Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spinning Project

Last night I had a flash of inspiration and ran with it! For my self-imposed Maryland Sheep and Wool project, I decided to spin up this braid of Falkland wool from Into The Whirled:

ITW blue

But how to do it--that's the trick. With spinning, the options are numerous. 

I remembered reading a friend's blog post about creating a gradient from a braid utilizing handcarders. She includes some great links, including this one, which was my tutor for making good use of some handcarders I have on an indefinite loan from a dear friend. 

I jumped to it.
When I unbraided the fiber, I noticed that the color sections were short and didn't seem to follow any pattern. I tried unsuccessfully to find a color repeat. 

Cerulean Dream Fiber

Next, I began fluffing out the fiber by teasing its thickness out, then pulling tufts off the end and separating them into piles according to color. I chose to follow the color progression in the fiber, which placed turquoise at one end of the spectrum and dark blue at the other. As you can see, the staple length of the fibers meant that it was difficult at times to get a pure color.

Cerulean Fluff 

Next, I spent probably the next forty minutes carding everything into lovely rolags. The first couple were awkward, but I rewatched the video and became a bit more confident. It was exciting to see the colors blending as I carded them.

Carders

Speaking of color blending, I think it's fair to use this as a learning point. You may notice that the photo in my blog's header shows some rolags that have some very distinct colors. Why are they different?

Pseudorolags2

The answer lies in how they are created. The rolags pictured here have been dubbed "pseudorolags," since they are not carded at all. To create them, I pulled very small tufts of fluff from the ends different color sections of a dyed braid, then layered them on the table and rolled them up using a couple chopsticks.  By contrast, the process of carding blends the fibers as I 'brush' everything together.

I'm rather excited to see how it turns out! I am thinking it would be nice to wheel-spin a fingering/sport-weight gradient that I could knit up as a lace shawlette. If I felt more confident with my rolags, I'd use my tried-and true spindle chain-ply to keep the colors separate; as it is, I think I will use the wheel and leave it as a single ply yarn.

Cerulean Rolags

Cerulean Rolags

Monday, March 18, 2013

Now I'm A Kitty Blogger

Blog? What's that?

I like to think that I'm spending less time on the computer for Lent, but it's really just my way of trying to spend more time with yarn and books and our new kitty, Jake.

Untitled

Isn't he adorable? We adopted him a few weeks ago when his owner passed away during a struggle with cancer. I've never had a pet of my own that didn't swim in a fish tank, and kinda lost interest in the idea as the years and life hardened me. I think knowing his story gave me more compassion to consider taking an animal into our home, and I do feel a bond with him. This picture shows his shy and playful side, but he is at heart a snuggle bunny.

 Jake

What I've been working on:

I finally put eyes on my latest fish hat! 

2013-03-12 08.42.07
I just adore the purple yarn spun up by my friend Aaron, and loved the opportunity to use it again.

In my knitting group this year's House Color is purple, so I plan to keep with fishy tradition by wearing this bad boy to Maryland Sheep and Wool. 

I am delighted with this year's choice of House Color, so I have decided to use it as a focus color throughout the year. It gives me good excuse to utilize a color that I adore but have difficulty implementing into my own projects. I consider it a good challenge to try to use colors in ways that stretch me, and this will help me narrow the focus to a manageable range.

I'm slowly chipping away at a purple version of Stephen West's Túngata cowl. Here's a taste of what it will look like:
Túngata color

Túngata BW
Black and White shows how the colors will read when it's all done; whew, it works!
Speaking of Maryland Sheep and Wool, here's my plan: between now and it (May 4), work up a project utilizing something from last year's purchase. The pickings are a bit slim, so it looks like my project will have to be spinning up one of my braids from Into the Whirled. I don't know that I'll knit it up by then, but we'll see how things go.

I'm really enjoying whipping up a pair of socks in a Rhinebeck yarn - Nate's Sock Yarn by Briar Rose Fibers.  (We've been seeing a lot of BRF!!) Oh, how I love the ease of the pattern, the deceptive appearance of complexity, and the spongy texture of the yarn!  Having already knit this pattern up in fingering weight, I knew that it would not fit me without some kind of modification. It turns out that bumping up the yarn and needle size does the trick perfectly.  Just look at the beauty of this sock; I can't wait to finish and show the pair modeled:

2013-03-12 08.45.16
'Sprouting' by Beata Jezek

2013-03-12 08.45.48

The colors look suspiciously similar to my last pair of socks finished. Color fixation, perhaps?

PGR Socks
'Toe to Top Socks' from Simple Socks Plain And Fancy by Priscilla Gibson Roberts;
yarn is Dizzie Lizzie's  Superwash Sock, purchased at Maryland S&W two years ago.

And to finish off, here's a taste of my sampler as it currently stands.

2013-02-19 08.30.40

One of the things I've been mulling over as I knit this sampler is the possibility of incorporating lace into a purple project, trying to create a lace kerchief that I would enjoy wearing. Again, we'll see how that turns out at a later date...

Happy knitting, and thank you for stopping by! Your comments have been wonderful, and I love knowing there are people out there enjoying the journey with me!