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I’d like to introduce you to a new friend.  I’m tentatively calling her Jemaine.  Jemaine is an Ashford Kiwi that showed up under the Christmas tree this year.

I love her.  You know how sometimes when you wait for something for a long time it builds anticipation, and you get so excited, but then once the excitement settles, it’s really not that great.  Well, this isn’t like that at all.  I waited patiently for my new friend since Rhinebeck when Mom & I picked her out.  Meanwhile I spent the intervening months looking at fiber online constantly, making lists of whose fiber I wanted to stash, reading The Intentional Spinner, queuing patterns that are good or handspun yarns and admiring the handspun of fellow ravelers.  And then Christmas Day, I opened the box, harassed my Dad until he put my little Kiwi together (in our family assembly is the truly generous part of the gift) and started spinning.  It was love at first treadle.

Since then I’ve made these.  I squeezed in as much spinning time as possible into the last few weeks of my busy break.  I took a private lesson with Rosemarie at fibre space, which was super helpful.  By the end of that lesson I had made my very first plied bobbin, which turned into this little puppy right here:

It’s a bit under-spun in places and still disorganized, but hey it looks like yarn!  And I got better pretty quickly.

I kept working away on two more bobbin of singles, until Friday night when I plied those up as well.  I soaked and finished everything to set the twist.

When they dried I was left with 4 skeins of varied weight of lofty & beautiful yarns.  They’re definitely not perfect.  The smallest skein got a bit over twisted during plying, although most of it settled when it soaked.  The last skein from my more recent bobbins is a bit lighter weight than the first skein.  They are thick and thin for sure.  But it’s handspun that looks like handspun, which honestly I enjoy!

The one above is my favorite skein yet.  It’s 98 yards of mostly heavy worsted weight yarn.  It’s got some funky spots, but overall it’s pretty consistent.  Oh and it feels amazing.

The fiber for these guys is a bit of a mystery.  It was donated for practice by my Mom who got about a fleece’s worth at MDSW a number of years ago.  It’s obviously naturally colored, and it’s been beautifully processed into roving.  It’s relatively long staple and has very nice fiber alignment.  My best guess is merino, but it might be something else.  Either way, it’s created beautiful first yarns.

So now I’m just as addicted to spinning as knitting.  There’s something deeply satisfying about creating your own yarns.  Stay tuned for more because I’ve started moving onto dyed fiber.  Oooooo colors!

Yesterday was a really perfect day. It was absolutely gorgeous out here. And Liz, my best friend ever, is in town for the week, which is pretty rare. So we spent the day hanging out, first at Big Bear Cafe (best coffee in DC if you ask me, and totally solid in the atmosphere department), knitting and munching. And then we went back to my house, where she helped me work out some of my drop spindle problems. Later the boy and I made this for dinner (yum!), and then watched the first half of There Will Be Blood. I always love it when we cook together, and the curry was so yummy. A great day all in all, but here’s more on the spinning…

I’ve tried to use the drop spindle a few other times, once after watching a youtube video, once after watching a whole tape, and a handful of other times. None of them yielded results other than frustration. In the past I had drafted the roving some ahead of time, but was trying to draft more as I went along. This wasn’t going very well. I would end up with the twist traveling up into the section of roving that hadn’t been drafted out yet. And then I wouldn’t be able to draft it anymore because of the twist, etc. Ultimately I would give up. Liz just learned to spin on a spindle recently and had been told to predraft fully, so she got me going that way and guess what, it worked! It might not be the speediest system once you really have the hang of it, but for now it works for me.

Because in the end I actually spun some yarn. It’s just a wobbly single for now, but it (mostly) looks like yarn. And that’s enough for me. This triumph was just one fun part of a wonderful day spent doing things lovely things with lovely people.  I feel like a very lucky girl when days that good come along.

Things have been so crazy around here lately (I know I keep saying this, but it’s true) that I’ve gotten very backed up on FO posts. I’ve really been quite productive and have many things to show you, but until recently I haven’t had a chance to block, get good photos or post about what I’ve made. So it’s time to start catching up.

Pattern: inspired by Silk Kercheif

Source: Zeitgeist Yarns

Yarn: Kitty Grrlz Handspun Yarns, Navajo 3-ply

& Jo Sharp, Silk Road Aran

Needles: US 8

Started: January 1, 2009

Finished: January 29, 2009

Find it on Ravelry here.

When Liz gave me the Kitty Grrlz gift certificate that lead to this yarn purchase I knew I wanted something simple to really show it off. Inspired by Zeitgeist Yarns and her many kerchiefs, I decided to make a kerchief of my own. Or as I’ve been calling it an “angle scarf”. I picked up some simple Jo Sharp yarn to stripe in (both to show off the angle effect and to stretch the relatively limited yardage of the handspun) and I set off. It was very straightforward and laid back knitting, but the end result is an accessory that is neutral enough to wear often, but still gives a splash of color.