Goldilocks and the Three WIPs

A long time ago I spun two different dyed tops of Shetland and plied them together.  But then I didn’t really like it enough to knit with.  At the last Creating Space I took it out and discussed the options: knit it, weave it, over-dye it (I really didn’t like the colour) or spin something else to weave with it.  I decided on the last option and grabbed some blended bamboo and merino tops to see if I could spin this using the coreless core spinning technique:

coreless

However, once home I decided I quite liked the variation of colour in the Shetland yarn and didn’t want to lose that by weaving with something else, but I still didn’t fancy knitting it.

yarn

So I worked out how much yarn I had and calculated that this was enough for a woven shawl.  I warped the loom with the larger skein and I’m weaving with the shorter skein.

warped

I have a third small skein, which is the result of plying one of the leftover singles with itself.  This is proving to be ideal to add a small amount of detail to the weaving in the form of Danish medallions (these look fiendishly complicated but turn out to be delightfully easy and I can see lots of ways to use them in my weaving…)

shuttles

danish

dms

The third WIP is a Bouclé yarn.  I’m using BFL for the core and binder with Mohair to form the loops, all dyed with the same colours.  I’ve spun the core and I’m working on the mohair single.  So far I’m not enjoying spinning the mohair, so I’m having to do this in small doses.

boucle

So where’s Goldilocks?  Well, sometime ago I mentioned that I was running out of space on my blog, but that a larger package was too expensive.  When my account came up for renewal I emailed the company at about 9:30 one evening and asked them if there was anything they could suggest.  About fifteen minutes later I got a reply with an alternative package.  When I accepted this offer they sent me an invoice describing it as the “Goldilocks Special” account.  A few minutes later I received another invoice with a more sensible name – but I much prefer the original!

Learning a New Skill on Christmas Day

On Christmas day (nearly 3 weeks ago!) I was very lucky to be able to spend the early morning and the end of the day with my children, but have a few clear hours to myself in the middle of the day.

Last year we had the same arrangement, so I had a cycle ride and watched Doctor Who.  This year I decided to learn a new skill.  Buoyed up with Christmas Cheer and on a sugar high from the Turkish Delight I decided to learn to warp up and weave on my new Inkle Loom.

I got the loom on the table and took off the side.  I emptied out my “weaving” yarn stash and chose a couple of yarns.  Then, with my book open at the right page, I started warping up.

Part way through my first attempt I realised that the yarn was supposed to go through the heddles, so I undid the warp and started again.  At the end of the second attempt I was happy and put the side back on.

warp-wrong

However, I quickly realised there was no way I could select both sets of threads independently.  I’d managed to put the heddles onto the wrong warp threads.  So I carefully unwound the warp and warped up a third time.

By now I’d got a reasonably rhythm going.  On the second warping attempt I’d added drawing pins by the first peg to hold warp threads when switching colours. I’d also discovered that the tension bar would move, so I needed to keep an eye on it while warping and move it back if necessary.  Finally, I’d realised that putting the heddles over my left wrist, ready for use, made the process much quicker.

wrist

This time I got it right:

correct

I wove a small header with waste yarn (this is normal practice with a table loom, but I don’t know if it is with an inkle loom).  Then I switched to using the same yarn as for the warp.  I don’t have a belt shuttle (which incorporates a bevelled edge for beating the weft), so I used a small stick shuttle to carry the weft and a metal ruler with a bevelled edge for the beater.

I haven’t had any time since Christmas to continue with the weaving, but I’m hoping to make this into a belt (I don’t like leather belts and struggle to find alternatives, so this is a perfect first inkle project).

progress

It was lovely getting to know the loom.  By each peg I discovered a pencilled label, giving the order the warp should go on.

start

Learning a new skill was a great way to spend some of Christmas day!

Nearly Forgotten!

The finished Dorset Horn yarn didn’t get included in yesterday’s stock taking! It’s made a lovely squishy 3-ply yarn, that’s slightly heavier than Double Knitting weight and is very lofty.

I spun it on my Haldane Lewis which has two spinning bobbins and one plying bobbin.  So, to enable enough bobbin space I re-wound the singles onto other bobbins (the third bobbin was rewound for consistency).

singles

This is a trick that you can do with double drive wheels.  A full bobbin is put on a lazy kate, with an empty one on the wheel.  Both parts of the driveband are transferred to the bobbin grove, and an arm of the flyer is tied to the mother-of-all to stop the flyer moving.  The single comes onto the bobbin on the wheel from the side (not through the wheel orifice).  The wheel is treadled as normal, and the single is guided by hand onto the bobbin, so that it fills up evenly.  It’s surprisingly quick* to re-wind the bobbins and helps to make plying easier as the bobbins unwind evenly.

fractal

fractal-close

I had initially intended a hat with this yarn, but I really want to show off the colour changes, so I may have something else in mind.

* Usually it’s quick.  However, for my final single the end fell off the bobbin I was winding onto,  so I had to reverse the process, re-glue the bobbin, then start again!

Taking Stock

January is a good time to take stock.  In my case it’s my handspun yarn.  I seem to be developing a bit of a stash.  Small lengths, longer lengths, different fibres, thicknesses and techniques.

Hand Spun

So, my January crafting resolution is to use my handspun!  I need to catalogue my yarns (work out their thicknesses and lengths) and then find suitable projects for them.

I don’t think I’m going to manage to stop spinning, but I’ll aim to use more handspun than I’m actually creating!

At the end of the year I’ll review my progress (and hopefully have a few finished objects to show!)

Perhaps it’s a Thneed?

I’m about to cast-off the thing I’m knitting and I still don’t know what it is!  So perhaps it’s a Thneed, though I don’t believe I used any tufts from the Truffula Tree when I carded up the fibre* (I included some bamboo though, which is perhaps similar?)

After what has felt like days and days stuck inside while the rain has pelted and the wind has howled, the sky was beautifully clear and blue this morning, so we took the chance and went for a walk.  I think we were not the first as the ducks were distinctly unimpressed by our stale bread offerings.  However, there was a pleasant walk near water with coots, a great crested grebe, ducks and swans.  There was also a warm bird-hide where we were able to watch birds feeding, various tits including a marsh tit and even a brief glance of a woodpecker (though I couldn’t, with any certainty, say which type it was).

sky

trees

hide

On Instagram I’m taking part in a challenge (with the tag #katkatyarnpadc) to post a picture everyday to a themed prompt.  It’s surprisingly difficult to take a picture that fits a prompt, so I’m interested to see how I do through January. Today’s challenge was a close-up (I took a lot of pictures before choosing one to post – so this is slightly different from the one on Instagram).

thneed

I shall finish off the Thneed and wash and block it, perhaps when I’ve done that I’ll know what it is!

*My children are of an age where I’m regularly reading the Dr Seuss books.  This may explain a certain amount of silliness!