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Black Sheep Gathering

Noriko HoComment

At the end of June, I went to Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR.  It's a cute fiber festival that focuses on the animals, fiber mostly for spinning, and a small amount of yarn.  I went for one day with a couple of my friends.  :o)  It was so much fun, and I would love to go again, though it may not be a yearly event for me... It ended up being a longer drive than I originally expected.  >.<  Anyways, here are some pictures from the event.  

The animals were adorable, getting to hang out with friends (Marilyn, a local PDXer, and Ari, a Seattle-ite... and many more not pictured) was great, there were some amazing felted pieces of art there, a wall of handspun yarn (of many different breeds of sheep) then swatched for us to ogle over, and a new favorite shop (Stick + String)!  :oD

And, of course, the haul.  I couldn't resist getting one Stick + String's batts, so I nabbed the one I was eyeing all day (the gorgeous desert-y colored one), some black wool with a rainbow of sparkles from The Fiber Addict, and some natural colored wools (a wool sampler pack and Shetland/Alpaca) from Woolgathering.  I also got my very first Jenkins spindle, an Aegean.  Eeeeee, so excited!!

As far as the wool sampler pack goes, it contains 30 different breeds of sheep!  My friend, Marilyn, and I split a pack (full pack is 1oz/breed, so we now have 0.5oz/breed), and we will be spinning them up and will be putting up blog posts about our thoughts on each of them.  I'm very excited because I haven't even heard of some of these breeds!!  :oD 

Challenges

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Working a lot, traveling, finding myself with more deadlines (most of them self placed pattern writing deadlines), etc has started to wear on me.  So, I've found ways to create small challenges for myself to keep me motivated and staying positive.  :o)  Here are a few of the challenges that I have recently started.  

We can start with the pretty challenge!  At this year's Madrona Fiber Fest, I purchased this roving.  It's super soft and so cool with the alpaca staying it's super dark color and silk becoming ultra intense in color!  :oD  I decided to drop spindle this fiber so I can really enjoy it.  Because of the fiber content, I decided to spin from the fold (a technique I haven't tried in probably... 8 years!).  I haven't gotten past that yellow tail you see there, but I'm enjoying it so far!  

Next is the StitchJones Neon Design Challenge that I've blogged about in the past!  I've figured out what I want to do, and I'm already 1/3 the way done!  Can't show the design just yet, so you'll just have to trust that I'm really liking the results.  

Oh and speaking of challenges... capturing that neon green is definitely a challenge!!  That color above is not quite right... but I couldn't get the camera to get it just right.  :op  

The last challenge for the day is one that's actually really hard for me.  It's downsizing my stuff.  I have given myself an attainable feeling challenge of removing five items from my life each day I have off.  That can be something like a book that I haven't tried to reread in years, a piece of clothing I am not excited to wear anymore, a tote bag I got for free but never use b/c I have better quality ones, or even a piece of junk mail that I should have recycled when it came in, but instead it went into a pile of "to be sorted."  I am even counting a wrapper that I left on the coffee table instead of throwing out day of because it's still getting something that is cluttering my life, and getting it out.  

This last challenge is hard for me because I will always find a reason that something is useful, sentimental, or "needed."  However, with each move, I find myself in a smaller apartment, smaller closet, less storage space, etc.  I need to be able to free myself of the things that I am not using so that I can actually get to the things I do want to use!  I'm actually remarkably pleased with my results so far, and plan on continuing.  One day, then it'll turn into having just what I need and then only removing things that are wasteful that have come in, like recycling ads.  :o)  

A Four(ish) Day Project

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I met up with a friend over coffee a little bit ago, and she had brought a handspun Hipstamatic to show me!  It was sooooo gorgeous, that I had to try it myself.  She had been ecstatic to tell me that it had taken her about 2 days to make all together.  From then on, I became obsessed with the idea of handspinning and knitting my own bulky weight yarn and knitting up yet another Hipstamatic.  

I haven't been able to spin a consistent bulky weight ply... well, ever, but I really wasn't concerned for consistency for this project.  I wanted fun and funky, and so thick and thin was exactly what I was looking for!  I spun up each single in 1 day each (allowing them to rest overnight before plying).  

I used the super easy method of winding each ply onto a toilet paper core, then plying off of those.  As you can see, I misjudged things, and I had a good amount more of one ply leftover, so I ended up Andean plying the remaining amount.  This took one more day, and then I let it rest overnight, as well, before washing and thwacking.  

I wish I had a decent picture of the yarn itself prior to knitting up, but I can't seem to find the pics I took of it.  The final yarn was so fun and still extremely thick and thin!  I had roughly 70yds, which I knit up exactly as the pattern called for.  The knitting I did over the course of a day, idly knitting off and on all day.  So, all the work of making this hat took about four days, but I did end up taking about a week off between spinning the yarn, and actually knitting it up.  

