Monday, 28 April 2008

Back from Wonderwool Wales!

What a fantastic show! We just got back a few hours ago. There were massive amounts of fibre, yarn, dyes, equipment, etc etc. I was there from about 10 AM to 4 PM both days and still feel like I may have missed seeing something. I also took three workshops, which were great fun. But new stash!

On Saturday I got:

* an Inkle loom and a loom book
* 250g oatmeal Bluefaced Leicester tops
* two 100g packs of Sockstuff fibre from a fellow Raveller
* a Tunisian crochet hook and two booklets about using it
* A free Spinning door sign from a fellow Raveller, and a sock needle holder from the same person
* Alpaca gloves
* cashmere blend fingerless gloves with a sheep on the back! Wish they hadn’t run out of the fingered ones, I’d have bought both!
* A drum carder cleaner from Hedgehog Equipment
* A mini pompom maker
* 100g washed Teeswater wool (I hear it's hard to wash!)
* an embroidered sheep badge (I collect badges…got a Wales one too)
* 200g of Superwash white merino fibre and 100g spot dyed merino from the same seller
* A wooden needle holder for my sock knitting kit
* a great little “Know your sheep” book

AND - my wonderful husband bought me two presents while I was in the show! One was a painting of Rainbow sheep that I had admired in a shop window on Friday night, and the other was a sheep cushion for my spinning chair. He's so great!

Sunday was my bulk fibre day. I got:

* 12oz of unwashed Poll Dorset
* 7oz of midbrown Alpaca, unwashed, but not dirty looking
* a whole Shetland Moorit fleece, unwashed
* a large “crossbred” sheep fleece, unwashed
* 100g Llama fibre
* 200g Gotland fibre
* about 80g purple dyed continuous fibre, I think it was Shetland, from a fellow Raveller. It was the purchase that was “meant to be” on Sunday morning!
* 2 bags of “stuff your own” dyed fibre
* a whole (small) tabletop of dyed/braided fibre! It’s the first time I ever got to say “How much for everything on that table?” heehee

And I meant to get two braids of dyed fibre from Fyberspates, but when I went to buy it I had an unfortunate moment where I thought I had lost all of my money! Took me a while to recover from the shock and I didn’t get a chance to return and get it. I hope someone else did!

The workshops that I took were really fun. Two were for spinning (one each day) and one, on Sunday, was needle felting. I felted three things in the two hour class - a landscape of a sheep pasture, and two 3-D sheep! They are in the photo above.

Monday, 21 April 2008

The handdyed roving has been spun!

This weekend I finished spinning and plying the two skeins from my roving-dying project. Here's a photo of each bobbin, before plying:

You may remember that one roving got a lot more dye than the other one. The first roving, with less dye, is the bottom one in that picture.

Here's the plied skein:

As a reminder, this is Romney wool dyed with three colours of Kool-Aid in a slow cooker. Each of the two rovings weighed about 50g before dyeing. I haven't taken measurements on this yarn yet but I will try to add them in later.

I think I'll call this skein "Salt Water Taffy"'s got that interesting mix of muted colours that I associate with those strange sweets.

This coming weekend will be exciting - it's Wonderwool Wales time!

Tuesday, 15 April 2008



It's like dandruff, only sheep-scented.

Unfortunately one of the dark coloured fleeces I bought recently seems to have it. It shows up as little white specks near the base of each lock, apparently - this is according to a description in one of the online spinning groups I belong to. It's caused by mites on the sheep, I think. It doesn't wash out very easily, and the general consensus on the spinning group was that you can never get all of it out, and combing will get the most out of all preparation methods.

However, all is not lost. I've contacted the farmer and she was very apologetic, and offered to send me a new fleece! She says she will check this one over double-thoroughly to make sure there are no problems and that she will also have a word with their shearer. I'm going to send samples of the afflicted fleece (in lock, batt, and yarn forms) to show her what I found. I think it's entirely a case of something being accidentally overlooked and I am very pleased with the response of the seller. Which is why I am not identifying the breed or the farmer!

So the moral of the story is, if you think you have a flaky sheep fleece, contact the seller and enquire about it. Chances are they will welcome the opportunity to put things right. Farmers want to keep spinners happy, after all!

As for the scurfy fleece, I'm going to put it aside until I get some wool combs, then try combing each lock to see if I can get the bits to fall out. If that fails I can always use the wool as stuffing!

Friday, 11 April 2008

"Squishy" as an adjective for yarn

I've often seen the word "squishy" used to describe yarn, usually in the context of someone saying "It's just so squishy!" about a particular skein or type of yarn. I never really understood what it meant until recently.

I finished spinning this yarn last weekend:

It's a three ply - a gray Jacob Z twist, a green unknown wool Z twist, and a dark pink Merino S twist. They were plied together with an S twist. I figured this would be OK because the grey had been a bit overspun and the pink very loosely spun.

It worked. I ended up with a 115 yard, 110 gram skein measuring about 8.5 wpi. And after washing it, when I took it down from the shower rail where it had dried, one word popped into my head.


It was just the right word to use. It isn't a hard yarn (some of my very first ones definitely were!) and it compresses in your hands but springs back instantly when you let go. It's fluffy but not fuzzy. This is my only true three-ply to date (excluding Navajo ply, which uses only one single) and it makes me squishiness related to the number of plies? Or did I just get lucky with the amount of twist in each single. Was it mixing singles of Z and S twist? Would it have come out the same if I hadn't (seriously) overtwisted the grey single?

I have no idea. But I'm very much looking forward to experimenting to find out! I still have more green and pink singles, I just have to spin up a third single. I could do more grey....but do you have any recommendations for a good colour to go with the other two?

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Full results of roving dyeing

The second roving has finished drying, and I really like how all this has come out! It'll probably be a few weeks before I can get around to spinning it...the projects appear to be backing up quickly (darn this day job!) and I'm sure to come back from Wonderwool Wales later this month with even more to work on! I also have to learn how to thoroughly clean my drum carder, or I'll end up with bits of brown Zwartble wool in my nice white-and-homedyed mixes.

Here's a shot of both rovings on the radiator. The earlier one is the rolled up one.

Experimenting with roving dyeing

(Originally posted on my old blog on Tuesday 8 April 2008)

I got some undyed Romney roving in my bulk purchase, so I measured out about 50 grams of it to try spot dyeing in the crock pot. I'm not sure I've done it right, but we'll find out in a little while. I think maybe I should have put more water in, and more dye too.

This is the roving soaking, with the prepared dye close to hand. I used Orange Koolaid, Strawberry Mixade, and Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade Koolaid. (one packet, one tbsp vinegar and 6 oz water per jar, but I may change these ratios.)

Here's the roving in the pot with dye on it. I was afraid to put too much dye in because I was envisioning the whole bottom of the roving turning murky brown.

I think it probably would have been better if I had put more water in the crockpot, up to the top of the roving, and then squirted in the dye. As it was the dye seemed to be dripping down through the roving to the water underneath...

OK, some time has now passed and I've retrieved the roving. It doesn't look too bad, though there are some bits that have next to no colour and some that have a bit too much. Here it is in the salad spinner and then on the radiator:

Not bad. I'm starting another one, with substantially more dye this time:

I think I'll try spinning singles from each and plying them together - that should even out any saturation problems - and see what happens.

Moving House

I've just been made aware that the site I previously had my blog on, , won't let people leave comments if they are not members of the site.

I hate that.

So I'm moving things over to here, because a friend of mine uses this site and I know non-members can leave comments.