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.
Thanks for following along with my blog over the Tour! I hope you'll be along for TdF 2014. We've had a great time in the Heavenly Wools group.
As the Tour de France hit the hills, I also found myself a little fatigued - my lower back and bottom are a bit sore; my hands and elbows are protesting just a little bit. Thank goodness today is an official rest day!
As you see, there's not much more on my wheel than there was yesterday - this is the same bobbin. I'm inching towards 50gr; at that point I'll be starting another bobbin, just to keep track. I think this single is for navajo plying to keep a few solid areas of that rich colour. I'm planning to make the Stephen West Akimbo with this one.
Not really resting today though, despite the lack of spinning planned; I have a lot of wool to dye, so now the sun is shining I'm heading off out to get on with it!
As today is a rest day, I'll see you back here on Wednesday with my next update.
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.
I sat down yesterday and spun this beautiful lustrous silk from a hanky which I had previously dyed in this gorgeous vibrant fuchsia to match the baby camel down I'd spun earlier. Just to get this much on the bobbin took several hours...
Psst: keep reading!
Then I plied it with this: the baby camel down from days one and two of the Tour...
Psst: keep reading!
And I ended up with this:
52grams of pur luxury! A beautiful, drapey, lustrous yarn that flows like water.
So rewarding, after all the struggle with the camel down! I'm expecting it to bloom as it knits...
Psst: keep reading!
Have you been keeping up? It's the end of the Tour de Fleece week; if you've been following me so far, you deserve a little something in return! Send me a message with the words: TOUR SUPPORTER for a 10% discount voucher to be used towards your next purchase.
Well, Day 2 was a lot more fun - the change of wheels led to a change of spinning style and I spun the rest of the camel down left-handed, which made it go a lot faster.
Initially my day seemed to be loaded with other tasks - the beautiful drying conditions made washing on the line an imperative, for a start, but I managed to spin and ply a LOT as well as do the washing, catch up on some dyeing and cook a roast dinner (which was beautiful - lamb with roast veg. I still don't get yams, though).
So, the tally:
Finished spinning the camel down, which is now split into two bobbins, unfortunately, but that will be all right.
Dyed some silk to match the camel down - hot fuchsia pink.
Plied my two spindles of (respectively) silk from a hanky and merino in Ink
Began spinning some 100% mohair to ply with singles already spun. End goal is a 3-ply effect yarn - this will happen before the end of the Tour! There is only a small amount so it should be quick to finish.
Goal for today: to spin at least some of the silk from the fuchsia hanky and the rest of the mohair. Possibly to ply the mohair with the merino/silk.
Now just a few more dyelots and I can get back into the spinning...
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...
Just thought I'd post this short slide show tutorial here - at least one of my customers blends my fibres using a drum carder...
If you've been watching my Facebook page, or picking up my tweets, visiting my Etsy store or just checking up on my homepage and web store, you'll have noticed a few changes.
Symphony in 19-21 Micron felting wool
Most exciting is the increased range of wools available now!
You can now buy any of my shades in:
Haunui Handcraft Wool. I am just loving working with this natural coloured halfbred tops! It's beautiful to spin, felts with ease and has a gorgeous hint of lustre. It comes from a specialised handcraft bred flock in South Canterbury , and is a real joy to work with.
Dark Grey Haunui Handcraft tops in Harvest Home.
This tops comes in four base shades, and can be overdyed to any of my listed colours. I'm just working through the shades at the moment and listing them as examples in the shop - you can order directly from the menus or request a custom order for any shade not listed. If I think it's not going to work out (some shades take dyes differently from others) I will be in touch with you to discuss options! If you're unsure, I can help you choose.
I'm working my way through spinning samples of the undyed fibre at the moment - what a lovely, lofty yarn it gives! I've spun it quite fine, then Navajo plied it to get a stable, round yarn which I would rate as worsted weight. Easy spinning while watching TV! See examples on the Haunui page.
Aria in felting sliver
Last, but definitely not least, is the 19-21 micron merino felting sliver. This is a carded and double-gilled preparation. It's very fine and dense, but does contain short fibres and a varying amount of vegetable matter. It can be spun, and gives a lovely soft and lofty yarn with a definite slight texture, but is not as easy to spin as the combed fibre.
This fibre is in limited supply; when what I have is gone, I may decide not to get any more processed. It will be replaced with carded and combed 21 micron merino in the near future; this will be suitable for spinning or fine felting.
Most fun is the Shade of the Week - I've now decided that you can buy up to 500gr of the homepage featured shade at $1 discount per 100gr - just a special show of my appreciation for those of you who buy direct from either my website or the Etsy store. So if you want to take advantage of this offer, buy direct from the homepage box, not from the store (which doesn't give the discount). Shades will change on Friday or Saturday every week.
Most useful is that I've changed the layout of the Buy Now section (again). My intention was to make it easier to view and buy from the shop, with multiple thumbnails that you can click on to view a larger image. I've also made the shopping cart a bit more functional so you can add items and return to shopping more easily! Item quantities can be changed in the shopping cart, while fibre type and colour can be selected from the dropdown menus in the "Add to Cart" box.
It's all about me....
"Mexican Cantina" - project in progress.
And off-site, I've been really enjoying saving favourite items and web finds on Pinterest. What a great way to keep track of those things we always look at and think "I must remember to come back and look at that!"
Today I added to my stash on Ravelry, and started a new project listing - a super-stash-busting jacket I've dubbed "Mexican Cantina" because of its loud and obnoxious colours! Joined together in a rather drunken chorus, they become surprisingly tuneful. And it takes all night to finish a row at the moment (slight exaggeration). I'm keeping track of the design, so it might end up as a published pattern sometime.
Kate is a photographer, writer, web author and craft dyer who lives in North Canterbury, New Zealand.