Tag Archives: baby camel

Something Finished, Something New

As promised, I’ve finished some things. First, there are things I finished for my shop:

This is the last 3 ounces of my first Happy Hooves shipment, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I was still feeling pretty impressed with myself a week  after I finished it.

I split the batt in half and spun those halves end-to-end on one bobbin, then strung one half with beads, and plied from two ends of a center-pull ball. The colors wound up aligned almost perfectly with very little assistance on my part, and the result is soft, squishy, and bouncy with just the right amount of sparkle. 218 yards, worsted to aran weight.

Next up in shop stock is the October Happy Hooves batt, “Leaf Peeps,” on polwarth.

It showed up looking roughly like this:

And it went on doing so for a few days.

Just look at those sparkly bits. So sparkly!

But then I suddenly found that I’d finished that first bobbin of Qarth, and in the span of just over 24 hours it stopped looking like that, and suddenly looked like this instead:

I was consciously working on treadling more slowly and drafting more quickly so I didn’t accidentally let them get too thin or overspun.

For the most part, it worked pretty well, and after a soak and some violence against the side of the bathtub, these are some pretty well-behaved fingering weight singles.

538 yards here, soft and sparkly as can be…

…and looking pretty adorable snuggled up with our tiny pumpkin.

I also finally finished plying my ITW “Tuscadero” and baby camel spin, and after lots of time spent skeining and reskeining and counting, there are pictures to prove it!

It’s very feminine, but also nicely subdued.

I love it, but I’m also unbelievably happy to be done with it.

1,480 yards of fingering weight 3-ply can really cramp a person’s hand. I had some awful Plying Claw by the time I got through it all.

Seems Trillian likes this yarn too; she nuzzled at one skein several times, then curled up and used it as a pillow for a while.

On the 6th, I got to go to Lambtown, the lamb festival in Dixon. I got to fuss on 3 different bunnies (they were all wonderful soft adorable sweeties), saw some of the sheepdog competition, and bought a little bit of yarn, for a future brand-new person in my extended family, and a little bit of fiber for an instant gratification spin.

The little bit of fiber was 2 ounces of mixed BFL in “Aegean” from Sincere Sheep, and so instant was the gratification that I did not manage to get pictures of the fiber before it was yarn.

206 yards of thick and thin singles, all spun up in one day.

I had originally intended to list this one in my shop too, but it ended up a little fuzzier than I’d have liked after its bath, so I’ve changed my plans somewhat. I’ll hold onto it for a while, and then when my big new purchase and I have gotten to know each other a little, it’ll be paired with some graphite Border Leicester and find its way into the shop in a new form.

So, what’s the big new purchase, then? A 32″ Kromski Harp rigid heddle loom. It’s supposed to arrive on Thursday, and I’m so excited I can barely sleep for thinking about weaving. Once I’ve figured out what I’m supposed to do, I’ll start spinning the aforementioned Border Leicester for a 2-ply warp yarn, and use those thick and thin singles as weft. I’ve also got some 8/2 tencel on the way, which I may play with on the loom a little bit, but my primary intent is to use it as plying thread for another try at spinning coils. Perhaps I’ll find myself with a couple of bobbins ready for some melodrama by the time the loom arrives.


A Finger in Every Fire, Irons in Every Pie

I have a confession.

I have Too Many Things in progress. Too many things a-spinning, too many things on the needles, and let’s not talk about the sewing projects that I’m trying to, not ignore, but…yeah, ignore, actually.

And lots of those Too Many Things in question? So close to being finished. Just shamefully close. A few fingers and a billion ends on a pair of mitts. Some simple garter stitch. A bit of ribbing. Beads and plying. A little hemming.

I like making things, I like the planning and the process. I like having the finished objects in hand. I just don’t like wrapping things up: the tedious jobs like rewinding washed skeins and taking an accurate count of wraps per inch, or sewing in ends, picking up stitches, finishing seams; the jobs that go against my nature a little bit like writing item descriptions and setting prices for the shop. (The casual self-promotion, too. I’m a very uncomfortable capitalist.)

But I’m working on it. I’ve even taken pictures of some things–I’m trying to get my fiber stash photographed before I spin any of it, but it’s slow going trying to catch enough light on my north-facing balcony with days getting shorter (and as it cools off, Trillflower like to be out there to watch and smell and lounge and otherwise get underfoot).




I’ve got three active knitting projects going right now. I won’t be able to photograph the Rock Island until I’m much farther along in the garter stitch body.

This sweater vest started out as a heavily-modified Hilja, but with all the modifications for gauge, I kind of stopped caring about pattern instructions around the neck shaping and made things up as I went. It needs ribbing at the arms and neck, and then it’ll be done. I’ve even seen to all of the ends so far. It fits well, with just enough ease to go nicely over a button-down shirt.

