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!

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Temporary Acquisition: Spinning Wheel

It’s been a little while since my last post, welp!

So, one of my peers in Japanese class happens to be a retired lady who has a farm, who also makes amazing food and cakes, is a textile artist… and has a spinning wheel! She hasn’t used it in years so she said I could borrow it. I went to her house and she showed me its set up. I now have it in my home! She said I could have it for a while, and get accustomed to wheel spinning until I eventually buy my own. She also kindly gave us some unwashed long-staple fleece (can’t remember the breed of sheep). That now brings me to 2 bags of some fleece plus a whole Torwen fleece. Eep. Better get to work!

We took it home, set it up… and had problems with it. First with getting to grips with the tension on a double drive band and then I struggled to get the newly spun yarn to wind onto the bobbin. It turns out that the metal bit of the orifice kept twisting around and so the yarn got stuck on that. I didn’t want to permanently alter the wheel in any way since it’s not mine, so C tied up some yarn around it in a way to keep it in position.

It seems to work now, but I am not yet used to both treadling and drafting and feeding the yarn into the orifice. A lot more practice is needed! I have thought about again adjusting the tension so the take-up of the yarn is slower, but I’m wary of causing more issues on this old wheel.

I’m mainly at this point with spindling as well since I tend to park and draft only. Hopefully I’ll practice enough that the process becomes natural and easier.

I have been toying with the idea of being able to spin and sell yarn (along with wanting to be an indie dyer). While this is a long way off, since I’m very new to the act of spinning itself plus not super knowledgeable about all fibres ever… it is a nice dream to non-chalantly (a word?) and slowly pursue. I’m going to continue to think ‘can I get away with making a spinning and dyeing business?’ and work towards improving my skills…

Other Acquisitions

  1. I bought Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitters’ Almanac, second hand, online, am waiting for its arrival!
  2. Last night I got paid from a commission, so was able to purchase an art batt from spin city. I’m so excited for its arrival… it may take a while to arrive as it’s made to order!

And, end of episode progress report:

  1. Seed Stitch Socks – at a deadlock, on the cuff, an inch to go before fish lips kiss heel. I’m intimidated by the FLKH PDF!
  2. Donegal Tweed Socks – on the heel of the first sock
  3. Featherweight Cardigan – cardigan body is complete, next up I must do the sleeves. There was a delay as I needed to order 4mm DPNs for the sleeves!
  4. Snowmelt Shawl – I started the shawl, I got excited! I’m halfway through.

The Ultimate Destash

So, I have a confession that most (if not all) knitters might make… Right now, I probably have way more yarn than I need. Since starting knitting in August 2016, I’ve accumulated a load of bits and pieces. When I first started knitting, I got excited about malabrigo yarn, so I have a bunch of worsted and other weight malabrigo… Then, I got really into indie dyed yarn, so I have a good amount of mostly fingering weight sock yarn. I’m still in my indie dyer craze and I have a big hit list for small businesses I’d love to support. BUT since January 2017 I have had a much smaller budget; basically, I really cannot allow myself to buy much yarn at all; maybe once a month or once every two months (if it’s indie dyed prices rather than the bigger companies).

I also have a massive project queue on ravelry, plus a handful of WIPs (works in progress) that need finishing off. Thus, here we are, with an ultimate destash blog post! Herein I will outline my plans for efficiently using the yarn I already have and annihilating my unfinished projects…

On The Needles

  • Honey Badger Socks – I’m partway through the second sock!
  • Seed Stitch Socks – I’m on the leg of the first sock.
  • Weareknitters Pyry Sweater – on the front piece; back piece is done.

Ready To Go

  • Hermione’s Everyday Socks – I have Olann sock yarn in Bloodmoon and… I forgot the colourway! I’ll check and get back to this.
  • [Undecided Pattern] Socks – In some grey Coop Socks Yeah! Yarn – I’m thinking of a non vanilla sock since it’s a solid colour yarn.
  • Featherweight Cardigan – I have 2 skeins of Countess Ablaze OOAK ‘Cult’ yarn waiting to be balled up and knitted into this cardigan.
  • Hat – for my sister, using Malabrigo Worsted which she bought and is sending me.

Stashbusting Projects

  • Snowmelt Shawl – I have 2/3 skeins ready for this, when I have finished my main projects I will buy the 3rd. Would love to start this though.
  • Beekeeper’s Quilt – A good plan for using up my languishing (yet beautiful) sock yarn.
  • Granny Stripe Blanket (crochet) – I can’t crochet… but I would love to do this? I would probably have to choose between this and the Beekeeper’s Quilt though.
  • Baby Socks – Babies on the way from relatives; I could use my left over sock yarn for them. The only worry is that even though these are superwash merino I’m scared they’ll be destroyed by the first wash as I can imagine the new parents may be tired and I’m sure ‘washing instructions’ may not be top in the priorities list…?
  • Swatch Placemats/Coasters – I would like to practice some more lace knitting and other bits and pieces… And to use up all my worsted weight yarn perhaps I could then use these swatches for coasters and placemats? Hmmm…
  • Frankensocks – I am quite interested in making some striped socks from all my sock yarn; although will have to see whether the colours mesh well together!

Even if I do this, I know there’ll be a handful of unused bits; tell me, what’s a good way of destashing assorted bulky & super bulky yarns? I do have a mini weaving loom although maybe would prefer to use the yarns for something else. I could felt them, I suppose. I also have a ton of yarn ends from sock knitting; what do people do with those? Maybe some pom poms are in order?

