Bakewell Woolgathering & World of Wool

Hi all!

It’s been a long time, and I have been meaning to write for a while…

A mini recap since my last post – I finished ankle socks for my sister, started socks for my mum (then frogged a whole sock and re knit it in a different yarn), finished my HHF socks, finished spinning F is for Fidelio (from Countess Ablaze) and kept going on the Farmhouse Cardigan – it’s getting there! Also I learned how to start socks from the toe up, which was on my list of things I wanted to learn.

My current projects are: still Farmhouse Cardigan in Shetland aran weight home dyed yarn, Treccia hat in Garthenor Shetland yarn, some Monkey Socks in Rusty Ferret yarn, my mum’s socks (waiting to be fitted), and lastly my granny stripe blanket, which has grown quite a lot lately!

But anyway, I just wanted to write a little bit about Bakewell Woolgathering and my trip to World of Wool.

Last weekend was Bakewell Woolgathering; it’s not too far from where I live so C graciously drove us down there to have a gander at some yarn and other bits. I haven’t bought yarn it what feels like ages – apart from a treat of a skein of Voolenvine Yarns a while back – so I wanted at least to go have a look, and be around likeminded people!

It was bigger than I expected it to be – I thought it might be quite a small local style event but Bakewell Agricultural Business Centre is actually quite large, with a decent cafe tacked on too.

I wanted mainly to check out Hilltop Cloud‘s stall, I have been following Katie for a while and really like what she produces (I also love Barber Black Sheep – both of these sellers are from Wales… and I also miss Wales). It was really nice to see her stand and the variety of braids and other bits she offered. This time I didn’t buy from her, although I plan to order online from her in the future. I am feeling a lot like I need to make purposeful purchases rather than just buying because I want to own something from this or that stall. The time will come when I will make a Welsh yarnie order 🙂

I was impressed by the other stalls, there were some extremely tempting merino/nylon/stellina hanks in vibrant autumnal colours, some exciting fleeces and other bits and pieces. There was even a stall which sold mostly handspun yarn – which left me wondering, how did this person manage to spin such a large volume of yarn? Perhaps she only did one show a year or there were multiple spinners involved there. It did get me fantasising about having my own stall someday.

New drop spindle and suri alpaca fleece (spun raw as advised by the seller)

I came away with a 22g drop spindle and 200g of suri alpaca, a new to me fibre. I think I bought the alpaca fleece, which was incredibly soft and a beautiful colour, from Alpaca Yarns and the spindle from Nancy’s Graceful Fibres, although I’m not 100% as I wasn’t super familiar with most of the sellers there. I left happy, even if I was yearning a bit for some brightly coloured yarns too. I know I have stash to knit up!


Chickens hanging out near our airbnb

This weekend we went to stay near the Northeast edge of the Peak District for a restful weekend. Lucky for me, our airbnb also happened to be 20-30 minutes from World of Wool, a Huddersfield-based fibre seller, among other things. We drove to their warehouse, which also functions as a shop (including a cafe), to have a look. It was a bit weird entering and I did feel a bit like an intruder since it’s primarily a warehouse serving online customers, but staff were friendly and helpful, and it was actually ok for me to be there after all. Just writing this in case anyone else wants to take a trip there and is unsure too.

They had all their fibres and yarns in boxes on shelves so I spent a while going round and having a look/feel. I got a chance to see what all the different fibres felt like, which was nice; ones that I hadn’t touched before like cashmere, alpaca, pineapple fibre, etc. and breeds of wool I hadn’t really worked with yet. I picked up a merino/baby camel blend, some shetland, BFL and then botany lap waste (which I think is unidentified plant fibre, it was super soft though so I wanted to give it a spin). The way it works as well is that you can take as much as you want, it doesn’t have to be per 100g, so I maybe only took about 50g of the merino/camel, 50g lap waste, and 60g of the BFL/shetland combined, plus 1 shetland moorit batt. All this came to only £10, which was nice!

I do recommend making a trip there if you are able to and want to get hold of some fibres you haven’t yet given a go. I didn’t get everything I wanted; I thought about buying seacell as I really love working with that fibre, but like I have said previously, I need to work through my stash. Maybe next time!

