Tag Archives: handspun

Homeade e-spinner that rocks

26 Mar

I think a while back I mentioned my husband was building me a spinning wheel. I am a novice spinner, having only had a single beginners drop spindle and a new laceweight trindle, with exactly one skein of lovely spindle spun yarn finished since I began trying to spin. My husband only took a minor interest in my knitting over the years, but spinning piqued his interest because he just purchased a bunch of cool woodworking tools and was looking for things to make. So one day he just set out to build me a wheel.

Through much trial and error with some treadle designs, he decided it would be even more fun to make this thing electrical. So when the little sewing machine motor came in the mail, my wheel turned into an e-spinner. It took a little bit, having no experience with any wheel of any sort and only minor knowledge of spinning and tons of youtube video watching, but here is the first skein of yarn fully completed and ready to go:

wpid-storageemulated0PhotoEditor2014-03-26-14.40.21.png.pngI wound it onto the niddy noddy (also made by my woodcrafting genius husband) but totally forgot to count and measure. I was a little distracted with excitement for bathing and drying and squishing my new little beauty. This is the same Knitpicks “Wool of the Andes” roving I used for my spindle spun hat just in a different color.

About this time last month I traveled to Seattle to visit my sister and I picked up some Malabrigo Nube pure merino wool roving in the colorway “Piedras” at one of the million awesome LYS’ in the Seattle/Tacoma region. (She’s so lucky) So that is what is on the wheel today. Finally, without further ado, here is the version 2.37 of my e-spinner! Promise not to laugh, she’s a little rough around the edges but she functions for exactly what she’s supposed to do, SPIN ALL THE THINGS! And I think its the most beautiful e-spinner in all the land:

wpid-20140326_141621_HDR.jpg wpid-20140326_141658.jpgNext post I will show off what my husband has been working on as of late, amazingly beautiful drop spindles. My collection of spindles has exploded with all kinds of prototypes, and I actually spun a whole skien of yarn on the cutest little mini spindle you’ve ever seen. Stay tuned!

Surprises in the mail and the generosity of knitters

21 Feb

This blog has always been my little place to document the crafty stuff I do, so that one day I can look back and remember all the cool stuff I made, and hopefully see my progression in skill. Hopefully it will be in internet-land long enough that my kids one day find it fun to look back on what mom made, remember an adventure, whatever it is. I really truly never expected anyone else to notice it, a few friends follow on Facebook (hi guys! Love you!) but slowly others from the knitting and craft community have begun to follow me here or on my instagram (bekhiann) either to see what I’m making or just because that is what we knitters do. We love seeing everybody’s handiwork! We love sharing ideas, enabling each other about new yarns, challenging or helping each other to build our skills. We are not each others competition, it’s so different from any other facet of my life. Everyone is accepted- if you knit, crochet, spin, weave, or just want to learn- you are in the group. I have always thought this way, and as my knitting world expands, the generosity and kindness of other knitters has only solidified my feelings on the subject.

Speaking of generous, a follower of this blog reached out to me after I posted about my new spinning adventure (hello Mellissa of Chic ‘n’ Fish!) and out of the blue, sent me a gorgeous skein of her handspun Llama yarn! All the way from New Zealand! No strings attached. I don’t think I have ever in my life received such a lovely gift from a total stranger. It totally made my day, my week, my month. It is a beautiful skein, natural rustic colors of grey, black, greyish brown and off white. It is so gorgeous and special it has its own place in my special yarn/spindle showcase hutch in the livingroom. I want everybody to see it, and feel the love. Check it out:
gift yarn
Thank you Mellissa, from the bottom of my heart. Girl you are what it is all about! I cannot wait to turn this scrumptious handspun into something I can wear all the time, I think a simple cowl or hat so I can really show off the subtle variations in the colors. It’s going to be a joy to work with. Stay tuned to see what I come up with!

I would love to hear more stories about knitters random acts of kindness that maybe came your way, or you sent out into the community! Share in the comments section by March 15th, I want to pass the love on and gift a random commenter something fibery and awesome. I haven’t thought of what it will be yet but I think awesome covers it.

Finished Object: Handspun Hat

9 Jan

Do you remember the handspun yarn I made a while back?
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It is now a hat! I used the Stratford pattern by Zandt Kennett. I absolutely love it and wear it everywhere.

I am now more pumped than ever to spin, I am not sure I have a knitted piece I am more proud of than this hat right now. My husband is totally on board too- he is currently in the design and prototype stages of building me an electric wheel. How awesome is he?

