Five Days, Five Spins: Day 3

img_3724‘Satisfied with Summer’ was the July Top of the Month Club from Three Waters Farm. This 40/40/20 Merino/Superwash Merino/Tussah Silk braid was a definite WOW when I opened the package. The colors were so vivid and stretched from so light to so dark that it kind of took my breath away. I had a particular adventure in mind for this fiber and it involved these…

img_4004My four Akerworks Mini Spindles. Since I started this fiber during the Tour de Fleece, I thought this would be a grand fiber to use as my ‘take everywhere’ project. The Mini Spindles are perfect for this as they are very small and travel extremely well.

I split the fiber in thirds and made some of the sloppiest rolags you could imagine out of the first third.

img_3807And I grabbed these “rolags” and  started spinning.

img_3904And I kept spinning.

img_4037And I spun some more, so much more fluidly than ever before with spindles.

I did indeed take my spindles with me everywhere, including my rather dark basement on those hot & humid days of late July & early August.

img_4185And eventually I finished that first third of the braid.

It was at this point that I had a decision to make. Do I keep spindle spinning the remainder of the braid or do I finish the final two-thirds with my wheel?

img_4192I went with the wheel.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was kind of a big deal for me. This was the first time I really looked at both my wheel & spindles as equals, as tools that do the exact same thing. I wasn’t thinking about how clumsy I am with the spindles or how uneven my spinning on them might be and how much more fluent I am with the wheel. I didn’t ‘give up’ on my spindles to finish with my wheel. I just made the choice to spin the last two thirds with my wheel only because my wheel was free and because I was excited to finish up and see my new yarn.

So I wrapped up the singles spinning…

img_4257The spindles were a bit more blended thanks to my “rolags” (in quotation marks as they were more of an attempt at rolags than the real thing) and the two bobbins, as is my habit lately, I divided differently so for the most part the color changes wouldn’t line up.

I didn’t snap any plying photos. I used my Lendrum Kate for the bobbins, but set up my AkerKate to handle the spindle. And because the spindles were so full, I had to pop off the whorls to get them to work in the set-up. When I popped the whorl off of spindle #2, this is what I found…

Just perhaps my favorite photo of my fiber arts exploits ever.

It’s interesting to note that where I thought for sure my wheel spinning would be more consistent than my spindles, the exact opposite was true. On a whole, my spindle spun singles were actually more consistent! I think this is largely because, being more of a novice with spindles, I take more time with them. When you’re more focused, of course, you are more consistent and pay more attention to details.

The final skein, a traditional 3-ply, came out to be roughly 330yards of sport weight yarn.

SatwithSummerI didn’t really have a plan in mind for this beyond making it a 3-ply so I am just plain smitten with the results.

satwithsummer2It’s shiny & has loads of drape. I can’t help but imagine it as some simple little shawl like Echolocation or Leticia. Whatever it becomes, it’ll be the cherry on the sundae of this yarn. I’ve already gained so much from spinning this skein.

satwithsummer3The realization that I can use my spindles and wheel as equals is not only a huge confidence builder as I feel stronger as a spindle spinner (and spinner in general), but it’s a boon for productivity, too. Now when I start a spindle project it’s not a project I can get “stuck” spinning for months on a spindle — that’s what used to happen to me. No, now I can work an entire braid, a portion of a braid, or any combination I can dream up on spindles and my wheel. I’m not anchored to one method or another. Maybe this is something other spinners feel right away, maybe not. For this lady, though, it certainly is a big deal and it absolutely leaves me satisfied with the lessons of this braid, satisfied with the lessons of this summer.

Wit Beyond Measure

I loved Dyeabolical‘s Wit Beyond Measure colorway so much that I ordered it as soon as it was available.

My 8oz of Targhee spent a little time in my stash as I waited to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it. When I got wind that the Akerworks folks were hoping for someone to try out a 4-ply yarn using plying bobbins in the “AkerKate” test I knew I’d found the match for this fiber.

img_3100It was a really pretty and really fun spin. There was a bit of a delay as I waited for my Akerworks SuperJumbo Lendrum bobbins to arrive. Since they became available I’ve wanted to add them to my tool kit for traveling and knowing they’d be useful in the test gave me the incentive to pick up a couple.

Upon finishing the singles, I could tell early on that I’d not quite measured one of the quarters of fiber very accurately — either I mis-weighed or I mis-spun a little as one bobbin was clearly more full than the other. No bother, I had a plan. I went into my first 4-ply with gusto.

4ply detIt turned out SO PRETTY. This skein far exceeded my hopes.

kinksI’m showing you this picture so that you can see that even though this is washed and set it’s still got a little extra energy & twist in it. For the next 4-ply, I’ll definitely want to tame that just a bit.

full skeinBut I’m not too worried — I can tell it’ll knit up just fine. It finished with about 150yards of heavy aran/light chunky yarn and in my eyes it’s really something special.

Now. The leftovers.

I had 3 bobbins with yarn on them once I ran out of yarn on the 4th. One bobbin had loads — as I mentioned before I knew would be the case — and the other two not so much, but enough to not want to waste. I started in on a 2-ply using the loaded bobbin and one of the lighter bobbins, joining the second light bobbin when the first ran dry. When the 2nd light bobbin ran out before the heavy one was finished (I’m telling you I was WAY off with that one), I made an Andean plying bracelet and used up every last bit of my 8oz of Wit Beyond Measure leaving me with a fun little sport/DK weight 70yard skein.

2plyIt was fun to see how this colorway looked in a 2-ply versus 4-ply.

2ply fullThey have such different personality and to an extent different characteristics because of how they were plied.

