A couple of months ago when I interviewed for this job, I stopped into the little yarn shop across the street from the library, Designer Yarns. They had a wonderful selection of spinning fiber from local places. I saw this alpaca/silk blend and had to have it. Rafael, when he saw it, said it looks like princess hair. And I had to agree. It’s soft like what you would imagine princess hair to be, too.
So I started spinning it. I decided to spin it into a lace/fingering weight yarn, so I could get as much out of it as I could. And I decided to not ply it. When I spin yarn it gives me opportunity to ask myself what the yarn wants to be eventually, and I asked that as I was spinning. The Whisper Cardigan came into my mind. I’ve been wanting a nice, simple cardi like that for awhile. However, I have had reservations about how it would look on me. I’m not so sure I like how it looks on regular people when I look on Ravelry.
Enter the Featherweight cardigan, by the same designer. I had never heard of this design until someone on Ravelry posted their own hand-spun sweater in a forum I belong to. It was gorgeous! and the perfect pattern. It, to me, is a more flattering design.
So that’s what this yarn will be eventually. In who knows how long. I’ll update you with my progress.
I thought for today’s installment of Crafty Monday I would show you some of the yarn spinning projects I’ve been working on. The first of these projects is made from llama fleece. One of my co-workers kindly offered half of a llama fleece that was “in her closet” one day and I eagarly accepted the offer. A few days later a gigantic bag of fleece was sitting at my desk. I was giddy with nerdy joy. I searched around the internet on how to prepare the fleece and ended up getting some good information from my boss’s best friend who raises llamas in Montana. She suggested that I wash and card it because llamas like to roll around in the dirt and the fleece is dusty. Did I take her advice? No I didn’t. I couldn’t wait to wash and card it. I read that llamas don’t produce the oils that sheep do so I thought it might be o.k. to just spin a bit up and then wash it after I’m done (like I do with the dog hair that I spin up). The fleece has both very dark brown and white hair and I decided to spin both colors to see what the yarn would look like. I Andean plied the yarn. I’m not so sure I like the white and the dark in one hank of yarn. I’m still trying to decide on that. I do like how soft the yarn is though. I worked out o.k. just spinning it and washing later. It’s not ideal, because the fleece is dusty, but it worked.
This little pretty is a batt that I bought at Paradise Fibers the day I bought my loom. Oh my, good god, I love that place. Anyway, I saw it and I simply couldn’t resist. Hanks in the Hood is the name of the company that made this particular batt. I believe this is the Shimmer colorway. I think this bat is merino/tencel. I don’t think I got a bamboo mix, but I may have. I have lost the card that came with it. But isn’t it pretty? I have decided to leave this as a single. I’m thinking that it would make pretty fingerless gloves.
This yarn is made from roving that I bought at Holy Thread’s “going out of business” sale. I really have no idea what the fiber is, but I’m guessing it’s some kind of wool. It was dyed red and blue and it has some heather to it, which think is pretty. For some reason the colors evoke color and texture of red and blue crayons. The yarn is a bit scratchy and still has a bit of vegetable matter spun into it. I’m not sure what I will do with it at the moment. Maybe a hat? I’m not sure.
Next spinning project: working on yarn made out of the dog hair from my mom’s dog that died a few months ago, Squeaker. This is proving to be a challenge because, as you can see from her picture (if you’ve clicked the link) she had short hair. I’m not sure how this will turn out. I will probably ply it with a wool yarn but I’m not even close to that stage yet.
Probably the highlight of me week was when my co-worker brought in a Tall Kitchen garbage bag full of half of a llama fleece for me! She had a full fleece in her closet and she offered me half of it. For free! I was so excited to get it. I reasearched a little bit and found some info on how to prepare a llama fleece. Some websites stated that they don’t have a greasy fleece, like wool does, so you don’t really have to wash it first. They do suggest combing. My boss’s friend raises llamas so I e-mailed her to ask her what to do with it and she did suggest washing it because llamas like to roll around in the dirt so the fleece can be a bit dusty. So have I done any of that? No. I couldn’t wait to wash and comb it so I just decided to start spinning some of it up. Just to see. It is a little dusty but it hasn’t been too bad. It’s so pretty though. So soft. And lovely to spin.
The other thing I did this weekend was weave my fist scarf! It really looks crappy but I don’t care. I learned a lot. So that’s good. I used Noro Silk Garden for the weft and Cascade Eco wool for the warp. I learned that the warp really needs to be tight if you want a good weave. So I will need to figure out how to make a tighter warp.
And just a few hours ago I worked on this:
I decided to start weaving a fabric out of plastic grocery bags. For the warp I used a hideous sock yarn from KnitPicks that I’ve had in my stash for years. It actually is turning out really nice! I’m going to sew a few of these strips together into a fabric to make a shopping bag.
I finished my scarf last week and let it block while I was out of town for 4 days. I really like how it turned out! I’m so glad I went with this yarn. I think it is absolutely perfect for this pattern. The perfect marriage. I think it, indeed, looks like morning surf. Here is the Ravelry link if you feel so inclined. Not much else to say about it. Great pattern. Highly recommended.
Speaking of morning surf, I just got back from the coast. We had a fantastic time. In fact, I wish I was still there. I miss living near the ocean so much. I came back to Spokane, home of unbearable heat. Oh, and we found that someone had broken into our garage and stole my bike. Jerks.
Did I mention I wish I was still in Long Beach?
When I picked up the current issue of Spinoff Magazine I knew I had to buy it for the Morning Surf Scarf pattern. How perfect is this for the Water element of Project Spectrum? Absolutely perfect! And I knew exactly which yarn I wanted to use for it, too. I was going to use some silk yarn that I spun up out of silk hankies. Since I finished spinning it I have had trouble finding the right pattern for this yarn. I have tried a few and none really fit. So the Morning Surf Scarf! I was stoked! And excited to cast on.
I decided to wait until the first of August to start. That is when the Water Element months kick in. I was itchy to start, but I would hold off. I would make something else first.
I cast on the scarf on August 1st and knit a lot of it. But you know what? I came to the sad conclusion that I wouldn’t have enough yarn. Plus, I wasn’t super happy with the results. sigh. So, instead, I pulled out some other hand-spun yarn in my stash. This was spun with some Yarn Pirate dyed BFL in a colorway called Spinaker.
I cast on and started knitting. You know what? After a few pattern repeats I knew it had to be fate. This yarn and this pattern were absolutely made for each other. The pattern and yarn combo replicates surf undulating on the sand. I absolutely love it.