A Mystery Unspun

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Humble new beginnings after the shortest day of the year has come and gone, and  I can’t relax with the plague for the holidays a second longer, the antibiotics are done and I am feeling better with only a slight but perpetual sawdust cough, so  its back to wool lab for me!  Thank so many of you for your get-well wishes, I think they worked!

I have decided to do a mystery Unspun skein, which I will over-dye, write a lace pattern for and knit, sharing with you here the process of course.  I’m racing the clock but hoping I might blast through the first month of winter with it and before the end of January have something worth showing off! Its going to be categorized as a superfine lace weight single ply at 1096 yards per 100g.

But this is the dismal beginning, the hard work of unplying a lot of yards, and if you would like to see how I am going to do this, it will be exactly like my previous Unspun on a drop spindle, the post ” Unspun: Deconstructing a ball of yarn “.

I’ll see you back here when I’ve finished unplying, spliced four single ply balls into one skein, and have over-dyed this baby!

Fishy

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Listening to political news on NPR a lot these days while I knit, feeling a bit unsettled as trouble swims below the surface. However, here in my wooded hermitage there is no trouble, only this blithe little ball of yarn, in shade of dusty pink, that I made myself!  Um, well,  that is … I un-plied it myself !!   I ‘made’ it from a ball of Knit Pick’s Palette which is a 2-ply fingering weight of Peruvian wool,  while mending dozens of breaks from impossibly sticky teasing twists that were a frustrating occurrence of un-plying,  washing, and hang-drying to set the tension ~~ and then I finally got the whole ball of lace-weight here ready to go. Having tossed a few grams worth of knots, I have about 45 grams & 420 yards of some seriously fine lace single ply  ( see all posts about unspun)

What is really fishy , is what is forthcoming!

fish-splash

 

Unspun

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I have been colossally distracted in a major yarn tangent in recent days. 

jenjoycedesign© unspun

I’ve been going through my ‘stash’ (that is yarn which is in one’s possession, otherwise free to use at whim), and over-dying & having a bit of fun.

But this particular little project was super fiddly and a major study in “un-spinning”, using my spinning wheel, ball-winder, swift, and dye pot.   On my spinning wheel, I literally unwound the 3 plies of a bulky-weight very soft 100% alpaca yarn I had,  while at the same time winding them into 3 separate balls. I splice-joined the 3 single balls into one skein,  and then attempted to relax the energized ‘singles’ with some simmer-dying. And relax they did!

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Even the spliced joins were completely invisible when I wound and re-wound on to the swift. Ever-so-slightly felted made a terrific halo (fuzz) when the final product was skeined.

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178 yards and 66 grams, of extremely soft alpaca single ply yarn, now ready for a delicious soft lace cowl.   I would think this would classify as sport-weight. I am frankly amazed at this result, and my eye is wandering through my stash now, with ideas to deconstruct. jenjoycedesign©013

Well, it was a huge amount of work, but its done & dusted and I’m very proud of such an alluring result.  That’s me on a beautiful day, I should be knitting socks, but sometimes distraction is good for creativity!

See all posts about Unspun !

Yarn Cake

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I’ve been making yarn cake!
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From a big mess of sock yarn, various sized balls with who-knows how many yards left on them. I can simply run the balls through this yarn meter thing, on to a ball-winder (both acquired very recently)…


… make a label of what it is and how many yards are on the ‘cake’, then  tie both ends together to the label and tuck label inside. No more loose ends getting tangled! Shown here, a full skein from the swift, through the meter, on to the ball winder.

Slowly I’m making order of chaos, and feeling a bit transformed by this insane yarn tidiness!

Yarn Scapes

jenjoycedesign©Rowan Felted TweedI am loving the new year so far, and the varied yarn-scape through which I am setting out to wander indulgently. Rowan greets me on this sunny January day, a nice tall stack of Felted Tweed, just look how substantial and tasteful the three tweedy colors look ! I just can’t wait to begin throwing stitches. Yarn tasting of the classic (though often spendy) yarn  is one of my New Year resolutions by the way, this is my first purchase of Rowan yarns, and I want to well-familiarize myself with their yarns in 2015.  Add Isager as one of the LYS lines, and a few local boutique yarns.

