spinning wheel


These yarns were all spun on a Louet Julia – not my wheel, but one of the wheels at my work.  I wish it were my wheel, I’m kind of in love with it!

handspun yarn

I’ve been playing a lot with the drum carder (also at work, also in love with it) and I love the variety of effects I’ve been able to get through blending different colours and types of fibres.

handspun yarn

Handspun yarn,100g, white and blue with green flecks, worsted/chunky weight single ply carded Merino and Corriedale wool.

This next skein will produce a beautiful striping effect when I knit it up. I think it’s really pretty but it’s just a small amount of yarn and I’m really not sure what to make with it. Any ideas? I’m not sure whether to use it by itself or to mix it with a commercial yarn.

handspun yarn

This yarn was the result of carding together all of the left-over fibre “scraps” from previous carding sessions. I have a few secret hiding spots where I tuck away little bits of fibre that don’t get used for whatever reason. The resulting “grab bag” batts and yarns I get from these treasure troves are really cool surprises.

handspun yarn

Handspun yarn, small tweedy skein, Many colours but mainly green, blue, purple and pink,  dk weight single ply carded Merino and Corriedale wool.

I really enjoy blending on the carder, but prepping wool fleece on a drum carder is also really fun, although it takes a lot of work to get the nice, smooth preparation that I prefer.  Once the fleece has been washed and dried, I pick out locks of wool and flick both the butt and tip with a hand-carder.  This fluffs and opens up the wool, releasing more dirt that may have gotten stuck in the fibres and makes it the perfect preparation to feed into the drum carder and get a nice batt.

Luckily, a friend has been visiting the store recently and scouring a ton of fleece!  Ana of Art-by-Ana is a super-sweet fiber lover who I really like to chat about carding and spinning with.  Thanks to her, I have access to piles of washed wool to play with!

handspun yarn

This was my first time preparing and spinning Jacob wool and I really like the breed. The sheep are spotted so their fleeces contain a mix of white and brown patches. For this yarn, I picked out mostly white wool and am looking forward to using the brown sometime soon.

handspun yarn

Handspun yarn, small (maybe 1 oz. -ish) skein, natural white with some grey-brown flecks, sport weight 2-ply flicked and carded Jacob wool fleece locks.

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A while back I bought two similarly dyed merino wool slivers by fleece artist. They were pretty much the same except one had more red and the other had more tan. I thought it would be interesting to spin each one in a different style.

hand-spun yarn

I spun the first top into a heavy worsted slubby thick and thin single. To prepare the wool, I separated it by stripping off sections lengthwise which were about five times thicker than my final yarn. This yarn’s colours change every few yards or so. Next time I strip the top like that I will try making my lengths of fiber thinner so that the colours change more frequently.

handspun

The second style I spun was a self-striping 2-ply worsted-weight yarn.

handspun yarn

My method was to divide the wool lengthwise into two equal halves. It worked really well! The colours lined up nicely and the singles were almost the exact same length, one was maybe six inches longer than the other. It’s always so nice when that happens.

handspun yarn

There you have it! Two very different looking handspun yarns from two very similar wool tops.

I’ll leave you with a photo of these really cool flowers, if you recognize them please let me know what they’re called. They start as pink balls that look like lanterns and then bloom into an explosion of purple and pink petals.

flowers

I love taking pictures of the moon but they rarely turn out nicely; the contrast between the white moon and black sky is difficult to capture in a photo. I’d say the moon and the sky are two of my very favourite photography subjects. A few days ago, I took this picture of the moon in the daytime:

daytime moon

I must admit, my photo wasn’t quite this dramatic until I gave it a few digital touch-ups 🙂 I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Onto the yarn! I spun this fleece artist roving into a really plump super-bulky thick and thin yarn.

handspun yarn

This was one of my first successful bulky singles spun on my spinning wheel. I usually prefer my spindle for these types of yarn as it gives me so much more precision and control.

handspun yarn

I’m gearing up for a weekend trip and what better knitting project to bring than hand-spun socks. This is the bobbin I will be bringing with me for the ride, Pleasurecraft hand-dyed wool/mohair blend from this top. I spun a fine single with a lot of twist in hopes that it will hold up to heavy wear. It is a self-striping yarn featuring yellow, blue, green, and orange.

hand-spun yarn on the bobbin

In the next post I will show you two different styles of yarn spun from two very similar wool tops.

