Yarn of all colors blowing in the windAnd I took another three month (almost) break. Life gets in the way. I was taking an acting class that ended up taking much more time than I thought it would (I actually had to memorize stuff and rehearse outside of class), plus there was other stuff. Holidays, birthdays, family stuff. While I was away from the blog, my sister-in-law had her baby! So I have a new nephew. I’ve already made a bunch of stuff for him, but I gave it to him over Thanksgiving, and I stupidly took no pictures. Oh well.

While I was away, I was very productive. In addition to lots of nephew-related knitting, I did lots of other knitting, which we will catch up on over time. But I’m more excited about what I did in relation to making actual yarn. First, I took a trip with my Wednesday night knitting group up to Llama Farm in Apple Valley. It was freezing. Like incredibly cold and windy. But the trip was amazing! We got to pet llamas, had a great lunch (they made a delicious pumpkin stew and salad from their own garden), and (the best part) learn to dye our own yarn. In the above picture, my yarn is the pink and purple one right in the front. I’m pleased with how it turned out. I have yet to knit it up into anything, but I have plans. It’s 220 yards of worsted, so I’m thinking wristers/armwarmers.

A point-of-view shot of a Schacht Ladybug double-treadle spinning wheel in actionIn even more exciting news, I took my first spinning class on Saturday. There’s a shot of the wheel I rented for class (a Schacht Ladybug) in action. We spun worsted singles (as in spinning style, not weight) out of 2 oz bumps of undyed blue-faced leicester wool, which is a long wool. The instructor was really cool and super knowledgeable. What this really did was cement my love of spinning and my desire for a wheel of my own. In particular, I really want a Schacht Matchless Double Treadle Wheel. It’s a huge expense (no seriously, they are about $1100), so I’m saving my money. Hopefully by 2014, I will have one. In the meantime, I’m looking to get my hands on a drop spindle so that I can practice drafting and such. Unfortunately, none of my local yarn stores seem to carry them, so I guess I’ll have to order one from online.

My first handspun, undyed.My yarn itself was…somewhat of a disappointment. For some reason, I really thought I would have enough control over my drafting to spin something nice and even and pretty. Instead, I got a thick and thin mess full of overspun bits and underspun bits. There are sections of the yarn that are laceweight thin, and other sections that are super-bulky thick. The funny thing is, I was browsing the yarn shop afterward, and I realized that it looks a lot like some of the novelty yarns in the shop with the thick and thin bits and the overspun bits. Everyone I know who spins keeps telling me that those qualities are big in certain novelty yarns, and that when spinners get better, they miss the ability to generate that kind of yarn. It’s apparently hard to do what I did on purpose. Personally, since novelty yarns aren’t my thing, I’ll be glad when I can make nice even singles that I can ply up and use for shawls and socks and sweaters.

Since undyed yarn is boring, and our homework for next week was to knit up what we did, I just dyed my yarn with some Kool-Aid in the microwave. It turned out a little lighter than I wanted, because I don’t think I used quite enough Kool-Aid. I think I needed to use the whole packet, not just half. But it’s still really pretty pinks and reds. It’s currently drying in the shower; I’ll post pictures tomorrow. (Or whenever it’s sunny and dry. It’s been quite rainy here the past few days, so it may take some time to really dry). I’m thinking I’ll knit it up into a little bag that I can line. I’m really excited for next Saturday’s class, where we will cover plying. I know that the last thing I need in my life is another craft, but what’s a girl to do when there is so much to make? Honestly, I blame The Knitmore Girls and The Yarn Harlot. With the way they talk about spinning, how could I resist?