Deep Stash

When Jen sent an email out last month, announcing the last of her luxury fibers, I immediately ordered 8 oz. It is a blend of Falkland Island Polwarth, cashmere, baby alpaca, yak, silk, and I don’t know what else. It is a beautiful oatmeal color.

I’ve spun this blend in the past, but when I looked in my past blog post, I did not find any mention of it. I dug deep into my emails with Jen (you’ve got to love Gmail for this!) and found that I’ve had at least 2 experiences with this fiber blend from Jen. The first one as a free sample. Gee, where have we heard that before? She’s such a pusher. I purchased another 8 oz shortly after.

I spun this batch worsted with a short backwards draw into a fine single. This is very different from my previous method, which was with my lazy long draw. The result of the first batch was a light fingering weight yarn.

Part way through the first 4 oz of this fiber, I decided I wanted a 3 ply yarn for a sweater/sweater vest. Unfortunately, Jen has sold out of this fiber.

So I went diving in my stash. My original thought was to make a blend similar to the luxury blend since I likely had all the components in my stash. It’s just a matter of getting the correct proportions and colors.

Lo and behold! I found 2 Abby Batts, circa 2007 or 2008, in wool (likely merino), silk, camel, yak. It is a near perfect match for Jen’s luxury blend in both content (minus cashmere and a different camelid) and color.

This, my friends, is why you need a stash.

A note on the Jen’s luxury blend…In the first batch, both ends of the rovings were near the top of the bag. I just started on one end. Unfortunately, it really wasn’t the end that wanted to be on top. I pulled everything out into a box before I started spinning again. Unfortunately, I started on the opposite end this time. You can see the difference in the colors from one end to the other.

You won’t notice the difference if you spun it continuously, since the color variations changed gradually. The other bobbin didn’t show any sudden shifts in color becuase I spun it continuously from one end to the other.

Now, onto Abby’s batts. You can see the color difference between the 2 batts. One is definitely darker than the other. In fact, in the darker batt, one edge is almost “white” — even lighter than the lighter batt.

I’ve stripped the batts down into very small strips and spinning with 2 strips (one dark, one light) held together to further blend the colors. Yes, I could have run them back through the drum carder but I didn’t want to risk introducing neps.

Hey, sorry for the long absence. I’ve been super busy. The time it takes for photo editing and writing content sometimes seem daunting. It has been easier to snap a picture and post to Instagram. There are times when a simple photo just doesn’t convey the thought process behind the photo. Like this post. I have to find a balance between the two.

Fractal Danger

fractaldanger1

After seeing Mel’s handspun Fractal Danger, I immediately dove into my stash for suitable yarn. I came up with the 2 ply Rainbow Farms Pygora yarn I spun up over a year ago. (Top skein of the bottom photo) I have to say, this yarn is really really yummy. I had to rip out the first few inches of the scarf several times until I found the right needle size for a fabric I liked. This yarn just got better and better as if bloomed. Needless to say, it handled the ripping very well. You can see the area that I re-knit several times in the small elongated triangle to the above right of the yarn ball.

Baby Surprise Jacket!

BSJ

Don’t you just love those stripes???? The stripes were in the dyed into the fiber. All I did was split it in half lengthwise and spun the yarn as a 2 ply. You can see the yarn in progress in my previous post, Miracle Fabric. Unfortunately, I ran out of yarn about one color repeat short. I had to finish it off with some Cascade 220 Superwash. It’s slightly denser than my handspun but it worked. Now, I just need to add buttons.

This was such a quick and fun knit. Much more fun than the first time around. Why? Minimal ends to weave in. Unfortunately, I didn’t take notes the first time around either. I zipped along on the sweater before I realized that I forgot to increase for the cuff fullness. Riiiiip.

To ensure I don’t make this mistake again, I decided to write out line by line instructions for myself. After a bit, I wanted stitch counts. So, I stopped once again and built a spreadsheet that calculated my line by line and my ending stitch count by row. Yes, I’m a geek. Anyway, I think it took me longer to build the spreadsheet than it did for me to knit the darn thing. It helped that I took the train into the city to have a tea and chat session with Penny.

Stats:

  • Yarn: Handspun and Cascade 220
  • Needles: US #4 (3.5 mm) 32″ or 40″ circulars; these were perfect length to work all the way around with enough room to leave the side stitches on the needle while working the center back panel

A few knitting notes on this BSJ (so I don’t lose my notes and have to start all over again next time!):

  • I used double decrease around a center knit stitch so the decreases match the increases.
  • I used a 2 stitch I-Cord all around.
  • I made 3 – 2 stitch buttonhole in the I-Cord edge. (3-2-8-2-8-2)
  • At the bottom corners, I added a single (unattached) I-Cord stitch before and after the centered/corner stitch to make it a clean turn.
  • At the neck corners, I added 2 (unattached) I-Cord stitch to ease the corner.
  • I grafted the end of the I-Cord to the 2 cast on stitches at the beginning.

More Yarn

MerinoSkeins

I finally got around to winding these off of the bobbins. I don’t remember where I purchased the fiber. I think it is Crown Mountain Fibers. I’ve lost the tag so I don’t know what the color way is either.

Specs:

  • superwash merino
  • spun & plied on Watson Marie
  • chain plied
  • 250 grams
  • 2 skeins, 884 yards
  • 1,604 ypp

Maybe another vest?