Mixed Berry Tart anyone?

Yes, I’m still very much addicted to spinning. I ‘officially’ learned to spin two weeks ago and it was AWESOME. Leslie knows her shiz and is a great teacher. I, of course, lived up to my promise of being annoying and asking many a question, being a smarty-pants all the while, but she didn’t seem to mind too much. While I thought I knew what I was doing before the class, I paid attention and ended up learning a whole new drafting technique and am completely stoked to get a fleece, wash it and spin it.

Since the class and using Leslie’s mad drafting skillz, I’ve upped my productivity (can draft AND spin at once), increased overall yarn softness and the consistency is awesome! Huge sections of ‘real-like-store-bought’ yarn. It’s pretty awesome.

So now I’m working through the fibre backlog that seems to have accumulated without paying attention. Here’s some lovely Navajo plied Falkland that I spun up a while ago. Yup, Navajo ply with a drop spindle. I make a whole length of finger chain (usually longer loops) then spin to add the ply. But I could see how Navajo plying would be better suited to spinning with a wheel.

I took this:

And made this:

The dets:

‘Blueberry’ Spunky Eclectic
4 oz. Navajo plyed handspun
100% Falkland top

And to answer your question before you ask it, I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to knit with this yarn. I could make a hat, or a Baby Surprise Jacket or something, but there are no babies on the horizon that this would be appropriate for (I’m thinking at best ‘gender neutral’ girl). I’m kind of thinking hat of some sort. The Barrymore Slouch hat caught my eye but it shall have to wait for an appropriate handspun mate before cast on. I have some medium brown wools to spin up. K, so I have a bit of an idea.

For future updates on Pamplemousse en caoutchouc please check out the newly established blog here or the Flickr group I set up. Please feel free to add your pics to the group and I’ll be sure to comment spam any and every one I see.

It’s like I’m on drugs!

Thanks for all the well wishing for Pamplemousse en caoutchouc. Jess and I really appreciate the support. To answer a couple of questions I got in the comments, Yes, eventually we will be set up with an online store and will definitely ship internationally.

We also do have plans to sell hand dyed yarn. At the moment Jess and I are investigating and choosing a yarn that makes us both drool, will be versatile and repeatable (read: yes a sock yarn, but we probably won’t label it as such). Our yarn will start off with kettle dyes and we plan to expand into self-striping and other experiments. I will of course keep you posted on such progress. And eventually we’ll be organised enough to have a dedicated blog so that those of you who just don’t care about the company stuff (or to read about my sweater angst) won’t have to. I promise we’ll get organised one of these days.

Onto today’s topic: Spinning is addictive. Especially for crazy tactile people like myself. It’s like ALL I want to do! Spindle Spindle SPINDLE!!!

First I spun this:

Then I spun some of this and refused to let Jess leave my place with either the rest of the roving OR her spindle:

Then I spun up the scraps from the floor that I wouldn’t let Jess throw away as well as some little puffs that the Ariadne girls gave me at some point to make this:

After delivering our wares to Ariadne on Saturday (and kind of eaves-learning during their first spinning class), I went to check out possible future studio space chez Jess and she let me take one of the felted rovings to play with. I also got to keep one braid that was way light (but I’m saving that for when I’m a little better).

Right. So I blame my business partner Jess for starting the crazy addiction. During our first day of dyeing exploits chez moi, she brought out some roving and a spindle and in like 5 min I was hooked. I like to think it clicked right away, but upon second look…maybe not. But dood I’ve been spinning for a week now though I’m not an expert just yet, I’m totally addicted to it. OMG. I mean yes, now that I’m a ‘dealer,’ I should know how to use my product, but at the current rate I may never knit again.

Expert knitter/hand-painter Virginia told Mr. Peabody and myself that she learned to spin but didn’t care for it. It was good enough for her to understand it enough, but the whole idea of getting a fleece, washing, prepping then making the yarn, dyeing the yarn and THEN knitting was not her bag. Too much delay before getting to the knitting.

