Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A pound of fiber and sock progress (long and lots of pictures!)

I have been keeping myself very busy, mostly with spinning this week. I received my first pound of fiber from Crow Mountain Farms. The colorway they sent me to spin for their Sock Hop Yarn is called Spirit in the Sky. The fiber is superwash merino and it was such a pleasure to spin.

I've also been keeping my self busy with trying to get my current socks done by Thursday which is when the Summer of Socks starts. Not that I can't work on these after Thursday but my friend Alicia and are are going to be doing the same socks at the same time. We are after all twins of different mothers, even if we haven't actually met face to face. So I want to keep pace with Alicia on our socks. So far we've chosen 4 patterns but I'll post about them on Thursday.

Before I get to the yarn pr0n I want to take a moment to clear up some confusion that may be out there if anyone is thinking they might like to spin for Crow Mountain Farms and have been put off by what you may have heard about their being overly picky about the product you produce for them and not getting paid if the yarns not quit what they wanted. Teyani and Klaus do have a standard they want their product spun to but they always pay you for the yarn you spin. Now if the yarn you spin is really not the quality they want (and according to Teyani this happened only once because the yarn really was unusable due to severe over twist. Ask her for yourself. She's very happy to talk to anyone who has questions) then they might not ask you to spin more fiber for them but if you a get pound of fiber to spin for them then they'll pay you, period. O.K. I'm off my soap box.

Now, here's the progress from fiber to yarn:

The two hanks that made up the pound.

The fiber in hanks

Each hank has one end that's heavily saturated with color and one end that's much less saturated. To get a consistent range of color throughout the whole pound of finished yarn I pulled 2 foot lengths of fiber off both hanks then jumbled them up so I'd be grabbing a random length of color.

The fiber divided into lengths ready to be spun

In order to keep the yarn consistent Teyani (the dyer and owner of CMF, along with her hubby Klaus who has such a great accent I could just listen to him for days) sent some sample for comparison. She sent them on a piece of plain card board but I put them on a spinning info card from Nancy's Knit Knack's. I like the contrast of the fiber against the white card stock and being able to hold my yarn between the strands of the sample.

Matching the single

When I was done with the singles I had 5 full bobbins and one almost full. I didn't think to take a picture but I used my Katie-a-go go from Nancy's Knit Knack's. It's a tensioned Lazy kate and while I also have a tensioned lazy kate from Ashford the Katie is smaller and has rubber feet so I can have it right on a coffee table next to me. When I'm spinning yarns that require a firm twist I like to have my kate as close to me as possible and the Katie-a-go go just make this easier. I'll try to include a picture the next time I post about spinning.

The whole pound spun

Here I'm using the sample card to make sure I'm getting the twist per inch correct and seeing that the over all width of the 2 ply is similar to the sample. If you look closely at the picture it may seem that the yarn is just slightly undertwisted but I'm holding the yarn away from the orifice. The yarn will still get more twist right up until it get to the orifice. So if you really want to be sure your getting the right amount of twist the pull the yarn off the bobbin and com pare it there.

Matching the ply

And here is the whole pound spun up into 7 hanks of approximately 200 yards. I had a 20ish yard skein, some very small lengths of yarn and a teeny ball of single left over. All which will get sent back to CMF.

Seven skeins all in a row

And a close up of the yarn. I very happy with the consistency of the yarn. I was a bit concerned that the yarn is definitely 18 wraps per inch and possibly a touch thinner but Teyani assured me this is just fine. I really can't speak highly enough of Teyani and Klaus. I had the pleasure of speaking with Klaus when I worked at my LYS. As I said I just could talk with him for days. They are both just so nice.

Sock Hop Yarn

And now for some sockage. This is an overview of just where I am with three different socks. In the upper left a sock made with Austerman step that I started way to long ago. In the lower center is my Jaywalker made from yarn dyed by Alicia. There's a long story of why I still only on the first sock. I the upper right a ribbed sock made with Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock. In the lower left corner is my sock project bag from White Willow. She has the greatest fabric selection for project bags and is quite the yarn pimp. I highly recommend buying from her! I'll have a sock made out of her yarn to post about in this Summer of Socks

Socks, Sock, Sock,

So here's the close up of the Step sock. I'm work on my ebony needles which I love but have to be careful that this project doesn't get squished because I've broken needles that way. Notice the ball is a bit messy. This is one of the projects that Hubbies cat decided the yarn would make good dental floss and chewed thru the yarn.

Simple Sock using Step Yarn

And here is the second incarnation of my first Jaywalker. I got past the gusset and tried the sock on only to find it was to tight to get over my heal so I went to the frog pond. Then I got about 6 inches on the second time round and had to frog several inches due to a mistake. So here I am about to turn the heal.

Jaywalker Sock

Here is the start of my ribbed socks. I started these socks at the beginning of the semester last fall when I stopped at the yarn shop near school in desperate need of a yarn fix because I had to be at school late to see guest speaker and completely forgot all my knitting at home.

Simple Rib Sock

So there you go what I've done for the last week in my fiber life. I'm expecting a large shipment of fiber next week sometime from CMF that should be enough to last me for a month. In the mean time these socks need knitting on and I think I'll finish the scarf I've got on my Rigid Heddle Loom. So look for some weaving content in an upcoming post.


Sarah said...

Wow - that yarn you spun was gorgeous!

Monika said...

Well, the first word what came to mind was - wow - such a great handspun yarn! I LOVE orange!

Ann-Marie said...

holy cow, your spinning is gorgeous!!!