Year of Projects – week 43/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

Knitting

This week has been mostly Elda cardigan knitting, as I really want to try to finish it before we go on holiday.  I am concerned I am going to be playing yarn chicken when it comes to doing the Estonian braid section, as my yardage was enough for 3/4 sleeve version and I am doing full length sleeves!  I just can’t see me wearing a shorter sleeve.

The indie dyer, Helen from Ripplescrafts, is doing a pop up shop in Inverness next week and she is bringing along her own leftover yarn from her own project, so we can see if its a good colour match.  I may only be 200 yards short (if the pattern is correct).  I had to go down a needle size to get gauge, does anyone know if that means I’m using more or less yarn?  My brain won’t compute it.

I suppose I should have done the Estonian braid section first and then could just knit the sleeves to whatever is left…I’m part way through the first sleeve…I did start a brand new skein when I started the sleeve so I know how much I’ve used so far.  Does that help though.  I did think of a contrasting colour for the braid, but arrrggghhh perhaps it will be fine and I will have enough!?!

I have thought about not quite finishing the sleeves, doing the Estonian Braid and then if I need Helen’s leftover yarn it would be for both sleeve ends…so may have slightly different tones on the cuffs!  

Oh my I am rambling!  Anyhoo…advice welcome.

 

Felting

No felting this week!!!!  I still need to dye some sand coloured wool for the other landing lampshade and the others I am going to whiz up some blended batts on the drum carder at felting group next Saturday (After the mad dash into Inverness to pick up Helen’s spare yarn and no doubt another skein of her yummy sock yarn.)

Spinning

Tiny bit of spinning this week, the colour is absolutely gorgeous.  The colour on the fibre photo is more accurate to how it looks.  After weeks of not doing any spinning it took a while to get back in the rhythm.  The fibre is Falklands Merino and will be knit into a mini shawl/scarf.  This is my first time using John Arbon fibre, he is vending at Fibre East in July which I am going to.

Weaving

I bought a 2nd heddle reed in the same size as my current one to try double weaving.  It took me hours to warp it and to work out where to put my pick up sticks, then realised my sticks are a bit short, so I’ve ordered some slightly larger ones.  These sticks, once in the right place enable you to weave the top and the bottom layers, so you end up with fabric twice the width than with one heddle.  In my weaving book it says its easier to do than describe, and that’s from an expert.  Perhaps next week I will have something a bit more to show you, so that you know what I mean, but on the photo below you can see the open side showing the top and bottom layers, on the left side its closed.

Other news

Since giving up work it seems my brain has retired, that or I’ve eaten too many hot cross buns and I am having sugar overload.  Talking of sugar…I bought a 2nd hand copy of the Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program by Kathleen DesMaisons.  I am a total sugar addict and already have liver problems from it, so I am determined to beat the addiction.  I only started reading it on Friday night and on Saturday I ate a bag of chocolate buttons and 2 hot cross buns and we have pain au chocolate to have on Easter Sunday for breakfast!!  So this isn’t going to be easy.  

 

I am still enjoying listening to the Desert Island Discs podcasts…one of the guests asked for a blow up s*x doll to use as a raft!!!!  I burst out laughing walking down the street listening to it and Kirsty the presenter was all erms and errs, first time she has been lost for words.  Some episodes I’ve been walking along crying or smiling or laughing.  

 

Today is my dog, Ylva, 11th Birthday.  We took her to Glen Affric on Good Friday, where it was unusually warm for April. She has some yummy things for her birthday meals and a new squeaky snake that she had a good go at yesterday when she spotted it in my shopping bag.  

Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin in Glen Affric was unusually low on water so we were able to walk out to one of the ‘islands’, where this photo was taken…she’s not very good at posing for photos and he was trying to get her to face me, but she wanted the treat in his hand!  This is part of a set of lochs in a hydro scheme so may have just had a release of water.  

Yesterday I did some vegetable garden planning for this year and discovered both water butts were empty!  Usually they are full at the start of the year.  The lambs on the farm behind us are finally being born, so every day we’ve spotted new lambs…but the streams that come down the hill don’t have much water in them and the farmer says he’s concerned about his sheep getting dehydrated as its so warm and there’s so little water.  They don’t usually get sheared until June because its usually so much cooler here.  Last year we had a very warm May which was unusual…now its an unusually warm April!   I know there are far more important global impacts here to power, wildlife, crops etc., but my selfish gene does make me wonder how short knitwear wearing season is going to become if things don’t change.  🤔

Year of Projects – week 32/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

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 29/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

Knitting

Frogging

Oh my goodness, what a pickle I got in trying to frog the jumper I mentioned last week.  I had done such a good job at weaving in the ends, I couldn’t find them!  Plus I forgot which direction I had knit it, so started trying to unravel it in the wrong direction!  So the scissors had to come out, a couple of times.