One thing’s for sure, it was a fun little experiment with my new SuperJumbo Akerworks bobbins, the Akerworks Flat Pack Lazy Kate — which handled the 4-ply like a champ — as well as seeing the yarn spin up in two different ways. I surely will be enjoying more of these types of spins in the near future — of this I have no doubt!

Wacky & White Sangria

As promised, I’ve got some fresh handspun to share today! Yay!

As part of the Akerworks Flat Pack Lazy Kate test I’ve been working on trying a lot of different plying scenarios. Varying the number of singles I’m plying, changing up the weights of singles, as well as the methods for plying. Again, I’m not going to go into detail on the Kate at this time, but I did want to share the yarns as they come off the wheel. Today I’m going to share two skeins that I worked up pretty similarly.

First, for a simple 2 ply I started with this braid of fiber.

Having been doing much more with with getting my singles light weight I made a little departure with this braid of Rambouillet from Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber in the White Sangria colorway.

img_3017Aiming for a worsted-ish 2-ply, I’m happy to say that’s exactly what I got in the end.

True to the Rambouillet breed, this yarn poofed nicely in the wash.

coilAnd in the end I had a lovely squooshy skein.

skeinAt about 8-9wraps per inch this worsted/aran skein has about 170yards on it, perfect for a soft and smooshy hat or cowl.

Next, how about Wacky from Spun Right Round.

I can always count on my Spun Right Round fibers to be bright and unexpected and a little wild (and wacky).

img_3039Shooting for a worsted-ish 3-ply, I was kind of testing my skills since I’d have to make minor changes to my singles from those I’d just spun for White Sangria.

img_3103-1The colors were bright and fun to spin — it really helped me to forget the demands of the spin.

detAnd it came out SO NICELY.

skeinThis 3-ply indeed came out as a worsted weight yarn (about 4-5wraps per inch) and measured in around 150yards. Because of the 3-ply and the slightly tighter plying job it doesn’t quite have the squoosh factor that the White Sangria skein does, but that’s A-OK with me.

coilI mean this skein is so darn fun!

What a great couple of skeins with which to start my great plying extravaganza!

Just Keep Knitting & Spinning & All the Rest

I tend to over plan my crafting. Because my crafting feeds my blogging, I try to have a grand scheme in mind as to my craft timeline so that I have things to write about. After all, this would not be super interesting if I kept showing you the same 4 projects for 6months, would it? That said, there are times that wind up busier than others just because I have a great opportunity to test or review something new-to-me (or new altogether) and I just don’t want to pass it up. I’ll squeeze it in I tell myself. And I do. I always find a way to make it work.

The past month has been one of those times for which the over planning took a backseat to opportunity and I’ve been feeling like I’m constantly trying to get caught back up. Part of that is that things around our house have been busy, but part is because I took on a few extra projects this month. It’s all good, you know, and thankfully solid forward progress is being made on all fronts, both around the house and in my little crafting world. My main concern is that I’m running behind in my 1+1+1 projects for this quarter, but we shall see. When life happens, it happens and sometimes you just have to enjoy random surprise opportunities when they present themselves and the rest will get done when it gets done.

But I digress. Shall we talk about what I’ve been up to this week?

First, as you know I’ve been working on my Briggs & Little Durasport Chittery Chattery Socks.

chittery chatteryLast night I finished the first and this morning I cast on sock #2. I’m actually a couple inches farther now as I knit on them through a library sponsored viewing of The Force Awakens with the kiddos. This was my first time knitting through a movie in the dark with a stitch pattern, but it went surprisingly well and the progress has put me in a pretty darn good mood.

Second, the big news around here is that the Akerworks test version of the Flat Pack Lazy Kate arrived earlier this week and it was time to get plying!

AkerKate detAs it’s being tested and discussed in the forum & forms put together by Akerworks, I won’t be going into great detail here until the testing phase is complete.

AkerKateI will say that it’s a pretty ingenious design, especially if you’re a spinner that travels a lot and I’m really enjoying putting it through its paces.img_3180Hey look! I haven’t lost my rings again yet! Or, the real reason I’m re-sharing this photo is the background — those are the 4 skeins I’ve successfully completed for the “AkerKate” test. I’ll give you a more in-depth introduction to those later this week.

I did take a little time not long ago to treat myself to working up some proper yarn bands for my handspun yarn.

img_3174 Because I’m not very graphics/computer savvy, I worked with this very helpful shop on Etsy to create them. I have no plans to sell my handspun at this time, but it’ll make keeping track of things and gift giving much nicer I think. It’s been something I’ve wanted to pursue for a while and I’m glad I finally got there.

The rest of my spare time when it hasn’t been raining (which it has been a fair bit lately) or snowing (which it was doing this morning) has been spent doing some of this.

img_3118It’s a beautiful time of year (usually) to be hitting the trail complete with new migratory birds in the trees each time. I even saw our first hummingbird of the season yesterday and got our feeders up after a brief stare-down through the front window by a determined female.

And then there was this…

img_3179Our sweet Moose needed some extra snuggles this week. At his annual trip to the vet in which his seasonal allergies were kicking up a storm, we decided to try a new medication for him. And he had an allergic reaction to it! To add insult to injury, his ear that is borderline infected flared up, too. There’s been a lot of sad puppy ear cleanings and other less than awesome treatments this week, so I’ve been taking extra time to try to make sure he knows I love him dearly and I ‘m really and truly not trying to torture him with apple cider vinegar and ham that tastes suspiciously like pills.

Well friends, I’ve got pizzas to make and laundry to sort. And the lawn probably needs mowing. And Moose needs some snuggling. And I’ve got four projects left to ply and those socks aren’t going to knit themselves. It’s time to get back to it! Just keep knitting & spinning & all the rest and it’ll all get done eventually, right?!