Another new toy… Trouble is looming.

So I had kinda planned to buy myself a birthday present in three weeks time (at my birthday, of course, which is on Valentine’s should anyone feel a desperate need to buy me yarn/roving lol) , but someone on ravelry was selling exactly what i was wanting second hand. So I bought it early…

On wednesday i drove to Ferntree Gully and bought a loom. A 50cm Ashford Knitters’ Loom, with stand and carry bag.

And I kinda love it. After going to the Night Market with penelope waits that night I read my instructions, grabbed the pretty yarn i’d bought on the way home from picking up the loom and warped it up…

Three hours later I had my first woven scarf. I LOVE IT! three hours! for a whole scarf! albeit a child sized scarf, which as a result i am planning on giving to my cousin for her 9th birthday.

After a wash and a hang/dry on Thurs it looked like this:

The edges aren’t fantastic, but by all accounts aren’t terrible either for a first project and will get better with practice. the actual weaving is a little uneven, but again not anything practice won’t fix.

I really love the colours too and the way the warp plays with the weft. I used Studio Mohair for the weft and Plain old cleckheaton country for the warp.  I have some pretty bamboo sock yarn to play with some bamboo wool and some noro kochoran to match with some tweed for my next couple of projects as well as some left over SAGE (omg i made so many sage coloured presents at christmas) and contrast yarns to do some colourwork!

I am currently working with an inexpensive yarn to practice some more, again letting the yarn itself work wonders 🙂

this time i am using the same mottled yarn for the warp and weft and letting the colours play with each other.

And don’t worry, my new wheel has not been forgotten!! Last week I spun Polworth – a brand new fibre for me, to celebrate my brand new wheel – into this lovely smooooooshy DK yarn. I call it Pink Elephants in Lavender Fields.

and while the scarf was drying i spun a single from some GORGEOUS camel bunny silk blend from Ixchel which i intend to ply with some similar shaded angorino. nomnomnom. should be deliciously soft laceweight/light fingering with lovely meterage when i’m done!

The Summer of Spinning

Last summer was the summer I discovered Blue Faced Leicester, Wensleydale, Camel and Cashmere blends. It was the summer I plyed using a prespun laceweight for one ply. It was the summer of the three ply. It was the summer I spun exotic singles and bought from Spindlefrog and Exclusively Linda Lee,  my favourite International crack fibre suppliers. Here are some of my spins and you can see the improvement from previous spinning posts!

you know how when you get a box of chocolates you eat your least favourite first, even if you love all of them? well it’s a bit like that when you’re a newbie spinner choosing from your stash. So even though I LURVE this fibre, I chose it as ‘not my most precious’ and spun it up when i arrived in Adelaide.

Gumnut Magic Angorino from Ixchel: 14wpi, 86g, 204m of 95% 18micron merino, 5% angora, which makes it a sport weight of yum!

Then my first package from Spindlefrog arrived. I couldn’t resist the colours of the Mermaid BFL and was so curious about this raved about fibre it was instantly on the wheel

don’t you just want to dive into it! It’s not the most even yarn, varying from 13- 16 wpi. but it’s a good little heavy fingering (that sounds dirty) weight yarn. great meterage too at 365m from 119g.

So I took part in a dye your own swap, and working in my parents house, with curious cats and a clumsy dog around, I chose to dye with jelly and food colouring. I have a great technique where I do a standard jelly dye (simmering the fibre in jelly with a bit of vinegar) and just dribble some food colouring in of a similar colour to give a semi solid effect. I dyed up a batch in green, blue, pink, purple and red-pink for my swapee, but there was a little pink and purple left over. YIPPEE! so I spun a single with that, just to see what it was like after the dying process. At about the same time, this optim/seacell blend from the incomporable Mandie at EGMTK arrived in a slightly more vibrant colourway than i was expecting. but, low and behold GENIUS struck me and I spun it up as a single and plied them together… the result?

360m of AWESOMENESS. It was so SHIMMERY, which is of course how it got it’s name – Fairy Princess –  since it reminded me of luminescent fairy wings and it was just so damned GIRLY! My friend ended up buying off me and knitting a morning surf scarf for her good friend’s birthday. it looked amazing 🙂

Before heading to Adelaide I’d gone to visit Charly  (aka Ixchel) at the Sunday Arts Markets and not only had i bought far too much fibrey goodness, but she sold me a skein of laceweight cashmerino to experiment with plying. It was a perfect match for one of the braids, and so I chose that at my next adventure, using a couple of defaced coathangers and a champagne bottle as a swift!

