In this episode we discuss knitting with handspun yarn, including estimating yardage, picking needle size, and selecting potential patterns.
Full transcript is available below the show notes.
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Walk Along tee by Ankestrick (Ravelry link) I’ve put the body on waste yarn to check length. I’ve decided to move on to the sleeve which will stop just above the elbow instead of ¾ length.
I started the gusset on the second sock of a pair of socks for myself using Drops Fabel Print that I bought in San Luis Obispo.
Still spinning the green and brown three ply.
Ripped out the Bear Brand Yarn socks and will be starting them again with no pattern.
Faye’s Flower Blanket. All Octagons and squares are done. One more triangle to do. Then 4 corners (small triangles).
Topic: Knitting with Handspun
- Selecting a needle size to swatch
- Selecting potential patterns
- “My yarn isn’t good enough”
- The allure of spinning thin
- The allure of spinning smooth, worsted style yarns
- Measuring yardage in a skein
- Good first projects
- Good projects for textured yarn
- More intermediate to advanced considerations
- Do these yarns/fibers go together?
Memorial Day - Labor Day
May 31st - September 6th
Hi, this is Marsha and this is Kelly.
We are the Two Ewes of Two Ewes Fiber Adventures. Thanks for stopping by.
You'll hear about knitting, spinning, dyeing, crocheting, and just about anything else we can think of as a way to play with string.
We blog and post show notes at Two Ewes Fiber Adventures dot com.
And we invite you to join our Two Ewes Fiber Adventures group on Ravelry. I'm 1hundredprojects,
and I am betterinmotion. We are both on Instagram and Ravelry. And we look forward to meeting you there.
Enjoy the episode!
Good morning, Kelly.
Good morning, Marsha. How are you?
I'm doing good.
How's the newest member of your family doing?
Oh, he's doing great. Beary is fitting in pretty well. He's walking up to about a mile now. He lags toward the end of a mile. But he's been able to go a mile. The first week... So a week ago he was at the vet. And he got his thyroid medication lowered. That's good. So now he's only on a point eight-- I think it's milligrams-- pill once a day instead of twice a day. So that's good. And he lost. He had lost last week he had lost three pounds.
All right. So and that's really not with any diet change. That's just the walking right?
Yeah. Well, more activity. I was trying to feed him the same amount that he had at the at the SPCA--hat they had told me they were feeding him. I was trying to feed him that same amount. It actually was a little bit less food than normal, because he wasn't really eating. And, you know, my dogs eat!
Even Bailey. You know, she's, well, she had Nash to contend with, she had a lab to contend with. So she knows you put your nose in the bowll, and up until it's gone. And I don't know if she was like that before we got her. But she learned to be like that, at least having Nash around. And he wouldn't, he would eat a little bit. And then he'd walk out a little bit into the yard and then he'd pee. And then he walked back and he ate a little bit more. And then he like, walked over kind of towards Bailey to see if maybe she had something better. And I was like, okay, you're not gonna-- if you're not going to finish this, I'm going to pick it up because it's gonna cause a problem. So he wasn't finishing the whole amount. So then I started feeding him lunch, I thought, you know, I'd feed him lunch to help keep his metabolism high. And so I was doing that. But he wasn't really eating lunch. You know, he wasn't seeming hungry. And so he was getting a little bit less food. But anyway, yeah, he lost three pounds. And I don't know how much he's lost since then. Bu t I do think he's lost a little bit. His feet. [laughing] He looks like he's lost weight in his feet.
That seems really strange. But that's the only place I can kind of tell. They look less puffy. Like his feet were really round, not like a shepherd. And the vet said she thinks he's mixed with Tibetan Mastiff.
Okay. That's very specific.
Yes. But I went and looked at their pictures. And he does kind of, he does kind of look like that. They have a tail that kind of arches over their back. And he doesn't have that. But they have the like, they call them cat feet in the standard. where, you know, their feet are round and tight. And the shepherds feet are more elongated.
So anyway. And his feet were like round and tight. And they still are, but they're less round. Like they look less round on top, you know?
Well, I mean, maybe he was retaining water or something. his ankles were swelling, you know, like my grandmother, [laughing] and, you know, with all this activity, things were moving, maybe.
Yeah, it's hard. It's really hard to tell. And you know, of course we can't weigh him because you can't pick him up and step on the scale with them the way you could with a smaller dog so so he'll have to wait till he goes to the vet again, for us to know for sure. I'm hoping I can get the vet to let us bring him just for our weight check. Because I don't want him to lose weight too fast. And that's part of-- that's part of regulating his thyroid if he is losing weight too fast. That could be an indicator that his thyroid medication is too high. So so I'm hoping the vet will, you know, say we can bring him in like every two weeks or something for just that. for free, just let them take him in and weigh him and bring him back out.
Enzo's vet you could just bring your dog in any time because they just have the scale there in the lobby. So you can just go weigh your dog. In fact, that's where I went. Remember that the big giant afghan?
Oh right! [laughing]
I went and weighed it on that scale.[laughing]
Marsha went to the vet to weigh her blanket!
Yeah, but now with the pandemic, you can't, I can't go into the lobby,
it's a little more of a thing of a production for them to come to them and get in weighed. So. But things are supposed to open here in California on June 15. And I don't know if that means everything. Like from then on. I actually think that the vets are probably secretly glad that no owners are in the office when they do their vet checks. Because dogs are always worse when their owners are around in situations like that. I think, I mean, they're probably-- I wonder if they'll... Well, I don't know what they'll do. But yeah, there's probably been some some added convenience to just picking the dog up in the parking lot and taking it in.
Well, and then you don't have all the animals in the lobby, too, because that's another thing, too, is altercations in the lobby. So yeah, well, that's exciting news that he's he's making some progress. Now. The thyroid medication, though, that's not because he's overweight, but he is... he will even if he loses weight, he'll be on thyroid medication.
