Sunday, December 9, 2012

Because I Can

I first have to thank you all for the kind birthday wishes and warm welcome back into the blogging world.  It's nice to know that you are all still reading after so long.

I don't know why I ever try to make a plan for something as unpredictable as knitting, but I really did intend for all of my sample knitting to have been finished several weeks ago.  I ran into a bit of a complication with the final sweater and didn't finish it until yesterday, but that still means that all of my sample knitting is done!  I can't tell you how liberating it feels to know that I can knit anything I want, at whatever pace I want.  In a strange way, it almost makes me want to knit nothing, just because I can.

But of course that would be ridiculous, so I immediately cast on for a pair of fingerless mitts.  You see, I don't own any.  I can't tell you how many pairs I have given away, but for some reason I don't own any myself.  What makes this so absurd is that I have longed for a pair for years and have never made it happen.  Every fall when my hands start getting cold, I think about how great it would be to own a pair of fingerless mitts.  I plan them in my head, I think about what they would look like, what yarn I would use, but in all the free time I have had over the years, I have never found the time to knit myself a pair.

Until now.  I finished my final sample sweater last night, cast on a pair of fingerless gloves, and by noon today they were finished.  It turns out it doesn't take very long to knit two small tubes.  Now I'm kicking myself for spending all those chilly evenings suffering with cold hands for no reason.

I was weaving in the ends when my little sister asked me to take her sledding, so I bundled up, shoved the mitts in my pocket along with my camera, and we headed out for an afternoon of sledding, fort building, snowball throwing, snow eating, and hot chocolate drinking.  It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

I made the mitts out of a partial skein of Shelter I had leftover from a hat I made a year or two ago (which I also wore today.  I don't think I've ever blogged about it, though.)  I used the Camp Out Fingerless Mitts pattern and modified it rather severely to fit my hands and work with the yardage I had.  They worked out perfectly, if I do say so myself.

They look exceptionally fetching in handspun, so I have a feeling I'm going to be knitting another pair or two before I've exhausted this pattern.  I'm sure they'll be nice to have around.

I'm off to grab a mug of tea and enjoy the rest of my day off sitting by the fire and knitting whatever I want, because I can.  They're predicting 8-15" of snow before this storm is over and I'm quite content to surround myself with wool to wait it out.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Growing Young

I thought today would be a fine day to re-enter into the blogging world.  The air outside is crisp, we've had our first (and second) snowfall, and as the temperature continues to drop and the days become shorter, all thoughts turn to knitting.

Today is also a fine day to re-enter into the blogging world because today is my birthday.  I have officially reached the quarter-century mark and oddly enough, I feel quite young because of it.  Last year when I turned 24 I felt so old and nervous because I thought 24 sounded like a very serious age and I wasn't ready for that.  Of course, at that point I was still working on my Master's degree and was surrounded all day by young undergrads fresh out of high school, so that may have had something to do with it.

After my last post at the beginning of July, my scenery has changed quite a bit and with it, my perspective.  I moved back to Minnesota a few months ago (so long Pittsburgh, it was fun!) and immediately began the stereotypical life of an unemployed musician - working part time at a coffee shop.  I do really enjoy that job, despite the 5am call time, because of all the interesting and diverse people I get to meet.  Lately I have also been subbing in a number of orchestras in the area and each time I show up to rehearse, I observe that I am the youngest person there.  It's this change in daily interaction that makes me feel young at 25 when I felt so very old at 24.  I am no longer surrounded by children of the 90s, but working adults with much more experience than I have been able to gain in my time.  I suppose it's a welcome feeling.

Enough of that, this is a knitting blog after all.  There are a number of reasons why I haven't been blogging lately that I won't go into, but one of them is that I haven't been able to show you any of the projects I've been working on.  Ever since I moved back to MN at the end of July, I have been a bit inundated with sample knitting for various designers.  (The fault is all mine, I have a problem with saying "no.")  Though my needles have been rhythmically clicking their way through countless sweaters, scarves, shawls, and other accessories, I can't show you any of them and have been left rather starved for blog content.  However, as a birthday gift to myself and my sanity, I have decided not to say "yes" to any more sample knitting for a period of time, which will allow me to spend my free time doing whatever I want - knitting, spinning, reading, or (and this is quite new) weaving.  I just need to finish up the last of my samples and I'll be good to go.

I did sneak one simple little project in there with everything else.  I couldn't resist.  I had been in dire need of something mindless and this ball of Kidsilk Haze Stripe was staring me in the face.  On the ball band is a simple 1-ball scarf pattern that has proven to be quite popular and it is exactly what I needed.

