Remember my Fractal Stripe handspun from SakinaNeedles roving? I’m finally getting around to knitting it.

even closer

It’s standard Feather and Fan, 3 repeats over 56 stitches. I thought it would show off the yarn nicely.

Handspun Fractal Stripe Feather and Fan Scarf

One of the two plies has a long color repeat, and the other has progressively shorter repeats, which results in interesting color changes. Unfortunately, as a new spinner, I spun this yarn very tightly and robbed the superwash merino of some of its softness. I hope it gets better with washing.

Also, I’m knitting a new Baby Surprise Jacket for my college friend Helen, who’s expecting a baby boy. She likes cream color, so this is what I’ve come up with.

Helen's Baby Surprise Jacket

It’s Spritely Goods superwash merino in CoffeePot Rock that I got from the Loopy Ewe, striped with some Patons Kroy from my stash. Here’s how the sleeve folds up so far.

The sleeve

Since this sweater will be for an actual baby, I won’t have to worry so much about yardage and sleeve length like I did for Tim’s sweater.  I started off the striping similarly to Tim’s, but the bottom part of the sweater will be different.  I haven’t decided yet how to finish it.  It’s going pretty quickly though, since it’s my second time knitting the pattern.  So clever and fun to knit!

I went to SnB Newington this evening and had a lovely time, but the highlight was getting my hands on this!

Jasmine in Mocha from The Painted Sheep

It’s lusciously soft and shiny laceweight merino/silk, hand-dyed by Kris of The Painted Sheep. The subtle color variations are just gorgeous. I think anyone who looks at my wardrobe or my Ravelry stash can guess that brown is my favorite color. As Kelly was able to quote from my Ravelry profile the second time we met, brown is my basic “black!” My hair is very dark but not quite black, so brown shades complement me much better. After my holiday gift knitting is done (which will probably be late January), this will become a lace shawl for me me me! I haven’t decided which one yet, but there are plenty of beautiful patterns for 1250 yards out there.

Later in the evening, my mom and I were talking about textiles, and when the conversation turned to silk, I decided to break out some silk hankies I bought from SakinaNeedles. This was also to show off my Lendrum wheel to her. 🙂

Silk hankies from SakinaNeedles

Since I had never spun these before, I used an article on spinning silk hankies from knitty.com for reference. We started out by separating off a single hankie.

Single silk hankie

I tried to photograph the separation of one hankie from the stack, but it actually turned out to be two! So that’s something to beware of. It’s helpful to look closely at the edges and make sure you really have a see-through piece of silk. You can’t see through this as well as the picture above.

Separating silk hankies

The next step was poking a hole through it and pulling it into a circle. My mom modeled these for me.

Opening a hole in a silk hankie

Then we stretched it out some more..

Stretching out a silk hankie

Until it was about the thickness I wanted to spin.

Predrafted silk hankie, modeled by Mom

Then I broke the circle and started spinning from one end. I found that spinning silk was quite an adjustment from spinning wool. Because of the long, sticky fibers, I had to keep my hands very far apart while drafting, and it was still tough to pull the fibers out. I found it easier to predraft as fine and even as possible, and just avoid having to do much drafting while spinning. After about 8 hankies, this is what we had. I let my mom pick the colors.

Silk hankies with handspun

It’s a single ply, thick/thin with some nubbies, but still nice and shiny. It’s a little late right now but tomorrow I’ll figure out if it needs any finishing. Maybe not, since it looks quite knittable already!

Handspun from silk hankies

I finished spinning my Prairie Thistle superwash merino roving from SakinaNeedles. In my previous post about this, I talked about manipulating the color changes. So I spun half of it using the whole width of the roving for one ply, then a 1/2 width, then a 1/4 width..

SakinaNeedles singles for Fractal Stripe

Then an 1/8 width to get progressively more rapid color changes in the other ply.

Rapid color changes

Unfortunately, I spun the second ply somewhat finer than the first and ended up with this much left when I plied it. Oops!!

Oops

So I wound it into a center pull ball and finished it up. It will mess up my Fractal Stripe a little, but hopefully not too much. I was impressed that I managed to fit the whole 4 oz onto one bobbin!

It all fit on the bobbin!

On the niddy noddy:
On the Niddy Noddy

Yarn spaghetti before finishing:
Yarn Spaghetti

Skeined up after soaking and blocking:
My 3rd handspun skein!

A penny for scale:
A penny for scale

Now, what to do with this?

In Spin-Off magazine‘s Summer 2007 issue, there is an article called “The Fractal Stripe” which describes a method for controlling the color in painted roving. I have another beautiful roving from SakinaNeedles in colorway Prairie Thistle. It’s superwash merino.

This is a palindromic color sequence (ABCBAABCBA), which I plan to spin into a 2-ply yarn. I split the roving between the 2 ABCBA sequences and will spin one of the plies as is, then split the rest of the roving along the whole length in order to get shorter color repeats. Plying the two together should create a nice effect. Here it is partly predrafted. Sooooo soft!

Here’s the beginning of the singles on the bobbin. The merino is really nice to spin, and I like that there are undyed spots, which varies the depth of the color. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

 

So after my second plying experience, I finished the rest of the SakinaNeedles BFL in Briar Rose. I followed Necia‘s advice to let the single rest a bit — well, sort of. I still plied it as soon as I finished it, but since it took a couple of days to spin up the whole thing, only the last 1/3 or so was kinky and difficult to ply. 🙂 I think it turned out rather nice.

Here’s the obligatory “money shot.”

With the tighter twist in the singles, the yarn is firmer and thinner than the first skein I did. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet, but I do love it!

 

The 2-ply yarn I spun up from Spunky Eclectic BFL in Mahogany came out around 15 wpi, and I swatched it on size 5 needles which came out a bit too loose, then I switched to size 4’s which gave me 5 2/3 stitches to the inch with a nice, soft fabric. I can’t say what I’m going to do with it though, since it may be a gift. Sorry!

Instead, here’s the SakinaNeedles roving all finished and skeined up. It’s a lot tighter and not as soft as my first wheelspun, which I guess would be better for things like socks. I’m going to finish the rest of the roving with the same amount of twist.

 

Since my first wheel spun yarn turned out to be rather underspun, I’m putting a lot of extra twist in this next one, to the point of getting some corkscrews on the bobbin.

It’s SakinaNeedles BFL in Briar Rose. Pretty, no? I wanted to see how it plies up, so I wound just this much into a center-pull ball again, to see what happens with the plying.

As you can see on the right side, some of it is still underspun! I didn’t put in corkscrews at the beginning. On the other hand, there were a couple of spots where the corkscrews got into the plied yarn, which I didn’t want. But overall I think it’s nicer than the first one I did. I do wonder if using a ballwinder for plying takes out some of the twist.

It’s washed and hanging now, we’ll see how it turns out after the finishing.