The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Sock Loot! August 5, 2011

Filed under: fiber,spinning,Yarn — Cailyn @ 11:09 am
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Now the part that you’ve all been waiting for.  Or dreading, depending on how much you like or hate when bloggers post things they’ve bought at events you didn’t go to.  You might want to skip this post if you’re the jealous type.

 

First up, the random stuff.  Preordered swag (glass, pen, button [not shown {but cool}]).  I just wanted to see how many types of brackets I could use in one sentence.  And a high speed whorl for my wheel, which means I can put more twist in per treadle when I spin laceweight.  And there’s a teal aluminum needle gauge.  It was a complete impulse buy near the register while I was buying the whorl, but I’ve always kind of wanted one.  They had three shades of blue!  It was hard to choose.  The gauge goes down to size 000 size 000000 which looks terrifyingly small!  Oh, and the pen lights up.  Because why not?

 

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I got a new mug from Jennie the Potter, although I didn’t get to the booth fast enough to get her special Sock Summit mug.  She said they sold out in the first 20 minutes the market was open!  Yipes.  Anyway, I got this knitting mug to go with the spinning mug I use every morning for coffee.  This one has yarn in turquoise with white and black sheep; the one I have already is dark blue yarn with brown and black sheep.  They look great together, even though I’m only showing you the new one. 

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Then there’s the fibers!  Let’s see, shall we go in chronological order or pretty order?  Let’s go chronological.

 

We stopped by Crown Mountain Farms, who had all kinds of fun blends and undyed fibers.  I got some incredibly soft undyed yak/merino (50/50).  This stuff is what I imagine clouds feel like.  It’s that light and fluffy.  Living in Seattle, it’s kind of the color of clouds too.  I think this will be spun up to keep it’s fluffiness and made into a warm, soft scarf for Lowell.

 

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After that, my eye was caught by a stunning 100% tussah silk by Teresa Ruch Designs, but then I fell in love with this alpaca/silk blend (80/20).  It’s black alpaca laced through with bright shining silk in teal and violet.  It looks like an opal.  I haven’t had much luck spinning alpaca before, but I couldn’t, literally couldn’t, put this fiber down.  I have no idea what I’ll spin it into yet… It’s almost too pretty as a hank of fiber to spin up!

 

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I went down to Portland with my Tiger Mt spindle but nothing to spin on it.  Even though I can spin just as well on my spindle as my wheel, I prefer to spin 2 oz or less on my spindle.  For some reason to me, spinning a 4oz hunk of fiber seems too “big” for a spindle project.  And for some reason (this is where I think I might have a problem) I don’t like splitting a 4 oz braid into two 2 oz segments.  I want to only have 2 total oz of fiber for my spindle.  And that’s hard to find, since more fiber is sold in 4 oz chunks.  But I did find one vendor selling fiber in bulk and in a great color, so I bought 2 oz  of merino/silk from her.  I think it’s 50/50, but I can’t remember and didn’t write it down.  Destined to be laceweight.

 

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Hm, silk seems to be a recurring theme here.  There’s silk in this next purchase from RainCity Fiber Arts too.  In fact, it’s merino/yak/silk (60/20/20).  Second yak purchase in two days, hmm… 2 oz and super pretty.  Also soft enough to make a cotton ball weep.

 

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One of my favorites: a gorgeous merino/silk (80/20) blend from Fiber Optic Yarns.  Again with the silk!  What’s up with that?  The roving is dyed from a light aqua to a dark, dark indigo color.  I walked by this booth a few times, my eye always drawn to the “gradient dyed” fiber.  They had a number of other colorways, including a lovely golden-orange to purple.  I tried to resist buying this.  I really did!  They probably thought I was stalking them the way I kept walking by, looking at this, then walking away slowly.  I was doing yet another walk-by when I thought of the perfect project for this fiber- a shawl that fades slowly from one color to the other, like this one from the Yarn Harlot.  I imagined myself carefully dividing the fiber in half, spinning each color section as a laceweight single,  plying so that everything lines up right (or mostly right), knitting up a beautiful shawl that fades from aqua to indigo and then it was all over.  I had to have it.  I can’t wait to spin it.

 

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After I decided to spend money on that, I made a decision on another item I’d been waffling over.  A Jenkins Woodworking “Kuchulu” Turkish spindle.  They had one that was so small and cute that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  It weighs about .3 oz (9g) and is just about as long as my index finger.  It’s designed to be a pocket-sized spindle and it is!  I can’t get over how adorable it is.  So small and cute and it spins like a dream.  I’ll write more about what makes a Turkish spindle interesting later.  The shaft is walnut and the wings are made from amboyna, which is a wood from southeast Asia.  I have a special spot in my heart for red woods.  Ed said that he doesn’t use amboyna anymore, so mine is special!  I love going to festivals and talking to the people who actually make the things I’m buying.

 

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I was going to use the teal merino/silk I’d gotten the day before to try out the Kuchulu, but I wandered by Crown Mountain Farms again and saw this lovely pencil roving that I hadn’t noticed before.  It was a great price, 2 oz, merino/tencel (50/50) and a color I love.

 

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I also picked up some Lorna’s Laces Solemate (colorway Navy Pier), their newest yarn line.  It’s made from 55% superwash wool, 15% nylon, and 30% Outlast.  Outlast is a viscose fiber which is a man-made plant (cellulose) fiber, like rayon or bamboo.  It’s supposed to “regulate microclimate” to keep you from getting too hot or too cold.  Outlast was originally designed for space suits using “phase change materials” coated with polyester.  I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this when I knit up this yarn- I’m pretty excited to try it, because my feet are always too cold or too hot!

