Friday, April 12, 2013

Something new (ish)

My spinning is all self taught largely using a combination of You Tube and just doing whatever works. Every so often I might try something slightly new or different or think about getting creative but most all of the time I go back to my standard short draw worsted spinning. Hey if it ain't broke....right?

But recently I decided to be daring and try something different and try my hand at spinning woolen.

In my stash I found a bag of fiber from Zeke the alpaca that had been washed (although while spinning I was getting dirt/dust so it wasn't washed that well I guess) and looked even to have the locks flicked open. I used my old beat up purchased on ebay hand carders to work the fiber into rollags. And then I spun it up.

Random interesting observation: The rollags, logically but still amusingly, take up so much more volume than the raw or the spun fiber. In this picture the pile of fiber on the top left represents about half of the total the rollags on the carders is a quarter and on the bobbin is a quarter.

Spinning woolen/from the rollag was rather different, but enjoyable. It always fascinates me to see just how the fiber really does stick to itself and enable me to pull out foot long strands without breaking the yarn. As I was trying to do this however I did find myself often lacking in consistency. I'm not sure if this is because it is a new technique and I'm not yet skilled enough with it or if its the nature of the long draw back or whatever exactly my hands where doing.

Once spun up the singles did indeed seem to be rather fuzzier although not so much fluffier. Although its worth noting that my regularly spun worsted alpaca yarn also often seems rather fuzzy. While plying the single definately struck me as been more fluffy. It was exciting.

And I was in a bit of a rush so I've not compared it side by side to anything yet but I'd say the final skein now washed and dried does indeed appear to be different than my normal. I'll definitely need to try this again.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dream Big

Of the things I care about in life fashion/style is pretty far down on the list. My strategy is mostly just to not look too horrible ever. And unless somewhat necessary comfort tends to trump all. However I've been starting to call my jeans and old sweatshirt strategy into question as Bran is stepping up his game and making me look comparatively like quite the slob.

Now I don't want to do anything too crazy and I am still cheap so there's no way I'll be spending much $$ to improve my casual wardrobe. So the logical thing to do I decided was to make myself some comfy sweaters.

Thanks to the magic of Ravelry I fond two super awesome patterns:

Ease by Alicia Plummer

Sweatshirt Sweater by Purl Soho
This sweater used to have 2 arms.

Next up was the yarn. Owing to the aforementioned fact that I am cheap I didn't want to buy yarn for this project. When one is talking sweater quantities and especially if you want good yarn it ain't cheap. So it was off to check the thrift stores for sweaters that I could unravel. Trying to do this in the spring when things are finally starting to warm up and sweaters are not so popular was likely a poor decision. But I did find one sweater deemed appropriate.

Now I was doing all of this shopping just before the next round of Nerd Wars was about to start. Now I am getting to be a rather productive crafter (largely thanks to NW) but a sweater in a month is still pretty crazy. Especially when you consider that this round/month I was already planning to finish another lace weight sweater that has been on the needles plus do a bunch of spinning from raw fiber and at least one other NW project. Oh and finish making a whole blanket for my NW Dissertation.

But I decided to be crazy and go for it anyways (I opted for the Purl Soho pattern, it was free and requires less yarn):