Reading and Spinning

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I just finished reading The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning and by "reading" I mean "felt my brain ooze slowly out my ears." Don't get me wrong, there is much that is useful and splendid about this book, but I wasn't expecting to need a slide rule and protractor to learn how to spin yarn well. I wouldn't recommend this as a learn-to-spin book, and I feel, perhaps, his opinions lacked nuance, but I did learn a lot and have found myself joined at the treadle to El Matchador.

Along with the One Wild Night fiber I spun up recently, I have two new skeins of yarn to share with you.

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The blue and white is 100% cotton from A Verb For Keeping Warm

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The colorway is called Kyoto, and it was far less scary to spin than I thought it would be. I used a long draw method and plied it from both ends of a center-pull ball. I just made sure to add in loads of twist to the singles and the finished yarn.

Weight: 1 ounce. I have another ounce to spin.
Yards: 154
WPI: Approx 24
Plies: 2

The other yarn is a Pygora/Silk blend from Rainbow Yarns NW

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This colorway is called, First Love, and it's a luscious, deep, rich red. I made this a two ply from two bobbins, since this fiber is sold as two floofy little batts. Of course, I didn't spin both bobbins perfectly evenly so I andean plied the last little bit from the bobbin with more singles.

Weight: 2 ounces
Yards: 224
WPI: Approx 22
Plies: 2

I bought both fibers at the Black Sheep festival this year and am very pleased with both purchases. Kristine Vejar of A Verb For Keeping Warm was so gracious when I wrote to ask her if I had to boil the cotton after spinning it. In case you are wondering, no. Before dying the fiber she had to remove the wax that boiling is needed to remove. If you are not a spinner, her yarns look lovely too.

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And if you have been waiting for an excuse to try Pygora you won't find a nicer example of it than the stuff from Terry and Susan, over at Rainbow Yarns NW. When Leo first touched these batts, I thought he was going to dive into the bag and make a nest. This stuff is luscious and these women really stand by their product. I've loved pygora since I first spun it but I've never spun any quite as nice as this.

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I'm hoping to spin up the Blue Moon roving next.

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I'm sure it'll look great on the girls' heads knit up.

One Wild Night

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Last year, my friend, Mary-Kay gave me some gorgeous fiber and yarns. I'm just now getting around to spinning the roving and I love it.

The roving started out like this:

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Once spun up and plied using a chain (Navajo) plying method to maintain the stripes, the finished yarn looks like this.

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Extreme close up

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I think the yarn is plenty pretty enough on its own, but throw in some pathetic doggy faces and it just gets better.

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I love the finished yarn. I had some worries that the colors wouldn't blend well, especially where opposite colors abutted, like where cyan sits next to orange. But I didn't get muddy colors, probably because there's so much negative (white) space in the colorway, instead I got really rich tones in some areas and soft almost iridescent transitions that just glow from the silk content. I can't wait to see how it knits up.

The Stats

Half my supply of Red Rock Fiber Works roving

Colorway: One Wild Night.
Fiber: 50% Merino / 50% Silk
Weight: Approx 4 ounces
Yardage: Approx 260 yards
Plies: 3-ply via chain plying method to produce clean stripes
Weight: Light to heavy worsted
Finishing: Wash and thwack

Better than AC

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Our little rental house doesn't have AC, which, for the most part, is fine and dandy with me. I really don't care for the feel of AC and it's expensive to run, especially in this house. We have a window mounted unit that we've installed, as needed, but it tends to drip water into the house and ends up being more work than it's worth, so this year we've vowed to keep the thing in the garage if possible.

The past week, though, has been stupid hot. I mean, it's been so hot that my brain has just shut down by mid-day, which makes working from home laborious. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather roast in my own house than commute to downtown LA, any day of the week, and I like being able to keep an eye on the girls in this hot weather, but I can't say it was fun.

When Saturday's weather report said triple digit temps again (around 40 degrees C for the rest of the world), Leo didn't really have to twist our arms when he asked if we wanted to hit the beach.

So, while it might be poor blog form to do this two posts in ar ow, I've got you some more dog photos today. I promise, I'll have something crafty to show you, very soon.

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A first roll in the sand, after a first dip in the ocean. This is what happiness looks like.


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Leo and I switched off taking the girls to the water line. We brought all the amenities necessary to stay the day, which means one person had to hold down the fort, while the other wore the girls out.


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Leo mans home base. I'm returning from a brief errand.

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I didn't get that many action shots because I had to both throw the squirrel and take the pictures, but I got several of the girls just looking lovely against the shimmering water.


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It's all fun and games until your dog tries to french you.

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As you can plainly see, Leo is very popular with the girls.

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The girls basking in the glow of the setting sun.


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Leo has the pups work for a little treat.


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The sun sets a bit more.


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Family photo!


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A roaring fire kept us toasty after the sun had set.


See all the pictures here.

Your weekly dose of doggy goodness

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Another weekend day trip to our beautiful Oregon coast.

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Someone gets a little excited when she smells the ocean

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Fetch + tug-o-war = doggy happiness

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We almost lost the squirrel to the briny deep.

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But Thea rescued it, she even stuck her entire face underwater.

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But Panda has her own bag of tricks. She always impresses.

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The birds were rustled.

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The views were delightful.

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And a good time was had by all.

See all the pictures here.

Sam I Am Cardigan....Again

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The Sam I Am Cardigan is complete, and I got way more length than I thought I would.

There is something truly satisfying about creating a garment from pure fluff (albeit, pre washed and dyed fluff, thankyouverymuch.) I simply haven't had the sticktoittiveness to spin up 1000 yards of a single fiber, so stripes are an obvious solution.

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The finished piece fits well and is soft enough to wear near skin, which isn't surprising since it's mostly merino with some silk and cormo.

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I don't think I'll ever use more than one button on this. It's how I wear almost all my cardigans, but I put in a whole set of them, just to leave my options open.

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Speaking of the button band, I can never remember which way it should open for men versus women, so if I reversed it, I'm not surprised. I had a 50-50 chance to get it right.

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I can't finish this post without including a shot of me wearing the piece. Here I am on our dormant lawn. Portland goes pretty hot and dry in the summer and it's a rare person whose lawn is actually green, but come winter, with all the rain and mild temperatures, it's lush as all get up. So, um, ignore the lawn, if you would.


Completely unrelated, but of great importance, there's a new pusher in town. For those of you who read JenLa, the La half has started her own little crack yarn line and I'm fortunate enough to have a sample of it. It's damn fine stuff, indeed. Think soft, smooshy merino in gorgeous and rich monochromatic variegated colors. I foresee quite a following for it.

It looks like she may be sold out right now, but keep your eyes peeled, I expect she'll be dying up more.

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