this summer stephanie (new mom), dayna (survey friend – and roller derby girl), and dayna’s mother-in-law Victoria and i took a beginning handspinning (on a drop spindle) class from Pamela of Far North Fibers in Anchorage. it was at her house, in her tiny studio that was full of looms, spinning wheels, and a TON of fiber. there was so much to look at. it was a great class as it was very one-on-one and we got to try out a lot of different kinds of fiber. i also found that wool is not that expensive, it only takes a bit of practice, and you create a totally unique yarn that turns into something nobody can copy. i also find it extremely therapeutic – especially after hours of doing R/W calcs in front of a computer.
about a month ago, after inquiring on ravelry, i ordered some roving from Carol Lee of The Sheep Shed Studio. they have some awesome deals and she even sends you a little extra to play with (i got some brown superwash!). the shipping was a little expensive, but with the quality of wool (they are Brown Sheep Mill ends!) and the really nice customer service, i would recommend them to anyone.
so i’ve done some experimenting with the fiber i ordered and the stuff i bought from the spinning class. i still suck, but it is getting more and more consistent (the yarn, not the sucking). oh, and i’m also working with a lopsided spindle – buku accidentally broke mine a few weeks ago, but it still works great. i decided that with my first (successful) yarn- i want to make something that doesn’t require a lot of yardage and it would be for someone special (someone who would appreciate that it’s from the sheep to a wearable item). so, i’m making “a noble cowl” (i just discovered cowls- and they are going to be my new accessory this winter -for work and play – along with really cute mittens. and there are some really beautiful and FREE patterns on ravelry) by Emily Kausalik. i also plan to make a pair of matching mittens, though i need to spin more. here are the fruits of my labor:
it went from this (this is what i have left – and there is the drop spindle i am using ):
to this (an entire hank is what i am able to wind on the spindle – i have no idea what the yardage is, but will be more diligent about that next time):
to this WIP (work in progress):
it has a really pretty lacy pattern, but you can’t see it until it is done and blocked. i will post some pictures when its done.
the yarn is a single ply yarn. when i get better and am able to get the yarn to a consistent and smaller diameter, then i will try some plying (2+ strands to make one).
AND here are a couple pairs of mittens that i recently finished. they are made of virgin wool that my mom got from an estate sale for $2/skein! and the skeins have so much yarn on them – my winder can only handle half a skein. the yarn smells a little like old lady and the company doesn’t even sell that kind anymore, but she got it in some great colors and it works awesome for felting projects.
The pattern is “Give a Hoot” by Jocelyn Tunney. they knit up fast and really like the pattern. and they are sooo cute. i have yet to make myself a pair!
the first pair (bright pink) i made for my brother’s lady friend for her birthday (the pic is taken before blocking), and the second pair (turquoise) is being sent to my aunt lisa in wisconsin, along with some homemade salmonberry/blueberry jam and rhubarb chutney!