Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Posts Tagged ‘yarn


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Now that Chris and I are married, I can knit him a sweater.  I’ve knit him a scarf, and a few pairs of socks, but I couldn’t do a sweater because of the Boyfriend Curse.  It basically says that, if you knit your boyfriend a sweater, you’ll break up.  I’m not one to be superstitious, but we followed it anyway.  It seemed right that we did.  At Bella Lana, as the woman helping us counted out the number of skeins we would need of each color, she must have glanced at my hand, because she suddenly exclaimed, “Oh good, and you’re married, too!”  She started to explain the curse, but I told her we already knew.  “We waited,” I said, and felt a little foolish, because it sounded as if I were talking about having a child, not knitting a sweater.

I started a sweater for Chris using the Incredible, Custom-Fit Raglan Sweater pattern.  I was going to make it a v-neck using the instructions, but we determined the V was going to be too deep for Chris’s liking.  So I had to frog it.  

Here it is now, started over:

I’m used to ripping out knitting and starting over. Maybe it sucks having wasted all that time, but I’d be wasting more time continuing with the project only to have it turn out wrong. There’s something wonderful about beginning a piece of knitting, even if it’s for the second time.  This is one reason I love knitting short-row socks.  You start with one row, and then all of a sudden a toe just grows out of it.  Knitting is so small and un-fabric-like when you first start.  It feels so organic, just twisting some string around some pointed sticks, and gradually watching it grow. As the sweater grows, it will seem a more endless, daunting task, but for now, it’s magic.


Written by nikkinbird

January 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Summer spinning, knitting

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What have I been up to?

I’ve been spinning…

Handspun falkland wool yarn

Chevalier singles 1


And knitting!

Fern cowl

The cowl still needs blocking and probably a photo of me modeling it. The pink yarn is bamboo fiber, my first time spinning something other than wool or alpaca. It was a learning curve for sure! I have 8 more ounces of the same fiber to spin up soonish. The other yarn and singles are fiber from Lovely colorways! I love spinning dyed rovings to see how the colors are going to interact once the yarn is plied. Always a surprise and always interesting.

Written by nikkinbird

July 13, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Beautiful handspun yarn – if I do say so myself.

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The fruits of the past week’s spinning adventures:

I’m quite pleased with how this yarn turned out, and now I’m itching to spin from some more hand dyed rovings. This is hand dyed merino top from HoneyGold Acres. I purchased it at the Shepherd’s Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival. The tag on the fiber doesn’t list a website, but it does have an email: A quick google search also gave me a listing on if you want to know more about them – HoneyGold Acres. I was very pleased with this wool and excited to be able to purchase from other fiber folks in my state.

The red roving was the only one I remembered to take a picture of before spinning, and even then I’d already unrolled it a bit. Here’s the “before” picture of the red/orange.

Though I haven’t been back at the wheel all that long, I feel like I’m getting better at spinning. I’m learning how to better tweak my wheel so that it works the way I need it to work, and I’m figuring out new methods for making the most out of my wool. For example, in the past, I would just tear off a chunk and spin until the bobbin looked full enough, then spin another bobbin to about the same amount. This is fine, except then I would end up with one really big skein and one smaller skein from the same 4 oz of fiber. This is what happened with the blue/purple yarn pictured. With the green, I started out by dividing the roving in two, then dividing those two halves in two so that I would have two even skeins. I used my digital scale to weigh each one to make sure all the chunks of roving were about the same amount. Now I’m not wasting so much fiber.

Overall, I’m glad to be spinning again and hope to keep learning more. I may even see a second wheel in my future…maybe.

Written by nikkinbird

June 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Spinning dog fur

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Last night I sat down to brush Gru for a bit, and I got so much fur I couldn’t stop. The craziest part was, I just kept brushing the same spot on his haunches over and over, and kept getting fur! He’s in full-on spring shed mode. This pile is just what I got from the right side of his butt. Just think what I’ll get as he starts shedding everywhere else, too! I plan to experiment with spinning his undercoat into yarn on my spinning wheel. See that look on his face? He’s afraid of cameras.


Written by nikkinbird

May 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Sunny Saturday

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Today was a very full day. Despite a couple of inches of snow that we woke up to Friday morning, it’s starting to smell like spring around here. Most of that snow, and the accumulated snow from all winter, is all melted away now, and it was 44 degrees today! Yep, that’s right, in Duluth, when it gets to be 40 degrees, we all crawl out of hibernation and do things outside like take walks by the lake and wear shorts. Well, I myself do not wear shorts, not even in the summer, but other people were.

