Sunday, 12 May 2013

Ouch! Bitten by the spinning bug.

As weeks go, it's been hectic but uneventful. On Tuesday Woolmakers announced who had been selected to receive their last 4 wheels, Ben and I weren't successful. The chances of us getting a wheel where slim to none, I knew that, but you can't help being a little disappointed.

While searching Ravelry for groups local to me (something I do every few months or so) I found a yarn shop that was new to me. It's up in Carlisle which is about 30 miles away. Their website isn't up and running yet, and as soon as it is I'll link it in the blog. It's called Truly Twisted Yarns and I can feel a visit coming on. I'm thinking I'll wait a couple of weeks because the owner Sue ordered one of the Bliss wheels from Woolmakers. I fancy having a go and then I can decide how much I need one of my own. They're reasonably priced at €230 for a single treadle and €260 for the double treadle. We'll see.

In an effort to achieve my first weight loss goal, I have swam my little heart out. I've done 368 lengths. That's 9.2km. I'm rather pleased with my efforts. I just need to keep it up next week! It did push me to my 5% loss goal though. Next week my eyes are on 1 stone.

Thinking about crafty things -


Ptchar! Right! That's a no then! Not even close

WIP's -

Only my half stone socks have really seen any love. I'm working down to foot at the moment. I'm not far from starting the gusset increases.  I don't think I've even managed to complete a
round on the Wiseteria jumper. Let's just say that my mind has been elsewhere this week!

Spinning -

Well, this is where my mind has been. I felt the need to spin ALL the things!

Last week I started the blue merino/silk blend from Wingham Wool  Works. This week I finished the second single and I've started plying it this morning (Sunday)

I hope to get it finished tonight after swimming and dinner are out of the way.

Whilst I was waiting for the singles of the blue merino to settle I decided to spindle spin. And why not? It's been ages since I picked up a spindle.  I spun up a sample from Brazen Stitchery. It's Polwarth in their Tree of Life colourway. It was from the October Phat Fiber Sample box. Please don't use the coupon code on the label as it expired last year and I'd hate for you to be disappointed.
I spun it as thin as I dare on my home made spindle and then Navajo plied it on my wheel. I am really happy with the resulting 35yds of a light fingering weight yarn.

I also stash-dived this week and found a braid of Massam from Hilltopcloud. Katie's shop has gorgeous fibre and assorted delights. I have to say though, I have mainly hated spinning this Massam. I thought I would to be honest as my previous experience of this breed's fibre wasn't great! I bought the braid last year when the KnitGirllls were spinning it as part of their Expand Your Horizons spinning challenge. It's a natural braid of top, I can't fault Katie's fibre prep, but I don't think there's much you can do to make this a pleasant spin. To put it nicely this fibre is wirey, it shed VM and broken fibre pieces and had lots of thick, stubborn guard hairs. Bleugh! Nasty stuff.


I was desperate to spin it as each time I go into my fibre bag it glares at me. So now it's done. I have 100g of a sport to aran weight single and after I've given it a while to chill, I'm going to Navajo ply it into a chunky weight. It's such an itchy single, it's going to have to be made into something that's not in direct contact with the skin I think.

I finished spinning this last night and thought, yes, I have knitting to do; but I soooo don't want to pick up the needles! So back into the fibre bag of goodness I went. I closed my eyes and dug deep and came up with another  braid of Polwarth in a colourway called Corn Field. This time from Longdrawjames.

The shop is closed at the moment as the proprietor, a young man by the name of James, is away at uni. The braid is a lovely combination of saturated yellow, blues and greens with the odd fleck of the natural white.  I've spun a few of his braids before and they're a dream to spin. He hand paints his fibre and there are no set colour repeats. I used to spin a braid by splitting it in half by measuring 50g and then breaking pulling the fibre apart, next I'd pre-draft the fibre to within an inch of its life before spinning each single and plying as normal. All this pre-drafting leads to short colour changes and a muddying of the original colours, especially once it's knit up.

I've increased in confidence since then and now I'm happy to draft straight from the braid, so I've decided to give fractal spinning a go. I split the braid in half lengthwise; the first half I then split into 4 further braid-lets.

I'll spin the first single from the half of the braid giving long colour changes. The second single will be from the 4 braid-lets and will give shorter colour changes. When I ply them together the theory is that I'll still get great barber poling, but hopefully with less muddying of the colours.

I completed all of this prep-work and then realised that I only had one bobbin free! Disaster. I have 5 bobbins - 2 on the blue merino/silk blend, one on the Massam, one free and the fifth one is in use by Ben and I didn't have the heart to take his efforts off the bobbin so that I could ply the blue singles. So I set that to one side and started spindle spinning again.  This time it's from The Woolclip, hand dyed combed BLF top from Jan and Cecilia. The colours are devine black and darkest purple - right up my street.  Again, I'm spinning as thin as I can and I'll ultimately Navajo ply it on the wheel.

So onto next week's goals -

To knit more!

Oh, and lose my first stone, and spin the rest of the things I didn't get done this week!

Next weekend is a busy one as there is a Diddy League swimming gala on again, so my spinning time is going to be short, but on the plus side, I have 2 hours on a coach to fill with knitting!

Have a great week,
Until next time x