Still alive

Things have been a bit quiet around here. I haven’t been very crafty lately, but I have had a project on the needles for the last few months. Just a hat, which I’ve just been stabbing at a few rows at a time here and there, so it took a while. Just finished it, so here it is!

Lace beret

The pattern is Soft Linen Lace Beret by Meg Myers, for Classic Elite Yarns. The yarn isn’t linen, though, it’s wool. Dream in Color Everlasting DK (100% merino superwash wool) in colorway Tidewater. Very pretty color. The beret is on my head as I type this. Nice and cozy.

Lace beret

Lace beret

Happy fall!

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Thing-a-Week: bonus round

I know I said I was done and was going to be lazy for a while then do some longer-term projects, but inspiration struck and I did a Thing-like thing this week anyway. And it was too cute not to share. So, I give you Mr. LumpyBear, the tiny felted bear.

Mr. LumpyBear is needle felted using some of my dyed Romney wool, and sits at about 2.5 inches tall and less than a fifth of an ounce (5 grams). He’s a little lopsided, but how could you not love that face?

Tiny Bear

Say it with me: “Dawwwwwwwwwww.”

Thing-a-Week #47

I returned to spinning this week! Yay!

Thing a Week #47: Handspun

This was spun from a very pretty batt from Becoming Art in the colorway “Spice of Life.” It’s 4.25 oz mixed BFL wool, nylon, milk fiber, and firestar (sparkly!). It came out at 320 yards of roughly sport-weight yarn.

Thing a Week #47: Handspun

It was nice to spin again. It’s been a while.

Thing-a-Week #38

Continuing on from last week, I spun up the fiber I prepared for last week’s Thing. I wanted to do a comparison of woolen vs. worsted spinning, hence the separate prep of batt and sliver. Woolen is on the left and worsted is on the right:

Thing a Week #38: Handspun

What you’re seeing here is a true woolen yarn and a true worsted yarn. The woolen was spun from a carded batt using the long-draw technique, which results in an airy, warm yarn. The worsted was spun from combed sliver using an “inch-worm” techique, which results in a smoother, stronger yarn. The difference is hard to see, however: the CVM fiber I’m using is really probably more suited to the woolen technique and never got really smooth. Still, you can see in the following closeup that the right sample (worsted) is slightly smoother than the left (woolen):

Thing a Week #38: Handspun

Both samples are really springy and softer than I expected. It was an interesting experiment. And I still have several pounds of the CVM left!

Thing-a-Week #37

Back in September I bought 3 CVM fleeces from a farm up north: one white and two variegated. I did actually manage to wash two of them within weeks of getting them (which, come to think of it, could’ve each been a Thing, had I been doing Things at the time), and this week I started working with one of them. Here’s it is, a varigated CVM from an animal named Buster Ram:

CVM fleece - "Buster Ram"

I decided to do both carded and combed samples, to see how the wool behaves when spun. Here is some of the wool loaded on my English combs. To the left is my drum carder, which I had just used to make a batt. In the bin are the locks I was working with.

Combing CVM fleece

Hand carding and combing can actually be quite time-consuming. By the end of this excercise I had only two ounces of fiber to play with, one in a carded batt and one in several combed slivers. The fiber is a bit neppy, on account of me starting with some of the back and neck fleece, which tends to be somewhat tender and short. We’ll just call it rustic. The staples themselves went from dove gray at the cut end through white to cream at the tips, resulting in a light tan color overall when blended. It’s really very nice.

Thing a Week #37: Fiber

I had hoped to finish this week’s Thing by spinning these, going woolen with the batt and worsted with the sliver (two methods of spinning that result in different finished yarns), but I ran out of time. That just leaves me more to do next week!

Thing-a-Week #36

It’s the return of Thing-a-Week*!

Back in August, for Thing-a-Week #20, my friend Ewenique and I dyed some yarn and fiber, all in the same color: “Screen Door Purple.” (There’s a story behind that name, but I’m not telling!) This week, I finally got around to spinning the fiber.

Handspun

The 8 ounces of Corriedale fiber spun up to about 430 yards of yummy, plummy DK-weight yarn. Not sure what I’ll do with it. It’s not soft enough for next-to-skin wear, but I’m sure it’ll make a nice… something. Any ideas?

Handspun

* I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way I’m up to #36. My last Thing was #23 three months ago. I missed 13 (yes, 13!!) weeks due to work and other busy stuff. I thought about it a lot, and I had two choices: pick up where I left off with #24 and add make-up days to the end, or skip them, plow ahead, and end in March as originally planned. Since it’s a miracle I’ve made it this far, I’m taking the easier route and skipping the 13 Things I missed. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m sure I’ll still come up with some good stuff before I’m done!

Thing-a-Week #20

Another joint venture! This week: dyed fiber. I had a crafting playdate with my friend Ewenique Saturday. We had loads of fun, and spent a good part of the day dyeing yarn and fiber.

Thing a Week #20: dyeing

The yarn is 2 skeins Patons Classic Wool Merino, worsted weight, and the fiber is 8oz of commerical Corriedale that I had. We used Dharma acid dyes, mainly Midnight Blue and a plummy mix of Midnight Blue and Fire Engine Red. They’re still drying now, but Ewenique gets one of those skeins.

Thing-a-Week #19

Right. So, remember the tiny knitting I did last week? This is why I did it:

Thing a Week #19: Tiny Sheep

Yes, it’s a wee sheep. I made this for Ewenique because, well, she requested one! The sheep is made entirely of the Romney wool I processed last year, and I added the tiny knitting project from last week. She stands (er, sits) at about 3 inches tall. It was fun to make, if a bit fiddly because it’s so small. And I only bled once from stabbing myself with the felting needle this time! Go, me!

Thing a Week #19: Tiny Sheep

Thing-a-Week #17

I finally plied those singles from Things 14 and 16. The result: around 200 yards worsted-weight 2-ply yarn, again Spinning Sisters merino, colorway “Boyfriend.” Feels a little anticlimactic, but some days you gotta take what you can get.

Thing a Week #17: Handspun

The yarn actually turned out a little thicker than I’d anticipated. I spun the singles pretty thin, but they fluffed up considerably after plying and wash. It’s very soft and springy, though!

Thing-a-Week #16

Life continues to be a little hectic, so my Things have been a little smaller in scope lately. This week I spun up the other single I was talking about with Thing #14. Didn’t have time to ply, but that’ll give me something to do next week!

Thing a Week #16: Handspun

Both singles are pictured here so you don’t think I’m just posting the same one from last time. ;)

If you look closely, the one I spun this week, at right, has a longer stripe pattern than the first one. This is because of the way I split the fiber. For the first one, I split it in half-lengthwise, making the roving thinner and resulting in shorter repeats of color. The second was spun from the full thickness of roving, so it takes longer to get through each color, and results in longer color repeats. When plied, it should give a pleasing variation of color in the yarn. This method is sometimes referred to as fractal spinning.