Thursday, July 22, 2010

day 12: TdF challenge day

Tour de Fleece day 20:
today was challenge day on the Tour de Fleece, to represent the Tour de France's most challenging mountain stage of the race. i had really intended on trying to spin a lot today, but it would seem that a lot of other little things got in the way. but i am getting ever closer to finishing up this Gale's art roving, all i have left is the fibre you see in the pic above.
today was an equally challenging day in other aspects, one of which was my attempt to get some good shots of my "petite vache" to add to the pattern so i can finally upload it to Ravelry. unfortunately i think i waited a bit too late in the day because there's just way too much shadowing in the pics i took

{petite vache - shrouded in shadow}

oh well, i guess i'll just have to try again tomorrow.

and the most challenging part of today was when i somehow managed to get a really nasty virus on my computer. it's causing all kindsa havoc right now and i might even have to call in some kinda tech guy to get things straightened out. :<

and on that note i'm off to see what else i can do to rid my poor computer of this evil virus. wish me luck!



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

day 11: TdF day of rest

Tour de Fleece day 19:

well today is one of 2 official "days of rest" during the Tour de France (and Tour de Fleece) so i'm also going to take a little rest on my blog-a-thon and just post this pic of my spinning progress. i have a sneaking suspicion that i'm spinning this half a lot thinner than i spun the first half, but i guess i'll just have to wait til i ply it to find out for sure!

have a great night everyone ^^/


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

day 10: my triumphant return!

so, i've recovered from my dissapointing blog posting experience yesterday....don't you just hate when you spend so much time typing out a post somewhere and then something malfunctions and you just lose it all? i think i'm going to start copying my posts before posting now just incase xD

Tour de Fleece days 17 & 18:

{day 17 progress - navajo plying}

i decided i'd post my progress pic from yesterday so you could see the navajo plying in action. this is my first time trying out this plying method and i have to say it is REALLY hard when you're just learning it. basically it's a technique where you take a single ply of spun yarn and make these really long crochet chains. you allow the chains to twist in on themselves and the result is a 3ply thickness from a single ply of yarn.

sound confusing? well thats cuz it is :P i'll be needing a lot more practice with this technique before i get comfortable with it.

{day 18 progress - 1 finished cake of navajo ply yarn, and the beginning of the 2nd half of fibre on the spindle}

initially, i had broken this 4oz braid of fibre in half and was going to attempt to ply 2 singles together. this is another technique i have yet to try, but i decided that i wanted to try navajo plying instead.

and since this DID start out as a knitting blog i've vowed to start posting more pics of my knitting WIP's. my latest is these adorable maryjane style cabled slippers:

i found this pattern doing a random search for cables on ravelry while looking for something to knit for Herbology this month in the HPKCHC. i thought they'd be a quick easy knit...boy was i wrong! as it turns out, the soles are double padded, so instead of knitting just 2 sole peices i have to knit 4 -_-

{cabled slippers in progress}
so here's my progress pic so far. i've got 1 full sole peice done and about 3/4 of a 2nd one. i guess all in all it really won't take THAT long to knit 4 sole peices, but i swear i thought it was a typo when i first saw it xD
well th-th-th-that's all for today folks. it's been so nice and cool around here lately, i hope everyone is having the same luck with the weather!

Monday, July 19, 2010

day 9: technical difficulties


i just spent the last 30 minutes or so typing up a spectacular blog post, only to have it all completely erased due to an error in the blogger system


i just don't have the heart to type it all out this will be my blog post for today...

i need a hug :<

Sunday, July 18, 2010

day 8: beleive it or not, i do still knit!

