maandag 30 augustus 2010

Fleece to Shawl

What you see here is part of the fleece of CD Pebbles, a gorgeous fawn alpaca. I have bought this fleece earlier this year after this fleece took third place in the show. It was buttery soft on the skinside and a pleasure to spin. Total weight of the fleece was 600 gram and I have spun around 2700 meters in 2 ply from this fleece. It has ended up as this project, part of the citron shawl and will also be made into a shawlette.

Here are a few of the centerpull balls after the fleece has been spun.

A spool half filled with singles which have been plied into 2ply laceweight yarn since then.

A work in progress of the aeolian with the bead showing on top of the fleece from which it came.

The whole shawl which turned out way bigger then expected but it is beautiful. Around 3000 beads were used in the process of making it. Here it is layed out on the floor pinned and wet blocking it into shape. There was a lot of give in it while blocking so it ended up even bigger. I think about 15-20% bigger then the knit size.

dinsdag 22 juni 2010

82.681 stitches later......

I have spun up three different alpaca fleeces. I had around 450 meters left of natural/white alpaca (alpaca is named AH Aguila). Then I have spun up some dark chocolate brown alpaca as well, i have used around 900 meters of this color (CD Contador) and last I have used a bit of a beige fleece (CD Pebbles) which is very buttery soft, thank goodness i have a lot left of this fleece and hopefully I can spin up enough of this fleece to make the aeolian.

To make a quick and big project I made the citron and have done 10 repeats on 3mm circular needles. It looks great and after wetblocking it it almost doubled in size and become so much softer.

Here some pictures :

dinsdag 11 mei 2010

Spun to finished with photos

Recently I finished another handspun project. The project was a request from youngest daughter D. Her old poncho made by a friend of my wife's was getting too small and now she needed a new one.

The fleece was purchased back in February from a alpaca farm in the southern regions of holland. It was a 2008 baby alpaca fleece weighing about 400 grams. The fleece was washed, rinsed several times (4 or 5) before it was dried and "rested".

The fleece was spun over a very long period as the fleece was very short staples (1-1.5 inches max) and all the ends of the hairs still had the baby curl in them making it even harder. After many new cursewords and breaks I managed to get 2 spools with enough singles to ply and actually make something out of. I ended up with around 550 meters of 2ply 20wpi extremely soft yarn. The twist was set in hot water and the yarn rolled into a center pull ball.

Then in a period of 2 weeks I knitted a poncho from the Drops pattern into a medium size as it will give her some room to grow into. The edge was then done with a nice fluffy bit of leftover yarn to give it a nice accent.
During the washing of the garment, according to my wife gave 5 sinkfulls of black water, yuck these alpacas are dirty animals :P and their fibre holds the dirt like crazy.
With washing you get rid of a lot, during spinning there is a lot of sand that falls out, during plying more dust falls out and the final garment is still very "dirty".

In the end the poncho is extremely soft and light, she loves it which is what is most important.

maandag 12 april 2010

Blog Award

This morning doing my usual rounds of the blogs I follow I find I have been passed a blog award by Jenny, wow blogging for only a little while this is very unexpected.

I am supposed to write about the 10 things in life that make me happy, which should not be all that difficult. I will try to put some pictures with it as no one really enjoys reading a long novel online without some pictures to spice it up.

So here goes 10 thing that make me happy (in no particular order) :

1. Danielle
I "met" her the first time online in 1992, we met first time in real life in 1999, got married in 2002 and been together ever since and spend every day together and I love her with all my heart and wouldn't know what to do without her.

2. Movies
Good movies make me really happy, though good movies are more and more rare these days but certain movies just make me so happy. I will devote a complete new post someday to my top 10 movielist and why they are on that list but we will leave that to another time and day.

3. My health
After having some big problems with health related issues in the past years I am happy for the things I can do (some with moderations) and happy I am still very much in decent health otherwise.

4. Formula 1
I have always been a big fan of this sport and more and more I learn about it the better it gets and the more I love it. The sound, the technical side of things. I know it is hard to understand but for me this is like what Take That used to be for young girls :P.

