Still here

So it’s been a while…

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.

IMG_1527The 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.




Skein Merino/silk Wasabi

My Skein handspun is all spun up, plied and finished! Yipeee! I can’t tell you how proud I am, it’s so beautiful. If I haven’t said it enough already, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Skein colour ways.

So it’s 300g/773.2 yards of 3ply spun on my Little Gem though I did begin the first singles on a spindle.  On average comes in at 14wpi/fingering weight, which is what I was aiming for. Go the spinners control card! Full disclosure, the last 35 metres were navajo plied from the remaining singles but that’s an improvement also.

Eighteen months ago when I started my spinning course I would never have thought that I’d be able to spin anything like as finely and consistently as this.

Squeeee! The prettiness! I should mention that this yarn has all my favourite colours, It’s like it was especially made for me. As for what it will become…

…well, after it has been petted in the skein for an appropriate length of time I plan to knit a shawl, probably the Botanical Garden shawl by Skein.

Spinning news


I just thought I’d update on the spinning front.

I’m still spinning the Skein Merino/silk and trying to spin it really fine which I struggle with. Or more to the point I struggle to spin fine without overspinning. I’ve been playing slow music when I spin in an attempt to slow my treading down and I think it’s working.

I now have 2 bobbins of 100g and I’m very happy with them.

So I got out the third top and I started unravelling it width-ways, just because. I liked the unravelled top so much I took photos.

I had to lay it out on the floor because it’s so long (260cm) which meant I had to clean the floor first, but the extra mopping was well worth it I think.  I find it remarkable how there is not even a hint of felting or anything especially having dyed fibre myself and knowing how easy it is to felt it. Taking the fibre from the vinegar water bath to the table for dying is I think where I manage to felt it. Perhaps the use of a colander or something would help. I’d love to hear any tips on dyeing fibre without felting it too much if you have any.

My son Elliott was watching the photo shoot and was amazed at the sight of the unravelled tops, he got to pet it too (I made sure his hands were clean first). I like when the boys pet and admire the fibre, it’s important to nurture the wool love in them.

Reluctantly I split the tops lengthways for spinning.

Hopefully I should get the last bobbin spun up and the yarn plied by the end of the month, well that’s the plan…


Spinning news

So with all the knitting that I’ve been doing there has been barely any time for spinning also I have an injured drafting thumb which is a bit sore.

I did start the second bobbin of the Skein fibre but I haven’t really got that far.

Hopefully I should be able to make some more progress when my current knitting frenzy subsides.

At the beginning of the week I borrowed some combs from a friend because I’m contemplating buying some. I haven’t managed to use them yet due to lack of time and the fact that the Polwarth fleece I was planning to comb still had quite a bit of lanolin in it. This was so disheartening because washing that fleece took FOREVER not to mention so much water I cringed when I opened up the following water bill. So I decided to cut my losses and I put a post on Ravelry asking if anyone wanted the fleece.

Almost immediately I had a taker and yesterday I handed over the fleece. In return she gave me some tops and some washed locks from two fleeces she had one of which was white merino.

Do you see how perfect and fluffy they are? I am humbled, I truly suck at fleece prep and where I would normally learn from my mistakes and try harder next time, I think I may just give up on fleece prep and just spin from tops and batts from now on.I feel like a quitter but the preparation of fleece is so time consuming and to be honest not something I enjoy, I’d rather be spinning and knitting.

I still have my gifted washed, clean Corriedale that I am planning to make an Owls with. In fact once the Skein tops have been spun and plied the Corriedale is next up on the wheel.  I am looking forward to it because it is so beautiful.  I also still want a jumper that I knit from yarn that was prepped and spun by me. It is a goal that I’ve had since I started to spin and it’s one that I’m determined achieve.

After that it will take a lot to induce me back to fleece prep and I will definitely steer well clear of merino/polwarth fleeces with their high lanolin content. They are for people with way more talent and time than me.

All of this has made me think that I’ll buy some hackles and a drum carder so I can play with blending fibres, that seems like it would be heaps of fun don’t you think?

The Thylacine Sock Fibre Club Feb 2012

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how I want to spin my own yarn for socks. Ever since I learned to spin I think this has been a goal of mine and so when my favourite fibre dyer, Megan from The Thylacine announced she was starting a sock fibre club I jumped at the chance. I’ve never been part of a yarn or fibre club before but I felt it would be a good idea to push my boundaries and spin fibre for a purpose and also spin fibre that maybe I wouldn’t normally choose myself.

The first instalment was 55%superwash alpaca/25%superwas merino and 20%nylon, I chose 150g because I like longer socks and more is better.

I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to spin alpaca because during my learn to spin classes we were given some alpaca to try and I failed so dismally that I vowed never to spin alpaca again. This top however, I found stupidly easy to spin, happily so.


Did I mention green was one of my favourite colours?

So I spun 3 singles using my spinners’ control card which is a nifty little tool. Basically you multiply the wpi you require (so for sock weight 14) by the number of plies (3) and then the gauge from the card shows you how fine you need to spin (42) except it only goes up to 40 but I just tried to spin 40 or less.

I managed to 3ply 265 yards/130g which is more yardage than I normally get and is more or less 14wpi and the finest I’ve ever spun so I am really happy with it. I would like to get more yardage in future, tips on how to do this would be greatly appreciated.


The remainder of the singles became 50 yards of 2ply and then 6 yards of N-plied.


I want to knit this yarn up into socks immediately but as I’ve only just started the second Zauberball sock it might be a while. Obviously when I do I shall be using David’s toe up sock cookbook because I am a creature of habit. Come to think of it this pattern may also be big a reason for my hand-spun sock obsession.

Although March’s instalment is due soon I have been going through my growing fibre stash (I also succumbed to the regular The Thylacine fibre club, my bad!) and I have quite a few BFL tops that are now destined to become sock yarn. However, currently on the wheel is the second Skein singles, the first one was transferred from spindle to bobbin and looks like this…


A shawl in the making perhaps?

It is a truth universally known…

That is, universally amongst knitters, that sock yarn does not count as stash.  In the case of talented dyers, I believe it doesn’t count as stash because it’s art.  This week I received four exquisite skeins of art that I’d ordered from Skein.  However, previously my attempts to photograph yarn from Skein has been “a little bit shit”.  Yesterday, in an bid to rectify my poor photography skills and do the yarn justice I asked for advice from Sonia’s lovely hubby, Damian Young.  I’ve often admired Damian’s photographs when I’ve visited their home and he very kindly gave me some hints and tips.

Here goes…

The four skeins are, from left to right, Quill, Opaque, Industrial Age and Dolce, they are all BFL sock (of course).  I like the colour saturation of this one but the shadows on the corners I’m less happy with.  Then I took some close ups of individual skeins.


So thanks Damian, I’m quite happy with these last four and hopefully I will continue to improve.