Tour de Fleece day 16:

i had a pretty busy sunday, a lot of cleaning up around the house and playing with my friend Justin's dogs, but i did manage to get some progress done on my Gale's Art Crayon Box roving. with just about a week left of the tour this will probably be the last yarn i get done, which will bring my tour total to 4. not bad for a rookie spindler i must say, although i do quite feel like a little fish in a big pond with all the wheel spinners cranking out skeins after skein of gorgeous yarn. i'm definitely going to have to save up for a wheel, not only to be able to spin faster but to spare my poor aching shoulder.

and while i'll admit that since i got bitten by the spinning bug i haven't been doing very much knitting, i have been slowly chipping away at some WIP's like this Banana Split Vertex:

i used 8 different samples from the April "all creatures great and small" Phat Fiber box, and while i had them all lined up to see that the colors would go together i realized that each of the different yarns i used corresponds to the color of a layer of a banana split. i've hyperlinked all the shops so you can just click on the names and you'll be redirected there.

Banana - "Mallard Duckling" from Desired Haven Farm

Vanilla ice cream - "Sheeps Night Out" from Sandy's Palette

Butterscotch syrup - "Honey Bee" from Comfed out Kaiser

Hot Fudge - "Chocolate Dreams" from Moonlight and Laughter plied with "Chocolate Ganache" From The Fuzzy Bunny

Whipped Cream - "Rustic Roving" from Bitsy Knits

Nuts - "Spring Peepers" from Fiber Diversions

and the Cherry on Top - "Lady Bug" from WC Mercantile

i took this pic pre-blocking because i was just so excited to finally have it done. This project spent the last 2 weeks at a friends house where i had forgotten all about it due to all the TdF excitement. all it needed was the crochet border which i finished last night.

aside from this FO i'm also working on a pair of cabled mary jane style slippers which i'll probably post progress pics of tomorrow.

and that's all for today folks, except to say that today was the first day in a week it wasn't swelteringly hot here! it's been such a nice change of pace, i only hope it lasts as long as possible .

ttfn ^^/


Saturday, July 17, 2010

day 7: what the heck is a feedjit?

{rainbow roving at it's finest - my progress from day 14}

Tour de Fleece day 15:

i can't BELEIVE it's day 15 of the tour de fleece seems like the tour just started! today was somewhat of a monumental day for me because it was my first time spinning in public ^.^

i met a few friends down at the local starbucks today for coffee and decided to bring my spinning with me. neither one of my friends is in to the fibre arts, so they were oooing and ahhhing while i was spinning and asking me all kinds of questions. now they want to learn how to spin too!

{day 15: spinning in public progress}

as you can see from the pic at the top of this post, i got quite a bit done at starbucks. the only bad thing is that i ran out of fibre to spin while i was there! note to self: next time spinning in public bring moar fibre!

so, by now i'm sure some of you are wondering what the heck is a feedjit?!?!?!?

well...this is a feedjit:

i was browsing through some of the blogs i follow yesterday evening and i came across this really cool widgit that is actually a real time feed of the activity on your blog. everytime someone visits or posts a comment or does anything on your blog it tracks them and shows where in the world they are from. it's kinda like a much fancier version of my flag counter. i thought it was really cool so i had to get one for my blog. mine is located underneath my blog cat in the sidebar to the right.

i'm sure all of you want one now, so go get one! just click on the bottom of my feedjit and it'll redirect you to a page where you can design your own with whatever colors best suit your blog.

and this will be yet another short post today. this blogging everyday thing is a bit harder than i thought as it turns out. my life just isn't involved enough to fill up a blog post everyday. but i'm still determined to acheive my goal of blogging everyday for a month, even if it's just pics of my TdF progress!

stay thirsty my friends


Friday, July 16, 2010

day 6: finished "laceweight"

Tour de Fleece day 14:

it's another sweltering day here in southern california, but i didn't let that stop me from plying the rest of my attempted laceweight and skeining it up.

