Monday, February 23, 2009

Handspun on a Tuesday Evening

+ gratuitous dog picture

Anyone a little tired of winter? I'm certainly getting there. Today the St. Paul mercury raised to a balmy 38 degrees (F). My lunch time walk was pure bliss.

My dogs have been living in their puppy parkas in my relatively cool house, and they're ready to take them off! (Sorry, I need to snap a pic of them. It's too adorable to miss!) Above is a rare moment for Toby-- sans puppy parka.
Honestly, I haven't quite figured out how to move pictures around in blogger on a mac. One of my favorite professors in college was a modernist who always stated that the only way to truly convey Dadaism in a lecture was to have an assistant project random Dada images for the entire conversation. So, here we go-- a post in Dada form!
For the past two weeks I've been spinning yarn to knit Deep in the Forest Mittens by Tuulia Salmela. As soon as I saw a pic of these mittens pop up on Flickr, I quickly added it to my "must knit" list. The plan was to spin squooshy fingering two-ply yarn. The trick was that I had different fibers for each of them.

For the background (white) I selected 4 oz of "Kansas Snow" roving from Art Club at, a glorious alpaca/llama/merino blend. This is Nikol Lohr's store, and yes - I did but this gorgeous stuff when I attended Yarn School last fall. The singles were unbelievably soft and squooshy. November kept on pushing them down on the bobbins and saying "wow. just wow." They were soo very different from the superwash sock singles I've been spinning. When I plied it against itself, and the yarn became the absolute opposite of the single. They were plied looser than I ply sock yarns, and I'm still mystified at the final resulting yarn-- a soft, dense two-ply that almost looks like a single. It did fluff up a bit after a soak, whack and dry-- but the plied yarn is a good deal thinner than the single ply. Clearly I have more to learn about this fiber combination. I was aiming for 200 yards per 4 ounces. The Kansas Snow came out to 208 yards in length.

The foreground (brown) is 4 oz. Crown Mountain Farms' superwash merino in "Wild Horses". Oh, is this a pretty colorway! The singles were just as puffy as the Kansas Snow blend, but no where near as squooshy. Once plied, it became a thick, poofy fabulous yarn that I expected the alpaca/llama/merino to end up. Wild Horses measured in at 210 yards once plied.

The really weird thing is that right after I took the picture below I wound both skeins into balls. They both became huge balls of the same size. Huh. After swatching, it looks like they will work perfectly for the pattern. The brown will pop out a bit from the natural white - but I think this will be a nice addition to the forest motif. It calls for 400 yards, so I should be fine-- but I also have enough fiber to spin another 400+ yards if necessary.

Over the weekend another five inches of snow fell. It certainly cleaned things up, but certainly doesn't help you at least pretend that spring is around the corner.

Last fall I spun CMF superwash sock singles in the "Born to Be Wild" colorway. They sat on my bobbins for at least 3 months. Last weekend I thought enough was enough, and I plied them while watching a so-so episode of "Meet the Press". (Oh, how I still miss Tim Russert!) It's about 650 yds of tightly plied fingering sock yarn.

When I posted this yarn to Ravelry in my stash, I couldn't help but call it "Soo Girly". It's not quite my taste, but will make for a great future gift!


twinsetellen said...

Wild Horses in the Kansas Snow - quite the image!

Guinifer said...

Your snow picture alone was enough to justify the click today! So nice! (The yarn/spinning's not too shabby either!)

Christine said...

See? Living in MN gives you an instant white box for photos, just stick your yarn outdoors! :) I loved the shots.

Also am LOVING the spun yarns. Gorgeous! I ordered my wheel, can't wait to get it up and going. It'll be hard to be patient as the hubby wants to stain it before he puts it together. It's supposed to arrive on MONDAY! WEEEEEEEEEE

I decided on an ashford kiwi double treadle. Yarn school ROCKED!

Rani said...

That is amazing. The photo of the Kansas snow yarn and then the photo of the real snowfall - the colors match perfectly!