some time off..

I’m finding it difficult to keep blogging in the summer.. the heat.. the stickiness and the stress for my (hopefully) last semester as a student are interfering with my knitting/ spinning time. I do realize that that’s just the way it is and uni goes first and I just have to suck it up, but it doesn’t mean I like it :p.

It’s a bit frustrating but I’ve noticed that I’m completely useless when it gets hot out and I seriously can’t seem to get any work done, whether it’s homework or housework I’m not able to get any of it done when its hotter than 25 C outside.. So today, on a cloudy, rainy saturday my head got clear enough for me to start doing some serious blogging.

You might remember this little post where I show off my birthday present (a whole lot of fleece). Well I finished the first bag of 200 grams of creamy alpaca and I’m so thrilled!

TdF white alpaca

Here’s some spinning in progress pictures. I’m still not that great in spinning but I noticed there’s a huge difference between spinning raw fleece and spinning roving… I like spinning with the long-draw method as I just love how the fibre just does the work and I only need to stretch it out at times or not do anything, and this is much easier with raw fleece than with roving.

This little project was my tour de fleece project and tho unfortunately I was unable to finish it before the 25th I’m very excited about the amount of time I spent on this little project.

TdF white alpaca

This is only my 4th spinning ever so I’m not too worried about the whole thing being very even, I started out with carding and started spinning with my handcarded batts, but after a while I just started spinning the locks. I noticed something weird during this process, the carded alpaca was much dirtier than the locks. This was so weird it was almost as if the carded ones were much dirtier.

I truely enjoyed the whole process and I can’t even begin to explain how proud I am of this little yarn I humbly produced, even tho it’s really not that great compared to so many other spinners (who really blow me away).

TdF white alpaca

The 200 grams of alpaca has become 340 meters of fingering weight navajo plied yarn. I washed it but its still a bit dirty.. I’m not sure how to get it superclean yet but when I do I’ll get on it. I’m also not sure if its actually white or creamy, so I’ll have to find out tomorrow morning πŸ˜€

TdF white alpaca

It looks a bit weird right now, but that’s also because of the lighting πŸ™‚

Besides a lot of spinning there’s been a lot of washing fleece.. Most of the fleeces have been washed by now but the huge sack of cross wensleydale and gotland was still lying around.. so it was about time for a good washing.

cross wensleydale gotland fleece

I thought my cats liked alpaca but now I know for sure they LOVE sheep. This is me removing vegetable matter from the fleece while my kitties were rolling around in the fleece…

cross wensleydale gotland fleece

And I mean really rolling around… this fleece was seriously dir-ty. I actually already washed it 3 times but it’s not getting much cleaner.. it’s been lying around in water for a while to allow it to soak.. Tomorrow I’m washing the hell out of it πŸ˜› but today I’ll show you the pictures of the unwashed fleece πŸ™‚

cross wensleydale gotland fleece

the ‘backside’ looks nice no? πŸ™‚

cross wensleydale gotland fleeceThe problem with this fleece is I can’t seem to get the tips as clean as the butt end.. this lock has spent a good while in hot soapy waters and has been ‘massaged’ very carefully, but it just won’t budge.. I totally suck at washing fleece… I hope it comes with experience πŸ™‚

cross wensleydale gotland fleece

I really love this fleece πŸ™‚ I’m so happy there’s a lot of it πŸ˜€

TdF white alpaca

Tho it was a bit dirty, the fleece was easy to comb through and looks nice πŸ™‚

creature comforts cardi

This is the progress on the creature comforts cardi πŸ™‚ I really like the cable pattern on the backside, especially with the wibra yarn πŸ™‚

creature comforts cardi

last but not least the socks I’ve been working on πŸ™‚

Scheherezade's slippersI’ve been working on the Sheherezade slippers with malabrigo sockyarn but the gauge didn’t match at all so the sock ended up being much too small, so in order to understand the pattern and hopefully to be able to tweak it so that I can knit it with malabrigo sockyarn anyway I started a testsock knit in a heavier acrylics yarn.

Scheherezade's slippers

There’s a huge difference between the malabrigo one and the acrylics one but at least I won’t mind a f*ck up with acrylics yarn πŸ™‚

european shorthair kitty fur for handspinning

Last but not least, tho it’s a few days old already, my stash of kitty hair πŸ™‚

TdF: day.. everything between day 2 and the present….

