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Monday, 11 February 2013

Late to the party

 Apologies for having been absent these last couple of Woolly Wednesdays, and then late to this one.  The only excuse I have is life getting in the way!  I have a completed project to show you.  Every year, our guild have a light hearted competition to create something, and then we vote on our favourite one at the AGM.  This last year we were to create a cushion.  I found a pattern I liked over on Ravelry, ie the Aran Leaf Pillow by patons.  And thenset about creating the yarn.  I have a real trouble in creating anything much thicker than a DK weight, but tried to spin a bit thicker than normal anad made a three ply yarn, one bobbin was a blended merino I got from World of Wool in their lapwaste bags, and the other two were from the alpaca I got from our local farm shop.  I tried to have one bobbin of lighter fibres, and one of the darker fibres.  And then plyed all three bobbin together to create this wonderful yarn that I am so proud of,
 What drew me to the pattern was the design on the flap.  There were various knitting techniques I had never tried before, so I wanted to challenge myself.  I started and finished the flap on the way down to the Guild exhibition in Hampshire at the end of July 2012.  I figured that 6 or so hours on the coach with no children to distract me was the perfect time to tackle those stitches!!

Then the rest of the cushion was finished, also whilst travelling.  It was my travelling knit, as the pattern was simple and repetitive, so easily worked on when travelling as a passenger in the car, or on the train.

 I finished it off with a covered button, instead of the tassle they suggested in the pattern. 

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the AGM, but my cushion did!  It didn't win, I didn't expect it to, as there is so much amazing talent within the guild, but I learned a few things along the way, and created a cushion that I am very, very pleased with.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Dawn - a busy month at the wheels!

I've had the spinning bug so far in 2013 and longing for that to continue, lots of fibre and fleece to work through. Of course that means there is lots of handspun wool building up too, so there are projects in mind or in progress too.

So since finishing the Autumn Garden View shawlette my next spinning was to finish off some black Hebridean fleece with a little bamboo lightly blended through it, that I started in December. It's a bit darker than the photos show, but hard to get that on the camera in recent daylight.

Hedridean fleece handspun

This has spun up lovely as a DK/Worsted yarn that I think will make lovely socks, and there is 369m of it that will go a long way.

Once this was off the wheel it was time to spin some of the lovely fibre I received in the Secret Santa swap on Ravelry. I decided I wanted to spin the Shetland blue/green roving, and the lovely Romney batt (with silk, firestar and glitz) and ply them together. There was more of the Shetland so the remaining I made into a 2 ply yarn to complement it. These are the fibres

 Shetland roving above and Sparkly batt below

These are the skeins.  I love these, and have plans for a shawlette/scarf with this. There is 224m in total of these skeins.

With Christmas decorations being packed away, my Louet wheel made a re-appearance and so I could have both wheels working on different projects again. I hadn't used the Louet for a while so we got reacquainted and it was lovely. I spun another batch of Hebridean fleece on her, this being slightly lighter than the other one above and a lovely amount of yarn 347m. So good to see those huge bobbins full again!

Hebridean fleece spun on my Louet wheel

Once the Wee Peggy was free I finally got around to plying some rainbow merino singles that had sat on bobbins for a long time ... I hadn't realised how long until I looked back at some pictures and realised it was 18 months (oops!). The problem was I didn't know what I wanted to do with it. So I decided to n-ply it into a nice bulky yarn, it went curly as anything as the singles were so stale but after a wash it was perfectly balanced.

 Rainbow yarn n-ply

My daughter Imogen saw the yarn and put in a request for something for her, and asked for a close fitting cowl. So a cowl was knitted. There was still just less than half the yarn left so she asked for a hat. I wasn't sure there was enough for a hat but hey presto there was. I enjoyed knitting it so much I knit it twice! Yep, it was too small so I frogged it and restarted only a little bigger.

