Category Archives: Sweet Georgia Yarns

The Big Leap: SGY February Fibre Club

The February fibre club is a superwash Targhee. The colourway is called The Big Leap. Fine, soft wool. Would be a good candidate for sock yarn, but after spending 10 days spinning 413 yards of three-ply yarn for socks last month, I wanted something different. My fellow spinner friend Rachel was playing around with singles, so I thought I’d try my hand at them again.

I split the top into eight equal sections and spun them with just enough twist to lock the fibres. I tried to make them at least a DK weight. Targhee has a lot of crimp. My hope was that the DK singles would plumb up after washing and end up a wee bit thicker. Here’s what the eight nests looked like, ready and waiting to be spun.

2016-02-12 15.50.45

And here’s the bobbin, a mere two hours later! After the marathon of spinning for the sock project, this two-hour spin was a dream!

2016-02-12 19.11.18

I wound it off the bobbin and onto a niddy-noddy. Tied it up with figure eights and let it sit overnight. Here’s what it looked like when I took it off the niddy-noddy. Active twist, but not crazy so. (Terrible colour due to poor lighting, but you can still see the twist.)

2016-02-13 07.48.10

Then it went into a hot, soapy bath. I squeezed and squished it to get the fibres fully saturated with soapy water and moving back to their original crimp. Even though it is a superwash wool, I still shocked it, by tossing it from the hot soapy water into ice cold water. I was hoping that at least a few of the fibres would full and make for a stronger singles.

And here it is, dried and happy for its photo-shoot. I hung it to dry for the day with no weights. It is a lovely, soft yarn. 363 yards of soft, goodness. Not sure what to make with it yet. I am just happy to hold and admire it.

2016-02-13 07.49.17

Wintergreen: for socks

Over Christmas I suffered a knitting injury. Totally self-inflicted and I have no regrets. However, it did cut into my knitting time and spindle spinning. The adult colouring books satisfied my need to do something with my hands, for only a short while. I was at wits end. And then along came the January Fibre Club from Sweet Georgia Yarns. It was a stunning braid of Polwarth/Silk (85/15%).

I stared at it for a week, petted it for another week and then decided that I may be able to spin on my wheel without doing any further injury and impede my healing. I decided that I wanted to make socks with this fibre. Polwarth with a good amount of silk is perfect. I may have to hand wash them, but that’s okay. I’m not a big fan of the superwash fibres. They have a different feel and while I will work with them, they aren’t my first choice.

For socks I decided to spin a three-ply with medium twist in the singles and a lot of twist in the plying. I wanted a sock/fingering weight yarn, so the singles had to be spun fine. The colours in the braid are analogous, all related by the blues. I wanted the colours to mix and dance against each other. So it seemed a fractal spin was in order. I split the braid lengthwise into three sections. Weighed them and made adjustments so they were relatively even. Piece #1 I spun from one end to the next using a short forward draw, smoothing the yarn as I went. You can see the long lengths of colour on the bobbin.

2016-01-23 14.02.19

Piece #2 I split into three sections. And then I spun each of those three sections from one end to the other. Again, using a short forward draw and smoothing the yarn as I went. And I am not sure if you can tell, but the lengths of colours are getting shorter.

2016-01-25 17.21.36

Piece #3 was split into six sections, by this time they were nearly pencil rovings. Again, they were spun from one end to the next. Short forward draw.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of bobbin 3. And by that time, the colours lengths were much shorter.

I let the bobbins sit overnight and then plied the next day. I put a lot of twist into the plying.

2016-01-31 15.06.16

Here is the yarn on the niddy-noddies, getting all tied up for their bath.

2016-02-01 07.32.00

Here’s what the yarn looked like when it was taken off the tension of the niddy-noddy. Stretched out and the over twist reacting. Nothing a bath in hot soapy water can’t tame.

2016-02-01 07.32.47

I washed it in hot soapy water, rinsed it in hot water with a half-tablespoon of white vinegar. Thwacked it against my bathtub a few times, towel dried it and then hung it to dry, with no tension. Occasionally, as it dried, I’d grab it, shake it out a bit to soften up the silk that sometimes goes a bit stiff as it dries. And here it is. Completely relaxed and ready to be knit into a pair of socks. 412 yards, 115 grams, 6 twists per inch (TPI) but still wonderfully soft.

2016-02-01 16.54.08

And the final shot. For these socks I am going to try the ever-so popular Fish Lips Kiss sock pattern, and see where that takes me.  And in case you were wondering, my right wrist has healed beautifully. This spinning project, that took about a week, didn’t affect it at all. I hold the fibres in the right hand and draft with my left. So all’s good.

2016-02-08 08.32.41

Strawberry Season – July Fibre Club 2014

The July Fibre Club is a 4oz braid of 85% Superwash Merino wool and  15% nylon. The colours are intense and yet there is a lot of white in between the colours. For me, this is great because the red doesn’t move into the green, it has a space of white, so you get a lovely pink, then white, then light green and then the intense green. It also means that you don’t have complementary colours like red and green blending. It is an interesting result, but not for something that is to remind you of strawberry fields and freshly picked berries.

