Sunday, December 27, 2009

Art Yarn

This is my first attempt at an art yarn. Spun it on my sister's Traditional with a jumbo flyer fitted following Jacey Boggs' instructions in her article in the Winter 2009 Spin Off.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New baby

This is my new baby; it's a Louet hatbox wheel which I bought from someone on Ravelry. The transaction wasn't without incident as I live in Yorkshire and the seller lives in Swansea; getting the wheel from one to the other took a little longer than anticipated.

Originally I decided to ask the SUMA driver who does the South Wales run to collect it for me. I found out where seller lived (not far from one of the SUMA customers) and she agreed to drop the wheel to him if he rang to let her know when he'd be at the drop. Unfortunately this didn't work out as he didn't ring her!


Still, she had a friend who was coming up to Sheffield the following week and he drove up to Elland where I work and dropped it off for me. Thank you very much to Mark, you're a sweetie Mark!

I tried the wheel out when I got her home on Thursday and I spun this (Shetland?? BFL??) out of a grab bag I bought from World of Wool. I decided as the ratio on the wheel is quite low (she's a direct drive) 4:1 to spin it as low twist thin 'n thin singles. I'm pleased with the result as I didn't really know what I was doing but having subsequently looked at some instructions on t'internet I found that I was doing it right. Once I'd spun it I washed it in alternate baths of hot and cold water then hung it up with an empty shampoo bottle as a (very light) weight.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Spinning this month

Spinning this month, Shetland spun whilst demonstrating on the Guild stand at the Countryside Live show last weekend.

And some merino from the grab bag I scored at World of Wool.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Botany Lap Waste

From World of Wool. Yummy!

I'm so lucky that I live near enough to just drop in after work (I was on a six / two shift today).

Not sure what some of it is but it's lovely!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Finished Bag

Well, except for lining it. That could wait for some time knowing me! Anyhow I've pictured it against the fabric I'm intending to use for the lining so you can use your imagination!

Close up of the detail. All the information about it is on my project page in Ravelry.

I'm already planning the next project. There was an open weekend at Texere this weekend, so being contrary I went to Coldspring Mill. I was hoping to get some Noro Sock or Silk Garden as I've seen some pretty nice finished projects using them. But they didn't have any Noro except that odd stringy stuff.

I did walk out with this though.

And this. Both are a cotton / hemp blend I'm thinking of a Ruana in a houndstooth weave. I believe that hemp softens up and drapes quite nicely when it's washed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Project

I've decided to weave another Tibetan Bag as I liked the last one I made. I wanted it to be a bit brighter than the last one so I've done a bit of stash diving and came up with this. For the warp I'm using some scarlet chenille, crimson boucle, a last little bit of green cashmerino and a tiny sliver of some lurex that a friend gave me.

The weft is the boucle and the chenille with a smidge of some fun fur as a trim. I quite like it but have to say I didn't fully think through the implications of using boucle as a warp. Now that I've got going it's not so bad but to start with I was having trouble beating the weft in. I used an afro comb as a beater for the first few inches though and now I'm okay and back to using the heddle.

Can't wait to finish it and get it sewn up, but I'm going down to Ro's this weekend and I don't think she's got room for me to take it with me. (I can see a twelve inch knitters loom in my future!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In love with BFL

This is what the Blue Face Leicester fleece looked like when I bought it (together with free yellow flanelette pillow case).

You can see in my previous post what it looked like when I'd dyed some of it.

But this is what it looks like now I've run it through the drum carder twice. Isn't it beautiful?

To be honest I wasn't entirely convinced it was going to come out very well, it was very tightly curled and seemed a bit dense after I'd washed it. I did wonder if I'd felted it.

Once I'd picked through it though it went through the drum carder beautifully; much better than any other fleece I'd processed myself. Of course this could have something to do with a guild meeting I attended where Freyalyn showed us the correct way to use a drum carder (I'd been doing it wrong!)

I'm really looking forward to spinning this fibre, I bought some hand dyed BFL tops from Wheeldale Woolcrafts earlier in the year and loved it. I think this may be as nice as that. I can't decide whether to card it into a multicoloured batt and spin it as it comes or if I should spin the colours separately.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Guild Meeting

Today I've been to the Victoria Hall in Queensbury for the Bradford Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers August away day meeting.

Freyalyn; one of our members was giving a taster session on dying which was great fun and not a little messy. I've done a spot of dying before using Kool Aid but that's pretty much as far as I'd gone so it was great fun to be able to do some more outside my own kitchen.

I took along a skein of undyed sock wool that I'd bought some years ago and some Blue Faced Leicester that I'd bought as a raw fleece and scoured at home. I quite liked how the sock wool came out but I love how the BFL came out.

It's scrummy! I'm so inspired that I'm going to do some more of this at home. A couple of weeks ago i got a very cheap knitting machine on ebay so I'm planning on knitting up some blanks and dying them.

More pictures of our dying day on Flickr.

Friday, June 19, 2009


This is some BFL that I bought from Wheeldale Woolcraft. I got a50g of the dark blue and 50g of the variegated light blue. I spun them then plied them together (had a bit of the dark blue left so I Andean plyed that using my home made cardboard Andean plying tool).

