Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

I’m trying to work my way through my fibre stash at the moment.  I’ve got a few bundles of fibre I haven’t used for much, and it’d be great to get them spun and cleared so the only fibre I have left to worry about is my ouessant fleeces.  The latest finished skein is from a little 100g bag of merino fibre – the last bit of fibre I was able to get from Forest Fibres before they closed up shop.  It’s the same blue blend as my very first spinning project – the bulky blue fibre plied with silk thread from a few years ago.

This time, I wanted to get as much out of the fibre as I could.  And, now I’m getting the hang of spinning very fine threads to ply, I decided to try my hand at a little laceweight.

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The finished fibre is lovely – Two skeins, one slightly larger than the other.  They total 105g of laceweight 2-ply, at 21 WPI and just a hair over 400 yards of yarn.  The original blend of colours is still visible running through the fibre, and I cannot wait to see how it knits up.  I’m hoping the varied colours will create little bands of subtle almost-stripes, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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The big question of course, is what am I going to knit with it?  400 yards of laceweight seems to be enough for a pair of fingerless gloves, or mitts, or a cowl or shawlette, based on my Ravelry search (yarn weight; lace, yardage; 300-450 yards, craft; knitting, has photo; yes, sort by; most projects).  As much as I love the fibre I’m not sure I’d wear something in this specific blend of blues, so I might have a look at some patterns for things I could knit as gifts – maybe something pretty for my bestie, or big sis-in-law, or maybe something cute for the nieces – I bet I can get a couple pairs of child-size accessories out of this!

 

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Sorry about the extended radio silence.  I’ve been doing LOTS of crafting, I just don’t seem to have had the time to post about it.  Well, hopefully that’s going to change and as part of that I’m going to share some of the projects I’ve been getting on with since… wow the end of October, huh?

First up, Spinning!

The ouessant fleece has hit a road block, since I’ve found it is simply not in good enough condition to spin without carding it first, and despite continuously searching I haven’t yet got ahold of any carders – I keep bidding on them on Ebay, but those things get way too expensive way too fast, for what is essentially two pieces of wood with carding fabric attached!  I now have another two fleeces in addition to the original two, with three more to come soon.  They’re getting washed as soon as I get them, but I am EAGER to get on with things, so if anyone knows somewhere I can pick up some second-hand carders for under £20 please let me know.

Fortunately, I have been working on other spinning.  First up, a lovely bit of spinning I did from some fibre my fiancé  bought me for my birthday.

This is a wonderfully soft blend of shetland, corriedale and merino that mixes a variety of greys, black and purple for an overall rich, plummy colour.  The fibre is 2-ply, around a light fingering weight after plying and for only 100g of fibre turned out to be quite a decent amount for knitting from.  I was able to create a lovely pair of beaded ruffle cuffs and still have about 100 yards left over – not quite enough for another pair of cuffs, but I plan to spin up or purchase a complimentary grey or black fibre and make something stripey with the two.

 

The pattern I used is the excellent, and economical Spring Frills pattern on Ravelry.  When I say economical, please note that this is an understatement.  My finished skein measured around 265 yards and I have about 100 left.  I got two very pretty frilly ruffle cuffs for just around 160 yards of fingering weight merino, which is frankly impressive.  I could’ve made extra-long cuffs on these with the fibre I had and probably not run out before I was done.  It’s a fantastic and very quick pattern, and it’d be a great go-to pattern for last minute gift knitting.

It’s really difficult to get pictures that show the colour variations accurately – the purple in the fibre is most on the red end of the spectrum, which can be difficult to photograph accurately.  I took some in-progress pictures of the whole thing, though, and overall I think you get a pretty accurate idea of the colour blends.  Of course, one of my cats had to make an appearance at some point.  I really love being able to make something from scratch to this degree – spinning up fibre and then knitting with the resulting yarn.  I get a real sense of achievement when I see the finished project at the end.

 

As well as battling with my ouessant fleece, I’ve been working on some other craft projects.  I just got my craft corner set up properly in the bedroom, so have been making the most of having a decent workstation to do everything in.  First up, my most recent finished project – a quick rainbow merino skein.