Anyway, this morning started with a fiber rummage sale. I wouldn’t have even known about it if Chris hadn’t spotted a sign on the side of the road! The fiber rummage sale was held in the Duluth Art Institute’s building in west Duluth. It’s an old vine-covered brick building that used to be a library. It’s awesome! I grabbed up a whole bunch of fun stuff.


Various types of yarn. Big cones of wool, smaller cones of cotton, one of which is labeled as “rug warp,” balls of “weaving wool,” and three things of linen yarn. I’ll probably weave more scarves with the wool. I got the bag of cotton yarns because I’ve been wanting to try out tablet, or card weaving. I got the book Card Weaving by Candace Crockett last year and then later happened across a pack of pre-made cards for it, so I’ve been wanting to try for awhile. Inexpensive random yarns from a rummage sale seem like just the thing to practice with!

Then, for a total of $8, I got this:


and this:


The first one is labeled “raw wool” and the second is alpaca fleece. They both need to be washed and processed before becoming spinnable, but I decided this will be a learning experience. I figure that there’s a high chance that there won’t even be any very good, usable wool in that $3 bag, but it was a $3 bag of wool! It’ll be a good summer project to learn to wash and process it. I have high hopes for the alpaca, too. It’s full of VM, or vegetable matter, but already feels super soft.

After our short stint at the fiber sale, we went out for lunch, then ran home and got the pup for a walk. We went down to Canal Park and walked him on the lakewalk. We discovered that he likes going in water. Many huskies do not. Gru made many friends, human and canine, on our very long walk today. He’s so pretty and then when people approach him he flops right into them to get pet, so he’s a charmer. We couldn’t have asked for a better dog.


All in all, a very nice sunny Saturday.

Written by nikkinbird

April 3, 2011 at 12:35 am

All warped up

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Got the warp all set up for my next scarf. Sadly, it’s been about a week since anything’s been on the loom. My nights seem too short now that I get done with work at 6. By the time I walk the dog and eat dinner, it’s 8 and feels so close to bedtime! I’m an early to bed, early to rise kinda person.

My next project is a scarf woven with Knitpicks’ Chroma. It’s a beautiful 1 ply, slow color changing yarn. They also have it in a couple of solids, and that’s what I chose for the warp.

When I got the warp all wound on, I discovered that my two warp chains were slightly different lengths. What happened here? I’m guessing I just wound them on the warping pegs slightly differently, but this has never happened to me before. I just shrugged and trimmed the longer one to match the shorter. Hopefully this won’t come back to bite me in the ass later.

warp chains

Some of the yarn looks like this, the one with the really thick fuzz halo around the string. I’m nervous about these parts, because the heddle might abrade against it and wear at the yarn as I weave. However, Chroma is stronger than I expected, because at one point I tried to break a strand of it just by pulling it apart. This usually works for wool yarns, but was more difficult than I expected, maybe because Chroma is 30% nylon.

fuzzy yarns

And here it is, all tied up and ready to weave! The grey yarn is just the waste yarn that you start with to get the warp threads all even. Tomorrow, pics of the scarf with the pretty colored yarn!

tied up warp

Written by nikkinbird

March 29, 2011 at 1:25 am

Organizing my yarn stash

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This is the chaos in my living room right now:


I’ve never thought of myself as having a yarn “stash” before. I think that’s probably because I don’t have a lot of yarn that isn’t leftovers from something. I guess I do have several untouched skeins that were purchased for a specific project and never started, but I don’t normally buy yarn with nothing in mind. Unless it’s on a trip, then I get souvenir yarn.

I’m calling it a night and finishing this sorting in the morning! Tomorrow afternoon, we go on a road trip to get our puppy! Right now he is being transported by a lovely group of volunteers relaying him all across the country to get to us! We’re meeting him in Eau Claire, WI. The person keeping him overnight sent us this picture of him:


Up until now, the only picture we’ve had straight on of his face was very sad looking, so we are happy to see that he has an adorable doggie smile. I can’t wait! We’re going to have a dog!

Written by nikkinbird

March 13, 2011 at 5:01 am

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