Monday, March 12, 2012

A Few Firsts

This week is just burgeoning with first times, and I'm pretty excited about all of them. But which one to start with? Well, for a first first, I'm blogging two days in a row. Two whole days. That's a significant first, but it may also be a last. 

I think it would be fun to tell the tale from spinning firsts to knitting firsts, even though the knitting firsts are a little older. So, my second first involves soy silk. I have never spun or knitted this stuff, and when I ordered it from Spunky Eclectic I wasn't entirely sure if it would take an acid dye. I did a little investigation, and indeed it does, though there was some complaint about the dye not taking completely. I understand there are people who like a fully saturated and uniform dye job. I am not one of them. Discovering undyed portions in a top makes me happy. I usually employ some sort of resist technique to make sure they happen.

After I opened up the soysilk and tested it a bit, I wasn't particularly happy, though. It was wispy and looked like it would be annoyingly slippery. I threw it into a purple dyepot, hoping my favorite color would make it more appealing, but it came out in such a globby, stinky mass that I was pretty sure I would never bother with the stuff again. In fact it looked and smelled like something I've cleaned out of a fetid fish tank.

When it dried, it was a little better, but still clumpy. But I thought I could draft it out to be a little smoother, and maybe I'd still be able to spin something from it. 

Well! That's much better! Soysilk has endeared itself to me. I find it a little easier to spin than tussah silk, because it has a shorter staple, and it doesn't dry out my hands. Other than that, it's very similar spinning and it is also very strong, like silk. And really, it smells bad but not as strongly bad as silk. Now the only question is, do I ply or not? If I do, it will have to be n-ply, because I only have one bobbin free at the moment...

My second first is that I made batts! Lovely fluffy things, also quite coincidentally purple from some corriedale fleece I dyed up. I tossed in some yellow here and there. I'm quite happy with them, and am looking forward to that distant day when I have free bobbins.
I am dangerously close to throwing caution to the wind and procuring my own drum carder.

The third first was that I dyed some really gorgeous alpaca top!

I am really pleased about the way this came out. Again, I heard murmurs about alpaca not taking dye as intensely as wool, but either I use excessive amounts of dye or I have the patience to wait for the bath to exhaust. I want to spin this one but I think I'll put it up in the shop. I have two 2-oz braids like this.

Now to talk about the knitting: just over a week ago, I took a class from Sivia Harding on how to knit her Harmonia's Rings pattern, which uses Cat Bordhi's moebius cast-on. It was pretty awesome to watch this thing form. So, for my fourth first, I learned the moebius cast-on, and for my fifth first, I knit with beads.

I became so enamored with the moebius cast-on that I then made this:
And I have also cast on another Harmonia:
The special thing about this project is the yarn: it is among my first handspun, and if I remember correctly, my first plied yarn. It was my first foray into luxury fibers- one ply is baby camel, and the other is silk. It's also old enough that I never wrote down my yardage... I "knew" I would remember... so I don't really know if I have enough for a full pattern or if I'll just leave off the yoke. Judging by how quickly it's disappearing, I don't think there will be enough. That, however, is not a first.

1 comment:

Avi Abrams said...

Love the loopedy-loop!