Winter is a time to huddle by the fire, read and eat cake - and spin! Now we've run out of chocolate, I've become conscious of the ever-growing number of spinning wheels glowering at me from the corner of the living room, not to mention the ever-present stash!
The temptation of having absolutely heaps of gorgeous coloured wool everywhere has got the better of me. At last I'm back to some regular felting - here's one of two hats I made a few weeks ago.
Since then I've made a couple of berets and two scarves, one of which my grandson Ollie insists is a 'sneed' ( you need to have been to The Lorax movie).
This hat is made from 19-21 micron carded and gilled merino, plus some hoarded Treetops silk from the 90s (yes, really!). I used Slate on the inside and Sagebrush on the outside, and I think the silk is 'Vintage Port'. The hat was formed around a dome shaped plastic template and fulled on a glass board.
More of sneeds and their ilk in a later post - the rest of this one is devoted to batts, yarns, and samples - read on if you dare!
Merino, silk and angora bunny!
Lately I've been revisiting the drum carder and using a diz to make rovings with the aim of producing art yarns. Drawing on my rather comprehensive stash (plus some recent purchases) I've now produced three separate lots of batts for my experiments - and two sets of cute pink mini batts which I'm selling in my Etsy shop.
I've been using Corriedale, merino and halfbred wools, mohair locks, silk drawn from caps ( one recent discovery) and even a cut-up reel of gold sewing thread - yes, I'm really throwing myself into it!
I've been knitting the first batch of singles spun from the batts in my youtube video (see previous post) into a lovely swing scarf - 'Wingspan', by maylin Tri'Coterie Designs, which I downloaded from Ravelry.com.
I've adapted the pattern slightly by adding a drop stitch pattern in the place of the original garter stitch.
I must say it's not the most accurate knitting I've ever done, but it is light, lacy and totally soft and wearable.Once it's blocked it will look less like a disaster!
My mission now is to spin several different types of yarns from the batts I've been making. The first one is a slightly textured medium weight two-ply, one ply of pastel rainbow silk and the other of "Ginger Tom" (seen at the right).
A (non-scratchy) blend of merino tops, mohair locks and gold sewing thread, Ginger Tom is a tribute to my brother's childhood pet, a feisty ginger much given to fighting.
The merino (21 micron) is "Apricot Blush" and the mohair is dyed in egg yolk yellow, pale red-brown and a slightly duller dark brown. The single was 30% mohair by weight. The thread weighed virtually nothing so I would gauge it at 1%.
Initially I plied GT with a sea-green silk single, but the result was that the greens took over, leading to a dull and slightly queasy yarn I called " Tom Lost at Sea". I had a little silk from another batt experiment (see below) left over, so I spun this into a pastel single, mostly warm colours to tone with GT. This really lifted up the whole yarn, "Tom goes to Heaven". So there you are - I'm going to finish the rest of the batts and maybe knit Stephanie Japel's "One Skein Shrug" from Craftsy.com. Or an adaptation. I only have 150 grams of this one (although it's very lightweight), so it will need to be something small.
My second experiment: I call this bad boy "Hugger Mugger". It's a heavily coiled yarn spun from batts of the same Corriedale used in the "Wingspan" scarf, combined with some of the silk from "Tom goes to Heaven", some lovely Haunui Handcraft Halfbred in natural black and some multi-coloured mohair locks, making a textured, bulky thick and thin single which is still quite light in weight because of the loft of the batt. This was coiled onto a lace weight two-ply wool commercial yarn. I just love the way the coils snuggle up against each other in the knit sample - vertical on the front and horizontal on the purl side. The sample has a wonderful hand and texture - it has far more drape than I expected and is very 'smooshy'.
This yarn is making me think "winter jacket - collar and cuffs". I only have a small amount of these batts left, too, so it won't go far. You certainly wouldn't want a whole coat in this!
So you can see I've been having heaps of fun! I'll be blogging again soon with photos of my latest felt work, so be ready...
Well, this has been a bit of an irregular blog - I do apologise for not keeping it more up to date. What's been going on with my 'renewed' set? Well, the hat is finished!
When I had got the hat lower edging done, I realised that it still looked a bit unfinished - so I folded the seam together where the band meets the main hat pieces and did the same blanket stitch edging along the other band edge. This was then finished in knot stitch to match the other edge. Adding a mirror edge balanced the band nicely and didn't affect the stretch.
The tassel was made by winding some of the thick and thin yarn around a card, tying off very tightly and knotting. The attachment is several strands of the plain yarn I used for the chain stitch row on the mittens (and on the edge of the waistcoat...more on this later in the week), sewn backwards and forwards and strengthened by blanket stitch into an outsize tailor's tack. This makes a tidy, strong attachment.
The finished hat is fun & a bit quirky - a bit much for me to wear myself, but I think it will look great on my gorgeous daughter Laura. It's a kind of combination between a Victorian nightcap and a headband! I left these photos a bit washed out so you could see the detail better.
Onwards to the finishing line!
Now, while I was working on the smaller items, I became aware that I was NOT going to have the 25% new fibre added if I didn't do something fancy with the waistcoat. Initially I was just going to finish it with a simple rib band around the sleeves and fron/neck opening, but as I worked I decided that the front band could well extend into a shawl collar added with short rows before the cast-off. So I have chain-stitched the edge for my starting stitches and will begin by picking up enough stitches to go right around the front/neck edges, rib a band including buttonholes and then work the collar before casting off. I aim to get all this done before the weekend, so it will be a bit of a pinch. Perhaps I shouldn't have taken that time off for a holiday in the middle of the project?
Kate is a photographer, writer, web author and craft dyer who lives in North Canterbury, New Zealand.