a life of fibre

Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

A little spinning

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

When I’m short of time or I’m tired and I want something soothing to do I pick up my spindle. I don’t need to watch what my hands are doing, I can watch TV and the rhythm of the work is very restful whilst still being productive.

This is just off my spindle.

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It’s a lovely Merino blend weighing only 64g. I’ve managed to spin 233m at 16 wraps per inch which is about a 3 ply. Definitely one of the finest yarns I’ve spun.

Currently on my spindle is some very soft Blue Faced Leicester in oatmeal, black and lilac. This time I’m practising spinning a thicker yarn.

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Just for a change I’m spinning this in various lengths of single colours so it should look very interesting when plied. Now I must confess that I may have succumbed to the charms of a further two spindles recently so I’ll take some shots soon and share them with you.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like that

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

For the last few months I’ve been trying out spinning wheels wherever I went. Not only did I want a smaller wheel than my Ashford Traditional, I wanted to fall in love with how it looked and how it felt. I’ve tried Majacraft, other Ashfords, Louet, Kromski and a home made one. I didn’t fall in love with any of them.

Surfing around the internet I fell in love with the good looks of one which turned out to have poor reviews so I had to keep looking. Then I spotted something a bit different. Love overrode reason and I bought it without trying one. It was out of stock so I had to wait some weeks before I finally got to see it.

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One of the biggest surprises is that it’s white! All the others I looked at were various wood shades but I just liked the clean modern look of the Woolmakers Bliss. It was quite easy to put together, takes far less space than my traddie, I still love it’s clean lines and I’m enjoying playing with the ratios.

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This version has a single pedal which I actually prefer as it allows me to have my left foot, right foot or both feet  treadling which in turn, allows me to wriggle whilst I spin. The double treadles keeps me too still and I start to seize up. So far I’d give this wheel an 8 out of 10, we’re still working on the love bit!

Aslaug Scarf

Monday, July 20th, 2015

I finished this scarf a few weeks ago but had to keep it a secret as it was a present. It’s handpun, by me!, from Finnish humbug.

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Being so pleased with how it turned out I knew I definitely wanted to make something with it. The pattern is a free pattern from Ravelry, the Aslaug Scarf by Camille Coizy. My yarn turned out more like arran than double knit so the finished scarf is a heavier version which I knitted on 5mm needles. If I’d remembered I would have measured it but I forgot 🙁  Here it is being blocked.

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Knitting not being my best skill I did struggle a little until I’d got a couple of pattern repeats under my belt and I understood it a little better.

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It looks lovely with my sheep shawl pin from Harry.

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And it looks equally at home worn as a scarf rather than a wrap.

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The back shot allows you to see the pattern fully.

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A close up of the ends.IMG_1330

The best bit? my friend really loves it 🙂 and I feel inspired to do more knitting.

Spinning

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

I seem to have done quite a lot of spinning in the last 6 months and I think that’s mainly because I’ve done most of it on a drop spindle which is extremely portable. You can just pick it up and put it down at will with no need to drag the wheel out of a corner. Don’t get me wrong, I like spinning on the wheel it’s just that I like the drop spindle even more and it takes up so little space in an overnight bag and I can spin my yarn whilst demonstrating at shows.

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From left to right – hand dyed Swaledale plied with BFL,  hand dyed Jacob/Bamboo and dyed BFL. The first is destined for a friend but the seond two are for me to use. I really really love the Jacob/Bamboo and I’m hoping that I’ve managed to spin it fine enough that I’ll have sufficient for a laceweight shawl or scarf. I adore the colours of the BFL which are natural brown blended with blue, purple and a little turquoise but I have no idea what I’ll do with it. Fingerless mittens perhaps?

My first shawl

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

I’ve had this yarn in my stash for a while, it’s one of  my first handspun yarns that I thought was usable and is a green and turquoise Merino and silk blend. Being an early yarn it definitely has areas which are thick or thin and even some which are over twisted but it was still usable and I had a goodly amount.

