The Llama Tamer

You know what throws a cramp in your already-sporadic blog posting style? Moving. Seriously. I have actually finished four projects and one yarn since I’ve moved and I have blogged about exactly one of them. Sometimes I think I should just be crazy and try a quick video podcast, but then I think about how it would be 10 seconds long because normally nothing gets done from week to week, and that would be a pretty boring podcast.

Anyway, case in point is that this picture is from September 5th, and I’m just now posting it. Holding these llamas led to my learning about the spinning guild, and this is also the least-flattering picture of me in the history of pictures of me that I post outside of Facebook.



Also, I’m not going to lie, the lady thrust the leashes at me and said “hold them” and I was afraid one of them was going to bite me or something. That smile is actually thinly-veiled fear. It’s probably a good thing I just have cats.

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FO: Lilacs for Lila

Pattern: Lilacs for Lila by KnittedBliss (Ravelry download only)

Yarn: Ella Rae Cozy Soft Solids in the colorway 31, approximately 42 grams/89.5 yards

Timeline: 7.16.14 – 9.21.14

Needles: US size 1 Addi Turbo circulars

Size: 6-9 months

My Modifications: Well, I just looooove knitting loosely, so I had to go down 3 needle sizes to get gauge … ugh. I stuck to the pattern, but I misread the sizing once I got to the eyelet rib portion, so that’s a bit longer than it should be. I also made the I-cord with 5 stitches, which makes it a bit more difficult to tie, but I felt it would be sturdier in the long run.


Opinions: Yes, I had sworn off baby knitting. But when a family member is having the baby, sometimes you just have to suck it up, especially when they specifically ask for a baby hat. This was an enjoyable knit, but the reason it took so long is that I realized I had made it about an inch longer than it was supposed to be, so it languished on the needles — and then I moved. The hat was finished after the baby was born, but that’s why I made it a larger size. Mom loves it, baby looks cute in it, and I have enough yarn left over to make another one — if and only if it’s another family member.

This was my first time making I-cord, so that was interesting. I feel like I don’t quite have the hang of it yet, so it’s a bit loose in the back, but I’m sure I’ll get there. What a pain having to sew the ties on, though.

Also, it is really difficult trying to hold up a teddy bear while trying to take a picture in your awful bathroom light, just fyi.

Posted in finished objects, hats, ravelry only | 2 Comments

StormCoast’s Blue Period

In case you hadn’t figured out yesterday’s brainteaser, I’m going to spell it out for you a la Lady Greenskeins.

What is it with me and blue sock yarn? If the 3/4 examples yesterday didn’t do it for you, may I present:


Jojoland Melody Superwash, 9/10.


Colinette Jitterbug, 7/10. (I actually have made socks out of these, in my defense.)


Dream in Color Smooshy, 3/09.


Ellyn Cooper’s Yarn Sonnets Fine Merino, 9/10.


Fiber Stash Twinkle Toes (in the colorway StormCoast, yee!) 10/13


The Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors Sock Yarn, 10/11


I’m not saying I have a problem, but … I have a problem.


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One Of These Things

Is not like the others.

happyfeetPlymouth Happy Feet in the colorway 21 (what a name, eh?)



Unwind Yarn Company Journey Sock in Abalone



Unwind Yarn Company Journey Sock in Merry Fallmas


Voolenvine Yarns Lush Fingering in Lady of the Lake


Didja figure it out?



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Sharing Your Skill

I am posting all out-of-order on everything! I have a bad feeling some of the older things will get completely forgotten about and I won’t blog them. Man, moving really messes with your brain!

I did want to share a quick picture I took almost a month ago. I was lucky enough to make a friend almost immediately. While we have several common interests, fiber craft is really our primary shared interest: she crochets, and I  … spend a lot of money on just about everything fiber-related! She had mentioned she wanted to learn how to spin before we met in person, so I sat her down with my Ashford beginner spindle and taught her the basics.


As you might already know, I’m not a great teacher. I’m a much better student. But I managed well enough for her to make what you see above, which is about 30x better than my first attempts. After she finished that, I sent her home with another braid so she could practice some more.

Obviously, she is already talking about getting a wheel, and she bought some fiber at the last yarn store she went to, so I have totally created a monster I mean, shared my skill & love of the craft.

Have you ever taught someone how to knit/spin/crochet/weave/felt/whatever? How did it go? Are you still friends? :-)

Posted in conversation starter | 2 Comments

A Change of Scenery

Hey, blog! Long time no see. You’d think something major had happened in my life, like my husband getting transferred and us uprooting our life in Vermont and moving to New Hampshire in the span of three weeks or something. Oh, wait.

I am, of course, super-behind on posts, including the shawl I finished! I taught someone how to spin! My lack of a craft room! And probably something else that I’m forgetting. But I did randomly learn about a local spinning group two days before their meeting, so that’s what I did today. I didn’t tell them I blogged, and I didn’t tell them I’d be blogging about them, so you get no names, faces or details. Instead, have a pic of the partial setup (sorry it’s so dark).


We were the cool corner, where almost no one sat. In case you can’t really see my view, here, have this:


You know you jealous.

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FY: Bay Breeze

Tool: Ashford Kiwi 2

Ratio: Spun at & plied at 7.25.

Plies: 2 (spun Z, plied S)

Fiber Content: merino/silk (the label did not specify percentages)


Yardage: 312 yards

Weight: 124 grams

WPI: 12


Opinions: This was some Cozy Rabbit Farm merino/silk that I bought at last year’s VT Sheep & Wool. Since I’d had such a tough time spinning merino/Tencel, I decided to be crazy and learn a new technique: spinning from the fold. I also spun reaaaaalllly slooooowwwwwly. It’s not my favorite technique as my joins need work, and I hate how you have to draft out the end of your little bit of fiber anyway, but I’m glad to have learned it and I think it did this fiber justice.