They had a huge range but a few things I didn’t see where some specific breeds of sheep of interest to me; cormo (but this seems to be primarily an American fibre?), targhee (again, american) and Hebridean. I do have a small amount of cormo and targhee to work from, and someday I would like to try out Hebridean (or at least knit with it, see Daughter of a Shepherd’s yarns). There are a range of other more uncommon sheep breeds to explore, but for now I’m satisfied and have a lot to work through!

Dark cormo, prepped by hand – literally just by hand-pulling the locks as my carders are in storage!

Today since getting back from holiday I have already spun and plied the merino/camel fibre, and I hope to do the same with reasonable speed for the other fibres I picked up. I’m thinking for all these natural coloured bits of fibre I’m picking up, I could spin them all to roughly DK weight and then use them for colour-work in some way – perhaps mittens or as accents against some dark Hebridean yarn on a colour-work yoke. I feel like my exploration of other fibres is a step towards having a biodegradable, more sustainable wardrobe, woop!

We’ll see what I can do. Anyway, the continuous stash dashing is progressing well despite this month’s slight swell in supplies. I actually finished a pair of socks and a hat this weekend, along with the significant progress on my Farmhouse Cardigan. Once I can complete the cardigan, I think I will have a good amount of momentum to continue with. Fingers crossed! I hope you all are well. If you have any thoughts on Bakewell Woolgathering, fibre from World of Wool, or anything like that, please let me know!

Rcently handspun yarn
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Mini stash dashing update

Hi all,

I have a bunch of stuff I want to do today (Sunday), so I thought I’d just write a mini update of projects.

  1. My parents came over for the weekend and my mum was kind enough to help me rip back my normal bind off on the collar of my cardigan (MANY stitches – laceweight!), and then we both worked on casting off with a stretchier finish. I then sorted the ends out and gave it a soak, it’s now drying in the sun, laid flat!
  2. My parents also brought my spinning wheel up with them so I did a bunch of spinning too – it’s so fast compared to spindling! Not that spindling isn’t lovely too. But I’ve almost finished spinning up the first bobbin of some Countess Ablaze fibre from my stash – colourway is F is for Fidelio. I do enjoy Countess Ablaze’s fibre blends and recommend checking them out.
  3. I also was reunited with my sewing machine! AND my fabric purchase which I thought had possibly been lost in the mail was rescued – it had turned up at our old house and C picked it up when he went back to Wales on a day trip. I’m hoping to use the fabric and the machine to attempt some project bags as a reintroduction to sewing. Then … I bought a Merchant and Mills pattern last night for the Factory Dress which I want to attempt.
  4. RE other projects, when my family was down, I got my sister to try on the 1 sock I had in progress for and then knitted the remainder up to the correct length. I’ve started the second sock but I think I’ve just been knitting too much over other projects and am not drawn to it right now. It could also be that I’m just bored of vanilla socks, without having any commute or travel time at the moment.
  5. I finished both sleeves of my Farmhouse Cardigan – using my hand dyed yarn, picture in previous blog post – and started on the body of the cardi while binge watching Glow. More to come!
  6. My mum seemed to enjoy hand winding yarn balls – I don’t have a swift and ball winder – so I was very happy to let her wind up a few balls for future projects!
  7. C has decided he’s going to crochet so he’s trying at the moment!

That’s all for my super quick update, I’m going to draw a bit more and maybe do a bit of my 3D commission, then I’ll be downstairs, possibly spinning or starting on project bags.

Pictures to come!

Elysia

Low Key Stash Dashing

Hi friends,

Stash dash is currently in full force – a summer stash defeating make-along by the knit girls. I haven’t necessarily been participating, but I have been aware of it happening, seeing podcasters share their makes for it (particularly on Stranded Podcast!).

I’m sort of doing a little low key stash dash of my own – without the meterage counting and so on; I’m just trying to work my way through old projects and deep stash yarns/fibres, to make way for my newer projects.

