Spin, Spun… Span?

Now that I’ve started to make spinning a more regular part of my routine again, it’s finally time to share some of the finished yarn that I’ve spun in the last couple of weeks. It’s been fun mixing up the types of fibers, the colors, the amounts, feeling my hands and feet work  together in the old familiar rhythm.

These first two projects are from fiber sent to me by Ted. (Thank you!) A cozy 50/50 blend of merino and yak, this fiber was dyed a rich, deep, wine color that is hard to capture digitally.

Handspun Merino & Yak

There are approximately 290 yards of 2-ply yarn, spun from about 4.2 oz of fiber. I see a new scarf for next season – something I hope I won’t have to wear for a good long while, but when the time comes, I’ll be ready (and my neck will be nicely wrapped).

This next skein is another interesting blend of merino and tencel. Tencel gives the yarn a silky drape, but the wool adds some loft and warmth. There are approximately 295 yards of 2-ply yarn, spun from about 4 oz. of fiber.

Handspun Merino & Tencel

Speaking of exciting packages, delivered to our doorstep was last month’s installment of Hello Yarn fiber. Adrian always has such an amazing way with color, and “Scorch” was no exception.

Scorch Spun Up

Scorch Spun Up

This is from 4 oz. of Bluefaced Leicester, spun and navajo-plied to approximately 340 yards. Virginia has already started on a pair of socks, so those will be making an appearance in the not-too-distant future.

Tonight, while a loaf of bread rises in the kitchen, a whirl (and clack) will be heard emanating from the living room. Hope your Friday night is as exciting as mine.


Recently, we both faced large projects in need of finishing — Virginia, a sweater pattern; me, a pound of roving. There were days when it seemed like neither of us would actually finish. But, even with projects that seem to drag the most, there’s always a possibility of finding that nugget of inspiration to push you through to the end (even if what motivates you is just getting it off the dining room table).

Virginia’s project, a pattern in Berocco #228 called “Nopareil,” was knit with some beautiful Blackstone Tweed.


Sometimes projects take on a more generous amount of inertia, making forward progress more of a slush. From what I overheard, this also must have been aided by choices made by the designer, in terms of construction, details and a collar that would not end.


Still, all in all a nice sweater.


My own project was spinning up a pound of roving. If you have been a regular follower of ScratchCraft you may have noticed a drop in the number of spinning-related projects. I have started to kick things back in to gear, but got a little ahead of myself when deciding to tackle a 16 oz. blend of Pygora, Wool, Mohair and Silk.

Handspun Yarn

All told, I spun approximately 1050 yards of 2-ply yarn. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely fiber making a lovely yarn. But, if you aren’t spinning regularly, 16 oz. can feel like it’s taking forever (must be some sort of fiber equivalent of ADHD). At any rate, it’s done, and I think Virginia already has a sweater idea brewing.

Handspun Yarn

My motivation to finish came with the arrival of my installment of fiber from Hello Yarn. This is “Scorch.” I knew that in order to dive into this luscious 4 oz. pile of goodness, I had to free up the spools.


And, now I can — tonight, in fact.

The Essentials

I’m sitting here Sunday morning, hunkering down as the second snowpocalypse begins outside. I was up early, warming up the house with baking bread. Specifically, I was attempting to make buns, being once again discouraged by the mile-long list of ingredients in the store-bought varieties.


These appear to do the trick (we’ll be testing them out later today as they sandwich a black bean burger with sautéed onions and mushrooms), and they were super easy to make. I modified an existing recipe to work with the ingredients I had on hand. The recipe is as follows.

Combine and heat to about 120 degrees :

  • 1/2 cup Fage
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp butter

Mix together in a separate bowl:

  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Then, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, including 1 egg. Mix thoroughly, then slowly combine about 2 to 2 1/2 cups white flour and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (I used my KitchenAid stand mixer for about 2 minutes). Take dough and pull apart into 10 to 12 pieces, which you then roll into a ball then place, slightly flattened, on a baking sheet (or, in my case, a silpat covering a baking sheet). Let rise for 30 to 40 minutes and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes (or until golden brown).