5. Friends
Though the amount of friends I have is very limited the few I do have are very much appreciated and are always there when I need them and same goes the other way around. I love the feeling there is no obligation at all. And we can not see each other for months and then when we do it still feels like that last time we saw each other was yesterday.

6. The Monkeys
Both my kids, they each bring on their own set of challenges and difficulties but also each are their own personality and completely different and it makes you see the world in a different light from time to time. They are always able to distract me from whatever it is i am doing. Wouldn't want the world without them.

7. Knitting
I love making things with my hands but I am totally not handy, so unlike the manly things to do as woodworking and metalworking which are totally not for me I have picked up knitting during my RSI period last year and it stuck. I like it so much that it has become somewhat of an addiction. The idea of making something very pretty with just a piece of string and some needles fascinates me. And I like it even more to make some really pretty things that I otherwise couldn't buy for my family. All these items and unique since they are made by me.

8. Spinning
A seperate thing from knitting as it is a totally different experience, it is not so much for the making of yarn that I love this as it is for the fact that it forces you to slow down. Spinning needs to happen at its own slow speed. If you try to go to fast the yarn will come out rough and hard, not good.
I love being busy with alpaca fleeces and making beautiful yarns from it which feed my other hobby cheaply.

9. Driving
I love driving, esp late at night in the dark in the rain. That is the best, I could drive for hours and hours like that. Weird but I guess that is me.

10. Music
"Music soothes even the savage beast", who doens't like music. The music I love is very diverse, from country (Garth Brooks, Lonestar etc) to death metal (In flames, Il Nino) and a ton of different varieties in between depending on the time of day and my mood. There is always a song somewhere to cheer me up.

And I will pass on this award to the following people (sorry i cannot make a whole 10 people :(, guess not blogging long enough yet).

Annemiek from Spin verf Brei
Annika from Belinda's Mamma
Allison from Alaskan Purl
Aislynn from Knit Purl Stitch

vrijdag 26 maart 2010

Fleece P0rn

A lot has been going on but not much to show for. Spinningwise I am still chugging along through the cria-fleece. Delicious result, so soft and so beautiful all the little shades of beige to blonde in that fleece but such a nightmare to spin. I didn't have that many breaks in my yarn not even when i started spinning and i had not clue. But i am past the halfway point.
Plying is something I am dreading since there were so many breaks spinning i dunno if the plying will have breaks too.

Knitting wise I finished the Ishbel but it isn't washed and blocked yet so no photos yet. I hope perhaps after this weekend but I am looking towards and extremely busy weekend. It is race weekend (Formula1) so that is my greatest passion (after my wife)and i will be up early to watch qualification on saturday and race on sunday.

Saturday we are going to a bunch of agricultural places since it is a national open day at agriculture companies/farms etc. We always go and it always ends up to be such a surprise and great fun.

Sunday I am going to pick up some alpaca fleeces, from the people the last 3 came from. These are the show fleeces they used in the dutch international alpaca show last week.

I think there are 4 in total and here are some fleece p0rn pictures to make you all drool.

This is a white fleece of a very good stallion, only came in 4th but it looks deliciously soft and nice long staples. There is a lot of it too since he is a big boy too.

This is the most deepest natural dark black fleece i have seen, gorgeous and it didn't win first price for nothing... oh mine all mine :) This will end up to be something so gorgeous, I cannot wait to see what I can make with it for my wife or kids.

This is beautiful chocolate colored one that also took first price.

Next to these there is also a beige fleece that i think won 4th as well. So all of these are top of the line fleeces and will keep me spinning for the rest of the year. At least the next couple of weeks will be spend washing all the dust out of these fleeces.

maandag 8 maart 2010

Cheap Order and the cria-fleece challenge

Last week when I had finished the drops triangular shawl for my wife Delphine immediately startet haunting me for some more knitted stuff, stuff wiht that fuzzy inside daddy was the request. So I went online since my handspun isnt soft enough to wear next to skin to shop for some yarn.
I found a site which was destashing all their Drops yarns for 50% off. So here is the "haul".

