Tag Archives: spinning

Making some progress

After several weeks now of knitting everyday.  I think I’m finally making some progress on my Boundary Waters Shawl.
Even though the website says that this is a new pattern, it is a reprint of a pattern I bought at least five years ago.

So, I started the shawl by spinning this from for some CJKopec blended roving:


I got the knitting started with beads on dpns


Now, I’m about a 1/3 of the way on circular round needles (time to move to a longer circular?)


I’m also contemplating knitting EZ’s Baby Surprise Jacket.  I really want to choose something either self striping or variegated and definitely machine washable worsted weight, but I don’t want to use RedHeart.  Any suggestions?

It all started with a request on Ravelry

Before the holidays last year, I was reading the SpinCity Ravelry group and there was a post from Kathe requesting if anyone would be interested in spinning some Qiviut.
I thought how interesting that would be, why wouldn’t anyone want to spin Qiviut?

So I decided to go for it and volunteer to spin it.

It turns out that although Kathe was a knitter, she didn’t spin and her colleague Rebecca  who had picked up the Qiviut from the bushes while on a trip to Greenland didn’t knit!
So this was going to end up being the work of three people. Rebecca the fiber collector, CAT the spinner and Kathe the Knitter. 
There was no telling what could be knitted from this until I did the spinning, but Rebecca was willing to settle for even a headband or something small.

First thing was that I asked Rebecca if she could remove the guard hairs (thicker course hairs) from the Qiviut fluff.
This is a picture of the lump of fiber before Rebecca removed the guard hairs.


After that, Rebecca and I met in Columbus Circle and she gave me a bag full of the dehaired fluff which I washed and dried as pictured here:


I took the cleaned fiber (as seen on right below) and using my hand cards (cotton cards to be exact) and carded the fiber into rolags (as seen in the middle below)


I started spinning on my laceweight Golding (this stuff really wants to spin fine!)


I got to a spindle full and rolled it onto my makeshift bobbin (aka TP roll)


I haven’t decided yet whether to just make a 3 ply of Qiviut alone or add a strand of silk to add some strength and stretch the yardage a bit.
Any ideas from you all would be welcome!


After waiting for almost 6 weeks, my Louett Drum carder finally arrived from Paradise Fibers. Actually, it was drop shipped from Louett in New Jersey.


I love this new toy!  I have all these great ideas now on what kinds of fibers I want to blend together.

There are a couple of reasons to card. (either with a drum carder or hand cards)

  • If you are looking to blend colors to create a new color

  • to create a colorway with each color still retaining its original color but striped.
New Fiber Properties:

  •  have the final fiber take on the properties of both (i.e. blend wool with nylon to add stregnth)

  • Create an all together different texture than the original fibers.
Using a drum carder is much easier and faster than using hand cards and it also gives you many more options for blending since you have more control.

This was my first attempt at carding on my new Louett:

I took some Lama which I got at the 2006 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (Portia!) and blended it with Louett Chestnut Silk/Merino and some gold Angelina


What is pictured here was not the same ratio carded.  I used 3 parts Lama to 1 part Wool/Silk and only a pinch of the gold Angelina.

I carded each fiber separately first, then recarded them together to create this batt


My goal was to enhance the Lama’s ability to hold it’s shape by adding wool/silk and then to give it a little sparkle with the Angelina.

This is how it is spinning on my Golding:


I really love the resulting color.  Of course now I need to card all the fiber up the same way so that my project will all be consistant, but this was just my first experiment.

I’m supposed to be working on upgrading the website, but …

I’m on vacation this week.  I really needed the break from work and travel so it’s certainly a nice change not to be getting up at 5:30 a.m every morning.

I set this time aside to work on upgrading the website, writing scripts, promotional stuff etc.  However, I really hate debugging CSS and I’m sitting in my library surrounding by yarn, fiber and spindles and I keep finding myself completely destracted.
The first thing that got me started was that on Friday, my Indian Charkha arrived all packaged very nicely with the postage from India handwritten on the cloth wrapping.


After carefully undoing every stitch of the hand stitched cloth wrapping, thinking that I could actually save this, I got out the scissors, cut it up the side and removed it from the box.


The ebay seller had already replaced the cotton rope drive band with a rubber one which is great because I’d planned to do that anyway.  First thing I did after opening was to watch two DVDs which I bought to show me how to put the thing together and how to begin spinning with it. (Elaine Benfatto’s Charkha Spinning Tips & Techniques, and Spinning Cotton on the Charkha with Eileen Hallman both purchased at The Woolery)

It took me a couple of days on and off to watch the videos and then a little while to actually sit down and try it out for myself. When I finally got things going, I took some organic cotton and tried it out.