My main focus this weekend (ok, it’s only Friday, but I worked extra hours the past 2 weeks to have it off) has been to spin through some mini batts which I bought at a local makers’ fair. To be honest, I did not enjoy working with these batts. They were mystery fibre content, or at least it wasn’t noted in any way by the seller. It was not a nice feeling spinning them and there were lots of tangles, clumps, nepps and very short staple bits in there. Anyway. I’ve managed to spin them all up into singles and I can get back to spinning things that feel nice in my hands again! At some point I have to ply the growing pile of hand wound singles balls on the craft counter…

Apart from that, a friend from Norway (living in HK, moving to Nanking soon!) came down to visit and she asked if I would teach her to knit socks. She’d only knit a scarf really and a hat in primary school so I brought not only the sock-making bits but a hat I’d already cast on. This was to get her used to knitting in the round, knitting and purling and holding the needles, etc. It worked out very well. That could partially be down to her being a good and enthusiastic student. Anyway, we got her started on socks on DPNs. I would have been tempted to teach her to use magic loop (or 9″ circs if she preferred) but I didn’t have any circulars spare to give.

Side note: I used the hat to give myself more practice doing the picking knitting technique! As in – holding the yarn in the left hand. I’m getting there with it although am still not as fast as when I do my go-to flicking technique (see very pink knits flicking technique video on youtube for a good example).

I finished off the hat within a day or so and have just turned the heel of the sock I was working on when I demonstrated for her. The sock is knit in Hedgehog Fibres sock, which I believe is 90% merino 10% nylon. It’s deep stash, I bought it for £14/100g x2 from a lovely lady on instagram as she had a mini destash. I didn’t end up using it for anything really for ages. I did make my 2nd ever pair of socks from them a long time ago, but the needles I had were still too thick (budget needles from charity shop, didn’t know what size they were but they were bigger than 2.5mm) and so the fabric created didn’t make the ideal sock material. This time I am knitting a tight gauge on 2.25mm needles and they’re looking a lot better. People have said HHF sock is splitty and I have to agree, although now that I’m working at a more ideal gauge (imo) and with a bit more experience in knitting, I think despite this it does create a lovely fabric and the splitting isn’t really a problem at least for vanilla socks.

Lastly, can’t remember if I mentioned; I think I did; I started knitting up the 7 skeins of shetland that I hand dyed last year (I think it was last year?). I’m making the farmhouse cardigan pattern by Amy Christoffers, which has a bunch of new to me stuff (namely the pockets and how the sleeves are done). I have to say I’m a bit nervous about it, not sure how it’s all going to work out or if I’ll make countless mistakes and be unable to finish, but I’ll give it a go and go slowly. First up is sleeve knitting anyway, which is pretty gentle for me.

I thought I’d finish with a small update on my previous post – aiming for frugality/budgeting and increased productivity.

Frugality: this worked out I think – despite having some incoming expenses I managed to save money by only having packed lunches at work, and me and C barely had any takeaways or meals out this month. Most of my money goes on food to be honest. I did buy three skeins of yarn to treat myself but that’s all. It’s pay day today and I managed to reach today with a reasonable amount remaining from my previous wages, woohoo!

Productivity: This past work week I was struggling a bit to do anything useful after work, as I was doing over time and was leaving work later as my friend from work who gives me a lift early in the morning has gone on holiday to Turkey. The week before as well was a bit difficult as C had to work late on several nights so I was on food and washing up duty every night…

Today since I’m off I’ve managed to complete my chores and daily tasks. I need to get on with some art and a 3D modelling commission now though. I’m going to continue watching war and peace (bbc version 1970s) while attempting to paint – although it’s too hot so I’ll prob end up standing up and spinning since that way it’s cooler.

Thanks for reading my little update! I hope everyone is well.

Life Update

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since my last post – a lot has been going on – and actually I’m writing this into a word processor for the moment since we have no internet. I’ll post it once we get our net back.

I’m not really sure when my last post was anyway. But after months of me waiting and hoping, we have moved from rural Wales to Manchester. I love where we used to live, but there weren’t opportunities for me job-wise and I really wasn’t enjoying my job; we were understaffed but not really getting any replacement staff in, our duties were increasing to fill the gap, etc.

I transferred stores and now I’m working slightly less hours per week (24 per week) which I hope will allow me to look for a job.I can’t yet resume my search since I’m waiting on the internet! I even ventured out to the local library to do some job hunting on their computers; it was closed. I walked to the library half an hour away; also closed! So, I’ve returned home for the day. I’m going to draw after writing this little update.