I am spinning it fine on my Ashford Joy and putting a lot of twist into it. The plan is to chain ply it so I can maintain the colour stretches. The final project goal is a pair of socks.

It’s easy to spin a fine singles with Superwash Merino blended with Nylon. Part of the reason for that is that it isn’t crazy slippery, nor is it sticky. It’s just perfect. The twist doesn’t run away on you and yet you can easily hang on to it long enough to give the amount of twist needed to give the chain ply character.

I’m on holidays this week and the following two, so I am planning on getting this spun up in my spare time.

Will post in progress.

Winter Thaw – Sweet Georgia Yarn fibre club March 2014

The March 2014 Sweet Georgia Yarn fibre club is a delicious 4 oz/100 g braid of Superwash BFL in greens, blues and browns. I spun it up on my Houndesign spindle, and plied on the spindle as well.
I divided the colour way into lengths that went from blue to brown to green. The plan was to further split them into pencil rovings and spin one spindle starting with the blue, and then fill a second spindle starting with the green. My thought was that when it was plied I would get a two-ply yarn that would have blue/green sections and full brown sections.
Didn’t quite work out as my pencil rovings were of dramatically varying thicknesses. But the finished yarn is lovely and I can’t wait to find a project for it.
Here’s what it looked like in progress.
 2014-05-31 13.15.47

Taking a well deserved break. . . . .

 Two spindles full of just plied yarn waiting to be wound off on the niddy-noddy into skeins.

And here’s the freshly plied yarn – total of 310 metres, or 286 yards of fingering/sport weight. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for this lovely yarn.

Love Letters completed

In my last blog post “Spinning on the Road” I had a good deal of the February Sweet Georgia Yarns fibre club spun up, ready for plying.

Well last weekend I plied it all, gave it the boiling water treatment to finish the silk, and now have 460 yards of fingering weight yarn in three lovely skeins.

This colour way has clear contrasting colours, in the sense of light sections and dark coloured sections. I didn’t know how I wanted to spin it until I came across two azalea bushes- one pink the other purple – in Charleston, South Carolina. They were in full bloom and growing against a grey stone wall. I was smitten with the way the pinks, purples and greys all worked together. At that moment I decided that’s the look I wanted for the end project. In my mind, that called for a stripped yarn – one singles of the light and one of the deeper colours.

This isn’t an azalea – as I didn’t take a photo of those bushes – but it  has a similar effect. It’s an ornamental cherry in my neighbour’s yard.

At the spinning stage. You can see the different colour ways in action here.

Here I am spinning up the last of the lighter colour way.

And here’s the lot of it, plied and skeined. See how skinny these are? Remember this photo and compare it to the finished skeins. You see, fibre gets stretched out a lot during processing, spinning and plying. This yarn needs a good long soak in hot water to help it bloom and plump out again.

And here it is in the hot water bath getting the “treatment.”  What’s the “treatment” you ask?

Fill a cauldron with water.  Add a bit of soap, I added shampoo, about a tablespoon. I slipped the skeins in and slowly brought it up to a boil. I lifted and moved them a bit to avoid hot spots. The second it started boiling, I lowered the heat enough to keep it on a simmer. I let it simmer for 30 minutes then took it off the heat and let it cool enough so I could handle it. Not the best photo, but it shows what’s going on.

After the hot water treatment, I rinsed it, adding a squirt of vinegar to the rinse water. Then I towel dried them and hung them to dry.

And here are the lovelies. All plumped up and ready for some project. The yarn is soft and silky. It would make a wonderful shawl. All of this spinning was done on my drop spindles.

Spinning on the road

Over the last week and a half, my husband and I traveled to Georgia and the Carolinas. We landed in Atlanta, rented a car and drove north to the Appalachia mountains. I’ve always wanted to see the John C. Campbell Folk School and maybe even attend some workshops, so that was the first stop. We spent the morning there, touring around the workshops, grounds, History Centre and Craft Store. Then we drove to Asheville, North Carolina. A lovely, funky, totally accessible town/city situated in a valley in the Appalachia mountains. After a couple of days there we drove to Charleston, SC visiting the capital, Columbia NC along the way. Two days in Charleston and then we went onto (my new favourite spot) Savannah, GA. Two days there and then we made our way back to Atlanta, stopping for a day in the city of my birth, Augusta.

When you are on the road, site-seeing and touring around, you do a lot of sitting, reading and watching. While it’s always good to have a break from the regular routine, my hands got itchy do something creative. Luckily I brought along my Houndesign lace weight spindle and some fibre from the Sweet Georgia Yarn’s February Fibre Club, so every evening while hubby searched the channels for playoff hockey, I spun.

