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Yes, I Have Been Slacking

I haven’t blogged in SOME TIME….wow, too long, really.

My beautiful daughter had her beautiful baby!! He’s the most beautiful boy in the world…of course, I am a little bit biased…just a little 🙂 She says I must ‘blog’ him, so here is a picture of cuteness itself….

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So, perfect, right? I’m one proud grandma, though that’s something to get used to — I’m so NOT used to being a grandma!

Certainly the excitement of new babies explains my blogging-slacking behaviour, doesn’t it?

I’ve done some spinning, some knitting and some beautiful fleece purchasing – all since I’ve been on the blog last and some of which I’d like to share here since I’m really thrilled with some of the results 🙂 I’ve been on a bit of a yarn/fleece diet this year, and trying to use up the fleeces and fibre I already have rather than buying more. IF you could see the yarn closet you’d definitely agree that the diet is necessary. It’s that or we have to expand the yarn closet, lol, or trade it perhaps with the children – their room would really make a good storage! 😉

I spun some navy and royal blue superwash merino fibre which I had bought last year at the Black Lamb (www.theblacklamb.ca), from Laurie, who is wonderful. I plied it (two plies – I’m a lazy spinner with two bobbins) and knit it up into the Gooseberry Cardigan pattern. I’m more than happy with this sweater – it’s comfy, it’s soft, it’s quite possibly my new favorite all time sweater!

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Not the best picture and I can’t believe it BUT, it seems I forgot (?) to take pictures of the spun wool or the spinning itself. I must be losing my grandmother mind!

Bonus! Found a picture of the spun yarn…
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I made a little crocheted top – the Avalon Top by Doris Chan. Love how it turned out too….

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I also made a little pair of socks, from my handspun superwash merino sock yarn…three ply this time….

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I prefer ankle socks so when I made up this design, they seemed the way to go!

Seems like forever and like I’ve got too much to say for one day. Instead of jumbling it all together we’ll have to finish this up tomorrow – when I’ll show the new alpaca fleeces I just washed and the beautiful shetlands I’m processing!!!

Have a great day! 🙂

Update Time!

I finished the handspun sweater I’ve been working on…

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It’s the 97-18 Tailored Cardigan by Drops Design – a free pattern which I modified only slightly in my version. I worked without seams and used a three needle bind off for the shoulders. Also, I used small size but medium length throughout. I think in the body I could have gone a little longer still.

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I ended up with a little more yarn than I needed, even!

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The grandbaby isn’t here yet but should be here any day now. I’m so excited! I’ve made a little blanket – probably the last in the ‘baby collection’ for now.

It uses the ‘curve of pursuit’ idea though not the pattern (since I don’t have it). I like it very much….

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I am now working in spinning some beautiful GREENS – again, superwash merino from The Black Lamb in Port Hope.

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I was mixing up the colours in a certain-yet-random-way and NOW I’ve run out of some of them. So, I’m working on making a coordinating yarn to go with the 770 metres, or so, of the first yarn. There is a tunic I want to crochet. Badly.

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We’ll have to see how it goes….

Back To My Spinning Wheel…

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I’m hoping to spin enough 2 ply yarn for a light weight sweater 🙂 It feels good to be working with fibre and using my wheel again, after so many months of focusing on other things!

Since finances SUCK this year for us, I’m using mostly stash yarns and fibre in all my projects. I am out of sweater-lots of wool so if I want to knit anything bigger than socks I will have to spin first!

I have lots of bits of superwash merino in different colours and am going to combine them to spin up some yarn for knitting. It means combining colours and is a surprise every time. I made this a couple days ago – it’s a mixture of three or four blue shades, 2 ply, approximately 260 metres. I’m thinking socks for the baby boy, or a little sweater, perhaps 🙂

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Another project I’m working my way through is combing through the leftovers from last years fleeces. I have about a pillowcase full of jacob wool and another partial case full of rambouillet. Some of it is ‘second combings’ since I HATE throwing out anything and there is a lot of saveable wool left over from combing in the first place.

Happy Spinning!

I Have To Have This Camp Shirt!

Now that I’m done surgery (and healing well I’m happy to add!) and my 40th birthday has passed uneventfully…I wanted to do something for me. A little personal pat on the back…

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Nice, isn’t it?

I’m using some yarn I spun for the project, superwash merino laceweight in the colour ‘sapphire’, mill ends purchased at The Black Lamb in Port Hope, Ontario. My yarn came out thick and thin (doesn’t it always?) and is roughly lace/light fingering weight. It seems to be working out well in this sweater though I’m pretty sure my guage is off. I’m making the smallest size so there’s a bit of room for that guage issue.

