Projects: Layered Yarn

I got my hands on some mohair, so I had to try my hand at making a boucle yarn. I combed the mohair locks to use for the loops, combed lamb's wool for the core, and a merino/tencel stripe for the anchor. 

Crepe is a layered yarn where the base is a regular 2 or 3-ply yarn, wrapped with another single ply. I made a 3-ply yarn with a braid of green BFL and wrapped it with teal lamb's wool.

The challenge of engineering the twist in all the different layers makes multi-layered yarn fun to make, and I am proud to say that both yarns are balanced.


Projects! Lace and Hemp

Spinning lace weight yarn is so satisfying. Challenging at first, immensely satisfying when you count up the yardage and realize you have 400 yards of yarn out of one ounce of fiber. And then discouraging when you realize that all the lace projects you have in mind require 1500+ yards, and there is only an ounce of thread left to ply....

The bright white of the yarn comes from Cormo wool and the glitter from mulberry silk.

I have an experiment this week as well. I obtained some hemp fiber on a whim, and then got it in my hands and thought "Hmmm....How do I spin this without ending up with rope..." Some research led me to buying recycled sari silk to add to the hemp. And then I saw some yarn at my local yarn store that was a linen/silk/acrylic blend and had a very nice feel, which made me contemplate adding some sort of man made fiber into the mix. Enter another curiosity I had in my stash because I couldn't resist: corn silk, also known as ingeo. After I got the stuff (of course, after) I did some looking around and saw that many spinners hated the stuff. Which I can understand, I did some fondling of the fiber when I got it, and immediately put it away for "later." Just in the fiber, it seems to have the drawbacks of silk- flyaway, slippery- without any of the fantastic things that make silk worth the trouble. Despite this, I had hopes it would work well in a blend. So last night I carded equal parts of hemp, sari silk, and corn silk into a rolag and went for it. And I liked it. Setting the twist was a little nerve wracking, as hemp is supposed to be boiled to set the twist and corn silk supposedly melts at that temperature. A thirty second boil was all I dared to do.

The yarn and the fabric is fairly soft with a crispness. Only time, and my laundry machine, will tell if the fabric softens more with washing, as is supposed to be the case with hemp.



find here

Self-image is a tricky thing. I have very specific ideas about what type of person I am, often connected to minor details of my appearance or personality. I'm a book reader. I'm a long hair person. I'm a bit loud. I'm usually the youngest person in a group.

Not big, earthshaking revelations, but still important facets of myself. Things you don't mess with. It creates cognitive dissonance. I find that concept fascinating- cognitive dissonance. It's that feeling you get when reality clashes with your beliefs. Sometimes, you don't even recognize it's happening, you just change your beliefs so that you don't feel uncomfortable anymore. You rationalize.

All through grade school I was almost a year younger than my classmates. I assumed that as soon as I made it to college, everyone would be my age again. In college, my friends were usually 2-3 years older than me. When I moved and started staying home with my kid, my friends were still 2-3 years older than me, sometimes 6-7 years older. I am so used to this pattern in my life that I am genuinely shocked when I discover people in my life who are younger than me. I feel that I have to comment on how unusual it is that someone is younger than me. Now, I always have to think about what my actual age is, because once I realized I was too old to be precocious, I didn't want to think my age mattered anymore, and I refused to keep the information at the front of my mind. I didn't want it to have any part of my identity. Rationalization.

There can be relief in letting go of labels that no longer fit. I have had very long hair for most of my life. And for most of my life, long hair was less work than short hair. It was another label, a self image, an identity. I decided to quit cutting my hair to mid-length and grow my hair to Rapunzel length. And I hated it. At no point in my life have I ever complained about my hair so much. So I cut it all off. And it feels really good. There is no reason to hold on to the long hair girl. She's different now, and that's just fine.



I spent so much time on this collage that I don't have time to explain myself! Short story- handpainted fiber, different spinning techniques, eventual sweater to sort out the results.

Also, it's Pi(e) Day! We will be celebrating with pasties (the edible kind, nothing to do with strippers, get your mind right) and apple pie, with a salad thrown in for a "balanced" diet.


Progress Report

Nothing like attempting something for yourself to gain a newfound appreciation of someone else's abilities.

In this case, I'm referring to both blogging and dyeing fiber.

I have got a fantastic concept, which is not quite turning out how I thought it would in practice. Which is pretty much how everything in my life goes.

Concept: use the same colorway (colors/sequence of colors) to test out how different spinning techniques affect color pooling in a knitted project.

In practice, this meant that I added one too many variables by not using the exact same fiber for the entire thing. I had 200 g of commercial top, and hand combed another 200 g of PolypayX lamb's wool to have enough fiber for my project. Commercial top is pretty dense. Hand combed top is pretty fluffy. As is the handspun yarn. This one variable means I don't have the exact same colorway all the way through my project, but it's not a loss because- I learned something!

Commercial Top:

Hand Combed:

Hand Painted Skein:
Dyed on the left, reskeined on the right

Long Repeat Dyed Skein:
Dyed on the left, reskeined on the right
That's 100 g spun, 300 to go!



from thisisnthappiness.com

Yesterday, I turned on NPR just in time to catch "On Being with Krista Tippett," a show I don't usually find that interesting, but her interview with Father Greg Boyle was interesting, inspiring, and funny, and I highly recommend listening to it. Fr. Boyle discusses his ministry in gang intervention programs in Los Angeles, and gives much food for thought.

Midway through the interview, Fr. Boyle says "anything worth doing is worth failing at." I almost couldn't concentrate on the rest of the interview, because that comment affected me so much. I am slowly learning how to fail. The phrasing is off, I suppose. "Learning to fail" is a facile phrase that doesn't communicate everything I mean. I am learning that I shouldn't let the fear of failure or even the certainty of failure prevent me from trying. Courage is persevering despite your fears. I am learning that some failures don't have to be permanent. There is wisdom in realizing that some failures are due completely to timing. I am learning to forgive myself for my failures. It is prideful to expect more of yourself than you would of others, and pride is a deadly sin.

At one point in my life I successfully trained myself out of worrying. Perhaps too successfully, but that is a story for another day. I had a permanent case of what I call "hamster brain." You know the feeling- you stay awake at night because you are continually running through a to-do list, rehearsing a difficult conversation, anticipating disaster. I trained myself to put those things out of my mind. If something that caused me anxiety popped into my head, I would ask "Can I do something about this right now?" If I could, even if "something" was just writing down a plan, I would do it- right then. If I couldn't, I would force it out of my mind in a sort of meditative exercise. It would come back later, and I could do the same evaluation. It was a great mental exercise, and it did add a peaceful quality to my life. I am now realizing that the anxiety is back, but it has changed form. Rather than worrying about things I need to do, I worry about things I should have done. Except "should have done" is an arbitrary rubric that only I have control over, and this is where the forgiveness comes in. When my anxiety manifests, my new conversation should be "Can I do something about this right now? No? Then I forgive myself. I will try again later." With a Hail Mary because it never hurts to ask for help.

Notice "should be." I will also be working on forgiving myself if I struggle with this.