lucy Collin, as published in “Star Wars Crochet”
Yarn: acrylic, about 35 yards
Hook: 3.5mm
Started 11/3/2017 and finished 1/7/2018

I am happy with him! He is going to accompany a wedding greeting card for a co-worker who got married and has several Stromtrooper adornments at his desk. The pattern is well-written in my opinion. I am a novice crocheter and had no troubles once I learned to single crochet properly (see my 11/4 post). The book is sold only as part of a kit that comes with yarn, a hook, and needed notions.

Another type of force was present on New Year’s Eve and I sent the year out with an inadvertent bang. Pressurized, bubbly force did this to my champagne bottle when I tried to open it:

Why I had a beer for New Year's Eve

No, I didn’t shake it, nor did I drop it or try to cut off the top of the bottle with a sword (apparently this is a thing; add that to the list of stuff I never heard of). All I did was tug the cork which, incidentally, was still in the bottle top when I found that piece. I am grateful it exploded away from my body and I wasn’t injured, although it did take an hour to clean up the kitchen (glass bits everywhere, including the ceiling!) and I had to discard the dinner I cooked and make another. It was early enough that I could have bought another bottle at the corner store, but am now leery of ever trying to pop a cork again, so greeted the new year with a beer. Prost 2018!

Before gobbling with the family, my mom and I took a long walk on the beach. It was hazy, but comfortably warm and just pretty as always with lots of birds:


Sand dollar exoskeletons were abundant, including this example in which its internal structure was visible:


If you celebrate(d) today, Happy Thanksgiving!

Apparently I was right on track with my thoughts on how to use the tensioning paddle on the Hansen inkle loom because I turned out my first inkle band in an hour last night.


Pattern: Offset Bars (one repeat only) from The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory by Anne Dixon
Yarn: Bockens Mattlin Nel 4/6, 100% linen, 74g (12 yards) of black (color 522) and 31g (5 yards) of dark teal (color 588)
Size: 1.25″ wide at its best and 1.5″ at its worst, 90″ (2.5 yards) long
Started and finished 11/18/2017

Those first couple of strands I warped on yesterday snapped as I experimented with the paddle, so I looked for something stronger than the 2-ply wool I had immediately next to me. I found this Mattlin Nel in Mr. MmmYarn’s stash and, boy howdy, is this strong stuff. It’s linen and almost unpleasantly thick, and I couldn’t break it if I were a weightlifter. The scissors had a hard time. I figured it would hold up to a paddling. After I wove the first few sheds, I thought “hmm” and went to find the failed rug he made years ago, and this is the stuff he used in that warp. He complained the whole time how hard it was to keep the tension even.

Had I remembered that discussion during yarn selection, I would not have used this for my first project. Tension problems plagued me, too, resulting in some pretty wonky edges. Not that my plain weave edges are beautiful yet when I’m on the Flip, but they are presentable. Still, I learned to warp and learned the hand motions to make the sheds. There is some thin Cottolin in his stash that I haven’t known what to do with; I believe the next test band will be much more satisfactory.


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