I really don’t tend to worry very much about getting guage and I’m usually pretty lucky.

A little peek…

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The colour is off…it’s brighter than the picture shows but it’s so blah here today I’m doubting it’s the day for a better picture…

Check out the newest gadget I’ve reassigned to spinning…

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It’s actually a tiered knit dryer with mesh that fits over the bars…I found it at a discount store for about 8 bucks last weekend. I think it’s ideal as a yarn dryer as well, on it’s side like it is!

It’s currently drying a skein of laceweight (for the camp shirt) and some yarn I’ve spun for the African Adventure blanket. That blanket is surely sucking up the yarn, lol. I’ve got good news…it’s not abandoned, just in transition while I respin each colour for it.

Getting There…

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This is the blanket, so far. I am spinning more wool now…I think I want it bed sized!

My healing is going ok (I think?), not much pain, am almost done taking my antibiotics (one more today). I’m SUPPOSED to take off the bandage today but I think I’m going to call the surgeon because I’m totally not sure how to do it without pulling off the scab underneath. I’m pretty much terrified to touch it. I would love to leave it but I guess it can’t heal that way!

I’ve been taking it easy, pretty much. I think I’m over the initial shock of it all…no promises…shock seems to reappear whenever it wants.

I totally agree, I need a shopping trip SOMEWHERE but, sadly, with finances as they are it’s probably good I have these wool bins. I will, however, be treating myself to the Spring IK sometime today! In my dream world, I’d be heading for the Spinrite factory sale which is on this week in Listowel. It’s a bit of a drive but it would be so fun to go – fun, I should say, if I could go and spend guilt free.

Again, thanks for the support Joansie, Brenda, Jo and Samm. It was awesome you took the time to comment and it means a lot to me 🙂

Staying Inside Where It’s Pretty!

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As you can see, it’s not really pretty outside, here, today!! Raining and almost 10 celcius, everything is melting like mad. Guess that groundhog needs a new job…

So, I’m staying inside, working on a really awesome, ambitious project. It’s a blanket called ‘An African Adventure’ by Horst Schulz. It’s a modular knit and a lot of knitting. And it’s for ME. Really. I’m not even going to change my mind and give it to one of the children.

I’ve spun 16 different colours of superwash merino wool. The result is dk/worsted, thick/thin 2 play yarn…a little bit thicker than the original (which was dk) but I’m sure it’ll do nicely.

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From top left; Amethyst, Henna, Earth, Pink Frost, Fuchsia, Deep Red

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Sky, Lightest Lilac, Purple Mist, (skipping the colours already seen), Coral, Light Coral, Deepest Green

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Deep Sky, (skipping colours already seen), Olive Green, Grass, Light Olive

I can’t wait to start this!

The Sweater Is Finished :)

I’ve finished my ‘Ellie’ sweater using my Pink Frost Handspun superwash merino yarn and I LOVE it!

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It’s amazingly soft and comfy and machine washable, which can only add to the number of times that I wear it. 🙂 I think I should have lengthened the pattern a little bit but other than that, a great pattern.

My new obsession is a blanket – made entirely with handspun (yet to be spun). Crazy, maybe!

969 Yards!

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I think I have enough for my sweater. LOL, now if only I can fit it in, time wise! I found a really nice pattern already written which is exactly what I had in mind…and will work very well (I think) for this handspun yarn. It’s really thick and thin in spots so I’m planning to work with that!

A close up…

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Now, I’m back to cleaning…it’s SUPER CLEANING DAY here, lol, ’cause I have been too busy quilting and spinning and whatnot to get anything done these last few days. Doesn’t everyone include washing their newly spun wool with their cleaning day?!

I really need some cleaning elves…

Spinning Again!

Now that I’m finished the lovely knee socks, I felt like working on my spinning for a couple of days…it’s a nice break and I’ve been dying to get to it since I got all that beautiful (superwash merino) fibre at The Black Lamb for Christmas!

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I’m mixing these two colours (shell pink and a pink blend) by plying them together. I’m purposefully making the shell ply a little thinner than the blend – a little experiment.

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My finished product – the first skein – is approximately fingering to dk (by looks) and is about 14 wpi – probably 12 wpi in the thicker sections. I’m going to spin it all in a row to help ensure that the yarn is pretty much well matched. I know, I know….yes, I SHOULD just spin all the singles, wind them onto toilet paper rolls and then mix them to make the weights similar later.

Pfffffft…I don’t swatch either, ever. Don’t tell the knitting police!