Four skeins of this light orange alpaca, which will turn out to be two pair of socks for her.

Three skeins of this creamy white vivaldi mohair wool which is around 280 meters per skein and i had half a skein left from a previous project, this will turn into a bolero or vest, if people have suggestions for something around 1000 meters of yarn for a 7-8 year old girl, please share because i am desperately searching for something girly and cut to make out of this.

These beads were bought on a sale a while ago but never got around to post them, solid colored green ones and seethrough green ones with a silver core which are gorgeous, i have 100 grams of each in total and one is 5/0 and other 6/0 (which means nothing to me). I was hoping to one day spin yarn thin enough to make an aeolian and use these beads, for now they are stashed.

Then after I spun the last bobbin of the fleece I purchased last year and ended up wiht a perfectly soft white skein of 450 meters of around 25 wpi yarn 2ply, which I am extremely happy with) I have now ventured into the fleeces I bought on my birthday. First I really wanted to try the cria-fleece.
This is so very very hard, the staple length is only 1 to 1.5 inches and it is so slippery. At first I tried spinnig from the fold which is impossible. So I ended up combing it loose as can be seen in the picture. The left is how it looks like washed, on the right I have combed it all and spinning works pretty ok but is a slow and tedious process. The result so far is a very very soft single in a gorgeous color. There are some color differnces in the fleece from a hot chocolate brown to a blonde color. Due to the staple length the singles aren't that uniform in thickness but I am hoping that after plying it works out and turns out to be a useable yarn.

I have only 400 grams of this but that might be about the amount my patience can take. Due to the lack of bobbins I need to finihs this fleece before I can dive into the dark chocolate showfleece to spin (600 grams), but that is a post for another day.

Leaves me to close with a picture of the spun cria-fleece......

maandag 1 maart 2010

First FO of 2010

The new triangular shawl has been knit, blocked and finished off the loose end and then handed over to my wife to wear and make it look good. Which she does fabulously. I love the colour and so adore the whole project coming together. The further along you get with the the more mysterious they become as they get bunged up on your needles.

On to the next one, I did order some more wool to make something for a very jealous 7 year old.

vrijdag 26 februari 2010

We are blocking!!!

A whopping 19.200 stitches further then the last update the triangular shawl is done. The drops pattern turned out using more wool 1.05 skeins more and is very much larger then described. The larger is no problem, the more wool is no problem. Other then the 0.5 for just the binding off row is really annoying.

The result was awesome, having these kind of shawls on your circulars they become a crumpled heap on your lap where you cannot see what it turns into other then a few inches at a time. So taking this of your needles and looking at the whole thing in full is such a revelation. It is gorgeous!! The next step is my first time... blocking. My wife washed it and we have it currently pinned to the carpet in the attic. It will be dry in a little bit and then the loose ends need to be worked off and it is ready.... i am already in love with and seeing it on my wife makes the shawl look even better.

maandag 22 februari 2010

LAK and the Birthday haul

I have been slowly but surely working on the Liquid Cream stole for the Lace-Knit-Along, and it is coming easier and easier as I am learning to work with selfspun singles better and better and I really like the look of the result so far. Because there is too much twist in it and these singles weren't fulled it is not as soft as it should be yet but that will come wiht washing after the stole is done being knitted.

Last friday was my 36th birthday and with finances not being great I didn't want anything big for my birthday but since the fleece I bought last year was almost all spun up and I really like spinning I wanted some more alpaca fibre.

After mailing around I found this place where we went on my birthday to look at some fleeces from last years shavings. I came home with 2 showfleeces and 1 "normal" fleece.

This is a lightbrown oh so soft fleece. It is very small only 400 grams and has already been washed and is drying now. The staples are fairly short but this is due to this being a cria fleece. The curls are still in the fleece.