I've never spun BFL before and bought these tops so I could try it out. I have to report that all the stuff I've read about it is true. It was fantastic to spin; very easy to draft. I'm not absolutely sure what I'm going to make with it. I've ended up with over 400yards of the variegated and just under 100 yards of the dark blue at about twenty WPI. I'm considering using it for weaving rather than knitting, but I'm not wedded to anything in particular as yet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just in time for Wimbledon

I've been stuck on the reception desk at work for the past two days rather than out driving because I have had a recurrence of the tennis elbow that I had last year. Unfortunately this time it doesn't seem to show any inclination to go away. So two weeks ago I told the transport manager that I wouldn't be able to drive my run (can't do the unloading). Then when they couldn't find a cover driver I said I'd drive but I'd need someone with me to to the unloading. We managed this for two weeks but then they got a cover driver so I'm stuck back at work still trying to avoid lifting things.

I hadn't done reception before yesterday but once I'd got the hang of the switchboard it was okay. I had a bit of paperwork that I could get on with and I had trusty Ravelry to dip into when I got particularly fed up. One certainly gets to see what's going on in the place; who's talking to who, and who takes the most cigarette breaks. I miss being out on the road though (my run was particularly easy this week, only eleven drops and nice weather. Typical!). I'm probably going to be doing some price comparison work tomorrow and next week I'm starting a project monitoring and improving supplier compliance on goods into the warehouse. One of the good things about working at SUMA; once they cotton on to the fact that there's a problem with your normal work (which has taken a bit longer than it could have) there's plenty of opportunity to do something different.

I'm a little bit concerned that although the original damage may have come from lifting heavy stuff, knitting and spinning may not be helping matters. still, I'm not getting actual pain whilst I'm doing either so I could be wrong.

On Saturday I went to the Piece Hall in Halifax to meet up with other Yorkshire knitters from Ravelry for World Wide Knitting in Public Day. WWKIPD coincided with the Halifax Gala and a food festival which was also taking place in the Piece Hall, so it was quite busy. The weather was fantastic (got a bit sunburned) and I think that everyone enjoyed themselves. I know I did. We decided that it would be fun to do something similar again so we may be having a picknit later in the summer. I have to admit that I didn't get a great deal of knitting done; I'd taken the socks that I'm knitting (Glynis from Cookie A's "Sock Innovation"). I'd finished one of the pair and had just started the second. Unfortunately this is the stage at which I think I know what I'm doing so I kept going wrong. In the end I gave up knitting and just nattered instead.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Handspun mittens and Prairie Boots

Last weekend I made these mittens. The pattern is Fern by Anniken Allis from the March issue of Yarn Forward.

The yarn I used was some that I'd spun myself on my drop spindle. It was some Jacob cross that I'd carded together with a little red and a little violet commercially dyed merino.

I'm really pleased with the way that they turned out and they're toasty warm.

The other knitting I've been on recently (well actually I finished them a few weeks ago) are these Prairie Boots. They were knitted from some Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed that I've had in my stash for some time (I love stashbusting). They didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. Despite using smaller needles that specified in the pattern in order to get the tension right they still seem a bit loose (and I made the smallest size). On the other hand they do the job that they're intended to do very well indeed. I made them because I was getting cold ankles from the howling gale that was blowing across my living room floor and they are brilliant at keeping my legs and feet from frostbite.

The buttons are some that I made myself from left over yarn. Unfortunately I can't remember where I got the idea from.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Short and sweet (?)

I'm not going to post a whole lot of stuff this week because it hasn't been one of my best weeks. I had a bit of a rubbish time on my run this week which involved;
  • leaving my sack trolley behind at my first customer so it wasn't available for the delivery where I can't park near the shop and have to take the order (three quarters of a ton) by hand off the truck and along the road into the shop;
  • having an argument with a driver who just as I was about to leave said drop reversed right up to the front of the truck so I hadn't got room to pull round her car and when I tried to draw her attention to it just walked off and ignored me!!!! (I was quite rude to her);
  • and to top it all when I stopped at the services on the way home because I was literally falling asleep at the wheel my truck got clamped because I'd inadvertently parked in a caravan bay rather than a truck bay (recently reallocated space, I hadn't noticed). It cost £250 to get un-clamped and I was raging as I'd been in the building less than ten minutes (toilet and a take out coffee) and it just seems so sneaky, they must watch out for it and pounce as soon as your back's turned.
Needless to say I was pleased to get home this week but there's talk of a "snow incident" later this week so that should be fun too. :(

I've been doing a little bit of fibrey stuff this weekend. I'm working on my longdraw technique using some Torwen that was given to me by a fellow Raveler and some stuff that came free with my Orkney when I bought it. This, together with a chunk of Herdwick which I won in the raffle at a guild meeting last year is going to be woven into a small rug. I need to get a new heddle for the loom, 5dpi or 7.5, not sure yet. Ro gave me some warping thread a while ago so that's what I'll be up to next.

