I might as well have joined Tour de Fleece officially, because there has been a lot of spinning happening this month.

“Mud Season” from Spunky Club’s March fiber
100% merino wool, 4 oz.
fingering weight, approx. 470 yards

This was a long project, after I finished the first 2 oz I took a break from it for awhile. But as I got used to the fiber, and my spinning improved, I got a bit faster and the second half flew by. Spinning merino gives a very satisfying result – a soft, bouncy, squishy skein of yarn. The colors in this go so well together. Right now I’m thinking it will be the Palette scarf from Knitty.

“Franny” from A Verb for Keeping Warm
100% Bluefaced Leicester, 2 oz.
DK weight, unknown yardage

After hoarding AVFKW roving for months, I finally pulled some out to spin. I think this was my first time spinning BFL…I can’t believe I waited this long! It drafts wonderfully, it’s got a little crimp, and a little sheen, and it plies all bouncy and gorgeous. I love it. See?

Oh, and the red-orange-salmon colors of this naturally dyed fiber spun up so gorgeous too. It’s going to be even harder to resist buying more roving from her now.

Finally, in an effort to fill up my already-scarce free time even more, I’ve started dyeing fiber. Nuttnbunny tipped me off to a Fiber Swap Club on Ravelry. The swap lasts for three months; we were put into groups of four, and each month we send 4 oz. of fiber to one other person in the group. I joined and have used it as an excuse to start dyeing, which is something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile. I just mailed my first swap package yesterday, so I can show what’s inside of it yet (lest I ruin the element of surprise), but here are some dye experiments on alpaca.

2 oz. of combed alpaca top, kettle dyed
I call this one “Northern Lights”.

1 oz. of combed alpaca top, handpainted & steamed
The colors in this got a little more blended than I intended, but that’s why it’s an “experiment”. I think I should have steamed it in something a little flatter – I used a cheap colander that I bought at Salvation Army, but I think a lot of the dye pooled down and mixed. Luckily the colors blend well. I spun this up the other night to see what it looks like. The mini-skein is drying now. More details soon!

My alpaca top is some natural gray fiber I bought at Piedmont Yarn. It’s called “Handspinner’s Dream” from Alpaca With a Twist. It’s really lovely stuff, and it comes in a whole range of natural alpaca fleece colors. It takes the color wonderfully…and it is making me seriously consider doing something crazy like adopting an alpaca.



Mystery Stole 3.  Yeah, the one from LAST summer.  I finished the knitting in March but just blocked it recently so it could go on display at Piedmont Yarn.  Go see the entire Flickr set here.

Noro Lace Ribbon Scarf.  Just in time for summer.  At least it’s nice to look at.

One helical striped sock, a la Grumperina.  For my sister.  In place of mittens.

Aspen (merino tencel blend), Spunky Eclectic club fiber from last August (my first ever!)
2 oz, 290 yards, fingering weight single.  So gorgeous!  Spun from this.

Awesome green two-ply.  Spun from a hand-carded batt purchased from Funky Carolina
3+ oz, 189 yards, worsted weight two-ply.  I love this yarn so much, it’s ridiculous.

I was sad to be away from my spinning wheel when I was in Japan (I know, life can be so difficult…). After I finished Pie, I started spinning some mystery purple fiber that Larkin gave me with the wheel. I was spinning thinner, about a fingering weight single, so the going was quite a bit slower. When we got back from our trip, I finished up the purple singles, and then got out the remaining 2 oz. of my Spunky Club “Goblin Eyes” Romney. The first two ounces were used in spindle experimentation, spun pretty thin and Navajo plied…but I think the whole mess was overspun because it was more like twine than yarn. I didn’t really enjoy that spinning experience very much. So I spun up the rest of it on the wheel, trying to match it with the purple singles. Toward the end I got a little lazy and the singles became sliiiightly thicker, but I’m pretty happy with how it came out after I plied the two together:

“Purple Goblin”
277 yards, 3.95 oz.
sport-ish weight

I love all the purple! And because it wasn’t so overspun this time, it’s a bit softer, and even more so after washing. It’s not supersoft, but I’m considering trying to make slipper socks from it, if I have enough. Toe-up will definitely be the way to go.

Here’s a not-so-great picture of my wheel…I plan to take a better one later.

As you can see, it’s been “well-loved”. Everything seems to work perfectly fine, the wood is just a bit worn and nicked in places, especially on that horizontal piece across the front. The tension nob for the brake band looks like a dog chewed on it, and I plan to order a new one at some point. The scotch tension also is just a piece of string tied to a smaller piece of fishing line (rather than springs like it should be), but it seems to work OK. I’ll replace that when I get around to ordering my Ashford Maintenance Kit. The drive band WAS just a black cotton string, but I fancied it up with lanyard cord. I was looking for Pony Bead Lacing, but Beverly’s didn’t have it. I got some green sparkly lanyard cord (the flat kind) and managed to melt the ends together enough to stick. It works ok, but I’m going to get the lacing next time I’m at Michael’s. It has connectors so you don’t have to melt anything, and you can change it out really easily. I also need to screw in more cup hooks on the flyer because they are only on one side. At some point I’ll need to get another flyer too (probably the 3-speed, but maybe the jumbo), because this Traditional is old enough that it only has one ratio. So far it hasn’t been a problem, but as I get more experience, I think I will appreciate the added versatility.

I started spinning Merino for the first time a few nights ago. I’m working on Spunky Club’s March fiber, “Mud Season”:

It’s not as hard to spin as I thought it would be…though I think it’s going much better on the wheel that it would have on the spindle. The Merino is sooooooooooo soft and sort of like spinning clouds. I’m spinning a pretty fine single and I’m hoping to get a fingering weight yarn from it. The colors are coming out really nice as they get more spread out and soften up.

The more I do it, the more I realize how addicting this spinning thing is!