July 15, 2018

Spinning Kainuu Grey

Handspun Kainuu Grey
Kainuu Grey Long Draw

The fiber purchase at the Jyväskylä Knit Festival foretold a return to the spinning wheel. After I'd become the owner of some new spinning fiber, I kept itching to spin again. However, I had to wait to get back home from a road trip, on which I did not bring a spinning wheel (or a sewing machine), unfortunately.

I first started spinning yarn almost exactly three years ago. An owner of an Ashford Joy 2, I'd never taken a class on spinning, but learned from books and videos on my own. A year later I took my first (and so far only) spinning class at the Jyväskylä Knit Festival. Around that time I sold my first wheel and replaced it with a Schacht Matchless, soon followed by a Hansen miniSpinner. However, I never really got the hang of either of the new wheels, and so so far my best spinning has come out of the Ashford Joy three years ago. Then I abandoned spinning altogether for almost two years, occasionally feeling a tinge of guilt over the unused Matchless sitting in the corner of the living room.

Yesterday I dug up the Hansen miniSpinner and refreshed my short draw skills. I'd never excelled at it in the first place, and the long break had not improved my spinning for sure. But I did manage to come up with something at least resembling yarn using some Kainuu Grey roving, which was relatively easy to handle. But then I got curious how difficult exactly it would be to spin long draw instead. I first practiced on some spare fiber, and it seemed manageable. Then I started a proper project with the other batch of Kainuu Grey roving I had, which turned out to be slightly trickier to spin evenly, I think due to the slight stickiness of the fiber (it has some lanolin in it). However, it did not feel harder than the short draw, at least, so I kept going. I'm now about a half-way through spinning the single, which I will probably chain-ply, just like the first one. I used the Matchless for the plying of the short draw single, because I couldn't easily get things right to ply on the miniSpinner. Both the long and short draw singles are somewhat uneven, but I'm relatively satisfied with the results so far considering it's my first spinning after a long break.

July 8, 2018

Day 4 of Jyväskylä Knit Festival

Jyväskylä Knit Festival Day 4
Jyväskylä Knit Festival Day 4
Jyväskylä Knit Festival Day 4
Jyväskylä Knit Festival Day 4

On the last day of the festival the only activity left for me was visiting Titityy, the yarn shop that organized the event. Their new, bigger premises are so lovely! Both the athmosphere and yarn selection are wonderful. There was so much I could have brought home with me, but I limited my stash additions to various sock yarns (for "testing") and some Icelandic wool.

Overall, the festival was very well organized and offered a lot. So many interesting classes, plus knitting related social activities. The market place offered various opportunities to leave with a lighter wallet and an expanded stash. I hope there's going to be a festival again next year!

July 7, 2018

Day 3 of Jyväskylä Knit Festival 2018

Jyväskylä Knit Festival Day 3
Jyväskylä Knit Festival Day 3
Jyväskylä Knit Festival Day 3

Day 3 of the festival consisted of some market place shopping and one workshop. Back when I signed up for Nathan Taylor's double-knitting workshop, I'd never heard of him before, and while I'd heard of double-knitting, knowing the technique existed was the extent of my knowledge. I was interested in learning a new technique, and that's exactly what the workshop provided. Nathan's enthusiasm was quite infectious, and helped with the learning curve associated with new techniques. I know the very basics of double-knitting now, though I got only halfway through my workshop swatch. I will definitely have to give this some more time and effort to get fluent in it. If we compare it to learning a new language, I'm barely able to say "How are you?" and "My name is Helena" at this point.

Today I also returned to the festival market place to check out the booths I didn't get to yesterday, and return to the Isokummun lammastila booth to get some Kainuu Grey spinning fiber. I've been wanting to get back to spinning for a while now, and I think this wool will help with that. I've never spun this fiber before, but it seems like something easy enough that it should gently ease me back into the spinning groove again. The only yarn I've bought from an actual festival booth is the Primrose Yarn Ultimate Sock in the form of a delicious fade combo. I'm looking for a new go-to sock yarn; while there is nothing wrong with Wollmeise Twin, I feel like moving onto something softer and fluffier for a change.