I filled up two spindles with some uneven but tightly spun cotton.  I’ll ply it later when I have some time.  While I was doing this fiber, I kept thinking to myself that this would be great for the remaining Bison fiber I have which is an extremely short staple down fiber. So I gave it a try and it worked really fast.  I filled up another spindle in just under 5 minutes.  so I ran it off onto my substitute bobbin (aka TP roll)


It’s much softer than what I did with the Golding spindle since on the Charkha you spin long draw which creates a woolen yarn as opposed to what I did on the spindle using short draw (see prior entry for picks of buffalo spun on Golding spindle)

If all that wasn’t enough, I’ve had some Barefoot Blend (Superwash, Mohair and Nylon blend) from Paradise Fibers sitting on a bobbin which I have been waiting to try Navajo plying with.  It’s a handpainted fiber with pretty long color changes and I thought it would be cool to try out Navajo plying to retain the colors in the fiber in a 3ply yarn.  I plyed it on my Fricke e-spinner after first trying with commercial yarn and adjusting the tension etc..

The other yarn pictured here (on the top) is a camel/silk blend which I’ve been spinning and just love..


I’ve also been working on some luxurious Mongolian Cashmere and Mulberry Silk, gorgeous!


and some lovely bamboo


Should you think that I’ve been neglecting my knitting, I would like to show you a little something which I am working on:


This is a Selbuvotter (that’s a norwegion mitten) which I am doing with KnitPicks Palette and the pattern(s) are from Selbuvotter:A Biography of a Knitting Tradition by Terri Shea. I got this at NeedleArtsBookShop.
 I’ve combined the cuff from Annemor #7, the hand from NHM #7 and I’m going to do the thumb from NHM #9.  I’m making them on size 0 needles for two reasons: I’m a loose knitter and I have really small hands.  So these are a child’s large or a women’s small.

All my other knitting is for Christmas gifts so you won’t see any of these on my blog.  If you’re interested, check my WIPs on Ravelry.

Well, now I guess I’ll get back to debugging CSS and restoring the mySQL database from one blog to the new one…….


How could I forget it?

Yesterday I was not paying attention when I left the house for work.  I forgot my knitting!  I was nearly done with the foot of my second sock with Cascade fixation and thought I could finish it on my commute but I left it sitting on the couch! 

On top of this, what was I going to do with my hands for an hour and a half in the morning and again in the evening?  So at lunch time, I took the subway up to 79th street and stopped in at Knitty City to say “hi” to Pearl Chin and buy me some yarn to have a project on my way home. (and then some!)

This was the project I got started. 

SWTC Tofutsies – 50% Superwash Wool, 25% SoySilk, 22.5% Cotton, and 2.5 %Chitin. ( Crab and shrimp shells) It’s a fairly fine sock yarn so I’m doing magic loop on size 0.  Oh, and I used yet another toe up cast on…


I Finished It!


After several spinning sessions, plying and washing here are my 3 skeins of yarn which I spun from Miss Lime’s SpringTime Handpainted Roving which I bought from the LimenViolet etsy shop back in November.

I had finished spinning the singles from her roving a while ago, but I struggled with what to ply with.  I finally decided on a silk merino blend in a slightly lighter color than the first singles and then I plyed the two strands together.  There are a few really puffy spots, but the majority of it is pretty consistent.  Total it’s about 12 oz. and maybe around 800 yards in what looks like a dk weight.   Only my second yarn on the e-spinner and I think I’m improving!

Meanwhile this is what’s spinning up right now


This is the soysilk fiber pictured in my last entry.  Aren’t the colors just gorgeous!  I think I’m going to ply it with itself when I’m done with the singles. 




This is my second attempt at writing this blog entry, since last week my computer died right in the middle of writing it.

So, my progress so far on my Knitting from Stash manifesto:

I haven’t bought any yarn since December 31st, 2006.

Are you amazed?  Well don’t be.  I’ve been buying roving and fiber as if its going out of style.  I’ve been shopping on etsy.com, Paradise Fibers, TheBellwether.com and even ebay.  I’m not even finding enough time to do much spinning.  The most spinning I’ve done has been for the two part episode on spinning which we are pulling together right now. 

I have been knitting.  In fact I picked up my Icarus shawl again.  This picture was taken a while ago, I’ve made more progress, but haven’t taken pictures.  I’m making it with Fleece Artist Hand Maiden Silk/Cashmere in the Cornflower colorway.  It’s coming along rather nicely and it’s incredibly soft.



I also have been knitting from the oldest ball of yarn (an acrylic 1lb ball) to create a set of swatches for the upcoming lace show and cable show.  I’m eventually going to turn the squares into a baby blanket for Nick and Patty’s newest arrival due in April.  Real destashing!

I put my Clapotis aside because I was so board with it and since it’s in fall colors I’ll pick it back up again later.   I’m on the “straight” part and have another 8″ to go before decreasing.

Our upcoming Spinning for Knitters two part episode is going to be a lot of fun.  It’s more of a personal story with a smattering of demonstrations.