newness & oldness

jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 2

Spinning in a room that feels old and familiar,

yet is barely even new.

jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 1

The rest of the house is in building chaos & still no doors,  but I’ve got the skeleton of my Loft room in place,  filled with old furniture.  I have everything I think I could possibly need, as I have been collecting the essential now for nearly two years, and some unessential as well. I am exhausted of shopping,  I want to be doing now.

I have struggled with the place of things in this room,  but now I think I have arrived at a floor plan that works, although a bit on the cozy side. I am so intrigued with clean surfaces lately, with everything in its proper drawer or cabinet, so the bookcase of three shelves is potentially problematic and some day I plan on downsizing as it for its too large for my little library,  dangerously inviting clutter, and therefore indecision into the room.   jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 6

I have been indecisive and feeling strangely familiar with everything, yet at the same time I feel an awkward discord just not being use to anything.  I hope that odd feeling goes away in time as I begin to work at things, because now all tools of the trade are ready.  I am waiting for the waves of inspiration to carry me away!

jenjoycedesign© spinning in a room 4
So far only spinning for a project.

I am committed to these fluffy beautiful swirls of wool and getting themt spun at a casual pace in the weeks ahead,

and committed to getting to know this room of newness & oldness.

Spinning For A Project – Part Four: Fiber Preparation

jenjoycedesign© Rose Blend 7I am more than half way through my fiber preparation, and I am really happy to say that I have made a breakthrough with the blending board!   In the last two years I have been doing a lot of fiber blending experiments but it seems recently I’ve noticed my results are overly compact rolags, so much that spinning has been difficult. I couldn’t even see why I ever decided trying to spin from the rolag method or why I thought it was better.

Backstory: If you see my post from August 2017  “Woolen or Worsted?”  ,  I muse a little bit about the preparation of the wool & that I noticed how it  affects the end result of the yarn.  Whether taken off the blending board in one big batt, and pulling apart into smaller sections, or using a ” diz ” to gather a continuous roving from your carded fiber, or like I am doing here, making rolags around two dowels from off the blending board, in a perfect world, a spinner should try all ways I would think.  I am aiming for a bouncy airy “woolen” spun yarn, and why I’m practicing spinning from rolags. 

After the first 50g color test of my 500 gram project of English Rose Tweed blend, I realized I may have a technique error.   I remember back in my first blending projects , especially this one, blended with super fine & fluffy ingredients, and how light & airy the rolags were, and so very easy to spin. So I tried a change with this batch; I lifted more and pulled over the teeth less.  That’s it! Just more lifting when rolling the fiber around the dowels ( I use slick aluminum needles) to make the rolags, and less pulling, and that took a lot of friction out of the process.  I guess my technique had morphed without my thinking about it, and over time I was working the rolags with a massive amount more friction. Well I had a big ” duh ” moment, and now I am conscious of this I am getting fluffy frothy whipped woolly confections again, to spin later.
Later that is, when I’m through blending all of the rest of the carefully measured ingredients to English Rose Tweed. Committing to the long-haul of a big project is something I haven’t done in a long long time. This is work I tell you! But just look at these beauties….  
jenjoycedesign© Rose Blend 1

See all posts in this series Spinning For A Project.

(( click 1st image to go to slideshow… ))

Spinning For A Project – Part Three: Color Test

jenjoycedesign© test spin 1

Continueing from Part Two where I assemble the ingredients of English Rose Tweed.

I think I really like it.  I really wasn’t sure that I wanted to have so much rose pink in a yarn for myself.  But then again, I recall having knit the protoype for Calidez Cardigan  in Berocco Inca Tweed in a color which has been woefully discontinued , I remember being disappointed I couldn’t find it again, and I really do think this spun English Rose Tweed is very similar, but not near as vivid.

Still, there it was in my brain that as I was spinning this test 25g spool I thought of how I would alter it if it is too color-intense. I thought; a little more white, and perhaps a splash of turquoise (or light blue & light green) to neutralize the deep pink. I really want to try that, so I decided to take half of one of the rolags here and blend it with some more white and turquoise (light blue & light green mostly), just to satisfy my curiosity. Here is the result of that , do you see it, on the right?  It is rather  subdued . . .jenjoycedesign© test spin 2

I wonder , did curiosity win in this case, and shall I proceed with the rest of the 450 grams by adding turquoise?  Or shall I keep the original, and spin up the rest of the 500 grams?

