Posts Tagged ‘roving’


Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Yesterday the weather was bad–it was a storm that lived up to the bus cancellations and media hype.  I watched the storm get worse all day while at work, and we were finally sent home at 2pm.  The drive was a short one, but rather scary, as the roads had not yet been plowed, and many others had been sent home early from work at the same time.  I had to shovel waist deep snow to get myself dug IN to my parking space once I got home.  (pic taken much later, about 9pm when cars and buses were stuck in the snowbanks)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To my surprise and delight the mail had been delivered–thanks postal workers for working through all kinds of miserable conditions–my Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club had arrived.  This is the first time that I’ve joined a club like this, and I think mail order fluff once every 2 months sounds like a great way to get experience spinning new kinds of fiber, and to experiment with colour choices that I wouldn’t be able to dream up.

This first shipment is Cotswold, and the colourway is Eye of the Peacock. eyeofpeacockI spun late into the night, watching and waiting for the snow to let up and for the plows to get to the smaller streets.  This morning I got up early and enjoyed the warmth of the February sun and the brightness of all the snow outside.  I plied my two bobbins of singles together.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen I took pics on my fresh balcony snow. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m thinking this might make some pretty interesting socks.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHope everyone else has been safe and warm for their snow day!

Thanks Santa!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Santa gave me wool combs this year to add to my collection of wool processing implements.  Combs are different from carders because they keep the fibers aligned and the roving is smoother and I find it much easier to spin it consistently.  Combs are also weapons!  Be careful not to hurt yourself on them.  When you use them, pay attention to where your hands are, where your lap is, and who is near you.

wool combsMy combs are from Paradise Fibers.  I had a lesson a while back from Teira, and more recently I had been checking out youtube videos about wool combing.  I have convinced myself that my spinning would be so much nicer if I combed my fleece rather than carding it with my rather rugged drum carder.  I’m sure my spinning would also be a lot more consistent (and my stash of fleece would be decreasing nicely) if I sat down at my wheel more often and worked on improving my skills.


This is fleece that I got from Topsy Farms on their shearing day a few years ago.  It has been washed (to get rid of sheep waste and foliage) and dried, and now the clean locks are ready to be separated.  The locks are like hair that is on its way to becoming dreads–its tangled and a bit knotted together, but with a little bit of work the tangles can be brushed out.

I loaded one comb with locks, and then used the other comb (perpendicularly to the first) to comb through the locks.  The combed locks will then be transferred to the second comb.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe small amount of fleece remaining on the first comb gets discarded because it is mostly the short pieces and felted bits that will not spin smoothly anyway.  Sometimes it takes a few passed through the combs to get the fleece tangle free.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next step is to turn the combed fleece into roving.  I don’t have a diz (a small object with a hole in it meant for turning fleece into roving), but I do have a button that works just as well.  I carefully pulled the combed fleece through a button hole to create soft fluffy roving.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wound up the roving into balls, ready to spin.  I did all that combing over the span of 2 or 3 evenings!  I look forward to spinning it into yarn.  Right now it’s not about the finished project.  It’s all about the process, the learning, and the experimenting.

Midnight Adventures

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

So….I was looking at some interesting blogs to get inspiration for some spinning and knitting to do now that the Christmas gifts are all done.  Of course, inspiration hits close to midnight, and next thing I know I’m experimenting!  This is my first try dyeing with Wilton food dyes.  I got lots of helpful advice from this site.fleeceIt turns out that blue is a bit of a tricky colour, so I added some yellow to make green, which seems to be pretty potent!  The big trick is to add acid to the water (I used vinegar).  I don’t know how much I used, but I think it’s enough, since the colour stuck to the fleece! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also read that the temperature of the dye pot is important.  I used my candy thermometer to make sure that the temp got up to 180 F.  This yarn was once dyed (rather unsuccessfully) using black beans.  I’ve re-dyed it with a LOT of food colouring, making it a combination of reds and oranges. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI rinsed everything and now it is drying in my bathtub.  I’m looking forward to making some interesting things out of this!

Knit a Penguin

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

I’ve been looking all over to find a knitted penguin.  I’m going to make an ornament for a friend, so I wanted a pattern to make a little stuffed penguin.  My searching led to a few possibilities, and I’ve knit up one of them already.penguin

The pattern is an adaptation of a free pattern for an Easter peep.  It was a really quick project, knit on 4mm needles from some roving that I had.  I’ve never knit directly from roving before.  It worked really well!  I stuffed it with even more roving.  I had thought about felting it, but I haven’t tried that yet.  It’s a little bigger than I had expected–maybe too big for an ornament.  My modification to make it smaller would be to knit it out of sock yarn on small needles.

Another pattern that I have found since is here.  I’ll try this one next and compare the two for cuteness.

If anyone has found any patterns for tiny penguins please let me know.

Sunday Morning Spinning

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

I took a break this morning from all the things I should be doing.  It was lovely to sit by my window, in the bright sunshine, and spin up 4 oz of “baltic” blue roving from Paradise Fibers.


It’s now one very large skein of 2 ply yarn.

Now…back to the regularly scheduled work…

Baby Camel In The Mail

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Look at the goodies!!! mailI stopped off at the post office on the way to robotics this morning, and was thrilled to see that the package I got was a box full of my order from Paradise Fibers.  There’s some gorgeous  baby camel in there that I can’t wait to spin.  Also, and perhaps more importantly, there are two drivebands for my wheel.

