Sheep-tastic study

The postie has just been, yay!

He brought me 2 parcels from R.E. Dickie containing these beauties.

I haven’t properly unwrapped them yet but I have had a feel and inhaled deep, deep, restorative lungfuls of woolly fumes, ahhhhh!

They are 200g each of Southdown, BFL, Manx Loughtan, Devon, Herdwick, Shropshire, Jacob, Dorset Horn, Swaledale and Massam (this order does not correspond to the picture because I’m just too flippin’ excited to think of things like that).  Obviously I shall be getting more because there are way more British Breeds out there but these will do for starters.

I am planning to spin them and create a British Breeds blanket the design of which I haven’t decided on but I am investigating my options (thanks Ravelry x).  It’s all part of my self education in spinning and all things sheepy.  I have also bought a few more books, The Knitters book of Wool is good, but I want MORE!

So I bought three books.  Beautiful Sheep by Kathryn Dun and Paul Farnham because who wouldn’t want to look at pictures of sheep looking their most beautiful?  In Sheep’s Clothing by Fournier and Fournier which I’m over half-way through, lots of useful information and black and white pictures of staples and sheep, many more breeds covered.  Lastly and not at all leastly because I think this is going to be my absolute bible The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Robson and Ekarius, this is truly a gorgeous book covering not just sheep breeds from all over the world but other animal fibres too.  It’s informative about how to dye, prepare, spin and use each type of fibre and the photos show spun and knitted samples as well as examples of clean and dirty staples.

I am overwhelmed by sheepy bliss!

In other news…

…I did a gauge swatch for Owls yesterday but I must have had a sudden rush of excrement to the brain because I knit it flat and I washed it without measuring it first. D’oh!  I was so determinded not to end up with a jumper that grows in the wash and doesn’t fit again.  Anyhow, I have cast on a sleeve as a gauge swatch, (thanks Sharon) and I shall compare the two.  I’ve decided to frog and reknit the Idlewood  as I want it to be closer fitting but that can wait for a while, I need to get up the courage first.

ttfn Melanie x

Knitting library additions

I have some new additions to my knitting library this week and I’m very excited to read them.  I bought them online and have only scanned them so far but I thought I would give you my first impressions.  As I have next week off work I shall delve further into them as well as spend some time knitting, spinning and hopefully sewing.

The first is Hand dyeing yarn and fleece by Gail Callahan.   I’m hoping this book will enable me to improve my skills and knowledge in dyeing somewhat before I begin to add colour to the Wensleydale/ Teeswater/silk tussah tops and the Blue-faced Leicester-silk tussah tops because they are a bit special and I don’t want to spoil them. That said I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going to dye them before or after I’ve spun them, I am a bit rubbish about making decisions really.   A plethora of dyeing techniques are covered by this book and by the time I’ve finished this book I hope to have a decision or maybe I will be even more undecided.  This seems like a really easy to understand without being too basic book and it’s full of insider tips too.  At the end of the book there are some nice patterns.

The next is Spin control by Amy King which explains different spinning and plying techniques and how to create different types  yarns. It also has chapters on different types of fibre and how to spin fibre depending on what you want to do with it.   Maybe it will give me an answer as to what to do with the 5 natural shades of Shetland tops I have.  One thing I’m sure of is that it will take me one step further in my spinning and enable me to apply a little more thought into what kind of yarn I actually want to create.

The third book I am very excited about as it is The knitter’s book of wool by Clara Parkes.  Oh bliss, a book about wool and wool from different breeds at that!  The book begins by looking at the anatomy and attributes of wool and then looks at different breeds classifying them into fine-wools, medium-wools, long-wools and primitives, it doesn’t cover all breeds, at first glance I notice black Welsh and North Ronaldsay aren’t included.  There is a chapter on blending with other types of fibre which looks interesting as well as some knitting patterns with suggestions as to which breeds are best and why, a helpful glossary and information on the care of wool.

I’m going to make a cuppa now and decide which one to read first.

ttfn Melanie x