See all posts in this series Spinning For A Project.

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Incidentally, while I was walking up with my camera to the new house to go work this color test, I saw this most interesting mushroom right on the side of the road. I’ve never seen a mushroom sprout in August, but it has been rather humid lately. Istn’ it just beautiful? Does anybody know what sort of mushroom it is?

jenjoycedesign© mushroom by the road

Spinning for a Project – Part Two: “English Rose Tweed”

Part two of my series “Spinning for a Project” (see Part One) and second post of the day, this one being about designing the wool blend for the hand spun yarn, so eventually knit into a future project. A blend which I’m calling “English Rose Tweed” for the Malabrigo colorway’s namesake.  These are the wools I am blending all together to make 500g of yarn, the amount I forecast needing to knit a sweater.  (Note: So much of this fiber was a gift to me from “rescue spinners” after the wildfire, when I was given my Ashford Traditional wheel from L. ) When recently I thought to try the Malabrigo Nube roving, I chose “English Rose” and thought that I really wanted to try doing a blend with it with natural undyed roving.

jenjoycedesign© English Rose Tweed 7

I have weighed off each wool color into ten segments each, to put each together into ten 50g batches to do incrementally, but I wanted to share the recipe after the 1st blend, so I could refer to it for the rest of the batches, and so I could do a test spin-up on the first blending before proceeding.

From these…

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to these….

jenjoycedesign© English Rose Tweed 8

to these…

jenjoycedesign© English Rose Tweed 3rd blend

In the next post you will see these rolags all spun up!  I may not like the results after the first 50g test and add a color to continue, but stay tuned to find out if these are a keeper.  Also you can see all posts in my Spinning for A Project  series.

Okay, here’s what I did…

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Techy stuff for English Rose Tweed…

  •  I need 500g for a sweater project; using 113g Malabrigo Nube (roving) in English Rose colorway, along with 122 g of grey merino, 200g mixed brown & natural wool (unknown breed) and 65g white cormo.
  • 500g of wool blend divides into ten 50g batches, so using a gram scale,  I divided all into equal 10 segments.

Note: With hand-dyed braid of Malabrigo Nube “English Rose”, I decided to keep a consistent color ‘bookmatch’ by splitting the dyed braid along the length into 5 segments, then each of those long skinny segments more easily in half, folded end to end and pulled apart at center. Otherwise, pulling apart the dyed roving when full thickness it was seriously hard (being 100% Merino), and should never ever be considered to cut it.

  • Layered very thinly one color at a time, alternately.  using this technique: Blending for tweed simplified
  • Lifted batt, and sectioned into strips of four, to photograph the transition wool rolls.
  • I took the wool and layered again, then photographed rolls again.
  • Layered wool rolls once more and drew off rolags.
  • I’m naming this colorway blend ” English Rose Tweed “
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

(( Click 1st image in mosaic to go to slideshow with commentary. ))

 

Spinning for a Project – Part One: How much fiber?

This post is about establishing amount of wool/fiber needed for a sweater, without knowing what I want to knit, and before I even spin the yarn, or have a gauge. But first, a little disclosure…

Disclosure: I am nearly a self-taught knitter and spinner, so I want to say that what I am about to experiment with is not from anything  I have read, but only from what I have personally experienced, and am continuing to do — please do not quote , copy or paste any of this anywhere, it is probably all wrong.  😉