Yeah. A weight gain is probably due to his thyroid issues. Okay. I mean, some of the weight gain might be other reasons. But some of it, I mean, definitely for a dog to be as overweight as he was, there was a thyroid problem there. That's what the vet said anyway.
And then, I'm assuming, given what you know about his history, which is very little, I'm assuming that the thyroid medication started after he went to the SPCA.
Yeah, they, they noticed that. They, they stitched him up from his wounds. And then they noticed that he wasn't kind of bouncing back. And he was very lethargic. And then, you know, the vet first thought it was just because of the what had happened to him and then being in the shelter. And then she decided, no, it's, he needs to have a blood test. So they did a blood test and his thyroid was was extremely low. So he's progressing nicely. He now lays on a pillow, it takes me about 10 times of putting him back before he is convinced that I mean it and just stays there. Or maybe he's just too exhausted. That's how I feel at the end of it! [laughing] Too exhausted
that you need to go lie down.
But the other day, I even I even came in and took a nap. And brought them back in with me during the day and you know, closed up the bedroom and, and took a nap for about an hour and a half and he was quiet in the bedroom. So he's got the routine, you know, the the normal routine plus, He knows, in this location, this is what I do. So that's good. In the backyard he's been fence fighting with the neighbor dogs, him and Bailey. So that's not good. But we're working on that.
And he and Bailey are doing well together.
go Yeah, they're having a great time. You know, they've had a couple of little tips, little fights, but nothing major. He's learning how to get into the truck. And in fact, that's one of the fights they had. He has decided that the truck belongs to him. And if she tried to get too close. If the door opens up on the truck in the backyard and she tries to get too close to it. That that's the two times they've had fights--it has been around the truck. So now I have to really watch when the truck gets opened that, you know, he...that the two of them are not real close to the door. Because he he now thinks that the truck belongs to him and she's not allowed to get near it. He loves his truck, which is good. That's what we wanted, but not quite.
He loves it a bit too much. So possessive of it. Okay, well. Sounds like making lots of good progress
Yeah, yeah, we have
So that proves that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Yeah. Yeah. [laughing]
Fitting right in and learning that learning the routine. Hmm.
Well, I think the routine is the biggest part of it, you know, just having that. Like, this is what we do every day. And not necessarily always at the same time. But, you know, these are the, these are the things that we do. And then you gradually we've been gradually increasing what those things are. So, luckily the weather's been good and we've been able to use a lot of the outdoor space. School's almost over.
Oh, how many days?
I mean, well, I'm not... I wasn't counting it in days. But I guess I could now because we're in the middle of the second of the second to the last week. Next week is finals week. I'm so glad. This week though, I'm, packed with student appointments for them to go over things and do review and such.Mostly out of guilt. Because it's the end of the semester, and I haven't been able to do as good a job as I wanted with this online stuff. And so now I'm feeling like, Okay, well, I need to make up for that by by allowing for all this extra makeup work and all that. So yeah, a teacher's life! It's never good enough.
I thought of you because the other day this was oh, maybe two weeks ago. Ben had his-- one of his his instructors had office hours. There were three hours long office hours. And Ben was in the office for three hours.
So like, yeah, I guess, all these students were coming in and going, coming in and going out.
But I thought of you and it's like, that was a long time to be in a meeting, you know. I thought of you when he was talking about this,
I think we all do it.
I'd have to go take a nap after that.
Yeah, I think we all do it at the end of the semester, you know, we want to give students all the opportunities that we can to get the material and yeah, and I, you know, I had such high hopes at the beginning of this semester that, you know, this time I was going to get the online thing. The second time around doing an online, I was gonna get it right. And of course, it doesn't feel like I got it right at all. But it was better than last time, I'm trying to have a growth mindset. [laughing] It was better than the last semester. So I have one class that's a repeat of the class I had last semester. And that class is better. And then this class, the calculus class I had last spring when we were half face to face and half online. And I have to say that the online portion of it, this spring is better than the online portion that I did last spring. So I have improved, and I have high hopes that it will be even better. In the fall semester where I'm online. I'm teaching both of these classes again. So totally growth mindset. I'm gonna be better. I haven't mastered it yet. But I will! You know, that kind of that kind of thing. But then there's a little bit of aspect of guilt, because you haven't done as good a job as you want to do so. Yeah. Yeah. But you know, that happens to me every semester, whether we're online or not, it's just a little bit exacerbated in the online environment. I always felt like I could have done better. Well, I tell new teachers, teaching is a black hole that you could pour all of your time in and never be good enough. So you can't be a perfectionist and do this job. Or you'll burnout. You know, you have to be--you have to be willing to say, Well, that was good enough. And I'll do better next time. Or I'll try. I might not, but I'm gonna try. So anyway, I'm just glad the semester is almost over.
Yes. And you have the whole summer to look forward to.
Mm hmm. And our summer spin-in.
So summer spinning! Should we get to get to the knitting and the fibery portion, the playing was string portion of the podcast?
So do you want to talk about your projects or...
Sure I am making really good progress. In fact, I'm crocheting on it right now. I'm making really good progress on the Persian tiles blanket. And I'm making it for my grand niece and calling it Faye's flower blanket. I don't have the name in the shownotes of the designer, but it's called Persian tile blanket. If you want to, if anybody wants to go look at it. And then I have it in my projects as Faye's flower blanket and that will be linked to in the show notes. But I've got all of the octagons done--20 of them! Which that was exciting when I got that last one done. In fact I almost made a 21st not remembering that I was--that I had been on 19 and 20 was done and then I reminded myself. So I moved to finishing the squares and all the squares are done. And then what I'm crocheting on right now is the last row of the last triangle. So now all I have to do are the four corners, which are also triangles. But this is lik-- it's called a triangle granny square, or granny triangle or something. So I'm on the last row of the last one of these. All I'll have are the four corners. And then
I'm looking at the projects on Ravelry. Then do you have you have to sew them all together? Right?