These are Little Cable Knee Highs, sort of, except I used my standard wedge toe and placed the gusset at the soles instead of the instep, and ignored the instructions for the heel turn because those yarn-overs really make no sense to me, and, you know what? It’s a pair of knee highs with little cables up the back and custom calf shaping. They’re a long-overdue gift for my mom (hi, mom!) in Knit Picks Capretta, which is lovely to work with and very reasonably priced.

I’ll have to untangle and wind the third ball soon, but I’m definitely going to have enough yarn. These are worked two at a time on one long circular needle, which is my current favorite method (although somewhat discouraging at times as it takes twice as long to see any decent progress). I like to wind two separate balls and then when the socks are big enough, I can tuck each ball into its sock and the whole thing is very portable.

In my last post, I mentioned a new fiber club and a new spindle coming into my possession. The August installment of the Enchanted Knoll Farm Happy Hooves Batt Club showed up at the beginning of August looking like this:

Now, in addition to the corespun also mentioned in my last post, it looks like this:

I wanted to make a fat singles art yarn with lots of cocoons, but after about 5 tries I changed my plans. Half of this will be strung with glass beads, then I’ll make a 2-ply gradient. It’s on hold for now though, because I finally started plying my “Tuscadero” spin.

I can’t believe how delicate and muted this is turning out. By the time I finished all the singles, I was sick of it, but I’m charmed again in the plying.

The spindle, a Jenkins Delight, is a wonderfully balanced, tiny, adorable Turkish number. It came with a sample of 50/50 merino/bamboo, which I started playing with immediately. In the car on the way to pick up vegetables.




That sample, about 7 grams or a quarter of an ounce, turned into about 49 yards of light fingering weight 2-ply.



Now it’s occupied with some cormo top I combed myself.

Big plans for this. Big secret plans.

Speaking of big plans, I also have big plans for the July 2013 Into the Whirled club fiber. It’s “Qarth” on Falkland.

I’m spinning it as a 2-ply laceweight gradient, to become a S[c]heherazade shawl. This colorway is magic. See those sort of dull tan-olive sections in the fiber? Well, that’s a deception. I started spinning, and it’s really strange.

It’s not dull or tan-olive at all. Here, a closer look:

I love it.

So I should have some finished things to show off soon.


Tour de Fleece: A Recap

So here it is, five days out from the end. I have a pound of yarn, a bobbin full of pretty singles waiting for some friends (oh, scratch that, it sounds like a trashy phone sex chat line ad) merino and silk waiting for its match, a partial bobbin of baby camel to keep them company, and–at long last–some numbers.


But first, there was plying.


A lot of plying, really.



Almost too much plying.


But then there was yarn from all that plying–the small skein to the left is for seaming. Yes, seaming. No, I’m not ill. I have not been replaced by some kind of terrifying alien who looks, sounds, and acts exactly like me but doesn’t hate seaming. I’ve just been coerced by stripes.


Then there was a brief kitten interlude while I finished up the grey singles, in which I found WordPress’ iOS app to be virtually identical to its web interface. Then there was even more plying, though it didn’t go on quite so much as before.


Then there was soaking–the water turned black–and snapping and beating skeins against the shower wall. This to calm some of the twist in my deliberately overplied skeins. The result is a slight loss of yardage, a nice bloom in the singles, and a very bouncy finished yarn. That’s 1,292 yards there, right on target at sport-DK weight. Major benefits of being five feet tall and living in northern California–that’s plenty of yarn for a sweater.


Then, as planned, my Into The Whirled March 2013 classic club hopped onto the wheel. That’s “Tuscadero” on 80/20 merino/silk.


The plan involves 8 ounces of that and 4 ounces of the baby camel previously seen on the supported spindle, obviously on a bobbin now. I expected it to be more difficult than it is, having had such trouble with merino on the Stella a few months ago, but the combination of baby camel cloud, Hitchhiker, and months more experience behind my hands is making it a pleasure.


Of course, challenge day (July 18) demanded a little bit of a deviation from my big plans. That’s 28 feet of 2-ply cotton on my supported spindle. The last time I tried spinning cotton, I had no experience at all with supported spinning or cotton spinning. I was also working with sliver. It was extremely slippery and frustrating and I gave up quickly. For the challenge day, I got out my hand cards and put little bits of cotton on the teeth at the very edge, just to hold it while I rolled up a puni with a DPN. Much more successful than the last time, but from preparing the puni to plying, it was hours and hours of work.


Tuscadero, on the other hand, moved fairly quickly, especially considering how very fine singles for 3-ply fingering weight yarns are.



Unfortunately, fairly quickly is not quite quickly enough. Le Tour 2013 ended here, with about ¾ ounce left to spin on the first bobbin.

With Tour de Fleece over, the collections of bobbin shots will now stop, though the excitement will not. Look forward to beer-tastings, shiny pretty things, the backlog of finished objects, and more finished objects to add to the backlog in the coming weeks.


