Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Predrafting 101

A call came from Keri as to how to predraft top for spinning. I Googled until I was blue in the face and didn't quite come up with one that really satisfied me. At least not how I do it. So, I whipped out the camera and came up with a little photo tutorial on how to do it. Please excuse the horribly bad lighting and messy background!

So, here's where you start. A beautiful braid of combed top.

Spread it out and decide how many times to split it lengthwise. I'm working with almost four ounces, so I'll split four times.

I'm a little anal, so I drag out the scale and see how well I did.

Now, for some fun stuff. Examine the roving. Most times you'll see that there is a sort of fold line running down the length. This is where you start.

Using both hands (I only have one to work with), gently spread the fiber apart.

Work down the entire length unrolling it. Go back and keep repeating any spots that are still folded up. Sometimes the top will have been folded back on itself from the other side too.

When you're done, it should look something like this. An unteased portion is used for comparison.

Next, start splitting the width. I start with in half and then decide how many more times to do.

Most times I'll do four strips, sometimes six or eight. It just depends on how thick the top is, and how thin I want my final yarn to be.

Grasp the fiber in both hands spread apart(about a fibers length) and give a gentle tug until the fibers start to move. If it doesn't move, try a little harder, but not too hard. Too forceful and it'll rip apart. Reposition your hands a little further down the fiber mass and repeat. All the way down.

Keep going. And going. Until finally it's finished. Then, go back and redo over any spots that need some more work.

When it's done right, you should be able to see through the fibers. Notice, they're not wisping apart from each other. It can be a fine line, but with practice you'll know when you're done.

You'll be rewarded with a little pile of fluffy goodness.

I then roll them up and tuck them into a basket for safe keeping. Usually I do a whole bunch so that whenever I have a few minutes to spare, I can grab some fiber and spin.

Hope this helps anyone who is just entering the wonderful world of spinning out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Proof I Still Knit

OMG. I finally got my invitation to Ravelry. Guess where I've been spending all my free time? Feel free to stop on by and say "hi". Make me feel like I didn't just waste an entire weekend. Oh yeah, my username is "knittinmama".

So, before I got sucked in to that black hole, I had been knitting. I'm still not back to where I was before I lost my mojo, but it's a decent amount. During my daytime free time (the little there is) I work on my knitting. After the boys go to bed, it's all about the spinning. I think it's a nice compromise and I get progress on both.

I thought I'd give y'all a break from the handspun for one post and just introduce you to my latest projects.

These are handpun socks for another holiday gift. I almost sized them for myself, but I just finished a pair in these colors, so to the gift basket they go. See all those color combinations? All that is from just three colors. They're moving along nicely too, thanks to myself being highly entertained by the color changes. Too much fun!

Okay, these have been in the works for three weeks now and aren't seeing much action. I'm just not in the stranded colorwork mode right now. I figure if I can knit a few rounds a week until I do feel it, I'll be fine. The pattern is Bird Foot, from Red Bird Knits. She has some amazing patterns and I bought a few to have in the event of a colorwork frenzy.

This, I'm not so sure about. It's suppose to be turning into the Lace Edged T-Shirt in Knitpicks Cotlin. Frankly, now that I'm past the lace it's a straight boring knit. Not even waist shaping to have to look forward to. Just thirteen inches of stockinette in the round until I start the sleeves. Usually I relish these types of knits, but not right now.

For anyone who's been keeping track or wanting to know, here's the lowdown on those other projects that are lingering.

1. Saffy needs to be redone. I need a smaller size. Yay!
2. Gathering Intentions is on hold until cooler weather or I need a cable fix.
3. Cable Down Raglan is getting ripped. Unflattering to say the least.
4. Green Gable (never mentioned here before) needs major surgery. Details another day?
5. The gloves are waiting for fingers.

Naptime is quickly approaching and I have plans to curl up on the couch. It's raining and dinner's already cooked, so I'm going to make the most of it.

*One more thing, if anyone needs to contact me, my email has changed. Just substitute the Hotmail with Yahoo.*

Monday, May 21, 2007

Rolling in the Wool


After avoiding the blog for awhile now, I set about taking pictures this morning. Now, I can't think of a thing to say about anything.


Yeah, I'm having serious blog blahs. I have however been quite busy being creative. So, instead of indepth writing, I give you a post mostly in pictures.

Pattern: River Rapids
Yarn: "Blue Jeans" from Apple Laine

"Cheeky Monkey" from Spunky Eclectic
348 yards

"Citrus" BFL dyed by myself
210 yards

"Hunkered" from Hello Yarn
South African Fine, 246 yards

A whole lotta wool.

Apparently I suffer from the delusion that I spin more than I do because in addition to all of this that I just dyed, there's quite a bit coming in the mail. Oh, yeah, and then I'm getting a new toy... I'm very excited about this and will give full details when I get it.

Happy knitting and spinning!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yes, I Am Still Here

I'd had every intention of posting last week with more handspun. Of course this didn't quite happen. Last week was a flurry of Pedialyte and soft food, frequent trips to the laundry room and the annual Spring Clean Up. Yeah, just when I thought the boys were all feeling better, their sickness came back. With a vengance. Thankfully, we've been normal for about four days now, so I think we're better.

If you were reading my blog last fall, you may have remember me complaining about the lack of participation during that Clean Up. Well, this spring I was blessed with help. One neighbor helped out. One. Together we weeded, washed windows, swept and mopped, and picked up all the trash that was floating around the building. Less than three days after we called in quits, it's a mess again. Frankly I'm at the end of my rope with these people that live here. I mean, really, how hard is it to put your child's dirty diapers IN the trashcan and not next to it???

Okay. Okay. I know y'all came here for the fiber, not my disgusting neighbors. There's actually alot, so I only included a few things to talk about. The rest will have to wait for another day.

This is my latest sock project. I'm doing Rapid Rivers in "Blue Jeans" from Apple Laine. I was intrigued by the yarn content (merino, silk, mohair and nylon) and managed to find two colorways that were fairly monogamous in color. It's nice, but I'm not in love with it. These are being made for the holiday season, so the durability factor will have to wait to be determined.

"Azure Skies" from CMF pencil roving
Bulky singles
8 oz. / 540 yards

The first skein and the last one aren't the best, but the other three turned out great. Nice and soft with very little kinking. It's been very hard resisting the urge to go and buy more.

"Plum/Olive" domestic wool from The Yarn Wench
4 oz.
9 wpi

I wish I could tell you the yardage, but my computer shut itself off before I saved the data in my little file that keeps such things. I'll have to recount when I set the twist, which should be later today.

"Anton" wool roving from The Dudley Spinner
4 oz. 152 yards so far
8.5 wpi

I still have another four ounces to spin, but I got distracted by other things. I've come to the conclusion that I should not be allowed to ply until ALL the roving is in singles. Once I see how it looks, I loose interest.

So, after last week and playing catchup all this, I'm on break today. No major cleaning, no errands, no "real" cooking. Just relaxing with my knitting and trying to keep the boys from killing one another. So far it's been harder than I thought it would be...