The fibre is a Merino 50%, Bamboo 25%, Silk 25% blend. The colourway is called Love Letters. From the insert: “. . . this sweet little colourway, Love Letters, reminds me of the innocent days before texting and snapchat. . . .Tiny packages of mild chocolate kisses and cinnamon hearts. Trepidatious steps into young love and new crushes.”

Here’s what the colourway looks like when you break it into the dyed sections. A grey that moves into white, onto pink and then a purple. It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to spin this up. When you are faced with a colourway that has serious light and dark spots, when making a 2-ply yarn you can easily get yarn that has two light singles and two dark singles and lots of barber-polling. I’ve made that kind of yarn before and while the skein looked nice, I didn’t like the way it knit up. Besides, I really loved the pinks and purples and wanted them throughout my yarn.

I decided to separate the pink/purple from the grey/white sections and spin them separately. Then I made pencil rovings from each of the sections and spun that up. With pencil rovings, I was making short sections of pink and sections of purple so these colours were fairly evenly distributed in the pink group. I did the same thing for the grey/white section.

When I filled the spindle with one colour group, I wound it into a tight ball and set it aside. Then I filled the spindle again with the second colour group. After that, I took the first ball and combined it with the singles on the spindle to make a two-stranded ball. Here’s a photo of my make-shift lazy kate; a paper coffee cup with the spindle stabbed through it to hold it tight and provide a place to hold the other ball while I wound the final ball for plying.

 
And here is a photo of the pink/purple singles still on the spindle. To the left of it is a two-stranded ball ready for plying. Below that is a tightly wound ball of singles, waiting for the spindle to get full so it can be wound into a two strand ball for plying.
 DianaDrop1-e1421434010552

I have a little more to spin and then I can get down to plying. Because I filled each spindle to capacity, I need to use a large spindle for plying – that’s why I had to wait until I got home to do that stage.

Stay tuned.

Night Owl – ombre inspired yarn

I blogged about this fibre a few posts back and now it is all spun up.  I spun the yarn quite finely with a lot of twist as I chain plied it.  You can really see the separate colours in this view.

I produced a decent 235 yard/ 207 m skein, 114g.

And here it is wound into a ball sitting next to another ombre inspired yarn I made during Spinzilla in October. The silk in these yarns really comes through.

Now I’m looking for a project. Thinking about a long shawl/scarf that would show off the colour gradations. What do you think?

Ombre Inspired Spinning

Sweet Georgia Yarns January 2014 Fibre Club is a BFL (75%) and Silk (25%) with a dramatic colourway called Night Owl. Having had success previously with making an ombre inspired yarn, I decided to do the same with this rather than risk the yellows and purples colliding to make mud.

So like before, I separated all the colours into piles and with my hand carders made luxurious rolags. With 25% silk, they are easy to card and the colours blend perfectly. After I finished all the carding, I put them into an order that I think slowly moved from one colour to the next.

The plan is to spin these very fine and Navajo (chain ply) them, making a three-ply yarn. I started spinning these yesterday and am well over third of the way through it. Will hopefully get the rest of it done this weekend.

Will certainly share the results.

The Candygram Socks

Sometime back in March 2013 (was it really that long ago?) I spun up the February Fibre club yarn called Candygram. It is lovely stuff with just a wee bit of sparkle – not enough to make it tacky, but enough to make it special. Recovering from a spinning-inspired knee injury, I spun this 100 grams on my drop spindles. You can find all the info about this fibre and the spinning in this blog post.

Once it was spun up I stared at the yarn for a long time. I just didn’t like it. I didn’t like the purples and lime greens together and thought they’d look muddy when knit up.

Well I was wrong. Really wrong. This was a case of ugly yarn, lovely result. The yarn actually striped up when it was knit, and even those rare times when the greens and purples collided, it was actually okay.

So here they are, a pair of socks. Just my basic “mindless-knitting” sock pattern. They aren’t exactly the same, but they surely are a pair.

Flash off.

 Flash on.

Just to make sure I didn’t get SSS (second-sock syndrome) I knit them mostly together. Cuff on #1, cuff on #2. heel flap on #1, heel flap on #2, and so on right down to the decreases at the toe. I recommend doing socks this way — it’s easy to remember the pattern when you are doing on piece following another. And for me, I know that once I saw the result of the yarn, the mystery was over and I could easy be left with just one sock. Nope, not now. I now have a lovely pair of socks to show off at the next fibre event!

Story of a shawl – Part 2

I tried another shawl with the Waterfall yarn I made during Spinzilla week. This is the Spiral Staircase pattern from Ravelry. Easy peasy. While it does do what I was hoping it would so, show off the subtle colour gradations – I should have used larger needles. This shawl is too small for my liking and the fabric that knit up — on the 4mm needles is too dense. I’m going to try it again with 6mm needles so the fabric will be looser and have a chance to drape.

And I will plan it better, so I use every inch of the yarn, unlike the sample above.