Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another spinning FO

You may recall that about a month ago I shared a photo of some fiber that a fellow River City Knitter asked me to spin up for her.

Since then, I've taught myself how to navajo ply, (YarnHarlot has a good description of the method, here), then I spun up the singles of this Lisa Souza hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester (aka "BFL") top:

and then navajo-plied, skeined, washed and dried the yarn.

Here is the finished 3-ply:

I think it turned out okay, for my first navajo-plied handspun. I realize that you reduce yardage quite a bit when you turn a single into a 3-ply, but I do so like preserving, as best as possible, the color sequences that the hand-dyer originally intended:

The colors in this "Joseph's Coat" colorway are so contrasting that if allowed to "barber pole" in a 2-ply, I think the resulting yarn would have turned out much muddier.

The final measurement is about 168 yards, but I haven't yet counted wraps per inch. My guess is maybe sport-weight?

So, experienced spinners, does 168 yards of a 3-ply sport-weight from 4 oz. of fiber seem about right to you, or does it seem a bit scant, like it does to me? Other than the obvious "spin a finer single", how would you recommend I extend the yardage? An airier/loftier fiber prep? I'm always looking to learn and improve....

Anyway, I hope the recipient likes it.

Lots of upcoming fiber events this fall:

This weekend, for the second year in a row, I'm attending SAFF. I need to be in Greenville, SC all next week for work, and since that's less than an hour's drive from the Asheville, NC area, I decided to go down a few days earlier and partake of the fiber festivities. Should be fun!

How many Virginia readers are going to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville this weekend? This is its 3rd year, and I've still never attended. Next year, for sure! (I hope.)

In two weeks is Stitches East, but I'm not sure if I'll be attending. I may just stay home that weekend, since I've got a lot of other travel (business and personal) in store for me over the next month. And I certainly don't need any more yarn or fiber, especially after SAFF. But, we'll see -- I may want to jump on the River City Knitters bus trip just for the camaraderie!

So, if all goes well, I should get out at least one blog post this weekend about my SAFF experiences. After that -- who knows!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Yay, me!

I won a 2nd place ribbon at the Fall Fiber Festival of Virginia, for my 2-ply skein of spindle-spun Corriedale (plied on my e-spinner):

Along with ribbons, they give out prizes. My prize was a lovely 2 oz. alpaca/merino/angora pin-drafted gray roving from Thistledown Alpacas. That totally rocks!

Since I knew I needed to be there today at 4 pm to pick up my skein, I didn't arrive until around 1:30, and started off by watching a little of the sheep dog trials:

...conveniently located near all the food vendors. So I had a lovely lunch of teriyaki chicken kabob and a spring roll (mmmm). And for company, I ran into L-B, who sat with me and showed off her lovely loot while I ate. Nice loot! After lunch, we parted ways and I began my pilgrimage from tent to tent, visiting lovely vendors and admiring their enticing wares.

Since most of my knitting peeps attended the festival on Saturday, the only other friend I ran into there was the lovely Queen Bess -- it's always fun to run into her at fiber festivals.

In the skein & garment tent, I had to get a shot of the "Best in Division"/"Best in Show" garment:

I had actually seen this on Ravelry a week or two ago, so I wanted to get a shot of it today with its ribbon, in case the winning entrant didn't get a chance to go to the show. It's an Alice Starmore pattern knit with Kauni yarn, which is perfect for fair isle, with its glorious color changes. Lovely autumn colors. Incredible knitting.

I visited every vendor, but was good and didn't go too crazy with purchases. I do have two more drop spindles to add to the collection:

The spindle on the left is a 0.8 oz. lace spindle made of oak, and really spins quite nicely and makes an uber-thin single. It has a notched shaft, (rather than a metal hook), which is new to me, but I like it. I purchased it from The Drafting Zone (Bowie, MD). It's made by a woodworker whose name escapes me, who designed it for his wife who does re-enactments at Mt. Vernon.

The spindle on the right is an Anne Grout glazed ceramic spindle. I must confess that I own three of her spindles already, but those three are top whorls. This one has a bottom whorl, a type of spindle I'm less skilled with, so I thought the pretty whorl will inspire me to practice with that tool:

In addition to my prize of alpaca blend roving, I also came home with some merino and a border leicester/mohair blend, but as the hour was late and daylight was waning, all my photos came out blurry or out-of-focus. You'll have to trust that it's pretty. :-)

I also got a FFF 2008 t-shirt, but again, no decent photos to be had tonight. It's brown.

I have to say, the drive alone is worth spending a precious weekend day at such an event. The rolling hills and lovely farms are so inspiring. I loved this one:

(click for big)

...... I love fiber festivals! And now it looks like I'll get to go to SAFF again this year, since I'll be in the area for work. Something tells me that, with two full days wandering around there, I may not be as good at that one. Should I rent a U-Haul?