 

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Yes, I only bought one skein of yarn.  That’s it.  I have a lot of yarn already and I was drawn to the fibers more than the yarns.  The yarn selection was stunning, though!  Lastly (well, really first) I bought three Japanese stitch dictionaries.  This might seem like an embarrassment of riches, but it’s also a bit of a curse.  Now I want to put every single pattern on a pair of socks or mittens or a hat.  There are so many great designs.  Hmm, I’d better get started knitting!

 

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Oh, and I also bought a set of Signature Needles Size 1 (2.25mm) DPNs.  But I didn’t take their picture.

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Travel Yarns June 17, 2010

Filed under: spinning,Yarn — Cailyn @ 12:11 pm
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Okay, better late than never.  I give you:

Yarns of the East (where “east” means Chapel Hill, NC and Fairfax, VA)

I first visited my sister in Chapel Hill.  While she was at work, I stole borrowed her car and visited a few yarn shops.

 

The first was Yarns Etc, a very nice (but small) yarn shop.  I bought some lovely roving from the local Three Waters Farm.  The roving is 4 oz of dyed Black Blue Faced Leicester.  It has these dramatic undyed black streaks throughout.  There were two colorways that I liked and my current plan when I can’t decide on a color is to go with the color I normally wouldn’t choose.  So the dark green/brown roving was put back in favor of this lighter, almost pastel roving.  I’m very curious how it will spin up.

 

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Speaking of spinning… I spent some time in a local coffee shop while I was with my sister (after I dropped her off at work, I had to wait for the yarn stores to open, or sometimes I would come back and have some time to spare before I had to pick her up.  I don’t normally spin in these situations, usually I knit, but I decided to spin this time.  I got a yummy drink and spun my black alpaca fiber that I got at Madrona earlier this year.  (I was going to post some of these pictures from my phone to the blog, but the app wasn’t working and I was too lazy to work around it.)

 

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Yummy drink and “spinner’s leg” covered in fiber bits.

 

I got a decent amount of spinning done in a few hours there.  I didn’t spin all of this in the coffee shop- some of this was done in the airport during my layover on the way back to Seattle.  I think all the parents in that waiting area should thank me; I think I had every kid, from age two to twelve, sitting on the floor in front of me, just watching my spindle spin.  That was pretty fun.

 

I’m trying to spin this singles a little thicker than I normally would.  I’ve divided the roving in half so the final yarn will be a 2-ply.  I didn’t sample- I’m a rebel.  (Sample in spinning is like gauge in knitting.)

 

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I also visited Shuttles Needles & Hooks in Cary, NC (no website).  This was a fun shop, even though I didn’t end up buying anything there.  The shop is in an old house, and by “in” I mean that it takes up the entire house.  Every nook and cranny is filled with yarn or roving or notions.  The second floor has some yarns and a big space filled with looms.  And things that I assume are accessories to looming.  This shop was a bit like a treasure hunt, which was very fun since I wasn’t looking for anything in particular.  The book selection was great and I probably would have gotten a book or two if I weren’t trying to keep my luggage-weight down.

 

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Look, you can see a stove under the basket there!  Luckily, they only use the bathroom for shop storage so you don’t have to go look for Noro in the john.

 

One reason that I didn’t buy anything at Shuttles Hooks & Needles is that I love to buy local yarn when I’m on a trip.  You can get Berroco or Cascade or even Dream in Color in shops all over the country now.  Don’t get me wrong, I like those yarns.  But if I’m going to buy yarn somewhere else besides my own LYS, I want it to be special.  I don’t want it to be the same yarns that I see over and over in every shop in the country.  I know that this may seem silly, especially since I can buy any of these “local” yarns online via Etsy or other merchants, but it means a lot to me.  I love it when a yarn store carries yarns that are locally made or dyed.

 

That’s one of the reasons that I loved Fibre Space in Alexandria so much.  This store was a lot of fun.  I’ll definitely be going back there next time I’m in Virginia.  It’s not huge but it has a great attitude.  I mean, look at their logo!  It has a space ship.  That just hits me in all my weak spots.  And in case that wasn’t enough to win me over (which it was, btw), they carry local yarns and make a point of labeling them so that they’re easy to find!  The staff was friendly, helpful, and chatty, but not pushy about it.  The back room had spindles and rovings and they had awesome shirts for sale with their logo.

 

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I knew that Blue Ridge Yarns was local, since I had bought some of their yarn in VA before in the shop where I took a wheel lesson.  This time they had a merino/bamboo blend sock yarn and you know that I can’t say no to that.  The other yarn is a fun cotton “homespun” in a really pretty blue.  I have to think of something neat to knit with it.

 

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I didn’t know that Dragonfly Fibers was based in Virginia.  Once I saw the “local sign,” I jumped on this dramatic Dragonsock colorway.

 

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And this is a new company that I hadn’t heard about before.  The label was so slick that I thought they were a big, national company until the clerk told me that the Neighborhood Fiber Company was a small dyer who had started in VA before moving to OH.  I liked her yarn so much that I almost bought a wool/silk laceweight- and I don’t even knit lace!  I am in completely in love with this merino/cashmere blend sock yarn.

 

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I’m hoping to use some of my “Virginia yarn” in a project soon.  If you’re ever in northern VA, stop by Fiber Space!  They rock. 

 

Photos of me courtesy of my mom, who also taught me to knit all those years ago and never minds coming with me to yarn stores.  Thanks for the yarn!