{Azlan - 100% Merino wool, plied and ready to skein}

so, for my first attempt at laceweight it didn't come out that bad. i ended up with 363 yards from 85 grams of fibre. a true laceweight would have probably been about double that yardage from that many grams of fibre. but there are definitely PARTS of it that are laceweight. it's funny because the last yarn i spun i was trying for laceweight too and ended up with a dk-ish yarn, this time it's closer to a light fingering. but at least i'm getting closer!

and right after i finished skeining Azlan i started in on my next spinning project for the tour: Crayon Box Merino roving from Gale's Art.

this is sinfully soft Merino. i remember when i got it in the mail and opened it up i probably stood there for a good 5 minutes rubbing it against my face, in awe of the softness. i'm going to try to spin this up a little differently than i normally do, i've split the braid in 2 and i'll be plying 2 seperate strands together instead of just spinning it all at once and plying it on itself. i'm hoping to be able to maintain the integrity of the colors so that the finished yarn won't have that "barber pole" look to it. wish me luck!

another short post today because i have a splitting headache and this heat is making me cranky. i think i need a nap...



Thursday, July 15, 2010

day 5: i got my Etsy widget back!

Tour de Fleece day 13:

{plying and more plying}

as you can see my progress today has consisted of plying my "almost laceweight" yarn. now that i'm plying it i see that i've got a lot of work to do on spinning laceweight. i'd say it's "mostly" laceweight, but there are quite a few spots that are clearly fingering. it's funny, i spun up my first 2 yarns of the tour so quickly that i was afraid i might run out of fibre to spin, but since this laceweight has taken me about 8 days to spin i guess i don't have to worry about that anymore ^.^

but i did manage to get some work done on the etsy shop today. i listed the 2 yarns and circular needle holder i blogged about yesterday, and i finally got my etsy widget back on the blog! if you look to your right


you'll notice the lovely Etsy widget in all it's glory, complete with my new listings :)

i'm going to spend the rest of my blog-a-thon crafting new merchandise for the shop, as well as finishing up some patterns to add too. then i'll have a Grand Re-Opening to celebrate at the end of the month (which will actually be the middle of August.) i'll be doing some giveaways here on the blog and probably have a sale in the shop, so be sure to check back around mid August for the details of the Grand Re-Opening sale!

and on a truly random note: i think i want an angora bunny...

{angora bunny babies from Spang Angoras Rabbitry}

i was perusing the forums on Ravelry today and i came across an ad for Susan's Spinning Bunny. this is a great little shop with all kinds of fibery goodness for spinners. as you can obviously tell from the name, Susan has an Angora bunny (the grey one in the middle in the pic above.) and she has a cute little story on her site about how her bunny, Smokey Blue, came to live with her. i spent a few minutes just now fawning over her gorgeous little guy and now i want one of my own! that's not crazy right? i mean i already have a guinea pig, maybe they could be friends ^.^ head on over to Susan's if you want to read Smokey Blue's story, but be warned! you'll probably end up wanting an angora bunnie for yourself!

well short post for today folks, i'm actually "working" right now, which basically involves me sitting around my apartment waiting for an order. i'm a "mobile server" which is basically just a euphemism for "delivery girl" xD

i hope everyone's finding a way to stay cool. ttfn ^^/


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

day 4: new plans for the Etsy shop

Tour de Fleece day 12:

it's been tough spinning in this heat, it just makes me feel so lethargic. but i'm glad to announce that i FINALLY managed to finish spinning my "attempted" laceweight today :)

i say attempted because i can tell that some parts are closer to fingering weight. but at least a good majority of it is definitely true laceweight, not bad for a first attempt!

{all caked up and ready to ply}

i've been plying it sporadically throughout the day as i clean up the house a bit. had to dust off the ol' fan now that our first heatwave of the summer has hit us full force. there aren't a lot of things i miss about living in Las Vegas, but at least out there it was a criminal offense not to have air conditioning in apartments xD
but despite the opressive heat i'm actually starting to get some things done for my Etsy shop. today i took pictures of the first two handspun yarns i'll be offering in my shop and the first circular needle holder i finished!

