sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I've been *struggling* with this handspun, finally off of the bobbins!

Handspun, handcarded naturally colored merino-- 3ply
36 gm, fingering weight

This is yarn spun from the unwashed fleece I purchased when I bought my ashford joy, washed at Deep Color Studio's Fleece Day class, handcarded into rolags... and let sit for WAY too long. It looks wonderfully woolly and it is, but look closely-- it's a 3-ply! My singles were crazy thin... Kristine (we met at the fleece day class! she has a super awesome site selling yarn and rovings that are naturally dyed as well as some that are acid dyed; an etsy store too) had asked me how the merino fleece was spinning up and I replied that I was waiting to spin it all once it was carded, and then I remember reading somewhere that the "beauty" of rolags was that they were so light and airy...

I had been carding these and shoving them into gallon ziploc bags, compressing them to get even more into the bag. And zipping it closed.

I also remember reading that fleeces could generate more "grease" even after scouring if left to their own devices... my goodness. All of these newbie mistakes meant that the rolags were greasy, tightly packed together, drafted ugly and had to be (p)inched out instead of truly woolen spun (PDF!) like I'd wanted. It made my fingers greasy, not dirty but just sticky... I couldn't help but worry that they were making my bobbins sticky (no), and wondered what I could make with it. It breaks my heart a little (relative), but now I don't even want to use the rest of the fleece. I know I can re-scour it but... I don't want to and it'd be really hard here in my small space. Sad to think of it sitting unloved, uncarded and unused, but it is :(

I just wanted the spinning to be over, really... so filled 3 bobbins lightly and plied them together for this.


Once skeined up, I scoured the yarn in hot soapy water and smacked it around to slightly shock/felt it and now? It's soft, very oddly squishy (very dense and slowly expands back out instead of bouncing back when squeezed), and I really like its woolliness... have a thing for that though, not a shocker.

I had no idea it was SO light though (36 gm!) I was hoping for enough for mittens, but not here. I think I'll pair it with some Rowan Felted Tweed from the stash...

Rowan Felted Tweed, "ginger"

I've had this nagging need/offhand request to knit a pair of fingerless gloves *with* a fliptop mitten. I've been trying to work my mind around how to do it, and then the Stash and Burn podcasting crew talked about the Urban Necessity gloves from magknits and it's just what I was thinking about! (You know they're holding a one-skein contest, right?) Except, I really wanted to work in some colorwork, inspired by my most recent mitten book scores...

Knitting Fair Isle Mittens and Gloves by Carol Rasmussen Noble
Latvian Mittens by Lisbeth Upitis

...both purchased from Velona Needlecraft (the Noble book is sold out at Velona now; sorry Stacey! :)) I still want to figure out how to knit a fliptop colorwork mitten that looks good, but this pair (merino & felted tweed) will likely just be some sort of fibonacci or other non-random mathematical striping instead. I have a Palette color card on order from Knit Picks for more colorwork mittens though (and a set of their new Harmony interchangeable wood tips and long cables for a big holiday project I'm batting around).

More on everything later though :) It's shaping up to being a good week ahead despite missed connections; miss you!


Stacey said...

funny how the wool reverted back to it's oily stage once left alone - I never would have thought it!

can't wait to see what you come up with for colorwork. I'm anxiously awaiting my mitten book!!

Josette said...

Oh, the ballad of wool stuffed in a bag! So sorry it happened to you. But, I like making lemondae - here's an idea - you could used the rolags (drafted as best you can by hand) to 'thrum' a pair of mitts (carry it along while knitting) for a super warm and softly fuzzy on the inside mitt?

April said...

Ooo, Lativian Mittens - I soooo want that book!!!

lexa said...

Isn't it so weird how different wools can be so, well... different?!

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. :)

Unknown said...

My first spinning lesson was on wool spun in the grease. Admittedly, the fleece was carefully selected, skirted, and covered. We spun woolen, and it was a lot of fun! I liked the final product a lot. I did not like the gunk on my wheel, however, and and I don't have a good place to do that at home. The teacher sells a rather unique looking handspun, and the "in the grease" is part of her cachet. She has a Schact Matchless that she uses just for that purpose. I suspect that some of the grease does indeed remain in the yarn after washing it, and that gives her handpainted yarn a rather unique character.

E to the M said...

The new socks on Knitty are awesome!

Kristine said...

Oh, this is a sad story. The idea that you may not return to the fleece breaks my heart too.

In my experience, when it comes to fleeces, it is very important to wash the flecce right when you get it -- so that you get off the sheep sweat, extra dirt, etc -- but then it is OK to leave the fleece indefintely. And, their always is the risk, especially with the fine wool breeds, to get lanolin build up if the fleece sits in storage. Really, the fact that you ended up with greasy fleece means that you have a very soft, cushy fleece.

There is always the option, if you are tired of washing, of bringing the fleece to yolo mill and having them scour and card the fleece -- and even spin it if you wanted.

Otherwise, storing it in a pillowcase, until you are ready to take another stab at it... I have 5 fleeces sitting here in my apartment. Washed and growing greasier by each second that I decide not to work with them... oh well what to do. They are beautiful. I am hoping to make a Norah Gaughn sweater out of one of them this fall.

Anonymous said...

i sure could use some right about now.

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