Holiday Efforts

I had a month’s leave this year, so thought it would be a good opportunity to deal to some WIPs. First job was to clear a bunch of bobbins that have been sitting around for months. All this took a few days – spinning, plying, watching Netflix. Spinflix?

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Silky Sweet & Majestic

The stash-busting, bobbin-emptying exercise continues!

I spent this weekend spinning silk – Bombyx Mori and Tussah. I know silk is the epitome of luxury fibres… well, apart from vicuna, perhaps… digressing… but frankly, I’m not sure it would make it to my list of top fun fibres to work with. It’s incredibly fly-away, and if the top doesn’t get drafted quickly enough, you spin lovely silk rope. Which, admittedly, is pretty easy to undo, but still…


However, all that aside, the end result is lovely. Just 50g of each in this lot, so I’ll definitely need to get some more if I want to make something out of it. Oh go on then – twist my arm!

Next we take a short break from the bobbin-emptying for something Majestic – the Southern Cross Fibre Club offering from November 2009. Told you I was stash-busting! This is oatmeal BFL top and is going to be my first attempt at spinning a 3-ply yarn for socks. Wish me luck, I think I’m going to need it…

SCF Majestic

Blowing Hot and Cold

I am stash-busting!

Now that I can see the full scale of my fibre stash, I am afraid. Fortunately, I am more afraid of an ‘intervention’, so have committed to spinning my way through my handpaint stash.

It will be fun. I am not at all daunted. Much…

First things first: clear the bobbins. I did a count of how many different fibres I had on bobbins. There were six: alpaca, Gotland, Bombyx Mori silk, Tussah silk, polwarth/tencel and polwarth top. Did I mention I have the attention span of a goldfish? Well, now you know.

After two weeks of spinning every single night (I am SO good!), I have now cleared several bobbins. First off the bobbins was Antarctica from Southern Cross Fibre:

Southern Cross Fibre: Antarctica

Next was the luscious Hades (polwarth x tencel), also from Southern Cross Fibre, all spun, plied and skeined:

Southern Cross Fibre: Hades

Then it’s back to my psuedo-nemesis: silk. When it behaves, it’s a dream to spin, but when you can’t stay ahead of the drafting zone, it’s a nightmare! Next post will be my proud triumph over both my much-neglected stash of Bombyx Mori and Tussah:

Bombyx Mori Silk

Stash Increases

The spinning is on hold for a bit while I work on the Seekrit Project. However, that hasn’t stopped me from increasing my stash. Because a stash needs that kind of attention in order to stay… healthy. Yeah.

From Southern Cross Fibre (June Club), this is Cheviot Top in Fathoms colourway:

… and all spun up ready for plying with a matching something else (possibly black Gotland) so the yardage goes further:

… and the latest purchase from Spinning A Yarn:

And yes, there will be more…

Angelfish – done!

At last I have wrestled my Angelfish merino (from Southern Cross Fibre) into submission.

Angelfish - Australian Merino top

Bit of a mission because the original colour split left me with quite a lot of honey-coloured single left over, which needed to be plied with an equal amount of blue/purple. So I rummaged through my collection for a mere 26g of blue/purple merino, came pretty close, and spun it up.

Angelfish 1

Plied like a crazy woman last night and left it on the niddynoddy overnight. The look was achieved by splitting the two main colourways, which in turn had companion colours. Can’t recall now why I did it like this though – I think I had a project in mind… but maybe not. Anyway, it’s a purty li’l yarn baby…

Angelfish 2

Superfine Alpaca

Superfine Alpaca

This is my best spinning yet. Am sure of it.

180g of superfine alpaca from Paqocha Alpaca. I added a little extra twist to get a tighter single, then plied quite tightly, thinking for sure I’d get overtwist and an unbalanced yarn, but no! It’s just fine.

21 wpi / 462m of creamy lusciousness… and another kilo to spin.

Easter Show Spinning

Score! I got to help out on the Alpaca Fibre stand during the Easter Show over the long weekend, which basically meant spinning alpaca all day long. Such a hardship…

This was my first go at spinning alpaca, having been a bit nervous because extra twist is needed to form the single. Fortunately, I got a little tip earlier in the week – just hang onto the twist a little longer than I normally do. Hey presto – the difference was unbelievable, especially when I remember to count. For my rate of spin, a count of 2-3 seems to form a firm single and an even ply. It’s going to take some practice to get consistent at it, but I’m encouraged with the early results. I’m spinning some incredibly soft superfine (22.41 micron) fibre from Paqocha Alpaca off an animal named LeStat. Hey! A vampire alpaca!

After two days of spinning – interspersed with talking to people about the differences between wool and alpaca, and spinning in general, this is what I wound up with:

Alpaca - LeStat

In a stroke of luck, the stall next to us was displaying beribboned Show fleeces and as they struck the stall on the Friday, the breeders were getting rid of as much as they could. I put my hand up and came away with this beautiful caramel/light tan fleece (about 22 microns) from Gilt Edge Alpacas, from an animal named Jasper:

Gilt Edge Alpacas - Jasper

Can’t wait to get this washed and carded at Jumbuck Carding!

On The Wheel Now

Continuing to work my way through my SCF Club Fibre stash, I started spinning Angelfish, which is Australian Merino top.

The colour placement had me pondering how to split the fibre for spinning, but I eventually decided to separate the purples/blues from the golds. The plan is to spin each bump onto their own bobbin, then ply together. Should make an interesting barber pole effect. I’m hoping that the purples/blues will cause the golds to ‘pop’ in the plying.

SCF - Angelfish

Off The Wheel

A couple of weekends ago I decided I’d better hurry up and finish some of the handpainted fibre I have lying about looking gorgeous.

The first lot to be tackled was the Honey On Toast I purchased from Jessicah of Spinning A Yarn at the recent Red Hill Spin In. Excellent merino top, and although the dye job didn’t saturate the fibre as thoroughly as I normally like it, the undyed parts gave a subtle variegated effect during both spinning and plying. Here’s the unspun fibre:

Spinning A Yarn - Honey On Toast

And here it is all spun and plied (still have to measure yardage and metreage):
Spinning a Yarn - Honey On Toast

I tried to be clever and tie the hank on the niddynoddy a different way. It fell off, got horribly tangled and very nearly got binned before extraordinary patience and perseverance saved the day. Grrr…

Next was some superb romney top from David of Southern Cross Fibre called Binary Sunset (a play on Star Wars… figure it out).

SCF - BinarySunset

This was chain-plied without a tensioned lazy kate, which is without doubt the worst way to use this plying technique! Just about gave up in frustration as the single corkscrewed horribly and repeatedly at all the wrong places, but again – extraordinary patience and perseverance saved the day. Take that, you Awful Single, you!

One day I’m going to try proper 3-ply. On a tensioned lazy kate of course.

SCF Border Crossing

SCF Border Crossing

More beautifully dyed Australian merino top from Southern Cross Fibre! This one is called Border Crossing. I attempted to split the entire length, but in sections, so I could spin each half onto two bobbins in order to minimise the barberpole effect. Not that I have anything against barberpoling – it was just an experiment. Needless to say it didn’t work so well, but I’m very happy with the result anyway. It’s not my best work in terms of being underspun and underplied here and there, but am sure it’ll knit up just fine. It’s almost certain this will be a toasty scarf for winter.