I had never knit with Kidsilk Haze before (I made an attempt back in 2008 and very quickly put it in the "we will never speak of this again" file), but it turns out it's really not difficult.  It's really just like knitting with any other yarn.  Who would have thought?

I didn't get any good photos of the finished project because I was in a bit of a rush when it was done.  I had plans to meet a good friend for dinner and decided that this scarf would be perfect for her, only it wasn't finished yet.  I spent the day knitting away and finished the scarf 15 minutes before I was supposed to meet her at the restaurant.  I gave it a nice steam, blew on it for a bit (because clearly that helps it dry faster), and wrapped it up on my way out the door, pausing briefly to throw it down for a few quick photos.

I have to tell you guys something about these scarves, though.  When you finish, you will immediately want to begin a second one.  It's almost guaranteed.  The only thing that stopped me was my lack of a second ball of this stuff and the two sweater deadlines jabbing me in the back with their addis.  I did trip up once and went to the yarn shop to find more yarn, but the kind workers must have known my situation and hid all the good colorways before I got there so I wouldn't be tempted.  The colorway you see here is 204 and also the only one that I might be able to pull off wearing as a man.

I am envisioning an impossible number of exciting projects in my future and will be sure to keep you all in the loop.  It's gonna be great.  I'll leave you with an unrelated picture of me playing the bagpipes outside of a church.  I played for my brother's wedding in October and was warming up outside when this picture was candidly taken.  I didn't even know anyone else was around, but I love the picture.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Spin Like The Wind

Just popping in for a quick update.

It appears that every single one of you, or at least those who voiced an opinion, felt that I should start spinning for the Tour right away and not wait for the official start date.  As I was of like mind, I sat down at my wheel immediately and began spinning.

I currently have 15oz. all spun up, 12 of which have already been plied and finished (washed, beaten, and hung to dry.)  That means I'm a little over a third of the way there with plenty of time left to finish if I continue at this pace (which, it turns out, I haven't been.  But there's still time.)

I have something cool to show you.  Or at least I think it's cool, but it's very possible that I've simply spent too much time alone in my apartment in the past few weeks.  Nevertheless, I'm going to show you anyway.  I've finished three skeins now and I washed each of them on a different day and hung them up to dry.  When I hung the second skein next to the first one, I was shocked (and a little worried) to see that it was four inches longer than the first!  And it wasn't nearly as bouncy, either.  And it's not like I hang up my yarn sopping wet, either.  I wrap it in a towel and stomp all over it and swing it around in the air above my head after I wash it and it's really only a little damp by the time it gets hung up.  I figured at that point that I had screwed everything up and had ruined all my plans of having an awesome sweater because one skein was lofty and airy and the next was kind of lifeless, but it turns out that as that second skein dried, it sprung up and shrank those four inches to match the first.  So here's a picture of the three skeins together in varying stages of dryness.  They're now all dry and look like the same yarn (and are the same length), which is good because they're supposed to be the same yarn.

This is going to be the greatest sweater ever.  I've already designed it in my head (I think.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tour Prep

I've been thinking a lot about whether or not I'm going to participate in the Tour de Fleece this year.  I'm nervous that my plans for what I would spin are going to take up more time than I have to dedicate to spinning.  The thing is, the day after the Tour is over I will be shoving my apartment into a U-Haul and moving back to Minnesota.  This means that the weeks leading up to that day should be spent packing and organizing, not spinning.  But doesn't it seem to be the nature of our craft that the more we have to do in our day, the more often we find ourselves instead stealing away to knit, spin, crochet, whatever?  And if I spend the time I'm pretending I don't have to pack spinning instead of, say, playing Angry Birds or eating ice cream then at least I would still be productive, despite the fact that I would still not be doing what I should be doing.  (Wow, I'm not sure that sentence made any sort of sense.  I hope you can figure out what I mean to say.)  So I'll tell you what my plans are for the Tour de Fleece and then I'll also tell you about what I'm thinking about doing instead (which would be cheating, but only a little bit.)

Last year when I visited Joan we went a little crazy and dyed up a bunch of fiber and then turned it into a ton of batts so that I could spin enough yarn for a sweater.  And you know how our Joan does thing.  We didn't just dye a solid color and call it a day.  No, we dyed five different vibrant colors and then blended them all together to make really beautiful batts that still read "brown" if you squint, but are much, much more than brown.