I thought I’d give a crafting update as well since that is the focus of this blog (in addition to being a sort of personal diary)…

EYF 2018: I went to EYF with my mum, what an overwhelming and exciting adventure! I loved it and enjoyed it, despite not feeling at my best mentally (I think due to lack of decent sleep). I met a lot of kind people, a couple of podcasters, and briefly got a photo with Stephen West after my mum asked him to take a picture with me… I didn’t want to bother him too much since he was so busy and I actually had no knitwear on me anyway, let alone any design by him! But I appreciated it in the end and he was very kind.

Another highlight was meeting Louise of Spin City as she was a great and friendly person to chat to, and she let me try out her Kromski Fantasia and Minstrel – both lovely wheels. I got a hand dyed fibre braid off her (merino nylon – yes – despite me trying to avoid non natural fibres at the moment – sorry world) which has some really beautiful colours. I’d love to get more of her fibre for my spinning queue, but I think her braids (not batts – lots of batts on site) aren’t really available at the moment on her website. She’s probably busy with Wonderwool Wales coming up! I’m a bit sad I’ll miss that event since I’ve moved but to be honest, I have so much waiting in my stash to be spun and knit that it’s for the best!

I spent about £130 at EYF, which might not seem like that much judging by some of the haul photos I saw, but for me it’s the biggest shop I’ve done in so long. My purchases included some non-nylon sock weight yarn from Blacker Yarns (eager to try out no nylon socks, inspired by Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet podcast). I also bought MCN sock yarn from Qing Fibre, a long time favourite dyer of mine, and I can’t resist her colourways. They are my special treat! Along with that I got 2 skeins of yarn from Cosmic Strings, potentially to knit a Mount Pleasant – a sort of cropped, short sleeved, cute top – and yep, again, more nylon. I will allow myself this for now. It’s a process.

Lastly I bought 2 skeins of shetland yarn from Garthenor, who oddly actually operated very close to where I lived in Wales. They had been on my list for a while but before due to funds being sort of short, I wasn’t able to order from them. These 2 skeins will hopefully work as a Treccia hat (pattern by Michele Wang).

I really hope I can go to EYF again.

Knitting: I managed to finish my Featherweight Cardigan! After smashing through the sleeves while in semi-homeless limbo between 2 houses, I also completed the collar while trapped in motorway traffic on the way to visit my parents (driven by my dad – not driving and knitting!). The only problem is: my cast off edge, while neat, is not as stretchy as I need it to be. So the fabric is cinched and looks silly! This is my fault, I didn’t think that a stretchy cast off would be a good idea and I was so wrong! So I have to get round to ripping back the cast off edge and re-casting off hundreds of collar stitches again. It’ll be nice when it’s done!

Another mini issue which I’ve decided to ignore is that my tension was all horrible, so horrible, on the sleeves. I used DPNs because I haven’t yet learned magic loop. It’s really obviously laddered in some places, etc. I’m hoping it’ll improve in blocking. It had been hibernating on the needles for so long that I just decided I needed to complete it asap, no matter if there were tension issues.

I plan to learn magic loop, cabling without cable needles, toe up socks and more… over the next year or so.

Spinning: After EYF I used some money my parents had contributed for my birthday and bought a spinning wheel – the Kromski Fantasia – from Spin City, as I had enjoyed using it at EYF. I put it together last week with the help of my dad and started spinning on it. I’m still working out tension and created the most ugly over-spun yarn ever on it. I’ll keep trying though. It’s living at my parents’ house for now. While I’m here in Manchester I’ll slowly drop spindle my way through my stash here. I really don’t enjoy plying on my drop spindle so I really hope I can get to grips with tension on the wheel.

Well, that’s probably all I should update you all on for now, since this must be a pretty long post! Apart rom that, I’m working at the new store, shy and a little nervous, wanting to do my best… and hoping to look for full time Monday to Friday work as soon as I can get internet back.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone is well,

E

Fibre Sustainability

Thoughts about sustainability in general life and also craft have been on my mind for a long time. Listening to podcasts such as Woolful (now Making podcast), Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet and A Maker’s Pilgrimage have given me a lot of ideas, inspiration and information on the subject. I recommend checking them out if you’re interested too! Anyway, I’m considering ways to slowly make my life and making more sustainable for the environment.

