Fortunately Felted Handspun

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...or how I thought I ruined my handspun yarn but loved it instead. Whew. 

The story starts during Tour de Fleece when I bought some blue pencil roving. I started spinning it once my Tour de Fleece skein was finished and the roving promptly turned my hands and spindle blue. First single finished and after giving the spindle a good bath, I put the whole project on hold to find a way to keep dye off the spindle. So, it sat for a few weeks. Wrapping the spindle in paper didn’t help and it went on the shelf again. When my wheel arrived, I dealt with the blue just so I could get finish the second single and quickly ply on the wheel. The bobbins didn’t turn blue, thankfully, but my hands certainly did.  

I’ve done a little research on this fiber and brand through Ravelry and being excessively bleeding dye doesn’t really come up. The one mention of bleeding dye was for red dye, a color notorious for bleeding, and only from a small portion of a 1 pound bump. I must have just gotten a bad batch.

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Now all the yarn needed was several good baths to set the twist and get rid of all that extra dye. It took five dunks. During the first bath the water turned so dark that I couldn’t see the bottom of the sink  through 4” of water. The skeins were still dripping blue when I hung them up to dry. They probably could have used another soak or two but I’d been a bit over zealous squishing out the dye. My yarn was starting to felt. I did my best to ignore the giant, clumpy messes and hoped I hadn’t ruined them.

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Dry, not only was the yarn salvageable but I like it much better after it’s impromptu felting. Just wish it hadn’t taken me an hour or so to pull it all apart and re-skein everything. The good news is that I didn’t have to cut a single strand.

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 Post felting, the yarn is entirely different wooly beast. The color went from a bright gym-short to a subdued sky. Still soft, the yarn is denser but not stiff so it turned out to be a good thing I under-plied. Didn’t lose much yardage either, only about 18.5 yards, which means I still have 277 yards to play with. 

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The Specs:

277 yards (225 + 52)

Worsted to Heavy Worsted

9-10 Wraps per Inch

4 oz of Wool

Dyed by Pagewood Farms

Straight off the spindle and the wheel this was an okay yarn. It would have gone into the stash and, eventually, I would have knit it or gifted it away. After a bath and mild felting, I want to knit it up right now into something cozy. Maybe a cowl or a scarf but, in the meantime, the skein makes a nice neck warmer all by itself.  

Wander the Web 12

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I signed up for Spinzilla at the last minute and now I’m trying to get one last skein off my bobbins. I’d already be halfway through my second single if I hadn’t spent to much time on the web looking at interesting stuff. Oh well, I’ll be finished by Sunday. I think. 

Pointless Diagrams Completely pointless and lacking meaning but pretty. 

How to Hand Felt Your Knits along with a few other techniques from knitting to embellishment to sewing suede soles on slippers. 

Adam Savage's 10 Rules for Success

Eat Pie for Breakfast (via @lamonstre) Yum, typographic pie. 

Knit.fm - A new podcast covering the craft of knitting by Hannah Fettig and Pam Allen of Knitbot and Quince & Co, respectively. 

Submarines Ascend into Milan

From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of My Toes by Alex Chinneck

Incremental January: Week 4

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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Last week was all about clearing up the digital clutter - no more unnecessary emails, unsubscribing from overwhelming RSS feeds, and gaining more hard drive space - but I’m back to the physical world this week. I’ve sorted and donated and trashed a lot of stuff to meet my January goal of de-cluttering and prepping for the rest of the year. Lots left to do but the list is shorter.

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Now that I have less stuff to worry about, I’ve started thinking about how to hack the stuff I have to work better for me. I encourage you do this too. One, you get to make things. Two, you can personalize and upgrade your space. Three, you get to have some fun. 

Over the course of a day, I spend a lot of time in front of the computer which means I spend a lot of time at my desk. It’s a nice desk with lots of drawers, space for all my tech, and enough room to make something when I feel the need. There’s even a raised section with two more drawers and two open spaces that I barely use because they are not drawers. Well, I’ve fixed that.

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I’ve made drawers for my “Things” and for my “Stuff”. The drawer of things holds all the crafty stuff I need on a regular basis: scissors, buttons, a knitting needle gauge, a tape measure, and random tapestry needles. The drawer of stuff keeps pens, pencils, hair ties, lotion, lip balm, and a needle felted heart. You know, the necessities. Everything I need is at hand and easy to find.

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To make the drawers, I measured the dimensions to be filled and adapted this handy stiffened felt box tutorial from How About Orange to fit. Next, I drew up the cross stitch charts, stabbed the necessary holes in the felt, and got to stitching. The last step was gluing the sides together to finish the boxes. As a bonus, whenever I move to a new desk, I can just make lids for the drawers and use them a boxes instead. Win win. 

Just in case you feel like labeling any of your possessions with a bit of cross stitch, here’s “Stuff” and “Things” to the rescue. 

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Laundry Woes

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Last weekend was finally the time for me to wash my hand knit socks since most of them were sitting in the laundry basket. I'd rather be wearing them so I broke out the Soak and started with the hand washing. The process was going quite well until it came time to dry 7 pairs of socks. Not only would they have taken far too long to dry out, I didn't have anywhere to put all them for that long. So, instead of letting them hang dry, I decided to send them through the dryer on the air only cycle. Instead, they went through on hot and it was entirely my fault.

The aftermath wasn't as bad as I feared since all put one pair came out unscathed. At the height of their glory, these poor socks were quite comfy and one of my favorite pairs. Now, they're partially felted and a bit on the small side; however, I'm not letting them go without a fight. Today they got a bath and have been stretched over a pair of newly acquired sock blockers. I really hope this works but, if it doesn't, at least my mom will get to enjoy another pair of hand knit socks.

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