DSCN1208I was gifted a lovely sample pack of merino fibre in a whole rainbow of colours.  I think the pack was meant for felters – certainly there wasn’t enough of any one colour to make anything with – but since I haven’t yet taken up felting, I decided to find other uses for it!  The resulting skein is a single, spun from the fold, not predrafted, and worked out somewhere between a lace-weight and a light fingering.

IMG_5821I’m hoping the skein will be enough to make something like a lace cowl with, and am debating gifting it to my SIL, who also knits and who could probably make better use of something this gorgeous than me!  My cats are less impressed with it, but that might just be because I posed it on them while they were trying to sleep so I could take cute pictures.

DSCN1116I’m also around 90% done with another gift for my SIL.  Her daughters have outgrown their adorable old school uniform of purple and white jumpers and purple gingham dresses, and she asked me to make them each a keepsake poppet using the leftovers.  The poppets are done (not pictured, the above poppet’s nose), and I’m just now working on patchwork quilts for the poppets to be put to bed in at night.

DSCN1114The girls each got to choose the pattern they wanted me to use for their poppets, and I’ve endeavoured to fit the school logo onto each poppet somewhere.  These were really fun and satisfying to make – so much so that I’m debating starting up a business making them to order.

DSCN1197Another WIP I’m enjoying a lot is these little Yule decorations I’m working on.  The first lot I’m doing are little hanging Santa/Tomte in felt.  The little dude just above is the prototype, just made up plain so I could make sure the shape and appearance works with what I had planned.  Below you can see the first batch in progress.  I do need to streamline my technique so I can make them a bit faster than this, though.

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DSCN0570Thank goodness for paranoid duplicate-save-obsessions!  I make it a habit to always download and save a copy of any knitting pattern I’ve picked up on Ravelry – I know you can save patterns to a cloud by adding them to your “library”, but cloud saves are login-dependent, and I worry about what would happen if my entire online world crashed and burned.  Turns out, this was sensible!  Since I’ve not had even slightly enough time or energy to devote to recovering my lost Ravelry account (don’t ask, long story), having a folder full of all my saved patterns has really been a life-saver.

I’ve been working on my Ravenwing Shawl on and off, working with my lovely raven handspun that still refuses to be photographed true-to-colour.  I haven’t made much progress, Life and Time being what they are, but I’m still very pleased with how the yarn is taking to the pattern.  I know a lot of people using the In The Pink shawl pattern like to use dramatically variegated yarns, to make the most of the spiral design, but personally I think patterns like this look best in either a single colour or a sufficiently complex tweedy colour, to show the pattern elements and shaping more clearly.

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I can’t wait to see how the finished shawl looks.  Part of me wishes I’d waited and picked up some black, deep purple or pewter beads to add as I worked – the scattered holes that make up the inner edge of the spiral arms of the shawl look like tattered holes into space, and I imagine they’d look amazing with scattered beads glinting in there, to say nothing of the eventual feathered bird-wing edges of the shawl.  I suppose I can always do that with the next shawl I make.  I imagine this yarn would look amazing as a Shipwreck shawl, or Celestarium, both use delicate, subtle beading to great effect.

DSCN0577Of course, there’s no way I have enough fibre here for two shawls, and in any case plying the singles for the Ravenwing is making the yarn far too thick for either of those shawls.  I’ll need to order more fibre to spin up for that (oh, the horror!).  Maybe I’ll experiment a bit modify the blend some.  I’d love to see what the deep, complex blues and purples of the fibre look like without the distraction of glittery thread, and I imagine the finished yarn will also be a lot less fuzzy without it, too.  Maybe I’d add more black, or perhaps I’d throw in extra purple a shade lighter than the rest, to pull the fibre more towards the violet end of the spectrum.

Whatever happens, I’ll be sure to let you guys know!

Just a bit more yarn porn for you.  I’ve started plying the ravenwing singles, and took them out for some photos.  Yes, yet more photos.  I know I’ve been going camera mad with my current handspun project, but I love spinning and, in case I haven’t said it enough yet, I love this fibre!

I finally managed to get one photo, the first ever, that actually shows the real colour of the yarn to some appreciable degree, and it’s this one:

DSCN0492And now for a whole bunch of artsy fartsy fancy photos of my lovely, pretty yarn.  These photos are all comparing a singles skein with a plied one, and the colour looks different in every single one.  I blame the shiny silk in the fibre.  Enjoy.

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