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Spinning for Weaving

I have been doing a lot more spinning lately, and got into the box of rovings from Taylored Fibers in Quilcene, WA (which I last blogged about here in March 2014 when we visited Barry and saw his big carder in action).  I quickly realized that I didn’t have enough of each roving to do a sweater quantity, and wasn’t sure that was what I wanted to spin for anyway.  I am gearing up to weave new work for a fiber-arts show at Confluence Gallery in the spring, and want to do some small blankets or throws.  So I thought, why not create handspun yarn for wefts using various combinations of these rovings?  It would be similar to some twill shawls I did a few years back using handspun wefts, so I already have an idea of how much yarn I will need for a small blanket.

Here are the rovings:

Roving A – 50% BFL (blue-faced leicester wool), 30% silk, 20% alpaca.  I have a total of just under 1 lb.  This one has a lot of VM (vegetable matter) and some other hard bits, I think from the silk noils, so I am having to pick out quite a bit of that and the singles still turn out a little prickly.  I think it will be better combined with other fibers anyway, to tame this a bit.  It is a lovely warm honey color, though.

Roving A

Roving B – 45% lambswool, 35% alpaca, 10% angora.  I have 15 oz and it is light gray.

Roving B

Roving C – 45% merino. 30% alpaca, 10% kid mohair, 15% silk.  I have 18-1/2 oz and it almost black with some white streaks, presumably from the kid mohair and silk.

Roving C

Roving D – 65% Shetland lamb, 35% alpaca.  I have 2 rovings, each about 1 lb, and it is a medium gray, somewhat darker than B when spun up.  Since I have 2 lbs I can use 1/2 lb in a combo yarn and the rest of it as a solid 3-ply all by itself.

Roving D

Roving E – 1/3 each of merino, alpaca and BFL.  I have 17 oz and it is a dark blue.

Roving E

I have spun up some of this into singles and begun sampling 3-ply combinations, all about worsted weight (if I was knitting it).  For blanket warps, I have cones of Jaggerspun Green Line organic wool in a number of colors, which should be about the right weight.  I also have ecru (undyed) yarns from Ashland Bay that might work well, for example, the “Argentina” which is Polwarth wool and silk.

I figure I will need about 1-1/2 lbs of each yarn for a small blanket and have come up with a plan for combining my singles in different ways to achieve this.

Here is a 3-ply made from A, B and C above, with some colors in Green Line that I may use for warp:

3-ply using rovings A, B & C

Here is another one made from A, B & D with the same warp colors, but I think it would also work well on plain ecru yarn warp:

3-ply made from rovings A, B & D

I also have some teal handspun which is 2/3 BFL and 1/3 alpaca (dyed and blended for me at Taylored Fibers a number of years ago).  I started a sweater but it is languishing, so it may turn into a blanket or two instead:

I am also going to spin up roving E and plan to sample a yarn with one ply of C (the black) and 2 plies of E (the dark blue).  I have Green Line in some nice blue colors so that should work.

I am having a lot of fun with this, and have a lot of spinning to do!

Hansencrafts mini-spinner at work

I also have finished a couple more of my Mosaic Mojo hats.  This is the time of year when they sell well at the Winthrop Gallery, the only place I have them for sale.  So I need to replenish my stock!  A friend of mine gave me some yarn from Knit Picks to try for these.  The solid evergreen is their “Wool of the Andes” and the variegated a new yarn, called “Galerie” that is supposed to be Noro-like with color transitions.  Both are nice quality wool and inexpensive.  I used a fine kid mohair held with the Galerie.  The second one turned out better (in my opinion) when I made more conscious choices about how to use the Galerie, pulling apart the ball and selecting certain colors.

hat 1769

hat 1770

and this one is using good old Cascade 220 and a Noro yarn called Shinryuoko which is wool and silk:

hat 1771

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Handspun, Handknit

Methow Valley Spinners & Weavers annual show and sale was the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I sometimes put some handspun yarn in the sale, but hadn’t put any knitted items in for a while.  Since the focus is on spinning and weaving, our “rule” is that knitted items (or crocheted, or other crafts) have to be done with handspun yarn.

So I went to work on some of my Mosaic Mojo Hats (pattern available on Ravelry.com).  I wound up finishing six of them, and three sold at the guild sale.  The others went to Winthrop Gallery for the holiday gift show.

