Thursday, July 18, 2013


Progress continues on the Lazy Dragon.  The first quarter is spun and knit. The second quarter is spun and being knit (top photo). The remaining half is being spun (second photo).

Progress has also begun on my Tread Softly shawl.  Yes, after all this time I pulled it out of storage. I prepared my start for the knit on edging. Cut my working yarn from the main body... and then realized I still had 2 more rounds to knit!
Took a deep breath. Picked up the working yarn. Proceeded to add those two rounds.
NOW I'm ready to work the knit on edging and only a couple of extra ends to weave in later...

Yep, that's how it looks right now. ;)
I'm saving better photos for the final reveal.

And to illustrate that I'm not simply starting new projects...

...there is a completed baby blanket (washed and blocked) as well as a wee baby hat (modeled on a doll).

Friday, July 5, 2013

Lazy Dragon begins

Two spinning projects on the go evidently wasn't enough for me because I had to start a third. (There's a fourth hibernating.)  I'm spinning up this peachy coloured BFL from On The Round on Etsy (in my stash for a little while) to make a new design that won't leave my head.  It's a Lazy Dragon shawl intended to make maximum use of a braid of fibre. However, being a lazy dragon, it must take minimal effort (for a spinning knitter).

Showing off the gradient
with a dragom
Here is how I've begun.
Step 1) photograph roving braid with a dragon. (non-essential step; potentially too much extra work for a lazy dragon)
Step 2) unbraid the roving until you have a crazy long length that requires you to stand on a chair as it drapes over your neck.
Step 3) find the mid point of the roving and pull apart into 2 still-long lengths
Last step could be avoided with two braids for a larger project.

One half with the darker end and pinky middle

Second half with the yellowish end and pinky middle
Step 4) Split one of the halves length-wise and try to make those halves equal.
I chose to split the darker half for the bottom of my shawl (where the design begins).
roughly equal length-wise halves
Step 5) grab the end and pull off a small chunk. Fluff it width-wise and prepare to spin it from the fold to maximize fluffiness of the yarn.
Fluffy tuft

Fluffy tuft folded in half and waiting to be spun.
I later made smaller tufts by pinching from the tip. Those were easier to work with.
Step 6) Start spinning from the fold. I'm going for a singles sport weight, so I started with a sport yarn leader. This project will be knit from the singles, so I'm making sure the yarn will hold up. Now is definitely not the time to have light twist, but neither to I want to over twist it and lose the fluffiness. That's why I chose BFL - it doesn't need a gross amount of twist to hold together.

Spinning on a medium sized Turkish spindle from Thomas Creations/ThreadsThruTime
Started spinning on July 1. Finished the first oz of singles the next day. My fastest yet.

Step 7) (again, optional) photograph finished 'turtle' of yarn

Pretty ounce of yarn on the spindle

underside of the yarn to see colours

some Thomas Creations / TTT spindle pron

Having completed the first section of yarn, it's time to start knitting. After swatching on different yarn, I went back to a familiar stitch that does wonderful things to handspun singles and provides glorious texture and depth to a knit project.

Step 8) Start knitting from the Turkish ball of yarn.  This is an essential step.  There's no rewinding for a Lazy Dragon.  No skeining or setting the twist. You must knit straight from the spun ball. If you spin with a different tool, I suppose you may have to rewind it. Or go get a turkish spindle.

underside of knitting to keep some things secret!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Spinning Diverse Fibres

I suppose it's official now. I'm a spinning fanatic.
In case my (non-fibre-y) friends and family didn't already think me strange enough, I started spinning my dog's fur.
Having completed 2/3 of my camel silk (above- isn't that lovely stuff?), I decided my support spindle needed a break from all that fine lace and the bag of dog hair stashed under the sink needed a reason-to-be.
With the help of a leader yarn (my first time using/needing one; I usually hand twist the start of a yarn) I started spinning Darla's fur.  This is all undercoat tufts that I pluck from her, so there is very minimal tough guard hairs in the blend.


I have no brushes/carders to process the fibre, so I'm spinning from the cloud/fluff. The staple length is quite short (especially compared with the BFL I started spinning yesterday), but the high speed of the spindle and the lack of any weight pulling down is working to whip this up.  Because of the leader yarn I started with, the single is being S-spun.  I'm keeping the yarn relatively fine at about a sport weight single - which is 'thick' for me.  I'll be 2-plying this dog yarn and then knitting up a wee doggy.  It's essentially 'art yarn' to me. Too itchy/fluffy/sheddy and too warm to be of any practical use.  One day I might consider blending it with wool, but this first play with dog yarn - chiengora - is just for fun.