This is horrible.. I have been spinning mind you, but I’m so behind I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make it… :'( I’m actually pretty sad about it, but on the other hand, the weathers been so great the past few weeks I’m not ashamed to say I spent a lot of my time outside the house (away from my fleece and yarn). Tho it may not be a lot I have actually spent some time spinning and especially thinking about ways to improve my spinning. The last few posts about spinning I’ve mentioned things about my ratio and wanting to speed things up as it was getting rather frustrating. So first I maimed one of the three bobbins I have to see what it would do. The result was fine but rather irregular so I started thinking some more and found a nice little solution:

Foto0266

You’ll need a few of these first…

Foto0267and these…

Foto0265

and then you’ll get something that might resemble this:

Foto0263so what do you think? Isn’t it pretty? πŸ˜› so the holes in the wood part are a little bit bigger than the thingy that goes in it so there’s room for rotation but it can’t move the way it shouldn’t move. Β Anyways, this little baby has a ratio of 1:10 so I can say I’m pretty darn pleased πŸ™‚ The little bit of spun stuff is a bit of the wensleydale I have from my birthdaypresent. I wasn’t planning to spin it all, just to try and see how it would go. It works like a charm (tho it does look kinda cheap).

Besides thinking I’ve also been spinning some alpaca and tho I’m not as far as I’d hoped I’d be but its progress none the less πŸ™‚

alpaca 200gr

There’s another reason for why the spinning was so slow, at first I was carding the alpaca to create neat little rolags for spinning, but after a while I stopped. I spin with the longdraw method and the rolags weren’t very helpfull because they got all clumpy.. :S The uncarded fleece however spins up niceley so I might actually make some progress here πŸ™‚

kitties & fur

So here’s some shamless advertising.. (above is a picture of my kitty Noodles in her favorite box) I’m not connected with these people in ANY way nor am I making money off of this but I just HAVE to tell you this: this is the best invention ev-ahhh! It’s for all of you who have kitties, bunnies or doggies and it’s called: the FURminator.. yea lols

So you might now that I’ve been saving up kittyfur to spin me a nice pair of mittens for some winter, but that winter might actually be this winter instead of in a distant future… my kitties are shedding like you wouldn’t believe and there’s kittyfur everywhere in this house.. but then today I discovered the furminator and in one day I doubled my stash of kittyfur…..

kitties & fur

there’s a bigger one for doggies I believe but this one caught a lot of kittyfur for me in a few strokes… so here’s the stash upgrade:

kitties & fur

this is what I harvested today…. and I just got it 3 hours ago…. all of this fur could’ve landed on my carpet….. 😐 this stuff is everywhere man….

kitties & fur

this is my total stash of kittyfur… I have short haired cats (as you can see above) and it takes a while to harvest a nice load of mitten worty fur.. I’m just so scared it’ll felt before I’m ready to spin this stuff… :'(

Anyways, you might’ve noticed but the artblog is back in business and there’s a link to it at the top of the page called ‘sketches’. On this blog you’ll find my drawings and sketches and maybe later some more artstuff πŸ™‚ If you’re too lazy to move your cursor to the link above you can click HERE to get there.

So last but not least: I’ve also been knitting because it was too hot to spin but not too hot to knit.. am I making sense?

Foto0261

The pattern is creature comforts cardi and it’s knit in the handspun Dandelion I had finished a few posts back. This version was knit in a bigger size so I frogged it and reknit it. When I was plying this yarn I had underspun the whole thing, causing it to untwist and to break at some points, I was a bit traumatized by this and so I rather overspun the n-ply on the BFL.. I think this is the reason that the yarn is a little bit scratchy. I’ve heard BFL is supposed to be very soft but it’s actually not that soft.. I’m still hoping it’ll get a bit softer after it’s been washed but I’m not keeping my breath. I don’t mind that much anyway because it’ll be my first BIG project using my handspun and I’m proud no matter what πŸ™‚

Foto0260

Day two

I find it very difficult to sit at home and work with fleece and yarn on beautifull days like these. I also noticed I really missed drawing.. I don’t know why but somewhere at some point I decided to split the knitting blog from the artstuff blog and then it all went down the drain. Since then I have not drawn a thing… which is a bad thing since I’m still not done with my brothers airbrush thingy… So now I’m having second thoughts about the second blog but I still don’t think the two subjects should be mixed… The blog started out as a place to organize all of my hobbies, but somewhere along the line my drawing got shoved out of the way by the knitting/ sewing and now I feel like I’ve lost an old friend…

I’m not sure what I’ll do yet but I’m thinking of returning the drawing stuff to the main blog because it’s not working out right now…

Talking about things creative – I’ve been nagging about how slow my bobbins are and that I’m annoying the living daylight out of myself treadling so fast I can’t even hear the tv anymore, but now I’ve come up with a solution. It’s still an experimental sollution but if this works out I’ll take the whole thing to the next level.

I spent a whole day searching the internet for a bobbin that will work out for me, and then came to the conclusion that I’m not willing to spend so much money on something I can make myself (funny, that’s what I said when I started knitting/ sewing/ spinning), so I grabbed my jig saw and the sander, and then the gluegun and I was a happy little girl πŸ™‚ Obviously this is an experiment, but it’s already a huge success, so the next step is to get me some plywood and making some good calculations to get me a 1:10 ratio πŸ™‚

bobbin mods

This end was twice as big and completely useless, the bigger side (now) gave me a 1:5,5 ratio, the new part gives a 1:7 ratio. Not a huge improvement but I can definately feel (and hear) the difference!

bobbin mods

I know how it really looks very crappy but it’s totally worth it! This little experiment will allow me to actually do something else while spinning, like watching tv or a movie without the need for heavy headphones πŸ˜€ A total success if you ask me. So for the next step I think I’ll create some custom bobbins with different sets of plywood (recreating the original side). I’ll keep you guys updated πŸ™‚

Alpaca...

I had mentioned spinning a little today, but I paused because of the greyish color. It’s the first time I ever washed and carded fleece so obviously there’s a million things I could’ve done wrong with this, but the most obvious thing is that it isn’t clean. The fleece is a white alpaca, and not grey… but the singles are very very grey… It feels rather dry and gross on my fingers after a while but that’s not the biggest of my problems, right now I’m wondering if the color will ever go back to ‘white’ after spinning and plying….. πŸ˜›

Besides the new singles on the mutilated bobbin I spent some time trying to get the overtwisted Dandelion straight again… I was so afraid of undertwist I really really overtwisted the whole thing in the end. The beginning isn’t even that bad, but the last 50 meters are horrible… πŸ˜› It’s 178 grams of a total of 300 grams and I’m really sure I can make something quite large with this…

I was going for malabrigo sock and tho it’s not 400 meters per 100g it’s close enough for a first attempt πŸ™‚ Here, have some pix πŸ˜‰

BFL Dandelion

BFL Dandelion

BFL Dandelion

Tour de Fleece :)

I’ll be honest, I’m really not a fan of the Tour at all… I don’t like watching it and I really think its quite boring.. I do however respect the athletes and I think it’s an awesome achievement but still it’s just not for me.. Β however.. this does not mean I don’t like to use this as an excuse to spin πŸ™‚ The plan was that I’d be done with the washing and carding so I could start spinning immediately when the Tour started, but unfortunately, because of the extreme heat, I haven’t been able to finish. It was simply too hot to touch any fibre so I haven’t knit or spun at all for a while. This meant that I had to finish plying the BFL before I can do any other spinning, so that’s what I did.

I finished the plying and I’m quite pleased with the way it turned out. It’s become a bit thicker than I planned it, but on hindsight I’m very pleased with that fact. It’s rather difficult to only knit very thin materials, sometimes it’s pleasant to have some heavier yarns to play with πŸ™‚

n-ply BFL Dandelion

This is what it looks like right now, it’s about the same size as malabrigo sock yarn (sometimes thicker sometimes thinner) and so far it measures 406 meters. At first it was a lot of fun to spin this but at the end it was a real pain. I will definately not start the other half before I have a faster bobbin because trying to spin light fingering 3-ply yarn with a 1:5,5 ratio really really sucks if you ask me…. Not only does my foot not like the fast treadling, but I’ve managed to unscrew the wheels main bolt….. I also noticed my hands start working faster and faster and my foot keeps the same pace so when at a certain point the singles break I can’t manage to continue because there’s not enough spin, causing the yarn to keep breaking and breaking every time I try to restart…. very very frustrating.

n-ply BFL Dandelion

Another rather funny point is that it took a long time for me to spin the singles and then to ply them, so the end of the plying process was rather annoying because the singles were allmost ‘stuck’ to the bobbin. They were a bit curly and I had trouble getting them off in one piece. Also the plying went too slow because of my recent trauma concering underspun singles.. so while trying to correct this I overspun the yarn a bit causing this pretty mess. At the moment it’s hanging out to dry, hopefully tomorrow the curly mess will have subdued πŸ™‚

Besides the Tour and the WC there’s been a birthday to celebrate πŸ™‚ My dad has become a year older and for us kids it’s the time to bake a cake. Why you ask? Well for as long as I can remember my birthdays have been marked by my dads ridiculously cool birthday cakes. My second birthday I had a barbie cake, with a real barbie doll on top wearing a pricess candy dress, for my third birthday it was a grass field with a house and 3 bear candles and the years after that I always had some fun cake. Later on my brother got the awesome cakes (kirby, mario..). So now (since last year) we bake him cakes and try to decorate them creatively. We just started out so we still suck but I think this one is another little success πŸ˜€

lame worldcup birthday cake

My dads birthday was the same day we won with 2-1 from Brazil, and we didn’t want to show his age on the cake so we made the soccer field and the teams πŸ˜› Like I said, we really suck (and Brazil didn’t play in yellow, and we didn’t have blue!), but I think my dad liked it anyway πŸ™‚

lame worldcup birthday cake

Here’s my dad stabbing cake…:)