Monday, August 04, 2014

A Welsh Adventure

I went to Wales last weekend to attend a spinning workshop with Sarah Anderson, author of The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs

Sarah was in the UK as a tutor at Fibre East but agreed to do another workshop which was organised by Katie Weston (of Hilltopcloud fame) and the lovely spinners of the Montgomeryshire Guild. 

It was lovely to meet up with some spinners that I hadn't seen for a while and to meet new friends as well.  The workshop was great fun and Sarah a very good teacher. We managed to get through a lot in the day including Corespun yarns


and Crepe yarn

I was a bit slow to get the hang of the Supercoils so had to finish my Crepe yarn in the hotel after the workshop but it turned out okay.

Katie had put together lovely packs of fibre for everyone to use on the day (thank you Katie) and everyone had a great time. 

I drove back on the Sunday taking a detour via Colwyn Bay

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Book Charkha

I received an exciting package in the post the other week whilst I was having a particularly crappy day at work. My car had refused to start that morning so I'd had to catch the bus in. A journey that usually takes 15 minutes or so took nearly an hour and a half and I knew it was going to take as long to get home again.  The parcel cheered me up though and I could hardly wait to open it.

Inside the plastic envelope was this

and stitched inside that was this
which opened up to reveal this

which when unpacked and set up looked like this
on which I managed to spin this 
I'm having great fun with it. 
SarahW on Ravelry (a rather more experienced cotton spinner than me) was kind enough to send me a sample pack of different kinds of cotton fibre from Cotton Clouds in the US so I've tried spinning from sliver, from punis, from cotton still attached to the seed, green cotton, brown cotton, white cotton. I've plied the singles (though I did that on one of the wheels, charkhas aren't great for plying). 
This is what I've spun up so far
The skein on the left was spun on the wheel with a quill attachment but the other two were spun on the charkha and plied on the wheel.
I went to World of Wool last Friday and bought 100g of Egyptian cotton top and my Tour de Fleece project for this year is going to be spinning and making something from cotton.
Bring it on!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Endpaper Mitts

Yesterday I finished my Endpaper Mitts (by Eunny Jang). As I said in an earlier post I wanted to learn to knit Fair Isle carrying one colour in each hand and I seem to have cracked it.

Once I got into the rhythm of it it's not that difficult so I'll probably be doing some more Fair Isle in the not too distant future. It also has the added advantage, like knotting socks, of astonishing non knitters. 

Which is nice.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Power Of Introverts

My colleague Emma is currently reading a book called "Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking" by Susan Cain and she recommended that I read it too (on the grounds that, like her, I am an introvert too).

She's promised to lend me the book when she's finished reading it but in the meantime here's the presentation Ms Cain made to the TED conference.

TED is a nonprofit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Meet the Family

At the moment I have five wheels as I sold my Haldane Orkney to a fellow Raveller last year.
We said our farewells at FibreEast. The Orkney was the second wheel I bought. When I originally started looking at spinning wheels on Ebay many moons ago, I saw a castle wheel that I loved the look of but I didn't win it.
The first one that I did win in the end was an Ashford Elizabeth.  I took my sister who was already a spinner with me to Leamington Spa to pick the wheel up; she pronounced it okay and I brought it home.
The Elizabeth is pretty much the wheel I learned to spin on and I took her to Wingham Woolwork for one of Ruth Gough's two day spinning courses (a very worthwhile £50) and various other places. She's quite a lot of wheel to shift though and I still had a hankering for a Castle Wheel, hence the Orkney which I picked up from Ebay and collected from near Holmfirth  which is just up the road from where I live.  I bought a second hand jumbo flyer for the Elizabeth and now I use it as my wheel for spinning art yarns.

So I now had two spinning wheels but over a period of time I began to hanker for a Timbertops. I'd read about them on the internet and my sister had been looking for one for a while. In the end someone who followed my blog contacted me; she had a Leicester for sale, was I interested? Well of course I was interested so a couple of trips to Derbyshire (one to try, one to buy) later and I was the proud owned of my Timbertops Leicester.
Now  I love my Leicester which is one of the nicest wheels I've spun on so I thought my wheel buying was over, but when someone on Ravelry was selling a Louet Hatbox I thought I'd have it simply as a novelty because they look so cute. It took some getting from South Wales to Huddersfield but she had a friend who was coming to a conference in Sheffield and he dropped it off at my place of work. So then there were four.
 I have to admit that though the Hatbox is a cute little thing I don't use it. I find that  the direct drive means it's too low geared for anything except softly spun bulky yarns and the bobbins are too small for much of those. I also find that the orifice is so low that my right knee gets in the way of the yarn between my hands and the wheel. So the poor hatbox sits in a corner waiting for someone who will love it to come along.

My next purchase was a Timbertops Mowbray which someone advertised through the Bradford Guild newsletter. It'd been unused for some time since his wife had died of cancer. He'd not known where best to find someone who would be interested in the wheel but luckily he contacted the Guild.  I decided that the wheel was too good a thing to pass up so I rang him and picked the wheel up from him in the car park at Sainsbury's at Aspley in Huddersfield.  Like the Leicester the Mowbray is a lovely wheel to spin on and it's the wheel I take to fibre festivals with the Longdraw Guild as it's sturdy enough to put up with beginners but it's reliable too.
 As I said at the start I passed my Orkney on to another spinner so I was once again without a castle wheel. This changed when I saw a Timbertops Lonsdale for sale on ebay.  Thinking I'd put in a bid but not really expecting to be successful; much to my surprise I won it. I had to drive down to East Sussex to pick it up and it needed a bit of TLC as it hadn't been used for a while but I soon had it cleaned up and spinning nicely.  
So that's the family. Some of them will move on and some will stay; there may be a few new additions. I was tempted by a Columbine not long ago but didn't succumb and a walking wheel would be jolly nice. I've a couple of spindles and I've even attempted spinning off the tip of a bobbin winder.
There're lots of spinning adventures out there to look forward to.

Saturday 20th April 18:56
A quick edit to tell you that I've just waved goodbye to the Lonsdale.  Someone on Ravelry had said she'd always wanted one and I offered to sell as I hadn't really got the hang of the tensioning system, which is a bit finicky. If it'd been my only wheel I'd probably have persevered with it, but when you have a couple of wheels that are as easy to get on with as the others you just don't get round to it.  I know it's going to someone who will love and appreciate it so I'm quite happy. (Just a shame the Columbine's been sold).