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Archive for August, 2011


My head is spinning…

Hi, Jan,

Now that you are a spinner, I can make my spinning posts as long as I want and trust that you will actually read them!  Good thing, too, because we have some spinning to catch up on.

61.jpgFirst a little bit of spinning that I finished up just before heading to Sock Summit.  As part of the Spin Doctor (not to be confused with Dr. Yarn) podcast Wool Breeds Challenge, I had spun a barber-poled taupe/coffee yarn out of two different samples of a Jacob fleece.  I’d kept enough back of each color so that I could then spin two solid color yarns of approximately the same yardage.  Here you have the outcome of that project, 450 yards total.  I plan to knit something where the progression of color will be highlighted, likely a small shawl.

31.jpg21.jpgI find it interesting that the two colors showed different elasticity, as shown by their different hang lengths despite being wound on the same niddy noddy.  This suggests to me they were from two different fleeces (though Jacobs are party-colored animals and you can get lots of colors from one fleece).  The kiddens found it interesting, too.

71.jpg81.jpg91.jpgYou saw me spin this skein up while we were at Sock Summit.  It’s a merino wool batt that I carded at Susan Hensel’s booth at Shepherd’s Harvest.  What fun - you break up your handpainted merino roving as you see fit and feed it into the electric carder along with bits of colored silk and glitzy bits and so on.  I think Susan thought I was way light on my use of glitz, but for me this was pretty heavy handed.  Spinning details: woolen spun from strips of the batt torn to keep the color in sequence, then chain plyed to maintain that color.  It is a heavy worsted, maybe even an Aran.  I believe it is saying HAT, but it may be saying MITTS or perhaps even GIFT.

Finally (but not really - I’m saving some other bits and pieces spun while at SS for a later post), my current wheel spinning project is to ply all of the singles I worked on back in April.

141.jpg151.jpgFirst step - determine the twist that a 3-ply needed to be balanced.  Given that the singles had been resting nicely on storage bobbins for 4 months, their twist had set up pretty well.  Laying out the plies together resulted in nada as far as plying goes.  Fortunately, all a singles yarn needs to return to its true nature with active energy to balance a ply is a nice dip in warm water.  These shots show you before and after.  I did not spin that yarn in the second shot - just soaked the plies and let them twist on themselves naturally.

16.jpg17.jpg18.jpgAnd that was the target twist that I am aiming for as I ply up those many storage bobbins.  I’ve used up 3 bobbins, have 3 partials on my kate, and have about 17 more to go.  So far I already have  290 yards of gorgeously coffee-colored yarn, 3-ply, heavy dk at this point.  I suspect it may trend toward worsted after it gets a bath, but that will come much later.

19.jpgHow much yardage do you think I’ll achieve?  I know - let’s make this a contest!  I’m pretty sure I can come up with some lovely fiber-related prize for the commenter whose guess comes closest (absolute value, none of this “can’t go over” stuff).  One guess per person.  Try not to guess exactly what someone else guesses, OK?  It will make things easier.   Contest will be open until I finish plying and counting the yardage.

Which, if I don’t get going on it, will be next April, so I’ll sign off now and turn to my wheel.

41.jpgThe kiddens wore themselves out with all the spinnin’.  I hope you haven’t worn yourself out.

Love,

Ellen

Dr. Interrupted…

Dear Jan,

Summer is brief here in Minnesota.  Heck, we’ve had trace snowfall by mid-September right here in Minneapolis, and measurable snowfall barely a week later.  We have to pack a lot of stuff into June through August, and this makes it hard to meet all of our obligations.

I hope this provides some excuse for my neglection of duty when it comes to posting Dr. Yarn’s column.  Let me make it clear - he submitted in a timely fashion, it was his editor who failed to push publication through.  Please do not dock his pay for this.

With no more ado, here is Dr. Yarn’s July posting.  The penny-pinching tips may actually be helpful with the recent stock market volatility has affected your savings.

