Tag Archives: yarn


I’m on a spinning roll.  As soon as I finished the Random Colors Merino last night I started on a top of Romney that has long color gradient.


It starts with yellow and moves through sunset colors to midnight blue.


After reading a Yarn Harlot post quite a while ago, I have wanted to try to spin a long color gradient yarn and I found some lovely tops at The Homestead Hobbyist on Etsy.  After dividing the top down the middle lengthwise, I spun two bobbins beginning with the yellow and ending with the midnight blue.


The result after plying today is a skein 136 yards long of light worsted yarn, named Midday to Midnight.  What else could it be called.

Once it was finished and I was rummaging around in my fiber basket trying to decide what I want to spin next, I decided that I really should put my inventory on Ravelry in my notebook.  If you are a knitter or crocheter, please feel free to browse, http://www.ravelry.com/people/Mountain-g-mom, maybe something will catch your eye.  Some of my yarn is for sale at Greenberry House in Meadows of Dan, VA, some I still have here and can’t decide whether to use it or sell it too.  At least, I now know what I have on hand, well most of it, there is a sampler of fiber that are tiny hanks that haven’t been spun or inventoried.  They will likely be added to my Funky Fiber yarn that will some day become a knitted throw.  I didn’t decide what to start.  Perhaps I should finish the Tunis with the Finn X Jacob and have that yarn ready to knit when I get out of the spinning mode and want to make the Rib Warmer for fall.

A Spinning Lesson

Several days ago, I blogged about my crafty hobbies and got several responses about how great the photos were, but they didn’t have any idea what the terms were.  This will be a short lesson with photos about how thread, yarn, string or even the huge rope that tie up a ship are made.  Spinning is a very ancient art that involved twisting fiber by hand, spindle, spinning wheel or machine into strands or singles and then taking two or more of those singles and spin them together in the opposite direction, allowing the twist you created to hold the strands together, called plying.

Many fibers can be spun.  Wools from dozens of varieties of sheep, llama, alpaca, cashmere goat, angora rabbit, yak, buffalo, whatever has hair of sufficient fiber length to twist together.  Silk cocoons, cotton, hemp, flax, and synthetic fibers such as acrylics to name a few can also be spun.

I am currently working with wool processed two different ways.  The red on the left is called a batt.  The wool is combed out to line up the fibers and left in big clouds or sheets.  The dark on the right is pencil roving.  It is also combed out to line up the fibers but the fibers are then rolled into long loose ropes with no strength.  These are two of the more convenient ways to process the fiber for spinning.  A chunk of the batt or the roving is pulled off, fluffed apart to make it looser, called predrafting, then spun.  The single that you make is much stronger that the product at the start, but even stronger if it is then plied to another single.







The red batt is Tunis wool and the dark pencil roving is a blend of Finn and Jacob wool, so three different sheep breeds represented.  All of these are fairly soft and have a long fiber, making spinning very easy.


Once the spools, called bobbins are full or you run out of fiber, it can be plied.


My spinning wheel is equipped with a built in bar with two pegs that fit through the center of the bobbins to hold the full bobbins for plying.  This is called a Lazy Kate.  You can see in the photo, the two singles being fed back up to the top bobbin for plying.




This is a two ply yarn for knitting, crocheting, or weaving.  You can see the twist because of the use of the two colors in my effort to make a tweed like yarn.  The coin is an American dime to give you some reference to the thickness of the finished product.

Once it has all be plied onto the bobbin, it will be wound off and measured then washed and hung to dry before it will be ready for use.  We will save knitting terms for another lesson.

For you curious or scientific minds, go grab a few inches of kitchen twine and you can reverse the process to see how it works.  The plies will pull apart and you can see the twist, then if you take a ply and start unraveling it, you will see that it twists the opposite direction.  It is really quite an interesting product.

Long ago, our ancestors would start with the raw fiber, wash it, comb it, spin it, then knit or weave it into a garment for warmth.  My end goal is to reach the point where I can do a process called sheep to shawl where I will do everything except sheer the sheep.  Last year I did help with an alpaca shearing http://wp.me/p3JVVn-mU but that is another story.


Rainy Wednesday

This is the 4th consecutive day of rain and we are sitting in the middle of an area showing the potential for some very severe weather this afternoon.  We should start seeing some sunshine again tomorrow, I hope.  The coop is nasty and the hay is wet, so I can’t add more.  The wind blew the tarp off the round bale just before the rain started.  It will have to sit in the sun for a few days before it will be dry enough to add to the coop.

Each morning as I put my rain jacket and boots on and slog over to the coop, I find all 10 chicks in the smaller third with Cogburn and his Queen, the Olive Egger and the two Buff Orpington hens in the larger 2/3 section.  This amuses me because as soon as I open the pop door, several chicks are pushed out to the ground by the two adults trying to get out.  Usually one of the BO hens comes out too, but the second one seems to have difficulty returning to the small side to exit and needs help.  The chicks then all come over to eat, including the ones who were pushed out.  They gather in the pop door and poke their heads out, but still won’t venture outdoors on their own.

The runs are muddy, thus the eggs are dirty each day.  The garden is soggy.  I hope we aren’t facing another cool wet summer like last year, I really want to get a good supply of tomatoes, salsa, pasta sauce, chili tomatoes, pickled peppers, beans and hot sauces canned this summer for next winter.

The wet weather has turned me to books and spinning.  I discovered a local author and am working his newest book after reading his fourth book last weekend.  One was great, this one is too dark, but both are set in our area which makes them interesting.

Spinning is progress on the 4+ ounces of red carded Tunis wool that I purchased at The Olde Liberty Fibre Festival a few weeks ago.  This is my first experience with Tunis and I think I like it.  I am debating plying it with the Finn that I bought at the same festival, creating a red and dark tweedy yarn.  We will see.  That would give me about 6-7 ounces of yarn with which to knit.


Tonight is Knit Night and I will go if we aren’t under a tornado warning.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.


I don’t generally post more than once a day, but I couldn’t resist this one. As I was reading a blog that I follow, http://divineknits-infiknit.blogspot.com/ she had a post entitled “You collect what…?” a discussion of the various types of collections that people gather and what each of these types of collectors are called.  That post sent me back a bit.  As a kid, I collected postcards when we traveled which was not varied and involved an annual trip to a mountain retreat and a spring or fall trip to the Outer Banks for a camping.  Then in my late 20’s, I took up snow skiing and those trips were more varied, we wore knit caps on our heads then instead of helmets, and I started collecting the little souvenir pin badges from each ski resort and wore them on my knit hat.  The postcards are long gone, the badges might still be stashed in a drawer, but I no longer buy them when we go to a different resort.

But I do collect, functional but beautiful things now.  I do not want clutter about our home, but I love handmade items, so our home is a collection of hand thrown pottery, functional items.  All of our dishes, mugs, service pieces, canisters and crocks to make pickles or hold cooking utensils are pottery.  As well as candle holders, pitchers and platters.

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I also collect baskets, many that I made, or were made for me by a friend that I crafted with, several that are ones purchased by artisans in organisations that are attempting to aid poorly compensated artisans to a fair wage. But they don’t just hang around, they are used lovingly to gather produce or eggs from the farm or to store fiber and yarn.





And I can’t forget the fiber and yarn that I spin and knit into beautiful garments to wear or gift.

Life is good on our mountain farm.