Spindle spun Blue-Faced Leicester

Firstly a quick update.  In my last post I mentioned that my phone was languishing in a bag of rice.  I don’t know if it made a difference, but my phone survived. Hurray!  Here’s the stash:


Now, onto the Blue-faced-Leicester.  I dyed the tops at the start of this year.  You can see me starting to spin it in January.  So, after months and months of spindle spinning (not constant spinning, only occasional spinning) I’ve plied together two spindles worth and have a lovely skein of yarn.

The singles:


I made a box lazy-kate.  It’s “designed” to take the spindle or knitting needles (I slid the first spun cob onto a knitting needle).  The spindle occasionally fell out as the cob was unwound, but the knitting needle worked brilliantly.  I’m keeping my free lazy-kate for future plying projects.


I plied over a couple of evenings on my Dryad wheel.  The second cob had a lot more yarn (by length, not necessarily by weight) so I finished off by Andean plying (I didn’t get into too much of a tangle and at one point discovered that the bed-knob at the bottom of the bed was a great holder for the resulting bracelets of yarn).


Sadly, it’s November.  It gets vaguely lighter at about 8am and is dark again by about 4pm.  The last few days have been ones where the lights have stayed on all day in the house.  Even at noon.  So in the end I bowed to the inevitable, and photographed the final skein in the warm glow of artificial light:


I may be a little quiet for a week or two – as paid work will take priority. If I do post tell me to stop procrastinating and get on with my proper job Smile.  I’ll be back soon…


Well I was going to include a photo I took earlier today of some stash that had just arrived by post.  An jumble of bags containing a lovely assortment of colours of dyed Shetland.  There were also a couple of bags of Merino: some pretty blended tops and a plain colour to co-ordinate.  These are my first forays into commercially dyed tops.  It turns out that it’s possible to buy Merino wool from flocks whose sheep are not mulesed (up to now I’ve avoided Merino and concentrated on wool from British sheep).

However, I took my photos on my phone.  Earlier this evening I tried juggling a mug of water and my phone, at the same time.  Sadly the water won and landed all over my phone. Surprised smile  Currently the phone is sitting in a warm place in a bag containing some rice.  I’ve no idea if this works, or indeed how wet the insides of my phone got.  But I have 18 months of contract left and don’t really want to buy a new phone just yet, so I’ll cross my fingers and leave it in the warm for a little while longer.Fingers crossed

A new wheel

Today my new wheel arrived and was promptly whisked out to a craft group meet-up.  I took her to bits, gave her a polish, put her back together again and put on a new drive band. 


I then wondered what to spin on her.

I fished out of my stash some white, grey and “black” Shetland tops took a length of each and thought about a marled yarn.  Then Secret Spinner walked past and said that she was planning a gradient yarn with her Shetland.  What could I do?  I decided on a quick spin of a small amount of gradient yarn.

I put the tops into groups working from white to black.  For the transitions between white and grey, then grey and black I held the two adjacent tops together and drafted them together.  This produced a marled rather than carefully blended single.  If I was going to do this on a larger project I would go to the effort of blending the transition colours together before spinning.


This evening, once I’d got the wheel set up at home, I checked the assembly instructions (they can be found on Ravelry).  I discovered that there are two bobbins for spinning singles and one bobbin for plying!  I checked my bobbins and found that two have a whorl that is slightly larger than the remaining bobbin’s whorl, so assumed that the odd-one-out is the plying bobbin.

I’m planning on Navaho plying my blue BFL.  But I don’t want to learn on that project.  So this gradient spun Shetland was the ideal candidate for practicing on.  I got in a tangle a few times (I think leaving the singles to set for a day or two would make things much easier).  However, I ended up with a beautifully balanced skein:


It’s now soaking to set the twist.  What shall I knit?  A winter hat, a beret, a small scarf or a Mobius cowl?  It’s not a huge skein, but I should be able to get something useful from it.

As for my new wheel?  She is a delight to spin on.  I’m about to upgrade the flyer on my Traditional to a lace flyer, so the Haldane Lewis will fill that gap and provide me with a lovely wheel for spinning 4-ply to DK thickness yarn.

The accidental spinning wheel collector

At what point does owning some spinning wheels, as essential tools in the occupation of spinning, become having a collection of spinning wheels?  I think I may have just crossed the boundary.  As long as ownership of a wheel can be justified in terms of generalised or specialised use, then that’s a tool to pursue a hobby.  But when a wheel is acquired that isn’t faster, more portable, quieter, great for lace or great for art yarns, then just possibly it may be considered that I have started collecting wheels!

Anyway, my “new to me” Haldane Lewis should be arriving tomorrow.  I’m really excited and looking forward to taking it for a spin Smile

That means I will have 5 spinning wheels (that does rather look like it may be a collection).  I’m still hankering after a very portable wheel though, so I suspect this won’t be my last! Embarrassed smile

Oh, no hang-on! Got it!  The justification is that I’m learning all I can about spinning and spinning wheels.  Some will be tools I use regularly and some will teach me more about spinning!  Not a collection at all! Phew.  (Though really, what’s wrong with a collection of spinning wheels?)