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Recent Handspun: The Big And The Beautiful

My knitting mojo isn't so great right now. I'm willing it to improve, but it's stubborn. It is a part of me, after all, and it has been said that I don't have a un-stubborn bone in my body. My spinning mojo, however, is strutting around like a peacock, puffed up with its own importance. At least I have something going, right? 

I harnessed all that peacockish enthusiasm and finished a sweater spin I've been working on. The wool is undyed grey Finn, purchased at Woolgatherings. I'll be striping it with some rainbow handspun.

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I made a woolen-spun traditional 3-ply, and chain plied the leftovers so I used every hair of my fibre.

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Total weight: 454g, total length: 914m/999yd, grist: DK.

Next, I knocked some sense into my stash-hoarding self and cracked out one of my precious Inglenook Fibers Hobbit Club batts. The colourway is White Council -  Dawn at Imladris.

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I spun this beauty quick and dirty as a worsted spun gradient chain ply. It was a perfect spinning experience and I adore the way the various shiny synthetic fibres make the whole thing glow. 

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Total weight: 112g, total length: 129m/141yd, grist: bulky. 

My current spinning project is a doozy. I'm trying to make just over 200g of merino/yak into 1500 yards of laceweight 2ply. Yikes. 

 

 

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Hand Spun, Hand Woven, Hand Sewn.

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Hand Spun, Hand Woven, Hand Sewn.

One of the reasons I keep vowing to weave more is the fantastic experience of sewing with handwoven wool fabric. It's plush, elastic, and quite easy to work with (though the fraying is a bitch). The simple cheater "plaid" I wove for my Kindle cover is a perfect example. I wanted a thick fabric that wouldn't require interfacing or lining but would still protect my precious Paperwhite from abuse, so I wove up some bulky weight handspun Falkland from Fat Cat Knits in the Chevalier colourway.

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After cutting it off the loom (I have a 20 inch Ashford Knitter's Loom) I roughly washed it by hand and put it in the dryer on hot to full it. So cushy!

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I didn't use any sort of pattern -  I cut fabric for a tube twice as long as the kindle and a bit wider. I sewed it into a cylinder and closed off one end. Then I turned it right side out, sewed off the other end, and tucked it inside itself (so the end seams were together at the bottom inside), making a rectangular pocket with double thickness and no visible seams aside from the one inside at the bottom. Then I topstitched around the opening and down the side seams, to keep everything in place. One thing about sewing with handwoven wool is it is quite springy and stretchy - you have to be careful not to stretch it as it feeds under the presser foot, or it makes for ugly wobbly seams.

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I added a flap closure, again in double thickness, by folding a rectangle of fabric in half, sewing the three raw sides (the fourth was selvedge so I left it open and hid it inside the case when I attached the flap), turning it right side out, and topstitching. I attached it along the top stitching line on the main case, and added a magnetic snap closure.

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A giant coconut shell button easily covers the snap hardware that shows through on the outside, and looks cute as hell.

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I wanted the flap to attach on the inside so it wouldn't pull open at the corners while crashing about in my bag, which would leave the Kindle vulnerable. I think it looks pretty sharp too!

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I made a bit of an error eyeballing the original fabric amount so the case is a bit big, but that means there's room in there for my iPod too!

So. I should weave more. Seriously. 

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Clown Socks and Hanspun!

Hello my dears. First thing - I am switching to bi-weekly shop updates. I put lots of lovelies in the shop last Friday, so keep an eye out next week! I need to dedicate more work time to preparing for my favourite show of the year, Fibres West.

Wanna see some things I finished? I am madly head over heels in love with these socks:

I have crazy clown socks and you are totally jealous.

They were knit toe up, two at a time, with a Fleegle Heel. I love knitting toe up socks, even if cuff down heel flap socks fit me best. I find the extra structure and density of the heel flap keeps the socks from sliding around.