Yeah. And then I'll be all done. I'll be all done except for this big huge project and sewing them all together. [laughing]
Sorry to bring that up. But then it looks like it has a border around it to then do.
Let me look, I have the pattern right here. You know that I haven't...
By the way, Kelly, there's a border. [laughing]
[reading pattern] Once these are together you will have uneven blanket edges. To make an even edge you need to work around of stitches. So I do four, five, six rounds of edging!
Oh, no wonder I have so much yarn left! [laughing]
I'm thinking, Oh, my God I have so much yarn left over. But it's gonna take a lot of yarn to go all the way around that blanket. I might have to buy more. [laughing]
And you made it a little bit bigger, you put some more squares on it.
Um, also I'm sorry to be...
No, this is funny. This is an example of why you should read all the way through your pattern.
So but then also, what I was going to say is, I'm looking at the... I don't know if you're on Ravelry. But I'm looking at the other projects. Some of them have just the way you described. It looks like it's a very sort of simple border. But I'm looking at one and it's it looks like KayVicknits. And she has like a, like a lace border around it. I mean, an interesting...
And let's see if she has anything in the notes
I don't think I'll be...
But yeah, all the way around it. It's got like a triangles all the way around it. It looks like
Oh, interesting. Oh, I see. Yeah. So Oh, that is pretty. Yeah.
So if you really want to use up your all that yarn,
I actually...now that I'm looking at the border, I might have to buy, I might have to buy more yarn. But we'll see. I have an I have an awful lot of it left. I think I will just do the plain border though. On the edge. We'll see. I don't know. Getting it all sewn together is going to take a while. And the version that I'm doing will look more like the Eastern Jewels version. There was a kit, apparently, for this. There was the regular Persian tile blanket where it's all the same. Every octagon is the same. And then there was the eastern jewels version that had all the octagons different it looks like it's all different sizes of flowers. And that's the look I'm going for. And I think I've accomplished that.
Okay, Kelly, now go. I'm sorry, go look at the projects. Go look at bytheseashore, her project. And she has a very interesting border on hers. And in the show notes it actually said that she did the zigzag edging from LillaBjorn crochet.
Oh, so that is cute. She did.... So there's a little--there's a stitch in the octagon and the triangles, where you make a criss cross of treble crochets
And it looks like that's a criss cross. She's used that criss cross of treble crochets all around the edge. That is nice. Yeah. Huh. Okay, I'm gonna favorite her project. Because people who are listening, if you have not discovered this, if you save a project in your favorites, then on your project page, it will show those favorites in the lower... well for on the computer, it's in the lower right hand corner. So anything that I like the the comments on or that I'm interested in--I favorite that project and then that makes it pop up in my project page. Take a look at it. It's a nice, it's a nice feature because I've been... I've in the past had to kind of like you know, make a list of links of the ones that I wanted. And then I realized, oh, if I just favorite them. They show up at the bottom of my project page and I can get to them easily. So yeah, I'm really happy with it, I think it's turned out really nice. I am not looking forward to sewing it together. But I am looking forward to seeing it kind of come together. I've laid it out on the table. And I really like the way it looks. Yeah, it's really nice. It's like a riot of color.
Yeah. Well, it's
And I know there are people who say a riot is ugly, no matter what kind of riot it is.
Well, I think it's such an interesting project. Because as you say, it is a riot of color. But everyone's done such different things where it's like you're doing it, it's like, well, a riot of color. And then there's other ones that I think are equally beautiful, but they're very different, where they make every square, or whatever the main one is, exactly the same. And those are so it's very geometric. And it's and those are beautiful too.
Sort of Islamic or Moroccan looking. Yeah, like or well, Persian. It's called Persian tiles.
Right. And so the one I'm going on right now is KoKoRoRoknits And that's--she's done everyone exactly the same. And it's, it's very pretty, it's very geometric. Just a completely different look, you know?
Mm hmm. And actually kind of reminds me of Mexican tiles. Yeah. The the Mexican tiles that some people have on their houses or, you know, on on their steps,
Something to think about...your edging.
Yeah. I'm gonna have to reorganize the yarn and see what I have left and see what I can still do. Yeah. So anyway, that's, that's one project. And then I did make a couple of charity hats, a couple of nights where I didn't feel like crocheting. So I used som-- I have fingering weight yarns that I've kind of put together in a little kit, to use doubled for charity hats. So I just worked on those mostly--purples and pinks. And then the other thing is just the, I'm getting ready to start the socks out of the Bear Brand. Caprice yarn. And I wanted to mention, speaking of that yarn, we talked about that Bear Brand Caprice vintage yarn a few episodes ago. And just to remind you, that's the one that it says it's 100% virgin wool. But it really feels elastic. Like it's got some kind of elastic in it. And it looks like there might be an elastic ply. If you look really closely, there's a really thin ply. That looks like it might be elastic. So I think when they say...I don't know, it doesn't say 100%, it might say all, all virgin wool. I think they're referring to all the wool that's in it is not recycled. But it doesn't say on the label that the yarn is all wool. But anyway, we talked about this in a previous episode, how interesting this yarn is, and I am going to make a pair of socks out of it. I've ripped it out, ripped out the last pair and I'm going to restart them. Maybe today. I have a meeting this afternoon. It might be good meeting knitting, because I'll be done with my crocheting, most of it.
I got a message from Jane Haskell about our conversation of the bear Brand Yarn. She says "I heard you mentioned Bear Brand. Attached are copies of covers of two books. One has many socks, including Argyle circa 1950" and then she has in parentheses, "or MCML" because that's the way it was listed in Roman numerals and
If you can read Roman numerals. [laughing]"The other is circa 1939. Both were my grandmother's and have her notes in them. I have many more vintage books of my two grandmother's and two grand Aunts and possibly one great grandmother's that I am yard saling this summer." I would like to go to her yard sale
[continues reading] "I do not have any bear Brand Yarn from stash that I inherited or if I do I've already sold or goodwilled it. I copied the inside of the cover of the 1939 books so you can see what it says." And she sent me that copy. "There are other pages about blocking, measuring, showing illustrations of measurements, and darling little swim costumes and so on." So she says she she loves our show and listens while she's driving. She lives on an island on an island in Maine's Penobscot Bay, where there is a knitting retreat this summer sponsored by Portland's, Maine yarn.
