Monthly Archives: September 2013

More spinning to mark the days

Spinning is what I do when I’m not knitting. It’s what I do while I “watch the Internets” (what I call the Netflix movie viewing we do since we don’t have TV). It’s what I do when I’m sick of the city and wish I could live on a farm. It brings me closer to the earth than I would think possible, living as we do on the 19th floor of an apartment building in Center City Philadelphia.

walk arrow bfledit

Here’s some spinning I completed this week.

First up, some Gale’s Art Naked Blueface Swirl Top. This 4-oz undyed braid was soft and marbley, and I almost didn’t have the heart to spin it up. But I’m so glad I did. It drafted beautifully (I usually use long-draw, when I can) and I ended up with 246 yards of a soft, cushy, slightly-scratchy (in the best possible, wooly way) 2-ply Aran weight.

BFL

My husband and I already decided that it will be something for him. But I also kind of want it to be a cowl. And, for some completely unknown reason, men aren’t big cowl-wearers. We’ll see about that.

Next, the Arrow Acres Alpaca I showed the other day, with slightly improved pictures. I’ve not spun alpaca before, and I think I may want to run this through the wheel again to give it a bit more twist, but is feels so gorgeously drapey as-is, and I’m not sure if I want to jeopardize that. I think I’ll just make something that won’t see a lot of hard-wearing. The marled color would make a fantastic, lightweight shawl. As I already mentioned, it’s a 2-ply fingering, 386 yards from 4 oz (the two colors are from Lily and Bing.)

Downloads1

Last but not least, a mix of superwash BFL, superwash merino, and bamboo, hand-dyed by the very talented Cathrine Walk of Walk Collection. I love the pearlescence she achieves in her dying. My husband bought me this as a present, and I love the subtle colors; it reminds me of winter at the beach. I got 144 yards of a bulky 3-ply. I think I will have to design a simple, laid-back beachy hat just for this skein.

WALK

I’m working up some patterns, too. I’ll share those soon, once I have finished test-knitting and writing them up.

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alpaca handspun

Since I still don’t have anything coming out of the dyepots to show you, I thought I’d give you a peek at my most recent handspun. I bought this 4-oz two-coloured roving from the lovely sisters at Arrow Acres Farm in Wall Township, NJ, the weekend after Thanksgiving last year (take that, Black Friday!) The fiber was shorn from Lily and from Bing–two alpaca I had the pleasure of meeting while I was there. It is such a pleasurable experience, working with the fiber from animals you’ve interacted with and seen enjoying life, and from the family of farmers who take care of their animals with pride and a sense of purpose. I try to spin only from such situations (though I do occasionally fall for the pretty colors on Etsy!), and it’s an ethic I would love to incorporate into my dying. Eventually, I hope to find a small fiber farm near me that would be interested in a dyeing partnership. But that might be putting the cart before the horse right now…

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. Spinning.

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I spun this long-draw, and it came out to a light fingering, 2-ply, 386 yards. I say “came out to” because I just let my fiber become what it wants to become–I really just let it fly out of my hands as it wants to.

missteps and apples

Had a few setbacks today. Nothing insurmountable, not even worth sharing (though I will mention that a trip to the post office to return an incorrect order involved slashing my hand on a tape dispenser and sheepishly asking the postal clerk behind the bullet-proof glass for a tissue while my hand became increasingly bloodier…)

Anyway, on days like today, certain songs make me feel better (along with lots of hydrogen peroxide):

Also sights like this:

photo by loveelamb

And like this:

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and so it begins

Franklin Fiber is a project that has existed in my mind for over a year now, and I am excited to finally take my first steps. My deep passions for knitting, texture, and color have collided and the result is a line of kettle-dyed and self-striping yarns handmade by me, in the colors I dream of finding but never do. I aim for the aesthetic that defines me: quirky, modern, classic, earthy, youthful, urban-but-dreams-of-farming. Contradictory. Observant. Quiet. Always thinking.

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Everywhere around me inspiration is jumping out, and I can’t take notes fast enough–that perfect French blue! That leaf against that bark! The light and shadows on a piece of tin foil! The sun on my old porcelain flower pot! I feel like Zeus when Athena sprang out from his head. Or maybe I feel like Athena? Or maybe I’m just inspired by ancient amphorae?

Here, some photos that are inspiring me today.

puddle

balcony

pool

plane