And only just days ago I had undertaken a very fastidious project, a rather inventive rendition of Una Cosettina Mitts.  With a photographic opportunity ahead (tomorrow) I hurried through the knitting and finished in two days,  involving these two yarns ; Isager Alpaca-Merino 2, and Shibui Silk Cloud…

003held together to make these . . .

alpaca & silk & wool mitts for Natalie

I am quite pleased with them, and so will Miss Fifteen I am certain.

((  Warning: Half mitts made of dangerously fuzzy & soft yarns,

one could trip & injure themselves from the distraction of wearing them. ))

Tomorrow morning, my nieces and I have a little photo shoot for their knitted holiday bounty,

so watch this space!

A Humble Yarn

jenjoycedesign© Cascade-220-fingeringThis week, while at my LYS I fell in love with a new yarn.  As I held it I instantly knew  it’s potential. It comes in lovely 50g skeins, so I could really squish and caress, and yes, this stuff is amazing. Why didn’t I see it before? Because I was like a schoolgirl, with a schoolgirl crush on elite British wools, I guess that I had my eyes closed.

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Colors left to right : Natural, Doeskin, Charcoal, and Jet.

I bought four skeins for barely more than $20, and  brought them home in their cheery little orange paper bag.  It felt wonderful.  I showed it to Jeff , who is my scratchiness barometer (that is, he is an extreme case of  FOSW  ~~ fear of scratchy wool) and he was impressed with it !  So in recent days I have been thinking about my new find.   I have decided that as a developing designer, it is important that I am ‘yarn conscienscious’, yet not yarn elitist.  Well, in most cases.  That is, in most cases I will design something entirely for itself,  using a yarn that I feel compliments the design, and also that I feel is easily accessible, and easily affordable. ((Though , still,  there are those special design occasions to showcase beautiful specialty & heritage yarns, for which I am very happy to be elitist . . . lol )).

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Color : Natural

A challenge indeed. One of the reasons I have liked Jamiesons Of Shetland Spindrift, a  2ply fingering yarn, is because it is not expensive, but very affordable, considering it’s imported from the actual Shetland Isles.  However, I have learned by observation, that not everyone has easy access to this British wool , even though it is growing in popularity as the boundless community of the internet brings us knitters together globally.

jenjoycedesign©Cascade-doeskin

Color : Doeskin Heather

I am talking about a very popular yarn which I never noticed because I was maybe being a bit of a yarn snob. Yet at the same time, I developed this closet tendency to buy inexpensive yarn on-line. Strange indeed.  Though I adore the ease of my on-line purchases , I do happen to live up in the backwoods, and it’s not always cost-effective to drive to the next county to purchase exactly what I want.  I have had a yarn epiphany regarding this LYS exclusive . . .

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Color : Charcoal

I’m talking about Cascade 220 yarn folks, in fingering weight.  100% Peruvian Highland Wool.  50g skeins = 273 yards / 250 meters. 2 ply.  About $5 per skein.  What I have here is four neutral undyed colors in Jet, Charcoal, Doeskin, and Natural.

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Cascade 220 fingering : Jet

Striking resemblance to the yarns with which I created my Vineyard Rows Highland Bonnet .

My Vineyard Rows bonnet (tam) however, will remain a Jamiesons Spindrift novelty , as it is inspired so much by Scottish Highlands that I believe the Scottish wool is completely perfect, but I will list the Cascade 220 fingering as an alternate yarn on it’s pattern pages.

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You can guess that the next up & coming thing I am working on , will be a Vineyard Rows design, and in the yarn which is beautiful yet humble and very likely at your own LYS.  I still have a crush on Virtual Yarns Hebridean and Jamiesons Of Shetland, but perhaps I’ll broaden my more local horizons , this side of The Pond.  I tell you, Peru really has it going on these days when it comes to yarn !

