Monday, April 25, 2011


I woke up early this morning with a solution to a very minor "problem": not enough yarn. Well, that's not specifically true, more like not enough yardage. This yarn:
shawl yarn
which is the spindle spun BFL/silkyarn from my recent trip, is 700 yards, weighing in at 8.4 ounces (that is about 1300 ypp, for those of you keeping track).

I want to knit a small shawl with it, I have been haunting the pattern feature in Ravelry, but every pattern was just "not right". The pattern I really want to knit is not small, and requires over 3600 yards! Not even close. No fudge room there (the pattern is Volt (Ravelry Link) from the Holiday issue of Vogue).

What was the Epiphany this morning? The pattern requires several colors. I could add other yarns to my puny little stash, and make the shawl I really want. Duh, duh, duh and duh.

Before the sun even rose, I was down in the studio. Within five minutes I had this pile:
volt yarns
This is various wools, all handspun, some softer than others, some variation in grist but not enough for the Man-on-a-Running-Horse test, totaling over a pound. And the other good news? There's more where these came from. I just have to be judicious, once I start knitting, and make sure the color order looks planned, rather than "She ran out of Yarn".

I cast on (395 stitches using a provisional cast on, for those keeping track at home: so far, I've cast on and not even finished the first row! This is going to take a while...).

I am stubborn. I want what I want, not a pale imitation, not a version of, but the Real Thingtm.

The second entry in the "Proves That I am Stubborn Category":
oil yarn
Nice yarn, eh? It is indeed nice now, but it wasn't last week. You've probably seen it here before, but that was indeed Before. Before this oil bottle leaked:
oil bottle

ALL OVER MY WORKTABLE. Yes, I am yelling. The bottle was upright. Closed. Plastic. Leaked. These two skeins of yarn (and my weaving records notebook) soaked up an entire bottle of leaking oil, which was properly sitting right next to my sewing machine, because I was being good and oiled the machine, right before I left last month.

An entire bottle of oil: handspun yarn.

I washed the yarn. I washed it again. Dawn, Dawn, then Synthrapol, wash, rinse, wash, rinse, latherrinserepeat: for a whole week. Hot water, Hot Hot water, Hotter yet water, with detergent. Yarn = still oily and smelly.

What finally saved it?
oil save
A sample package of this detergent. NO OIL NOW! (Yarn smells kinda funny, they use some sort of herbal scent in the wool-wash, but hey! I'll take that over oil!). I get these samples at conferences, and have never used them. I pass them on to people who scour wool. I'm SO GLAD I had one on hand. And that I am stubborn enough to keep trying until the yarn was clean again (DH thought I was nuts).

So by way of a cautionary tale: don't buy oil in plastic bottles. I could see no cracks, holes, or breaks in the surface, and it was upright on the worktable. There must be a crack of some kind, but not visible to the naked eye.

Also? Put yarns away, don't leave them out on your worktable (hah!!!).

Also: buy some Power Scour. You may need it someday. It must be powerful stuff.

Luckily, it's not likely ever to be needed for this cute face:
marin face!

Saturday, April 09, 2011


So far this week:
spindle yarn april

Four skeins, and # 5 on the spindles. I think there will be 6, or at least 5 and some, for a (guesstimate) total yardage of 550 to 600. I have been looking at patterns, but with each new spindle-full the options are greater, so I will wait until I am done with this fiber before I buckle down and really search. I've also got one more braid at home, not of these colors, but of a purple that would certainly go with, so I am not above looking at patterns where two colors might work.

Yarn Management:

noste to spindle
Spindles to nostepinne, together, into one plying ball, then from noste to plying spindle. Easy, direct, no transfer of yarn from the noste means there is no need for fancy storage babbins, winders, tubes or containers.

Then: plying spindle to niddy noddy:
spindle to niddy
The noste becomes the central post, and two arms are added to make this a very useful travel tool: Niddy-pinny from The Bellwhether.

It's been easy to spin, in fact I brought knitting and that has seen very little action. I can spin and sit with a certain someone, and occasionally the spindle fascinates just enough to prevent an outbreak....

I do have to put it down for meals though:

Marin sweet potatoes

Or I might end up with Sweet Potato yarns!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

12 Days of Cheating

On Ravelry, someone posted a spinning challenge: spin any project you want, make it a personal challenge, start April 3rd, end April 10th. Post results at the end.

I have a current spinning project, but I am away from my wheel for a time and decided to take up the challenge on spindles. I only brought the one (!) spinning project with me, two braids of dyed fiber:

12 days of spinning fiber

This is a Blue Faced Leicester and silk blend from Abstract Fibers that I bought at The Spinning Loft in January. The yarn will be two ply, for knitting, one of each color.

day 1 spinning2

I'm using two Golding spindles, both weighing .08 ounces, for the singles. Plying is happening on my Hound Design:

hound design

And the first skein, 83 yards, is done! This yarn will be a lace-knit something, a pattern to be determined, but from Anne Hanson's website, because I can't attend the Anne Hanson workshops and retreat that Beth has planned for this Spring, and I am jealous. I will assuage my jealousy with a secret private knit along while the ubiquitous they are at the retreat and I am not. I may even indulge in a few treats like afternoon tea with scones during the week, just so I feel like I am there!


See? Cheating. I started on April 1st, and I will continue on past the stop date (unless, gasp!, I run out of fiber....!). Cheating. For 12 days, or thereabouts. Do cheaters never prosper?

Why am I away from home, gleefully cheating away?

marin playing

Was there any doubt? :)!