{cotton candy blues - 163 yds, dk weight 2 ply, 100% Blue Face Leicester wool}

these two yarns were spun from roving i got in a swap on Ravelry. this first one is from Long Dog yarns and i loved the addition of a smokey, almost periwinklish navy blue to the traditional cotton candy colors pink/yellow/blue.

{the color purple - 107 yds, dk weight 2 ply yarn, 100% Merino wool}

and this one is Fleecemakers Fibers. this is one of the SOFTest Merino wools i've ever worked with. seriously, this yarn is like butter.

now, every time i've offered one of these circular needle holders in a swap they've been snatched up faster than you can say Malabrigo! so i got the bright idea to make a bunch to sell in my Etsy shop. this is the first one i've finished so far.

{golden flora - circular needle holder}

its my own modified design of a circular needle holder pattern i found in the original Stitch n Bitch book (look familiar Sarah? ^.^)

i also got the fabric for this in a swap, anyone else noticing a theme here? the ravelry swaps are like my own personal supply shop, lol :P

i'll probably be listing all 3 of these tomorrow, as well as working on a few more of the circular needle holders in a different fabric. oh yeah and my Etsy widget on my blog will be back up once i fill the shop out a bit more with the new merchandise. but for right now it's time to hit the hay, i'm just barely squeezing in with my blog post for today with 2 minutes until midnight.

peace & love everyeone ^^/


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

day 3: translator troubles and fat spindle woes

Tour de Fleece day 11:

it's a smouldering day here in southern california...the first truly hot day of the summer. according to it is currently 84 degrees :O

but i suppose i shouldn't complain because i know a lot of you back east have been dealing with the heat for quite some time now.

and as i melt slightly in my non-airconditioned apartment i've been having great difficulties spinning up the last of my laceweight.

{broken yarnz = broken dreamz :<}

if you're a spinner then i'm sure you already know what this very sad looking little pile of random slightly twisted peices of fibre is. but for those of you who don't spin, all of these little peices of fibre represent a moment in my spinning where the spindle got away from me >.<

now, people have been telling me on ravelry how crazy i am not to break up my roving into smaller more manageable peices, especially when spinning laceweight. but that's just not how i roll... maybe i'm a glutton for punishment, or maybe it's just a strong stubborn urge to prove it "can" be done, even if it might not necessarily be the best idea?

i guess for the time being i'll continue to fall victem to FSS (fat spindle syndrom.) but i am down to the homestretch now, just this last little bit of fibre and then it's on to the plying! am i the only one who gets excited about plying?

and on a slightly sad note, i've lost my translator...

you might have noticed that i spruced up the ol' blog a bit for summer and in honor of my 30 day blog a thon. well for some reason my translator isn't compatible with these new templates or something because it just stopped working. i haz a sad :(

but hopefully i'll be able to find a different one that will be compatible with my blog. i don't even know if any of my visitors ever used it, but i personally liked being able to see my blog in a bunch of different languages xD

well folks hopefully by tomorrow i'll have some finished laceweight handspun to show you but for now i'm signing off.

stay cool everyone ^^/


Monday, July 12, 2010

day 2 of my month long blog-a-thon

Tour de Fleece Day 10:

today is a day of rest for the Tour de Fleece (and Tour de France) but that hasn't stopped me from spinning, knitting, and sewing up a storm! i recently decided to sew up some of my circular needle holders for sale in my Etsy shop since whenever i've offered them in swaps they've been snatched up pretty quickly. i'm also considering offering my handspun in my Etsy shop too, but it's so hard to part with!

and for those of you who remember that lovely colorchanging turquoise/black yarn i spun i have a pic of the little mini scarf i knit with it.

the pattern is Vertex by Galia Lael and it can be found on Ravelry here. i only had 130 yards to work with, so it is rather small, but i love the way the color change effect turned out. i'll probably spin a bunch more yarns like this, i've just been on a color changing kick lately.

and speaking of which i've just ordered this gorgeous fibre pack to that end.