Plus, the fiber that we dyed was mixed BFL, which means that the undyed fiber itself was several different natural colors, giving each color we dyed a depth that adds to the complexity of the final batts.

They're super colorful, but the resulting yarn isn't unwearable because spinning further blends the colors together and makes the whole thing incredibly amazing.  I know this because yesterday in preparation for the Tour I decided to spin one of the batts up as a sample to see if I could produce the kind of yarn I intend to make with these batts.  I'm still not incredibly confident in my spinning abilities and I didn't want to dive right in and muck everything up.  But I love the yarn that I ended up with.

I can't help but spin carded fiber using the long-draw technique because I am over the moon in love with the light, lofty, airy, soft, springy, warm yarn that it produces.  An added bonus is that I can spin long draw much faster than I can spin a smoother, denser yarn which makes my goal of spinning enough yarn for a sweater in about three weeks more achievable.  So the tentative goal is that all of these batts will have been turned into yarn by July 22.

So now onto how I plan on cheating making things a bit easier for me.  Because I have to be ready to vacate my apartment the day after the Tour is over and I don't want to stress myself out and I do want to spin up all these batts this month, I'm thinking about starting NOW, a couple of days earlier and then simply spinning along in the spirit of the Tour, but not really participating.  Of course, I came up with this idea last weekend which, had I begun last weekend would have given me an entire extra week to spin, but as it stands, I'd only gain three and a half days.  But listen, three and a half days could make or break this project.  So what do you think, should I wait?  Should I just start now?  Do you think I can get those all spun up in time?  Let's not forget that I'm also supposed to be spending my days practicing.  Practicing and packing, that's what I need to be doing.  But this batts are so pretty, aren't they?  How could I say no....

Friday, June 22, 2012

Déjà Vu

Now, I know that I just showed you some handspun and a blue shawl in my last post, but I guess sometimes that's all there is to show.

I started this shawl (Lacewing, by Anne Hanson) over a year ago for our Joan as a thank you for putting up with me when I went to visit last summer.  I intended it to be finished much earlier than this summer, but once school began again last fall all hell broke loose.  I developed tendinitis in both hands because of all the clarinet playing I was doing and could no longer knit in my (minimal) free time.  Everything related to knitting got put on the back burner for about nine months, but I would pick up this shawl every once in a while when I wasn't playing as intensely.  This meant that I only worked on it during Thanksgiving break, Winter break, and Spring break, which gave me just enough time to finish it up as I reached the one year mark.

I used a bit more than 1.5 skeins of Fleece Artist Suri Blue (discontinued).  The pattern itself was very thorough, but went on for pages and pages and at any given time you had to be working from charts on at least three separate pages.  It was difficult to keep track of everything that was going on, but I don't see how the pattern could have been written more concisely and I believe that if you want to end up with something like this shawl, there's no way to avoid putting in the work.

And really, once you reach that finish line and pick up the blocked shawl from the floor for the first time, all that work is worth it.

The handspun I have to show you didn't take nearly as long.  I think it must have taken two weeks tops, but I didn't really pay attention to how long it took.

This was 4oz. of Into the Whirled merino top that I split in half and spun into a two-ply yarn.  The colorway was "Brown."  Totally right down my alley.  I ended up with about 370 yards.

(That last photo is bad because I took it on my phone in my practice room, but y'all have seen yarn before, right?)

Alright, it's time for me to head home now, but hopefully I'll be back soon to show you the sweater I've been working on, some mittens that I haven't, and my plans for participating (or not) in the Tour de Fleece.  Catch ya later!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Just Like That

Oh my gosh, you guys, I completely forgot to show you the coolest part about my trip to Montana!  So, the morning after my audition I went to the hotel "restaurant" to have breakfast and the very nice waitress lady looked at me for a bit and then said, "You look familiar..." to which I simply responded, "Yes, I was here yesterday, too."  She would have none of that, though.  She continued to ask me if I was a musician and I explained that yes, I am a musician and there were currently a lot of musicians in the hotel because the symphony was having auditions that week for seven different positions and then she just said, "I knew it! That's why you look familiar" and walked away to get my food with no further explanation.  Of course, I thought this behavior a bit odd, but I was tired and coffee-less and to be quite frank, I didn't care enough to be bothered.  It was only when I went to check out of my hotel room that I figured out how she knew me.  As I was waiting to turn in my key I glanced over to a stack of newspapers on the edge of the desk and saw, well...  this:

