Andean plying tool aka Handy Andy

As previously mentioned, I won an Andean Plying tool from BritSpin last year. The tool has been handmade by a Mens Shed group in England.

Steps:-

Prep some fibre. (This is some merino and sari silk hackle blending practice.)

Spin a single on either a spinning wheel or spindle.

Wrap the single around the Handy Andy (in the specific way, YouTube videos are better than any written instructions).

Remove the top peg on the tool, so it now looks like just a loop of yarn and put the tool somewhere nearby (I popped it between my knees upside down! No smutty comments please lol.

Take both ends of the single and attach to leading line on the spinning wheel or spindle and spin in opposite direction to create 2 ply.

It will be a good tool for taking on holiday with my spindle. It is pretty lightweight and less bulky than taking a yarn cake winder, which is an alternative way of winding a single into a loop that you can spin both ends of.

It’s Mundane Monday today where I mostly do housework and chores, so this is just a quick practice.

If you’d like me to write more information on how to wrap the single then let me know in the comments.

Year of Projects – week 32/52

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Knitting

Well my 2nd pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks are finished!  I am honestly thinking why bother doing other patterns, when this fits my small feet so well (using 2mm needle).  It is more interesting than just vanilla knitting (sockinette/K3P1 on alternate rows).  The pattern was free on Ravelry.  I love this yarn, in electric light it has warm colours and in daylight cool colours!  

I can’t stick to the official Grocery Girls Sock bash KAL rules, as it says 1 x 6” leg pair or 2 shorties a month, and I just want to make 12 pairs of socks this year and don’t want socks that long.  But this month’s theme is cables, so I may still have a go at some cable socks….or may just have another pair like these!  Shall we have a sweepstake on how many pairs end up being this pattern lol!?

Void has soooo many stitches now (about 274 …kept losing count) and I am just finishing the 2nd ball of Rowan Lima yarn and there are 4 more balls of yarn to go (you stop at 404 stitches wide) and my head explodes with thinking how the heck this is supposed to be knit on one circular needle, my current needle is 100cm long and I think I’ll need to order a longer interchangeable cable to accommodate the stitches.  The other issue is how long it takes to knit each row and its just going to keep getting longer….but then I really want it finished as its sooo soft and warm alpaca yarn that feels lovely and I want to wear it whilst its still cold.  Progress since last time is shown by the marker.  I also included a photo of the yarn close up, very unusual construction…but think of all that warm air it will trap…this is going to be so cosy to wear.

 

There’s been some people talking about yarn and needle elitism on Instagram, with many of the most popular YouTubers and Instagram account holders only buying very expensive, indie dyed yarns only for it to sit in a stash that may never get knit with.  My yarn stash is relatively small and very mixed and this Rowan Lima yarn I bought for £3 for all 6 skeins at a local de-stash sale.  I think Ripplescrafts yarn lasts really well and is my most used yarn, but I believe in trying to support Highland small businesses.  

I do ooh and aaah at the beautiful colourways that lots of indie yarn producers post and I see phases of ‘must have’ yarns that you find everyone suddenly using and I’ll admit I was feeling jealous and if I was still working I would probably have bought but have no time to knit with.  But as I have no income and I am spinning yarn myself and have a lot of undyed yarn to practice dyeing myself, I am on a yarn buying freeze!  I haven’t bought any finished yarn since October.  (Only yarn for dyeing.).  

Regardless of how expensive or cheap a yarn is, if the finished object is practical and beautiful then what does it matter?  I am interested to hear your thoughts.

Spinning

I continued to spin the brown North Ronaldsay wool, making more rolags and spinning them long draw (you allow some twist between your two hands whilst moving your hands apart and don’t smooth out the fibres, this makes a warm woollen spun yarn).  I am definitely improving in this method, although I seem to get a sore left shoulder and right knee, as I am not used to this method or position yet!  It is all spun and ready for plying into 3 ply, so I will show the finished yarn next week. 

Felting 

Just to explain, my slipper booties aren’t finished yet so no pic…more on why later.  But after some comments last week I thought I should explain these were felted from Icelandic fibre tops and lined with merino wool tops, so no knitting involved.  

You can make slippers by knitting them first and then felting them, but to me that seems a much longer process than just felting the fibre.  Another option, if you’ve accidentally felted a wool jumper in the washer or tumble dryer then you can use that felted fabric to sew some slippers or gloves!  I have seen YouTubers buying old wool jumpers/sweaters from charity shops/thrift stores and making pairs of mittens, slippers and scarf from one old jumper after they’ve felted it on a hot wash!  Great if you are on a budget.

I did use half of my homedyed bluefaced leicester fibre to make a nuno felted scarf.  Nuno felting is where you felt wool and silk together.  On a blank white silk voil scarf I lay out the fibres in roughly vertical stripes one side and horizontal stripes the other and then put additional coloured locks, tussah silk and silk scraps.  Then felted slowly to allow the wool fibres to go through the silk and felt together.  The result is a very lightweight but warm scarf that can be worn on either side up. 

I know what your thinking…these colours match my new socks lol!  

