A super quick lunchtime post to show you some handspun yarn.

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Spunky Eclectic 100% merino in Sage.

There are about 272 yd/248 m of two ply, slightly thick and thin yarn. I used mostly a supported long draw method combined with the spinning for speed and softness technique I've been practicing.

This is thick and thin partly because I did a little experiment with this fiber. For the first bobbin, I predrafted and spun, as usual, producing a softly variegated and relatively even yarn. For the second bobbin, I didn't do any predrafting at all, I just spun directly from the wad (technical term) of fiber. The roving is pretty wide, so I carefully directed the drafting zone back and forth across the expanse of unspun fiber, to ensure that each color change was worked completely before going to the next color.

The result is that bobbin number two has more intense colors and less gradual color shifts. I found it harder to spin an even yarn, but my technique got better as I practiced. From the picture above, I think it's easy to tell which ply came off of which bobbin.

There's something to be said for the instant gratification of just sitting down and spinning without any prep or much agonizing over a perfect yarn. Still, I think my technique could do with some serious fine tuning and my goal is to produce yarns that, if I saw it in a store, I'd want to buy it. I like this yarn, but it's a little thicker than I normally like to knit with, so it doesn't quite meet that expectation.

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The singles were spun fairly lightly to keep their softness and were plied together with a little extra twist to help control pilling (I hope.) After that, I just gave the whole thing a wash and thwack and hung it to dry with no weight.

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If Panda kills me in my sleep, I doubt anyone would fault her.

Supporting the local economy

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My mom and I are in beautiful Eugene, Oregon, to see the Black Sheep Gathering. It's a lovely event, not too big but not the least bit small, either. It was really hard to leave for the day, but most likely a good idea that we did. There were more than a few fantastically beautiful spindles calling my name, and trying the Louet Julia is going to haunt my spinning fantasies for a while. I should curse Wooland Woolworks for having so many wheels out for test driving. Evil temptresses, every last one of them. But they were so nice, I can't be mad.

The sheep and goats (Parenthetically, I have a hard time distinguishing certain breeds of sheep from goats and am not diligent enough to actually read the tags describing each animal. So if I call something a goat and it's actually a sheep, that's just my own flakiness.) were endearing though I was a bit started to realize how much like Babe, the male sheep were. Yowza! No, I didn't snap any proof, you big sicko.

Anyway, a cute sheep in a coat, makes googoo eyes at me.

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And two little goats snuggle up for a nap.

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A few more cutie pies over on flickr, if that's not enough.

And if you want still more livestock, here's a little movie I put together to give you a feel for how loud those goats can be.


I swear, some of them sounded like sarcastic older men trying to mimic the sound of goats. It makes me laugh. I'm easily amused.

I also got myself some damn fine roving. I'm so in love with this haul.

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And my mom treated me to a gorgeous new, hand blown, glass orifice hook.

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For those unfamiliar with the purpose of an orifice hook, I promise, it's not at all what you are imagining.

And of course, my mom got a few nice things too.

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All in all, a really fun day.

More gratuitous dog shots

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I know, big surprise.

A few of you have asked if Thea ever gets to catch the squirrel. Well, if Panda's playing along, generally not, but if it's just Thea, heck ya!

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Here she is having a little bit of fun while we take a break from mowing the back yard. She doesn't have the muzzle-eye coordination her sister has, but she has tenacity to spare. Even in the blaring heat she would have gladly played all afternoon. She's happiest when she's playing.

Panda, on the other hand, is my patient and reserved girl.

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Here she shows off some of my fresh picked flowers from the garden. It's nice having a pup who'll stay still and not chew the scenery (literally).

If you were to look at my Ravelry notebook, you'd notice a lot of projects that are super top secret. (If I showed them to you, I'd have to kill you, and nobody wants that.)


Sadly enough, this doesn't even represent the full list of unbloggables. Two are to come (awaiting yarn) and one two-part pattern isn't represented (didn't get a good swatch shot before I sent it off.)

So, that means I've been very busy and haven't much to show for it around here.
But, in the next month and a half, or so, I expect to have a new self published pattern for you, which will reveal the whole behind these two little pieces.

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And, the premier issue of Twist Collective will be out with this bad boy.

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The rest will come in its due time. So funny too, I had this grand idea that I'd work on all self published stuff this year. How silly I am. I have been trying to do more of my own designs, but the opportunities that have arisen, to work on other projects, have just been too good to pass up. In the end, I think it's all worked out for the best.

That said, with several patterns being tech edited right now, and other patterns due very soon, I've been so entrenched in numbers and details that I needed to give myself a little break yesterday.

That's when El Matchador, some Spunky Eclectic merino and I, had ourselves a luxurious few hours while watching Deadwood on DVD.

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These are the singles spun not-too-tightly, using a supported long draw method. I plan to ply it pretty tightly once I've spun the 4 ounces I have. I think this will retain the softness without being too prone to pilling. The colorway is called Sage and it's an amazing mix of greens and browns, ranging from deep leafy green to red and yellow ocher. The picture really doesn't show the color well. You'll just have to take my word for it.

I'm eager to finish spinning up the remaining fiber, yet also feeling mentally refreshed enough to dive back into my deadline work.

In unrelated news, my parents arrive on Wednesday when we will belatedly celebrate Father's Day with my now-legitimate-no-longer-step father. Huzzah! And to add to the fun, my mom and I will be at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene on Friday and, maybe, Saturday. If you'll be there too, please say "hi." I have a feeling my wallet will be substantially lighter after leaving the event.

Cheeky Monkey

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Do you notice a trend here?

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See tons more pictures from our day trip to Manzanita, OR, here.

Oh and if you've ever wondered what it's like to hang out with the pups at the beach, you can check out this short video.

And I realize I really should have faded the music after the closing credit. Sorry for how jarringly the music stops at the end.

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