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)!