Friday, October 7, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday: The Things I'm Doing

I wanted to try for the first time to participate in Fiber Art's Friday's. And I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce all of my current Fiber Works in Progress. Well to be more specific it's all of my current WIP's that I am actively, or well generally mostly-sorta-kinda, working on:

Max Sweater:
It was my epic (for me) goal during this years Tour de France/Fleece to spin up enough yarn for a Featherweight Sweater and I was totally successful. I cast on back mid/late August. And the project has ebbed and flowed but last week I finished the body and got this huge surge of must-finish-this-project-ness going on. Last night I cast off the 2nd sleeve and picked up 2/3 of the stitches for the band! I ought to be able to finish before next week. Woohoo! 

And I really am loving it all. Being knit top down I've been trying it on since it was time to split off the sleeves. The thing really fits me like a glove. I had it out last night at band and one of my fellow flute members (a casual knitter I think) commented it looked child size. I commented back that it was fitted and had she noticed that I pretty much am child sized. It amused me. I could say more about this project but I think I'll leave it for a full report once it's finished.
Argyle Alpaca Mittens:
Sudden thought: I really ought to call these the Argyle Alpaca Appendage warmers. I really have a thing for alteration. Anyone know of an A word for warmers?

This is the other bit of yarn that was spun up during the TDF. Purchased from Dunn Spun Alpaca's at 2010's Knitters Day Out the stuff is absolutely so amazingly soft and pretty much the best thing ever. It practically spun itself. The knitting of these gloves however is a bit more of a challenge. 

Color work is probably one of my lowest knitting skillz levels. Really I've just not done that much of it at all. So I'm doing my darndest to keep the stranding tension even and not too tight. It's also difficult because I really don't do all that much knitting on double pointed needles. I prefer to magic loop. So holding everything even and keeping the stitches has become part of the challenge (or fun when I'm being postive).

We have however had a crazy cold snap here in South Central PA (actually it's become phenomenally nice again, but last weekend was miserable). And the weather makes me quite anxious to get working on these mittens to keep my hands nice and toasty warm.

Ellie & Rosie Spinning:
On Ravelry some people have been offering "Spin a bag get bag". The idea being they are likely the owners of some fiber bearing animals who have more fleece than they can keep up with. So they send a willing spinner, like me, fiber. We spin it up and return half of it back.

I was lucky enough to make such an arrangement with Tracey of Koehlers 4 Star Alpacas. She sent me 2 bags, 1 lb each, of fiber. Ellie is white and Rosie is rose grey. I absolutely love love love each of the colors.

Alas I must have been crazy when I contacted her about this because seriously I have so many other things that I am working on and so much fiber to spin already. But whenever I'm doing something for anyone else I really do try to bump it up near to the top of the WiP priority list.

I've been carefully sorting and washing the fleece so far. Previously I've just spun all of my raw alpaca dirty. However I recently got up the courage to try washing raw fiber and I absolutely love it. It is certainly not the most speedy process as I am being extra crazy and keep everything in lock formation but I like it this way. The only problem so far is that some of the fiber isn't exactly ideal. I've found a some second cuts, but also patches of corse locks and some just generally quite short bits. I'm not quite sure what to do about it all as I really wanted to return a full pound to Tracy, but I also don't want to stick myself with all of the yucky bits.

So far I've washed prepped and spun up little test samples of each. I had a very easy time spinning Ellie right from the flicked locks but I also tried and was fairly successful and creating a long roving strip using my hackle. After finishing washing about 8 ounces of Ellie I started to spin last night. I seemed to be much more consistent using the roving strip so I think I'll probably prep the rest in that fashion.

Rosie, having all different colors and shades in her fleece offered much more in the way of possibilities. Unfortunately her fleece is also the prime culprit of short pieces. After deciding I wanted to blend her colors I tried the hackle but it wasn't very successful, I suspect the blame could be the short bits. Luckily using hand carders the blending worked rather well.

The plan for this next week is to get the 8 oz of Ellie prepped into roving and keep spinning then get 8oz of Rosie washed.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you'll come back and read about more of my goings-on. Be sure and check out WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER! to see more Fiber Arts Friday Blog Amazingness!


pinkundine said...

Hi, first time visiting your blog and I first wanted to say I absolutely love your blog header ;)

The mittens look great... I've heard of wrist warmers being called wristies before, perhaps you could call them armies, for your alliterative purposes?!

Melissa said...

Welcome....sounds like you have quite a bit on your plate. In regards to the alpaca swap/spin...I'd take out all the short bits...they will only continue to cause problems. If the supplier is also a spinner, she will not expect 1lb back if she sent it right off the animal. I presort my fleeces before I wash them...this way I'm ready to card/comb and go.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!!

Carlin said...

@ Melissa - Thanks for the comment and the advice. That's pretty much what I was thinking already but I tend to second guess everything. Plus some of the short bits in Rosie's fleece are such a delightful shade that I'm having a hard time letting go .... oops.

storiedyarns said...

I'm doing the spin a bag/get a bag thing, too, and it is taking me a while. I'm pretty sure I won't do it again but I'm enjoying doing it once at least! Your mitten looks really fun, too!

Marushka C. said...

Yes, I loved the blog header, too!

Your sweater sounds wonderful -- knitting it from your own handspun + knowing it fits perfectly, that's priceless :-)

I have been spinning for not quite a year and have not attempted doing enough of any one fiber for a sweater, but it's definitely on my to-do list. I also haven't attempted fiber that isn't already cleaned and prepped, so the spin-two-bags project sounds a little overwhelming!

Melissa Plank said...

Gorgeous fleece, and it sounds like you are well on you way, can't wait to see the finished yarn!

WonderWhyGal said...

Thank you for joining Fiber Arts Friday. I love the wrist warmers. I always put Awesome in front of anything where I need an A so I'm probably not much of a help there.

Have you ever considered using two circs instead of the DPN's when you can't use magic loop? I love this method.

Finally...I have kept my mouth shut about the give a pound/spin a pound trade because I think it bologna and not the good Oscar Myer kind. Most Alpaca breeders who are participating really don't know what it takes to make yarn and they assume everything they send you is awesome. is my thoughts. Skirt/Sort/Clean and enjoy. Spin it up all that is good and you keep half and they get half. If it's not a pound either way then so be it. What you have given them is way more than they could ever produce and what you are giving them is quality yarn. Before I get riled up, that's all I'll say. You are doing all of the work plus some. In reality, I'd be keeping more than half...of course, I know what it takes to get that fleece and turn it into a product.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Keri said...

That is such an awesome idea!!!! And the fleece is stunning. Have fun