Initially I tried it on 4mm needles but the knitting was dense and didn’t have the drape I was looking for so I restarted on 6mm needles which were much better, especially when I encountered a thick bit. The pattern is not a particularly difficult one, in fact I’d say it was quite easy but what attracted me to it was the yarn used in the photos and the fact that it would be long. I love long scarves and found this one as a free pattern on Ravelry.

It wasn’t many rows before I was running out of space on my needles but fortunately a friend loaned me a 6mm circular needle. My first ever circular needle to knit my first shawl using one of my handspun yarns for the first time. Whilst knitting it I have to say I wasn’t very keen and was planning on gifting it away and oh how that position has been reversed, it’s mine all mine. Better let you have a look at what I’m on about.

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That’s it after washing, being blocked.

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I couldn’t wait for it to dry in case the sun disappeared so it’ll have to go back on block later to dry. You can see it’s not a difficlut pattern and yet there was a section of about 10 rows where I had repeated brain malfunctions and had to keep unpicking the work. Not being brave enough to take it off the needles and rip it back I did this the slow laborious way, one stitch at a time! After a whole weekend of messing about I finally got beyond that section and then rapidly finished the shawl.

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It felt important to me to use this yarn and to finish the shawl even if I didn’t like it. In case you were wondering, I love it and have already worn it. It did turn out to be very important to use it and has actually taught me quite a lot about the spinning of the yarn. I needed no help to understand that it wasn’t perfectly even but it was enlightening to understand how that felt in use. Uneven yarn isn’t a problem, there are plenty of yarns on the market which are exactly that but I’d not used one before. Having every inch of yarn back through my fingers helped me to understand how to spin my next yarn to achieve whatever effect I want.

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My spinning now is finer and much, much more even. It just goes to show that even imperfect yarns can look lovely made up. If you fancy learning to spin then why not come along to my spinning workshop on Thursday 11th September and let me introduce you to this ancient and absorbing craft. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can catch on and start producing your own unique yarns.

p.s. Update on the remodelled skirt very soon, I promise.

 

Stash busting?

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Recently I’ve done very well at busting some of my fibre stash, unfortunately as I’ve done quite a bit of spinning with it I’ve increased my yarn stash. At the same time, I’m spinning instead of crocheting so I don’t see my yarn stash been depleted in a hurry.

I’ve been playing with my drop spindle and have been delighted with the way in which this blend of camel and silk has spun on it. It’s spun quite fine ( for me) and so has taken quite a while. I didn’t want any waste so I plied it using this handy method. I haven’t yet learned Andean playing and I didn’t want to use Navajo plying as it would have made a chunkier yarn.

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It was quite a light delicate coliur unspun but spinning always deepens the colour. Again, I don’t know how much yardage I’ve got nor any idea how to assess what weight of yarn this is but I do so want to use it.

I’ve washed it and set the twist, I think I might use an invisible method to join the mini skeins together that doesn’t waste any yarn. Then, once the niddy noddy arrives, I can measure the total length and decide what project to undertake. I’m fancying wrist warmer but the patternss I  like most are all knitted and I’m not sure I’m up to the job. A, I’m not great at keeping the tension. B.Some patterns seem awfully complicated and C. Since I’ve had carpal tunnel I find knitting for very long a bit painful. Might still have to do it though so that should be a stress fest 🙂

Although I love the colour of this, beige just isn’t my colour. To dye or not to dye, what do you think?

 

 

Mohair

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

In the back of a dark cupboard at the bottom of a box I discovered a 100g of Mohair fibre from Adelaide Walker which I’d squirreled away for some future use. Never been quite clear what use that was however, I decided this was it’s time in the light.

A spinning wheel is a lovely machine to work with but I’m very fond of my drop spindle as it’s so easy to take with you and pick up and put down at a moments notice. I decided to have a go with the mohair on my drop spindle. It wasn’t a pretty sight at first, thick thin and lumpy but I gradually improved until I was spinning quite reasonable yarn with it.

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Yardage wise there isn’t a lot of yarn and I don’t know precisely how much as I don’t own a niddy noddy and haven’t measured it. In future I will know as I have ordered a niddy noddy. I don’t want to use this yarn for anything wearable and haven’t a clue what to do with it. Suggestions?,