Tag Archives: handspinning

Review: Happy Hands Lotion

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If you craft with your hands then caring for your hands is particularly important. However, if you craft with your hands you also know you don’t want greasy lotion transferring from your hands to your work.  The lotion from Happy Hands fits that bill perfectly.  On to the review!

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I first found this lotion at a local yarn shop and have now ordered a couple times from the online store.  The lotion is creamy but not greasy and, as promised, does not transfer to your handcraft.  That, and the fact there are no color additives, are the main reasons I have continued to return to this lotion.  The lotion is made with shea butter, sunflower oil, aloe vera, and natural essential oils or pure cosmetic-grade fragrance oils for scent.  Another plus, at least for me, is the lack of coconut oil, which I do not like the smell of.

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The maker has about 30 scents including ones inspired by bakery smells, coffee, tea, flowers, fruits, the holidays and some that are unscented or lightly scented.  My nose is very sensitive (yes, I’m talking to you dude in my office building that wears too much cologne) and I don’t like exceedingly strong or “fake” scents.  Of the scents of this lotion I’ve had a chance to “sniff” none were too overt.  My all-time favorite is Mandarin Clove (a unique blend that I find refreshing), followed by Sweet Dreams (jasmine and vanilla), which is perfect for bedtime.  I also really enjoy Clover, Sandia Sage and Lavender, and White Tea and Ginger.  I just received a small sample of Green Apple with a recent order and I look forward to trying several more in the future (namely, Bohemian, Citrus Cilantro, Cinnabun, Peaches and Mulled Cranberry).

How to Buy:

I’m not sure how many yarn shops carry the Happy Hands lotion.  If you’re local to the Indianapolis area, Starstruck Cat in Greenwood carries some of the scents (bonus point: Starstruck is on the Roving Indiana yarn crawl).  You can find the shop on Etsy under HappyHandsStore here.

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Pros:

  • Not greasy and doesn’t transfer from your hands to your work.
  • Wide selection of scents, as well as unscented, and sizes.
  • No added artificial colors.

Con:

  • Hard to sample fragrances unless a local store carries the line.  You can order small, single portion, samples (8 for $4) though.

Price:

The lotion is more expensive than what you buy at big box stores but is comparably priced to other handmade lotions, and the seller lists the ingredients out so you know what is in the lotion. Prices for a 2 ounce, 4 ounce and 8 ounce bottle are $5, $7 and $12, respectively.  She also has a smaller 1 ounce bottle for $3.

My Grade: A

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The one ounce “tottle” size.  I love these for my notion bags.

Review Disclaimer: These items were not provided to me for review – they are items I purchased independently. Although I accept free products for review, I do not guarantee a positive review and will share my honest opinions.  If you have a product you would like reviewed please contact me at floofymoose [at] gmail [dot] com.   

 

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Finished Handspun – Fiber Fancy Deep Thoughts

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Bamboo blends.  I keep trying to love them – I really do – but they don’t love me back.  I stuck with it though and finished this braid.

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The Process (Ravelry page)

  • 50% merino wool, 25% bamboo, 25% silk combed commercial top
  • Combed top from Fiber Fancy (it appears her Etsy store has been closed)
  • 4.1 ounces unspun; 3.8 ounces spun
  • 494 yards / 2080 yards per pound
  • 19 wraps per inch (light fingering)
  • Spun on my Hansen miniSpinner on the lace flyer, plied on the Woolee Winder

I tore the top into strips for predrafting, mostly because I prefer predrafting and wanted to make sure the bamboo and silk were opened up.  Also, some of the bamboo and silk bits were short and didn’t draft out smoothly.  I spun the singles together as a two ply.

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What Will it Grow Up to Be

Hmm.  I liked the fall colors initially but did not expect so much orange.  I’d like to tone it down a bit but I’m not looking to overdye this one.  Instead, I think I’m going to knit this yarn in stripes or block with an olive green yarn.  I think that combination would make a nice fall shawl or cowl.

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Tour de Fleece Week One

I got off to a good start. And then it ended.