i found it at The Rainbow Room on Etsy (probably my fav new Etsy shop.) this is the "Peacock" fibre pack, i think it's going to make one hell of an awesome color changing yarn...i may even have to make another Vertex with this once i'm done spinning it!

well that's all for today folks, i'll probably be finishing my latests spinning WIP tonight or tomorrow so be sure to look out for pics of the FO ^.^

peace & love


Sunday, July 11, 2010

life...and the Tour de Fleece

i know i've been absent from my blog for some time now. in truth, my marriage has been in trouble for the last few months, and i think it's finally come to the point where it's falling apart for good. obviously as a result i've been a bit preoccupied as of late. but i'm at the point now where i think i just need to stop worrying all the time and start trying to live my life and be productive as best i can. therefore, in an effort to stave off madness and occupy my mind with better things, i'm challenging myself to blog every day for 1 month, starting today.
todays installment is all about the "Tour de Fleece." for those of you who don't spin, or just don't know about the TdF, it's a little friendly competition where we spin every day of the Tour de France. we all try to set goals for ourselves and challenge ourselves to try out new techniques, or do some stashbusting etc. but the best part of all is that i've been able to "multitask" by spinning these yarns as homework assignments for the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup competition ^.^

Days 1-5:

{Tropical Breeze handspun - 75% BFL 25% Tussah Silk}

i started the tour off by spinning this gorgeous BFL/Silk blend roving from Woolie Bullie. this roving was utterly decadent to spin with. i'm of the opinion that BFL is one of the softest wool breeds, and the silk in it gives such a lovely drape.

{my History of Magic assignment for July}

it took me the first 5 days of tour to finish off that Tropical Breeze, and then i moved on to one of my fav rovings i've worked with so far; "A Beautiful Butterfly" handdyed Corriedale Cross roving from Color Bug Yarns.

Days 6-7

{A Beautiful Butterfly - all spun up into a sport weight single}

{Potions Homework for July}

this was my first time working with a Corriedale breed wool and i have to say that i enjoyed it thoroughly. while it's not quite as soft as Merino or BFL, i found it very easy to work with and draft. not to mention these colors are just so gorgeous. Color Bug Yarns has some of the deepest richest color saturation i've seen out there for the price (it's very affordable stuff.) i managed to spin this up in just 2 days, although i was trying for a lace single and i ended up with a sport weight single. i guess i've still got a long way to go to perfecting my spinning technique!

Days 7-9

{Azlan - 100% Merino roving}
for the past few days i've been plodding along at my most recent spinning WIP. since i wasn't able to pull off a laceweight yarn with the Beautiful Butterfly roving, i decided to give it another go with this Azlan roving. for those of you who don't spin, laceweight yarn takes FOREVER to spin, especially on a spindle as opposed to a wheel. but i did chose this fibre because it's only 3oz (the other two were 4oz) so i'm hoping to be able to get this done in the next few days. this will be my assignment for Charms.
well that's all for today folks. i'll be back tomorrow to post some updates of some of my knitting WIP's as well as this lovely-but-ever-so-time-consuming lace handspun. today is day 9 of the tour so i'm off to spin ^^/

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

it's House Cup time again!!!

yay! i'm FINALLY done with my finals for school, and not a moment too soon because the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup competition is on again ^.^

i didn't compete last term because i just had too many things going on in my life at the time, but now that school is done and i have nothing more to do this summer than look for a decent job i've finally got some time to participate again. the first month of competition actually fell on the month of all my finals, but somehow or another i actually managed to complete projects for it, so i thought i'd post a little picture montage for you all to see.

{Defense Against the Dark Arts homework}

for those of you who don't know what the HPKCHC is, it's a competition group on Ravelry where you're sorted into one of the 4 houses, just like in the Harry Potter books/movies. we have volunteer "Professors" who post fibre arts assignments in different magical disciplines and all the houses knit and crochet items to compete for points and the title of "House Cup Champions." I am a Ravenclaw, and there were some great assignments this first month. the one pictured above and below is my project for Defense Against the Dark Arts.