I have a project in mind as I spin but it’s definitely a little into the future!! I’m thinking of designing an open knit sweater – done on larger than suitable needles – that is bottom up, as one piece as possible, with a simple seam finish and a v or some such neckline. It’ll be perfect for over a camisole. With this in mind, I chose the pinks because they are as delicate as the intended project.

I’m pretty excited about all of it 🙂

Freezing Cold Emergency

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So, last night we realized that we couldn’t find my son’s balaclava (or his dad’s) anywhere. He has skiing today and it’s FREEZING cold (-31 right now). The only possible solution at 9 pm? Knitting, of course.

Then I couldn’t find a pattern for a child size OR for a larger needle knit – which is what I needed considering it had to be done for this morning.

So I designed my own – using the word design loosely, lol!

I used two strands of worsted weight handspun (my silverlights) and large dpns, cast on 72 sts, worked 2×2 ribbing for 8 inches or so, seperated by casting off 18 sts and then casting them back on two rows later, worked another 2 inches of 2×2 ribbing and then decreased gradually over the following couple of inches to form the hat crown.

I’m SO IMPRESSED that it fits! LOL, the kiddo was in bed so I was just guessing and you do start to question your guessing skills once the clock strikes 2 am or so…

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Stay warm people…it’s COLD out there!

Esther!

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These are my Esther socks…they’re made of knitpicks ‘risata’ and are so comfy cozy! I like them enough that I may make another pair, SOMETIME, lol. It seems not a day goes by when I don’t have a few more ideas…

I’d like to make a pair of kneesocks that I found a pattern for.

I’d like to design a little cardigan with some finely spun handspun – I can picture it perfectly – now whether I’ll find the time (or take the time) to design it, we’ll see.

I’d like to try some crochet lace a la Antonina K. I saw her work for the first time recently and I’m enthralled! Beautiful!! So enthralled that I pulled out some crochet cotton and my hooks a couple days ago. You know how I had nothing on the go? LOL.

I’d like to finish the mittens for my daughter – they need thumbs!

I’d like to finish spinning the bobbin I started after Christmas with the new rovings. Better yet, to spin a second ply so I can use the yarn to make those socks or design that cardigan…hmmm…

So many, many things I’d like to do, start, finish in 2009. Looks like it’ll be a busy year 🙂

A Beautiful Day!

It’s so mild and sunny and clear and SPRING like! Ok, I know it’s not really spring…lol…in a few days I’m sure we’ll be buried in a pile of snow again, no doubt.

My daughter says it’s ‘stunning’ outside. I think I agree.

We’ve had such a wind storm over the past day or so that most of the snow is melted and the rivers are FULL to flooding.

I’ve fallen into ‘me’ knitting, since the Christmas rush is over. Thank goodness. Love it and all, but really, by the time it’s over, it’s good that it’s over. LOL. Now I must seem like such a scrooge.

Wanted to show you pictures of the stocking I sewed…(they were a surprise so I couldn’t sooner)

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I’m working on my cabled hoodie sweater, off and on. I’ve actually almost finished the first sleeve to the point where it is attached to the body so that’s not too bad considering I had to rip it out three times to get the size of wrist I wanted. I like a fitted sleeve so I had to decrease the amount of starting stitches and then increase back up, ever so slowly, before the actual pattern increases began. I also had to tighten up my cast on quite a bit (three tries) in order to have the structured edge I wanted with this yarn.

Ah well, may the second sleeve co-operate a little bit better.

I’m also knitting myself a pair of Esther socks. I got the free pattern through ravelry and I’m loving the lace! There is a glitch in the heel instructions where it says to continue to ‘sl 1, k33’. Um NO. The decreases mean that you will not end with the ‘k33’ but rather ‘sl 1, k19’ for the smaller size.

A picture, or two….

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The cuffs are beautiful, folded with a picot edge…

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What I want to do now is spin a lot of beautiful yarn and then make these again, as tall socks (maybe even knee socks!).

I think they would be beautiful 🙂

On Boxing Day, my husband (lovely man that he is!) took me to The Black Lamb to buy my Christmas gift. Laurie was kind enough to open for us and to interrupt her own day – she is a wonderful lady!

I ended up with an absolute RAINBOW of colours in the superwash merino roving…

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And because I couldn’t help it – the fibre was yelling PLAY WITH ME…

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Fabulous Cables!

So, it SNOWED here last night — it even stuck to the ground!!