I knit these two at a time because they were dyed in a very particular yarn prep: the sock blank. I got mine from Fat Cat Knits in her Child's Play colourway, but there are other sources if she isn't able to make you one. A sock blank is two strands of yarn held together and knit (generally on a machine) into a rectangle. The dyer then can do all sorts of fun things, creating gradients, stripes, or fascinating variegated colours. The knitter unravels the blank to knit it. I wanted to have seriously matchy crazy socks, so I did some googling and figured out how to work socks two at a time. Honestly, I deeply disliked the method and won't do it again except to knit up my other sock blank. It would be great for those of you who suffer from debilitating second sock syndrome, but that's thankfully not an issue for me.

Action shot! Not pictured: my seething irritation at all the tangling and yarn management.

Another fun project was this handspun:

I spun this yarn from matching gradient batts that I carded on my Fancy Kitty Kitten (if ever a giant spiky wool tool sounded like a sex toy, it's that one). They were a blend of superwash merino wool, sparkly trilobal nylon (also known as firestar), and recycled sari silk in my My Little Pony inspired Luna colourway. The yarn blends smoothly from grey to turquoise, marine blue, navy, and black. I think it'll make an amazing shawl.

It's a simple semi-woolen 2-ply, spun for softness and bounce. I gave it to my mum for her birthday so I can't remember the exact yardage, but I'm thinking about 400 yards of fingering weight. So pretty! Sari silk makes all the difference, adding a textured tweedy look that makes me grateful I am a spinner.

That's all for now! I'll have more fun things to share soon.

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FO - Handspun Arbutus

I don't often spin yarn for a specific project. Sometimes I look at fibre and think "this should be a cowl" or "downs wool means socks!" But beyond that... Meh. This fibre, however, knew was going to be Jane Richmond'sArbutus cowl right away.

It's "twinklebunny" by Ixchelbunny - a blend of merino, tencel, and angora rabbit. It's lusciously soft and the colours look just like a lavender farm in summer.

I made the cowl a repeat larger than the pattern, mostly because I had lots of yarn left. It's unbelievably cozy and warm, so much so that unless we have a serious cold snap I'll barely be able to wear it.

I'm so happy with this project. It's great when something comes together exactly as planned, right from the fibre. Go me!

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Magnolia Socks

Despite the glut of Christmas crafting going on right now, I felt the need to cast on a little selfish knitting to work on at Knit City. I decided, after much deliberation, to knit up some handspun socks. I used BFL from Fat Cat Knits - one of my favourite dyers. Her Magnolia colourway is so stunningly perfect for fall (and spring, and summer) knitting, so I finally drummed up the nerve and cast on my first non-superwash socks.

I LOVE THESE SOCKS YOU GUYS.

spot the cat feet!

The pattern is an improvised cuff down jobby that I came up with in the waiting line for the ferry to Vancouver. Simple stockinette with a bit of 1 x 1 rib for fit, tapering off in the gusset. I love the way these socks feel so I may write up something similar for y'all, but not until I can perfect their appearance. I'm pretty proud of the spinning on these - I spun two matching balls of striping yarn, and they were pretty darn close! I'll spin for a more rapid stripe sequence next time though.

So - non superwash verdict? Excellent! I love the way the socks hold their shape - I wore them three days in a row (hush, I was having a bad week) and they didn't bag and slump like superwash socks do. The pure BFL really is fantastic for socks - they're pretty and shiny with a smidge of a halo. I've had some very minor felting on the soles right at the balls of my feet, but I made the socks a tiny bit big to accomodate for the inevitable so it's all good. They washed up nicely - having non-superwash socks motivates me to do a proper wool wash soak (with just a tiny smidge of agitation to get the dirt out) for my socks and bras instead of slowly ruining them by tossing them in the washer (and occasionally the dryer!).

If you spin and you haven't made socks with your yarn yet, I HIGHLY recommend it. Join me!

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