Posts tagged ‘ufo’

While I was going through the closet, I pulled out a bag of brown Bluefaced Leicester top. It’s nice fiber, but the prep is less than spectacular. I knew this when I bought it and it was certainly a nice price, but the little bits of tangled fiber mixed in are a bother. I’ve taken it out several times to try to find a project for it, without coming up with something I could get excited about. And the nuisance of picking out the neps isn’t really the problem.

Modern handspinners love them some BFL. It’s hugely popular among novices: fast to spin, easy to find and not hideously expensive. I got it originally to practice short forward draft (I normally do short backward draft for worsted) so it’s ok if the yarn doesn’t come out perfect. But it’s not the fine wool that I normally work with and I can’t decide what to do with it. I’ve tried a bunch of different samples in different techniques and still nothing jumps out as “gotta do this!” I know that brown is part of the problem for me, but I thought it would be interesting to play with.

pile of random bfl samples

It drafts well with long draw either from the fold or directly from the end of the top, in 3-ply it makes a fuzzy knitting yarn. I can’t think of anything I’d want to knit except maybe another hat. Hats make nice gifts. I’d have to think about who I might give a handspun, hand knitted hat to who doesn’t have one already, can be trusted to take care of it and would actually wear it. Fuzzy yarn is warm, but prone to felting.

The next sample was sock yarn, a couple different ways. Directly from the top a 3-ply worsted was ok but uninspiring and picking out the lumps a nuisance. I combed some to see how annoying it would be to remove the bits and the results were only so-so. There is a huge range of fiber lengths so combing makes a top that is half the fiber length at the shorter end. This makes it draft differently in the different sections. And planking, re-combing and all that is way too much work for an eh fiber. There is also still the question of who would I be giving these brown socks to, provided I were able to actually finish both of them.

Then were various weaving yarns. As a single, with enough twist for warp, it was a little harsh. It might be interesting garment fabric. 2-ply was just boring. I tried carding, both to see if it would open up the lumps and if it would make a more interesting yarn, and it accomplished neither.

Once again I set it aside for another day. I’ve gone through probably 50g trying to find something I like, so it’s good I’ve got a bag full of it.

With the sample spinning finished I went looking for some more fiber in the closet to work on. I pulled out something that has been sitting around a while to try to at least get all the fiber spun. I originally bought two packages of the Ashland Bay multicolor merino with the intent to make a scarf, woven of singles. I spun the first about three years ago and then it got put aside.

purple merino singles

I kept the little reference sample I was using, but in getting back to it I had a hard time keeping the same size. So the new skein turned out a little finer. This isn’t a disaster, I can measure the two ends together so they are mixed in the warp and evenly distributed. But still not exactly what I was after. I’ve had other yarns where one skein ended up very different from the others and sometimes there just isn’t much you can do about it but decide you were going to make a different project. My usual practice of spinning way too much yarn generally saves me but isn’t exactly the most efficient. Better is to work more on matching the existing yarn, or just finish all the spinning at once in the first place.

With that dubious success over with, I picked up another long-abandoned project and started spinning more of the merino from the county fair yarn. I have one full bobbin, two partial and tons of fiber. I figure I can at least get through the stuff already combed that has been sitting in a box for over a year. I’m doing better on matching the existing yarn, as I still can compare how it looks on the bobbin along with my reference sample. Plus this was intended to be a 3-ply, which hides a multitude of sins.

I tried to do something with the nightmare warp. I might have been able to eventually make something useful, but I’m sick of looking at it. I don’t want to spend hours weaving it off thinking of the disaster behind it. It bothers me to cut off a warp, especially if it was otherwise sound. But I’m doing this because it’s fun, right? I have other things I want to do. That could be said about not just weaving, too.

Since most of my friends also had today off, I decided to invite people over to do stuff. I think standing in line all night to buy stuff I don’t need is insane, so it was much better to stay home and work on projects. (Well, I did go out for food.) There was a sweater finished and a pattern re-drafted and tested.

I did actually get one thing done at this craft extravaganza, I needed help hemming a vest. There was also laundry and other assorted domestic stuff. (One of my drafty bedroom windows now is sealed with plastic film. Two more to go.)

What I did not do was anything with the loom. I’ve had this warp there for months, half of it was a wedding gift from July. The other half was supposed to be a gift for someone else. Someone I’m not exactly on good terms with at the moment. While I suppose it’s good that I didn’t rip it off the loom and throw it away, it’s been sitting there taking up space. I can easily change the tie-up to get a new pattern, but I can’t decide what.

The fabric is dense and not really suited for clothing or dishtowels. The only thing I can come up with would be a bag of some sort. I did promise The Boyfriend some bags for various things. It would make nice bags. I had the project planned and the warp measured before the ugly falling out, it was all I could do to get it on the loom and get the wedding present done. I’m not sure I want to look at it again once it’s finished. If I can get that far.

I have banished the evil baby yarn from my life. I shall only think uplifting thoughts of fine silk and handspun wool.

All of that to re-sley and it still looked horrible. The closer sett seemed to make no difference on how the weft packed in and I’m not going to sit there and slowly ease each and every pick of a six meter warp into place. I’ve cut handspun warps off the loom when they weren’t behaving, I’m not going to let this one intimidate me into weaving it off.

Now I just have to decide what to do next. I think it will be more of the 8/2 cotton, but I can’t warp it right now because I need to leave the loom folded until Holiday Party Season is over. I know better to leave something around where 35 guests can all go “oooh” and “ahhh” and stick fingers or drop cookies in it. Our friends are nice people, but that’s just tempting fate. I could start measuring, however.

Last week I bought a bunch of silk fabric, so now I get to play with it. I wet out a piece of organza and sorta madly crinkle-pleated it into a bundle and dumped blue and purple dye all over it. I know I used far, far too much dye because organza weighs nothing, but it was what it took to get the fabric good and squishy damp. We’ll see how it comes out after it sits for three hours in the steamer. The one downside of all this clearance silk dye I bought. If I get really ambitious, I’ll stitch some gathering threads into it (by machine, thank you) and try some shibori the next time we do an indigo party somewhere.

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