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I’ve been working on a beautiful cabled scarf using some olive green superwash merino which I spun on my baby (the Kromski wheel) earlier this year. I was planning to use if for the ‘bella’ pattern but I think it’s a little thicker than I’d like. I seem to spin a heavier-than-I’d-like worsted. Oh well 🙂 The yarn is working out nicely on 5 mm needles for the Beaumonde Scarf by Smariek knits. What an excellent pattern maker she is! I love this scarf and most of her other patterns as well 🙂

Definitely have a look – I think you’ll love her patterns too…

Winter’s On It’s Way…

The geese are flying, the leaves are beginning to turn and the nights are getting COLD!

Winter seems to be around the corner, here in Ontario. I’ve decided to concentrate on gifts and warm woolies now – with carpets and such as a bit of relief at the end of the day 🙂

I’ve completed a set for my son. It’s a matching scarf/hat set made with my Silverlights Handspun superwash merino (rovings purchased at The Black Lamb in Port Hope), using the ‘Rainy Day Scarf’ pattern for the scarf and a variation of that stitch in my hat pattern.

What do you think?

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Now I’m working on a Drop Stitch Scarf for my daughter, using the leftovers from a sweater project last year – the Amoroso Malabrigo worsted. I have about a ball and a half left over so I’m really keeping my fingers crossed. In my perfect world I’d have enough left to make the hat as well.

I’m quite nervous waiting for an appointment I have coming up with a surgeon. I’ve got some sort of cyst (yes-think cyst) problem going on and have already had an ultrasound. In about a week and a half I’ll have a better idea what the actual problem is.

Keeping myself busy is the best I can do.

I’ve Cast On For The Mitts…

Two beautiful cakes of handspun 🙂 I’m hoping this works out like I think it will. I made the darker colour in a thick/thin, on purpose, hoping that it will add interesting texture. The other has some thick spots, lol, which are just the nature of me spinning…I’m the farthest thing from technically correct that there is! I just spin 🙂

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I’ve finally cast on for the Winter Twilight Mitts! I am using my new harmony fixed circular in size 2.5 mm…I bought it for the Autumn Rose but never needed it…I’m using it as the fourth dpn since somehow? I only had three.

Today is ‘dentist day’ for me…a consultation to see what all needs done. Which BY FAR beats the toothache I had – so badly – recently. The dressing they applied has held and there hasn’t been any pain so I’m really hoping this means that they can fill this tooth rather than pull/rootcanal it. I don’t mind either proceedure really, and I’ve had both, but the COST of a root canal is outrageous and I’d rather we don’t have to afford that right now. I miss our dental benefits!

Knitting is so much less stressful!

Shadows — All Spun Up!

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I’m calling it ‘Shadows Handspun’.

This is the yarn I was spinning for the trees in the Winter Twilight Mitts pattern. I used blue and black superwash merino. The first ply in blue only, the second using both colours in my ‘fake hand paint’ method. I was so unsure as I spun it but I love it now! 🙂

I have 440 metres!

Ah, AND, LOL, I made a drastic mistake when I calculated the yardage on the Violet Rose — I left out a whole hundred wraps!

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(see the little ‘116’? I don’t know how but I counted that as ’16’)

So, it is really 645 metres, not 520.

The yarn is soaking at the moment…can’t wait to get it dried and ready to knit!

Perfect…

I’ve had a skein of two ply handspun sitting on the bobbin for a while. I was originally planning to use it to make a cabled sock yarn – it was a technique I hadn’t tried yet (and still haven’t, for that matter!).

However….

Now I’ve found the perfect pattern for it! It’s the Winter Twilight Mitts pattern by Laura Rintala, available as a free download on the Knitting Daily website.

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I wish you could see the shine…the yarn has a really nice sheen to it and it’s so soft!

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The yarn is superwash merino spun from mill ends bought at my favorite shop, The Black Lamb in Port Hope, Ontario. I spun the skein in my ‘fake hand paint’ way using various colours. There are 520 metres (yay me) on the skein, so more than enough.

I’m planning to spin some black superwash – maybe mix in some dark gray – for the main colour.

I’m excited 🙂 It’ll be good to get back to the wheel too! I polished her up this morning in anticipation of our upcoming time together…she’s so much prettier when she’s not all dusty.

Pretty Lace Socks…

I’m all done the Child’s Lace Socks I’ve been working on and I’m happy with them 🙂 

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Not sure where they’ll end up, lol, as my kids are too big for them — still I couldn’t resist and wanted to make up a pattern to use up the last bits of the candy stripe yarn.

The pattern is available in my pages.  It’s a pretty simple lace and easy to get the hang of within a few rows.

