Thursday, March 15, 2012


So I guess today's post is about using up some junk. First we have the sweater that I bought a few years ago at Good Will for the purpose of reusing the yarn. I started to take it apart and here is what is left - a front and half a back:
The problem I kept running into is that the yarn kept breaking...and not just in a few tough spots but ALL the TIME so I knew I wasn't going to be able to re knit it without a bunch of trouble.
I was about to throw the whole lot of it in the trash when I remembered that I got a pair of very fine hand cards for Christmas that I thought might be able to make the yarn fiber again. Here is a tuft fresh off the carders:
I hope to be able to toss this on the drum carder and spin it into a stronger yarn. If that doesn't work It's going in the garbage. I think what I discovered is that the sweater was made of non-virgin wool (perhaps the yarn was already re-purposed once before).

Next up is what I call one of my 'Junk batts'. I used the fiber left over from flick carding some locks that I spun a while back  I tossed it all on my drum carder and got this lovely batt:
Here are the singles all spun up.
I thought about plying this back on itself or perhaps leaving it as singles but I wanted it to be a little stronger. so I got out some shiny (but dirty) locks out of a bag of mystery wool and combed them into a roving that I spun into another set of singles. Here is the pair waiting to be plied.
Finally the resulting yarn. I think in hind site I should have used the batt as the outer part of a core wrapped yarn. I think that would have showcased the colors a bit better ad given it and even more fun texture.
What I am learning is that these sorts of yarns area  BLAST to spin but are far from what I like to knit with on a normal basis. I am sure I can think of something to do with it though.

Last but not least is that I have been bitten by the bug...the hexipuff bug that is...I don't care if it's the "popular pattern" right now, I think it's a cute idea and I have a ton of odds and ends that lend themselves well to this application. I have learned quickly how to adapt the number of stitches for various thicknesses of hand spun and hope to be able to use everything from lace weight to bulky.
I was using my small bits to make key chain socks but after making the last sock I realized I don't know where the key chain is and so I will make my little samples into these for now. I love the idea of having a snugly quilt that is just as awesome to lay on top of as it is to cover up with. Not only that but I will be able to look at this and have a little mini record of my previous projects and I think that's pretty neat.

Friday, March 09, 2012

I don't know why I am still surprised by the changes that happen to colors when I spin but here I am surprised again. This is the ball of singles spun from the rolag in the previous post - next to a spindle full of the white singles it will be plied with.
The colors are dark and rich and I really love them. I knew in order to keep them that dark I would have to ply it back on itself or leave it a singles but I wanted to make the 'same' yarn I had before to compare end results better so I went ahead and wound the singles into a plying ball. As you can see this lightened it up rather well.
Finally the finished skein of plied and set yarn. In the end it was much closer to the desired result I was trying to achieve with the first set of rolags that came out rather orange. I really like that I got a bit more of the rainbow effect I was looking for and who knows what changes will happen to the colors when I knit or weave it.

Monday, March 05, 2012

I had a very nice weekend with my family. We went out to dinner on Friday, and spent Saturday morning lounging around the house. We had a Saturday afternoon visit and dinner out with Grammy and Grandpa in the evening. On Sunday we stayed home. The kids played (with toys), Brian played (with his computer) and I played (with wool). We cooked a very nice dinner of crab cakes and Cesar salad together on Sunday and after we all went for a long brisk walk. All in all it was a wonderful weekend!
Sunday morning the kids and I made Calm Jars. I saw this project on Pinterest and thought it was a wonderful idea. I got them each a mason jar and let them fill it with various glitters and fun shaped bangles. Then we filled them with water and glued the lids on.
The object is when you are upset and/or having a fit to shake up the jar and sit and watch it until the glitter settles. It is just about the right time to let emotions settle too.

I am spinning a second set of 'scrap' rolags I dyed with food coloring. This time I wanted to see if I could get more distinct colors and try to get the blue dye to take better. I gave the blue dye a 3 minute head start from the red and yellow. Here is a (crappy) picture of one of the rolags (the other two are already spun)
The result of the dye in the rolag is much like I expected but it is spinning up very differently than I thought it would. Over all this is a dark yarn whereas the last one was a light yarn. I will post that once I am all done with that. Today's projects will be to finish that spinning, comb some wool, spin a different set of singles to be plyed with the dyed rolags, and make some boxes for my storage cubes.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Better than I thought.

I was a bit disappointed with those rolags from my last post. I thought I was going to get more individual colors, less blending and certainly more in the blue and green colorways. That was not to be and as you can see in the post below, the rolags came out looking, well, sorta pukey. I didn't chuck them though, I went ahead and spun them up on my drop spindle, and as I did the colors started to become a bit more distinct and in the end I liked what I had. Then I had to decide how to keep the color transitions. I had two options: The first was to ply it back on itself in a Navajo ply that would give me a three ply yarn but cut my yardage down to 1/3 the original. The second was to ply it with something else and that is what I decided to do. I grabbed some scraps from my combing project and whipped them up into singles. Here are the two singles wound into a plying ball ready to go.
 After plying and setting the twist I am happier with the yarn than I thought I would be when this all started. I have a little skein made from scrap wool that might otherwise have been tossed or used as stuffing for something. As it sits there are 54 yards here so really, more yardage than I thought I would get too.
All in all while messing around with some scraps I gained a bit of knowledge on how to make a multi-colored yarn that I really quite enjoy and a few insights into making the dyes behave the way I want also.