I was able to get my hands on a small bag of baby alpaca fleece (see the beige fiber below).  I was told that it is easier to spin unwashed alpaca because the dust helps hold it together - which may be true...but! dust.

I'm pretty miserable today, so I'm in the process of washing just enough fiber to spin in a week (otherwise I will have accidental felting)

Sock of the Week - check.  Next week's "official" sock is nearly done (you'll see it next week)

On the spining front...

I bought a bag of alpaca fiber - the animal's name is "Juan" and the color pathway is called "blue sheen".

Here's Henry spending quality time with Juan's long, silky hair...


alpaca (Juan) on drop spindle.(the fiber spun onto a drop spindle - it's counter intuitive, but the lighter the spindle, the finer the thread; I think because it spins faster.
Juan's wool in ballThis is how fine it's spinning up.  This is a single ply thread - when all the fiber is spun, two balls will be spun together with the spindle going in the opposite direction of the single ply - this is called "worsting", making worsted yard.

My first experience with spinning was with sheep's wool
after worsting and washing
Close up
sheep wool in hank closeup
wound into a ball
sheep wool in ball
and being knit into a scarf with a cable twist
spun sheep wool being knit into scarf


will have me on track to make 26 pairs of socks in a year.  So far, I'm on track (4 pairs finished so far).  Handmade socks seem like a very nice gifts to give "somebody who has everything".

Meanwhile, spinning is challenging, but I think I want:

SILK FIBER FUN KIT: treat yourself to 9 types of silk and silk blend fibers: Tussah silk roving, dyed Tussah silk, cultivated silk cocoons, Bombyx silk slivers, 100% mixed silk fibers, throwsters waste, cultivated silk hankies, Tussah silk noil, and Bombyx silk caps. 100g total. Each kit is presented in a beautiful 7"x9"x2" handmade box produced by a family cottage industry in India. A great gitf!

I'm currently knitting my first ever sock.  I've knitted a lot, but never socks or mittens (double pointed needles).  My newest most favorite yarn shop showed me a new method that really works...but...

I started the thing many times (Tom doesn't know how many times.)  I ripped it apart, wound the yarn back up and started again.

Each time I used the same pattern, the same needles, the same yarn.   I kept doing it and doing it and doing it and each time I discovered a little something that was giving me trouble.

Eventually, it clicked.  And I think I'm going to find socks quite rewarding.

It struck me that my walk with God is something like that.  I have the right tools.  He has given me what I need and He will continue to do so.

Each time I get a little further.  Each time I discover something I didn't "get" before. But each time I end up unraveling and beginning anew.

Each and every day, I end up with a greater understanding of my own sin, my failure, my need for a Saviour.

Each and every day, He provides what I need.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him." (Lam 3:22-24)

Okay...I made two pieces of knitting - one in garter stitch, the other in stockinette.  I took before and after photos...

This first piece started out (cast on 30, knit for 20 rows) 11 inches by 4 inches and ended up stretched width-wise, but only 3 inches tall.

This second piece (stockinette, cast on 20, work for 20 rows) started out 6 inches wide and 6 inches tall.  It ended up 7 inches wide and only 4 inches tall.

Lessons learned:

  • bind off very (VERY) loosely - in fact, try knitting the last row and binding off with a huge pair of needles.
  • get to the washed piece quickly in order to block it while it's wet (although this may not be as important if you bind off loosely)
  • stockinette and garter stitches don't act the same.