 

I ripped out and re-started my Northeasterly blanket to change down a needle size.  I also wasn’t enjoying the method of increasing stitches, so I started doing fbf, then switched to doing a couple of different methods as I was getting a weird line on one side. I even tried going back to the original increase but there’s no way I will have motivation to knit a whole blanket with fiddly stitches so frequent.  The thing is it is quite addictive and I unpicked what fingering weight mitred squares I had made to do a few more tries with other increases and used some homespun yarn too.  Any tips for avoiding that ridge on the left side of the middle?  I am out of scraps now so it will be parked for a bit.

 

WIPs 

I did a few rows of Lintilla and a few on Void.  I now understand the appeal of having different projects on the go.  Lintilla is long easy rows of knitting with occasional ripples to work on, Void requires concentration on every row, Northeasterly is good when you don’t have enough time for long rows of a shawl…and oh my does Void get long…or should that be wide?! 

Ready to Cast On

I found a toe up pattern to try for my January socks in the KAL and have chosen a nice local sock yarn, so I will cast on those on Sunday…so hopefully a photo next week.

Spinning

I had some fun playing with my blending board this week making some more rolags and spinning them on my wheel.  (The white balance of the photos on the bobbin is off.  We have so few hours of daylight at the moment, it is a challenge to get accurate pictures.)  I used some sugar plum merino and mulberry silk blend, with some home dyed mohair and some sari silk waste.  The idea being to practice making a tweed type yarn (on my YOP list).  I think officially tweed is supposed to have wool flecks, not silk, but I am counting this as a first attempt at tweed.  

I made some other rolags on my blending board using the Himilayan custom blend from World of Wool (white merino with sari silk) mixed with some dyed merino wool in greens and deep purples. My husband likes the rolags before they are spun and thinks I need to find some way of doing a picture just using the rolags!  I may have a think about it…perhaps a box frame??  Anyhoo, I put my big brave girl pants on and went to the Highland Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers and someone showed me how to do long draw drafting, rather than short forward drafting I have been doing.  This method gives you a woolen yarn (softer and warmer) rather than worsted yarn (smooth, hard wearing).

The Guild was very hot and noisy with 40+ women chatting and spinning and I found I can’t do both at the same time!  I am pretty happy with my first day doing a new method.  I left at 3pm because I was getting sore shoulders, so didn’t manage to finish all the rolags, so it isn’t plied yet.  I will finish them this week, ply them and maybe knit them into my northeasterly!  Depends on my final length and thickness of the yarn.

No felting this week but I did prep some squares of black Icelandic wool fibre with some sari silk on my blending board.  The idea being to test joining the squares together so they form one long rectangle.  We will see how that works out and I will post some pictures when it is done.

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 – weeks 15&16/52

After a lovely week away at a holiday cottage on the West Coast of Scotland, this week has been so stressful and depressing.  I need to keep up with my projects to keep me sane and keep me from slipping back into depression.  

I have put up lots of unused craft supplies on Facebook Marketplace and already have sold some things.  This was prompted by me having too many warning signs I was teetering on the edge of being a full blown hoarder.  For anyone interested here’s a link to that post.  I think its important as a community we show that life has ups and downs and that’s ok and normal.  Electronic lives can seem like everyone is living perfect lives.

A quick update on my nuno felted scarf that I was unhappy with; I re did it adding more fibre around the edges and the roses.  I am so much happier with it.  It is so light to wear but warm!  

Nuno felted scarf update

Last week I finished Allistar’s first sock and I am doing the heel of the 2nd at the moment.  Already I spot they aren’t ‘Pairfect’…as per the yarn name.  My long tail cast ons were different tail lengths and despite re-doing the cast on 3 times it wasn’t perfect, so this has had a knock on affect at the top of the foot!  Typical as thats the bit people will see when he sits down.  The yarn was really splitting though so a 4th attempt wasn’t possible.

Allistar’s first sock

I wanted to see what the sari silk looked like felted, so made a weird shaped scissors case!  I love the silks and wish I had loaded more on! 

Scissors case

I joined the Brit Spin marathon on Ravelry, in team ‘More enthusiasm than skill’.  Our team each received 100g of Shetland fibre from our sponsors Curtis Fibres.  It is now the morning of the 4th and final day of the challenge and I have only managed to spin a third of the Shetland so far, partly because I am trying to spin very fine so that I end up with a 3 ply fingering weight yarn, but mostly because I am frantically dashing from one priority to the next, not sleeping well and really feeling the physical signs of some stress I am under at the moment.  My fitbit says my heart rate was in fat burn for 15 hours on Friday despite me not actually exercising! When I did some spinning at 6.30am, having been awake for hours, you can see my heart rate drop.  It drops again when I did some spinning about 2.30pm…the final drop is when my husband tried it on!   I wish I was better equipped to manage stress, but at least I know the spinning makes a physical positive difference.