Drop Spindling: Why not?

31 Aug

A while back I ordered a drop spindle and spun the little sample of fiber that came with it. Ugh what a mess. But I was hooked, and ordered some wool roving from knitpicks. When it came in the mail, initially I was all “it’s so FLUFFY!” But then, the realization……it took several hours to spin the little sample of wool, how long is this going to take! So I set it aside to work on some baby cardigans. (Another post)
Well it was staring at me all week so I picked it up, petted it, and started pre-drafting some of it. Then it fell onto my spindle, and oh how many times did that spindle hit the floor? I lost count. For some reason I found it easier to spin a fairly consistent thin yarn than a thicker yarn, I’d say for the most part my singles were about fingering weight, although it is not really all that consistent.

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And yes, it took for.ev.er, but I can’t tell you how calming it is. It’s mesmerizing really I have no idea how to describe spinning. Even the kids would come in and stare, lulled by the fluid motion or something, idk. In the end, it went quicker than I expected and I was soon plying my thinner yarns together into a thicker yarn. That itself took hours, and I think would be more fun if I had a multicolored yarn….this was just purple, and more purple….no fun color mixing. Next time. Late last night, I soaked the yarn, which scared the crap outta me. I hand wash all my knits, but this was a nail biter, I kept thinking please don’t felt up! I told my yarn, please don’t turn into a big tangled, felted mess! (I told you, it was late)
This morning I ran downstairs like a kid at Christmas. I couldn’t wait to squish it!

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I wish I could show you pictures using a real camera. I need a new memory card reader so we are stuck with iPad pictures but hey, I couldn’t wait.
The final skein is just over 104 yards of handspun 2-ply yarn. I don’t know what to classify the weight as, overall it’s like a worsted in most places. I planned to make a cowl or something but really, all I want to do is frame it and put it up on the wall for everyone to see….I made my own yarn with a stick and sheep fur! HELLO GORGEOUS!

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My back is sore, my fingers are calloused, and I can barely lift my right arm today, but it is so worth it. I don’t think I’ve quite had this much of a sense of accomplishment with my fiberey art in a while. But I have concluded that in order to produce any useful quantity I will need a wheel.

Entering the world of weaving….like I need another hobby.

14 Jul

So wow, two blog posts already for July…yay me! I have always just considered this to be a way to document my various craft projects for myself, and for friends who care to follow me in Becky-home-ec-y land. But I have gotten a lot of hits and likes and comments from people I have never met who happen to also love crafting, so thank you!

Anyhow, today I would like to share with you my foray into weaving! My husband bought me a 32″ Kromski Harp loom for Christmas and also made me a stand (so I could sit comfortably at the couch while weaving) and several different size shuttles (what holds the yarn so you can pass it back and forth to weave). He’s pretty awesome. He has also helped me warp the loom up (getting all the yarn ready for weaving) which is a tedious and back breaking process. I literally cried when I thought I had all my yarn laid out on the warping pegs then went to load the loom and ended up with a knotted pile of 300yds fingering weight yarn. We warp directly onto the loom now. (All about warping) I have made 3 projects, and feel like I finally got everything right with this last one, even attempting a little lacework near the ends for decoration.

I love this loom, and very much so enjoy the weaving process. Aside from the lacework, you don’t have to think as much as you do while knitting, and goes by much faster for me. At 5 1/2 ft long, and 12″ wide, this scarf (shawl?) in fingering weight only took about a week, whereas the same size scarf with the same yarn could easily have taken a year to knit. I purchased a book called “Hands-on Rigid Heddle Weaving” and it, along with the videos I posted above, has been invaluable in learning how to weave.

For this project I chose a beautiful handspun cotton/rayon/flax blend with just a hint of sparkle for the warp (lengthwise yarn). For the weft (horizontal, woven yarn) I chose Araucania Itata Solid in pink (also used for vertical warp stripes). The lacework on either end is called Leno Lace, and this is achieved by twisting the warp in certain places using a stick. It was easy once I figured it out. Once I tied off all the fringe and washed it (by hand, of course!) it sat until today when I finally trimmed the fringe to be even and now I can say it is done! So without further ado, pictures!

pinkscarf3

pinkscarf1 pinkscarf2

So now it is time to pick out some new yarn, and begin planning my next weaving project! I have to enlist a new helper to warp the loom since my husband is currently not available- any volunteers?

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