This was so pretty as singles that I almost didn’t ply it. By the way, plying it was a pain in the you-know-what. My singles were SO energized (I put that twist in, oh yeah!) that they were constantly tangling up on each other. It really toned down the colors, but it also made it this beautiful almost semi-solid, and I’m very curious to see how it knits up. Must. Resist. Casting. On.


Random Thoughts: Silk, why you no draft nice? I guess silk slubs can be considered a design feature, yes? It’s funny how much I love this yarn, especially compared to the merino/Tencel, which is very similar in terms of sheen. I guess the actual spinning really can affect your opinion of your work!

Also, though I haven’t talked about it, this was one of my Tour de Fleece spins. I set a goal of 6 ounces, which I met. (The other two ounces were the Devon and Jacob samples.) I am very pleased, since I challenged myself and learned a new technique. It’s about quality, not quantity!

Posted in finished yarns, tdf | 2 Comments

Fiber Study: Jacob

Fiber: approximately 1 oz Jacob from Woolgatherings

Prep: Combed top

Breed notes: According to TKBOW, Jacob is an old breed that is likely originally from North Africa and Spain. (Internet research tells me it’s a primitive breed.) The coat is speckled, and can either be separated by color or blended together. It has a staple length of 4-7 inches and a fineness of 27-25 microns. It is suggested for outerwear, as it’s not very soft.

My prep: I split the fiber down the middle and pre-drafted.


Spinning deets: spun the singles worsted at a 5.5/Z and plied at a 7.25/S. Made a 2-ply from a center-pull ball to maximize yardage. The yarn is 61 yards/29 grams and is approximately 12 WPI.

Finishing: A warm-to-hot soak with some Eucalan and a few drops of tea tree and lavender oil. Hung to dry.


My notes: I was anticipating a rough spin, but it was softer than I expected. It was very easy to draft, and the fibers didn’t stick together much. My singles were a bit hairy, but overall pretty smooth. I did note that it seemed like a short staple length, but I experienced no breakage when spinning the singles or turning it into a center-pull ball. There were some weak spots when plying, however. Some shorter hairs came out when plying, but it was much less messy than the Herdwick!

The verdict: I can see why people like Jacob. My fiber had been blended together, so it made an intriguing color when it was all spun up. It wasn’t the softest spin ever, but it was softer than the Herdwick! I would definitely be willing to spin this again. I give it 4/5 sheep.

Posted in fiber studies, tdf | 2 Comments

Fiber Study: Devon

Next my husband chose Devon, thus proving that he has a thing for longwools.

Fiber: approximately 1 oz Devon from Woolgatherings

Prep: Combed top

Breed notes: You won’t find Devon in The Knitter’s Book of Wool, but you will find it in In Sheep’s Clothing: A Handspinner’s Guide to Wool. In fact, Devon’s so cool, you’ll find it twice. Yep, it turns out that you’ve got Devon Closewool and Devon Longwool. Thankfully, the fine folk at Woolgatherings sent me a speedy reply to my question of whatizzit? I spun Devon Longwool.

Now, I’m not 100% positive, but I believe that the Devon Longwool is actually a mix of Devon and Cornwall. (At least, that’s what my book seems to suggest.) Lamb’s wool is best used for knitted garments, and adult fleeces are good carpet yarns. (Thanks, honey.) Staple length can be between 8-12″, with a micron count of between 36 to 40.

My prep: I split the fiber down the middle and pre-drafted.

Spinning deets: spun the singles worsted at a 5.5/Z and plied at a 7.25/S. (I didn’t actually write this down, but this is what I’ve been doing for all of them so far.) Made a 2-ply from a center-pull ball to maximize yardage. The yarn is 56 yards/35 grams and is approximately 10-11 WPI.

Finishing: A warm-to-hot soak with some Eucalan and a few drops of tea tree and lavender oil. Hung with a small weight (a hanger) to dry.


My notes: I didn’t make many, and it’s been a few weeks since I spun this. Since nothing particularly sticks out in my memory, I guess it was a middle-of-the-road experience. I did note that it made a hairy single, and was a bit difficult to draft. It also wasn’t my most even spin, with a lot of slubby parts. However, it was a fast spin, but I couldn’t tell if it was because I was getting quicker or because I wasn’t as big on quality control.

The singles were strong, with no breaking when winding it into a center-pull ball. I believe it broke apart a few times while plying. Some of the longer hairs fell out while plying. It also got much less yardage than I had anticipated, considering how my other spins have gone.


See that long hair? Brow wax for you, mister.

The verdict: Again, it’s been a little while since I spun it, and since I don’t remember hating it or loving it, I’m going to give this 3/5 sheep. It wasn’t the softest fiber, but I would spin it if it were put in front of me.

Posted in fiber studies, tdf | 2 Comments

From the Fold

This won’t be a huge post (I owe you two spinning posts and one non-fiber one), but I wanted to share an in-progress pic of my current spin. My husband picked a merino/silk blend I’d purchased at the VT Sheep & Wool Festival last year. I gnashed my teeth, ranted, raved, and told him I couldn’t do it, I’d mess it up. (This is why I let him pick. I won’t cheat.)

So I researched. I pretty much spin inchworm-style, but I knew this would be slippery and I would probably not enjoy it. I am spinning it from the fold, which I’ve never done, and haven’t exactly perfected, but I seem to be making yarn. There are a few silk slubs here and there (big white splotches, like the one on the upper left), and it’s probably crazy overspun, BUT yarn! And I’m not fighting with it nearly as much. I’m learning a new technique and spinning a fiber that intimidates me.



Posted in progress reports, spinning | 2 Comments