04 January 2012

Knitting and spinning goals for 2012, part 1

 I've set myself some goals for 2012 in terms of knitting and spinning. Of course, last year I set some goals too, but they went out the window somewhere along the way. This year hopefully I will be a bit more organised.

 My main goal for 2012 is to learn how to spin better. I only took up spinning partway through last year, just before the Tour de France so I was able to participate in the Tour de Fleece organised through Ravelry. Luckily I had done some spindle spinning many many years ago, so I didn't seem to go through the 'lumpy art yarn' stage that many people experience. However, although I love spindles, I find them a bit slow to use and I never found the spinning process very relaxing. (I know, I just need to practice more...)

Luckily, I had a friend with a wheel she wasn't using, and she was happy to lend it to me to try out. It was a Tarra, made in Victoria, single treadle, double drive:
I had great fun for a few months in the time I could steal away from my knitting and other projects, and managed to produce some quite useable yarn, thanks no doubt to the quality of the fibre as much as my spinning efforts.

But I really wanted a wheel of my very own. I looked at pictures and prices and reviews, and finally decided on a Schacht Ladybug. I was lucky enough to be able to try one out, put in my order immediately, and a week or so before Christmas a big box arrived via courier!

Although I haven't had a great deal of time between then and now to spin, I have managed to do one bump of singles. The choice of which fibre to use to christen my wheel was hard - it had to be something that was fairly easy to spin, something that I liked but that I wouldn't be devastated if it didn't turn out exactly how I planned. I settled on some Icelandic fleece dyed by the lovely Charly, aka Ixchelbunny. I love spinning long wool, and I made a real effort not to over-spin and to try and get some consistency in both thickness and twist. The results so far:

I still haven't really noticed the difference in feel between ST and DD (I've been using ST), but I'm sure I will as I spin more different types of yarns. I want to really work out the look and feel of yarns with different amount of twist, and try to quantify this in terms of the ratio and pedalling speed. A long-term goal I think, but I will work on it slowly.

My next goal, left over from last year, is to knit more socks. I love knitting socks, there are so many beautiful patterns out there. I wanted to knit lots of socks last year but I got somewhat distracted by other things. I have, however, started 2012 with some socks:
These are Jeannie's Magic Mirror socks, my first socks knit with hand-spun yarn. The yarn is made from BFL from Moseley Park, actually the first yarn I spun after the anonymous fluff that came with my first spindle. Luckily, even though I didn't really know what I was doing in terms of dividing up the fibre for spinning or plying, the colour gradient seems to have turned out well so far.

I have quite a few single bumps of fibre, which I can see destined for socks. As I spin, I'd like to experiment with different colour effects, always fun with small projects like socks if you don't mind different colours and stripes on the two socks.

I have a couple more goals for 2012, but I will save those for part 2.

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