A mountain of yarn

Happy New Year, everyone!

I felt a rare organization urge this morning and decided to tackle the yarn stash.

I dragged yarn bundles, baskets and bins from all corners and with the help of my boys piled it in the living room.

img_7575

This is the before picture.

I sorted by type and weight, created a bin for lace weight, one for fingering, a big bag for bulky, and so on. One big bin is now filled with remnants to go in the slip stitch afghans I make, and another is for thinner yarn remnants for similar scarves or weaving.  Sweater lots were put together, and all the full skeins of handspun went into a zipper bag.

I did try to cull.  There is a fair amount headed for Goodwill:

img_7577

One woven basket of yarn showed some signs of moths, so I threw out a lot there and put some in the freezer.  And no more woven baskets for storage.  I was also able to get rid of the big white plastic bins from the before photo, which frees up some floor space in the little craft room.

Here is the after picture:

img_7578

Still a ridiculous amount of yarn, and there may be more pruning, but it is more organized and took up less space when I put it all back.

I also pulled out all the yarn I spun in 2016 for its own photoshoot.

img_7582

In 2016 I spun 6 lbs of fiber into these skeins.  That leaves 26 lbs. more to be spun.  My 2017 goal is to get at least another 6 lbs. spun and to get and keep the fiber stash below 20 lbs.

The fiber is next up to be pulled out and sorted, but not today.

A yarn finish

image

Another WIP can be crossed off my list.  I finished spinning the blue and purple merino that I dyed once upon a time, long enough ago that I don’t remember dyeing it.

I plied the bobbin with an even earlier spin.  That is the stuff wound on the toilet paper cardboard, which tells me that it was spindle spun – whenever I filled a spindle, I would use my yarn winder to wrap it around a paper tube.

Sidetrack: I went through quite a hand spindle stage a couple years ago.  I learned on a wheel first, and then experimented with different sorts of spindles – supported, Turkish, top and bottom whorl drop spindles.  Top whorl drop spindles turned out to be my favorite, and I carried them all around, keeping the spinning going.  Somehow, I fell out of the habit though.  I could spin faster on the wheel, which was part of it, and knitting was even more portable, so I reverted to those.

I still have a bunch of spindles though.

image

Anyway, I plied the newly wheel spun single to the thinner, much older spindle spun ply and got a lovely varigated skein of a bouncy DK to worsted yarn.

image
Skeined on the umbrella swift
image
Heading into its finishing bath
image
The finished skein

I have more left on the bobbin, so I should end up with about 350 yards in all.  Maybe a hat and mittens?

Purple hedgerow socks

image

I finished my sock on the last day of vacation, though the photoshoot had to wait until I got back to Oregon as the sun had gone down.

They fit perfectly.

image

Despite my troubles due to inadequate note taking and letting far too many months pass between the first and second sock, with some ripping back I got them to be the same size.

The pattern is Hedgerow Socks by Jane Cochran. A simple broken rib pattern with lots of stretch.  I made mine 6 stitches narrower and change the heel out for a partridge heel as I think they wear better.  The yarn is something I dyed, but I’m not sure when or what.  It was in my stash a long time.

I’ve learned my lesson about knitting pairs.  I bought another set of my favorite sock needles and I will be knitting two at a time from now on to avoid the replication and memory problems.

Back in the airport for the trip home I cast on 331 stitches for a crescent scarf.  So many stitches!

This one is being knit with handspun yarn – I don’t spin singles very often as I worry about their durability, so it will be interesting to see how this goes.

Bubble crepe

image

I finished my latest spin.  Two yak silk blend singles – one a cream 50/50 yak and silk, one a grey 60/20/20 merino, yak and silk.  Both were butter smooth and cloud soft.

The singles were over spun in areas, because I haven’t yet slowed my treadling enough for thicker singles.  I’m used to treadling as fast as I can for very thin singles due to my lace weight spinning/knitting years.  But it works out because I take out a lot of twist when I’m plying.

It now is hanging on a towel rack over a heater vent drying after its wet finish.  I think it is going to be a cowl/hat combo in its next stage. Something simple to take advantage of its uneven texture.  I’m very pleased with the end result.

What does this have to do with bubble crepe you ask?

Next step after finishing one project is looking for the next.  I went burrowing into the dresser where I keep most of my fiber, looking for inspiration.  In addition to way more fiber than I want to think about, I found an almost finished cowl project that got mixed in and lost at some point.  I will finish it up tonight, as it just needs to be bound off.

img_5662

The yarn is a bubble crepe that I spun long ago. I love cabled yarn, and this is a three ply variation. Two singles of very different thicknesses are plied together and then a third single spun in the opposite direction. Because two of the singles are thinner, when they are all wrapped together the thick, soft single gets bumpy.