A short while ago, I won this amazingly beautiful BFL wool spinning kit for taking part in a contest on Cosy’s blog. Thanks again, Cosy!

I highly recommend Cosy’s spinning kits (available at her shop on etsy) to any spinners or people looking for a gift for a spinner. The dye colours were beautiful individually and in combination and the wool was soft, shiny and a pleasure to spin.

The basic idea is to spin the largest 2 oz braid into a single on one bobbin, then spin the 4 1/2 oz multi-coloured braids onto another bobbin and finally ply them together.

Although it was my intention to follow those instructions, thing’s didn’t exactly turn out as planned!

When it came time to ply my two different coloured singles together, they just wouldn’t ply and I realized that the singles were each spun in a different direction, making it impossible for them to twist together. I had managed to make this basic spinning mistake because one single had been spun on my spinning wheel, and one was spun on my drop spindle. I had never tried plying from both at the same time before which is where the confusion arose. So, I changed my strategy and spun each bobbin into it’s own 3-ply navajo yarn which kept the striping colour changes intact.

I now have one light blue skein and one green, white, brown and blue striping skein.

As I ended up with a 3-ply yarn instead of a 2-ply as I had intended in the first place, it is definitely bulkier than I had planned (about 8-10 wpi, bulky to super-bulky weight). I wanted to knit a baby sweater, possibly a BSJ but am now reconsidering because this yarn may be too thick.

Do you recognize this fiber?

handspun

This is a plied yarn using the same roving as I used to spin a bulky single (the yarn in the blog header). It’s a three strand navajo-plied yarn, spun on my Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel. I love spinning a chain ply yarn for many reasons, the most important one is that the color patterns of the spinning fiber stay fairly intact in the final yarn (a compulsion of mine).

Yarn that I spun from wool purchased at Maisy Day Handspun’s esty shop, two colourways with really great names:

Anemone (Corriedale wool):

handspun

…and Life Aquatic (BFL wool):

handspun

I finally spun that milk fiber into a more substantial-sized skein, and it looks really pretty. It seemed like a good fiber for lace to me, so I decided to spin a fine 2-ply with it. Here it is pictured with two skeins of navajo-plyed yarn, one BFL wool and one organic merino wool:

skeins of handspun
From left to right: milk fiber 2-ply, BFL wool navajo 3-ply, organic merino navajo 3-ply.

I have also been plugging away at my hand-spun shawl:

handspun shawl

But the biggest project I’ve been working on that is taking up the most of my time is still in the top-secret planning stage. Here is a hint (organic merino handspun yarn in a variety of styles and sizes):

handspun samples

Any guesses on what those are all about? I’d love to hear them!

handmade doll

I am very proud of my little hand sewn doll, Dolly. I made her many months ago, before christmas, I think. I still haven’t made the right thing for her to wear, though I did try knitting her a dress. Still working on her wardrobe. I rarely sew but after having worked on this, I know I would like to do it more often. It’s a really gratifying craft. The best part was sewing her yarn hair onto her head. The worst part was messing up on her face embroidery so you can see the end of the dark thread behind the light fabric. The fabric was a fairly sheer small floral print.

handmade doll

The yarn was some of the first yarn I had ever spun, a fleece artist dyed merino wool. I think this might have been the first hand-painted roving I had ever spun. I love the colours! Her hair also has a slight kink in it because it was knitted and unraveled before becoming hair. I love hand-spun as doll hair. I also like to use it as a replacement for ribbon on presents. What do you use hand-spun yarn for (aside from knitting, weaving, etc)?

I also photographed a tiny ball of yarn in this extreme close-up picture:
handspun

It is a really pretty light aqua/ turquoise with some dark gray. This corriedale wool came as a bonus with my order from Maisy Day Handspun. I plan on eventually using it in some weaving.

This is the other half of the braid of fiber the yarns spun in yesterday’s post came from:
hand dyed merino wool

Pretty, colourful hand-painted merino wool from alchemy fiber arts. I am still not quite sure how I want to spin this yarn.

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