Thursday, 22 May 2008

Same dye + different fibres = different colours

This skein is pretty interesting. I spun it in a workshop at Wonderwool Wales where we used a variety of materials - wool, alpaca, silk, cotton, and I think a few more I can’t remember. Once back home I navajo-plied it on itself and dyed it in a slow cooker with one pack of Lemon-Lime Koolaid. The different materials took the dye differently - one material even turned tan instead of green!

Unfortunately, other than the silk (the darkest colour), I am having trouble identifying the different materials. I think we may even have used two different types of silk (I do remember the word ‘tussah’), because some seems to have taken quite a lot of green while another has stayed pure white.

Has anyone else done something similar?

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Mmm, grapes!

My house smelled like Grape Koolaid for much of Saturday. Having recently taken possession of a large number of Grape packets I decided to put some to use and find out what sort of purple would emerge. Turns out that a very nice purple emerges!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Knitting with handspun

So far I've found that I have trouble actually *using* my handspun, because I don't make enough of it for standard sized projects. I tried looking in those "one skein" books, but since I'm not really into hats, handbags and other fashion accessories I didn't care for most of the patterns in them.

But recently I purchased the online book "Fuzzy Knits" from and discovered that they are the perfect size to use up little bits of yarn. There's a free lamb pattern on her site if you want to give it a try - I did, and here's the result. I proudly introduce my first non-rectangle, non-sock and non-workshop knitted project!

The darker yarn is a navajo-plied Zwartble fleece and the lighter one is from a merino pencil roving that I got from Handweaver's Studio in east London. Now I have to work out how to make one of those miniature jumpers from the book...or maybe I'll just stick with the scarf.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Decreasing the stash

Stashing is fun - I'm the first to admit it. But when I can bring home four folding plastic storage boxes from Wilkinson's and fill them all with fibre within minutes of arriving home, I can't help but think that I need to do more spinning and less stashing. Granted, this was after Wonderwool and a marathon of fleece-washing, but still...

To that end, I tackled some of my Wonderwool stash this weekend - two of the pink dyed fibre braids from the "Sunday haul" photo in my previous post. They were from and one of the sellers is "hipknitskerrie" on Ravelry. (I need to remember to contact them and ask what kind of wool this is!) They spun up really quickly, I was actually rather surprised - so I can conclude that 1) hipknitskerrie sells good stash and 2) my skills must be improving! I was very careful not to overtwist the ply this time too, which made for slow plying but a better result.

The yarn is actually still a bit wet in the photo - it's hung up to dry all day but I wanted to get the photo done before the light faded. Pink isn't really my thing so I imagine it'll go onto Etsy once it's dry and measured.

I learned a few things from spinning this one, which is a two ply of as-yet-unknown length or wpi:

* I shouldn't spin while listening to music unless the music has the same beat throughout all the tracks. Instead I kept a particular tv advert in my head this time which has a good beat to it and that really made it a lot easier to spin consistently. (If you're curious, it's the one with the girl singing "beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep go the horns on the cars in the street..." It wouldn't get out of my head, so I put it to work.) *Plying* to music, though, didn't seem to be a problem since I kept stopping to check the twist anyway.

* Predrafting is pretty essential for me, and I should keep doing it, especially with fibre that has been stored in a braid.

* It's worth putting a bit more twist than you think you need into the singles when you're making them - I didn't have any problems with it breaking while I was plying, which normally happens at least once per bobbin.

I ended up - as usual - having more of one single than the other, so I've got a bit of leftover pink. I may end up taking all of these leftovers and making a completely wild skein - I could call it Technicolour Dreamcoat or something. What do you do with your leftover singles after plying?

I'm still not quite to the point where I will be able to spin my own sock yarn, but I think I'm getting there...