{AKA Clover Leaf Scarf}

i swear that the forces of darkness were actually working against me when i tried knitting this scarf, because i only managed to get halfway through the pattern before it disappeared from the website! luckily, all my design experience really saved my butt, because i was able to reverse engineer the last half of it and it came out looking pretty good actually, considering this was my first time knitting on the bias.

{Dragon Scale Headband - made for Charms}

this next project is actually my very first project using my own handspun yarn! i was super excited about this one, some of you might recognize the yarn i used from my last post about spinning. it's one of the two yarns on my spindles that i posted a picture of. i modified a pattern for a dragonscale cuff because i wanted to use up all of the yarn i had spun and i think it came out looking pretty good. the silk in the yarn gives it a bit of a reptilian, scaley sheen in spots so it was the perfect yarn for this pattern.

{petite vache delaine - made for History of Magic}

and ofc, being the cow lover that i am, i couldn't resist the urge to make another tiny cow for one of my classes. this time i used a wool fingering weight yarn, in lieu of gold metallic embroidery thread i used for my original petite vache dorée. it also gave me a chance to test knit the pattern for this little cow (only took me about a year lol) so that i'll be able to post it in my pattern store on Ravelry soon. and this time around i even gave my little cow a tiny collar complete with bell!

{fire coming out of a monkey's head - Ancient Runes homework}

this project is probably my most abstract interpretation of an assignment so far. in Ancient Runes we were asked to create something inspired by a Norse Mythological Creature, or something inspired by Futhark Runes. i chose to do both, this little camera sock is inspired by the Norse Fire Giants, particularly Surtur, and by a Gorillaz song from which it takes it's name. the lyrics of the song describe a mountain called "Monkey" that spews forth fire to cleanse the world of the evils of greed and glutony, much like the Norse Fire Giants cleanse the world with fire after all the gods have died in the battle at Ragnarok.

the faire isle design is comprised almost entirely of the Futhark Rune "Kenaz" which looks very similar to one of these "<" this was also my first faire isle design (or maybe technically "faux" isle, since i used a variegated yarn to acheive the colorwork.) and it was very much needed because my poor camera has been sitting around my room naked and collecting dust since christmas.

{black + white =/= grey - a cowl for charms in June}

this last project is my first project for June classes, all the others i turned in in May. this is also my 2nd project using my own handspun yarn. i was lucky enough to get doubles of this sample in my April PhatFiber boxes, so i had enough yarn to make this cute lil cowl/cuff thingy. i used the pattern "Cashmere Cuff" by Jessica Vaughan, with a few modifications, and was able to use up exactly the 41.8 yards i had spun. i'm so glad that i've been able to use up the entire skein of my handspun yarns in the projects i've used them for. so much of my heart and soul goes into spinning them it would kill me to have just a few yards left over and nothing to do with them.

and speaking of handspun...

{colorchanging handspun - turquoise to black}

here is my latest spinning FO, a colorchanging merino wool yarn, single ply, and about fingering to sport/DK weight. this is the largest amount of yarn i've ever spun in a single skein and i'm quite proud of it. i even got the colors to distribute pretty evenly so there it's almost equal parts turquoise, black, and a mix of the two. i'll be using this loveliness to knit a Vertex shawl for the KAL in the PhatFiber group.

i think i might actually be starting to like spinning almost more than knitting! i say almost because knitting WITH yarn i've spun is definItely more fulfilling than just spinning or knitting with store bought yarn. i can't wait to see how this latest colorchanging yarn is going to knit up!

and on that note, i'm outta here for the night. i hope everyone is having a great beginning to their summer, and getting plenty of crafting time in. after all, if we didn't craft, we'd probably all go crazy right?