After the cria fleece this dark chocolate brown fleece was also a showfleece last year. It is gorgeous with long staples and very little VM in it as well. It has since been washed and is currently drying. No final destination yet but the spin will be a 2 ply laceweight 20-25wpi aprox as I like spinning that kind of yarn. This fleece weighed 600 grams

Last but certainly not least this 2200 gram cinnamon brown fleece which is the big one, lots of part that will be tossed due to bad quality and some shorter staples but the parts that are good are so good it will be worth it. The washing of this one has to commence but will be done over the next few days / weeks as drying has to happen inside the shower room and we don't have a lot of space.
So while the heater is on as it is cold outside this is perfect but the weather is warming.

The person from the farm shown me their current year alpaca show fleeces and *Drool* they had a gorgeous black one I said I wanted to buy of them right away when the shows are over. The stallion they had it from they still have so might get also this years fleece from him and get two gorgeous deep black fleeces.

Well so far with the fleece p0rn, next time I will try to show my latest spun wool as I have 325 meters of 2ply natural alpaca drying atm which needs to be wound, 25 wpi, strong and very very soft.

PS apologies for the color of the pictures they all had to be taken with the flash as the weather here is horrible and doenst allow outside pictures at all but I did want a picture of the fleeces before washing and processing.

woensdag 17 februari 2010

32 Tours to go

The last couple of days I have been doing my daily knitting. Working steadily forward on my drops triangular shawl. I have charted the shawl out in excel and I can now see the end of the pattern in my excel sheet from the row where I am at!!!

I am so happy until I counted how much to go... 32 tours... 16 right side...16 wrong side... that doenst sound much until i calculated how many stitches there are left. The shortest tour is 600 stitches which comes down to 19.5 thousand stitches left to do. I do 2 tours a day ... maybe 1 more on the weekned which means in 2 weeks I can start blocking this beast and see its real beauty.

At the moment it is all bunched up on my needles since the 180cm width somehow doesnt fit on my 80 cm needles...weird i cannot get a good view on how it looks. It hasn't bored me a single bit to knit it but i am also sooooo very anxious to get to the end result and block it so I can see it.

woensdag 10 februari 2010

A start and almost a finish

The past few days several things have happened. While watching the superbowl I wound up my zebrayarn into two centerpull balls. The first went fine but then the hank tangled up something terrible. And since you yourself know how much time and effort went into making it you better untangle it. Took me about 4 hours to wind up the second 200 meters of it but i got it done with minimal loss. Well it is two balls instead of 1 but that doesn't matter much.

I have not knitted a whole lot on my Liquid cream stole for the Lace KAL. I have finished the first repeat out of 14 but this project I only work on when I am working from home and since i had a bad case of RSI last year i have special software. This software measures how much i type and how fasts etc and introduces microbreak where you have to stop and once an hour aprox it gives you a mandatory break of 6-8 minutes. When I am in the office I got talk to someone or get a coffee but when I work from home and have all the necesities around me I pick up this project. As i can do 1 tour or sometimes 2 in this time period.

The main project I am currently working on is the Drops Triangular shawl. This beast is big ... I am on my 7th skein out of supposedly 8 but i have seen people who used as much as 10 (I have 2 extra ones just in case). I do this as much as I can but it is no in between thing as the tours are 550+ stitches each atm. I am at a third of the penultimate pattern and cannot wait till it is done. In another way it will be sad when it is done because I do like working on it.

Queued up is the Ishbel shawl made out of the zebra yarn with a white edge most likely. I love all these shawls so much I hope my wife can find an excuse to wear them. Otherwise I have to scale some down and make some for my daughters, I am very sure the youngest one would wear them every day if she can. She is already begging me to make her a zebra t-shirt out of hte zebra yarn... garments... mmmm.... not yet... not yet.....

donderdag 4 februari 2010

Ply, ply & ply

Tonight was not dedicated to knitting though some of that also happened but not much to speak of. I finally finished spinning the black alpaca roving I bought (and didnt really like to spin) and had already 100 grams of cream/natural alpaca singles waiting from the fleece i bought end of 2009.

