Category: Spinning

A Starling V3 of my Very Own

For a few years now I have been following the progress of e-spinners. There are some lovely ones out there depending on how traditional (Ashford) or non traditional (e-Kube) you want to go. They all work similar, but one that I’ve had my eyes on for quite some time is the Starling (V3) from Daedalus. This year my husband decided to surprise me by adding me to their queue list, with the hopes of purchasing one when they do a batch.

This is a 3D printed e-spinner (with some non printed parts, of course) that just looks like an absolute dream. I’ve wanted an e-spinner for days that I can’t treadle (which lately, are quite a few) or when I wanted portability. My Kiwi2 is a lovely wheel, but I’ve always wondered how much easier on my body it might be if the machine was providing the twist for me instead of having to treadle. Then I could focus on drafting, or not focus at all and just watch some TV while I draft. The machine weighs 2.5lbs, comes with 3 bobbins that hold 12oz (!) includes a battery, and a speed control box. The Starling V3 is their mid range model, and can do everything from lace to art yarn.

I’m on a wait list right now to try to get one, but I know it will take some time. I’m OK with that. One of the great things about e-spinners is that they don’t really change, and they don’t lose value (nor do regular spinning wheels, don’t get me wrong here). I’m hoping it will be a 2022 delivery, but we’ll just have to wait and see!

A year Spinning

I thought I had been spinning yarn for more than two years, but nope, it has been exactly two years. When I was first getting started I doubted that I’d be able to use anything I made, I was pretty bad. I practiced, a LOT, and eventually got the hang of things. Now I feel confident in my spinning abilities, and I make some beautiful stuff.

If you want to learn how to do something, be it speak a new language, a new hobby, or a new skill – stick with it. Practice it. Make time for it. It doesn’t have to be your entire life, but you WILL slowly get better. It just takes time (something not all of us have a lot of to spare, I know).

A bit of Alpaca

I’m still trying to work my way through the mountain of alpaca fiber I have – it’s going slow, but it’s such a delight to spin I know I just need to dedicate more time to it. I want to make this a three ply yarn, and I have 1.5 bobbins down. I’m thinking I should just learn to chain ply, I might feel better about the process if I could see more progress (like a finished yarn). I’ve tried chain plying before and I was absolute rubbish at it, so we’ll see how that goes. It just feels like this fiber is never ending – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s incredible to work with, but I’d love to start knitting with the finished yarn, or start a new fiber (or continue processing the two fleece I have).

Spinning – Still

I still have SO much alpaca to spin into yarn. It’s daunting and makes me happy at the same time. It feels like I’ll never make my way through it all, but I know if I just spend a bit of time every night doing some spinning, eventually I’ll reach the end. Of this one bag. We’ll see about the 5 other bags I have.

I’m spinning this for a three ply, with no idea what I’ll use it for. Maybe a hap. Maybe a shall. Maybe I’ll blend it with something because alpaca on its own can be a bit difficult. That’s something to think about for 2021.

Latest Spinning Project

I bought a LOT of raw alpaca a few months back, and very slowly I’ve been spinning it into yarn. I still have a LOT to get through, but I’m taking my time and enjoying the spin. It’s probably one of the more enjoyable fibers I’ve worked with. On my wheel right now is fiber from a 14oz bag of mill ends I purchased. Once I have three bobbins filled I’ll ply them together. I normally do a lot of two ply yarns, but three ply is just beautiful.

Slouchy Hat

I recently knit myself a slouchy hat using some of my handspun yarn from Three Waters Farm. I absolutely love how it turned out. It’s a merino / tencel blend and I did it up in a three ply. Not only was it one of my best spins ever, it just knit up so beautifully.

I’m quickly learning that just because a batt or skein LOOKS good doesn’t always necessarily mean I’ll enjoy working with it. I’ve come across more than my fair share of hard to work with materials. I’m also learning which one are a dream to process, and what price I’m willing to pay for that.

Alpaca That Up

I recently participated in an auction hosted by a Canadian alpaca farm – and in my eagerness to ensure I won ‘something’ I ended up winning -9- fiber auctions (each for an amazing price) and a little over 6 pounds of fleece. Oh. My. I am REALLY looking forward to this fiber. Alpaca is fantastic for those who suffer from wool allergies because there’s no lanolin in the fiber, and typically those who are allergic to wool have no reaction to alpaca.

The fiber also has a few other unique properties – each fiber strand is hollow, and it provides more warmth than wool. It does have a few downsides, like it has little elasticity, and doesn’t hold shape very well – but I’m hoping to knit a hat and mitten set for me and my husband, and maybe for friends / family depending. I have no doubt it will come in handy here in our Northern post. I’ve never spun 100% alpaca before, but I did knit a part of socks using alpaca, and I loved them (and learned not to put them in the wash, next time). Fingers crossed I don’t have too much of a wait!

Another Skein Done

Another skein completed! It just needs a bath to set the twist. No idea what I’ll make with this yet, but I’m happy to have freed up two bobbins.

Tour de Fleece 2020

The 27th of this month starts Tour de Fleece, and while it’s different than most years (there’s no tour de France going on with covid-19 being a thing) I’m still excited and looking forward to it. I’m hoping to spin a sweaters worth of fleece from the stuff I’ve processed, but first I need to take this mulberry silk blend off of my wheel. This stuff was NOT fun to spin at all. It was slippery, and while it looks beautiful, it just isn’t the fiber for me.

Bring on the tour!

Truman’s Fleece

I bought a 3.7lb sheep fleece from a vendor not too long ago, and when it arrived, I was SO excited. I created a grand plan of cleaning this fleece and preparing it from start to finish, including spinning it, and then knitting it into a cardigan.

So far I cleaned the fleece (scoured, it’s called) and it’s ready for some flicking (opening up the locks) and then I’m going to drum card it to prepare it for spinning. The Tour De Fleece starts up at the end of this month and I’m hoping to have it ready for that. Once it’s all spun up I’ve even picked out the cardigan pattern I plan on knitting.

Honestly the entire process just speaks to me. I have loved every single second, from removing vm (vegetable matter) and lanolin, to drying the fleece. It’s so soft, so much work, and it just makes me croon with contentment.

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