But I have to say that I completely disagree with her sentiments. Since getting back from holidays, I’ve not been feeling it for the knitting. Pretty much all my projects are at a point that require quite a bit of figuring/thinking/paying attention and I really haven’t had the energy. Blame the never ending winter, lack of light, Boring Job Inc., Busy Beaver & Co. and now Pamplemousse en caoutchouc, but I just haven’t had the mental energy to go whole hog on anything. The knitting part isn’t the problem, it’s the PLANNING for knitting that’s got me somewhat blocked.

Enter spinning. A new and pretty much completely tactile experience to save the day! And I think the way I’ve learned is pretty decent. Jess showed me kind of the basics. Then I spun & spun & spun. Then sort of listening the class on Saturday made me pick up Spinning in the Old Way and start reading it again while stuck in the Laundromat. I don’t do well with learning things from books. I’m much better with someone showing me and then once I ‘get’ it, I can read about whatever I’m learning and whatever I’m reading with actually ‘click’ and make sense to me.

So some of my more recent handspun’s don’t really seem like a vast improvement mostly because I’m trying to do it the ‘right’ way. Jess showed me a pre-draft method of spinning and now I’m trying out drafting while spinning (with a bit of predraft because of what I’m working with). For the most part it’s making sense, but really I’m having a riot. And I don’t see any signs of stopping. But I kind of feel bad since I had signed up for the April learn to spin class at Ariadne… I think I’ll go anyways to have someone validate my technique (or tell me that I’m HORRIBLE and should do the world a favour and NEVER spin again—but Leslie seemed very nice and likely wouldn’t say something like that….aloud).

I realised later that Leslie once even posted a comment on this very blog. I’m sorry I didn’t reply in any sort of timely/efficient/at all manner. I didn’t figure out until last month that Blogger doesn’t so much link to someone’s website directly, it requires some user ingenuity to properly stalk the non-Blogger commenters. Sorry about that Leslie, but now I’m properly prepared for future internet stalkings so rest easy.

K, I’ve got to get back to the crack spinning. Oh, and don’t worry, my very own spindle is on it’s way. I’ll be able to give Jess back her spindle before it makes her too cranky to be without it. She’s got another one to work with in the mean time.

So here’s the news.

This is what I’ve been up to every evening this week since last Sunday.

This is what I did today.

With some of this.

And quite a bit of this, but that’s not really related to the news….well it kind of is. But not like in an official capacity.

Did you figure it out? Well, I’ll tell you anyways. Like many a knit blogger before me, I’ve decided to try and monetise my hobby and suck as much of the relaxing, unstressed fun out of it as I possibly can. Yes. I’ve started a home/hand dyeing business with knitter/spinner/architecture student Jess. We are Pamplemousse en Caoutchouc (Rubber Grapefruit, but I personally prefer it shortened to Pamplemousse).

At the moment our product range consists of hand dyed Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) roving in 4 oz. braids sold exclusively at Ariadne Knits. We’ve got our very own shelving unit in a prime location. Right next to the stairs to the basement (if you’re familiar with the store’s layout, you know that’s prime and not the equivalent to being sat next to the bathroom or kitchen in a restaurant).

This is what’s been keeping me from getting to sleep before midnight since Saturday and preventing me from eating breakfast at home in the mornings. But the reception we got at Ariadne this morning was well worth the exhaustion. As we were unpacking, someone HAD TO HAVE one of our braids right then and there. Despite the fact that she didn’t know how to spin yet (she’s in the April spinning class), just in case it sold before then. Now THAT’s a great reception to our product.

So far our colourways are kind of like this:

But I took that photo on tuesday, so there’s some new ones since then. I’ve dedicated a Flickr Collection to it if you want to check ’em all out.

Thus far we are only selling through Ariadne’s store. Once we get organised, we will be setting up sales through Etsy or something and like a logo, website, blog and such, but for the moment we’ve got the important thing: fibre for sale. So go on down to Ariadne to check it out, learn to spin and get buy our fabu fibres!