UntitledDays 1 through 4: I spun on my miniSpinner the Deep Thoughts fiber from Fiber Fancy, finishing up the first two ounces and starting the second two ounces.  Saturday and Sunday I spun quite a bit, and then it started falling off Monday and Tuesday as I worked late most nights.

Days 5 and 6: I got home late or worked late both nights again and was zapped.  I also started to notice a tightness in my arm.  Figuring that switching it up my help (and because I only had time to spin 10-20 minutes) I picked up a Phat Fiber sample and my Kundert drop spindle.  The fiber is also from Fiber Fancy – some locks I carded.

Day 7 (Friday, June 10): I fell off the wagon train folks.  Didn’t even make it a complete week.  To be fair, there are lots of things going on (work, Stitches Midwest, another exciting bit I can’t tell you about yet, etc.) but as my friend likes to point out, a few minutes would be doable.

In all honesty, I have this problem every year.  And this year its exacerbated by trying to do more than I could possibly have time for.  Maybe I’ll learn. . .

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Finished Handspun – Woolgathering Purple/Pink/Blue

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Usually I’m pretty good as guessing how a single braid of fiber will spin up.  But not this time.  When I bought this fiber I thought what I have now determined is pink was more magenta.  And I was cool with that.  But its pink.  Oh so pink.

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The Process (Ravelry page)

  • 50% merino wool, 25% bamboo, 25% silk combed commercial top
  • 4.0 ounces unspun; 3.9 ounces spun
  • 952 yards / 3891 yards per pound
  • 34 wraps per inch (laceweight)
  • Spun on my Hansen miniSpinner on the lace flyer, plied on the Woolee Winder

I tore the top into strips for predrafting, mostly because I prefer predrafting and wanted to make sure the bamboo and silk were opened up.  I spun the singles together as a two ply.

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What Will it Grow Up to Be

The pink is bugging me.  For those of you who know me in real life you know I don’t do pink.  So, it’s going to get overdyed.  I’m first going to try a medium purple Jacquard acid dye.  In theory the dye will only adhere to the merino and silk and not the bamboo but my understanding is it may color the bamboo in a lighter shade.  I’m actually kind of excited about that – I think with the different fibers this should come out a nice tonal, much like a kettle dyed yarn.  If I’m not happy with the resulting yarn color I’ll move on to a dye type that will dye both protein and non-protein fibers.

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Ply Magazine article is out!

004Remember back last year when I was so excited my article proposal to Ply Magazine was accepted? And then I wrote the article, spun and knit the samples and shipped everything off to the editor? Well, the magazine issue with my article has been released.

Ply Magazine – The Leicester Issue – Spring 2015 is now available (link to the magazine’s website).

005My article is entitled “Finishing Face Off” (page 84) and is a comparison study of the different ways you can “finish” handspun, whether that be just washing, thwacking, snapping, etc.  Take a look to find out the surprising (to me) results and what they mean for your finishing process.

008P.S. And by plump, I mean 22 pounds.  She’s gained some weight while on steroids for medical reasons.  I call her mini-cow.

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Finished Handspun – Fiber Optic Siren Song

Handspun 3 of 3 for Spinzilla.   Eight ounces of Fiber Optic’s Siren Song in two different colors (four ounces each) This is part review/part what I spun.

Fiber Optic Collage

Review of Fiber Optic’s Siren Song Unspun

If you didn’t already know, I’m a bit of a Fiber Optic junkie.  And this is not the first time I’ve spun this stuff.  It comes as pencil roving and practically just drafts itself. I bought this in 2013 at The Fiber Event in Greencastle and knew I wanted to ply the two colors together.  The green was just labeled “Once in a Lifetime” and the purple was “Vineyard Batik.”  I started with 4 ounces of each so how I ended up with 8.2 ounces total is a bit of a mystery.  Siren Song is 70% superwash merino and 30% seacell.

The biggest draws of fibers from Fiber Optic are the nice bases and the amazing dye jobs.  The dyes saturate the fibers fully and you end up with a deep, rich color.  Her website is here but it is pretty tough to find some of the items in stock (like Siren Song Unspun).  Your best bet is to find it at a fiber festival or, in about a month, at her store in Ohio.

