Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Putting a new spin on things

Ooh, check out what I got for Christmas!

It's a Louet drop spindle kit, which comes complete with 1/2 pound of unnamed "fiber." By the feel and the long staple of it, I'm guessing the "fiber" is wool, though I couldn't tell you what specific sheep it came from. There were three bundles of roving in the box: brilliant aqua, deep navy, and rustic-looking brown.

Within days, the rustic-looking brown became even-more-rustic-looking lumpy-bumpy amateurish... I mean beautiful art yarn. Yeah, that's it. Looks like the thick-and-thin stuff that they sell for outrageous prices at the yarn boutiques, no?

No worries about the lumps and bumps, I figured. It was part of the learning process, and my drafting ability would smooth out in time. Indeed, by the time I got to the end of the roving, I had to kind of try to add the thicker bits so the last skein-let would be more like the first skein-let. Even so, the last bit was thinner, more even, and knit up at a whole different gauge. But I do not let that stop me. We must all start somewhere, right? Kind of like when we learn to play the piano we don't start off playing perfectly. First we open the music book and start butchering "Mary Had a Little Lamb." After many months of regular practice, diligence, and hard work, we graduate to butchering Chopin.

No sooner had I finished spinning and plying the brown roving than I just had to put it on the needles and see what I could do with it. There wasn't a lot, only slightly more than 100 yards of super-chunky yarn (as estimated by the number of times it went around my tabletop swift). I decided on a neckwamer/scarflet thingy. I started with The Fidgit, but my yarn ran short far too soon, and while I like the stitch used in the pattern, it wasn't working well with this yarn. I frogged back and tried a waffle stitch, but didn't have much luck with that, either. Finally I tried Pidge Podge, a simple scarflet in K2P2 ribbing. That gave me much better results. I should have guessed -- a simple stitch for a fiddly yarn.

After finishing the Pidge, I had a teensy bit left, so now my tea mug on my desk at work has a sweater, too:

It's a simple band, 10 stitches wide, with two stockinette border stitches on either side and moss stitch on the middle 6 stitches, like so:

Row 1: K2, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K3
Row 2: P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P3

I repeated these until I literally ran out of yarn on the bind-off row, then used a couple of scraps to stitch the corners together.

There's still the eye-searing aqua and the deep, dark navy roving to go. This spinning thing opens up a whole new set of possibilities. I'm already eyeing pretty spindles with art glass whorls on Etsy, looking into spinning silk "hankies" into shimmery silk yarn, and looking longingly at some very expensive spinning wheels, which may be a real possibility once I get this drafting business down a bit better.


Iron Needles said...

Welcome to the dark side!


I had a wheel within 2 1/2 months of starting with a spindle...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful job on your first yarn! For what is worth, both my wheels are Majacrafts (Millie and Rose)and I love them.

Happy to enable at any time...

lunaticraft said...

Awesome! What a great gift! That knitted up spectacularly, too.

Megan said...

Wow that yarn looks great for your first try- I am deeply jealous!


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