Trying New Things, Part 1

I tend to be a creature of habit, but one of my husband’s life goals it seems is to convince me that it’s good to try new things. While I’m sure he’s thinking of things more like ‘hike with grizzlies’ or ‘canoe in alligator infested waters’ or walk through the weird murky water at Pewitt’s Nest without having a panic attack, over the last couple of weeks I have tried a couple new experiments in spinning. I’ll admit it’s totally not what he has in mind, but it’s something new nonetheless.

In any case, I started this year very much wanting to spin up a batt a friend sent to me last fall. Sadly I didn’t take a before picture, but I believe it was a drum carded batt in 3 distinct colors — lime, turquoise and a rich purple. It was small, just between 1 & 1.5oz and thus I’d let it sit for a good long while in my stash while I tried to think of a way to combine it with some stash fiber for a more substantial skein of yarn. I’m not the best when it comes to figuring out how to combine things. At all. For the longest time nothing in my stash really rang any bells declaring, “It’s me! Spin me with that batt!” So on a whim one day I ordered in this…

yak-silk
Photo courtesy of Classy Squid Fiber Co.

This is a braid of yak + silk from Classy Squid Fiber Co. I thought the green might play nicely with the colors of the batt. Having spun up the batt at the new year, when this new braid arrived I got right to spinning as I really wanted to complete the project as it felt so long overdue.

img_5585Spinning this blend was just bananas. Luxury blend doesn’t even begin to cover how wonderful this fiber was in my hands. It was like spinning butter, but, you know, not gross. In any case, I spun through this 2oz braid in no time and quickly realized that unfortunately it was definitely not going to work for its intended purpose. It was just not the right color or fiber blend.

It was back to the stash for me.

For whatever reason, it was at that point I was reminded of a braid I’d opened up and used a bit on the blending board with my daughter and I was pretty sure I had a winner in it. I pulled it out and got spinning. Since I had the 1-1.5oz batt and about 3oz of the stash braid left, I figured the easiest way to make the spin work would be a 4-ply. I don’t do much in the way of 4-ply yarns, but I have my Akerworks Lazy Kate that makes it easy so I figured, why not?

 img_5636What can I say? I think it just works. The bobbin on the right is the batt and the other three of the stash braid. Not only a better match color-wise, these fibers were also a little closer in texture and in how they spun up.

And the resulting skein…

mystery-batt-detIt’s just fun! Such a fun, fun skein! I haven’t measured exactly yet, but I think it’s a sport-ish weight and is about 225yards. I’ve got no idea yet how I’ll use it, but whatever final form it takes, I know it’ll just be bright & fun. I’m also so pleased that I was able to create such a happy skein of yarn with a gift from a dear friend.

Oh, and I should mention…

img_5585This. I have a request in with the dyer for another 2oz, so I can hopefully make a lovely and luxurious yak + silk skein. So I think it may be true what they say — nothing ventured, nothing gained. In this case,  little “venturing” is going to results in two pretty excellent skeins of yarn. This fiber artist has no complaints about that!

The 1+1+1 Project: Q3 Wrap-Up & Q4 Plans

If you’ll remember, my Q2 goals for the 1+1+1 project were pretty much a bust. I did get a lot done, but I left my goals on the table. I was pretty committed to make Q3 happen though and I’m happy to share today that I did it!

Goal 1: Fun in the Tour de Fleece.

img_3992Done. And I made some fabulous yarn, too.

Goal 2: Knit up my 3 pairs of socks for the Feel Good Yarn Co Summer Sock Club.

img_3808One…

img_4104Two…

img_4415Three! What a blast, too!

And Goal 3: Finish the 2 projects from Q2 I totally whiffed on.

Hamlin Peak…

hamlin-peak-detDone.

And Swoop…

swoop-detDone.

I’m going to save most of the photos for next week when I can write a bit more in depth about each project — I hope you don’t mind!

So I did it! I managed all 3 of my third quarter goals! Whew-hoo!

There really is no rest for this crafter, so it’s time to square away what’s what for the fourth quarter, right? I’m trying to take into account that it’s a busy time of year — we got lots of birthdays and holidays happening, so here goes…

Goal 1: Knit a Featherweight Cardi in my Birds in the Holly handspun yarn.

featherweightYou’ll remember I spun the 8oz in late spring and then an additional 4oz during the Tour de Fleece. It is time this yarn becomes a sweater!

Goal 2: Spin some fun yarns for my daughter’s birthday with these fun mini-batts.

delia-battsMy girl is still bonkers for her Wee Weaver and we’re going to surprise her with a Placemat Weaver for her birthday so I’ve got to get her set with her favorite color yarns, right?!

batts-openI can’t wait to spin and then see her weave with these lovely textures!

Goal 3: Try Kool-Aid dyeing.kool-aidThe only dyeing I’ve ever undertaken did not turn out great, so when I got these Kraemer Natural Skeins in the mail I knew it was time to give it another go. I’ve got three different blends and a basic plan for each. A little research and I will be on my way!

I think my goals are mostly reasonable for this time of year. I suppose we shall see! What are your goals for the last 3 months of this year?