One of the biggest satisfactions of making food from scratch is the total control over the ingredients. I’m not sure why sandwich buns need high fructose corn syrup, or any of the other “enhancements.” These may not have the shelf life, but chances are they will be long gone before they expire.

Still on the topic of essentials, I’m happy to say my spinning wheel has been getting some use (not quite the 15-minutes a day I had hoped to accomplish in the new year), enough to finally finish some lovely 3-ply yarn.

Handspun Corriedale

This is spun from some handdyed Corriedale that Virginia picked up for me from cloudlover (at last year’s Shepherd’s Harvest festival). I navajo-plied the yarn, yielding approximately 370 yards from a little less than 5 ounces of roving. I believe a pair of socks are being planned with the yarn.

And, speaking of socks, Virginia has been working on several pair (as usual), one of the most recent are these:

Handknit Socks

Knit following one of Charlene Schurch’s four-stitch reticulated patterns in her book Sensational Knitted Socks. These are made with two colors of Jawoll “Aktion.”

Well, I’m off to make some lunch, and to draw in some energy for the piles of snow that will need to be shoveled over the course of the next 24 hours.

Around the Corner

There have been a few days in the last couple of weeks that have cooled in the evenings, sending the reminder that Fall is just around the corner. (Today being an exception, with the mercury hitting 90º F. Still, something inside stirs when the heat of Summer starts to wane.)

One sign that my body is recognizing the change is my gravitation to playing more with wool. I have started spinning again, surprised that my wheel still turns – it having sat stationary for the better part of the season.

Handspun Superwash Merino

I’m glad that I haven’t completely forgotten how to convert roving into yarn. This superwash merino (dyed by us several years ago) is spun into about 287 yards of 3-ply yarn.

I also must be feeling the need to pack on a little more insulation myself. We’ve revived the Saturday Night, Pizza Night tradition, trying out some new themes, including a new favorite:

Saturday Night, Pizza Night

It’s a pear-greens-caramelized onion-blue cheese collection of goodness baked on a thin, crispy crust that has been coated with garlicky olive oil mixed with sage. We seriously had to restrain ourselves from devouring the entire pan (even though leftover pizza is never as good as fresh-from-the-oven pizza).

Virginia is no stranger to wool, and is constantly working with it. So, season changes do not necessarily influence the amount of work she does with the fiber (although, maybe once the cold hits, she’ll be working more with alpaca, cashmere and other more insulating fibers).

She continues to knit socks, the latest being:

Handknit Socks

Handknit Socks

The rest can be seen, as always (and often before a blog post appears) on flickr.

And, it being the time to start thinking about keeping warm, Virginia is offering some of her handknits for sale on Etsy. Check back often, because she will be listing a variety of items, including shawls, cowls, scarves and (what’s listed right now) hats:

Selection of Handknit Hats

Check it out.

Dusting Off the Ol’ Wheel

Ashford Traditional

It’s been a long time coming, but I knew I’d eventually get back behind my trusty, albeit neglected, spinning wheel. I realized the other day that with the arrival of Spring (or, soon-to-be arrival) would also come fiber festivals. I missed last year’s Shepherd’s Harvest. Even though out of the hospital at the time, my oncologist forbade me to go near anything that might possibly cause or seed some future infection. Needless to say, being around a bunch of livestock, wool and people would have fallen well in to the “forbidden” activities.

Not this year.

I plan on attending, and I plan on making up for lost time. Between now and then, however, there is still the problem of space (or lack thereof). Since I still have a healthy stash, I’m going to try my best to make a dent in some of the fiber that’s been marinating for the past two years (has it been that long?).

So, to start, I’ve finished two bundles of superwash.

Handspun - Superwash Colonial

This is spun from 3.7 oz. of superwash colonial top that we dyed ages ago. Both skeins are approximately 150 yards of 3-ply (navajo) yarn.

Handspun - Superwash Merino

This superwash merino I finished up during the final days of the Winter Olympics. The lines of gold throughout seem appropriate. There is about 230 yards on this skein, spun from 3 oz. of dyed top, and it is also navajo-plied.

And, I’m glad to say, spinning is like riding a bike. Even if you haven’t done it in awhile, finding your rhythm and balance comes quickly.