So thank you, Jane for sending that information. The copies that sh sent me, were really interesting to look at about this yarn and I'm gonna, I'm gonna print it out and stick the page inside of the bag that I have the yarn in, so I won't forget,y ou know, what kind of yarn it is and where it came from. So that was interesting to get some information about my vintage yarn.
Yeah. Interesting. Well, yeah, maybe we have to get on a plane and go to her yard sale. [laughing]
Go and buy more knitting knitting books. I just got rid some a few years ago
I know, I just got rid of a whole bunch. But that doesn't stop me from dreaming.
I know. I know. There's so interesting to look through those, through those old fashioned, old fashioned books. That's the end of my projects.
Well, I don't have a lot to report. I'm knitting on my sock, right now as we're talking. The Drops Fabel Print that I've been working on a really long time. And I'm working on the gusset. I have one more decrease round. And then I'm just going to be doing the foot. So I don't know, maybe in two weeks, I'll have finished it. I don't know, it's sort of my you know, the mindless knitting that I do.
Then my Walk Along Tee. Um, you know, in the, in all the past episodes I've been talking about how I'm a little anxious about the quantity of yarn, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, last night, I knit to about 11, I think was about 11 and a half inches of the body, which they say to knit. And then what you are supposed to do is then you bind off, but then pick up stitches in the contrast color to make it so it looks like you know there's a T shirt under a T shirt, which I'm not going to do. But if you do that, it's more of a tunic length. And I don't want it tunic length. So I decided last night to put it on waste yarn and try it on. And I think I'm at the length I want. I'm so this is my... Well, I still have to do about a half inch of ribbing. And then what you're supposed to do then is, as I said, you bind that off and then pick up stitches to knit in stockinette in the contrasting color. What you do on the neck edge, and the sleeves, the cuff of the sleeve is you knit in ribbing, and then you change to the contrast in color and you just do, I believe it'd be reverse stockinette. So then that contrasting color sort of curls back and makes like a tube kind of you know, and so I I have to make some decisions. Do I put that same detail around the bottom of the sweater? Now I know a lot of people are saying, well, you don't really want to have a line around the widest part of your hip. I'm not too concerned about that. That never really bothers me having stripes. But I'm.... So I've decided how I'm going to do that. I'm also trying to decide should I just finish the sweater now? The bottom? Or should I just leave it on the waste yarn and go and do the sleeves and finish the sleeves? And then think about the bottom? That'll give me more weeks to think about it? Or do you know what I'm saying?
That's what I would do?
Yeah, that's what I would do.
And then what I had planned on doing with the sweater is to make three quarter length sleeves. I may have enough yarn for that. Because I have... I just-- I had to put-- I have just two balls left I mean, so it's basically roughly a little less than one skein left because as I've talked about endlessly that those skeins I split into half into two cakes. So one of the cakes I've used maybe a quarter of it. The other cake, I just maybe did two rows of the body with the second one. So I think between the two of them, I would have enough to do three quarter length sleeves. But now I'm trying to think. I'm beginning to think I don't want three quarter length sleeves. I think I just want short sleeves, not cap sleeves, but just come down like mid because three quarter length would come down.
Like past your elbow.
Past my elbow. So I don't know. That's what I think.
that's what I think too.
And so I'm thinking maybe I just want it to come down. maybe longer like this. The the pattern shows that you just knit a few rows and then you start all of the ribbing and the contrasting reverse stockinette. So it's more of... it's like a short short sleeve. I'm wondering if I want to have it come down just just right before the break in my arm kind of, or above that.
I have to do some thinking.
It's best not to have your... like they say you don't want to stop something at the widest part. And so it's best like not to have your sleeve stop at the biggest part of your bicep.
So to either be up a little higher or down a little lower.
Okay, why is that?
I don't know, I guess it has to do with, like, to look flattering, you know? And I have no idea if it makes it makes it look smaller or if it just makes it look more balanced. You know, I don't know if it has to do with... When you say flattering a lot of times flattering is a euphemism for skinnier. Oh, yeah. That makes you look thin, right? And that's not what I mean.
So I don't know if that rule applies because it does make you look thinner, and that's what they mean by more flattering, or if it actually has to do with the aesthetics of it. And kind of the balance of the garment.
Do you remember that the T shirt you made? I think it was the Havasu Falls. And don't the sleeves hit...
I didn't make that.
Oh, what's the one?
Oh, Havana? I made one called Havana. Is it brown?
No, the one that was like, oh, and maybe it is brown. The pattern the
Summer Fjord? That's the one you made. That's my gold one.
No, no. Okay, I'm wrong on that. This is where we have the bad podcasting where we go down these rabbit holes that were not prepared. Let me look at...let me look at your projects.
I'm guessing it's probably Havana.
I think it is Havana.
It's a kind of a pale Brown.
But you made that quite a while and I'm having to scroll down through all of these. All of your projects. Oh, yeah, Havana? Yes, that one. Okay, so let me look at that one. Let me look. Oh, yeah. So those sleeves hit you right above the elbow kind of. You know, they're a little bit..they're not cap sleeves, but they're not three quarter length.
Right. Yeah, they're .... I put them... I made those end at the elbow, like right above my elbow.
Do you think that's a flatteringlook? I'm looking at the pin. Yeah,
I like it. Yeah. I like those sleeves a lot.
I like that sweater a lot. I think it's a really flattering sweater.
Okay, so then my question is ...,
And by flattering. I don't mean it makes me look skinny.
Okay, so now I'm looking at Honey of a Tee and you have three quarter length sleeves. Do you like... are you happy with that?