Friday, May 7, 2010 newest obsession

hello everyone ^^/

it's a beautiful Friday afternoon here in California, sunny and not too hot. i hope the weather is being so kind to everyone else wherever you are.

i was over at my friend Sarah's blog the other day, The Student Knitter, and she mentioned in one of her posts that she'd like to learn how to spin. it made me realize that i don't think i've ever blogged here about my own personal spinning exploits so i decided today was a great day to do my first official blog post about spinning on a drop spindle ^.^

first a bit of an explanation is in order for those of you who might not know what spinning is, or may know of it but don't know exactly what it entails. basically spinning is a process for making yarn by taking fibres and spinning them together. sounds easy enough right? well, it does get a bit more complex than that, but that's the small and skinny of it.

there are 2 ways to spin that i know of, either on a drop spindle, or on a spinning wheel. i personally use a drop spindle, so that's the kind of spinning i'm going to be talking about today. a drop spindle is a spinning tool that, in the simplest terms, consists of a disc or "whorl" attached to a hooked stick. below is a picture of my 2 spindles, one is a top whorl (on the right) and one is a bottom whorl (on the left.)

{my two spindles and my current spinning WIPs}

as you can see from the picture my spindles already have spun yarn on them, the turquoise and black is a Merino Wool that i'm spinning into a colorchanging yarn and the other is Merino Wool and Silk that i'm spinning together. there are a multitude of fibres to spin from including Wool, Angora, Alpaca, Mohair, Silk, Cotton...just about any fibre you would normally find in yarn. below are pics of 2 different fibres i've recently spun:

{Toad's Eye from Fiber Fancy - 100% Superwash Merino Wool Roving}

{Macaw from Beesy Bee Fibers - 100% Blue Face Leicester Wool Roving}

both of the fibres pictured above fall into the category of "Roving." being such a new spinner i'm not as educated about the different types of fibres as i'd like to be, so if anyone out there is interested in learning more head over to this site now for a more in depth look at the different forms of spinning fibres.

once you have a spindle and some fibre, it's time to spin, and this video on youtube is a great starting point, as is this one. when i first started spinning i tried learning from a book, which was very difficult, the techniques in spinning are best learned when you can see exactly what is being done in real time. spinning books are, however, a great source of information about the tools necessary to spin, so i do suggest getting a book or doing some research online before diving in headfirst.

and here's what the finished product looks like:

{Toad's Eye spun up}

{Macaw spun up}

both of these yarns were spun into singles (a single ply of yarn) and then the singles were spun together to form a plied yarn in a process called "Plying". if you're a knitter or crocheter you might already know these terms, and you might not. i personally didn't know what the difference was between a single and a plied yarn until i started learning how to spin. Spinning has taught me a lot about the yarn i've been knitting and crocheting with for years, it's a great way to amass an intimate knowlege of the yarns you know and love. i assure you if the spinning bug bites you, you'll learn that there is so much more to the process of making yarn than you ever thought there could be.

so finally, i'll leave you with some resources for beginning spinners. these sites are full of really useful information like how to make your own spindle, where to buy spinning supplies, as well as helpful techniques that all spinners should know.

The Joy of Handspinning

Neauveau Fiber Arts

Craft Site Directory

i hope everyone has a lovely weekend :)


Friday, April 30, 2010

JL Yarns Bamboo Spica review (and an FO and new design)

{never take FO pics when you're having a bad hair day xD}
you know, it's really hard to take a picture of your own back. as you can see from the photo above of my finished Ribbed Lace Bolero. i blogged about this project in one of my last few posts and it's finally finished! i'm not sure if i like it 100%, i was hoping it wouldn't slouch quite so much in the back, but i'm also not sure i have the heart to rip it back and reknit it now that it's finished. i'm sure some of you know what i'm talking about ^.^

i've been away from my blog for a little while, partly due to being really busy with school and work, and partly due to being really busy with a new design i'm working on. and i know what you're going to say, "but Carla, you said you weren't going to start any new designs before you finished your WIP busting crusade." and trust me, that is still a priority for me, but i've had this design in my head for some time now and i felt compelled to get it out and onto my needles. especially since i just got 8 balls of Bamboo Spica from Julia's Yarns in color #304, and i've been dying to try out so i could post a review of it here on the blog.

