Well, of course, after spinning, comes knitting! This is the start of my Akimbo by Stephen West of Westknits. I'm not quite sure I'll have enough yarn to finish it, so as well as making it smaller, I might have to attempt to dye some merino to match. I'll wait until I'm SURE I don't have enough, though.
I'm using the Falkland wool for the main part of the scarf, and I'll be patterning with some Dark Brown Haunui Halfbred from my stash. Akimbo has an amazing 'Spiderman' border.
I should explain that this year I'm destashing my unspun fibre into yarn - so it will be quite a lot of spinning (especially as I can't resist swaps, which always seem to result in upstashing)
As I'm still recovering from my recent surgery, I've spent quite a lot of time at the wheel over the last few days.
I had started spinning this Carousel/ Light grey halfbred before the TdF. I had 50gr on the bobbin, so this week I finished the second 50gr and plied both bobbins, then spun up another 50gr of long repeat dyed halfbred which I had left over from a coils experiment. Amazing that the same fibre can produce fine fingering yarn and bulky coils! My plans for this yarn are going to have to change, as I WAS going to make a shawl out of both yarns, but unfortunately spun the second yarn much finer so I doubt if that will work. Maybe a knit shawl with a crochet border might still work?
And the third yarn to be finished was the rest of the boucle from the TdF. I still had the silk to spin, and the remaining mohair to prepare into batts and spin.
Previously I'd just drum carded it, but got much better results by flicking first, so this is what I did with the second batch. I still have quite a few mohair locks left over to practise lockspinning with!
So, all in all, a satisfying week on the spinning front! However, not so satisfying as far as dyeing is concerned. I'm happy to say, though, that I'm back in the shed now, with no ill effects, so I think 'work as usual' will prevail from now on.
I continued with the silk hankies and spun what I thought was enough to finish the ply - and do you know, I was right! I only had about 50 cm of silk singles left at the end. As the last plying endeavour left me with about 40 cm of the camel on the bobbin, I'm pretty happy with my estimation skills.
The 50 gr of camel yielded 82 gr plied with the silk - so it doesn't take a genius to work out that I used around 30 gr of silk in all. I still have a few layers of silk left over ( but only about 10 gr), so I will have to think about what I'm going to do with it.
The final tally is 280m at 18 wpi (yes, I know I've mixed measurements but wpi seems to be more logical than wpc).
So now I have to find a pattern to do it justice. I'm very impressed by the beautiful Stellaria by Susanna IC on Ravelry*, but I haven't got anywhere near enough yarn to make a big item, so I may combine it with something else - 1st contender Jared Flood's Rock Island, which could be made in two colours: the camel/silk for the lace and another toning colour for the solid areas. I particularly like the way the garter stitch pattern reflects the light on the solid areas.
*you will need to be a logged-in Ravelry member to follow this link.
And back to the Falkland...
Just continuing with this lovely easy-to-spin fibre. It's a finewool similar to NZ Halfbred or Polwarth, grown on the Falkland Islands where the sheep graze among penguins!
Beautiful fiery shades of red, burnt pink and orange make it a perfect candidate for Stephen West's Akimbo*, paired with charcoal NZ Halfbred. The pattern calls for 398m of 4-ply so I think I'll be right on track for that.
*you will need to be a logged-in Ravelry member to follow this link.
Tomorrow is a rest day, but I still have half of today at my disposal (slept in), so possibly I'll be able to spin the rest of the Falkland in between doing the washing, visiting the dump and preparing and cooking a roast chicken dinner.
Just thought I'd post this short slide show tutorial here - at least one of my customers blends my fibres using a drum carder...
The Holden Shawlette
After searching high and low on the internet for a free pattern that I could use with this Sea Anemone yarn, I found the delightful Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes on Ravelry (you will need to create an account to view this site, but don't worry - it's very user friendly and doesn't send you spam). I was not alone; over 2,400 other people have used this pattern! The pattern knitted up quickly to begin with as it is knitted from the top down, starting with only four stitches with increases at the middle and edges .
Saturday Morning at Nina Hut!
Here are some notes from my Ravelry project page:I’ve slightly adapted the pattern by making it larger (added on an extra repeat of the pattern making it longer/wider) and adding beads into the lace area. The tricky part about adding beads was knowing where they’ll look good before I'd tried out the pattern. That and putting all my beads on the yarn at the beginning of the ball and then having to move them all the time. That was a pain, but also a learning experience.
Some of this project was knitted at the Nina Hut near Lewis Pass. It even survived my falling right into a bog and getting me and my pack covered in mud on the walk in. Other trampers who arrived at the hut were surprised to see me knitting in the wilderness! We had three days there; it snowed a lot and I was glad I had brought something to do.