BFL roving in blue tones, polwarth/silk roving in greens, both dyed by Judith MacKenzie

Brownish yarn created at spinning camp with Judith Feb 2017 from grab-bag of different colors & fibers, plus blue BFL

Another hat with same fibers

Yet another hat with same fibers

Green polwarth/silk and some natural gray handspun from years ago

Reddish polwarth/silk roving I dyed at spinning camp Feb 2016, plus some leftover purple handspun from Taylored Fibers roving

I also had some handspun polwarth/silk from three rovings I bought a few years ago.  They were dyed by Abstract Fiber in Portland, Oregon.  Each 4-oz roving was a different colorway, but they went well together, so I spun singles from each one and then made a 3-ply yarn.  It came out more or less a worsted weight and I didn’t have enough to knit a garment, so it was just sitting there for a while deciding what it wanted to be.

I wound up knitting two cowls based on my Squirrel Cowl pattern (written for fingering weight yarn).  This is a sequence knitting project and uses a multiple of 12 + 1 stitches.   I used a size 9 needle and 228 + 1 sts and it came out a good length for wrapping around twice.  One went into the guild sale and then on to the Winthrop Gallery, and the other I am keeping for me!

Abstract Fiber cowl #1

Abstract Fiber cowl #2

The second one (the one I am keeping) is actually a little different.  I ran out of one of the singles but had more of another one, so I had a small skein of 3-ply with 2 singles of the latter and none of the former.  It was more blue.  I started the cowl with that color, then blended into the main yarn which had all three colors.

By the way, I think Abstract Fiber will be one of the vendors again at the 2018 Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat in Tacoma, WA  (Feb 15-18, 2018).  She really does beautiful work.

 

Exit 4

About this time last year, at a knitting event I have attended for many years, I was the big winner of a raffle prize.  It was 5 skeins of yarns from The Plucky Knitter (a very popular indie dyer) on their Snug Worsted yarn base (70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% alpaca – a very yummy feeling blend).  They had picked the 3 colors and it came with one of their scarf patterns and was packaged in a Field Bag from Fringe Supply!

I had hit the jackpot, although the colors might not have been what I would have chosen.  There were 2 skeins of “Utility” (gray) 1 skein of “Take a Hike” (pine green) and 2 skeins of “Glamping” (cream with spreckles of orange and green), each about 230 yds.

That time of year is rolling around again and last month I decided I should do something with the yarn so I could take it to show off.  I started the scarf pattern they had provided, but became disenchanted with it when partway into the second color.  I was afraid I would never wear it (too heavy, I like knitted scarves from lighter weight yarn) and it wasn’t going to make good use of the yarn, especially the first color which is used very little.  So I tore it out and went on a search for another project.

This is where good old Ravelry really shines!  I searched for a vest made out of Snug Worsted and lo and behold, found someone had made Exit 4 by Bonnie Sennot from this yarn and used 4-1/2 skeins all in one color.  I had 5 skeins in 3 colors, but figured I could make it work.  It’s more of a poncho than a vest, being open at the sides and held together with 2 buttons on each side.

Exit 4 by Bonnie Sennott in Plucky Knitter Snug Worsted

But wait, there’s more!  When I was done I had enough yarn left to make a hat, or so I thought.  19 gms of the Utiity, and about 35 gms each of the other 2 colors.  So I went back to an old favorite I have knit a couple of times:  Crown of Leaves by Faina Goberstein.  This is written for a lighter weight DK yarn but I had notes from knitting it from worsted weight before.  So I did the decorative cast on over a US 10, then changed to a US 4 (instead of US 2) for the twisted rib, then a US 7 (instead of US 5) for the body of the hat.  I cast on for the middle size, then increased only 24 instead of 36 to knit the body in the smallest size.  And it fits!  I had enough gray to do the ribbing, green to do Chart A, and the confetti color to almost finish the top, although I ran out and switched back to the green and gray bits of leftover to finish it off.

And this is how much yarn I had left over from the 5 skeins:

and I still have my new Fringe Supply Field Bag for future knitting projects!

July, August & Beyond

A friend rather pointedly told me that Twisp of Fate seems to have gone dark.  I am so far behind that it seemed pointless to try to catch up, in a way.  But to summarize….

Most of July was spent on a road trip to Oregon in our 1973 Airstream with the 2 cats, Juno & Stormy.  We visited family and friends in Medford & Ashland.

