Monday, April 28, 2008


When I was a child I had a pink canopy bed. As you can imagine, I outgrew that fashion statement. While I was certainly not a tomboy, I don't think I was ever a really girly girl, so it surprises me a bit that I had that frilly, pink furniture. Imagine how surprised I am that now, solidly ensconced in my 30's, I've rediscovered my inner pink. But this time it's not because of Barbie or My Little Pony, or cultural expectations of what a girl should be or like. I think I just like pink.

Pink Granite hank

That huge hank is a Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sheep 2 Shoe kit, in the Pink Granite colorway. (I live in the Granite State. This wasn't a Pink statement, I swear!) 6.9 oz., 508 yards, 3 ply, 16 wpi, sportweight. I spun it the way I've become most comfortable spinning, which is short draw worsted, with high twist.

Pink Granite niddy closeup

This was a big project for me, and I'm quite satisfied with the results. The kit recommends that you split the roving into three equal strips, so the colors will line up when you ply the singles. I know from experience that this is an almost impossible task for me, but I took inspiration from something else mentioned in the instructions. They said to break off smaller sections to spin with, presumably to make the spinning more manageable. What I decided to do was to break off sections before splitting the roving. The dye on the roving went white, pink, black, pink, and then back to white, and I tore off roving in the middle of the white sections, yielding just under an ounce each time. Then I split those smaller sections into thirds, and spun each third on a separate bobbin. This meant a lot of bobbin changes, but I felt it also gave me a better chance of evenly splitting the roving amongst the bobbins, since I could make up for uneven splitting in one round on subsequent rounds. If I were really smart, I would have kept track of the number of grams of roving each bobbin got per round, so I could truly even them out, instead of just estimating.

In the end, of course my bobbins ended up getting off kilter from each other. It's really hard to keep things even. But because there is more pink than black or white, there are sections even late in the plying where I had solid or quasi-solid strips of pink, which is nice. And I didn't end up with that much leftover after the shortest bobbin was exhausted -- 12 grams of leftovers in total, which I Navajo plied. (My next spinning project will be Navajo plied, so I'm taking every opportunity possible to practice that technique.)

I should also mention that I fit all 6.9 ounces onto one bobbin. Schacht Matchless bobbins are supposed to hold about 4 ounces, so I'm pretty astounded. The bobbin was bulging, but not so much that it interfered with the plying. I had been planning to ply about half, wind it onto the niddy noddy, and then ply the second half separately. But when the bobbin was nearing "full", I noticed how low the singles were, and decided to see how far I could push it. Impressively far is the answer!

The fiber was pleasant to work with, and came less compacted than any other fiber I've used, to date. I probably could have gotten away without predrafting at all, if I'd wanted. The black bits felt a bit dry, but overall this was my favorite merino spinning experience. My only complaint about the kit is that it was about an ounce short. An ounce may not sound like a lot, but those of you who spin know how much fiber an ounce really is. Now, I think that 7.5 of fiber, instead of the 8.5 that were supposed to be in the kit, is still a decent deal at the price they sell the kits for. (Even then, it's still comparable in price to what a lot of independent dyers charge.) I just wish they were more accurate in their weights, and wish I had that last ounce, in case I run out of yarn while knitting the knee high socks I have in mind for this yarn. But I'd still buy a kit from them again. It was a great spinning experience, and the dye job was just lovely.

I like my Pink Granite yarn better than the Pink Granite colorway of Socks That Rock. The subtlety you get from spinning the pre-dyed fiber if fabulous. A full range of pinks and purples, with delicate pinks where the pink meets the white, and with deep vampiric purples where the pink meets the black. I almost wish I Navajo plied all of it, just to keep those colors more pure. Here's another bobbin photo:

Francie and bobbins

You can also see the beginnings of a Francie sock in there. That's in STR lightweight, in the Rose Quartz colorway. I've loved that colorway for a long time, and am happy to finally have an excuse to use it. (The socks are for my mom, who requested them after seeing them on the blog.) More pink, and pinks that match the pinks in my handspun, to boot!

