What do Rainbow Brite, 70s Appliances, an Easter Basket and the North Pole have in common?

They are all handspun yarns.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I have a backlog of projects that need to get up on the blog, but I wanted to show off some of the yarns I have finished off recently.

The weekend before I started my new job I pretty well had the house to myself and a bunch of fluff that had been burning a hole in the bucket so I decided it was time to actually spin and ply my darling braids.

The neat thing about spinning is that you can start with similar preps and even similar fibers you can come away with totally different yarns based on what your hands do: woolen or worsted, lace or bulky.  By starting with combed top (rather than batts) I was working on the worsted side of spinning and two yarns (Rainbow and 70s were done more semi-worsted with some loft, and the Easter and Christmas yarns were done in a true worsted style, lots of drape).

Once you have the singles, then a whole other set of decisions, single, 2-ply, 3-ply or chain ply, loose ply or tight ply.  In this case I worked mostly with tight 2-plys because I don't spin thin enough to make a 3-ply that comes any thinner than an Aran weight, and prefer knitting with fingering, sport and worsted, and tight because I just like the way they look and work better.

So at the end of the weekend I had four yarns with distinct personalities (and having watched some of the most awesome S3 episodes of the X-Files).

On Travellers and Handspun

So as I have mentioned on the blog, I got a spinning wheel for Christmas.  The wheel, a Ashford Traveller Double Drive, which Lise at The Yarn Source managed to get to my house before Christmas.  Seriously, if you need Ashford products in Ontario, Lise is a rockstar and I would love to get to visit them, if I found my way to Prince Edward County. So my Traveller, who is still unnamed (I am open to suggestions), has been running beautifully and has helped me spin down some of the immense fiber stash I developed over the fall.

She does have some of the oil from lubricating the treadle hinge, but I got her unfinished and I have just used a furniture beeswax polish to protect the wheel before I decide how I want to finish her in the long run.

And this is what she has helped me make (well there are about three spindle skeins tucked in there, but mostly wheel stuff)

The fiber was sourced from a few different places, including three Phat Fiber boxes (Sept. Farmers Market, Oct. Steampunk and Nov. Seasons of Light).  If you are on Rav, the Phatties (as they call themselves) have a wonderful, inclusive community you should check out, here.  I also have some combed merino top from the Gateway Fibreworks in Gravenhurst, ON, which I have mentioned before, as well as from a local farm, Pondering Rock Farm in Rosseau, Ontario.

Here are some of my favorites:

Yarn: Spring Break in February

Source: Sherbet Sunrise, 2.2oz batt (alpaca, superfine merino & bamboo rayon) by Fiber Fancy

Style/WPI: 180yd, woolen spun single, sportish weight

Name: Flower Market

Source: Fall Mums (Sept Phat Contribution) 2oz 64s Merino Top by CraftyQsPlace

Style/WPI: 120yd, 2-ply, Sportish

Name: Melted Neapolitan Ice Cream

Source: Sweet Pea, 5oz Falklands Top by CraftyQsPlace

Style: 214yds, 2-ply, fingering/sport weight

Two different Monster Yarns (term taken from the Ennea Collective) made from Phat Fiber Boxes (top from October and bottom from November).

And for those of you who are wondering how winter is going here in Parry Sound, we had a fantastic melt the last few days and then blowing snow last night. But the light is getting much more spring-like.

On Felting and Finished Objects

It has taken me a few days to get these up, but I had another great course at the Gateway Fibreworks back on Saturday. This time we were focusing on a single type of felting, wet felting. I present, without comment, by Steampunk Felted Dragon Mittens

I wish I had a picture of the merino braid beforehand, but needless to say it had strong varegation.  Although they are not my usual colors, I love the way they turned out.  We used fuffy white alpaca for the inside, milled on-site.

As with the previous week, the instruction from Gail and Vikki was amazing, and materials beautiful.  I wish they were closer to Parry Sound, the hour long drive to Gravenhurst is a bit tough to swing, especially because the Starbucks doesn't open in time to get caffeinated before the drive.

Since finishing those mitts on Saturday, I have finished two other projects.

On Tuesday, I finished Clapotis.  While this pattern seemed to have spread with the virulence of an infectious disease through the knitting community, I remained immune to its charm until I discovered Dream in Color Starry.  The plain, but attractive. pattern, plus an amazing material worked out to a beautiful product.  I will be debuting it in a post sometime in the next few days.

Okay, maybe just a sneak-peek.

After finishing such a repetitive and lengthy pattern I was inspired to make something quick.  Some Knit Picks Swish Bulky and a hat pattern were just the thing I needed. My Winter Leaves hat, using the Foliage Pattern out of Knitty, was finished less than 24 hours after starting.  I quite love this hat already, and I am sad that the Squirrel Heather I used has been discontinued.

Either way, I have had a productive week, and it is only Thursday!

Felting 101 and Project Pictures

This morning I had the great fortune to take Felting 101 with Gail and the good folks at the Gateway Fibreworks in Gravenhurst, Ontario. For those of you not familiar with the Gateway Fiberworks, it is a small scale mill and retail outlet.  They primarily focus on alpaca and works with lots of small farmers across the province.  They are a great outfit who operate out of a green building in a Muskoka.

While I think I will be quitting my day job, or even knitting and spinning to be a felter, but it was great to learn about an interesting technique to make embellishments and another way to use up my increasingly large fiber stash.

Here were a few of the things I made during the course:

Since I got my camera out to take pictures of my felting, I decided to get pictures of a few other projects. I didn't manage to nab one of my Carla's Mittens because she always has them on her hands or stashed away in her purse.  However I did get a few beauty shots of my Norway Spruce, using the Hawthorne pattern by Susanna IC in the Fall 2010 Twist Collective.

Also, I am sending them off tomorrow so here are the cousin hats!

I am hoping to get a picture of all four of them wearing their hats.  It was tough making a hat that would fit anyone of them (well the red one is for a four-year-old so it is sized differently) but the other three are for guys of very different head sizes and I wasn't sure which one each of them was getting.

So, there is your photo overload for the weekend, I hope you enjoyed them.