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Spinning Process

Rav page

Ounces: 8.2

Yards: 978

Weight: Light Fingering

I tore the pencil roving in half for predrafting, again for the ability to predraft before Spinzilla started and knew that would save me some time.  I spun each color as singles and then plied them together as a two-ply.  You’ll notice a bit of purple left over.  46 yard to be specific.  Apparently that how far off I was in keeping the singles even.

No ideas yet on what I’m going to make out of this.  It is going to have some serious drape so nothing fitted. Maybe a big, long cowl?

 

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Finished Handspun – Malabrigo Nube

For the record, I think I’m partially recovered from Spinzilla.  At least in terms of catching up on sleep, not so much in terms of my back. I promised last post to talk this week about what I finished so here we go!  This is part review/part what I spun.

Nube Collage

Review of Malabrigo Nube

I love Malabrigo.  It was one of the first yarns I knit with and I still love it.  Their merino is soft and squishy and their dyeing is exquisite.  I received 4 ounces of the Nube, which is 100% merino, in a swap and it was likely from one of their first batches.  The colorway is Indecita, which is a nice blend of vivid purples, blues and greens.  I thought I was going to love their fiber.

All that said, I think they need to work on their spinning fiber.  There are some wonderful qualities about this fiber and I understand from reviews on Ravelry some of the problems I experienced may have been addressed but this is not something I would work with again.

First problem – the dye did not saturate all the way through.  When you pull open the braid there is white on the inside.  Stark white.  So when you draft and spin it lightens the dyed colors to a pastel.  Of course you can’t tell its like this until you open up the fiber and start drafting which I doubt your spinning shop is going to let you do.  At any rate, I’m not a big pastel fan but I can always overdye.

The second issue is the biggie.  This fiber was compacted like I had never experienced before.  Based on reviews and comments online, this is common problem.  I first tried opening of the top by teasing it apart perpendicular to the top with my hands.  Even after that I could place my hands ten inches apart (so certainly much longer than any staple length) and it took a lot of force and tugging to draft the fiber apart.  Then I switched to splitting the top into narrow strips which also took a fair amount of time.  All in I spent hours (like a whole afternoon) predrafting this fiber.

When spinning I frequently had to stop and use both hands to pull apart small sections.  With all the starting and stopping and little slubs the yarn is uneven and not what I had hoped for.  Don’t get me wrong, it is still the squishy merino we all know and love.  But, the time it took to get there just wasn’t worth it for me. I understand from online reviews that some of the more recent batches may have improved.

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Rav page

Ounces: 3.8

Yards: 262

Weight: Worsted

Once I realized the extent of the drafting issues I decided I want to do a 3-ply in hopes the plies would lie against each other.  You can read in the prior post my, ahem, issues with 3-ply.  After plying, I had 262 yards in 3.8 ounces and it was solidly a worsted weight yarn. I love the squishyness but may overdye it to be a bit darker. At this point I’m thinking a medium blue since that would tie with the purple and green.

Has anyone bought this fiber recently and started spinning it? Has the fiber improved?

 

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Finished Handspun – Creepy Halloween

When you see the picture the title will make sense.  The colors remind me of Halloween and not exactly in a good way.

3 handspun (1280x853)

What I Started With

1a drum carded batt (876x1280)

1b purple (1280x853)

Remember that batt I carded in the class I took? With orange, purple and gray? Usually I tear batts into strips to spin, but since some of the colors would then only be in one strip I instead folded it over (lengthwise).  I then pulled it apart to pre-draft, grabbing all the colors.  I spun it, and the solid, dark purple merino from LunaBudKnits, as individual singles.

2 Singles (1280x853)

After plying I ended up 364 yards of sport weight-ish yarn in 4.1 ounces.  I got 15 wraps per inch after washing the skein but that doesn’t seem quiet right.  Odd.  Overall, I’m not crazy about the ending color.  In particular the gray/purple sections.  The adding of gray was probably not the best choice in retrospect. I’m not sure what, if anything, I’m going to make with it.  On to the next class batt!

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