More Batt Spinning - Layered Batts and Color

I've been spinning fresh samples for my Batts in the Belfry:Spinning Batts class. Spinning samples never gets old because I always see something a little differently.

This is a layered batt from Essential Fiber. It's brown, green and white. I wanted to see how the colors would play out, depending on the direction I spun the batt.

I divided the batt in two horizontally and pulled one half into roving in the direction of the batt's grain. The other half I rolled with the grain and pulled into roving against the grain. I spun them both into chubby singles and knit stockinette swatches.

The yarn and swatch on the left is the with the grain and the yarn and swatch on the right is against the grain. The yarn looks very similar color-wise, but the yarn spun against the grain mixes the colors, they look sprinkled. The colors in the yarn spun from the end are blotchier, there are areas of distinct colors rather than heathery color. Today I like my colors more mixed, but I may have a project in the future that wants the broken up colors, so I'm happy to have this as a reference.


Stone Fabric in the Louvre

On our family vacation this summer I spent a tiny (2 hours) amount of time in the Louvre. We saw some of the greatest hits, but what really struck me were the sculptures.

When I visit an art museum I tend to fixate on one thing - color, texture, particular animals in pictures, beautiful fat women, beards, just about anything can strike me on a particular day.

I think it's my way of not being overwhelmed in a museum with so much to look at.




On this trip, at this museum, it was the depiction of fabric in Greek and Roman sculpture.

The detail and drape, the motion, it's amazing. I've never been much interested in sculpture and have no idea how the sculptors manage the fluidity in something rigid.

 I was mesmerized by it, going from one to the next. Here are few pictures I took while I tried not to touch the sculptures.

Batt Spinning for the Tour de Fleece

batt bundle collage.jpg

I ordered this Mork Made Fiber Co. batt a while ago. I fell in love with it online, bought it and never took it out of the box. I didn't want it to get squashed in my stash or extra fuzzed by being tossed around.

I finally decided to spin it for the Tour de Fleece this year, and cracked the box. It's still gorgeous. Plus a found a surprise inside - thank you Nicole!

I opened the batt and spent some time petting it and studying the color layout. The fibers are alpaca, silk, wool, sparkle and other sexy smooth things.

The back of the batt is black alpaca. I was attracted to this batt because of the brightness, so I stripped away a bit of the black.

I pulled off a strip, divided it horizontally and spun it two ways, with the grain of the batt and from the fold. Even with a little sample like that I was able to tell that it would look different. The yarn on the left is spun with the grain and the colors are more mixed together. The yarn on the right is from the fold and the colors separated, especially the black. They did not want to hang together spun from the fold.

I like my colors mixed and tweedy,  spinning with the grain of the batt won. I pulled the batt into roving, spun it from the end and plied it on itself.

I wish I had bought the second batt in this colorway, I really like this yarn and the batt was such an effortless spin, over much too soon!

My Tour de Fleece spinning this year has nothing to do with quantity. It's all about squeaking in spinning between the business of our summer. Right now I'm working on another Mork Made batt, core spun and chain plied.

What are you spinning?



A Quick Vacation Update



I'm back from my vacation and it was as wonderful as everyone said it would be.

The part I didn't anticipate was how hard it would be to jump into life and work when I got back.

My brain rested, it saw beautiful things and spoke to new people and thought about things other than email and dinner. It just doesn't want to get back to details, so I am slow even a week after getting back.

The whole family is rested and happy.

Later I will dig deeper into what I saw and can't stop thinking about. But for now here are some very random photos from our foray.

The Eiffel Tower. We had perfect weather like this for our whole trip.

How did sculptors manage to make hair look so real?

The modern stained glass windows at Notre Dame really want to be a weaving.

I can't go into a castle without think of Monty Python.

We drank a lot of beer.

How is Prague such a magical city? Parts of it are Disneyland-crowded and touristy, but I can't wait to go back.

And Hild is an excellent novel, I highly recommend it!

Mixing Colors in a 3-ply Yarn

In my Knittyspin column in the new issue of Knitty I compare an overplied 2-ply to a 3-ply yarn (top photo).

I didn't plan very well for my samples fiber-wise. I got very excited spinning my 2-ply yarns and didn't have a lot of fiber left over for my 3-ply (second photo).

I divided each of the three hunks into three pieces, along the natural breaks in the fiber (photos three and four).

Then I rearranged them in three different orders (photo five).

When I spun and plied the fiber the colors inyarn are more mixed up than if I had just spun them as they were (top photo yarn on the right).

Next time I'll plan a little better!


Don't Smoosh Your Gauge Swatch

Are you a smoosher? Do you press down when you measure your gauge? It can cause real problems, especially with bulky or lofty yarns. I measured a bulky swatch twice. In the top photo I just placed the swatch gauge on my knitting and measured - 5.25 stitches to 2". I measured the same knitting again and pressed down.  Yike!  4.25-4.5 stitches to 2", that would give me trouble if I needed to have a specific gauge for a garment or anything I wanted to fit. I press down sometimes when I measure gauge, thinking that it would keep my swatch from shifting - never again!

What Should I Read on My Trip?

I'm counting the days until I leave on my almost two week trip. I'm sorting the odds and ends, what to knit and what to read. I'd like to take just three fiction books, I think that's the most I can hope to read, plus I've got some back up on my iPad.

I'm thinking of Hild and another book. I'd like something fat, but available in paperback. I've only once picked the right fat book at the right time for a vacation in my life.  A Solider of the Great War for a week long back country camping trip.

What do you suggest?


A small word of caution for those of you thinking about winnowing your stash. Keep a few of all the basics.  I went through my stash not too long ago, medium-aggressively. For this trip I got it in my head I want to knit socks (it's been years). I went hunting for some Regia or Opal yarn, plain, perfect, easy. One, that's all I left myself in my clearing out, one skein of Opal. I'm hoping this lack of sock yarn won't set me on a Regia/Opal buying frenzy in Germany.