Spinning Update: Making Progress

I need more hands.

If not more hands, then more hours in the day.

If not more hours in the day, then a new evolutionary adaptation that eliminates the need for sleep.

My beautiful Butterfly Girl spindle and Ashland Bay merino/tussah silk top

I need at least one of these things because there’s so many things I need to do on a daily and weekly basis that I just don’t have enough time for the things I really want to do.

Like spinning. And knitting.

I’m fighting off some serious spinning startitis right now. It’s tough. I have three–three–naked spindles right now as I’m working to finish up some of the projects I have going right now. And I am making some progress, slowly but surely.

I wound the first singles from the “pewter” merino/tussah silk project off the spindle, but I still have a long way to go on this project.

Spun silver singles
Spun silver singles

I still have to finish the second ply of pewter singles before I can start the third ply with this maroon merino, which I’m hoping will bring out the subtle burgandy tones in the pewter top.

From W.C. Mercantile on Etsy.com
From W.C. Mercantile on Etsy.com

I’m slowly making progress on the soy silk project too, but the real focus of my efforts has been on the merino/bamboo. I finished the first two batts, then wound the singles off the spindle.

Pretty purple singles
Pretty purple singles

This is when I really started getting excited about this yarn. It’s really freaking pretty. Like really pretty. I’m almost halfway through the third batt; only one left after that and then I can ply…though I have to say, the decision to ply this is a tough one. This is really nice as a single. Luckily, I still have plenty of time to change my mind.

I haven’t really shown off the Greensleeves I’m spinning this on, but I must say that I’m completely in love with this spindle.

My Greensleeves Tom Foolery
My Greensleeves Tom Foolery

Not only is it oh, so easy on the eyes, it’s also the second best spinner in my collection, right after the Bosworth. I was unsure about the hook on this one when I first picked it up, but it’s really well designed and balanced. Another of these, like maybe the bloodwood and ebony version perhaps, is probably very likely in my future.

I’ve learned from this project that I’m not crazy about spinning batts on a spindle. I have no idea why this is. I think batts are so beautiful; I love looking at them and I think Fiber Monster’s batts are just amazing. But when it comes to actually spinning them…I dunno. Very little appeal. Maybe that’ll change with time…here’s hoping!

That being said, these batts are spinning up really nicely. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t trying really hard to finish these up so that I could start something like this…

Hints of Lilac, merino/tussah silk from WC Mercantile
“Hints of Lilac,” merino/tussah silk from WC Mercantile

or this…

Deep Sea, merino/tencel from WC Mercantile
“Deep Sea,” merino/tencel from WC Mercantile

….both of which are just sitting pretty, waiting for me.

And in case it isn’t obvious enough already, WC Mercantile is A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Period.

The only downside about spinning that I can identify, besides the urge to constantly splurge on more pretty pretty spindles and pretty pretty fiber (which I’m dealing with quite well…yay willpower!), is that it takes away from my knitting time. My progress on handknits has definitly slowed since I started spinning.

Not complaining, though. Not one little bit!

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Heavenly

I’m so freaking proud of this right here.

On Cloud Nine
On “Cloud Nine”

I ended up with 129 yards of this amazing stuff, which I’m calling “Cloud Nine.” I used all of the 4 ounces of cotswold locks–every last one with the exception only of a couple clumps of locks that were curled so tightly that they were too full of VM (vegetative matter) to even try to salvage–and about half the merino.

Also of note: Some of the locks that were more saturated in color had a stickiness to them while spinning. I don’t know if it was dye residue or lanolin in the locks. I washed the final yarn in hot, hot water with some mild wash and rinsed it well. It bled a lot of dye in the wash, but the color stayed very saturated and now the same locks are super soft and fluffy. The wash was really key with this yarn.

Two amazing skeins
Two amazing skeins

This is one of those rare occasions where what I imagined actually became reality. When I ordered these locks, before they even arrived in my mailbox, I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted the final yarn to be. I even prepared myself for disappointment because I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. But somehow, my hands did it.

Perfect
Perfect

An added bonus: This stuff is just so much fun to photograph. Every time I put the camera on it, I find a new and interesting shot, a different twist of locks, another shot of co-mingling color.

We could be muppets...and thus, we are awesome
We could be muppets…and thus, we are awesome

And yes, my new favorite photo studio is the top of my snare. My drums are set up in the front of the apartment, which is sort of rounded and has these three amazing windows in a row…great lighting opportunities.

Monster was perfect for this project; not my greatest spinner of a spindle (evidenced clearly when I picked up my Greensleeves last night, which spins like a whorlwind), but I didn’t really need a fast spinner for this. I needed capacity on the shaft and I actually needed a slow mover so that I could park the spindle, add the individual locks and send the twist up the strand. Monster will probably end up mostly being my plying spindle, but I’ll definitly pull him out for art yarns in the future.

And yes, I have been knitting too. There’s the Ugly Nutkins, which are on time out because they’re just so freaking ugly I don’t know what I want to do with them…

What an ugly sock!
What an ugly sock!

…and there’s the Socks of Kindness, which are little more than a single cuff right now but are working up very, very nicely.

Fuzzy alpaca socks
Fuzzy alpaca socks
This is a terrible photo of the Kindness Socks, BTW. The yarn is very purple and looks a lot more red-brown here than it truly is. The living room couch is no match for the top of the snare. But, you get the idea. 

Feeling Caliente?

No? Then step a little closer to el Fuego!

Fuego
If you can’t stand the heat…

This is “Fuego,” 93 yards of fingering weight merino/tencel blend. Es muy caliente, no?

Check the 2-ply twists
Check the 2-ply twists

I picked up the fiber at Rhinebeck from The Sheep Shed at Mountain View Farm. The braid was 2 ounces in their colorway, “Fire.”

Wouldnt you want to play with fire too?
Wouldn’t you want to play with fire too?

This was a quick, fun spin, and merino/tencel is quickly becoming one of my favorite blends to spin. This was spun and Andean plyed on the spindle that I’ve affectionately dubbed “Monster,” which is now heavy with merino and curly, curly cotswold locks.

My favorite Monster
My favorite Monster

Monster is by far my largest spindle at 15 inches long and my heaviest at 1.8 ounces. As mentioned, Monster is from Heavenly Handspinning; the capacity of this spindle is just amazing, especially considering that I can still spin fairly fine on it despite its size.

Oh, and in case I piqued your interest, here’s a detail shot of what Monster’s carrying right now.

Curly locks and a skinny single
Curly locks and a skinny single

This is a very, very fun project.

More to come…