It’s Good Friday and I am loving the Spring weather and the new foliage on the trees so much as peopple who follow me on instagram will know. I have Good Friday and Easter Monday off work but they are sandwiching 2 very long days at work so I am cramming as much crafting as I can into today. I have a loaf of bread proving in the kitchen and while it does it’s thang woolly crafts beckon.
I currently have 3 projects on the needles, a pair of handspun socks for my sister Teresa, a pair of socks for my son Elliott and my Follow Your Arrow shawl which has been stalled due to lack of yarn.
I’ve done both clue 3’s with 3 repeats of 3a and I’m planning to do both clue 4’s so I have clue 4a and then 5a to do. The yarn is a 2ply, fingering weight, woollen spun yarn grown and spun on the island of North Ronaldsay where the beach dwelling sheep feed on seaweed for most of the year. It is a very special yarn and has a wonderful rustic quality that I adore. I wanted this shawl to be huge, because I’m loving the yarn and the pattern, hence running out. As I couldn’t get any more yarn in the light grey colourway I decided to purchase 200g of the roving in the light grey and spin a replica-ish 2ply yarn to finish my shawl.
It smells so wonderfully sheepy and feels so divine I will have to get more and make an entire jumper.
The idea of spinning a replica yarn is making me a bit nervous so whilst the roving was in transit I decided to spin the second braid of a Thylacine BFL top to practice. I had finished the first yarn towards the end of last year and I’m currently spinning the 2nd of the 3 singles. The finished yarns will become socks for me.
I’m hoping to have this yarn finished by the end of next weekend so I can start spinning my North Ronaldsay yarn. Better crack on then! (Appalling egg pun totally intended) 😉
I’m over 1/3 through my ginormasquish blanket and still in love with the project. I’m making steady progress and I can’t wait to be able to snuggle underneath it. However, the thing with big projects like this, is that you really do have to be completely monogamous and diligently knit away at it otherwise it will loiter on the needles FOREVER!
Monogamous that is, with the exception of a portable project because let’s face it, this blanket is sooo not portable and PT without knitting just doesn’t bear thinking about. So, in time honoured tradition I cast on a sock.
How pretty is that yarn? The deep, deep, deep blue with it’s subtle variation of tone. It was dyed by my amazingly talented friend Ursula. If you recall, it was Ursula who helped me turn the ancient bra handspun yarn into the beautiful ocean blue yarn. She has been dyeing for a while now and selling her wares to the Richmond knitter’s who greedily buy it all up. We know beautifully dyed yarn when we see it!
Here’s a picture of my most recent episode of yarn gluttony.
My photographic skills do not do them justice at all! They are all semi-solid BFL skeins but the red one is a BFL/nylon blend. As you know, I love knitting socks out of BFL, once washed they are every bit as soft as Merino but because BFL is a longwool it’s so much more durable and with a much better stitch definition than Merino.
Before I do though, people who know me should be prepared as neither of them are duck egg blue, or even blue green. Yikes!
The first was originally meant to be 3 separate colours striped. I had it in my mind that I needed a yellow, grey and cream shawl or cowl or something and I had 3 Shetland tops in exactly those colours.
I started to spin the yellow and to me it just looked flat. So I got my hackles out and blended the 3 Shetland tops together to make something more pleasing to my eye. The finished yarn is about a 10-12ply.
The next yarn was a custom blend top from World of Wool. A gorgeous burnished orange BFL. Both BFL and Shetland have to be my two absolute favourite fibres to spin though they are quite different in character. But I could no more chose between them than chose between chocolate or salted caramels.
I don’t know what either of these yarns will become as yet but I think I need to spin a dark grey yarn to stripe with the orange.
I’ve been kind of busy with stuff which is why I haven’t blogged for a while.
Anyhoo, some crafting has been happening but not much, I finished a pair of ankle socks yesterday. They were my usual toe-up in a really beautiful Skein colour way “Industrial Age” I just cast off as soon as the heel was completed to give them a cute curled edge look. Here is the obligatory FO pic.
The cast off was the purl 2 together pass stitch back onto the left needle cast off, I don’t know if it has a proper name or anything. Sonia helped me pick the yarn out of my stash for them and she has excellent taste as you can tell.
I’ve also been working on a squishy blanket that’s going to take FOREVER! Actually I hope it doesn’t take forever because I might need it at some point this year if it ever gets cold. I am sooo very over this hot summer we’ve been having.
The pattern is Stephen West’s Garter Squish Blanket and I’m knitting it in Cascade Ecological and Eco+. I seriously can’t wait for some cold weather to snuggle under it.
Well, Summer is nearly upon us here in the Southern Hemisphere and though I’m not a huge fan of the hot weather (British understatement) I do enjoy an alfresco lunch with friends, preferably under the dappled shade of a tree or two. I love warmer days when you can throw open the windows and patio door to let some fresh air in. Gotta love fly screens though 😉
Anyway to the point!
I created a delicious double blended colour way for my Etsy store that makes me think of alfresco lunches with friends. It’s called, Alfresco! Ha, fancy that!
Alfresco on the hackles 2nd blending.
A dreamy cloud…
I spun up a sample because I needed to see it in the yarn so to speak. Obviously I’ve kept some back for myself. I’m not totally selfless! I see it as a shawl but then all I want to knit at the moment is shawls.
