Pretties In The Mail

q8~Yesterday was one of those “three appointments” and lots-of-chores days. I figure it’s better to get all of the odds-and-ends over with in one day. On returning home around 4:15 pm, I pulled a “we-tried-to-deliver-a-package-but-where-the-heck-were-you” card from the mailbox. The date for picking up the package was listed as July 7 after 9 am.  Hah, hah. Little did the PO know that after 30+ years at the same address, I know our carrier is usually back at the PO by 3:30 – 4:00 pm. Off we went to the PO where I picked up my package from Woolgatherings. Months ago, one of my blogger friends recommended Woolgatherings 24 Breed Fiber Sampler. Quickly undoing the package I was treated to this eye candy. 2013 is the year I’m trying to spin a wide variety of fiber so the sample pack is perfect. The BFL red-orange fiber is for a scarf, I actually meant to purchase 2 enough to make a shawl. The Superwash BFL is in Charger-looking colors, blue and yellow, to make something for the newest grandson. His parents are uber Charger fans.

Woolgathering fibers

Woolgathering fibers

24 Breed Fiber Sampler, 1 oz samples:

  • Blue Faced Leicester
  • Brown Manx Loaghtan
  • CVM
  • Cheviot
  • Cormo
  • Corriedale
  • Devon
  • Dorset Horn
  • Finnish
  • Gotland
  • Herdwick
  • Icelandic
  • Jacob
  • Lincoln
  • Mashan
  • Norwegian
  • Polwarth
  • Shetland
  • Suffolk
  • Swaledale
  • Teeswater
  • Texel
  • Welsh
  • Wensleydale

My fingers are itching to spin. My fiber notebook is ready to go. What’s the hold up? The darn tendonitis in my left elbow from that stupid spinning ergonomics mistake I made a month ago. One of the chores yesterday was to purchase one of those bands that wraps around the arm below the elbow. Hopefully it will work so I can get back to spinning. Mariah is calling to me.

Spinning Soft Shetland

q~Ah…… So soft on the hands, Shetland fiber. And, I thought BFL was soft. I’ve found a new fiber to love. I purchased this gorgeous Shetland from Paradise Fibers when they had a sale. One of the women in the spinning class recommended it. This is such a super soft fiber! After spinning Western Sky Knits’ BFL Jazz I decided I wanted to ply it with a brown colored fiber. I pulled out the Shetland and think this will be a perfect match.

Shetland and BFL

Shetland and BFL

On The Bobbin

q~Spinning frenzy yesterday! Finished this BFL which I’d purchased in Jonestown, Texas. Quite lovely to spin, BFL is my fav. I noticed that there was so much static electricity in the air yesterday that the tips of the roving would fly apart when I separated a piece. Spinning was more difficult that  usual. I have damp palms and figured that would add some moisture back. Have any of you had this problem? Solutions? I didn’t want to add moisture directly to the yarn and get abnormal stretching.  Anyway….. Love the yarn! Have two bobbins and think I will spin a brown color to ply with this. Thoughts?

Dyed by Heather Cabanas of Western Sky Knits (WSK)

Dyed by Heather Cabanas of Western Sky Knits (WSK)

Lured In Again

~Temptress Tina of Peacefully Knitting has lured me into another mystery KAL. This time it’s Woolyworm Head’s Mystery Hat KAL. When she posted: Do you love a good mystery?  Do you love knitting hats?  If you said yes to both, then join in the fun for the 5th annual Woolly Wormhead mystery hat KAL on Ravelry. How the heck was I to pass that up? Believe-it-or-not, I am developing will-power I refused to click on her links to luscious fiber. I have enough to finish first. I have warned all of  my fellow spinners in class that if their fiber disappears, I didn’t take it. 😎

The first clue arrives today. Since this was such a last minute decision, I still haven’t decided on the yarn. I’d like to use some of my own  handspun. The three in the picture are in the running, left-to-right: gray mohair/wool blend which I just have to ply, red colonial top wool blend which I’m in the middle of spinning, and BFL which I have spun and plied. I’ll ply the fabulously soft mohair blend today. I’m really thinking of using one of the gray ones and overdying a forest green color.

 

The first  clue arrives today, I have to make a decision. Time to swatch.

Showing Off Natural Luster

-Luster/lustre – the sheen or shine of wool fibers due to the reflection of light off of the scales. Luster can be used to indicate how fine or coarse a fiber is; coarser fibers tend to have more luster.

In the last class, we learned how to evaluate a skein of handspun. One of the skeins was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The yarn was Bluefaced Leicester (BFL), one of my favorites. BLF has a natural luster and in order to accentuate the luster, the spinner used a cable ply. Look how shiny and beautiful this yarn is.

This is how the skein was cable spun:

  1. Ply a three-ply bobbin of yarn.
  2. Ply a second three-ply bobbin of yarn to match the first bobbin; make sure twist, direction, etc are the same.
  3. Now, ply bobbins one and two together in the opposite direction from the original plying. For example, if you plied S in the first two bobbins, ply Z in this step. You should end with a nicely balanced yarn.

I haven’t tried it but a cable ply is a special 6 ply which strengthens the yarn fiber, accentuates luster, and leave a smooth finish.

Last Fiber to Share

 I’ve have been looking at this fiber since I started spinning in March.  Finally gave in, the siren kept singing at me! 😎 I PROMISE this is the last purchase until all the other fiber is spun! This is Hand Painted Roving BFL Wool by Greenwood Fiber Works, Colorway Adirondack. Isn’t is luscious!  And so soft!

In fact, before I caught the plane home, my sister Lindsay and I stopped by two yarn stores and I didn’t purchase any yarn or fiber.  See that halo shining above my head? What a good girl! 😎

And, I’m happy to announce that the d*+%$ Red Angry Birds hat is DONE!!! I had to do something entirely different for the feathers on top of the hat. The pattern picture has cute feathers which as if they are a tube with a bend in it, that’s not what the pattern does. I didn’t like it.  I surfed the net, found another feather pattern, and this is what I did:

Angry Bird Red Hat feathers, from Crochet Geek:

CH 3, join.
Round 1: Work 6 SC through the chain.  Do not join, work the continual round.
Round 2:  Work 1 SC in each stitch around. (6 single crocet total)
Round 3: *Work 1 SC in the next stitch, work 2 SC in the next stitch. (9 single crochet total)
Round 4-14: Work 1 SC in each stitch around. (9 single crochet total) – I just crocheted until the feathers were 4 inches long.
Cut the yarn, pull through the loop, tug to secure.  Sew tail through the last round slightly pull.  Sew to the top of the cap. I folded the feathers so there was a bit more in the back and less in front, then attached. I didn’t want the feathers to be the same length.

Also, the braids didn’t give instructions. This is what I did: for each braid I cut twelve 36″ lengths of yarn.  I pulled the yarn through a stitch at the bottom of the earflap. Made sure the lengths were equal, divided the strands into almost equal parts, and braided.  Tied off the end of the braid with a piece of yarn, then tied the braid itself to cover the yarn. Repeated on the other ear flap.