Then a little backstory: I had a spinning mentor in the early 90’s who guided me through my first spinning and knitting projects. I recall being so overwhelmed with the spinning ahead of me when I decided to spin for my first sweater (had never even knit a whole sweater before), wondering about how on earth a person could know how much to spin to make one, and I recall my mentor saying “It takes about two pounds of wool to make a sweater.”   That’s it?  How did she know?   Well now I know that was her personal general sweater weight guideline, and she was likely speaking for her size; she was a tall and larger person than I was then, so I think she may have pared it down for me to about 1.5 pounds of wool. I do remember spinning up a lot of yarn for a project and having a lot left over after knitting it, thinking her overly simple guidelines impossible and inaccurate and was maybe even a little frustrated at all the extra spinning I was required to do to get the sweater I wanted. This is especially so because I had so much yarn left over ended up reknitting the sweater two more times in order to use up more of it.  Looking back I realize my mentor must have wanted  to be safe, knowing it to be safer to have too much yarn rather than too little, and the garment to be too big rather than too small, so I spun up way more than what was actually needed.  That sweater is a distant memory now, as I lost all in the wildfire, but I did post  that sweater knit in 1994 (scroll to bottom) back when I first began this blog in 2010.

That sweater was knit over 25 years ago, but the memory of it has come back to challenge me — and  I would like to experiment with the 2 lbs per sweater theory.  A couple of things to say right off is that now I am accustomed to the international yarn lingo and think in grams for yarn, and so I’ve got to put the conversion here:  2 pounds = 907.185 grams.  Let me round it to 900 grams of wool per sweater. That sounds rather generous though, maybe right for a large sweater, which would be 9 balls of Cascade 220 (up to 1980 yards) in worsted weight, or 7 balls of Cascade 128 (up to 896 yards) in bulky weight. Indeed an overshot by several hundred yards for most, but maybe as a safety barrier, the start-with-more-than-you-need thinking.  Hmmm,  I think I’d like to refine my theory a bit more that that.

I have no sweaters with me as they were all lost to wildfire,  but I have many knit for myself and others on my Ravelry pages with notes, and I see that  the last sweater I knit for myself using Studio Donegal Aran Tweed, used only 450g  or 9 (50g) balls of yarn.  450g = .99 pounds, that is roughly a 1 pound sweater.  Of course, I think it would be safest to round it up to 500 grams per sweater, or 1.1 pounds. Giving a wide berth for a comfortable yardage overshot, I am thinking maybe that I should have 500g per sweater be my personal “basic sweater” weight, with a comfortable overshot.  The comfortable over estimate is because in my experience most hand-spun is denser than most mill-spun yarns, and can often weigh more per yardage than the light fluffy balls we get from the yarn shop. I just want to be safe when spinning for something to knit like a sweater. If my sweater ends up being too small, I’ll happily keep it for the day I lose a few pounds, but this is my starting point of my experiment, and a 500g sweater it will be.

Now, one might wonder how the grams and yardage play out in a size.  Basically, the bigger or smaller your stitches, the fewer or more stitches in your tension gauge will be. My experiment is to see that weight of fiber and yarn remains approximately the same, even though yardage and gauge change. That 500g of yarn, whether dk weight, worsted weight, or super-bulky, in theory it should end up the right amount of yarn; given the stitch gauge is accurate, the appropriate size needles are used for the gauge, and I make consistently the same size and proportions.

Going from this theory; that weight remains consistent through the changing and varied selections of yarn & yardage, I have a hunch that if any of you out there who are reading this and are interested in experimenting along with me, if we go into our sweater chest, and pick out our favorite sweater (of average length & proportions) and weigh it, we will have a starting point, because as sure as can be, we can’t all abide by the Two Pound general rule of my old spinning mentor’s, and you can see how I’ve figured out my own from general rule.  I may not have any sweaters in my closet to weigh, but fortunately I have that sweater I knit for myself in Autumn 2016 in my Ravelry project page, right here, and I will go by that.

Your sweater might be 1 pound/450 grams , or 1.5 pounds/ 680g, or  2.25 pounds/1020g , or whatever. Also as all of us experienced knitters know, its essential to round up to more yardage & weight to allow for anomalies.  Where is all of this going? Okay, so I want to spin yarn again for something to knit, as its been a few decades since I’ve undertaken such a huge spinning project, and I want to aim for the yardage to be very close. I’ve got myself some roving all ready to go, and I just need to weigh it all and then I can begin the magic on my blending board! 500 grams sounds like an easy enough job of wool blending and spinning to me.   Watch this space for Part 2, the wool blending!

See all posts “Spinning for A Project” series HERE.