Friday, April 19, 2013

Park and Draft No More!

So, I've had my drop spindle for two years now.  It's just a basic beginners spindle that I bought from Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA.  It looks like it could be the same type that Louet sells in their spindle kits.  In all this time, I've been drafting, then spinning.  It hasn't been an all at once sort of thing.

After a fair amount of reading on Ravelry, I've realized that my spindle doesn't spin all that long, which could be part of my problem.  So, doing what any craftster would, I went shopping for supplies to make a new, longer spinning spindle.  I succeeded, sort of.  I wanted a whorl that was weighted on the outside and I couldn't find anything quite suitable at my local big-box craft store.  I ended up making two really ugly, but slightly longer spinning spindles and I can draft as I spin!!  Knowing that, I got a new, very pretty spindle that should be here any day now.

I still wanted to work on my new found spinning skills, but my homemade spindles weren't doing it for me, so I went back to my former spindle.  It still doesn't spin as long as I'd like, but I found that I could practice the drafting with built up spin.  Now I don't park and draft, I spin and park.  In my mind, this is an improvement.  I'm getting a consistant, thinner single without a lot of prep to the roving.  I've just been fluffing it up a little.

Here's my current plaything.  It's more punta roving that was dyed ages ago.  I'm not a huge fan of the green (love the teal though!), so I'm planning on this batch as a bit of a throw away.  If I get a nice amount, I'll see if I can learn Navajo plying with it.

Speaking of plying, the other batches of punta I was working on are spun and in the process of being plied. I wrapped them on empty toilet paper rolls using the same cake making wrap style one would use with a nostepinne.  The purple was wound haphazardly all at once and the blue was done in little bits as I spun it.  Can you tell I don't have the patience for repetitive activities except in small blocks?

To ply the two together, I'm using another homemade spindle.  I call it my ├╝ber-spindle because it's so big.  If a vampire ever attacks me, I could use it as a wooden stake.  The toilet paper rolls were threaded onto knitting needles stuck through a weighted cardboard box.  It's a totally classy Lazy Kate, don't you think?  Regardless of how classy it is, it gets the job done.

The finished yarn will be gifted to a friend who wants to learn to knit along with a nice pair of bamboo needles and a copy of Stitch and Bitch by Debbie Stoller.  Pretty yarn, nice needles, and that book are my favorite way to get people hooked on the craft.

In other news, the sock is still growing.  It's been living in my purse and coming out to play during odd moments of the day.  Rather embarrasingly, I realized while knitting it that I've been doing twisted knitting for the past decade.  Whoops!  Apparently, I've been wrapping the yarn clockwise instead of counter.  I've adjusted my knitting mid-sock and there is a definite difference in the flatness of the yarn. It won't be a big deal because the shift is in the foot of the sock, but I can't believe I've been doing this wrong for a whole decade!  Sock pictures will come...eventually.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Still Alive!

I'm still alive. I'm still knitting, still spinning. I'm still thinking about buying a spinning wheel, strongly considering this one actually. I'm taking my car to get inspected this week. We'll see how it goes before any decisions are made. Since I created this blog, there have been over a thousand views, which is pretty mind blowing to little ol' me. Having scoured the web for good knitting/spinning blogs that are updated with regularity, I know that there's a dearth of them. I'll see what I can do about keeping this one a bit more up to date. I'm still spinning on the drop spindle I purchased two years ago. My etsy shop was a bust, although if I get a wheel, I'll probably try again. Right now I'm spinning up some yarn that I dyed to sell. I love it! I'm still in love with color. I've got plans to ply the purple and blue together and gift it to a friend who is interested in learning to knit. I figure some hand spun, a set of nice bamboo needles, and a copy of Stitch and Bitch should be enough inspiration for her.

I'm slightly concerned because I've only ever plied once before.  It was, I think, some Jacob that I got at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in 2011.  This is how it came out and I like it well enough, but I worry that the ply wouldn't be tight enough for a new knitter.  Final decisions, of course, won't be made until the new batch is finished.

Life's not just spinning wool though; I'm also knitting still.  I've got two WIPs at the moment, an Aran sweater that might never come to fruition (I did loads of sweaters a couple of winters ago including an Aran, but this one just doesn't want to come to life!) and a plain pair of socks.  The socks are going to be brilliant.  They're totally boring anklets knit from Patons Kroy FX yarn to be worn with my Birkenstock clogs during warm weather.  I love wool year round and can't get enough wool socks!

Cross your fingers that I don't get second sock syndrom!