My daughter has made some BEAUTIFUL things in one of her art classes this year…

The girl has talent!
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And, another daughter…wearing the Shetland Shorty shrug I made her for graduation…

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Trying Something New…

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I want to make a cabled sock yarn 🙂 It’s something I haven’t tried yet! I’d really like it if I get enough yardage to make something more than socks, like a little shrug or something. That’s why I’m spinning on full bobbins EVEN THOUGH it means winding the first plied ply into a centre pull ball.

I need to figure out what the colours in the next two plies will be. I’m not sure if I should lighten it up by leaning on the pinks/lavendars or if I should go darker with some navy/black/red. I could always even it out with one dark ply and one light. I also have shades of grey which might go very nicely with the pinks.

Choosing colours is the hardest part!

One really cool bit of news! I may be getting a weaving loom 🙂 Long story but as I understand it the lady who has it got it from Seneca College when they discontinued their weaving program and it’s on the condition that it MUST be passed on to someone who will use it. I’ll update on this later when I know whats what…hopefully when I have the lovely thing 🙂 I’m already excited and I don’t know for sure I’ll be getting it, lol.

Have a great day!

Scattered!

I feel like I’m going in too many directions, lol. Of course, it’s self inflicted. Trying to do too much at once usually is.

I need to clean the house, really well, the BIG stuff -you know!- walls, floors…all of that. The day to day is fine…I usually sneak a bit of cleaning into every room while I’m there and that keeps it quite manageable most of the time. Unfortunately this other stuff still builds up and needs doing! WHEN will they invent the self cleaning house?!

I had a bad week this last week…first the lovliest week of the month…yeah…which is quite excellent since having the four children…AND a toothache/infection in my lower jaw which was NOT very fun at all. When the pain finally became sharp and stabbing and extended from my ear to my chin I caved and began taking a prescription for a tooth infection. We had the prescription here from my husband (tends to NOT touch his prescriptions!) and though I ‘should’ have gone to the emergency room to be prescribed some of the same thing I made the executive decision to go ahead and take it. It was definitely the right thing my friends! 🙂 The ache is completely gone, the jaw is feeling much better and the swelling is going down. The positives took over after only two doses where advil hadn’t touched the pain for the past two days. I’m going to take the prescription correctly and finish the week’s worth…then I’m going to call my dentist and have this tooth or teeth (I suspect it’s two teeth) pulled. That’s another story…aging with bad teeth isn’t a pretty thing…I hate how my teeth are but they are and I have to accept reality, right?!

I need to finish the pair of child socks I started a couple days ago with the left over ‘candy stripe yarn’. And NO, I don’t know a child who can wear them…a very random effort geared toward some fabulous day when I can accumulate anough ‘extra’ knitting to rent a stall at a Christmas sale or something.

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I need, also, to finish the dishcloth I started yesterday…I can’t quite say but I think I was feeling bored, lol. It looked easy and quick…I was in the mood for easy and quick!

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I need? ok, want 🙂 to finish the spinning I’ve started…working toward a cabled sock yarn. I’ve never done a cabled yarn and so, in the spirit of learning everything I can – I’m working on some. I want to work from full bobbins this time though, so – IF I’m really lucky and it works out well – I can make more than socks with it in the end.

3 Months Spinning…

I’ve been spinning for exactly three months today. On the wheel, that is…I spent about a month or so with a spindle, learning the basics of twist – getting addicted to spinning and whatnot!

I’m thinking I’d like to create a ‘spinning page’ where I can keep track, with pictures – in one place – of all of the yarns I’ve spun. It’ll help me see my progress as well as helping me remember what I”ve done!

I was an avid hand quilter for a long time when my kids were little. I made many, many quilts – so many I’ve lost track. My biggest mistake was not keeping a record of everything I did, with pictures. Now most of the quilts are gone and my memory, as it turns out, SUCKS LOL.

Here’s a picture of my Rose Garden Handspun, plied, on the bobbin — It turned out really lovely…or at least I love it!

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I made this yarn randomly – didn’t measure sections of roving for uniformity or place them in an even, organized pattern – but was thinking, before I made it, of the beautiful hand painted rovings out there. Thinking WHY CANT I DO THE SAME WITH COLOURED ROVINGS? So this was my attempt to mimic the effect of handpainted rovings with a much more affordable substitute! Guessing that this will weigh in at about 4 oz…the savings is significant — I paid about $1.25 for the rovings I used as opposed to the rates of $14+ that I’ve seen (and paid in the past) for a similar amount of roving. Now that is a BIG difference!

The picture is a little dark, I know…here’s one taken this morning outside…on the board…

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I ended up with about 400 yards of light to heavy fingering weight yarn…depending on the section…I always have thick/thin sections 🙂

Today it’ll have a little bath and then be dried and weighed later on…