Finished and blocked.
For once I blocked a project properly, using large rustproof display pins (like normal pins only about 5x as big) and a sheet of 5cm thick polystyrene insulation. Lucky to have that lying around the house! The bonus of the polystyrene was that the knitting clung to it slightly, making it really easy to position. The shawlette went from being a wrinkled sea creature to an elegant lace accessory in a few short hours.
My yarn was quite lightweight, so the finished shawlette only weighs 120g (about 4oz) and feels really comfy to wear. It has a lovely drape and is cozy to wear without being heavy. It makes a nice large scarf and can be draped and tied around my head as well.
You may be wondering what happened to the Spring Challenge. Unfortunately there were not enough entries for it to go ahead.
But, on the bright side, I have finished my own craft-along 'Renewal' project and I'm pretty pleased with the results. The only snagis I haven't decided what to do with the buttons. So the finished items are sitting in my living room waiting for that final touch. As soon as that happens, I'll take some photos and post the final images.
Yes, with the end of Spring fast approaching it will be time for another newsletter. I have some exciting stuff happening at HW right now, so I'll be telling you all about that then - and there will be at least one Christmas surprise.
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?
Dyed and overlocked waistcoat piece
I'm just kicking myself that I didn't take a photo of the hideous mangled oatmeal jersey before I started this project - it was truly a sight to behold. My first thought when my daughter produced it was "What on earth can I make out of that?".
Further inspection proved that it was of good quality; had a nice feel if a bit lumpy, and was quite big, a major concern if I was going to shrink it a bit more in the dyebath.
Progress on the hat and mitts
Once I had it dyed (see previous post) I finished all the edges with overlocking (although the fabric was pretty comprehensively felted after the dyebath, I wanted to be sure) and inserted some little gussets cut from scrap into the thumb area of the mittens to give a wider hand and better fit around the thumb (I did all this 'by eye' as I'm a bit of a risk taker!). I shortened the mitts because I found that I had made them much too long in the wrist and they were a bit floppy.
Having chosen some felted thick-and-thin yarn, plus a light navy/purple wool, mohair and alpaca yarn from my 'stash of the ages', I began to play about with various ideas, starting with the mittens. The first attempt at cuffs, made with the plain yarn, was hopelessly clumsy-looking so I undid that and used the thick-and-thin. You can see the edge of the starting row of chain stitch (in the plain yarn) that I made to begin the knitting. The more bulky yarn gives a pleasantly lumpy finish, which actually looks as if it's supposed to be like that! (It was - but it needs to be convincing). Then I started working on an edging strategy for the hand end of the mitt. this was crucial as it would be a keynote for the whole set.
I'm not particularly fond of blanket stitch, as it can look very "home made" and I wanted a nice-looking, hand-crafted finish (I hope you understand what I mean here). The thick-and thin yarn is a pain to stitch on the felted fabric with, but it gives an excellent edge with a lot of interest - it forms a wavy pattern which is very pleasant. I decided to add a little height to the edge by forming a row of needle knots on top of the blanket stitch. This looks great and is quite unusual. You can see this on the thumb edge of the mitt. The finished edges of the original jersey were in simple rolled stocking stitch, which needed to be stabilised before continuing (it kept rolling while I was trying to work on it), so I have simply slipstitched them in place with a cotton thread.
To start the hat, I sewed the (former) neckband onto the joined sleeve pieces with the overlocker. I had to trim the hat pieces a bit to get a nicer look to the shaping. Then I made a tassel by unpicking some of the thick-and-thin from a locker hooked sample I had made a few weeks ago - that was a bad idea! This was attached to the hat by stitching a few threads back and forth and then blanket stitching over the threads, forming a strong attachment which allows the bobble to flop roguishly.
To be continued...
Well, the last few days have been very chilly here at Heavenly Wools, despite our rather disappointing lack of snow. I feel very grateful that we have such a snug house and a great pellet fire. Hopefully you will all be safe and warm at home, too.
In case you need to venture outdoors, I've posted patterns for two snug hats, the Anna-Maria hat and the Granny Square Beanie, which you can make quickly.
If you need yarn, it might take a bit longer! To help you cut the time a bit shorter, I've posted a new video - Navajo plying - on the site and on YouTube. Get out those old part bobbins of yarn and get plying!
The Granny Square Beanie uses Thick and Thin Felted yarn - a single ply yarn that's extra quick to spin and prepare for knitting or crochet.
Have fun with these new projects while I get back to dreaming up something new for the Spring!
Kate is a semi-retired photographer and craft dyer who lives in Southland, New Zealand.