 

The idea with felting is you lay the fibres in horizontal and then vertical layers, so that when they are wet the barbs on the fibre open up and start to lock together, then I use olive oil soap and friction from bubble wrap and tools made for felting.  I can spend hours on Pinterest looking at the amazing felt creations people make.  

There are so many amazing Russian and Belarusian feltmakers, I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos of felting and even if I don’t understand what they are saying I can see how they are doing things.  Here’s a link to my Pinterest wet felting folder with some ideas I’ve pinned, includes some of my own creations.

Side tracked!

On my slippers…I have tacked the sole to the bottom, but need to properly sew them on, when I work out the right yarn to do that.  I planned to finish them on Saturday, but we drove down to the Cairngorms National Park (about an hour south) and went for a walk around a frozen Loch Morlich in the snow. Nothing to do with YOP but thought I’d share some pics anyway 😀  

It was only -5°C/23°F so nowhere near the low temperatures the USA has been getting.  

Top picture is our dog Ylva on the lochside beach, the photo bottom left there are some people in the distance doing cross country skiing around the loch.  We passed more people on skis than walking, so it is obviously increasing in popularity.  There is hill skiing nearby too.

 

 

If you would like to see what the other YOP members are up to check out our Ravelry group for the links to their posts.

Year of Projects – week 24/52

Spinning

As we are approaching the half way point of the year of projects, I reviewed my YOP list and ticked off some things.  I had been a bit vague about what I planned to spin during the year, so have updated my YOP page and will snapshot the progress when we get to week 26, like I did week 13. 

After much indecision about what wet felted item I would make with my corriedale wool in poppy colourway (that was a prize from the Tour de Fleece), I instead decided to use it to create a ‘fractal yarn’.  On the picture below you can see the original fibre, I then split it in half; one half (a) is split into the different shades and the other half (b) is split so it has each colour in each strip.  

On bobbin 1 I spun (a) so I started with all the burgundy then all red and then all greens (BRG).

On bobbin 2 I spun (b) so spinning each of the multicoloured strips, starting with the burgundy ends each time.

I then plied the 2 bobbins together and that creates a fractal yarn.  If you want 3 ply you would split the colours in 3 ways, e.g. bobbin 1 BRG, bobbin 2 BRG BRG BRG and bobbin 3 BRG BRG BRG BRG BRG BRG.  

I love the end result and look forward to dyeing some fibre myself to give it another go.  This handspun yarn will be used to make a ribbed hat for my husband.  He has green eyes, so it should suit him well.

I also finished spinning my Shetland wool, transferring what was on my spindle onto the larger amount on my spinning wheel.  I set it and then remembered I am going to be dyeing it so probably didn’t need to soak and snap it before dyeing.  Ah well!  Once I have dyed it I will post a photo!

My camel and silk handspun yarn is dry so that is all labelled and ready to make something with.  It is the softest yarn I have ever held.  Has anyone just kept hanks of wool to cuddle!?  It is soooo soft to touch I love the feel of it. 

Hopefully in this photo you will better see the colour differences between standard and chain plying…the colours on the chain ply are more evident (top and bottom hanks).  I haven’t chosen a pattern for it yet, something to go against my skin for sure!  

Knitting

I have cast on a new pair of socks, this time just a vanilla pattern, in the hope I will have them finished before Christmas! I decided to cast on 64 stitches with my 2.5mm sockwunder needle and so far it looks a much better sized sock.  I can’t believe how fast I can knit a vanilla sock with this needle, highly recommend for speed.  Next on the needles will be the fractal spun yarn hat.  My Lintilla has been temporarily parked, I thought I could try alternating between projects but the socks have a deadline so are getting all my focus.  

Felting and fibre craft

I have mentioned my fairies before, but thought I would post a picture of them all hanging, so you know where they live! Also I ordered a couple of empty baubles from World of Wool and popped some sparkly fibre in them and hung them on the real Christmas tree.  They are very hard to take a photo of and you’ll notice a reflection of Bones TV show lol!  I am already on Season 10!  

 

Finally, I was inspired by @Gilliangladrag Instagram to make a fibre christmas pudding.  I used milk protein top for the brandy sauce.  If you need a few moments of joy each day then I recommend following @Gilliangladrag and watching her daily stories.  She owns the Gilliangladrag Fluff-a-torium shop in Dorking, England.  Unfortunately, I live hundreds of miles away so haven’t been, but have bought her fibre blends and some other bits from her online shop.  

 

 

Year of Projects- week 22/52

Having taken a break from the problem sock situation this week, I started to knit “Lintilla” pattern from Martina Behm (designer of the hitchhiker shawl which I’ve done 3 versions of).  This is my first pattern with wrap and turn stitches and in the variegated yarn from Ripples Crafts I really like it.  This is sock wool with some nylon in, so this isn’t going to be a cosy fluffy scarf/shawl, but it is ideal for practicing new stitches and should last well and stand up to lots of wear.

At felting group this week I made a present, which will need to be posted on here after Christmas.  I am really pleased with it, no idea what the fibre was, as it was out of my stash I bought with my spinning wheel.  

