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sage (merino/silk) Archives

March 10, 2006

The spin zone

While at Stitches, I got myself some lovely light sage green merino/silk blend roving. I bought it from the Angora Cottage booth. The first day, they had a sale and I got this roving for a great price.

I've been spinning it up on my 0.9 oz spindle, working the singles into about a fingering/DK weight with hopes of having a light worsted when I'm done.

I am finally feeling comfortable spinning slightly thicker weight yarns. I'm not sure I could do a big chunky yarn yet, but it's getting better each time I try.

Let me tell you, though, I've been acquiring roving at a pace I can't imagine ever catching up to with my lovely little hand spindles. Janel of both Spindilicity and Cameleon Colorworks fame, sent me 3 gorgeous servings of her hand dyed roving.

I got two of the Merino/Silk dyed in colorway "Catalina".

This was the same colorway I used for this pattern.

And then there's this:

The colorway is Indian Wedding and the fiber is Merino/Tencel. I'm not sure why I've been so drawn to warm tones lately, but this color is decadent. I've never spun a Tencel blend before, so we'll have to see how that goes, but if it's anything like spinning a silk blend, I think I'll like it.

And if that's not enough roving to add to the bunch, I'm awaiting an order I just placed with Amy for some of her Almost Solid Series roving.

March 16, 2006

Beyonce, why you gotta be like that?

Work has been interesting, lately. We have a set of conference rooms that used to be the senior management's offices, back in the company's more opulent days. They are now a lovely set of rooms, perfect for holding one's various meetings. Skylights and lovely views offer that little flash of daylight that can make an otherwise dreary day, a touch less so. However, they are all booked this month. Apparently, Beyonce is shooting a movie in or amongst them. Now we are faced with a constant scrabble to compete for the remaining conference rooms, peppered about the building, in corners unknown. Working in downtown LA, movie shoots are not a new inconvenience in life, and we have had our conference rooms used for filming before, but never for quite so long. Such is life, I suppose.

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. I wanted to show you a little bit of the plying I did this weekend. Remember the sage colored merino/silk I spun up into singles recently? Well, it's plied now.

I wish you could see it in person, it has a beautiful depth to it. Most of my other spinning has been for the shawl, so it's more of the same. Speaking of which, I will hopefully finish it up this weekend, and will post pictures as soon as I can. Send your good shawl vibes my way.

Finally, Panda would like to thank you for all the love.

We have an agreement that for every sweet comment you leave for her, she gets belly rubs. It seems only fair.

December 4, 2006

PDX again

So I didn't get to go to San Francisco this weekend. It's sad, but Leo and I were not going to let the weekend go to waste. On Friday, we met up with the bi-weekly Restaurant Roulette group to try an Ethiopian restaurant named Queen of Sheba. The food was delicious, the atmosphere; not so much. But, if you forgo any drinks, you can eat for about $10 a person and be pretty full. It's communal finger food, so bring someone whose cooties you don't mind getting or already have.

After a long week of working, Leo and I didn't make it out after dinner. We headed home and hit the sack. I've started a new book *sigh,* it is wonderful. If you are one of the 3 people who hasn't read it yet, pick it up. I'm supplementing this with some nonfiction, or a reasonable facsimile. With topics like String Theory and Quantum Mechanics, we move into the realm of scientific philosophy, which may or may not be classified as nonfiction. Feel free to let loose with your own thoughts on the topic.

On Saturday, we hit our favorite little hippy bar for some live music, good munchies and a pint.

Someone offered to take our picture for us and told me to do something silly.
So I did.

But lest you think I'm a face licking freak, I do have proof of my better behavior, or as itty bitty Marnie would have said "I am being ha(i)ve!"

But let me tell you, for all the excitement of coming home to see the ones I love, I'm embarrassed to admit how exceedingly excited I was to get this.

That's right, it's a WooLee Winder, in the

There was a slow start with my new toy. You see, the WooLee Winder works by way of a pair of gears; one on the bobbin and the other on the flyer. The two must engage in order to wind the yarn onto the bobbin. The whorls I have for El Matchador, appear to be hand machined and while they fit just fine for the purposes of general spinning, they leave a bit of a gap between the bobbin and whorl that causes the gears to barely touch and producing a noticable off balance load onto the bobbin. It's also distractingly loud. This is not a fault with the WooLee Winder. The gap was present on my old flyer as well. It looks a little something like this:

You can actually see my first attempt at filling the void, as well. It’s your standard issue rubber band. OK, but not great.

After a few nearly near catastrophic attempts to make the whorl opening wide enough to properly fit the flyer, I decided it was best I come at this from another angle. I'm not sure how many of you have read my two part series on stitch markers (if you are suffering from insomnia, this may be just the ticket!) but I've found yet another use for some of my most favorite stitch markers.

With three of my black rubber stitch markers, the whole system works like a dream. I have to apply a lot more tension with the break to get the bobbin to take up any yarn, but it sure beats trying to re-machine my whorls with a screwdriver and hammer. SHHHH! I know it was a bad idea, just be glad I’m not showing a broken whorl in this post.