Oh, it’s a blend of BFL, English 56’s, Merino and a bit of Bamboo. There are only 2 x 130g boxes for sale for now so better be quick!
The last colour way of the day is Duck Egg Omlette. People who know me will be surprised that I’m even considering parting with this because it’s my absolute favourite colour but hey, I know the secret recipe 😉
It gets a lot of pics because it’s so flipping pretty!
1 part Merino
1 part BFL
1/2 white Shetland
1/2 grey Shetland
a pinch of Mohair
I have 170g available for $47.60 plus postage. As always it comes packaged in a box to prevent the squishing and ruffling of these hand blended fibres. Postage is by Australia post and will be calculated once I know where to send the pretty fluff.
More colour ways are on their way so visit me again soon.
Well I’ve been busy again with the hackles. I’ve created 3 new blends which are super pretty. I’m enjoying blending so much but I really don’t have enough time to spin them all so I’ve decided to start selling some of my blends on the blog for now and if there is enough demand, maybe open an Etsy shop. For now here are some recipes for your yarn.
The first one I’ve called “strawberries in my oatmeal”. Three shades of red blended with oatmeal BFL would make a lovely tweedy red yarn.
1 part Oatmeal Bluefaced Leicester
1 part Merino
2 parts Shetland
There is 140g of this colour way and I’m selling it for $39 plus postage.
Continuing with the strawberry theme is “so strawberry jammy”. The same three shades of red as above without the oatmeal BFL for a delicious semi-solid yarn.
1 part Merino
2 parts Shetland
138g of delicious red woolliness for $38.50 plus postage.
Next up is “raspberry milkshake”. SOLD
3 parts Merino
1 part Dorset Horn
Dorset Horn is a very versatile wool according to the Fleece and Fibre Sourcebook it can be spun into an airy woollen yarn or a more compact worsted yarn. It is noted for it’s resistance to felting. So great for a shawl or a pair of socks!
I’ve blended 137g and selling it for $34.25 plus postage.
All of my hand blends would be packaged in a box to prevent them from being squashed in transit thereby retaining all the light airy yumminess. If you are interested in any of my hand blends please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address. Postage will be charges as per Australia Post rates. At the moment I am accepting PayPal and bank transfer only.
This is all a bit new for me so if there is something I could do to improve my service please feel free to advise me.
I had heaps of fun blending fibre yesterday with my hackles. All of the blends were with British breeds that I blended with dyed Polwarth or Merino. The house looks like a bomb has been dropped on it and there is a thick carpet of Kemp and fluff where the polished floor boards should be but hey I thoroughly enjoyed it. My hands are really sore now though. Here’s a sample of each of the blends I created.
The central Southdown and green Merino I created especially for Sharon it’s her favourite colour. The dusky pink BFL and oatmeal BFL I created especially for Sonia as it is her colour. Both of these good friends encouraged me so much at the beginning of my spinning journey and this is my thanks to them.
The beauty of hand blended roving pulled off a hackle is that the fibre drafts like a dream making spinning effortless. The obvious benefit is that you can make yarns that are completely unique you would never see these blends at your LYS. The downside is that you are left with a lot of short fibres that can’t be dizzed off but they are great for carding.
My hackles are the Majacraft double row set and you don’t necessarily need combs unless you want to blend more thoroughly. I got my hackle set and combs from the lovely Emma at Spunout. My fibre was mostly from R.E. Dickie though their email seems to be defunct. So now I mostly use World of Wool who’s customer service is excellent and if your not up to blending yourself they do have a rather cool make your own custom blends tool that I have used, minimum order for the custom blends is 500g though. Here are 2 blends that I’ve made through them so far.
BFL/English 56s/Shetland/Tussah silk
Of course now I just need to find storage space and clean up. Another 24 hours in the day to spin up these lovelies would be good too!
I finished spinning the last of the tops that I dyed this week. This one is BFL/tussah silk/angora. I call it here come the rain again because it reminds me of the Eurythmics song by that name and rain clouds encroaching on a blue sky, which is a happy sign for me, I love rain.
Spun on my Little Gem and navajo plied on my Ashford beginners spindle it’s 177metres and on average 9 wpi so an aran/worsted/10ply weight depending how you like to term it. Though it’s not the best I’ve ever spun, this one’s staying in my stash because the colours are so very me. I wish I could remember what I used so that I can replicate it to some degree. Hindsight eh!
I’m a bit excited by the results of knitting my hand-spun, hand-dyed, navajo plied yarn. I need to share the sample I knit with you.
I think it’s pretty and also when I put it next to the bunny nuggets I can see progress, which is good. I should do this more often. The trouble is I want to knit with hand-spun most of the time but I also want a larger hand-spun to mill-spun ratio in my stash and in order to do this I must knit more mill-spun.
The most exciting thing about this though, is that now I’m reassured that I could spin well enough to make a beautiful hand-spun jumper which is a bit of an ambition of mine. First of all though I need to make this jumper for Sam, should I feel bad that his jumper is going to be kind of a prototype? Today I got him to stand still long enough for me to take measurements except that I forgot to take the top of shoulder to armhole measurement which is probably kind of crucial, doh! I’m also going to be doing more swatching. I’m having a bit of difficulty finding some zip up, mesh, laundry bags so I can start washing my fleeces ready for spinning, the last 3 times I went to my local supermarket they didn’t have any, I’m going to try Kmart next. Then I can make my hand-spun, hand-knit jumper, squeee!