Bamboo Spica is a 100% bamboo yarn, chained not plied, which i think makes it FAR less splitty than some of the other bamboo yarns i've used (i'm lookin at you Natrually Caron Spa >.>) usually splittiness is the #1 complaint for bamboo yarns, so that already puts this particular yarn ahead of the pack in my opinion.

this is also an incredibly soft Bamboo yarn, for the price i paid for it i wasn't expecting it to have such softness and such a lovely sheen and drape. and i think my favorite thing about this yarn is how well it blocks. i've never done a lace project with bamboo yarn, so i never really paid much attention to blocking bamboo, but for my current design in the works, blocking is a BIG issue. so i knit up a swatch in the lace pattern and blocked it before endeavoring to cast on:

{here's the lace pattern before blocking}

{and here's my blocked swatch}

as you can see from the pics above, this yarn blocks incredibly well. the lace has totally opened up, and even the section at the top that was knit in rib kept it blocked dimensions! i was really impressed with the blockability of this yarn, which makes it perfect for this new design. so with this yarn blocking makes a HUGE difference. if, say, you're knitting something in stockinette with it, but you're not quite getting the right gauge, you could definItely block this to stretch it to fit the guage you need as long as there's not too big a difference.

those are the positives, now about the color...

once again, the colors were true to the colors represented on the JL yarns website, but if you've been over there and checked out the color selection, you'll see that they don't have too many options. i personally didn't like most of the colors they had, they don't have any solids at all, and even this seemingly solid bluish-green i have is subtly variegated.

but the WORST thing about this particular colorway is that it stains your hands, and if you're working with bamboo needles like i am, it stains them too! the staining on my hands is very slight, and washes away easily, but the staining on my needles is a bit more dramatic. i'm going to have to soak my FO well and really try to get all that excess dye out of it before i attempt to wear it. i don't know if all of the colors stain like this, maybe it's just this particular color. if anyone else tries this yarn in a different colorway be sure to let me know if you had the same problem with staining.

however, i did get 50 gram balls of this yarn for just under $2.40 a ball (in a bag of 8), which is pretty cheap for a 100% bamboo yarn. so i can put up with a little hand and needle staining for such a great deal.

Overall, i give this yarn a positive rating. for me, the value pricing makes up for the other shortcomings, but if you're the kind of person that really hates stainy yarn, then this might not be the yarn for you. but it is very soft, very blockable, and has a gorgeous drape that i'm guessing is going to look really great in my new design. on a scale from 1 to 10 i give this yarn:

Quality Relative to Price: 9

Overall Quality Unrelated to Price: 7

Color: 4 (for staining and limited color options)

Ease of Use: 8 (for minimal splittiness)

bottom line, as with the JL Vinca, you get what you pay for. whenever you find a small yarn company that produces commercial yarn, it's probably not going to have the same quality as a bigger label such as Rowan, or Classic Elite. you just have to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether the cons would put you off so much as to not want to use it.

all of the yarns i ordered during my big yarn binge a few weeks ago have now arrived, and i'm going to be slowly trickling in the reviews as i use them. my next review will be a double review of 2 of the Pierrot yarns i ordered and have used, Zakka and Cotton Neat. now that i've finished the projects i was working on with them i'll be able to do a pretty comprehensive review of both.

which leaves only one thing, my new design. i'm sure you could figure out from the pictures of my swatches above that it's a lace project, with a picot edge. this is a very exciting design for me because it's my first attempt at designing a garment. i don't want to give away too much now, so i'll leave you with a picture of my progress so far

{mystery design in Bamboo Spica}

have a great weekend everyone ^^/