Well, you're no help because you like both of them. I
Well, it depends. I like those because... I like those because I think of that as a warmer sweater. Even though it's made out of cotton. I don't-- I don't think of wearing that sweater when it's warm out. The way I do the Havana, that one I wear when it's warmer. I actually think just looking at the pictures. I think that Havana sleeves look better.
So then this is my other... the question I have to then in my mind about this is a merino wool t shirt. So am I gonna wear it in the summer? So do I...? That's why I think I want a little bit longer sleeve than what they're showing in the picture. But I don't know. Yeah, I don't I don't want full length I've decided. But I am thinking... maybe that's why I was thinking originally three quarter length sleeves because it is a wool sweater. I don't know that I'd be wearing it in the summer.
But I think probably if I had made the sleeves on this-- the Lavender Honey is the pattern. I think if I had made the sleeves on that a little bit shorter, it would look a little bit less like my sheet sleeves are just too short. Oh. I like this sweater a lot. And I wear it a lot. But it does...Looking at the picture, it does look like maybe my sleeves are just a little too short. More than that I purposely made them that way.
I mean, I don't think it's ugly. I like it. But it does. It does look like an odd length
I think... okay, well that helps
If you made them--if you made these sleeves, the longer sleeves I would say have them stop right after your elbow. Whereas mine go like halfway between my elbow and my wrist.
Yeah. And that's the thing with three quarter length sleeves, too, is you have to find that length that where it looks finished and not like I ran out of yarn.
Yeah, that... I mean, that is kind of the danger. You want it to look like it was on purpose. Yeah.
Anyway, so I'm making progress on that. And then the other thing I've been working on is spinning. And so yesterday, we had a beautiful day and I had been painting at the other house and I came home and I sat on the on my deck, yay! And I've got my--I've got my pots planted. And I've got the umbrellas out there. And so it's a very different, very different experience than a year ago at this time where it was a dust pit back there, no deck. But anyway, I was working on spinning. So I'm almost done. I think the... Okay, the last time we recorded I had ordered more fiber of the bitter chocolate, the dark brown. And I have that. I have not opened the package yet, I have probably another just 12 inches of the brown roving to spin, and a little bit of the green. So my plan is to ply that last of that green with the three ply with the three ply with the brown. Then all the brown that's leftover, I'm just gonna do a three ply of the solid brown. But I haven't finished plying the green and brown together yet. So I'm going to... I still have that to do. But I'm making progress, you know?
Yeah, that's a that's a big... I mean, it's a big spinning project to make a sweater.
Yeah, it is.
And I have not had... and honestly, I've just not had a lot of time to spin, or the time that I've had to spin, I've been so tired that I just get into bed and you can't spin in bed.[laughing]
Right. Anyway. So that's it for me for projects. I think it's a nice lead in to--talking about spinning a nice lead in to a question that we have from a listener.
So yeah, one of the questions that I've had was about knitting with handspun. And so I wanted to talk a little bit about you know, what, what has been our experience knitting with handspun and some things that especially new spinners can think about or use as tips or, or tricks or strategies or whatever. So one of the things that I kind of don't like to see is when people talk about how much handspun they have, and that they've never knit with it. Like, oh my gosh! You have to have to knit with your handspun. But now, if you were to ask me that when I first started spinning, I had no desire to knit with my handspun I just wanted to make yarn. And then of course, you know, the knitting and the weaving were partly self defense against all the yarn I was making. My main goal was to make yarn but but it is really satisfying to make something out of your own yarn. I think I always really enjoy it. So one of the things I just wanted to mention is how I select a needle size to swatch and I learned this a long time ago. And I usually, I mean I usually do this as a way to kind of identify what needle I'm going to start with. I get out my needle gauge and I double up the yarn and I poke it through the holes in the needle gauge and I look for one where it it goes through pretty easily. It isn't like scraping the edge the whole time. It's not so big that, you know, it doesn't touch at all. Where does the yarn doubled fit through the needle gauge the best? And that's where I start and then I usually swatch one down, one needle size down from that and one needle size up from that and then I look at my fabric. And then if if I think, oh, maybe I want to try a little bit looser or a little bit tighter I'll, you know, I'll go even further up or even further down but usually one up and one down gives me three choices. And one of those three choices is a fabric that I like and a gauge that I like and then I'll go look in Ravelry and use the gauge as one of the filters in the advanced pattern search. I think I've talked about that before--how I use that in the advanced pattern search.
and I'm just.. This is not about... This, my comment, too This is just about doing swatches. And this is not about handspun this was all swatches. And people probably know this but I had not known this and I think my friend Kim told me this, is that when you do your swatch, like if you're going to do three different... I just, I don't make three individual swatches, I just do--I make it all one. I just chang the needles. But to keep track of which swatch is which size needle, you put holes in there for the size needle. So if you're knitting on size three needles, you put three, you know, three yarn overs, knit two, and then knit two together, yarn over, knit two together, yarn over, knit two together, so you get three holes. So then when you look at your...right at the beginning of the swatch, so then when you wash it, you know which, which one is which. Yeah, so five yarn overs for if you're using five, size five needles, etc. Do you do that?
Yes. The only time that I haven't done that is been has been when my needle size is so big that I don't have enough. I don't have enough stitches on my swatch. And instead of making a bigger swatch, you know, wider swatch, I have just used a different technique, like, you know, make a little note or, or tie a little string on it with the right number of knots, or something like that. So, but yeah, I do use that technique a lot. You have to make sure that you swatch long enough if you do that. Because if you make little, you know, four row swatches, and one of your rows is holes. That's not going to give you a very good idea.
But, I like to, I like to make a good size swatch. And then I always wash the swatch too, just to see what that does to see what the fabric looks like. So yeah, and then I just select the pattern based on based on those patterns that match my gauge. Because I don't, I don't like the game of trying to get trying to get gauge, I'd rather get a fabric I like and then find a sweater that uses that gauge, then try to get a gauge that my yarn is not going to want to do.