Stress affecting my heart rate

 

 

 

 

Tour de fleece 2018

I love Ravelry so much, not only does it have thousands of patterns, many of which are free, a database for your stash and projects, but it also has forums and groups.  Whilst reading through the forums I found out about Tour de Fleece and joined The Corner of Knit and Tea blog’s team #CKT2018.  There are lots of other teams on Ravelry as well (and lots of other themed groups too).

The idea is during the days of the Tour de France cycling race you spin!  Not for the hours on end that they are on their bikes for, just for as long as you want to.  When the cyclists have their rest days you do as well, and when they are having their tougher days cycling in the mountains you challenge yourself with your spinning. The level of challenge is up to you…I did consider teaching my husband to spin as a challenge!  

It is such a nice idea, a great way to connect with other spinners and see what amazing yarn they are producing and you can ask questions and advice.  I have found myself getting yarn envy as some of the yarns I am seeing are so beautiful and its interesting to see the different plying methods and the results you get.  

Also spending time each day doing some spinning really does show your steady improvement 😁

I had some merino fibre from Gilliangladrag in the Ethereal Ether blend. I loved the look of it online and originally bought it for making some needle felted fairies, but I thought maybe it would be good for spinning.  So I pre-drafted the whole 100g…this was a mistake!

I loved how the singles looked on the bobbin but when I have plied it the colours have lost their definition and almost created a greyish pink colour.  I kept washing my hands thinking I was making the yarn dirty, but I think its just the colour combos when spun…or at least when spun by me!

I stopped after plying my first bobbin, so do still have lots of fibre left and I will most likely use it in wet felting instead.  If I hadn’t pre-drafted it all I could have split the colours vertically and when made into a 3 ply they’d have kept their colour definition.  Hey ho! (I haven’t set this yarn yet, so this isn’t a case of colours bleeding.)

Ethereal ether spun merino

Again, you’ll notice my spinning and plying are still uneven thickness.

Next I decided to use a gorgeous purple and gold blend of merino and bamboo from Kiki’s Craft Corner.  The colours are really lovely and I can’t wait to see how much length I end up with so that I can search Ravelry for a pattern.  Apologies for the terrible photo of the original blend. Merino and bamboo

My consistency has improved massively and I have managed to get a 3 ply that is about sport weight!  I used short forward drafting again but something has just clicked and I am finally able to draft small amounts so when plied it isn’t so thick.  It still is a little fluffy, I am knitting a cardigan with malabrigo yarn at the moment and I am wondering if they coat the yarn in something to stop it being fluffy (or having a halo).  I love that my singles and 3 ply are still looking similar…unlike the ethereal blend.

What I have learned

  • Don’t pre-draft all your fibre before you know what it is going to look like when its 2 or 3 ply!
  • Ravelry is a great resource and a way to make friends from around the world
  • Being part of a Team keeps you motivated
  • Small amounts of spinning each day is easier on my arms and hands than a long session
  • I really missed spinning on the first TDF rest day!
 

 

Spinning progress

I thought I should make a note of my spinning progress so far, especially as I am now spinning a little everyday.

In a previous spinning post I had talked about my problems with drafting fibre and disastrous results…or should I call it art yarn!

My next post was about creating rolags and spinning from those which I definitely found easier, I made some useable 2 ply yarn in the landscape colours and went on to knit an ipad cover with the yarn.  Don’t look too closely or you’ll notice some cables aren’t the same length!  Oh and Judy’s Magic Cast On was a disaster as its on the inside of the bag!!!  oops!

Knitted_iPad_cover.jpg 

I had other attempts at spinning from rolags, I had spun a selection of peach and red toned fibre scraps and I really liked it on the bobbin…but when I set it, I massively overheated it and ended up felting the yarn and the colours ran and it ended up orange.  Regardless of the quality I am determined to make something out of everything I spin, so thanks to Ravelry’s pattern search I found this wee business card holder pattern.  The cabling doesn’t really stand out I think because it felted so much, plus it was 2 ply.

Business_card_holder.jpg

I also spun some purple and pink scraps, again making a 2 ply yarn.  This time I made a dog poop bag holder!  I crocheted it, without a pattern and it is sooo soft, it feels lovely.  Again the yarn slightly felted when setting it, but not as much.

Dog_poop_bag_holder.jpg

Then I took on a bigger challenge, rather than using a bag of scraps and creating rolags, I wanted to give pre-drafting a go.  So with 200g of Perpetual Purple Paradise from Gilliangladrag online shop I pre-drafted and then spun all 200g.  What I have ended up with is 3 ply yarn, some of which is Aran weight and some is Worsted weight.  (Not intentionally different weights, just shows the improvement in my drafting.). 

