Month: May 2016

Big Spins…

A couple of weeks after I learned to spin, I started checking Craigslist to see if I could find a used wheel to call my own. In my search, I came across someone who was selling raw fleece. I went to take a look, and fell in love with the colours. There was a natural white and a natural brown and together I thought they would make a beautiful sweater!

It was an estate sale, and the woman selling knew nothing about the fibre, except that her friend had brought it back from New Zealand. I walked out with about 5.5 lbs of fiber, but not knowing anything about what it should look like, I took it to a friend. Turns out, the brown was not in good shape and was actually quite felted. I also knew nothing about processing a fleece, so I sent it off to Salt Spring Island and had it prepped there.

A few months later, I got back my pin drafted rovings. I’d been doing lots of reading and had decided that I would make cabled yarn. I was pleasantly surprised that the brown turned out okay, but did have quite a few neps in it. I spun the white up right away and it looks like this.

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But the brown has mostly sat… I’ll spin a bobbin and then get “bored” of the colour, so I’ll spin some dyed braids. I’ll spin another bobbin… and then back to colour. At the moment, I have five of sixteen 125g bundles spun. I plan to ply when I get half way through, but the motivation just hasn’t been there. I think I’m worried a little that it won’t turn out the way I’ve envisioned it. That I will have spent all this time working on something and it not being “right”.

One of the bundles… isn’t it a beautiful colour?

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Two bobbins, just waiting for me to be finished another three. I plan to ply my first and last bobbin together, then the 2nd and 7th… and so on down the line. I’m hoping that this will even out any inconsistencies in my spinning and help off set the changes in my spinning from the start of this project to now!

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At the beginning of this year, I joined a “Spin the Bin” challenge on Ravelry. This is one of the projects in my bin. It’s been a big motivator for getting things done. 3 of the 5 bobbins that are currently finsihed have been spun in the last couple of months. Honestly, I think I just need to do a marathon spin and sit down at my wheel until my singles are done!!!

How do you stay motivated when you’re doing big spins? Do you just plug through it or do you do bits and pieces at a time? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Spinning!
~Katrina

Experimenting with a Turkish Spindle

In March, I picked up this lovely Turtle Made Turkish Spindle at Fibres West. That night I immediately got started on a 2oz braid of lovely Polwarth Silk from Sweet Georgia.

Every night before bed, I would spin for 5-10 minutes. It made the process very slow, but I liked the quiet reflection just before climbing into bed to go to sleep.

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Eventually I had two little turtles ready for plying. They weren’t pretty but they were functional. My friend, Diana wrote a great post about her turkish turtles. It’s a really interesting point of view!

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I had started each of my turtles in a different way. One with a leader of yarn, the other by putting the fibre into the base of the spindle and spinning a leader that way. I found that my yarn leader came off the spindle a little better but they both worked well.

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Then I started making my plying ball. I have a small felted ball that I use to wrap the fibre around. I find it makes the plying process much easier!

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All done!

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Then I set off to ply. I used my Steampunk Spindle. I find that I can fit a lot of fibre on it. In the past, I’ve plyed an entire 4 oz braid on it… and still had room! I didn’t take any photos during the process, but here it is, all done.

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Finally, I was left with just under 200 yards of beautiful, fluffy two ply yarn. I found that the weight from the turkish spindle created a beautiful halo on my fibre and I’m thrilled with the final product. Now to decide what to make with it!

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Happy Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of adventure and crafting ahead of you.

~Katrina

FibreFriday

Farm Fairy Fiber Sample Spin

Just before Fibers West, my lovely friend Keryn asked if I would be able to spin a sample of her newly dyed fiber… and now that I finally have a blog, I can share it all with you!

This is the aptly name, Cranberry Tea on Superwash Merino.

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I decided I wanted to keep this spin as simple as possible, so I took the braid, split it in two and spun each piece from end to end, with the plan to create a two ply yarn.

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This fiber was a dream to spin. There have been braids in my past that have been so challenging to spin, simply because the fiber ended up felted in the dyeing process.  Definitely not the case with this braid. It was soft and fluffy and needed no pre drafting at all!

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I ended up with approximately 285 yards of super fluffy DK weight yarn. I love the way the colours all blend together. The light parts really breathe life into the skein and the darker parts really add a balance to it. Don’t you just want to squish it??

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I have another braid from Keryn called Bubble Nebula sitting in my stash at the moment and I’m really looking forward to getting it onto my wheel… just have a few projects that need to be wrapped up before that time!

Till next time, happy crafting!

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Let’s Talk Colour Combinations

Have you ever picked up a gorgeous braid of coloured fiber, gotten it home and then had it sit in your stash forever? Is part of the problem that you’re just not sure what to do with it? Well, I hope today’s post will help a little!

I consider myself to be a fairly new spinner, having just learned in February of 2014. However, in that time, I’ve done a lot of reading, watching Craftsy classes and practicing. I approach colour from a slightly different perspective than most, as I have a background in photography and did my own colour printing for years. I also have a background in interior design, my favourite class being about working with colours!

Since learning to spin, I’ve been a Sweet Georgia Fiber Club member. One of the things I love about being a club member is that sometimes you get a braid of fiber that you would have never picked out yourself. I find this really pushes me outside my comfort zone.  That was definitely the case with July 2015’s colour, Modern Mandarin. While I loved the base (BFL/silk), I didn’t love the colour… I’m just not a fan of pink. Earlier this year, I joined a Spin the Bin challenge, where you try and spin things just from your stash of fiber… and I knew I wanted to get this out of my stash!

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So the challenge was, what do I do with it? Do I make it a gradient and blend it with some white? Do I just spin it from end to end and navajo ply it and embrace the colours as is? Or do I try and combine it with something? I decided that I would combine it with something and started to search my stash.

I chose this gem from November 2013 club called Wild Turkey, that I had bought as an extra. The oranges were a perfect match and I loved how the blues and greens in Wild Turkey played off the pinks and purples in Modern Mandarin.

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If you know anything about colour theory, you’ll know that blue is complementary to orange and that green is complementary to red (or pink!) This was part of the reason that I decided to combine them. The other part was that I hoped that they would end up becoming a more subtle yarn, that I would be happier with!

I split each of the braids into 12 pieces, as I wanted fairly short colour repeats and then I started spinning. One colour per bobbin, end to end, keeping the repeats in the same order until I had my two full bobbins.

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And then the plying marathon began! I’d spun my singles very thin, so it just seemed to never end!

This was it fresh off the bobbin and still on the niddy noddy.

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I was so excited with the skein, that I just had to photograph it before washing and finishing it.

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After washing, the fiber relaxed and puffed up a little, making it very soft. I also had a small amount of the Wild Turkey left over, so I navajo plyed it and got a mini skein of about 60 yards!

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Can you see the difference from the image above before the bath?

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It always amazes me how colour can be transformed just by the way you work with it. The boldness of both colourways is muted in the combination, when you compare it to the navajo plyed Wild Turkey, but the beauty of it remains. I managed to get exactly what I’d hoped for. A beautiful combination of colours that I’m excited to work with!

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I have approximately 1145 yards to play with (another benefit of working with two braids!) and I can’t wait to figure out something to knit with it.

What do you have in your stash that you could combine? Could you make something new that appeals to you more?

Until next time,

Happy Crafting!

~Katrina