As is my way (at least according to previous posts), I’ve arranged my little thoughts on how I can improve the sustainability of my fibre practice and consumption below. Some of these are a bit vague or more personal to me, but perhaps they might be interesting for others to consider. If you have any suggestions or opinions of your own, I would love to hear them.

Improving my fibre practice and consumption

  1. Buying less, using what I have, being less impulsive
  2. Buying local
  3. Making my own yarn from local fleece
  4. Avoiding nylon and plastics in fibre; for example testing out non superwash, nylon-free socks
  5. Making use of local/UK fleece
  6. Actually using the items that I have crafted
  7. Encouraging and informing others about crafting and the above points
  8. Sharing resources with other crafters
  9. Understanding where my shortcomings are and finding information to improve; for example if I buy lots of dyed cotton items, or buy products made from a less sustainable fibre
  10. Composting non plastic fibre waste
  11. Reusing fibre waste where possible; e.g. as ties for hand spun hanks of yarn

I have a few non fibre related long term goals and they are: growing my own food, sewing, and one day maybe having rescued battery farm chickens!

Buying Local

I thought I would also include in this blog post a little list of some lovely local-to-me yarn and fibre sellers. Perhaps other crafters living in Wales might like to try these shops out:

  1. Nunoco – spinning fibre from a seller in Bethesda. I have bought from Nunoco, they have a lovely range of fibres, it’s great quality and they shipped surprisingly very quickly.
  2. Hilltop Cloud – spinning fibre and hand dyed yarn, a lovely blog too. From very close to me! I hope I can buy from them soon.
  3. Barber Black Sheep – spinning fibre and hand dyed yarn again, lovely range.
  4. Garthenor – another very local organic yarn seller, I would love to try their yarn out sometime soon, once I have worked through my yarn pantry a bit more.

Well friends, that’s all for now. I’m going to go do a bit more spinning, listen to some podcasts and drink tea. On Sunday I’m heading to a friend’s place with my Japanese teacher and we are going to sort through some fleece she collected from her flock. I don’t think it’s full fleeces and I don’t know how easy they’ll be to work with, but we will see what could be made with it.

Thanks for reading!

E

Cloudy Jade Batt – singles

Photo of 5 twisted hanks of yarn going from a pale jade to black colour one by one, single (unplied)

I finished spinning my spin city Cloudy Jade batts (200g)! Here’s a photo to show you the colours and how I spun them, there are 3 more (8 twisted hanks in total) but some are currently drying, etc. These are singles, spun on the drop spindle. I’m still getting used to spinning singles so they might be over spun in some areas, and there are variations in thickness of course, but I think the amount of twist should still be ok for knitting and the yarn seems to hold together fine. I will aim to improve my consistency in future!

I have loved every spin city bit of fibre I’ve worked with so far. Apart from this I have spun up a luxury batt ‘Inkblot’, plied with laceweight black malabrigo. I also spun about 20g of Spring Green (think that was the name) that was provided with my Inkblot batt, possibly because it was dispatched a little later. I have one 100g batt in my stash, looking forward to spinning that up too in future. After I’ve knit up some stash and spun up some older fibre stash.

Originally I was planning to knit something for myself in them, some sort of small ish shawl, but I think I might just knit my mum the Linus shawl instead. I feel like my aesthetic is constantly changing, and my yarn spinning and purchasing (and knitting) can’t keep up. This could turn into something I might wear for sure, we’ll see how it goes though. I know my mum will probably enjoy anything hand knit.

Other brief writings about my aesthetic, I’m in love with both pastels and neutrals, and I’m often a sucker for bright neons as well. When I first started knitting I just bought everything I could (mainly malabrigo) in lots of colours, and I feel like I’ve kind of grown out of a lot of them? I think in future I’m going to aim for neutrals; greys, charcoal, black, browns… plus try to fit in some pastels and things like lavender and dusty pinks. I do love a good jade too as you can see. Neons I think will be a sort of accent colour for me in future. I don’t know. Working it out. I just really want to make a bunch of Michele Wang patterns!