What you see in that picture is actually every last bit of yarn I spun up.  The hat is pretty much a beanie size for me, and super soft and comfy.  And sparkly.  So sparkly!  I'm a bit surprised that I didn't focus on the sparkly part this entire post.  ;o)  I will try to get a modeled shot soon!  

A few details:  fiber came in the form of a lightly processed batt (fibers were aligned, but I would probably guess they were only run through once, and the fibers were super sticky, like the lanolin hadn't been washed out completely, and had aged mildly).  The fiber content claims to have been a bit over 2oz of merino and angelina.  My coworker thinks it looks like Elsa, and I've decided that I like that.  :o)

Kundert Love

Noriko HoComment

For Christmas, Marilyn got me a gorgeous Kundert spindle.  I love it, and it spins just beautifully.  I think it was just what I needed to get back into the spinning groove.  It's been a couple years since I've spun regularly, but I definitely think this was a well needed push back into it.  :o)  

I glanced through my stash and found a super ancient Abstract Fibers merino roving that I have had for... well, probably 8 years!  While merino fiber is not my favorite to spin, I decided to break into the bump anyways.  I mean, look at those colors!!  ;o)  It's a vibrant sunset that is a nice reminder of sunnier days.  It's been raining and very gray here, as of late, so this is just the pop of brightness that I needed.  

I have gotten good at spinning finely, but have noticed that it is so much harder to spin a bulky or even worsted weight yarn as consistently as a finer gauge yarn.  I decided to try spinning this fiber at a thicker gauge to practice.  I'm not as consistent as I'd like, but it's fun to keep trying. This will eventually be worked up as a 2 ply yarn, and I'm hoping for a worsted to aran weight once it's all said and done.  

I'm still not as consistent as I'd like to be, but then again, that's what handspun is for.  It's not meant to be perfect... which is something that can be hard to convince myself about, sometimes.  Hehe.  It is interesting, however, because once the yarn is all done and has had it's wash, I always love it, commonly because of the imperfections!  

One of my favorite things about spinning is how every person makes a different yarn out of the same fiber.  It was my favorite thing about fiber clubs (when I was a part of them), to see how differently everyone's yarns came out.  The lumpy, bumpy art yarns, navajo plied, 2-ply, 3-ply, etc... and at various skill levels, they all were (and still are, I just haven't been a part of a club to watch in awhile) amazing to see and equally beautiful.  

The only difficult part about spinning is that it's not as easy to do when little miss Izi decides that it's nap time in my lap.  :o/  Knitting is possible when there's a cat invading my space, but spinning becomes very limited like this.  Le sigh.  

I'm thinking of joining the 15 minutes of spinning club (not a real club, but I know a number of people who advocate this), and seeing if I can get through this 4 oz of merino in a reasonable amount of time!  

Blue Christmas

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I'm travelling for the holidays, and this year, I decided to bring a spinning project that I had from years back.  

These were two small samples I got from various places, and I decided to combine them to stretch out the yardage and weight I could get out of them.  :o)  I had roughly double the weight of lighter blue than the darker, so I decided to do a simple three ply with two strands of the lighter blue and one of the darker.  

I also spun them on the thin side to, again, stretch out the yardage.  I thought that the final product would end up being a fingering weight, but it is appearing that it is still a lace weight.  Of course, after it's bath, it may fluff up.  I'm actually hoping for it!  :o)

Here it is in a skein!!  Squee!  It's pre-bath still, and some areas I'm thinking might fluff up, but others seem like they'll still be lace weight after the bath.  I shall see in a bit.  

And here's the close up!  The color of the other picture is definitely closer, but this one does a good job of showing off the variation in the intensity of the darker blue.  :o) I, foolishly, left my niddy noddy home, and so I'll have to wait until I get back to measure my yardage.  

As it is, it looks like I'll be knitting for the rest of the Christmas traveling.  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!  :oD  

Spinning fun

norichanComment
I had such fun spinning up these beautiful two rovings by Bohemia Fibers!  Here are some progression photos:
The rovings:  Nauset Beach on the left and Boardwalk on the right.  Corriedale wool, both.
The singles!
Ready to ply on my pretty Little Grace Special...
Plied!
Soaking to set it.
The final yarn!  I love it!

A friend loved it too!  So much that she decided she had to buy it off me.  :oD  Her plans are to make a Clapotis out of the yarn.  How pretty is that going to be??

And, yes, I do sell handspun yarn.  I take custom orders and will soon be selling premade handspun shortly!  Message me for more info.  :o)