This is what my study looks like at the moment:
On Monday I’m moving to our new house. I’m very excited – but right now I’m also very, very tired (so I’m sitting down and writing a short blog post, before I pack the computer away).
During half-term week the children were away with their dad. While they were gone (and as moving seemed a long time away!) I managed to go out every evening, catch up with friends and have a lovely week (albeit without children). Spinning with friends, spiritual circles, and dinner and a film with a friend were all on the itinerary for the week. At the end of it on my one free evening I caught a lovely sunset over fields near my house:
During my day and evening of spinning I plied two skeins of yarn. The singles were spun some time ago, and this finished the colour project from 2015 TdF (I will put a link in here, but tonight I shall just refer to it without the link *yawns*):
I’m going to be offline for a while. My new house doesn’t have a phone line, and it looks like it’ll be the end of November before one gets installed. And, each time I’ve been in the house, my mobile has no signal! So, I shall be out of touch and in another decade (the 90’s?) for a few weeks.
Right, I’m off to start packing the bedroom… I’m hoping I can do most of it sitting down on the bed! Actually, I think I’m hoping I can do it in my sleep! I shall see you in December from my new house! Good night!
Harriette has been complaining that she’s not been doing any modelling work. In fact it’s so long since she last modelled anything that she’s forgotten when she last did some. She’s currently stood in my study with some hand-dyed skeins of yarn draped around her and she says that I should either do something with them or put them away as she’s not a hat stand (technically she’s a clothes stand – shush, best not tell her).
Sadly I didn’t think to cater to Harriette’s aspirations when taking pictures of my first object. I think I was too busy making patterns with it! It’s a scarf and I finished it in the run up to Christmas.
The yarn is handspun blue faced Leicester and bamboo that I carded into batts to make a gradient coreless core-spun yarn.
Over the Christmas/New Year period I finished plying some polworth yarn. I threaded both plies with beads and used the intermittent coils technique I learnt on Sarah Anderson’s course. My coils improved as I went along (my hands got better at controlling and moving the twist and coordinating with my feet!) but when I do another intermittent coiled yarn I’ll put more twist into the singles. I haven’t yet decided on a destination for this, or what technique I’ll use for it.
During the summer I spun up some alpaca and bfl. In October I started spinning up some merino and seacell and last week I finally finished the spinning and started plying them together. Even at the last moment I wasn’t sure that plying them together was the thing to do, but as the colours have gone onto the bobbin I’ve been pleased with the result. I’m surprised that two very strongly coloured singles are making a paler more subtle plied yarn. I’m interested to see what the finished skeins will be like.
Finally, I’m still working on the knitted shawl it’s been quite a few places with me, including a beach at the end of October while the children dug big holes in the sand.
While at the beach I took the opportunity of going for an early morning walk and taking some photos. Here’s sun, sea and sand just after dawn:
Harriette is really keen that I finish the shawl soon, so we can go outside for a bit and get some nice photos that include her. She’s hoping to see some daffodils.
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).
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.
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!
I’m in the middle of a dyeing session, so this is a quick summary of some finished projects.
First up is a Mobius neck warmer/cowl (I’m not too sure how small it can be and still be called a cowl). This was knitted in garter stitch from my first coreless core spun yarn and is in Shetland and Mohair:
Second up is the crepe yarn, finally finished. On the right is the skein I finished months ago, and on the left is the skein I finished a few days ago:
Finally, is some more coreless core spinning. This time in Blue Faced Leicester and bamboo fibre. This started as some dyed Blue Faced Leicester tops (not my dyeing). The colours were perfect and the top looked lovely. However, try as I might I could not persuade it to draft. I tried fluffing it, attenuating it, stripping it down… but as soon as I tried drafting it the fibres refused to budge. In the end I concluded I’d need to card it before spinning it.
I’ve read about breaking tops into parts and sorting by colour to create a gradient. This is what I started to do, I stripped the top into thin lengths, then pulled these apart. I sorted them roughly into piles, then sorted through again, until I had seven piles in a range of colours. However, the piles were not all the same size, so I went through my commercially dyed BFL tops and found two with similar colours, that I added in differing amounts to the piles. Then I added black gold bamboo (which is a lovely charcoal colour) to provide a consistent base (and tone the colours down slightly) and some contrast colours in bamboo and BFL. I created 7 batts, on the drum carder, from these piles. I’ve been spinning them for a little while now, and finished them yesterday:
It’s been a ridiculously full couple of weeks. Gardening, putting holes in walls to fix a mirror, pictures, a light and a curtain poll up, visit to IKEA, visits from and to my mum’s, half term, visit to my solicitor, spinning wheel acquisition, spinning, carding and Instagram!
Ah, Instagram! I think I’ve fallen for its charms. I’ve been using it for nearly a year, initially sporadically, then more intensely through the Tour de Fleece and now I find I’m using it nearly every day. This morning I got back home, the sun was shining and I realised that there are still many flowers in the garden, despite it being November! So I took Instagram for a tour. It was lovely photographing so much colour despite the time of year. I may repeat the process periodically, it’ll be interesting to see how things change through the year.
