Satisfaction

I was patient and waited until this evening to ply my singles from yesterday.  However, I got a comment from someone on Google+ saying that she never waits to ply, she just fills a bobbin then uses her ball winder to make a center pull ball and plies from both ends.  Anyone else tried this?  Anyone ply without waiting overnight?  How much of a difference does it make?  My finished yarn on the bobbin:

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This color is near impossible to photograph well.  At least for my mediocre photography skills.  The fiber is 70% alpaca 30% silk.  It started out looking like this:
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Spinning muted the color changes quite a bit, but there are a few places where pink barberpoles around the cream.  I managed to spin pretty darn consistently, after dividing the roving into two halves and spinning the singles and then plying them this is all that was left on my “fuller” bobbin:
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After plying, I used my swift to skein up the yarn so that it could be washed.  I don’t bother to use the niddy noddy at this stage because the length will change with washing and hanging anyway.
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Then I drop the whole thing in the sink with some wool wash.  I just picked up this tester-sized bottle of Eucalan and I love it.  It’s grapefruit scented, but not overpoweringly so, just enough to be pleasant.  For $4 it was a great way to see if I liked the scent.  I used less than 1/10 of the bottle, so it’s a pretty good value.  (Especially compared to the $10 per bottle of SOAK testers.)
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The fiber is Abstract Fiber Alpaca Silk  in colorway Mt. Hood Rose.  It appears to be available on the website, but they don’t have a picture.  I got mine at For Yarns Sake.  I let you know the final yardage and weight once it’s fully dry.

SIP (Spinning In Progress)

You know you are falling behind on your blogging when you non-knitting boyfriend notices that you haven’t posted in a while.  (Thanks for the kick in the butt Ry! Love you!)  It’s been a solid three weeks since I’ve posted anything.  Partially it’s because I don’t have anything finished and my favorite posts are showing off finished things.  Partially it’s because the weather has been horrible… 5 straight days of rain… and there’s been no sunlight to take pictures in.  My apartment is destroyed and I don’t want you all to see the mess.  Really, I’m thinking of you all.  It’s bad.

I’ve been very uncommitted to any one project lately so all my projects have some progress but not lots.  Mostly I’m trying to get some market bags done for my mom’s birthday present (her birthday is December 21.)  I’ve got some socks going for working on at sock hour at the yarn shop.  A sweater that I started as part of an October knit-a-long and am only about half done with.  Socks that I can’t work on at sock hour so only get attention when I’m on the bus.  A cabled pullover in bulky yarn that I love but don’t focus on too much because every time I do I feel guilty I’m not working on gift knitting.  Granny squares for an afghan that I sometimes have interest in.

There are some other things I need to cast on as gifts, but I think I’ll keep them a secret for now.  But I don’t want to talk about any of that right now.  Right now, I want to show you my current spinning project.

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That is 2 oz. of Alpaca/Silk from Abstract Fibers in colorway Mount Hood Rose.  This luscious fiber is 70% alpaca 30% silk.  I’ve spun it to a lace weight but I’m planning on spinning another 2 oz. and plying it so that I get a fingering weight.  I’m hoping for enough yardage for a triangle shawl–they make the best winter scarves because they cover the whole gap in my coat, not just up by my throat.

Spinning this was a bit hard to adjust to.  I’ve never worked with alpaca before or any other really long-stapled fiber and I wasn’t used to drafting with my finger so far apart.  Once I finally figured it out and got in my rhythm it spins so smoothly and it can be drafted down to almost nothing.

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The yarn is not as garish as the photos make it look.  The sheen from the silk and alpaca make it hard to photograph.  Especially in the bad lighting the weather has left us with here in Portland.  Don’t expect good pictures on the blog again until June… grumble rain grumble grumble

WIPs march of shame (part three)

This next project was started last August so there is some slim hope that they may be finished in less than a year. Slim, since for some reason I am extremely slow at sock knitting, but a hope none the less. I actually enjoyed knitting these socks while I was working on them, but problems kept arising. First, the cats chewed through one of my knitting needle cords, then they were too small for the intended recipient, then the intended recipient and I broke up so there didn’t seem to be a point to going back and fixing the mistake, then the cats got a hold of one of the balls of yarn and it’s a big old tangled mess that needs to be undone… So they sat unworked on.

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These are Mojo Socks by Donyale Grant and the pattern is free. Lots of people on Ravelry have done this pattern in bright happy colors and it looks wonderful. Since I knew I would be making man-socks with this yarn, I decided to pick this funky pattern to make my knitting experience less hellish. I think I will attempt to give them to Ryan as he does not own a single pair of dress socks and has smaller man-feet (which means still huge since I’m used to knitting to a women’s 7.5 for myself.)

In other news, I’ve done a little stash enhancing lately. Something about summer always makes me want to spin. Something about knitting with wool is not so pleasant, but touching wool fiber isn’t as bad for some reason. My spinning is still very bad, I’d love to take a class but I only have a drop spindle and am afraid that if I rent a spinning wheel I will end up falling in love and buying one. Here is my stash enhancement:

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This is 100% Superwash Blue Face Leicester from Woolgatherings. A sign in the knitting shop said it is the easiest wool to spin… This may have been a selling tactic, but it worked. I struggled a bit with the Targhee that I bought at Sock Summit last August. You will see what I produced in a later post.

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This may never get spun as I can’t stop petting the fiber itself. This is 70% Alpaca 30% silk from Abstract Fibers and it is heaven. (Can you tell there is a certain color family I prefer? The other day, Ryan asked me, “why is all of your yarn pink?” I hadn’t exactly realized it, but I seem to have a penchant for buying yarn in the pink/red/orange family.) I hope this is easy-ish to spin because I really want to start, but it would be such a tragedy if I ended up with ugly yarn…

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Just for good measure, and because I want to start right away and my other spindle is occupied, I bought a new one. It’s heavier than my other one so we’ll see what kind of yarn it produces.

Back to the WIP grind…