I'm also spinning up some silk hanky that I bought from Wingham, but I'm doing that on my drop spindle. It's a really pretty colour, very deep plum, black and brown. Here it is together with some silk that I spun from a hanky before on the spindle and another (cerise coloured) hanky. Bit wild eh? I thought they might knit or weave up into a nice little bag or something?

Friday, January 23, 2009

My first (woven) scarf

And I'm soooo proud of it. I took it in to work and showed it to everyone (even the ones who weren't interested!). Mostly people were very polite and said nice things. One said he thought I'd cut up and dyed an old sack but that's about what I expected from him and I think he was quite impressed really!!!!

The edges are a wee bit wonky and the fringe went sort of floofy when I tossed it into the washing machine to full it but I'm quite pleased with it. It has a very nice drape to it.

Now I have to decide what my next project will be. I quite fancy a bag using old plastic bags, but I also quite fancy tea towels or something a bit different. We shall see.

Following my post about Turtle Bags last week I was pleased to see when I stopped at the service station on the M6 this week that the M&S food shop there was selling them. I'd sort of got the impression that it was a bit of a cottage industry but if they're in M&S they're obviously bigger than I thought. Way to Go.

Friday, January 16, 2009

New toys and turtles

Last weekend I finally crumbled and went to Wingham Woolwork on my way home from Ro's. I deserved a treat as we'd gone to Northampton to watch Tigers play the Saints and not only had we sat for more than two hours in the freezing cold, but the Tigers had played pretty poorly and been beaten by the Saintanists (boo hiss).

So in view of the fact that I was in serious need of cheering up I went and splashed some cash and came home with a loom!!! I am now the proud owner of a Kromski 24" rigid heddle loom plus stand. I spent Sunday evening putting the loom together but couldn't finish the stand as there were a couple of bits of hardware missing. I wasn't too pissed off as I knew that I wouldn't be able to start anything before getting back from driving on Wednesday and I was pretty sure that Wingham would get the missing parts to me by then. I wasn't disappointed in them, the envelope was waiting for me on the mat when I got home.

Strangely enough having completed the construction of the stand I was a bit nervous about actually using the damned thing. I was in a paralysis of indecision about exactly what I was going to start with. I had some nice German sock wool that I'd bought some time ago from Astrid's Dutch Obsession and was going to use this for a scarf, but I'd also got some pink sock wool that I'd bought when on holiday in Norfolk which matched some of the colour in the german wool and I wasn't sure if I should use some of that too or just go for the simple option. In the end I decided to be brave and do a few narrow stripes of pink in among the warp.

I've been weaving most of this afternoon and evening and I'm not getting on too badly though my selvages leave a bit to be desired. I've got a few floats too but I'm fairly pleased with my first effort. Don't think I'll be wearing it tomorrow though.

I meet some interesting people with some interesting stories whilst I'm out doing my deliveries and this week I was talking to one of my customers about her business Turtle Bags which grew out of her involvement with the Marine Stewardship Council. Because leatherback turtles mistake discarded plastic bags for their favourite food (jellyfish) Turtlebags, by selling alternatives to plastic bags hope to reduce the number of plastic bags finding their way into turtles.

I particularly like the one made by a Bangladeshi womens' co-operative from recycled cement bags, very funky! Ooooh, wonder how it would perform as a knitting bag?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Well who'd have thought it?

When I spin on the wheel I spin S \ wise and ply Z / wise. I discovered at the weekend that when I spin on my drop spindle I spin Z / wise.

Go on, ask me how I discovered this. Was it perchance when I was plying (on the wheel) the two bobbins containing miles and miles of very fine Shetland/silk that I had painstakingly spindle spun? Why yes, I believe it was.

I decided it would be easier to ply on the wheel than on the spindle. I'd already wound my first single (green slubby) on to a bobbin by hand as I only have the one spindle. I wound the second one (gold shiny) using the bobbin winder I'd bought at a guild meeting (bargain it was too) and I just began plying. I wasn't too happy with the way it was looking but it wasn't until I was about two thirds of the way through that I realised what the problem was; I was plying it in the same direction as I'd spun it!!!!!!!!!!

After a bit of a panic I decided to carry on as I was and then run it back through the flyer spinning twice as much in the opposite direction. Luckily it seems to have worked, though I think it could have taken a bit more twist. I have 452 yards there. It's a bit brighter in real life (picture's washed out) and it's beautifully soft. Just have to find a project for it now.

Finished yarn is 60gms of about sixteen WPI (ish). Spun from some of the palest Shetland grey katmogget I bought at Woolfest. One single was carded together with some lime green tussah silk and some white silk noil. The second single was carded together with some gold mulberry tops (no tussah silk the right colour at Wingham when I went). There are about eight twists per inch (again this is very "ish" as it's not very regular due to plying cock up).

ETA: Hmm I wonder if that's what happened to the last lot? I just thought it had sprung into a disgusting mess because I forgot to tie it properly before taking it off the niddy noddy but I reckon it wouldn't have gone as ubertwisty from just that as it did. (no pics of that one; too embarrassing)!