Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spider Silk

The other part of my TDF project isn't going quite as well as I'd hoped. Of the two ounces I've got, I've spun less than a quarter... but Florenz was very cooperative and gave it his best effort. The brown yarn is KnitPicks Palette, so you can sort of get an idea of scale if you look at the embiggened version of the picture.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Allez... SPIN!

Like Hannibal and the intrepid cyclists, I took on the Alps today for the Team Tale Spin challenge. The roving is superwash BFL in Liquid Amber from Artisan Acre; the spindle is my IST Wood Emporium baby in tulipwood and walnut.
The fairy tale I chose was Vasilisa the Beautiful. The story is that of Vasilissa's visit to Baba Yaga; the colors of the roving fit perfectly with the various fiery motifs sprinkled throughout the story... from the fire Vasilissa is sent to fetch, to the second horseman, to the glow of the skull Baba Yaga sends back home with Vasilissa... and the skull's reaction to the wicked stepmother.
As usual, I forgot to use something to show the scale, but you get the idea. ;)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fleur de Fleece

Over the weekend, I finally got started on my TdF spinning. Which was awkward because I had to keep migrating from one room to another to avoid hordes of guests at the party I went to. It's so hard avoiding people at parties, especially when you're doing something peculiar like sitting on a barstool and using a drop spindle.. I was good, though, and didn't get too prickly when they asked questions.
This is my first attempt at spinning silk with any real consistency. Florenz has been performing well. He's a little heavier than most of my other spindles, but numerous people have said that it's possible to spin fine yarn on heavy spindles--Mrs. Dragonfly sure proved that with the sewing thread she spun as a test before she and Mr. Dragonfly sent Florenz on his way to my mailbox. I haven't done a WPI test yet, either, but un-fluffed, it looks like it should be fairly close between lace weight and fingering weights. Still not sure if I want to spin it in two parts, then ply it with itself, or wind it into a ball and then chain ply it to make something more substantial. Either way, knitting anything with yarn that fine would take ages, even on biggish needles. Unfortunately, I didn't think to include a penny for scale this time, but you get the idea.
Here's the silk in its unspun form. It's very soft and just a little bit fly-away, so whatever I'm wearing ends up with a slight dusting of silk fibers.
The colors are (as you can see from the above picture) blending to produce something closer to coral.. which isn't quite what I was aiming for. It would be tragic to over-dye it, I think, so I'll just leave it as it is and  entertain suggestions for projects when I figure out how many yards I've got when it's all spun up. Corgi Hill Farm is... I need to stop looking at her Etsy shop. Really, I do. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Peppery Paprikash

Today was the first day of TdF. Fail. I went to work this morning and fumed, then came home and continued to fume. The net result of all the fuming was that I wound off the rest of the first Werefox batt and now have.. three spindles in a state of dishabille. Scandal.
A couple days ago, my IST Wood Emporium spindle arrived and was promptly draped in red Wensleydale. My first experience with a true long-wool is essentially this: because the staples are so long, you can draft until you're practically blue in the face and the single will refuse to drift apart. And you can spin really, really, really fine yarn consisting of almost minuscule amounts of fiber. It's insane. KnittySpin carried an article on this very subject a while back and I'm pleased to see that what I thought was hairiness is normal behavior for long-wools like Wensleydale. No pictures yet, unfortunately, because I wound off the small amount of yarn and am getting ready to actually start my TdF project tomorrow. 
One thing about Wensleydale, thought, is that it's not exactly soft. It's incredibly lustrous and has that.. sort of weird, fuzzy halo thing goin' on, but it's probably not going to be well suited to something you'd wear next to the skin. I've been thinking about a lace project.. I'm probably nuts to consider it, but Veil of Isis looks like it would be perfect for this. Assuming I get through TdF. 
Tomorrow, I'm off to go bumping along a mountain road.. and by the time I reach the end of said mountain road, I'll probably be so rattled at having nearly fallen into the numerous chuck holes that I won't be in any shape to do much spinning. I somehow doubt the fearless cyclists who compete in the non-woolly version of this event ever have to worry about being swallowed by chuck holes or chased by deer..