Well and then also select a pattern that, beyond gauge, a pattern that will work with the type of fabric that you've created or what type of... because you know even with with handspun, but even commercially made yarns, some work in lace, some don't some work with cable, some don't. Some you know, some work with texture, some don't. So that's why another reason to make kind of a large swatch too is that you get a better sense of what it's going to look like. If you were to do cables, or
Yeah, like a really textured yarn. Don't bother with a really patterned a really detailed pattern like cables or, or... Well, that's sort of what happened with those socks, right? I was trying to, it wasn't handspun. But I was trying to use the Matcha pattern that had, you know, some texture to it, with a yarn that already had texture. And it was pointless.
So you do have to be be aware of that. So, but we've had a lot of people make things out of their very first handspun in the summer spin ins that we've had in previous years. So yeah, so I think I think we do have a good, a good track record of helping people and supporting people. And the group of people who are who are chatting in the thread, also giving a good, good amount of support to people who want to make something out of their handspun. Yeah, it's always fun to see that happen.
Now you've knit with your handspun. I mean, you're not a new new spinner, but you knit with your handspun. And right away.
Well, my very first one that I made, I think it's still in a ball. And then I'm like, Oh, I'm going to spin some yarn and I'm going to make a hat for Ben. That thing is like it weighs... It feels like it weighs a pound. I should weigh it. It feels like a weighs a pound. Super dense. super heavy. But you know, I will never throw it away. And then I... so this kind of leads into another thing we were just going to mention. But anyway, I said I was gonna make him a pair of socks. And out of my handspun. And I was going to try, I was trying to spin fingering weight or sock weight you know, but it's worsted weight. And so these are very heavy, heavy socks and they're... and I got the... You wouldn't think that I would get the stitch count off given that they were so big. There wouldn't be that many stitches for a worsted weight pair of socks. But one of them I got this. I don't know how I did it, but I have too many stitches. So one is significantly larger than the other. So but I still have those But just a side note about the comments about the yarn isn't good enough and the allure of spinning thin. One of the things like I talked about that a lot, I don't seem to be able to spin... To date, I have not been able to spin yarn that's finer than DK, perhaps. It's always ends up being worsted weight
Well, and you always make a three ply. Right? I mean that you could make it... you could, you could have a fingering weight yarn if you use the singles. At this point,
yes, yeah, yeah. ,
or maybe only two ply,
yeah. The but then I've made I guess I've made two sweaters with my yarn, right? Did I make two sweaters? Because I did the, I can't even remember!
You made two combo spins.
I did the combo spins. And I made two. And I really I have to say I just really like knitting with the handspun. It's a different experience knitting with handspun. Because there is, because I I'm a newer spinner than you are. And that first combo spin I think was the first time I had spun a sweater quantity of yarn. And so because it is handspun, there is variation. And that's actually kind of fun to knit with to see. I found it enjoyable. It just yeah, it felt really good to knit with my handspun and I don't know, it just... it's it's because of the irregularities it's just much more textural and but when you actually knit..
There's so much more life. So yeah, there's some element of life to it, that...
it has a bit more soul to it.
And also, I mean, it has a little bit more spring to it, too. I mean, really, I mean literally has more spring in it, I think, than a commercial yarn. Its more elastic. I mean, it depends on what you're spinning, but for the most part, I think my handspun is much more elastic than than any commercial yarn. Yeah.
Yeah, I just like it. It was very enjoyable to knit with.
Your first project wasn't a sweater, but I know of people whose first project has been a sweater. And I, you know, I'm not gonna say... I'm not gonna stop anyone from jumping in feet first like that. But I think some good first projects are like what you mentioned. A hat is a good first project. I made potholders out of the the really ropey heavy, dense yarn that I made originally. I made potholders, I made a little bag for my spinning wheel oil, and the potholders I felted. So they were really nice and thick. So those are good, some good first projects. But a hat is a good project, a cowl is a good project. Socks, I think probably better if... One of my first projects was socks, too. And they were super dense. In fact, I, I couldn't I could barely knit two together. Because the yarn was so thick, and my needles were so small. And they you know, I just, I had an impression of how thin the yarn was, when it really wasn't, you know.
And, and that was my experience with the socks that I made for Ben. It was so dense that it's very difficult too. My hands hurt and knitting together for the decreases was really, really challenging.
Yeah, so probably, I mean, probably you were using needles more along the lines of sock needles, using a yarn that was closer to worsted weight.
And so slipper socks would be a better, a better choice, you know, a worsted weight pair of slipper socks would be a better a better choice probably then. Just for ease of, ease of knitting. But yeah, there are a lot of I mean, there are a lot of good projects for handspun. And this idea that your yarn isn't good enough. I mean, a lot of people will say that, you know, I want to get better before I use my yarn. I would say... I would say your yarn is good enough. It's a matter of the right, you know, finding the right project for it. And it's only the super early yarn that is so dense and ropey. I mean, people quickly, I think, move from that sort of ropey plying, really dense plying. And that happens pretty quickly.
Well and that ropey hat that I made. You can see, you know, when you when you're plying and you get those little corkscrews, that you can't undo and lots of that! And so and you can... so many of you can actually see it in the finished project. But you have to start somewhere.
That's right. That's right.
But I have to say, with the two sweaters that I made, as I say, the yarn is, has character, you know, they have thin bits and thick bits...
Oh, yeah. They're, I think they're really nice. The, but what I was going to say is that, and we've talked this about this before, but you have thick and thin bits in the single, but then when you ply it, that changes. But you still may, even if you still have thick and thin bits after you ply it, that all changes again, when you knit it up.
And so those thick and thin parts really begin to sort of just disappear, I think. And worst case scenario, if you have one, that's just one spot that's super, super thin or super, super thick, you cut it out and just
spit, splice the yarn together and keep knitting, you know,
if you have a bad spot, or if you have one of those pigtails from plying that you don't want to be in your...
Oh, that's what it's called?