Rick’s birthday at La Pine State Park

Rick with daughter and newest great-grandchild

then headed east to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and Steens Mountain, where we were too late for much bird life at the refuge, but at a perfect time for a drive up Steens Mtn to see wildflowers, views and a couple of herds of wild horses.

near the top of Steens Mountain

wild horses

then farther east to the Owyhee country where we did a lot of driving but did visit an interesting “ghost town”, Silver City Idaho, and saw some fantastic geologic features.

then worked our way north via Baker City to the Wallowa Mountains and towns of Joseph and Enterprise (which we first visited last year) – where among other things we took the tram ride to the top of Mt Howard above Wallowa Lake, continued to eat well in camp, and did some light hiking.

The cats did well despite some long days in the truck, and the heat!

Our last night was at Potholes State Park in southeast Washington, a beautiful park at the Columbia Basin wildlife refuge, to which we will return.

“Airial” at Potholes SP

Early August brought a gathering of my side of the family from California, Colorado and Maryland to visit our dad and the rest of us.  We took the Airstream over to Anacortes for 5 days to join in.

four generations

Along the way, I’ve woven some new rugs:

R316

R317

R318

R319

 

R320

R321

R322

R323

R324

R325

R326

entered 4 handwoven items and 3 skeins of handspun yarn into the Okanogan County Fair

Been to the wonderful new Barnyard Cinema in Winthrop a couple of times… a brand new building with a beautiful space meant for screening movies and other events, and only 2 miles from our house!

Fall is in the air and it finally got cool enough at night to warrant an extra blanket on the bed, which is this fabulous quilt my sister made and gave to us back in August:

High Country quilt

That’s it for now!  I will try to be a better blogger going in to the fall.

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Ready for Road Trip

We are leaving tomorrow on a road trip to Oregon in the Airstream, with our 2 cats – Juno & Stormy.  This will be their third trailer trip!  We are so looking forward to having a vacation.  Everyone asks if we are going down the Oregon coast.  I am sure that would be lovely, and cooler, but we chose instead to visit family in the Medford/Ashland area, and then head east into central and northeastern Oregon to visit various wildlife and mountainous areas.  I am not sure how much blogging I will do when away from the home computer, but we will see.

I started the Windfeather pattern from the prolific and talented Carol Sunday, of Sunday Knits.  It is the High Country colorway and I am knitting the medium (stole) size.  Lots of colors and stitch pattern interest – I think it will be a good road trip project.

I recently found out that Sheila of Material Thoughts blog is also knitting this, but in a different colorway.  So we have a friendly competition going to see who finishes first!

I finished 3 rugs and took them to the Winthrop Gallery last evening.

R313

R314

R315

Rick finished up two projects and is delivering the last one, a work table for a local quilt shop, as I write.  The one delivered yesterday was a concession case for The Barnyard Cinema that is nearing completion in Winthrop – it’s going to be cool!  So today will be devoted to getting the trailer ready to go tomorrow morning.

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We stopped by Confluence Gallery in Twisp this morning to see how the new show looks.  They did a great job, as usual!  Here is the poster for the show, which runs July 1 – August 5.  That’s my dearly beloved in the center picture.

Basically they paired Mary Lou Harris’s photos (taken in our studios) with examples of our work.  There are 10 artists involved.  Here are a few general shots:

Jeremy Newman & Allison Ciancibelli, blown glass;  Hannah Viano, prints and paper cutouts

Robin Nelson Wicks, clay figures

Nicole Ringold, jewelry and Perri Howard, mixed media

Barry Stromberger, metal work

Rick Swanson, woodworker, and Ken LIbby, photography on metal

Katie Swanson, weaver

Rick’s special piece for this show is the coffee table made from Oregon walnut that he has had in his wood stash for 25 or more years.  He is calling it the Hologram Table, because as you walk around it various sections change from light to dark, depending on how the fabulous grain is picking up the light.

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I finished the first set of woven lace scarves using my hand-dyed wool warp and Jaggerspun Zephyr for the weft (18/2 wool silk blend).  I used the first 2 skeins that were dyed purple going into dark red, and dark red going into medium red, and got 3 scarves.  Left: woven with Deep Purple Zephyr, Right: woven with Iris Zephyr.

I have one more in Deep Purple to twist the fringes on, and then wash.  Yesterday I wound the other 2 skeins (medium red and kind of a salmon orange/brown) onto the warp beam and will hopefully get it tied on and ready to weave sometime this week.

Also finished up 2 more rugs:

R311

R312

Yesterday a doe with her 2 new fawns came though the yard.  Adorable!

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