Dudes, I made it onto the front page of their newspaper!  Right below a $225 million dam and above a spelling bee was me making my embouchure face.  After one day of being in that town, I had already made it onto page 1, just like that.  They sure do know how to recognize a star when they see one!  Naturally I grabbed two of the newspapers and stuffed them into my bag on the way out the door to the airport, where I was once again recognized.  I was sitting at the gate waiting for the boarding to begin and there was a man sitting across from me and I saw him pull out the newspaper and I simply waited.  He opened up the front and glanced at the headlines as one does and then I saw him pause, look up at me, look back down, look up... look back down... and then he went and brought the newspaper to his wife, where he proceeded to point at my picture, and then over at me and then she nodded, I think to confirm that it was, in fact, me on the front of the newspaper.  Of course, that's about as far as my starlight shone, but we all need our 15 minutes of fame, right?

Anyway, on to woolier things.  I promised you some yarn and a shawl, so let's get to it.  The yarn was spun from 4oz of carded Hampshire wool and I loved every minute of it.  It was dyed by Dan at Gnomespun and was part of his Mythic Fiber Club from a couple of months ago.  The colorway was named "The Dagda" after a figure in Irish Mythology.

I spun the fiber long-draw for an incredibly airy and bouncy 2-ply yarn and I couldn't be happier with it.  Seriously, I love this kind of yarn and I have been racking my brain for something to do with it, but for now it sits in waiting.  It's about a worsted-weight and 270 yards and ...all of a sudden just right now as I am typing my mind decided it's going to be mittens.  So I guess that's that.

The yarn was actually finished back in March, so for something a bit more recent I give you Miralda's Triangular Shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush.

Yeah, it doesn't look so great unblocked, does it?  This little shawl knit up lightning fast and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I used about a skein and a half of Davidson Domy Heather in the Slate colorway.  I don't think the company has an online presence and the last time I checked, the only place to buy it online was through my Minnesota LYS, The Yarnery.  It's really some nice yarn - not the softest, but not as scratchy as something like Jamieson's and it has great yardage, as well.

It took me less than two weeks to knit this shawl and I have to tell you something about the nupps - they didn't slow me down at all.  Really, they just flew by.  It turns out they're not so hard.

I almost want to knit this shawl again because it was so fast.  The only thing I would change if I were to do it again would be the border along the top.  It's written to begin each row with a k2tog, yo and I think that with that knit two together right on the edge it makes it look a bit sloppy, but maybe that's just my own sloppy knitting style.

In any case, it's a lovely shawl and I have promptly stuck it in a drawer because I have absolutely no idea why I made it.  Sometimes knitting is just like that, you know?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Road To Unemployment

You guys, I feel a little bit like I went through some sort of time machine last week, only it wasn't the kind you see in movies where you're instantly transported to a different decade.  No, this one was a bit more trouble and took the form of four airports, three airplanes, and two standby flights and I'm pretty sure I was still in 2012 when I landed, but man, I was in a different place for sure.

The place, if you're interested, was Great Falls, Montana.  If you want to get there, it seems you have to spend half a day trying to catch flights to numerous cities around the country before landing within this hidden gem of a city.  Self-described as "a small prairie town," Great Falls is known for it's less-than-impressive waterfalls (think feet tall, not meters or stories) and for being the location of one of the first filmed UFO sightings in the United States.  So I suppose I should have been prepared for what I was getting myself into.

But I was still blindsided by the abundance of 1950s hairstyles, outdated gender roles, and well... the mermaids.

You see, all my life I have been told that mermaids were not real.  That they were simply a mythical creature dreamed up by sailors who had spent too long at sea away from women and looked upon manatees with too much lust in their eyes.  But no, dear readers, I am here to tell you that mermaids are real, and Great Falls has them.  Not only does Great Falls have them, but they have kindly put them on display at the Sip 'n' Dip Lounge for all the world to see.

Yep, right there behind the bar so that I could order my drinks and watch these wonders of the sea at the same time.  One of them even waved at me.  (As an aside, I was in Montana to audition for a symphony there - I didn't get the job - and this was the hotel that they recommended I stay in.  It would appear that this town prides itself on these little mermaids.)

I always thought that mermaids and their sisters of the sea, the Sirens, would have little effect on me as a gay man, but I have to admit... I couldn't tear my eyes away.  Now, I don't think I was experiencing the same draw that the group of boys in the corner taping dollars to the glass were experiencing, but I was nonetheless intrigued - at least until my beer was gone.  (The beer was really only a prop for me to use so I had an excuse to sit there and take pictures.  I felt like ten kinds of creepy.)  Besides, I had more important places to go, like the yarn shop.