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m going to snatch a bit of time crocheting on the granny stripe and then maybe cast on another Luuk hat for an incoming baby (friend’s, not mine). Then I have to go to work unfortunately… More writing about that later perhaps!

Thanks for reading,

E

What yarn diet?

Yarn diet update!

So I’ve managed to avoid Qing Fibre updates… I looked up the site when updates hit but reasoned my way out of buying more. I loved all the colourways of course but I know that I have no projects in mind for QF right now and I can’t afford multiple skeins anyway.

I have however cracked a little and bought some commercial yarn (some acrylic too!) for a Christmas present for my dad, and some baby hats. I would have used stash yarn for the baby hats, but a large chunk of my yarns are not superwash and the other chunk are fancy AF and I’m guessing tired new parents aren’t going to be too thrilled with specialised washing instructions for knitted gifts. So for now they will be given knitted acrylic items…

In future though I’d love to switch to solely non-superwash, non-plasticy yarn although I know that’s not necessarily practical for things like socks. I’m finding it hard to find non superwash blue faced leceister yarn, ideally high twist. If anyone knows of a supplier, please do let me know! Even if it’s undyed, I would happily dye it! One day when I can spin decently enough, with a behaving wheel, I could perhaps spin BFL myself for socks. That’s a far off goal though.

Apart from the yarn diet update, on my needles so far… I have my featherweight, which is lagging due to tension issues with lace and fiddly 4mm DPNs which I bought with far too much length.

Other projects include some new mercury socks in a non nylon blended yarn (although superwash), my penguono (which is huge and an amazing stash buster) and a tiny first sock on 9 inch circulars – this is a baby project which I just cast on for a simple mindless knit while travelling by car to South Wales.

Lastly, I also have my weareknitters Pyry sweater which is so close to completion, it just needs to be sewn together. I sewed the shoulders and arms but I still need to do underarm and sides. I have two days off in a row this week so I might set aside 30min or so to get that done. I’d love to get some of my projects out of the way and have a reasonably clean new year slate.

As for the hopeful thoughts about selling my yarn and other bits, I have a yarn spinning commission! I have to sort it for January which might be a push as I have a lot on but I’ll try. And I’ve ordered some fibre for the project. More on this when I get to it!

Goals for 2018 knitting/crafting… knit a Michele Wang pattern… spin more… finish up my projects… do less vanilla socks and more challenging knits. Dye yarn for projects where appropriate. That’s it for now but I haven’t given it tons of thought. This festive period has been a bit hectic for knitting and contemplation but I’m hoping my 6 days off for Christmas will give me time to re-centre myself.

Happy holidays all!

Autumn Updates

So here in Wales we have transitioned into Autumn! It has been a little while and I have been keeping up with all kinds of craft so I thought I’d share a little update!

  • I dyed seven skeins of Shetland wool, Aran weight, for a farmhouse cardigan – I’ll include photos soon (currently typing on parents’ iPad while visiting my hometown). The colourway is purple and grey and brown – called ‘mini roll’
  • I am finishing up my sock projects – I had socks on the needles since May as I was planning to learn the fish lips kiss heel. I was a bit intimidated by the pattern PDFs but the other week I finally knuckled down and conquered it. It’s actually very user friendly. The second sock heel has been done and I just need to knit the foot and toe. 
  • My featherweight cardigan is progressing but it is slow and the lace weight yarn is quite difficult to work with when it comes to keeping tension consistent. Actually, my tension isn’t. I am considering frogging it.  But maybe I’ll just push to finish it and hope that blocking fixes most of the issues. 
  • I’ve kept spinning up,made a few sales, spun a bunch of skeins. I think I should makes separate post for it. I’m enjoying it but trying to make sure I do most of my spinning on Sundays. 
  • I’ve been listening to a new crafting podcast; Stranded Podcast!
  • I learned about cable knitting this weekend, maybe my ultimate goal of knitting a Michele Wang sweater might not be that far off after all. But first I’ll finish all my current projects and have my own little stash busting push this year. What a good idea actually, I could use the rest of the year to tie up loose ends (ooh, kinda pun) and use up stash ready for 2018. 

A Dyer’s Shopping List

Hi all,

It’s been a while!