I think it is a perfect type of yarn for angora blends, keeping the flyaway fiber partly contained without losing the softness. In this case I wrapped an undyed lamb’s wool/angora blend with purple merino singles.

Several years ago when we lived in Washington I was a member of the Snohomish spinning guild.  A guest speaker, Sarah Anderson, came and brought the many spinning samples she had been making for the spinning book she was about to publish. I was fascinated by the bubble crepe and have since made it several times.

I also bought the book when it came out.  I recommend it highly!  All sorts of intriguing recipes for many, many yarns.  I’ve barely begun to sample them, but I dream over some of the more complicated yarns and vow that someday I will try them.

Her bubble crepe is much bubblier (and even) than mine.  I will try again.

Oh, and the choice in my stash dive – this grey top that I long ago over dyed an uneven red.  I spun one bobbin of this long ago and then got tired of red.  Time to spin up some more of it.

image

The next spin

I’m dragging a bit this morning – my 10 year old had a sleep over with his friends at our house last night, and no one got much sleep.  Filled by pizza and cake, they were up late into the night, and the nerf war started up again before 6:00.  I seem to be the only one suffering from the lack of sleep!

My current spinning work in progress is a 60% merino, 20%yak, 20% silk blend, in its natural silvery color.

image

I’m still having a little trouble slowing down my treadling, so there is some pigtailing going on, but I’ll take care of that in the plying.  I will also go to the larger whorl next time which will help slow down the twist rate.

image

 

I captured a more accurate color pic of the last spun skein as well.  The sun made a brief appearance around here!  The teal blue with red tones shows up better in this photo, though it is still prettier in real life.

image

 

 

 

Spinning again

I am finally getting back into the groove with my spinning, after two years of almost completely abandoning it.  And none too soon – I’ve 27 pounds of fiber in various locations about the house, according to the fiber spreadsheet I opened up again at long last.

Yarn is being created!

This green yarn, with two plies from Polwarth and silk, totaled around 12 oz. and 450 yards of worsted weight yarn. Not my most even, but part of my efforts to relearn spinning thicker singles.

image

I had some green left on one bobbin so I spun up two singles of a blue and dark teal mohair/Cormo blend and barber poked the three plies together for another worsted skein – 156 yards for this one.

Over the last few days I worked on a heathery blue merino top from Ashland Bay, in the colorway “Tidewater.”  I plyed it last night and it is currently hanging to dry in the showing.  8 oz, but I haven’t calculated the yardage yet.   Another of my attempt to spin less thinly, so likely around 300-350 yards.  The pictures are horrible – it is definitely blue yarn!

Today I wanted to clear some bobbins with remnants from previous spins on them.  This bobbin started out as a three ply – purple merino, the last of the navy/teal mohair/Cormo, and the last of the green Polwarth/silk.  The purple single was much finer than the other two, giving the three ply some spiral texture.  When the blue ran out, I continued on with a two ply in purple and green, and when the green ended I chain plied the very thin purple until it finally ran out too.  Chaining is another skill I need to rebuild.  The ply snapped a couple times and I didn’t do well at rejoining the ends.

I think I’m going to go luxury fiber next.  I have some merino-yak-silk that I bought this weekend that I’m really excited to get started on.

And I definitely need to post about my weekend soon.  I met my fibery friends in Tacoma, WA, for the Madrona fiber festival.  So much fiber joy!

 

A green theme

Maybe because briefly the rains came back before the heat deepened again, but I’ve been on a bit of a green kick the last week or two.

The trees for the Night Sky quilt are coming along slowly, with pieces coming together in weird partial seam combinations when I have a minute to add to it.

Night sky trees in progress

The process is a messy one!

Green tree scraps

Green tree scraps

There was also a burst of knitting when I wasn’t somewhere that sewing was possible.  And without intending it, all of it green.

I finished one home spun cowl –

Handspun cowl - green

Started another –

Handspun cowl 2 a green

And then when I left that cowl in progress at school, I started a third.

Green cowl with combined lace

The first two are knit from the same fiber spun two different ways.  Cowl #1 is a two ply.  I had planned on making it very wide, but it turned out that what I thought were additional skeins were the same hand dyed fiber, but I’d spun it into a three ply yarn.  So those two skeins became a new cowl.

The third cowl I’m combining yarn.  I have a lot of lace and light fingering weight yarns from my obsessive lace knitting days, so I’ve decided that I’ll combine various skeins to make the bulkier knitting projects I’m in the mood for now.

After all these are finished I’ll need a burst of fuchsia or lemon yellow to recover from all the green!