It didn't take me long to figure out that Pam's Knit 'n' Stitch (man, Great Falls really loves that abbreviated "and") was just down the road from my hotel (although, truth be told, everything in this town was "just down the road."  It wasn't the largest city in the world...) and I headed off in search of some souvenir yarn.

Along the way I passed NYC, which is what tipped me off that I had somehow stumbled upon some sort of time/space-bending machine.

But it was a quick trip and I was soon in Great Falls again at the entrance of the LYS.  Now, at this point I had already learned what to expect from this town and wasn't holding my breath for anything worth looking at in this shop, but I was once again pleasantly surprised.  We can always count on a yarn shop to put our minds at ease, no matter how far-flung we are, am I right?  The books and magazines were up to date, the yarn selection was great (and current) and the woman working was very pleasant to chat with.  She didn't even miss a step when she saw a man walk into the store.  She simply asked if I was a knitter or a crocheter and then showed me all of the new yarns they had just gotten in.  Now, you guys know my rule about souvenir yarn buying - I can only buy something if I don't have any in my stash, if I can't get it at home, or if I have never seen it before.  With that in mind, I left with a great hand-dyed sock blank made from locally-grown and spun Targhee wool that I'm sure will make a great accessory that is not a pair of socks for me.  (Don't bother googling "Rockem Sockem."  You'll just end up with a bunch of results for boxing robots.)

I continued my Montana-based theme and also picked up a skein of Mountain Colors Winter Lace (50g).  Of course, when I got back to my hotel I realized I didn't really have anywhere to put this yarn in my luggage, but where there's a will, there's a way.


I was planning on showing you guys a finished shawl and some handspun in this post as well, but I think there's plenty here for you to absorb, so I'll pop in sometime in the next couple of days to do that.  And don't forget - if you're looking for mermaids, they're in Montana.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Catching Up

I know I keep saying that I'll post more often, but I continually forget how difficult it is to find the time to sit down with my computer and write something up.  Actually, the hardest part about it is sitting down at school with my computer, which is still the only place I have internet access.  However, armed with a new computer (with a screen that works!) and a wealth of free time now that I am done with school, I have high hopes for a blog revival.  Really, I do.

I thought I would take today to catch you all up on things that have been going on around these parts and then in my next post I'll jump back on the fiber train with some new spinning and knitting.  Yes, knitting.  I'm doing it! And oh, does it feel good to be back with the needles and yarn.

So here I present you with a collection of photos and commentary about what I've been up to these past few months.  Most of these are random photos I've taken on my phone or "borrowed" from Facebook.

With the year coming to a close, my friends and I took some time to hang out before we all move our separate ways.  One night we spent some time gazing at the Supermoon (whenever that was.  Probably forever ago.)

And then once we were all (mostly) done writing out term papers, we took a day off to go hiking at Ohiopyle State Park in southern PA.  It turned out to be a beautiful day.

I also went to a Scottish festival with the Carnegie Mellon bagpipe band.

There was, in fact, an army of pipers.  I now fully understand how intimidating it must have been to have a whole brigade of pipers marching in the front lines of battle.  We marched onto the field in such a way that half the pipers marched on first - right at me - and holy crap it made me want to turn and run the other way.  I totally get it now.

Our band competed in the piping competition and won!

And then the next day I graduated!  I cannot express in words how freaking excited I am about this.  I now officially have a Master's degree and what's more, I'm done with academia forever!  Or at least for the foreseeable future.  I don't currently plan to get a DMA so for the time being, I'm done!  I'm educated and ready to go out into the real world!  19 years in the making and my (formal) education is finally done and man does it feel good.  Naturally I played pipes at the ceremony.

And that about sums up what I've been up to.  Mostly finishing my Master's degree with a bit of fun on the side.  The trip to Carnegie Hall was really fun, my graduate recital went really well, and I also played a concerto on my school's last orchestra concert.  Hopefully I'll be back next week with some more exciting news, but I'm not going to jinx myself, so I'll wait to tell you about that.

I hope you're all enjoying the wonderful holiday weekend!  Take care...     ~Master Peter

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I believe it might be time for another update.  In short, it goes like this: lots of clarinet, a little spinning, no knitting.

As my final semester in graduate school progresses, each day gets busier than the last.  Days, weeks, and months seem to fly by at the blink of an eye which is entirely disconcerting considering how much I need to get done.  Every week I find myself thinking, "It's Monday again??  That can't be possible!  Didn't Monday just happen?"  And now with the month of April peeking around the corner, things are really going to start to get hectic.

