It’s been a bright sunny day and, as usual, I’ve been filling it up to the brim. I got home a short while ago, and the sun was still shining (albeit slowly setting), so I grabbed my chance to photograph the latest spinning on my wheel. (My last attempt at taking a photo outside a few days ago resulting in my wheel being snowed on!)
It’s spun Sari ribbon. It’s linen, instead of the more usual silk, which as you may know I avoid because I’m a vegetarian.
I spun the ribbon around a core of wool – creating the core as I went (so basically I used coreless core spinning for this – with the wrapping “fibre” being the ribbon). I then plied it to get a softer texture. The last few feet didn’t fit on the bobbin, but I was still able to add the necessary twist to finish the yarn. I really want to call it a braid as it’s so chunky.
The Sari ribbon was from my friend FibreTastic who was able to source me a couple of skeins of linen, rather than the silk.
While I was in the garden I spotted that one of my auriculas was in flower. I finally potted these up this year, after many years of neglect, and I’m enjoying how they are looking this spring:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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…)
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.
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!
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:
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!
Today I realised that I need to get control of both my fibre stash and my works in progress. I wanted to see what soybean fibre would look like blended with some dyed BFL. It took me half an hour to find the soybean fibre – tucked away in a suitcase that I thought was empty! I try and avoid storing things in my suitcases because it makes packing, which I don’t enjoy doing, an even bigger chore.
On Sunday and last night I spun up the seven batts of Shetland and mohair into a coreless core-spun single.
I would like to see what this looks like plied with a thread and I want to spin a fine single for this. I have a number of wheels I could use, but one of the best for the job is the Traditional with the lace flyer. Sadly all three of its bobbins are currently full of Shetland and soybean fibre, of which I only plied a little during the TdF.
So, tonight, I’m going to do some long overdue plying and try and finish some yarn I’ve been making for well over 2 years…
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!