After a long sleep tonight I’m going to attempt to change the band tomorrow.  It’s a job that requires a bit of wheel dismantling.  I hope I have the appropriate tools.  If I don’t, at least I know a robotics team that is happy to share!

FO: Mittens for Evan

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

One month ago today….

I was on vacation, meeting alpaca.

and dyeing roving on the fire.

Today I’d like to present to you the result of all that spinning

I have completed a pair of mittens for Evan (my traveling buddy) to commemorate our adventure, and remind him of his introduction into the crazy world of fiber arts.  (He spun the white fleece on a drop spindle at our campsite)

The mittens have 2010 on the cuff (palm side) and on the back of the wrist they have alpacas!

All of the black stranded colourwork is done with alpaca that I bought on our trip.  This means that the inside of the cuff is extremely soft and fluffy.

I like how all of the colours stripe and blend together.  The mittens don’t match perfectly, but I think that adds to the charm.  They are one of a kind, and will be making their way to Providence this fall for his birthday!

Spinning and Cloudgazing

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

I am really enjoying these autumn skies.  The clouds shift so quickly….

….and keep distracting me from my spinning wheel!  Soon enough these clouds will be full of snow, and it will get dark so fast that I will not be able to capture them.

I hope you take time to look up and admire the colours and fluffiness of these clouds while it is still warm.

What’s on my wheel?  Why it’s a combination of superwash fibers from slimchicken’s etsy store.  The colours are Nightviolet (which seems more predominantly purple and blue mixed with black)

and Nightgreens (which seems more predominantly green and black)

I purchased 2 oz of each colour, and I am alternating sections of roving as I spin.  I’m a little unsure (as usual) about what this will end up looking like, or what the finished product will be.  That’s all in the fun of spinning.  Lots of time to contemplate possibilities….

….and get lost in the clouds.

Harvest Colours

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Look at this….my singles are spun and ready to ply!  This is one of my favourite parts about spinning, watching the miriad of colour combinations as the two variagated single strands twist around each other.  When knit, the resulting yarn has a more subtle striped effect than if it were chain plied to create a three ply yarn.  My goal for this yarn is to have the colours in each of the single strands match up, or almost match up.

I did divide the roving in half lengthwise before I started, and spun each half of the roving in the same order, with the wheel turning in the same direction.  It doesn’t really matter which direction this is, but remember to turn the wheel the other way when you are plying.

bobbins on the lazy kate

I’m not sure why it is called a lazy kate, but it certainly is a very useful tool to have.

  • It keeps the bobbins from rolling all over my floor.
  • It keeps the single strands from getting tangled up.
  • It keeps a certain amount of tension on each of the strands.
  • It lets me make 2 ply or 3 ply yarn.

To make two ply yarn, put an empty bobbin on your wheel, spin the wheel the opposite way to how you spun the singles.  Connect both single strands to the leader, and make sure the two singles intertwine to form a consistent two ply yarn.  It’s easy to get mesmorized by the colour combinations.  That’s why I like it so much.

colours are matching up nicely

Be aware that if both bobbins of singles are absolutely full, you’ll fill two bobbins with the two ply yarn.  I seem to be able to get 100g comfortably on one bobbin.

Here’s my completed skein, fresh from the niddy-noddy.  I love how the red, green, yellow and orange have combined.  It makes me think of harvest vegetable colours, perfect for fall.

gratuitous macro close up shot

I’m thinking this might be enough for a baby sweater.  You can make a baby sweater with 100g of yarn right?

I have a good feeling about this yarn, just looking at it makes me happy!

Note:  roving from slimchicken‘s etsy store.  Full before pictures are found here.

Too Hot To Knit

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Oh my goodness, it is hot these days.  I think this might be the hottest, most humid weather we’ve had all summer!  I can’t bring myself to believe that it really is September–I see “Back To School” everywhere.  I’ve been back to school myself, to get ready for the term.  I have freshly sharpened pencils, and a brand new blank agenda book, but with temperatures soaring into the mid 30s+ with humidity factored in, I’m lacking a great deal of motivation to DO much of anything.

I have been spending some of my free time with my spinning wheel in front of a fan, and a sometimes breezy window, iced tea by my side.  I don’t know where all this impulsive spinning was during Tour De Fleece (when I was extremely unproductive-sorry Team Canada!)…but I’m being productive at the wheel these days, bit by bit getting bobbins done, and ready for the very fun part-plying!

I’m pretty sure my increased productivity is due to the growing fiber stash I have…I no longer am fussing with my drum carder, and fragile dirty fleece, trying to spin something that is reasonable.  Maybe I’ve learned my lesson?  Maybe it’s too hot to bother with all of the fiber preparation.

The fiber that’s on my wheel now came from Etsy–my very first Etsy purchase.  The seller, Jodi, known as slimchicken, was very easy to deal with and the fiber was delivered while I was on vacation–such a treat to come home to such vibrant colours!  I’d do business with her again for sure!

image source: slim chicken's etsy page

This is superwash fiber, my first time ever spinning superwash. So far I don’t notice much of a difference, but I am sure I will enjoy the freedom of being able to wash what can be knit with it.  Maybe this can be a baby sweater for fall or something like that.  My friends keep having babies!

What’s on your wheel these days?