Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

The weather has finally started to warm up, to the point that I can comfortably sit in the house with something sleeveless on!  And, of course, this means I can spin!

Sometimes you just want a bit of spindleporn

Sometimes you just want a bit of spindleporn

I can’t quite articulate just how much I love this fibre.  Not just the colour and texture of it, but the sheer joy of working with it.  I’ve got five skeins spun and set, a sixth on the spindle and enough fibre still in the bag for probably as much again.  It’s looking simply gorgeous, and I absolutely cannot wait to start knitting with it!  I’ve shared the blend before, but for those who missed it, this is my custom blend from World of Wool, called Raven Considerations for the time being, although I might change the name.  If you want to pick up your own, you can see my blend here.

Quite a pile to get through, yet!

Quite a pile to get through, yet!

The individual skeins are very fine – in the extreme end of laceweight.  Of course, the pattern I want to use requires a fingering yarn, so I’m going to ply these skeins together and knit from that.  Although I’ve still got a lot of raw fibre to spin, I’ll probably start plying today or tomorrow, and see how much yarn I have ready.  I might have more than I need for the shawl, so of I stop early I can play some more with the leftovers and try doing something different with them.

Oh go on then, have some more fibre porn.

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Just a quick little post.  I’ve been playing with some fibre scraps and leftovers in between spinning my new blend.  When I first learned to spin, it was using a drop spindle starter kit I received as a Crimbo gift, which came with a few balls of blended merino roving.  At the time I spun them up with little idea what I was doing, and mostly ended up making a mess.

The other day, I found one of those messes and, after cutting most of it up into short pieces to put in the nesting-material holder I leave out for the birds, was able to salvage just a small amount to respin.  I also spun up some leftovers from a merino blend I’ve had hanging around, to test out a new spinning method I wanted to try, and finally turned the carrier rods from the silk sample pack I received into something.

The result was three cute little mini skeins.  Not enough to knit with, but they should add some interesting texture to embroidery, if I couch them.  Or I might keep them as they are, as decorative items.

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Hahaaa, yeah sorry guys.  My anxiety has been kind of really annoying, lately.  Not severe in itself, but it has been making me react rather extremely to even the slightest sense of personal pressure.

Anyway!  For my birthday I was given a rather lovely treat – money to buy my own custom blend from World of Wool!  I’ve been planning on buying another of my blends, and this time around I decided to work on a fairly fun project.  I wanted to design a fibre blend that looked like a raven’s wing.

You know, that lovely, oil slick of blue and purple on black.  I was inspired by a really nice looking shawl pattern over at Ravelry called In The Pink.  The pattern is knitted in parts, and has a very wing-like shape when it’s blocked.  I thought it’s look lovely in oily black yarn with a beaded edge.

The fibre I designed needed to have a deep, black colour, had to have a sheen to it, and subtle colour that showed when the light hit it.  I blended merino with tussah silk, using mostly black fibre for both, but with blue and purple added to provide the subtle colour.  I also added rainbow trilobal nylon, so that even if the inky colour didn’t show as well as I hoped, there’d still be an appealing glimmer of colour to the finished yarn.  The blend is available here, if you want to make some of your own.

It turned out exactly like I hoped!

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The huge pile of fibre that arrived!

Can you believe that huge mound is just 500g?  The silk and trilobal are so light compared to the merino, that I ended up with much more fibre than my previous, all merino, blend.  The above mix was blended the maximum five times, but as you can see the colour hasn’t been diminished – there are clear hints of blue and purple where the light hits it.

The fibre is an absolute dream to spin.  Usually, I predraft fibre before spinning as in this youtube video, but because the silk and trilobal are so long and smooth, the fibre didn’t need that at all.  Instead, I’ve just been pulling off hanks about the length of my forearm and drafting as I spin.  I’ve also been able to achieve a lovely, even fingering weight even using my bulky ashford drop spindle.

Spun Fibre

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That little skein is only about 25 grams or so of fibre, and I’m confident I’ll end up with more than enough for the shawl when I’m done.  The great thing about not needing to predraft is I can just spin up a bit whenever I find the time.  A quick hank torn off the pile as and when I’m in the mood.  I’ve been spinning on and off all day!

I’ll be sure to keep everyone up to date on the yarn as it spins, and on the shawl once I start knitting it.

I may have developed a high tolerance to the cold but at a balmy, sunny 10C I felt warm enough to take my fibre outside to play with.  It was a little windy, but that turned out quite useful for my silk spinning, since it allowed me to let most of the piece I was working with float out of the way, and avoided it sticking to my skin most of the time.

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As you can see, there’s a decent variety of fibres to play with.  I decided to try that loose clump of fibre sitting loose on the paper in the photo above, first.  I didn’t know what it was at first, but liked how it complimented the purple custom blend.

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Photo above shared for two reasons – firstly to demonstrate how the colours look together.  Secondly, because that is the first photo I’ve taken of my purple fibre that looks true to colour.

Anyway, I opened up the clump of sticky, delicate silk to discover that it was actually a stack of about 4-5 silk hankies!  Albeit rather messy hankies, distorted from being in the container for, presumably, longer than intended, but silk hankies nonetheless!

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I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures of my drafting and spinning the hankies.  The process was too fiddly and the hankies too light for me to stop mid-work to take a picture.  But I basically followed the technique demonstrated here.  I had never worked with hankies before, so I don’t know exactly how they are supposed to feel, but mine seemed messier, fluffier and more brittle than the ones I’ve seen people use on youtube.  Not surprising, since the little packet of samples I bought was being sold by someone clearing out their stash, but something for me to keep in mind for when I buy hankies properly.  The first couple, I tried to draft into some of my merino and spin the two up together.  In the end, the merino was so much shorter and softer that I found it easier to draft the silk and then just hold some merino in my hand as I spun, pulling it out and letting it catch onto the sticky silk threads.  What I ended up with was a messy, but interesting, tiny little mini skein. Click the pictures to embiggen!

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I only made a tiny little sample, but I think it’ll be nice to try using it as an art yarn for embroidery, and try incorporating it into my samplers for February.  The rest of the caps/hankies I spun on their own, and I plan to ply them with some merino when I get the chance.  I was amazed at how thin and smooth a yarn I was able to spin from the silk, considering how inexperienced I am.  I imagine with better quality hankies it’d be possible to produce something quite lovely with relative ease.  Click the pictures to embiggen!

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I have a few different fibres left to play with, and I’ll post about them as I work with them.  I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with the different fibre types, especially the carrier rods and throwster’s waste.  Click the pictures to embiggen!

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As you already know, I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with the deep purple custom blended merino fibre I purchased from World of Wool.  I’m spinning most of it as simple singles, but have reserved some to experiment with, and had an interesting, if failed, experiment at incorporating nepps into handspun.

Well, I got lucky!  I’ve always wanted to try new and different fibres.  Merino is lovely to work with, but I’m intrigued by silk, alpaca and other fibre types.  What’s put me off trying new fibres so far is the cost – I know I can work with merino, and it’s relatively cheap.  The risk of spending money on expensive fibres only to find I make a mess with them is off-putting when you’re on a tight budget.  But I’ve always made a point of watching Ebay for bargains, and recently managed to pick up this adorable, mini sample pack of silk fibres for under £2!

It’s a really cute like pack, contains several different kinds of silk fibre and is ideal for someone like me.   I really love the different greens, from the colour of Spring peashoots to seafoam green.  The colours are almost a perfect contrast to my plummy, purple custom blend, so I’m going to try incorporating them into some of that and see how it goes.  Watch this space for updates!