I've blogged a lot about spinning lately. And socks. Sock and spinning, spinning and socks. It feels like that's all I've worked on for a long time. The Autumn Color Cardigan is on hiatus (with all those colors, it can be a logistical nightmare to work on), and I've been feeling the need to work on something bigger than socks. Thanks to a leftover yarn swap with someone on Ravelry, I got to try some Reynolds Whiskey, and was happy to find that it will work with the sweater pattern I've had my eyes on. More on that after I cast on, but here's a peek at the yarn:

what you do with a yarnhole

Who can resist a yarn bellybutton? You know you want to stick your finger in! Notice the color? I had a couple of gift certificates for my LYS, and decided to pick up the yarn for the sweater this weekend. I was trying to choose between two colors, and when I asked K. for her opinion, she pointed out that the color above matched what I was wearing. The lovely ladies of Stash and Burn are so right. I chose the color I was wearing for a reason, so it must be fate. I had to buy that one. (I really loved the other color, too, but it was probably too dark for the patterning on the upcoming sweater.) I just hope I don't outgrow this pink phase too soon...

But it's not been all pink. I let loose and did some wild and craze experimenting with blue:


Doesn't look like my usual spinning, does it? The experimenting wasn't really the blue. It was the style of spinning. I gave some long draw woolen techniques a try, and while I have a very long way to go before I'll be comfortable using any of these techniques for a project, I learned a lot and started to get a feel for it. It was quite frustrating at times, and I do think I could benefit a whole lot from some hands-on instruction. But I also have a lot more of the blue/green batts to play with, so maybe I'll be able to improve enough on my own to feel confident in my longdraw abilities by the time I finish this blue bobbin. If anything, it was a humbling experience. So much of what I've been spinning has been the same thing over and over again. I've gotten pretty good at it, but that doesn't make me a good spinner. That just makes me good at one very specialized kind of spinning. I want to be a good spinner, overall, and these blue batts will get me closer to that goal.

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Blogger Ivete Tecedor said...

I absolutely *love* that pink handspun! I'm really jealous that you made it yourself, I was hoping I could buy some! Can't wait to see the socks you make with it, they'll be gorgeous (and then I'll covet them, too!).

4/28/2008 9:36 AM  
Blogger Nana Sadie said...

This is the second blog I've come across pink granite in the space of 5 minutes...hmm...I think it's calling my name, don't you?

Your spinning is GORGEOUS!!!

4/28/2008 10:22 AM  
Blogger Irie said...

beautiful handspun and photos!! It is really making me drool..

and yes, I want to stick my finger into the yarn bellybutton :))

4/28/2008 11:04 AM  
Blogger Fibreaddict said...

Beautiful. You have done an awesome job of spinning it. *coveting it* Can't wait to see the socks knit up.

4/28/2008 11:10 AM  
Blogger pacalaga said...

Lovely lovely stuff! I have some STR roving in my stash... I might have to get it out soon.

4/28/2008 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little pink is good for the soul, I think. I denied myself pink for years and years because it was "too girly", but eventually the need for pink re-asserted itself, as it will do. ;-)

Your spinning is, as always, inspiring.

4/28/2008 2:15 PM  
Blogger Dove Knits said...

The pink handspun is gorgeous.

I never liked pink, ever, until a few years ago. While it's not my favorite color, I do appreciate a good pink when I see it!

4/28/2008 6:45 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

The handspun is gorgeous, as usual. I like that pink but not all pinks!

4/29/2008 2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how your S2S kit turned out! If it's any help, my S2S kneehighs took about 5 oz, I think.

4/29/2008 4:34 PM  
Blogger Jen (pieKnits) said...

Wow, I am in aww of your spinning!

5/01/2008 11:26 AM  
Blogger ValĂ©rie said...

What a soft, perfect pink combination! Totally grown up and yet sweet all the same.

5/01/2008 2:21 PM  
Blogger Bridget said...

Beautiful pinks and blues!

I am working on a fair isle vest using Whiskey, and I LOVE it, I bet you'll enjoy working with it too.

5/02/2008 2:21 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Lovely colors! And, most likely, not quite as garrish as your childhood pinks.

5/06/2008 12:35 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

Wow! You spinning is exquisite! So perfect!!

5/15/2008 1:08 PM  
Blogger annmarie said...

I also like your handspun pink granite better than the sock yarn in the same colorway. I knit up my socks from the STR club but they aren't among my favorites. It looks like a completely different fiber in your handspun! Very beautiful! :)

6/05/2008 1:21 PM  

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