It was my first time plying like this and it took me quite a while to get the hang of it, but where it works I love it! the colours were a great match, i got a CRAPLOAD of yardage – 537m –  and a whole pile of angorino left over for later… I called it Ocean Shadows, after the name of both the braid and cashmerino and it sits at about a sport weight.

So I was feeling pretty confident about now and my first pile of deliciousness had arrived from across the Pacific from Linda Lee. She specialises in exotic fibres and I’d ordered 2oz of Camel/Silk in the Syrah colourway – it seemed like kismet having grown up with a cat of that name! It was divine to spin. I got some advice from LL herself on rav which really helped to make it a simple if time consuming spin. I kept the yarn as a single to maintain the colour and to gain maximum yardage (210m) from this delicious fibre. It sits at a light fingering, perfect for a lacy cowl…

 

Continuing on the ELL adventure, I ordered two different fibres in the same colourway – a cashmere silk and a cashmere baby alpaca in Crushed Cranberries – with the intention of plying them together. When the second lot arrived, I buried my face in it, spun them together! this is the most beautiful skein i’ve spun and it’s sooooooooooo soft and squooshy. If i were to sell it, it would be for about $100 because of the fibre content and the love that i have for it. But there’s no way i’m selling this. Come Autumn it will be draped around my neck in some lacy concoction and whenever I feel blue I will bury my face in it, like i did the day it arrived.

I got a fantastic 375m from the 4oz and it’s a fingering weight, so will create a lovely drapey fabric.

Hey remember that gumnut magic angorino? well I only spun about half of it, since Charly’s braids are a whopping 150-160g (6oz) and I had this fantastic idea that if i spun it with a creamy white, it would look like snow in the australian mountains (not that i’ve SEEN snow…). So of course i did exactly that. Charly advised keeping the white/cream ply really thin and if i were doing this again, I would do it as a three ply, with 2 of the main colour, one of the cream. But still it’s an interesting effect and i’m curious to see it knitted up.

I called it Snow on Blue Mountains and got just under 300m of light fingering weight out of it.

i had ordered some custom dyed machine wash merino from miss Mandie at EGMTK for my birthday, and since that was always going to be destined for sock yarn, i thought it time to experiment with three plys. The challenge at EGMTK for the month was inspired by a song, and this merino and tencel fibre, with its shimmery moody blues, made me think of Regina Spektor’s Lady (sings the blues so well, as if she mean it…)

I still can’t get over the shine of ‘Lady Toko’ and want to do a beret in it. I should have enough at 250m of DK weight!

I wanted to try a new fibre next, so i turned to another Spindlefrog creation – Wensleydale in the Unicorn colourway. wensleydale is hard to get your hands on in Aus. It’s not an overly soft fibre, but it spins like BUTTER!

It wasn’t a lengthy spin though, only 165m from 100g at a DK weight, but it will find a purpose somewhere!

Before I get to the last spin… you guys remember this yarn?

well, as per the deal with Miss E, it became this

It’s based on a simple shell lace pattern from the Harmony Guides Lace Stitch Dictionary by Erika Knight. The buttons are kinda retro and there are a gazillion different ways to wear it! Miss E loves it and apparently wore it all the time i was away over winter!

 

One last spin to tell you about. This is the custom colourway from Mandie, that I named Roses for Jen, being on a account of my sending a bunch of pink rose images to Mandie and her dying the yarn for me. I wanted socks. so a three ply it was. I did a sort of variation on a fractal spin, so one strip was spun as it appears in the braid, one was split twice and one about five or six times.

I got 340m of heavy fingering 3ply out of 140g of fibre.

And, just last week I finished knitting my socks from them! My first pair of handspun socks! I was sooooo excited. The pattern is Firestarter by Yarnissima (ravel it! go on i dare ya) The yarn was a bit thick, realistically. I actually broke a needle, working cables on 2mm wood needles! I didn’t use a cable needle, since they were all twisted stitches. I loved the construction and watching the yarn variegate as i knitted was totally exciting! I have about 100g of yarn left too I think!

 

Further Adventures in Spinning

I feel like i have come so far in the last month! (not too mention bought so much delicious fibre!!)

First Up – I’d had some pure merino roving in two different colours since i first got my wheel, which i’d always planned on plying together. So! that’s what i did!