I am thinking I will make a hat, cowl and mitten set…depending on how I get on they may be wrist warmers and not mittens.  I gave chain plying a couple of goes, but again I would call that art yarn based on the inconsistency, the lumps, the coil spinning in parts.  Not sure if it is usable yet…it may end up being used to make a bobble instead.

Purple merino spinning

You’ll notice it says Pre-TDF and then Tour de fleece day 1 on the image above.  I will explain more about that on my next post.

What I have learned so far

  • As a beginner its much easier spinning from pre-drafted tops
  • Rolags make a very fluffy soft yarn
  • Accidentally boiling yarn makes it felt and run! (and it loses the merino wool feel)
  • It was much easier for me to rest my right arm on a small cushion and draft at exactly the same pace as my leg pressed on the treadle.  This stops you spinning faster than you can draft
  • Practice and preparation definitely improves the final results
  • Measuring yarn on the niddy noddy is not a good judge of final length (as its under tension and shrinks slightly during setting)
  • Chain plying is tricky and I need more practise at it!
Side thoughtwriting a blog that may be read by Americans and Brits is a challenge re: spelling!  Do I just stick to UK English and assume Americans will understand we spell things differently?  In the UK practice is a noun and practise the verb…in the US practice is both noun and verb!  Then there’s fibre and fiber!  Never mind all the words we put a u in that American’s have done away with!  Hmm perhaps I’ll just randomly mix them up and confuse everyone 😉
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How craft making and Scotland rescued me

Life before…

My life was consumed with working hard and very long hours to earn money for a few weeks a year of international travel.  We went to many fabulous and breathtaking places around the world including Hawaii, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Australia, various US states and parts of Italy.  I also travelled to Peru and Bolivia for 31 days as a mix of holiday and unpaid leave (Follow links to see photo highlights).  And so I thought my blog was turning into a travel blog…

The breakdown…

At the end of 2016 I started to burnout and lose control of my mind, I wasn’t coping at work despite (or perhaps because I was) working almost every waking hour and not making enough progress to satisfy my own high standards. By early 2017 I was a jibbering wreck, unable to stop crying all the time and was eventually signed off with anxiety and depression.  When my sick pay ran out I couldn’t face returning to work, stressed at the thought and afraid that my resilience was too weak and I would return to old habits of working every hour and so I requested a 12 month sabbatical (unpaid leave).  So I am due to return in September, unless I resign.

My new life…

Whilst off work I have started doing more craft type things, I have wet felted a hat and a handbag learned how to knit, made some sea glass jewellery, bought a spinning wheel and I’m now learning how to spin.  We bought a tent last autumn and instead of international travel we have been exploring the North of Scotland and some of its many Isles either with the tent or renting small cottages.
I have been blown away by the scenery that we have seen…and with my calmer mindset I can actually be present and fully enjoy being in the moment and after walking 20k steps enjoy an evening sitting in our tent with my husband and dog and knitting another hitchhiker scarf! Scotland has white sandy beaches and turquoise water, okay you need to wear layers, not a bikini…but then you often get a beach to yourselves!
As for my future…we shall see!
October 2017  
Isle of Eriskay, Western Isles, Scotland
 March 2018
Coral beach, Isle of Skye 

 

June 2018
Sango_Sands_beach_Durness.jpg
Sango Sands beach, Durness
Balnakeil beach, Durness, North Scotland

 

From fibre to 2 ply yarn

I had a brainwave…good spinning practice would be making up a bunch of rolags, splitting them evenly by colours and this would then make a 2 ply with the same colours plying at the same time…sounds great doesn’t it?

What I failed to realise was how much my spinning would improve when doing the 2nd batch and just how much longer that meant my 2nd spool was over my 1st.  So the result is it started off plying well and then suddenly the colours went out of sync and my 1st spool ran out too quickly which then meant I needed to transfer some of my 2nd spool to another so I could continue plying.

The improvements in my 2nd spool I put down to the non-slip disks I put on the 3 legs of my spinning wheel, resting my right arm on a cushion on my leg and timing my drafting with my pressing the treadle (pulling and pressing at exactly the same time/pace)…oh and not having my arms too far away from the spinning wheel, a handspread away works best for me…well so far anyway.

 

 

Trying to spin before I can draft

Those YouTube videos of people spinning make it look so easy …

I need to spend some time practicing drafting the fibre before I start spinning it…my seriously slow drafting is ending up with seriously twisted yarn!!!

Fortunately I have lots of scrap fibre to practice with.

Here are my first attempts…

I did manage to straighten the first attempt and let it spin back on itself to make a 2 ply….but the only thing consistent about it is it’s inconsistency 😂

image.jpg