If you are on Instagram, do look me up, it will be lovely to meet you! You’ll find me as hasknits
On the spinning front I’ve been working on a number of things. I’ve got some coreless-corespun currently in progress. The fibre is BFL and bamboo drum carded together. I’ve finally finished the second skein of crepe-yarn and I’ve knitted a small Mobius cowl/neck warmer with my fist coreless-corespun. More details on all of these will follow in a future post (I need to take some pictures!) though here’s a teaser for the BFL/Bamboo:
I’ve also finished my long-term travelling project. I usually have something on the go on my travel wheel, so I can just pick it up and go to craft meetings and spinning demos. Often it’s the project I work on when I’ve done everything else I’ve wanted to do! I think it’s some humbug BFL I dyed, but I’m suffering with my labelling problem again, so it could be something else! It’s Navajo plied to keep the colour striping:
I promise I’ll stop using the Time and Space theme shortly, but for this post I need to go back in time a little way. I was so excited about finishing the shawl that I skipped straight past some yarn I’d finished spinning!
I was exploring coreless core spinning: I carded some batts and spun them up at a spinning meeting. I’d dyed some tops and thought they would be a good sunset, but they were the perfect colour to use for thread plying (I shall have to dye some more!) I aimed to spin about 150m on the lace flyer of my Ashford wheel. Judging by how much is still on the bobbin I overshot this by quite a way (I have yet to learn a method for estimating the amount of yarn spun on a bobbin).
I currently only have one bobbin for the Pipy Poly wheel, so the single of coreless core-spun was wound into a skein and transferred to my swift.
I then spiral-plied with most of the tension on the thin single and barley any tension on the thick single (I found it tricky to adjust the tension much, this was very much what these two singles wanted to do).
I’m curious to see how this looks when made into a fabric. I shall probably knit with it, but I think it would also make a very nice woven fabric. I’ve already carded some more batts for another coreless core spinning project, so I can see I’ll be exploring this technique for some time to come!
My assistant Harriette is of the opinion that she would rather be the assistant of a certain time travelling Doctor. Since taking on the role of my assistant she has felt herself to be severely underworked and believes that if she were travelling with the Doctor she would have been enjoying lots of adventures and still be back in time for a photoshoot.
Today, in her second assignment in two months, she is modelling a time travelling shawl with 78 glittery bowties scattered over a swirling, corespun, time-vortex background.
Harriette likes the finished shawl and plans to pack it for travelling with the Doctor. The only thing it needs to finish off the look: a TARDIS shawl pin.
For me two years is not a long time to leave projects languishing. I left a cardigan for about seven years before it saw the finish line (and then I didn’t like it and gave it away!)
I started blending and spinning this in August 2011 and it took the Tour de Fleece to finish the spinning. Last week, spurred on by the need for a lace bobbin, I finally managed to get it plied.
It’s turned into a soft and glossy 3-ply yarn with just a hint of sparkle (there is a small bit of Angelina carded in). I don’t currently have plans for it, though a shawl is a likely destination.
Though not coreless core spinning on a Great Wheel!
Some of the mohair I mentioned in my last post was carded into two batts with some natural white Shetland.
I then corespun this without a core (the core is made while spinning, just moments before it is wrapped in fibre):
This has become my entry into the Ashford UK Spinners (AUKS) “First Challenge” on Ravelry. It’s been a year since AUKS was born and we now have well over 300 members. To celebrate our first year in existence Elaine (one of the group’s moderators) has worked very hard to organise a spin-along with some fantastic prizes. The challenge was to have a first go at spinning something, be it a new technique, a new tool or a new fibre. This was the first time I’ve spun with mohair and my first ball of coreless core spinning. It’s been lovely seeing what other members have chosen to spin, and this week pictures of the final skeins have started to be posted.
I still had most of the mohair left, so while at Creating Space a few days ago, I handcarded that into clouds too. I added some glitter and started drum carding again.
Which I finished off with a late night carding session.
All ready for my next coreless experiment!
While at Creating Space I had the wonderful opportunity to try spinning on a Great Wheel. She’s called Catherine (after St Catherine the patron saint of spinners) and belongs to the Guild of Longdraw Spinners.
I’m concentrating very hard (thank you Norma for the opportunity and the photo):
I’m now wondering if I should get a quill for one of my wheels!
Firstly, I’d like to introduce Harriette. She’s my new assistant and will be modelling finished articles on my blog. Within hours of starting her new job she was demanding a new hand-sewn skirt – so I suspect she may be trouble!!! Anyway, here she is modelling the first of my finished objects (and also the new skirt):
This is the Purple Paradise shawl I started weaving in March with hand-spun yarns for both the warp and the weft. It came off the loom in May. I’ve finished it off by making a twisted fringe from the warp-ends. Here I am starting to use the twisted fringe maker on the shawl:
The second finished object is also being modelled by Harriette:
This is a Mobius cowl knitted from my first core-spun yarn.
Finally, I have finished spinning the “Bowties are Cool” Doctor Who inspired yarn. This isn’t being modelled by Harriette as she objected to juggling the three large skeins. So instead I’ve draped them on the back of a chair. However, I hope this gives an idea of the scale of this yarn, which is fairly light (being core-spun) but very bulky:
It’s been a nice few days finishing off knitting, weaving and spinning. But as you’ve probably noticed I still have lots of active projects I really must get on with (though I’m very tempted to immediately cast on a shawl with the bowties yarn)!