So 2 bobbins, one black, one white.... plying them into a yarn of a nice thickness somewhere between fingering and lace, exactly where i wanted it to be.... and the color has been named by Delphine and has become : Zebra.
A 2 ply 100% alpaca in two colors. I love it and am far from done plying it. I think i am a quarted to a third done.

Irritating with my old spinning wheel is that it is working right and all but parts are missing two bobbins are ok and a third is missing the "lining" on the inside of the bobbin making it clatter around on the axle... making more noise then usual which kind of annoys me and trying to take on of hte other ones and sawing it in half didnt work out ... they are too old and now i am missing two.. have o find something to make it work to replace this.

For now i am going to do one tour on my drops triangular shawl.

Leaves me one thing to close wiht, a picture of the Zebra yarn

woensdag 3 februari 2010

Joy and Pain?

Yesterday a big envelope in the mail, a RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) from ravelry Axioma. This month since it is the month of my birthday I had decided to post a modest small wishlist. Combining this with my 101 list I wanted to spin 10 different (new) fibres this year. Axioma was so kind to send me 4 completely new fibres. Coburger Fuchs wool, a beautiful gray gotland wool, egyptian cotton (sooooo soft) and linen. I will spin them all and put my findings on here... I already touched it all over off course, who could keep their hands of these little clouds in bags.

Then today another envelope from savy2705 and she was so very kind to send me 2 circular needles that i really wanted since i am a (re)starting knitter i dont have so many accesoiries. Now I can cast on 2 more shawls at the same time next to the 2 project i have going already. Don't know if that is smart or if I should just finish what I have first.

Then disaster...or I feel one coming. For the Lace KAL I chose this pattern called liquid silver and decided it to knit from handspun singles in a creamy colour so made it my own and call it liquid cream.
My yarn and esp my singles are not topnotch quality and some parts are overtwisted (no problem jsut have to be careful) but some parts as the picture shows are undertwisted which is way worse. I fear this might unravel and become two loose ends and before i know it probably all the work is gone and i have done it all for nothing... so contemplating now on how to fix this or reinforce this or frog it and start over.... i just fear frogging will screw up the yarn so much it is isnt useable anymore... so options are reinforce or repair once is breaks...for now .. i'll sleep on it.

dinsdag 2 februari 2010

Here goes....

I have been stuck at this point for a few days now. How do you start a blog. Well you goto the site and create an account, adjust some settings, choose a color etc etc.... and then.... well you have to start your first blog. That is the point where I have been stuck for the last few days. What do I write? How do you start? Most likely no one will read this first post anyways because no one knows yet that I am out here writing this to the whole wide world. So I just will start about the why and stuff like that.

The name, well I recently bought a new spinning wheel and been happily using it but in fact it would require a new leather between the treadle and the footman. In other words it squeaks. It makes a whole lot less noise then my previous wheel that rattled and squeaked and made all kinds of noises making anyting besides putting on your ipod possible. Right now I can spin and watch tv or have a conversation with my wife without having to yell.

What will be in this ? Well part of this blog I will use to keep track of my 101 list. A friend of my wife got me into this. You make a public list of a 101 things you would like to accomplish in the next 1001 days. A nice little incentive to do things out of your comfort zone or give you that little extra push to get going on things you been putting off for too long.
Besides this I will keep anyone interested up to date on my spinning and knitting adventures as they happen. Esp as a male knitter and spinner you sometimes end up in situations and conversations you would never think possible.

This is one of the two wips I am working on atm. The pattern is called liquid silver and is a lace pattern that originally requires beads. I am not so good with beads yet so my beads are too small for my yarn, or my yarn is too fat for the beads whichever way you wanna look at it. So I decided to go without the beads to see what it will end up looking like.
The pattern is chosen to match the yarn I spun, it is a white alpaca fleece spun into a single unplied strand of yarn. I have about 700 meters total of this and will try to use most of this in this shawl. Singles will make it tricky to work with and I am deadly scared of breaking the yarn.

Well this is it for now, I will update often and hopefully I can become more active in taking pictures of my work and uploading them. And perhaps some people eventually will even read this.