Over-Dyed

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My latest yarn play. I dyed a ton of yarn  ( details in previous post ) with a mind to knit them into an autumney-equinoxey sort of thing, but now I think not.  I’m calling this colorway ‘curry blend’, or maybe ‘marigolds’ .  Anyway,  I think it fitting for my recent post-pattern-writing crash,  to continue to chill out with a clean slate for a while.  Just knit socks, socks, and more socks, and not have anything big brewing beyond re-writing Penny Candy Socks pattern for the remainder of Spring.    Oh, just look at these cheerful balls of yarn perched , happily waiting for whatever comes.  I am very pleased with the dye this time !

Yarn-scape

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I’m up to something again.  Here, winding off skeins of Shibui  & Madelinetosh sock yarns.  I’m drowning myself in skinny yarn.  I did mention something about knitting socks with it however, a few posts back . . .

jenjoycedesign©Malabrigo sock-knitting

Which I am doing.

My nieces are coming in a few days, and I am going to rewrite my original Penny Candy Socks pattern completely different ~~ very soon~~  so , I’m madly knitting the above pair (in Malabrigo Sock) for another fun photo session with them !

Then there’s this madness , heaps of skinny Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn (which by the way, like Shibui and Malabrigo, is from Peru) and very fine Lana Grossa (from Italy) . . . over-dyed and drying still  . . .

jenjoycedesign©over-dyed sock yarn (1)

I nearly spent a mint on some fancy hand-dyed superwash Malabrigo Arroyo (I sooo wanted to) , which is a sport weight, for I am erupting with ideas already for Autumnal Equinox sweaters, but decided instead to over-dye a mess o’ sock yarn I had on hand which was bound for nowhere.  Was 4 balls of light blue Stroll — now cayenne red, 4 balls of light grey Stroll –now mustard yellow, 1 ball of hot pink Lana Grossa, — now deep garnet.  All  now a very lovely array of Autumn tones, achieved with Dharma Trading acid dyes in colors “cayenne” ,  “mustard” , & “maroon” .

I had spent hours going color crazy at the kitchen last night ~ while cooking dinner (a habit I always seem to get into ). Today all is calm, and quiet, winding off like a busy bee hive,  immersed in this lovely yarn-scape.

 

Approaching A New Year

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In case you didn’t notice, I’ve changed my banner. It was really difficult to do it, for I think I’m a little obsessive about Things being In Their Place… and well, I just figured today…so close to the new year, I’m ready for some changes.

Looking back to this post when it was so hot out that I was so drawn to blue, and had unknowingly posted five times in a row having blue as a main feature.  I was decorating Emma with yarn towers,  playing around with a camera and the cooling powers of blue, when it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside . . .

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(As it is now just after the winter solstice, I think it is interesting this post was just after the summer solstice.)

I believe I’m going to have some fun with yarn this coming year, in more ways than I have been. There’s no denying, yarn has gotten tangled up in my life in a way which has changed me (hopefully for the better), and I’m not kidding when I tell you that I wake each day thinking about something that yarn has to do with.  Yarn is nothing less than a slow miracle for me.

I usually shirk new years resolutions, but this year I’m passionate about them!  I want to get beneath the soil of things, yes of course, tending my garden to thrive, but metaphorically so too, in creative process and endeavoring from it. I am tempering my patience and my self-confidence like two razor sharp edges of a sword, and I am bettering myself through knitting. I so want to round up what little experience and confidence I have with pattern writing & design and put jets on the whole thing.

This morning I’ll admit to myself that  I have come up with a few good ideas, and in less than a year have learned a lot.  Well, there’s more to learn, more to knit, more to ‘math out’ and more to write. I will slowly inch along, with all of your presences & encouragement that ever-so-much appreciate, I really could not have progressed, nor continue further, without you. Thank you everybody, and here’s looking to a great year ahead in 2014.

What are your hopes and plans for the new year?