Tour de Fleece Days 3, 4, & 5

Whoops. Got a bit busy there.SONY DSC

Herself investigating the box that so vexed her earlier–I put her up on the perch and she couldn’t figure out how to get down. At the moment, she’s giving a twist tie to the Drowned God, which is much funnier, but I don’t have the light for a moving cat photo. And I don’t like to encourage her on the Drowned God front. Carpets end up soggy.

Twoflower is the Queen in this house, in case that wasn’t eminently clear. She still gets me to say the words.


Monday was a pretty poor spinning day because Monday was Bottling Day. More on that shortly.


Tuesday was a better spinning day, but I didn’t finish that bobbin until after midnight, hence the handful of fluff hanging off the flyer in the daily progress shot.


Immediately after I finished the second bobbin of stripy singles, I started the semisolid grey–but just a bit.


The bobbin in the foreground has much longer repeats of the grey and turquoise stripes–twice as long, in fact, because regular stripe patterns lend themselves handily to fractal spinning.


The semisolid ply is moving right along with around an ounce and a half on the bobbin and two and a quarter left to spin. It’ll be done by Friday, I think, then all the little Hitchhiker bobbins will be rewound onto Stella bobbins for plying. The built-in lazy kate on the Hitchhiker only has two shafts, which won’t do for a 3-ply, and anyway I like to rewind my bobbins before plying to help even out the twist distribution and head off any problem areas caused by messy bobbin winding while spinning.

You may have noticed the wheel has “DON’T PANIC” painted on it in large, friendly letters. It’s not done yet; I need to repaint the dot over the I in something lighter, then mask off the lettering and give it a dark background. Inky blue-black, I should think.


I’ve been working daily on the baby camel on the Russian supported spindle–often while reading–but for all the time I’ve given it, two or three hours, there’s only two grams on that little cop. I’m not happy with the singles diameter yet; I need it to come out to fingering weight, maybe light fingering at the finest, in a 3-ply with some merino/silk I’ve got lined up after the polwarth sweater spin. The easiest way to get thicker (…ish) singles seems to be a long draw–which is what something as short as camel down needs anyway–but I haven’t figured out how to draft while the spindle is spinning yet.

There’s got to be a better way to do it, but my hands haven’t sorted it out yet. And, bonus: if I’ve been spinning too fine for the last two grams, it’s only two grams of about 113. Plenty of fiber left to work on it.


And here we have some of the results of Bottling Day. Turns out being a one-woman bottling party for five gallons of beer cuts into the spinning time by a few hours. Designing the labels on Tuesday took considerably less time, though my printing assistant let the printer resize them.


I’m sure there’s a better way to affix labels than my rejected-printer-paper-and-magic-tape method but I don’t know what that is either. I want them to come off as easily as they go on so the bottles only need a quick wash before they’re ready to be sanitized and reused. I know Northern Brewery sells reusable labels but their usefulness appears to hinge on making the same beers a number of times greater than one.

Which is silly, why do that when you can do science?

Tomorrow we’re going to try our first all-grain brew instead of basking in the blinding light of our freedom (or, as a facet thereof).

More on that tomorrow if I can get the light. And more on the Navelgazer Wheat and Raspberry Wheat Ales in a couple weeks, after bottle-conditioning.

A shiny gold star for anyone who works out the jokes in the beer name without having been explained the thing.*

*the gold star is figurative

Tour de Fleece Day 2


Whew! A busy second day. Here’s what I reported just before midnight :SONY DSC The spindle holds about 20 minutes of spinning from day 1, and close to an hour for day 2. Baby camel is such a pleasure to spin–easier than I expected and so soft. I’m still new to this supported spinning lark though, so the singles diameter is inconsistent, and thinner than I’d like. The bobbin on my Hitchhiker here showing about 2/3 of the first ply of my first full-sized skein for this year’s Tour.

After the pre-midnight photos…


There was food. In case anyone was worried about my eating habits while I’m absorbed in spinning (hi mom!). Chesapeake tempeh cakes with fried red potatoes and lettuce from the last couple weeks of CSA boxes. Lately we’re getting more lettuce than I can reasonably eat, so I end up unceremoniously stuffing it into my face just before it goes off.


Trillian was cuddled up on the back of the couch when I returned from taking pictures of my dinner.


So, naturally, I snuggled the last pre-Tour skein up next to her.


And she sniffed and snuggled it.


And watched me watching her hold on to it.


But she was SO sleepy, and she can never manage to be as excited about yarn as Twoflower is. I stopped taking pictures and put the yarn away. (I replaced it with tummy rubs, she loves the tummy rubs.) More on that later, when it’s washed.


Then I finished up the bobbin. There it is with tomorrow’s work behind it. And Dog.


Rather pleased with these singl–

–oh, I’m sorry, were you alarmed by Dog’s face?


Yeah, well, me too. I’ll sew him up before I start spinning tomorrow.

SONY DSCMmmm look at that cloud of baby camel down. Try not to think about Dog.