I had some time left over so used some black suri alpaca fibre and sari silk to make a thin scarf.  It is very thin in places but its lovely and soft and has lovely drape to it.  It is hard to photograph to do it justice.  It was an experiment really, but a nice result.

I have been working my way through episodes of Bones on Amazon Prime, whilst doing a lot of spinning.  This is the baby camel and silk blend I have mentioned before.  The smaller (bottom) skein was Navajo plied (chain ply) and you can see (hopefully) that you get separate sections of colour rather than just the barber pole type effect you get when you ply 3 bobbins (which is how I plied the larger top skein).  I’m only just over half way through spinning it all, so I am hoping to get a decent sized item out of it when its finished….what that item will be I am not sure yet.  The colours are subtle and again not photographing well.  The weight is DK-ish, i.e. worsted and sport weight in places!

I thought I’d post a wee photo of my Shetland spinning on my spindle, so I can check progress.

Making things definitely lifts my spirits, so it has been a better week.  Oh and I have managed to sell some kitchen gadgets and a game.  My Christmas presents arrived this week…I will wait until Christmas to use them, but they are fibre related so I am looking forward to trying them out after Christmas. More on them and their outputs in the new year!  

There’s another felting group in mid-December, so I need to have a think about what I’d like to make then, perhaps do some needle felting for a change.

 

 

 

Year of Projects- week 19/52

This week I have been on a mission to get lots of crafting done, to take my mind off my continuing chest infection and a very stressful situation I have been trying to deal with.

I fancied using some thick yarn for some quick projects.  I had in my stash 200g of Cheviot super bulky yarn that I had dyed myself a few months ago and called ‘Dusty Rose’.  I couldn’t decide whether to make mittens or a hat, it turned out I had enough for mittens, a hat…and a small cowl!!!  (Follow links to my Ravelry project pages for pattern details.)

I can’t seem to get the colour true in the photos of the mittens, but they are all the same colour.  I really love the colours and effects I achieved when I dyed it.  I love the hat and will definitely try making another with some homespun yarn in a lighter weight yarn.  The cowl isn’t as wide as the pattern as I was short on yarn, but I have worn it on 3 dog walks so far and it seems perfect.  The bulky mittens are so quick and I did the same alterations as the last ones I made with Rowan Big Wool.  Alterations are detailed on my Ravelry project page.  The yarn only cost me £5 so to have had dyeing practice and made 3 accessories from it is brilliant value.  I worried the cheviot wool would be a bit scratchy as a cowl, but it is actually fine and it is lovely and warm on the chilly days we have been having.  Most days haven’t got above 5° Celsius here and there’s snow on Ben Wyvis, the mountain behind where we live.  I think this yarn would felt well, so did think about knitting some huge slipper shapes and then felting them…but I think I will try wet felting fibre slippers first.

Cheviot wool set

I have also cast on a pair of socks that will likely be a Christmas gift for someone, so no pictures possible.  

I am a monogamous knitter, and always finish an item before starting another, but the socks I am doing have a 10 row pattern repeat that is too complicated to memorise, so I have been wondering whether I should start an easy shawl pattern for when I need some mindless knitting to do?!?!?!  

I have noticed on other YOPers blog posts that they sometimes use progress markers that have the little lobster claw clasps.  I have lots of these clasps for making sea glass jewellery and so I thought I would have a go at making some markers out of sea glass I have collected from a local beach and are too small for anything else.

Progress markers

I mentioned last week that I had bought a drop spindle at Loch Ness Knit Fest and so thought I would do some spinning on that!  I was keeping it by the back door and doing a bit each evening before bed whilst I was waiting for our dog to do her bedtime wee!  I had another go on Friday and then thought I better research how on earth I am supposed to ply with a spindle. After some YouTube research I wound it from the spindle onto my ball winder and then tied the start and end of the single together, attached to my drop spindle and then spun it anti-clockwise and I found I was getting a much better balanced yarn than I do when plying on my spinning wheel.  Perhaps because it was all off the same single and was only a small amount, not sure but seemed to ply pretty quick.  I then popped it on my niddy noddy and set it…its only a small amount so I will knit a small mitred square with it probably.  As you will see on the right of the photo I ended up with a few snapped bits I found hard to join, but I will use the fibre elsewhere and no fibre gets binned, as even to make felted soap you can use random scraps.  This is a merino sari silk custom blend from my World of Wool fibre club box, called Himalayas.

Spindle attempt

Soooo having unloaded my spindle, I thought I’d have another go and try a thicker weight yarn. I used another custom blend from WoW fibre club, this is a mix of merino, silk and angelina called autumn sparkle.  I think I will be using some of this fibre to make an autumn fairy to go with my other fairies, also I have had a thought about using some in a lantern to imitate a flame…but this needs more thought.  With my sample spin, I started a mitred square but didn’t have enough, so I finished it with some test spin of a gorgeously soft baby camel and silk blend.

Autumn sparkle
Mitred square

 

If you’d like to see what the other people are up to in our Year of Projects group have a look.  They certainly provide me with inspiration each week and I love this little community.