I think they call that "loft"

| 14 Comments

I never cease to be amazed at how very spinable the Cotswold is that I bought from Nistock Farms. Cotswold is not a very soft fiber. It's certainly not as rough as some wools, but I wouldn't make a bikini out of it, that's for sure. But there's something about it that really appeals to me. It's got a soft halo with just a bit of sheen and the way they dyed it (the color way is called, Autumn Spice) is simply spectacular. I love this yarn. Spinability wise, I think it bears a bit of resemblance to the A type Pygora, though, of course, the Pygora is much softer.

Much like Julia felt while spinning her first skein on her gorgeous Rose, I wasn't so sure this skein would live up to my expectations. It seemed a little flat and blah and perhaps a bit too thick and thin, while plying up. Then when Laura (alas, no blog) pointed out that in my complete newbie haze I'd used my bobbin backwards, I though for sure I'd blown it. But beginners luck shined down upon me and this is what I pulled off the niddy noddy.

I don't know if it counts as "balanced" since it doesn't twist as a whole, but it does have little kinky bits in there. I would guess it'd be considered unbalanced in its constituent parts yet oddly balanced overall. But man, this is 152 yards of lofty goodness. At this unwashed state, it is just a big poof of orange yumminess. Do you see that other mini skein in back? That's the leftover Cotswold and the leftover BFL/Alpaca, plied together to clear off the two bobbins. There was more of the brown than the orange, so after I exhausted the Cotswold, I Andean plied the remaining BFL/Alpaca into the same skein. It's a pretty unattractive little skein but I just couldn't bring myself to simply toss the leftovers.

The big skein though? She is one sexy mama. I'll let the images do the talking. Just try not to love these.

Thank goodness I have an extensive stock of unspun fiber right now because if I didn’t I’d be buying up a whole bunch more of this roving.

Ole!

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With my first skeins of yarn completed, I'm ready to expand my wheel horizons. Thanks for all the encouragement and kind words towards those humble skeins. I have no idea what I'll knit from them (too much deadline work right now to think about it) but whatever it is, I expect to cherish it for it's significance. In the mean time, when I'm not knitting away on my projects, El Matchador and I are making sweet whirring music together. First, I attempted to spin a few thicker skeins of yarn. Admittedly, my first roving choice was poor. It was a Merino blend that, I think, had felted ever so slightly, making it a real bastard to draft. The result is the beautifully dyed but poorly spun specimen on the right.

My second attempt was with more of the roving I spun up recently on my spindle. The results (on the left) are still a little rough, but much improved over the first skein. Both are relatively balanced and neither has been washed and hung to dry, which would probably smooth out their appearance a little.

I used an Andean Ply for both so I could spin up a small amount and not waste any trying to get two bobbins perfectly matched.

After remembering that I don't like knitting with thick yarns and so should probably focus on worsted or lighter weight yarns, I opted to pull out an old favorite
and finish off my stash of it. It's weird to me that my spindle spinning is so much more controlled and even, but this practice is good for me.

I spun up two bobbins, partially full and am plying them now.

And because you can only look at so much yarn spun up by a novice, Panda wanted to give you a little pearl of wisdom. She says:

"If your parents take forever to unpack your toys, you must play with all of them at once, when you finally get them back.

I love my new wheel. I just feel I need to say that, in case it needs saying. El Matchador and I have been spending a lot of time together lately and these are the fruits of our loins labors.


First, about 500 yards of the mystery white wool I got from Greenwich Yarns. This was spun up at a fingering weight, more or less. It's fairly consistent but with a few thick spots and some areas that are probably closer to a lace weight


And here is probably 550 yards of Alpaca/BFL that I bought on the road trip. This stuff wanted to spin up super super fine. I think it spun up mostly at a lace weight but there are points that were basically thread weight.

When I paired them, the result is nothing you would ever want to buy, but I love it. I really think that knit up, it will look fine, but there's no doubt these skeins have "character" in spades. I think you can see how inconsistent the plying is in these pictures, what you can't see are the various repair jobs for breaks and occasional run away ply that plies on itself, making little appendages. I think I only have one or two, but they are in there. With nearly 500 yards, though, I should be able to make a little something special out of my yarn.

Yesterday, I picked myself up a few extra accessories at Pacific Wool and Fiber. All they had were high speed bobbins (and only two of those) so I grabbed those and a fast whorl and will begin my adventure with those this weekend.

Everybody Wang Chung Tonight

| 19 Comments

Let me start by saying, if you have any regard for me as a mature woman of a refined wit, even after this post, then you:


  1. Don't know me very well.

  2. May work with me.

  3. Probably should just disregard the rest of this post


But for the rest of you, check out the post, after the bump.

The UPS man cometh

| 23 Comments

I checked my tracking number yesterday, knowing that the wheel was scheduled to be delivered that day. Google Maps, the bloody liar that it is, told me that package was 11 minutes away. Ok, it's not Google Maps's fault, but having checked the site at 6AM, by 5PM, I was starting to lose hope. What if they delivered it to someone else's house? What if the UPS truck went off the edge of a cliff? What if, what if?

So I decided to take a shower and midway through, the doorbell rings. It takes all my self control not to run to the door, hair lathered, naked as the day I was born, and greet the UPS man. Luckily, Leo was home, dressed and not otherwise indisposed and he was able to get the door.

While I got myself rinsed off and dressed, he did what any good fiber lover lover would do and he started to get the box open for me. Check this baby out:

Whoever said that good things come in little packages never had a Schacht coming their way.

Inside, was my wheel, in great condition and looking beautiful.

After about 15 minutes on the Schacht website, I had him going. I used a little bit of motor oil that Leo had, and tied some Rowan Cotton Glace on for a drive band (I know it's not ideal, but it got the job done). For the next 3 hours I spun spun spun spun. The only whorl I received was a slow whorl and I like to spin very fine with very slippery yarns, so this will have to change. Adjusting to this took a little bit of time. The results (though poorly lit) aren't as bad as I feared.

I have no idea what the fiber is. I got it from Greenwich Yarns and have always found it very spinable on the spindle, but it's even more so on the wheel.

Despite the slow whorl, I think I still managed to overspin the singles, but who cares, at this point I'm just enjoying the sound and feel of spinning. I am itching to do it right now, but will have to wait until my lunch break.

I probably have enough of this fiber to, more or less, fill this bobbin. This means I can andean ply the yarn or ply it with another fiber. I'm thinking I may do the latter, so that I can use my new lazy kate. Woohoo!

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