I'll be traveling to New York with my school's orchestra and choir this weekend to perform at Carnegie Hall.  As exciting as that may be, it means that two entire days will be devoted to riding on a bus, which in turn means that there are two whole days that I won't be able to practice.  I know, it sounds insignificant, but like I said  - there's a lot to do.  My graduate recital is only a few weeks away and although I'm sure I can afford to take a day or two away from practicing, I have an irrational fear that if a single day goes by in which I don't practice, I won't be prepared.  This notion, of course, is preposterous considering the fact that I have been learning this music for the past, oh, six months.

If any of you are interested, my recital will be webcast online and I invite you all to tune in and watch!  It should be loads of fun.  The recital is scheduled on Saturday, April 14 at 5pm EST, so mark it in your calendars and then all you have to do is go to and there will be a link 15 minutes prior to the starting time that you can click on.  Easy peasy!  I'll try to post another reminder in a few weeks if any of you are interested in watching.

So that's what's going on with the clarinet, but I know most of you are here to read about things fiber-related.  It just so happens that I do have a few things to show you, and more waiting in the wings!  No knitting, mind you, but my spinning wheel and I continue to become better acquainted.

I finally finished spinning up those Cupcake Fiber Company batts from Joan.  I started them eons ago and, well...  You know how if you're knitting on a project, but then you put it down for, say, four months and then pick it up again and finish it only to discover that your gauge was completely different for the second half and it doesn't really resemble the beginning at all?  That's what happened with my spinning.  Only, I sort of knew it was happening and didn't do anything to fix it.  When I spun the first batt, I spun it using worsted techniques, which really just means that I was producing a relatively dense, smooth single that didn't have a lot of loft or bounce to it.  The trouble is that I don't particularly care for that type of spinning.  To my impatient self it takes too long and that type of spinning doesn't necessarily produce the bouncy, airy, warm yarns that I love.  Also, I find that if I spin that way for longer than, say, half an hour, my eyes get really tired and I spend the rest of the day with a headache.  (Some will suggest spinning with better lighting.  Believe me, I have tried.)  This is all to say that by the end of the sixth and final batt, I was spinning in a way that didn't even begin to resemble what I started out doing.

Do you see how the bobbin on the left is much smoother and the individual strands are more defined?  That was my first bobbin.  The one on the right is much loftier and has much more of a halo to it, which gives it that softer look.  "Oh well," I said, and plied up my yarn to see what would happen.  I spun six one-ounce bobbins, so I plied together bobbins 1,3, and 5 and then 2, 4, and 6 to make two skeins of 3-ply yarn.

Really they're not bad considering my complete disregard for consistency in this project, but you can tell that the skein on the left is a bit loftier than the one on the right (on the left is skein 2,4,6.)  At any rate, I do love the finished result and can't wait to get my hands on some more of those batts.  And this time I know how I like to spin them up.  These two skeins total about 870yds.

Once that yarn was off the bobbins I started spinning up some fiber that I picked up at my LYS.  The fiber was from Frabjous Fibers and was a combination of 65% merino and 35% sparkle in the Redwood Forest colorway.  (I put "sparkle" in italics because that's how I say it - with a bit of flair.)

I have to say, this was a pleasure to spin up.  I didn't really have any plans for it other than trying to get a slightly larger yarn.  I split the fiber in half and then just spun up two bobbins and plied them together.  Super quick and super fun.

The singles weren't incredibly consistent, but that doesn't bother me even a teensy bit.  The finished yarn is soft, squishy, and - in the right light - quite shiny as well.  With 230 yards it's perfect for making some whimsical little accessory, but for now it sits in waiting.

I always find myself looking for my next spinning project as soon as I finish the last one (much as I used to do with knitting.  ::sigh::) and the next project on the wheel was some hand-dyed Hampshire roving from Dan at Gnomespun that I got as part of his Mythic Fibers Club.  For this club he would take a mythical being and create a colorway that he thought would be represent that character.  The braid I chose to spin up first is based on The Dagda from Irish mythology.

I just plied up the yarn last night, but haven't wound it off the bobbin yet.  Once again I split the fiber in two and spun up two bobbins of singles.  The prep of this fiber lent itself very well to spinning long-draw, which I am beginning to suspect is my preferred way of spinning.  The resulting yarn is going to be seriously bouncy and warm, just you wait.  I'll have to save that for next time, though.