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handspun

My goal this past weekend was to finish spinning the yarn for my friend Amanda for her birthday. It isn’t a surprise, but I do hope she likes it regardless. Amanda does reenactments with the SCA, and is a fibre enthusiast as well, and I told her I’d spin her some yarn for a shawl. It’s generally nasty, humid, and hot where she is, but last winter it got genuinely cold.

This wool is just wool, though I’m not sure from what kind of sheep. I got it last summer as part of a thank you for a spinning demonstration at Star Gazing Farm in Montgomery County, Maryland.

It’s winging it’s way to her now! Happy Birthday, Amanda!

Spun: 10:1 Ratio | Plyed: 5.5:1 Ratio |10  WPI | Yards: 800| Weight: Heavy DK

AHA! Progress!

After lending my wheel to an acquaintance from my knitting group, I’ve felt an urge to spin, a lot. Luckily, there’s lots for me to spin in my tub o’ fiber. [Though, after pulling out the bag for above, and the other two things I have on the bobbins, there’s room. This could be dangerous.] This is wool from last summer? It was part of a thank you for a spinning demonstration. I’m spinning a 3 ply DK yarn for the friend in SCA. This really only took me a few hours, and I have about 160+ yards in the first batch. I need a little over 800 yards, and am hoping to finish it soon.

I’d like to dye it and have it all ready for her when I see her in July, in order to give it to her in person, but we’ll see. I’ve never dyed with indigo, and the resources are scant in my library. I did find something useful, and will also use That Laurie’s tutorial on Stephanie’s blog.

A lot of people talk about the festival, myself included, but this was the first year I’ve made it up. I missed it last year as one of my good friends from high school called me two weeks before to tell me of her impending nuptials, and to assure that I would be coming. I figured that MDS&W is every year, and that the wool would still be there.

Waking up 3 hours earlier than usual was hard, especially on Matt since he had finals this week. We picked up my friend Laura and headed up to the fairgrounds in Howard County, MD. [ We missed you Sheryl! Wish you could have been there with us!] We got there just as the vendors were opening, and managed to get a really nice parking spot. It drizzled on and off in the morning, but stayed cool and slightly cloudy all day, for which I was thankful, as there were a lot of people there.

Misty Mountain Farms was there, so I was able to say hi to some of the ladies from my spinning group. I saw all sorts of people in the wild, including Nancy Bush, that I’ve only seen in blogs.   I was a bit too shy to go up and say hello. Maybe next year?

I had a really good time looking around with Matt, and listening to the live music. If I go next year, I’ll head up on Sunday to miss the crowds and get a real feel for what MDS&W has to offer. There were a lot of vendors, but I felt a frenetic rush of having to see everything right now.

Enough of me grouching, yeah? Here’s the good stuff.

I was able to see and speak to Walter Turpening, the man behind the fantastic custom spinning chairs. I have been drooling over them for a few years, ever since I saw them on Anne’s blog. I really like the idea that he hand makes the chairs, as well as weaves the surfaces. I didn’t want to put a deposit down until I tried them out for myself, and was pleasantly surprised to find Mr. Turpening there. I tried all of the chairs he had there: the moving and stationary weaving stool, the rocking chair, and the spinner’s chair. They were some of the most comfortable chairs I’ve ever sat in. He answered all of Matt’s questions, was friendly, and knowledgeable. I’m going to start putting my pennies together, as I really, really want one of the chairs.

I didn’t actually buy much, but I am really pleased with the things I did purchase. I picked up two more bobbins for my Ashford, last. I’m going back and forth between the SeaWool and the Angora/Silk, but more about that later.

My first fibery purchase was from Tess Designer Yarns. I had heard about the microfiber ribbon on the Knitmore Girls podcast. I have to say, the idea of knitting with water is appealing. I poked into the booth and felt the ribbon, and had to have it. I was torn between the aquamarine and the copper, but someone snatched up the aquamarine. I can’t wait to knit something with this stuff. It’s my reward yarn for finishing a large birthday gift.