———————————————

picture-14.pngQ. I have been noticing that Prince William and Kate (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) and Prince Albert and Princess Charlene Wittstock of Monaco are dominating TV coverage. I also am observing the gorgeous hats at the weddings. What is all this about wedding hats? Are most of them knitted? Where are they coming from?

A: Not many people know it, but the husbands and the grandmothers are doing most of the knitting for the wedding parties. Take Prince William for instance. He picked up knitting while on duty as a helicopter pilot (He did not knit while he himself was flying, though sorely tempted.  Like some knitters we know, he keeps his knitting in the trunk of the chopper so as to avoid temptation.)

Whiling away the down time between flights, William knitted a hat for Kate. She liked it so much that she worked it into her wedding wardrobe. The wrap I did for Michele (see June Dr. Yarn) impressed Kate so much that she has knitted some little starter projects herself.

Because Prince William has so many duties, he has cut back his knitting somewhat. Beatrice’s hat that took so much notice at Kate and William’s wedding was not knitted; however, the prototype for it was knitted. A milliner copied it for the wedding, but didn’t get it quite right, hence all the fuss.
Because Grace Kelly was an avid knitter, knitting is popular in Monaco.  Her son doesn’t talk about it much, but he also knitted several things for the wedding.  He is rumored to have knitted a bikini for his swimming star bride for the honeymoon.  He is further rumored to have used a lace stitch throughout this pattern, which may explain why we have not seen any photographs of the suit being modeled.

Knitting saved a lot of money in both of the weddings.

Keep the questions coming,

Dr. Yarn

Editor’s note:  If you would like to knit your own royal wedding, you can find the patterns HERE.

Time to start planning for Sock Summit ‘13…

Dear Jan,

I made it home in good time today (if you call waking up to go to the airport at 4:15 a.m. a good time) and have even unpacked my stash and uploaded my pictures.  Wow, what good memories they bring back…

1.jpg…seeing St. Helens, Ranier, and Hood from the airplane window as Deb and I were landing over a week ago.

3.jpg4.jpg2.jpg…the fabulous neighborhood our rental house was in, with flowers in the yards, a brewpub down the street, and Fox and Scully guarding the pastries at the local coffee shop.

5.jpg8.jpg7.jpgWasn’t the house great?  Dining al fresco was a treat, and it was super for having visitors like Jocelyn over in the evening.  But it was fun to go out, too, like when we invaded that food cart in downtown Portland.

11.jpg12.jpgRemember how tickled RachelH was when Joan yarn-bombed her microphone?  And wasn’t it fun to meet Carin of the KnitWits?  She was uber-sweet.

9.jpgJudith Mackenzie was uber-smart.  I loved when Deb said, “It’s magical!” about the change in yarn diameter with wheel adjustment even with no change in the spinner’s motion, and Judith replied without missing a beat,  “No, it’s physics.”  Here is Judith, me, and the yarn I spun in my first class ever with her.  I hope to take many more, maybe the next one with you now that you are a spinner.

13.jpgEveryone wore their finest knitting throughout the week.

15.jpg And some mighty fine spinning was in evidence, too.  Here is some of the yarn our housemates produced over the week.  The long spindle is the Peruvian one Jocelyn brought me from her travels and the little one is my brand new Jenkin’s Lark - I love them both.

10.jpgIs it a memory, or is it an earworm with motions?  Of course, I’m referring to the flash mob performed by 100’s of knitters (including Jan, Cricket, Joan, and me!) outside the convention center.  This version of the many up on Youtube gives the best view, but if you look carefully you can see each of us briefly in this version.

So much fun!  But now it is time to reenter reality and get back to work.  At least I’ll have plenty of fiber to cushion that blow.  You, too, eh?

Love,

Ellen

P.S.  Wasn’t it absolutely grand that one of the first bits of news we heard upon surfacing was that Gabby Giffords had come to the Capitol to vote?  What a true public servant.