The pig tail is what I call it. I don't know if it's...I don't know if that's what it's called or not, but that's kind of what I call it.
So, um, but then Kelly, uh, how about measuring the skein?
Oh, yeah, that's the other thing that happens when you're new, is you have a misperception about how much yarn you made. And, and there does seem to be not so much anymore. There used to be a lot of, a lot of I don't know, like, you know, the social media kind of pressure about spinning that I didn't have, because there wasn't social media. Right? I didn't know what other people's spinning looked like, you know, other than when I went to guild meetings and saw it on, you know, saw what they were working on. But I didn't do that very, I didn't do that that often. And Spin Off had episodes, they had issues where they started to after-- I'd been spinning quite a while-- they started having issues where you would send your yarn to them, and they would photograph it and they would put the skeins in the magazine, the photographs. And that was the first time that I really had a ton of exposure to other people's yarn. And that wasn't even, you know, real life exposure, but picture exposure. So I didn't have you know, the pictures that people will post. And I'm not, I'm not criticizing people for doing this. But I think somebody, the way people perceive it is different, like people will post pictures, and they'll put a coin along with yarn, right. And the idea is to give you some some element of scale, you can tell how, how thick or thin the yarn is. But sometimes I think when I see, you know, some of these pictures are especially... it used to be more common. I would see I would see these pictures or I would hear people talking about how thin their yarn was. And it was like that was the only thing that was valuable was the thin yarn. Like if it wasn't thin it was not worth spinning or doing anything with and you had to try to get as thin as possible. Well, there's a use for thin yarn. But I don't knit with lace weight all the time.
So like, what are you going to do with, you know, dozens of skeins of lace weight and thinner. So you know, make the yarn that's going to fit what you're going to... what you're going to make. And so if you like knitting with DK weight yarn, then that's the weight that you should try to spin for. If you like fingering weight yarn, then you can try to spin for fingering weight and that'll you know, that'll mean your plies are a little thinner. But experiment, you know, with thick yarn and thin yarn. And there's nothing inherently better about spinning thin, I guess is my my point. And then the other thing that's also true is the worsted yarn. A lot of times I'll see at a spinning event that, you know, people are spinning like this. They call it inchworm style. And again, there's nothing wrong with spinning in that in that way. It makes it very smooth, compressed yarn, because you're only letting a little bit of fiber out and then you're smoothing it down before you advance it. So it makes it very smooth, and also very compressed yarn. Which is fine if you're wanting worsted style yarn, right? That's what worsted style is. Very smooth and compressed. But if you want something fluffy or light, then you know use a different spinning style. And you'll have fluffier yarn or it'll have a halo to it. And there's something nice about about the fact when you wash it, it gets a little bit fuzzy, you know, more fuzzy. So I guess... I guess the point I'm trying to make is that, I would suggest if you're a new spinner, just spin and see what happens. I mean, it's... Yeah, it's good to have goals. And it's good to try things like to give yourself a lesson or a challenge. You know, for learning. But when you're first spinning, I think, just spin and see what happens. And some fibers are going to want to be more smooth and other fibers are going to turn into a yarn that's really fluffy. And sometimes you're going to get a yarn that's thick, and sometimes you're going to get a yarn that's thinner, depending on the, the, you know, the fiber that you're using. And that's how and then you can kind of learn what they say, like what the fiber wants to be. And then don't try to make fiber be a way doesn't want to be.
So anyway, that's... Yeah, I think that's kind of an important thing to think about.
But we started this about measuring the yardage. And so Kelly, you want to talk about how you how you measure or how you taught me to measure the skein?
Yeah, How did I get from... because you said that already...measuring the yardage. How did I get off...
I know, I'm trying to guide you back on topic graciously, but I don't think I did it very graciously. [laughing]
No, that was nice, Marsha. Thank you. [laughing]
Measuring the yardage. Be careful when you measure on the niddy noddy because it's going to be stretched. So like I have what's called a one yard niddy noddy. And it's not actually one yard. Like if I, if I measure a piece of yarn that goes around, even if I use like cotton string that doesn't stretch at all, and I go around my... or if I take the tape measure and go around my niddy noddy, it's not quite a yard. It's a little short of a yard even though it was advertised as a one yard niddy noddy. And then if I wind the yarn on to it, of course, it's tight. So just counting how many times... Actually it's a two yard... Sorry, it's a two yard niddy noddy. So just counting the number of times I went around doesn't really give me the yardage that I have. That... I did that, I made that mistake. I made that mistake before. Thinking I had way more yarn than I actually had. Yeah. So now what I do is, after I've washed it, skeined it up and washed it, I just lay it out kind of flat on the ironing board or on the table. And then I just measure, I just measure how long that skein is kind of, on average, like I put the tape measure, kind of in the middle of each end and and measure. And then I just you know, and I count how many, how many threads there are.
Now you do that though, after you've washed the yarn.
Yeah, I do it after I've washed it. And, and I don't count it while I wind it on because I can't do that. You know, I could count and say, Oh, I went around, you know, 300 times as I'm winding it on. I don't usually do that. I usually count them after it's been washed. Just because I know I'm not going to keep track while I'm winding.
Okay, well, do you want to know what I do?
What do you do
So because you gave me the niddy noddy, your extra niddy noddy and so I think we have the same one it's the two yard one. So in theory, what I do is I do count as I wrap around the niddy noddy I count up to 20 and then make a mark on it on a piece of paper.
You're much more disciplined!
And then because I could not count 300 I would lose track right? But if I just count to... and if I'm really distracted I just count to 10 but I count around 20 times mark on a piece of paper or 20 times mark it so then it ends up being... say I have it's I've wrapped around 80 times it usually ends up being an odd number you know 87 times. Then what I do is I multiply that by two and then I measured the length, I take it off the knot and I don't stretch it really tight but I just hold it straight out and I measure it usually it ends up being 30 inches
yeah mine's somewhere around there.