Summer Orchard

Summer Orchard

It ended up a nice bulky weight – about 7 wpi – and i have a whopping 170m of it, So i’m thinking a lovely scarf! I actually don’t have a scarf in these colours at all, so it’s just perfect! It’s sooooo lovely and smooshy. I called it Summer Orchard because the colours remind me of the plums and cherries i get to scoff in December and January 🙂

Second – Again, some merino I picked up ages ago at the Handweavers and Spinners guild of victoria. This was a gorgeous multidyed blue based roving, which had been dyed seperately and then carded together (rather than hand dyed). I considered plying with a solid colour, but in the end i just practiced my fineness and evenness and 2 plied the yarn with itself.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3280/3103681719_65c05f4d5c.jpg?v=0

Mariana

Mariana

This one i named Mariana after the Underwater trench in the pacific. I’m sure the Mariana Trench is actually pitch black but these are such beautiful underwatery colours that the name just fit. This one is about 92m and a heavy worsted weight at 8 wpi.

Third – Fractal Spinning!! I received some beautifully hand dyed Norwegian roving from Ewe Give Me The Knits! in a ravelry swap. The colours ranged from bright red through pink and orange, great combination, but not for me, so i had the ingenious idea of spinning it up for my new friend S who is a total orange girl!! Since the colours were really clear i decided to try Fractal Spinning – this is a technique for getting a less randomised colouring through the yarn The basic idea is to split the roving into two halves – one which is spun with one full colour repeat (ie as is) and the other split three or four times and spun in multiple colour repeats. Depending on how the original colours are spaced, the colours should start to line up like so AA, AB, AC, BA, BB, BC, CA, CB, CC.

Cherry Bomb

This is one of the most even yarns i’ve spun and whilst the Norwegian is not as soft as Merino, it’s a dream to spin! almost spun itself!! The final stats were 100m, 100g, 10wpi (my finest yarn yet too!)

And S love it, naturally 🙂

Fourth! My friend E is a felter and had a whole pile of beautifully coloured merino slivers left over. she gave them to me for spinning, suggesting i put all the colours (she’s a quilter so she spends a lot of time putting colours together) in the one yarn. She’s also suggested that were i to make something out of it for her, that might not be a bad thing lol.

Es Roses

E's Roses

stats: 115m, 85g, 8-9 wpi (worsted weight)

It’s going to end up a cowl based on a scallop stitch pattern with pearl buttons

Five (omg) Is another Christmas present! I went and picked out a beautiful red based merino and silk blend at the spinner’s guild. The plum red is flecked with white and black and is just gorgeous! SJ had commented that she loved the smooshiness of my early yarns so i deliberately spun the first single thick and thin with a lot of smoosh factor. The other single i spun as evenly as i could (i do need to practice lol) and then plied the two together.

Cherry Ripe

Cherry Ripe

Stats: 80g, 85m, 8wpi

SJ loved it, and the 15% silk really does add a real shine!

Six (wow) nummy nummy bunny fur! I FINALLY got around to spinning some beautiful Angorino (80% 18 micron merino, 20% angora) from Ixchel. This was an unnamed colourway and so i named it Soft Sunset because of the colours i’d seen in the sky  just the day before! I decided to navajo ply this to try and maintain the colour bands. The result was ok… It was my first time spinning straight from the braid without separating it all out – i found this really hard and tiring. And found it MUCH harder to maintain an even yarn this way. That being said, i spun the finest single i’ve spun, since the result is a 3 ply and about the weight of my previous 2plys. I let the wheel get away from me whilst plying (SLOW wheel for navajo) so it’s over plied in places, but it’s still quite lovely and the slow colour changes are gorgeous

Soft Sunset

Soft Sunset

144m, 151g, 9wpi. I’m thinking fingerless gloves to really show off the colour changes

Seven (phew) My first Silk Hanky! This was spun on the spindle and was a lot of fun. and i just lurrrrve the colour. I navajo plied after i spun the single – also on the spindle, but not on the fly. D came over and commented on the colour – so it ended up being her christmas present in the form of a crocheted choker!

Silk Hanky

Silk Hanky

Silk Choker

Silk Choker

And Last but not Least – My first Art Yarn! Mandie at Ewe Give Me the Knits kindly carded some gorgeous green merino with red wing flash angelina. I spun it nice and thick (and not so thick) and plied it with a cranberry variegated plying thread which i’d strung with seed beads! Wow. was that a lot of work! the single kept breaking, the beads got tangled, the plying thread doubled back on itself… but i love the result: A christmas yarn for the spin up challenge at the Ewe Give Me the Knits group on Rav.

Happy Hollydays

Happy Hollydays

Named for the holly green colour and the season of course! 104, 113g, and i haven’t bothered to take wip reading… it’s to varied.