 

Continuing Spinning

Grey handspun, breed unknownBlue merino handspun yarn

Here’s a progress update on the spinning…

First of all, I wanted to get my brown & pink initial handspun projects off the spindle, and I didn’t have a niddy noddy, so I wrapped them around a tupperware lid, soaked them, and now they’re drying while weighted down. There’s too much twist in them, though! I need to research how to avoid this next time.

I was eager to try spinning the yarn I cleaned and carded myself (first image), so I got started; here’s the problem… the fibre is a lot rougher than anything I’ve used before- it’s not top, I’m guessing? The fibre comes from random bits from the fleece that a friend kept, so maybe that’s why. Perhaps we need to card the wool even more… Is this what you call a rustic yarn? A REALLY rustic yarn.

My second photo is some more fibre from Witch Fibre Co. This time, instead of pulling bits of fibre separate from the main bulk, I’m trying to continuously draft from the fibre so I don’t have to keep joining stuff and stopping to prepare. It’s working better. I still can’t draft and have the spindle spinning at the same time but it’s an improvement, I think!

Knit Wise

I thought I’d give a mini update on the projects I’m working on in knitting; pictures will come eventually too.

  1. Honey Badger Socks – free pattern – I’m on the first sock, leg and heel flap done, going to turn the heel soon.
  2. Vanilla Socks with seed stitch panel – I’m using the fish lips kiss heel pattern I bought on ravelry. Am also referencing the Hermione’s Everyday Socks pattern in case I need a bit of extra help in terms of stitch numbers etc. I haven’t reached the heel yet so we’ll see how it goes.
  3. Pure Joy Shawl – paid pattern – by Joji Locatelli – this is the second Pure Joy I’ve knitted; this time for my mémère (grandmother). It’s almost fnished; I don’t have the yardage on my 2nd colour to do as much of the final panel as in the actual pattern but it will still be nice!
  4. Pyry Sweater – paid pattern/kit – by We Are Knitters – I bought this ages ago and still haven’t finished it. It’s a lovely colour and the wool’s nice, the pattern’s easy, but I think I got bored of not working on circulars, and of doing rows and rows of pure stockinette. Hoping to get this done soon. It’ll be nice when it’s done! I love the taupe colour.

Projects are linked to my actual ravelry projects so you can see pictures, progress and the patterns used. Feel free to add me, I’ll add back!

Adventures in Spinning

My parents kindly bought me a drop spindle kit for Christmas and eventually I finally got round to working with it a few months ago.

Handspun - brown Icelandic yarn
Handspun – brown Icelandic yarn

I was also lucky enough to win a giveaway from Witch Fibre Co (instagram | etsy) for a drop spindle and some fibre. I had been wanting to spin it for ages but didn’t put the time aside. When I did get round to spinning it, I really enjoyed working with the fibre, which was super-soft, in lovely colours and easy to work with.

Note: There’s actually an instagram giveaway going on now with Witch Fibre Co, if you want a spindle and some fibre!

Handspun - merino yarn
Handspun – merino yarn

The next step with this fibre, if I want to use it, is to get hold of a niddy noddy… or to make one. I found a great tutorial here, it seems pretty low-cost too, just hoping to source the supplies soon.

On the fleecy side of things, living in mid-Wales has some benefits; a friend from Japanese class kindly gave me a bag of fleecy bits from her flock (not sure on the breed – need to check). It wasn’t one whole fleece, it was a bunch of bits and pieces picked out. I emptied out the bag and started picking the sticks and poop from the fleece and gave it a wash.

Sheep fleece
Sheep fleece

This month I managed to get some carders to comb the washed fleece into rolags, ready for spinning. I watched a video on carding and it turned out to be pretty easy! My rolags aren’t exactly neat, which I can probably put down to my inexperience and also to the fact the fleece is quite matted and in small bits.

Hand-carded rolags from Welsh fleece
Hand-carded rolags from Welsh fleece

It’s been a great learning experience though! I don’t actually have any spare drop spindles, so I’ll be aiming to spin a bit more of the pink & brown fibres, then hopefully I’ll get a chance to put them on a niddy noddy. After that I can start working on the Welsh fleece!

I have vague goals of spinning it all, dyeing some of it, maybe even selling my handspun and/or hand dyed yarns in the future, if it’s a good enough quality… but I’m not going to worry about that for now, I’m just going to use craft as my relaxation and as a break in between painting (my main goal).

Self Introduction

I thought I’d write a quick little intro post for this blog; I’m not even sure if this blog will catch on with me or if it’ll gather dust, but I have been thinking about creating a craft-centred blog for a while!

My name is Elysia and my main pursuit in life is art; specifically, I hope to make artwork for video games. I did work as a generalist artist from summer 2015 – early 2017, but unfortunately the company I worked for couldn’t pay wages on time, so I needed to work somewhere more stable. I also wasn’t learning as much as I wanted to, so that was another factor in my leaving. Anyway, now I work part time in a cafe and I work part time on trying to improve my artwork and develop my portfolio.

In the gaps between, I knit and craft. I don’t know why I started knitting in August 2016, I had learned when I was a teenager but didn’t get very far as I didn’t realise I had to bring the yarn in front when switching from knit to purl! Finally, when I did start learning again, a friend enlightened me, and I’ve been addicted ever since.

Recently I became more interested in learning the process from sheep fleece to finished object (and I want to try and be more self sufficient and be better for the environment), so I started spinning, and also acquired some fleece from a friend. I’m going to try and document my adventures and experiments in craft on here!

In addition to yarny things, I would love to take up sewing as well. I also have made soap in the past and hope to get back into it – so hopefully these craft will feature here too.

Anyway, I hope this will be interesting to some people! Please add me on ravelry if you like, too!