A little update on my crafting activities: I’ve done a bunch of knitting, featherweight cardigan is still on the needles though! I’m working on a pair of self striping knitpicks felici socks, vanilla pattern. I’m also now working on a little table cover for a slightly splintery end table, no pattern, just deciding what to do as I go! What else… I have to knit a hat for my sister, no pattern, just winging it. I’m almost at the decreases.

Handspun yarn, green and natural, tied into a hankHandspun yarn, single ply, colourful with purples, whites, greys... still on the bobbin, attached to the spinning wheel

Spinning wise, I’ve done a bunch of spindle and wheel spinning. My skills are improving slowly and my spinning is getting more even. I need to work on balancing my yarn better when I am plying.

And, new thing! Well, I’ve been toying with the plan of dyeing yarn basically since I discovered hand dyed yarns maybe even a year ago or so (I only started knitting in August 2016!)… the reason for this is I would love to dye my own colours as and when required, and I want to be able to dye the colours I require without searching for the perfect match.

Also, some of my favourite dyers are based in USA which is not practical for me to order from due to customs fees (and my low wage job! In future, I will one day order from these lovely people, but not right now). A bunch of my favourite UK dyers are either now working on wholesale orders all the time or are sold out in a snap! I’m often at work during their updates too.

So, I ordered some bits for my experiments. I’m gonna list below what I’ve ordered and what I still need to get, for future reference! I’m currently watching Lara from Gynx Yarns’ video on dyeing as she has a great equipment list.

Bought/Have

  1. 7 x 100g aran Shetland wool yarn (enough for the worsted boxy pattern)
  2. A bunch of acid dyes
  3. Pipette
  4. Plastic measuring container
  5. Latex gloves x 1
  6. Simple dust mask (to upgrade if I do more)
  7. Apron
  8. Citric acid
  9. Tongs

Need

  1. Salt
  2. Stainless steel pot
  3. Find a notebook (I have one, I just need to christen one the dye book)
  4. A few tea towels (I can dampen them when mixing dye powders and if the powder falls out of containers it will be attracted to the dampness/it’ll go on there rather than float about and get in things like lungs)

Extra

  1. Respirator
  2. Urea
  3. Containers for dye stock (plastic or if I use old jars I need to sterilise them)
  4. More sturdy gloves
  5. Safety information for dyes and other things I’m using (MSDS) – I don’t have a printer at the moment – this is something I should do though!
  6. PH testing paper
  7. Little measuring spoons

Extra task: I should really join my local guild!

I’ve decided that I would like to document and write as much as I can about my dyeing and spinning (and crafts, etc) journey. I still would love to somehow make this a source of income although I acknowledge that I am a big (and not super dedicated) noob compared to all these very knowledgeable, committed and experienced people online! I hope to learn from them. I’ve just decided to ‘see how it goes’ and see if I can give it a shot regardless! I’ve changed my yarnie instagram to virago.yarns now…  welp!

 

Drafting Achieved!

Hi all,

Since my last post I have finally become accustomed to wheel spinning enough to be able to treadle and draft at the same time! My spinning speed and skill has just had a level up! Still a lot to learn but it is definitely motivating and encouraging for me.

I have been plying yarn as well, and loving the effect of it. I have a bunch of handspun yarn that I need to soak before skeining up, I will post a picture when I do. I still need to acquire a niddy noddy so that I can soak it.

I have a question for handspinners: when soaking and setting the twist, are you soaking the yarn while it’s still on a niddy noddy? Or do you soak the skein without having it tied up and with tension? Also, if you soak with a niddy noddy, do you have to use a plastic one? As I’m guessing that soaking a wooden one might make it warp over time.

In other spinning news, I ordered 2 x 100g of blended fibre from Countess Ablaze; one I spun and plied within one day, one left to use. Photos soon! Or if you’re impatient and actually want to see the photos they are on my instagram. I am still waiting on my Spin City batt and Elizabeth Zimmerman book. I might email Spin City in a bit to check up on it but I know that they are made to order and they are probably busy due to Tour de Fleece!

Anyway, that’s my update, just a quick bit of typing before I head to a few hours of overtime at the supermarket (that’s where I work now; can’t remember if I said). Thanks for reading!