I've been spinning some of my beautiful silk/merino blend that I picked up at Stitches West. The overall color is a soft sage green but spun very fine, the other colors really shine through.

The overall effect is still a soft green but more neutralized, with flecks of red and yellow glimmering through. It's hard to get a really great picture of the yarn that shows the color, but it's lovely indeed.

I haven't had a lot of luck working with these types of vertical color blends in the past, it always seemed like the color changed too abruptly and never looked quite right. But I think I've found a technique that normalizes the results a bit. Basically I use a fairly wide strip of roving, maybe 1/2 or 1/3 the total diameter of the roving as it comes. Then, I work the fibers into yarn by splaying them slightly and allowing the drafting zone to move right to left across the unspun roving. Does that make any sense? Perhaps I'll need to enlist my sweet Leo to help me take pictures when I'm back in Portland.

I think I'll still see some color variance from length to length of the yarn, but less so than if I had worked the fiber as I normally do — from a pencil sized diameter of roving — which would have given far more variance from section to section.

Ok, this is about as rambling and disjointed as any post I've made in recent history, so I'll sign off for now.

December 26, 2006

Purple and Green make...

I have finally finished all my unbloggable work except for the editing portion which will probably be ongoing for a month or more. That means I can now do stuff just for me! Yay. Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff I was doing, but it's a relief to have the work done.

The first thing on my plate was to do something with that yummy sage green silk/merino blend I've been spinning.

I only had a small amount left, just enough to half fill a bobbin, so I decided, instead of doing another navajo ply, that I would make a funky tweedy yarn with something else from my stash. But what? I have some beautiful green fiber from my parents, but I have enough of that to make a garment and don't want to disperse too much of it amongst other projects. Plus, green and green is not so exciting a combo. It occurred to me that I have a nice quantity of purple merino/silk that my brother gave me last year. Basic color theory would tell you that purple and green are not generally a combo that would blend well, but I wasn't going to be deterred by none of them thar theories. So I cranked out a half bobbin of beautiful purple roving into some very fine gauge singles to be plied with the green.

In total, I spun up about 1.6 ounces of each fiber.

I plied them together and noticed that the bobbin, when being filled (i.e., spinning really fast) was actually a navy shade. Who would of thought?

Close up, there's no navy at all, but the overall effect is sort of a deep muted shade of bluish something.

It's a little hard to put your finger on it.

I love all the various colors that shine through. The green had a lot of red, yellow and bits of blue in it, so that areas of the yarn show no green at all, but instead, soft shades of pink or a shocking flash of blue.

I'm not sure I'd suggest this color combo, but I think there's a place for it in my stash.


  1. Ounces: 3.6 ounces
  2. WPI: 20 (give or take)
  3. Weight: Lace/Sock
  4. Yards: 380

It's fairly consistent though, while getting used to the WooLee Winder, I did manage to get a few underspun bits in the green singles. even so, the yarn should knit up pretty evenly.

June 16, 2008

The unblogable list just keeps growing

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.

Swatch1 Swatch2

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


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.


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.

June 24, 2008

In which I show you some fiber and embarass my dog.

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


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.


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.


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

July 29, 2008

Sam I Am Cardigan

I was sort of on the line about whether I wanted to blog this garment, because I thought it could be something fun to submit to Knitty Spin or Spin-Off, but I've decided, what the heck, it's another top-down fitted raglan. If you can't find 450 patterns like it, you just aren't looking hard enough.


I'm calling it the Sam I Am Cardigan because it feels very Dr. Seuss to me, with the sort of wonky stripes. The wonkification (technical term) comes from using handspun yarn, of course.

sweater on.jpg

I've been working on this piece between deadline projects. It's good, relatively mindless knitting and it's in my favorite color combination, if you haven't noticed. The showcase yarn is merino in the colorway, Sage, from Spunky Eclectic. The purple is from Penchant to Knit, and the white cormo is from Black Berry Hill Farms. All three finished fibers have some seriously thick and thin qualities with the white tending to be thickest and the purple tending to be the thinnest. I'm amazed at how they all seem to come together into a cohesive whole.

I don't know how long the finished piece will be and I don't have a scale with me, in LA, to check on my current usage, but I'm a little further along and expect to be able to get half length sleeves, and the body at least a few inches below my waist, plus all the bands. I'm looking forward to diving into my stash of vintage buttons to finish off the look.


I had to include a shot of Julia's cat, Townes when I was over her house, knitting this piece. He was giving that yarn the hairy eyeball and when I tried the piece on later, he crawled up and grabbed himself a little pawfull. I guess I can't criticize his excellent taste in handspun.

In entirely unrelated news, my friend took me to see Diana Ross in concert at the Hollywood Bowl, this weekend. It was a lot of fun and crowd was nearly as entertaining as the performance.

August 8, 2008

Sam I Am Cardigan....Again

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

About sage (merino/silk)

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Marnie, speak! Good girl. in the sage (merino/silk) category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

rosa rugossa (merino, bamboo, nylon) is the previous category.

sandlewood (tencel/merino) is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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