14 lbs in 2014

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I have been wanting to participate in a spinning or knitting challenge, and I’ve decided to see if I can spin 14 pounds of fiber during this year of 2014. Part of me wishes I had started this challenge a few years ago, like 2006. That would have been more doable! But back then, spinning would have sounded so alien and so unlike me. Now, I sometimes daydream about raising sheep.

My plan is to spin roughly 16-20 oz of fiber per month.  Below are my spins for January.

First up: Western Sky Knits, “Jem” in superfine merino (4 oz, 2-ply, 511 meters).

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This is what happens when you tell a five-year old girl, “Choose any fiber and color you want, and I’ll make something with it for you”: You end up with a mashup of Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, and Barbie in braided fiber form. More precisely, you end up with “Jem,” a colorway that brilliantly captures the essence of Jem and the Holograms, that 80’s cartoon series that I will be sure not to mention to Little A. Even before I finally registered the Jem reference, they were already screaming “80’s leg warmers,” which is what they will become. I only wish I had not spun it so finely. I may double the yarn.

Next: Miss Babs, “Dream Weaver” in BFL (80%)/Tussah Silk Top (20%) (4 oz, 2-ply, 324 meters).

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I had never heard of Miss Babs before. I got this braid in a bulk destash, and it was merely a tag-along with the other fibers I really wanted.  But, what a surprisingly lovely spin this one was, and I think this might be one of my new favorites. I’ve been spinning a lot of BFL/silk combos recently, I’m starting to get a sense of how it needs to breathe and be cajoled to relax. I tend to ply tightly, and with this combination I’ve really had to resist that tendency. Both BFL and silk give a lovely sheen, but what I love about this blend is the halo of the BFL. I don’t know what I’m going to knit with this, but suffice it to say, whatever I knit will be for me me me. I love it so.

Below: Nest Fiber Studio, “London Jupiter” in superwash merino (4 oz, 2-ply, 196 meters).

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Obviously I cannot get enough of Nest Fiber, and I am compelled to I spin at least something from Jen once a month. Her color combinations are so cheerful and bright, and the fiber is amazingly prepared. I mean, AMAZING. I decided to try spinning a thicker yarn because I need more practice at it. I had read in one of the Ravelry forums about spinning with not a lot of twist, but then plying tightly to create a slightly bumpy yarn with barber pole stripes that pop. I’m still not very consistent at plying but this texture really complements the already super-squishy qualities of merino. I’m going to use this yarn to knit this Squishy Love cowl for Little A. It’s going to be darling, and I’m already itching to cast on.

(Added note: Nest Fiber Studio products usually sell out right away during a shop update, but if you want to check out previous colors on flickr and find out when the next shop update will be, click here or onto “More Nest” on main page.)

Finally: Pigeonroof Studios, “Tangerine Dream” in polworth (85%)/silk 15%) (4.4 oz, 2-ply, 471 meters).

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I had intended to spin this braid a while ago, but then got sidetracked. What was I waiting for?? I do not know. I spun this without planning or forethought and gave myself up to muscle memory. Sometimes I need to let my hands lead my head and heart.