Sunday, December 5, 2010

Spinning Seasons

The last few nice days of fall, I managed to spin outside on the deck. I've decided that I really love spinning outside - though I usually spend more time looking around than I do actually spinning.

Now that winter is upon us, I'm stuck inside, and Squirrel takes full advantage of this. During the cold seasons, Squirrel is nearly glued to me. Any time I sit down, she's immediately in my lap. She doesn't mind my treadling legs, either. Perhaps it's soothing.

I haven't gotten a whole lot spun these past few months, mostly because I was knitting. The roving below took me ages to spin.. and I'm not quite sure why. It's the Cosy Spins Falkland Fiber Club in the Rocket colorway (I forget which month). Lovely to spin, but endless!

It ended up being my first true 3ply, and boy am I glad it's done. I spun low-twist singles, and plied a bit tighter. It's pretty, very soft, and lofty. I ended up with about 270yds (pre-wash) of aran weight yarn from 3.6oz, which astounds me. Just shows how fluffy the stuff really is!

My next spinning project was on a deadline (Christmas!), and didn't take nearly as long. The fiber is a luscious blend of black Shetland, alpaca, and French Angora from Spiderweb Specialties. The angora is mostly in the form of little neps, which gives the finished yarn a nice tweedy texture.

Despite the fact that I'm allergic to some part of the roving (the alpaca, I think), it was wonderful to spin. Smells faintly of lavender, and there are little bits of vegetative matter every so often to remind you that this came from a small producer.

It was absolutely a pleasure to spin, and I'm pretty pleased that I still have plenty more left to play with. (They sell the roving in many natural colors, and it was hard to pick just one!) Like the Falkland above, I spun this into low twist singles, which I then plied slightly stronger. I ended up with over 300yds of worsted weight yarn from 4oz. Wooo! Lofty fiber really makes a difference with yardage.

I was also quite pleased with my wheel and scale. The jumbo bobbin was able to fit every last bit of the 4oz of plied yarn.. just barely!

And my little scale helped me to divide the fiber so evenly that I ended up with astonishingly little yarn left over post-plying.

Overall, a hugely satisfying and successful spin. And now I get to knit with it!

I was also finally able to get a cute picture of the "feral" cats we've been caring for. Our neighborhood, like any one around here, has lots of feral cats. We have a little family of all-black kittens that we've watched grow up this summer. A neighbor had them all spayed/neutered when they were quite young, so we've had no qualms about feeding them. They're super-friendly.

This picture shows 4 of the 6 of them, which is the best I've gotten yet. Also in the shot are Scatter, the neighbor's "feral" tabby cat, and O.K. Kitten, who Ryan and I caught and spayed a few months ago. O.K. Kitten is quite the queen, and my special favorite (shhhh!).

(O.K. stands for "Obnoxious Kitten.")

A few weeks ago, we built them winter shelters. Our neighbor also has some straw-lined shelters for them. Hopefully they'll all make it through the winter alright. They sure are sweet.


mom said...

I LOVE< LOVE LOVE!!!!! what you are doing!!!!
I need to be closer to you so I can spin too.
But with all the yarn I have to use up.............
9 more days!!!!!! WHOOOOOO!
Can't wait to see you two!!!!!

Aquilla da Hun said...

Your spinning is so beautiful. And boy have you gotten alot finished!

I love how kitty likes to lay in your lap while you are spinning. My cat would probably look up and give me the 'why are you moving' stare.

And the ferals. Oh, how cute are they. You are lucky to have been able to have most of them fixed. Thank goodness for nice neighbors too.

Sarah Kate said...

I just found your blog and I love it! You have such pretty handspun - so neat and even!


Meredith Norlindh said...

I love the fact that your neighborhood chips in to spay and feed the local kitties :). Your spinning wheel is totally cool! It is such a lovely image to think of you sitting and contentedly spinning with the squirrly girl on your lap :). Makes me happy.

Bea said...

Your spinning is amazing!