After tooling the Sheep Incognito booth, where we almost bought this, we headed over to Diane from Creatively Dyed Yarns.

I love Dianne’s color sense, and I love love love her SeaWool. I was surprised to see her there, as her Ravelry group had indicated she wasn’t going to get a booth. I’m glad she did, as Diane is a sweet, warm woman.

I rounded out my purchasing with an indigo plant. A friend of mine is really active in the SCA, and because I’m rather fond of her, and she promised me cheesecake, I’m going to spin and indigo dye yarn for her so she can knit a shawl to go with her garb. It looks a little wilted here, but I think a few days of sun should perk it right back up.

I left my camera at home, so I didn’t get as many pictures as I wanted, but, over all, had a good time and am looking forward to the shows this fall.

Last night I went to Laura’s to knit with a few ladies from her church. I didn’t get as much knitting as I had planned, but that was because I was helping new knitters and talking and eating some fabulous cookie thing. [I took one for Matt. He loved them, too.] I didn’t have anything on the needles, so I decided to go ahead and start Matt’s birthday socks. We’re going to get really busy starting next month, traveling and weddings and the like, so I wanted to get a head start.

I’m knitting Nancy Bush’s Gentleman’s Fancy Sock. The pattern repeat is so much easier than it looks, and was perfect for chatting and knitting. I’m planning on making them even more fancy by making the tabi toes. Matt loves the pair he received as a gift a few years ago, and requested that his next pair of socks have those toes.

Speaking of fancy, I finished plying the first bobbin of the 50/50 mohair/silk I bought from Colleen last spring. In the effort to spin things up before MD S&W, this 8 oz was the first in the queue.  Spinning is so much safer right now because everything I’ve tried to knit has gone to pot.

I’m spinning it at a heavy lace/light fingering weight with the idea of knitting this into a shawl. The silky sheen and mohair-y fuzz are fantastic. I don’t know what the yardage is, because I’m going to spin the end of the bobbin onto the next on as I put it on the niddy noddy so that I have just one long uninterrupted ball o’ goodness. I haven’t decided if I’m going to leave it natural, or dye it. The plan for this weekend is to spin up and ply another 2 bobbins with the idea of finishing the spinning sometime next week.

Here I present the northeast view from my front door, 7 o’clock yesterday morning. It looked like that for the rest of yesterday, and today is bright and sunny, though much colder than it was yesterday. Matt and I spent a quiet day at home. He was working and doing homework, and I was knitting and doing laundry.

Remember the blue handspun? I finished up the last of it last Friday, and went ahead and set the twist and let it dry over the weekend. I have just enough to do the medium sized Caricia shawl. This is three out of twelve repeats.  The charts aren’t set up in a manner I’ve seen before, but once I had someone tell me what the directions said, smooth sailing. Sometimes you need someone else to tell you the same thing as someone else to get it.

I’m pleased with how it’s turning out. Unfortunately, the first hank is slightly heavier than the other three, and that’s the one I chose to use first. However, after ripping it out a few times, I’m not starting over again.

Remember the oh so fiddly yet glorious Ironwork socks? I’ve decided I can’t do it.  These socks are back in their balled form. I love the pattern, but I can’t see the pattern on my feet without my glasses on. To me, there isn’t the point of doing that much beautiful work on socks if I can’t even see it. Still, I want to use the pattern. Melinda, from knit night, suggested I use the pattern on a hat. So, that’s what I’m going to do. Three repeats around in stead of two, or going up to the larger sized sock will give me enough stitches to knit this into a hat I can wear- and can appreciate.

I’ve finally gotten my spinning mojo back.

This has been spun up over the last few days, in the evening [almost night, really] after Matt gets home from work/class, and we’re talking about our days, sipping tea, and winding down.

Finally, the half point of the bobbin has been judged so that I can fill the plying bobbin, as opposed to over fill it. My spinning is getting more even, my plying needs a little work, but I only had to Andean ply maybe a yard at the end.

Dude. Cool.

[Yes, I do realize the fiber matches my pj bottoms.]