Out with a bang

I did it! With 2.5 hours left in 2014, I finished my last goal- to spin all my fiber (acquired by December 31, 2013.). Yay!

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If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll understand what a chore this last project was. It was my first time working with locks as opposed to ready-to-spin fiber, and I had a heck of a time settling on the best carding method. I almost gave it up more than once. So it’s a great feeling to have finished this one last project! Yay! I’m ready for 2015 and new crafty goals!!

Measuring up

My Alpengluhen sweater is almost at the point where the body isn’t knit all at once (it’s bottom-up), so I’m obsessing about length. I’m supposed to knit 13 1/2″ until separating the back from the fronts, so I’ve measured several of my much-worn hand knit sweaters. They tend to measure about 13 1/3″, hem to underarm, and although I’m just about at that length, it seems so short! I even measured the WIP against not one, not two, but three sweaters just to make sure it was long enough!

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I’m knitting a few more rows, just to make sure, but not too many, because it will grow!

In other news, I skeined up my plied handspun from A Verb for Keeping Warm (colorway Tigerlily), and it’s pretty!

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I thought it would be interesting to show you photos of before and after washing. The above photos are all pre-washing.

Now it’s drying, and it has definitely relaxed and plumped up! Before washing it looked slightly over spun in places, a bit kinky, and didn’t fall straight down when held up. Post-bath, it’s fluffy, softer, and looks less stressed and falls straight down, as I’ve read that a balanced skein will do. Photos of that tomorrow!

Oops! (giggle, giggle)

I’ve been working on what might be my biggest spinning project yet, about 13 ounces of Rambouillet, which I bought at Meridian Jacobs Farm a few years ago.  http://www.meridianjacobs.com/exec/eHome.asp?verifyCookie=True

I divided the huge amount of roving in two, using my handy digital kitchen scale.  Last week I finished up one half, and I was surprised that it only filled one bobbin, considering the huge amount of roving.   I usually fill up a bobbin with much less fiber than that!

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No matter, I continued on to the second ball.  However, as the second bobbin was almost full, I still had this huge ball left.  Shouldn’t it be running out by now?

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Far left: bobbin #1, pretty much full. Bottom: Bobbin #2, almost full.  Top: huge ball of roving still left to spin.

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A-ha!  Inside my spinning wheel bag I found what was left of huge ball #1.  I had assumed I was done with huge ball #1, neglecting to check for more!  When I fill up bobbin #2, huge ball #2 should match huge ball #1, more or less.  I’m right on track, after all.  Silly me.

What to do with leftovers

After I plied my Busybee with my Girl on the Rocks the other day with such lovely results, I had some of the Girl on the Rocks merino left on two bobbins.  This was not unexpected, as that braid had an ounce or two more than the Busybee braid did.  It was too much just to ignore, so I decided to ply what was left with some dark brown Malabrigo Sock Yarn left over from some socks I knitted about 2 1/2 years ago.  (No, my memory isn’t photogenic, it’s just that I won’t forget knitting those socks while in labor with my son!  :0 )

The result of my not being able to waste anything is really lovely!  It’s about 97 yards of merino squishiness.  I must be relaxing with my spinning technique, or washing the yarns differently, or something, because lately my yarns have been fluffier than normal.

The funny thing is that when each new skein is freshly dried, I think, “Oh, this is my favorite handspun ever!  I must knit it up right away!”  And it stays out in view for a few days before retiring to the stash where most of my handspun lingers.  I’ve given away a few precious skeins on special occasions, but mostly I’m very attached to my handspun yarns.  I particularly like to knit them up into shawlettes, especially the Age of Brass and Steam, of which I’ve knitted three versions!  I think because that pattern is mostly stockinette, it allows the true color and personality of the handspun to shine through.  Lately, though, I’m eyeing the hat pattern Rikke, because a friend knit a really great version of it in some handspun I gifted her.  The options are many, the time is little.

Enough rambling, eh?   Here’s a photo of the skein of the hour.  

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