So what I end up doing... but I haven't washed it yet though. So what I do is I then my math is you know the number of wraps-- times I've wrapped around, say it's 87 times, times the length, which is 30 inches, then doubled times two, then I divide it by 36.
And that tells me how many yards I have. Approximately. Now, I have not. So this the yarns that I'm working on now, I then I put a tag on it. You know what the fiber is, how many yards, approximately, I think I have based on that, then I weigh it to figure out how many ounces I have. You could also do grams too, but how many ounces that skein is. And then in the lower right hand corner of the tag, I put a one and then a slash, you know, like if you're gonna do percent, one slash, and then when I'm all done... So you'll have one, you know, a skein one, skein two, skein three. And then when I'm all done, I fill in how many skeins I have. So it's one of ten, two of ten, three of 10. Don't ask me why I do that. Just because I'm I, it might be kind of weird. But then I know what was my first skein. And what was my last skein. And I was thinking the reason I... Well, actually I do, actually, you can ask me why I do that. Because I do have a reason why I do that.
Why do you do that Marsha?
So that my theory is, when I start, say I'm going to knit a sweater, then I can knit with my first and my last skein. Maybe alternate my first and last skeins. And so that is because there is going to be variation, I would think because you are like, for example, this green and brown that I'm spinning, it's it's over a period of months that I'm spinning it. And sometimes I take a week or two weeks break that I'm not doing anything. So there is going to be variation between the first skein and the last skein just because, yeah, weeks, months or years have gone past, right. So that's sort of my idea is well if I then can blend them, keep track of those skeins, I can blend them as I'm knitting, alternate those skeins.
That makes sense. I think you would especially if you were a newer spinner, it might get finer as you go, even if you're trying to keep it consistent. And even if you have a control card, you know, or a piece of yarn that you're using to spin to, it's very likely that you are going to get better, your spinning is going to improve. And and a lot of people when their spinning improves, they do end up you know, they have more facility with drafting and they do end up with a thinner yarn. Yeah.
And then the other thing I do is I... So with that first skein, so I know I have say 150 yards and it weighs two ounces. I know that my... so then I then I can figure out well, how many yards am I getting per ounce?
And so, and I have... I'm starting with this many ounces of fiber, it gives me a little bit so it's not accurate, because it's only my first skein. But it gives me kind of a sense of like, well, how much yarn do I think I'm going to get, how much yardage am I going to produce out of so many ounces of yarn. And then as I say, then I add in skein two, skein three, and it's to see... And it's pretty accurate from that first skein, even as I started adding and doing the math to see how many ounces or-- excuse me-- rephrase that. How many yards per ounce I'm going to get. It stays pretty consistent as I started adding in the skeins. Does that make sense what I do.
Yeah. And then that gives you an idea whether you have enough fiber or do you like in this particular sweater quantity that you're spinning right now. You decided you needed to buy more fiber, because you knew you weren't going to get the yardage that that you were hoping for. Yeah, no, I think that's I think that's really good. I think those are kind of our main thoughts about knitting with your handspun. Or crocheting, doing any kind of working with your handspun. like, how do you find...
Yeah, yeah, we didn't even talk about weaving, weaving is a great thing to do with your handspun. because textured yarn makes really nice weaving projects. And you don't need to worry about gauge.
So what are what are what are good projects for textured yarn, in knitting or crochet, do you think?
Um, I Well, I think the the slipper socks is a good one because it will be... they will be nice and squishy and I think a nice cowl would be good in a textured yarn. You know, for for knitting or crocheting.
What about people who are more advanced and you start doing sort of like those, what's the word... Art art yarns, you know. Like they actually spin...that's what I was thinking of like when you spin in, you intentionally spin like thick and thin, exaggerated...
Yeah, I've seen some really pretty sweaters with the slubby yarn, you use kind of a loose gauge and that way the the real slubby parts can, can show up. Well, like my Sonny Bono jacke is at a really loose gauge, and that yarn is definitely art yarn, you have all those locks sticking off the yarn. So I do think a looser gauge is best for those kinds of yarns. And you could use them as... I've seen people use them as like the, the, you know, brim of a hat and then the rest of the hat is ... like the the part you fold, or like a cuff, you know, on a sleeve or a yoke like a stripe in the yoke. So you could use your handspun along with something else. And that's a really nice way to to use up just a one skein, you know, one small skein of yarn? Yeah, in a project that's not a handspun, not fully a handspun project.
Do you have anything more you want to add on this topic?
I don't think so today. I think that's, that's good. And then we'll add other topics. And we're interested in knowing... I put a question in the summer spin in chat thread, to let us know if you know if there's anything that you would want to hear about during the spin in. The topics that you'd like us to talk about in spinning on the podcast, you can do that. You can send us an email, you can contact us through our website. Two Ewes Fiber Adventures dot com. We have a Contact Us page, you can contact us there. You can contact either me or Marsha on Instagram, through direct message and we can add your your question to our to our topic list.
And we'll talk more. Hopefully, we'll get a lot of good questions. And we'll add some. We'll talk about spinning over the next few months. Because just a reminder, the summer spin in starts. It's Memorial Day through Labor Day, which is May 31 through September 6. And so we'll be talking more about spinning over the summer months.
Yeah it's a good three months, a little more than three months of spinning.
By September, people will be saying, please stop talking about spinning! You've spun us dry. [laughing]
Anyway. All right.
So I'm excited about projects plans. So anyway,so Kelly, do we have any anything else we wanted to say?
I don't think so.
Should we say goodbye?
Yeah. Yeah. Let's say goodbye. We'll see everyone in two weeks. We'll talk to everyone in two weeks. All righty. Bye. Bye.
Thank you so much for listening. To subscribe to the podcast visit to Two Ewes Fiber Adventures dot com
Join us on our adventures on Ravelry and Instagram. I am betterinmotion and Kelly is 1hundredprojects. Until next time, where the Two Ewes doing our part for a world fleece!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai