Things are hopping at work and at home these days, so the blog has rather fallen by the wayside. Life has a way of interfering from time to time, I’ve noticed. I always make time for some sort of fiber project, though.
I’ve been spinning for and knitting lots of socks lately. It’s my usual summer project, for a variety of reasons, and rather comforting to spin for something so familiar after several months of experimentation with exotic fibers.
Pictures will have to follow later, but I’ve been working on several sock yarns. Medium fleeces of about a 54-56 Bradford count, either generic 56’s from Woodland Woolworks (http://woodlandwoolworks.com/) or some Romney/Shetland cross fleece from a local shearing earlier this spring. Also in the works is a pair of socks from some Romney I spun up and dyed deep burgundy last year.
You know me – I can’t resist tinkering a bit! One of the yarns of 56’s was spun roughly mixed with some silk roving I bought awhile back. How do you rough-mix? Well, you lay out a long length of wool roving on the floor and spread it out. Then you take a strip of silk roving, split it lengthwise into quarters, and spread those quarters out over the length of wool. Pre-draft both fibers together and spin into a thin yarn, then 2-ply and cable for a wonderful sock yarn. Shiny sections will be mostly silk, and since the singles are quite thin (about 36 wpi) those shiny sections get spread throughout the finished yarn. The finished cabled yarn is lovely – cushy and with just a bit of crunch from the silk, and about 18 wpi. It worked up into a nice sturdy sock fabric on size 0 bamboo needles at a gauge of 7 stitches per inch. And the variegated pink dye is perfect – I’ll love these on cold, dreary January days this winter!
The Romney/Shetland cross is being combed on my Viking double-pitch combs. This is a really nice fleece, medium gray in color with a staple length of about 3-4 inches. I deliberately left just a little grease in the fleece when washing, because I knew I wanted to spin it quite thin and cable. And I love the way the yarn fulls when I spin it this way! The singles are done after a weekend-long public demonstration two weeks ago, and are patiently awaiting plying and cabling. They’ll have to continue to wait, I’m afraid, for at least another week – I stepped down off some stairs the wrong way and slightly tore my Achilles tendon last week. So now spinning is going to have to await healing!
This will be something of a whine, so if you want to skip this paragraph, feel free. I am the lucky owner of three spinning wheels – a Majacraft Rose, a Kromski Symphony, and an Ashford Traveler. All of those wheels are double-treadle, because that’s much easier for a back that I did in years ago. I’ve heard so many times (and even said myself!) that any DT wheel can be used as a single-treadle if necessary. And they can - for a short time, and very carefully. But they aren’t designed to work as ST’s, and they don’t like to be used as ST wheels. Now I’m upset because I can’t spin for at least two entire weeks UNLESS I can manage to do so in a ST fashion. Since I’m currently concerned with plying thin yarns (about 45 wpi), a lot of control is needed. And I cannot manage that kind of control in ST mode! I’ve tried – oh how I’ve tried – but I cannot do it. After just a couple of minutes, the wheel starts to reverse direction, my back begins to throb, and I feel like I really need a glass of something! I really do need just one more wheel, thank you very much, and that one needs to be a single-treadle! Maybe if I’m a very good girl Santa will bring me one? Probably not, but I can still wish!
The burgundy socks are an UFO. I started them last summer, in fact, in a feather-and-fan lace pattern very similar to the one in “Socks, Socks, Socks.” But I quickly grew weary of the pattern, and put them aside for the Christmas, winter and spring knitting. Now I need to finish the second sock (I’m almost at the heel), and am making myself do at least two pattern repeats a day. Peculiarly, I’m not finding the pattern quite as much of a slog this time around. I started these socks just after finishing up the Buegler Feather and Fan Shawl from GOL; perhaps I was just bored with F&F?
I gave myself a treat for the cooler September spinning season, and I like the look of the roving so much that I may take it along on vacation in August as a spindle project! I ran across some absolutely beautiful fine black alpaca that was mixed with silk in a 60/40 ratio. Both fibers are naturally-colored, and I have decided on a Christmas project for the yarn. Spinning this should be pure pleasure! But not the type of pleasure I want during an East Tennessee summer of 90-degree-plus days with 90 percent humidity levels! Vacation will be the earliest I’ll touch this, and only then if the ocean breezes cool things off enough to make it pleasurable.