 In her cowl and modelling the first hat - 
she's wearing the new bigger hat today (looks pretty much the same just fits better!)

Phew, that's quite a bit to share already but hey I'm not finished yet. Ready for some more? Good because I have some lovely pictures to show you!

This was some more off my swap fibre, some Merino/Silk blend from Winghams. I split this in two and spun the singles and plied together.

Merino/Silk blend - single bobbin and plied skeins

And finally on the spinning was this lovely fibre from my stash - some Colinette fibre which is lovely and soft and drafts beautifully. I've heard and read some bad stories of their fibre (felted, etc), some recently on a ravelry post, but the fibres I have had from them have all been lovely. This one was inspired by Monet's Waterlilies which I think you can see from these pictures.

Monet's Waterlilies painting
 Monet painted fibre
 Nests of fibre for spinning

I separated this into pencil thickness lengths to spin and also separated the darker parts from the lighter ones so that some of the yarn comes out in darker shades. I have ideas of this being knitted and felted into a bag so this will work well with that - more on that another day. Here is the yarn which I am so pleased with.

 Monet Inspiration handspun

I told you I had the spinning bug this month. As I sit here typing this both wheels are empty, waiting for the next fibre.

Now I have cast on a couple of new knitting projects, nothing to really show yet, but one is the shawlette/scarf in the sparkly Shetland blend yarn above. The other project is a tunic top for my daughter using some blue yarn I spun last year, some she helped me dye.

I think that is most of it, there are some other knitting projects going on too, using up odd balls of this and that yarn - mostly becoming new cushion covers so these will take a while and a lot of yarn, and some other fun projects I'll show you sometime over the next few months.

I'm not sure if I can keep up with this kind of productivity but we shall see, and I am having so much fun with it at the moment and have plenty to keep me busy.

Lydia's Woolly Wednesday - A Puzzle for You

Firstly, apologies for January, Woolly Wednesday completely slipped my mind, what with being out of routine. Now I'm back and I have a question for you. Last summer I went to Hereford. In Hereford I visited The Old House, which dates back to 1621. 
I was tempted to hop in that rubbish truck and drive it out of picture but I didn't want to spend the rest of my holiday in a police cell

The house is furnished as it might have been in Jacobean times. Upstairs I discovered a Welsh Great Wheel:

The first thing I noticed about this wheel was the tilt. I have only had a few attempts at spinning on a great wheel, the one I used was a replica and the wheel sat vertically, with no tilt. Every time I've used a great wheel, I stood with my right shoulder to the wheel. I have heard great wheels can be built with the wheel tilted but I thought the wheel was supposed to slope away from the spinner.

Can anyone explain why this wheel would appear to slope towards the spinner? Could it possibly be a wheel for a left handed person? As a left hander myself I was very excited to think this wheel may have been made for a long gone left handed spinner but there may be some other explanation. Do share your views!

Woolly Wednesday February - link up

Welcome to our Woolly Wednesday gathering for February, whether you are a regular or a new visitor - come and share with us all what you have been doing with wool or fibres in the last month, or plans for the month(s) ahead. All crafts and inspiration welcome.

 Woolly Wednesday falls on the first Wednesday of every month. Think of it as a creative gathering, or a virtual guild meeting. Bring along any fibre-related project, whatever it may be. If you are starting out in fibre arts, share what you are interested in pursuing. Let's show each other our projects, share any tips, tutorials, ask questions, seek advice. Add your post to the Linky below and we can visit one another and share, support, encourage, be inspired!.

 Please feel free to add the button to your blog's sidebar with a link to Spinspiration, a lovely way for us all to link together. Just copy the image to your desktop and then in your blog design - add a gadget, add picture - upload the picture and then add the url (http://spinwheelspin.blogspot.com/) and the image will link to here. Join us with the linky below, link to a recent blog post of your woolly adventures in the last month or to a post in the month ahead, we look forward to seeing you, no time limits just join us when you can.