Category Archives: Spinning

Blue Faced Leicester

OK, now I get it.  I have heard folks on-line gush about BFL (that’s Blue Faced Leicester if you have not come up against the term before) and I wondered about it.  Until now that is, I scored some that was hand dyed by the ever lovely Mandie of Ewe Give Me The Knits! fame.  I wanted so much to test it out after an inspiring evening with the Night Owls group over at the Queensland Spinners Weavers and Fibre Artists one Wednesday night, that I just sat down to the wheel and spun it all.  I did it thick and quick, without my usual concern for keeping the thickness even.  I had two 100 gram baggies, each a different colourway.  I just filled a bobbin with each and plied them together, however they came.  This is what I got…

Yummy!!!  This stuff wanted to be yarn.  It was easy to spin as the staple length is reasonably long (but no not overly) and it has a lot more crimp than I am used to.  I have been spinning a lot of merino and blends lately and they are quite slick and fairly smooth compared to this.  Oh it is so soft and squishy.  It is not as soft as merino, but it is clearly soft enough, as I am not finding it irritates my uber sensitive skin.  Yeah!!!  The squish factor is something I have not experienced before in my spinning much.  Mostly I have only obtained it with coarser breeds, so I am very excited to get so much squish here in combination with so much softness.  Drool…

Now, if only I could work out what it wanted to be.  I am knitting a giant swatch with it at the mo’.  Perhaps after I see how it behaves as a knitted fabric I’ll have a better idea of what my first BFL spinning effort is destined to become?

Next on the spinning front.  I am spinning another EGMTK! hand dyed find.  This time it is a merino and tencel blend in candy shades of lime, pink and yellow.  Kind of like those musk sticks, know what I mean?  Anyways, I am taking it slow this time and using my lightest drop spindle.  It will be a 3 ply sock yarn in the end, if all goes to plan.  The idea of making my own sock yarn has been a fave since I learned to spin, but so far I have been putting it off, despite stashing for it all along 🙂  I don’t have a pic of that yet, not spun anyhow.  Here is the fibre…

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I finally did it!

I got a tetanus shot, whoo!  Yeah, the same one I have been putting off since mid September last year.  I am a huge wuss, it goes without saying.  I knew I’d be fine, but I am unreasonably fearful of needles.  Unfortunately knowing just how unreasonable it is, hasn’t made it go away yet.  Not good considering that it is my goal to donate blood someday, it would seem that it will take me a long time to work my way up to that.  Oh dear.

 So anyway.  This now means I am allowed to process raw fleece, about time too.  I have some stinky corriedale, English Leicester and alpaca.  I have carders (thanks again Dad for getting those, you rock) too.  Now I can make me some rolags of spin-able fibre, yippee!  Actually, maybe I’ll begin with one of my bags of bright mystery wool from the fibre stash (Yes, I already have one of those.  Yes, I know that is sad.) 

Yeah, maybe this one?  Well, as you can see the investment was not a large one and it is certainly colourful enough.

I have a finished object to show you all.  For once *ahem*  Last Friday, the boyfriend casually mentioned we had a 1st birthday party to attend on Sunday.  Aw crap, seems he still doesn’t realise that events like this require knitting.  Though I don’t think he had a whole lot more notice himself, so it isn’t a huge deal.  So what can I whip up in just over a days knitting time?  Well, technically most little kiddie items can be whipped up in a day and a half if you don’t have anythingelse to do and you are not attached to working in fine gauges.  But see I decided to go with something small, considering that I am not to be trusted when it comes to crafting within a set time-frame.   So here it is…

The pic doesn’t really show it, but I made this thing a tad big.  It is my hope that it will be a perfect fit by winter.  I was able to get it over my noggin without trouble, so it should be right.  Poor little fella was not impressed at having to wear this thing in the lunch-time heat.  I don’t blame him and was quite happy for him whip it off in a second.  His grandma kept putting it back on though, I couldn’t tell you why really.  Like I said, poor little fella.

Here is one that shows off the yarn.  I am quite proud of the dye-job, which I did as soon as I got home Friday night after work.

Everything I had in stash was too girlie.  Some would have been OK had he been a newborn still.  But this little man is into running about and I didn’t see him crawl once.  So he isn’t a baby anymore, he needed a more blokey hat.  I nearly went with a camo look, but I am so glad I went with blue over khaki.  It suits him.

The green and blue are both Easter egg dyes, though the green has been brightened up with a little fluro food colour.  A recent acquisition from the US that.  The black is food colouring.  What’s new here is that I didn’t use Wilton’s for once.  No,  I used Queen, an old Aussie staple.  I am quite surprised that it worked wonderfully.  I loved the way the black behaved and I was able to get it to do exactly what I wanted without fuss.  I will be buying more of this for my stash for sure.  It is hard to get in the black mind you, I have only ever seen it once (Coles, Myer Centre in Brisbane just for reference).  I started buying Wilton’s because I like to used a fair bit of marzipan when I do flash cake decoration.  Queen is no good for it, being liquid.  The powder colours I have found around here suck, so I ended up with Wilton’s gel.  I have been using it ever since, so never considered liquid for yarn dyeing either.  Well, after this weeks success, I will be testing out more colours.  Stay tuned.

Now, just what on earth do I do with the other 2 and a half balls?  Heh 🙂

I have been making progress on the monumental nursing shawl I am knitting for Lady Llanalla.  I have reached the halfway point, yarn-wise.  However, I have not reached the halfway point, length-wise.  This means I need more yarn, of course.  A significant hurdle indeed.  Not only did I choose tho use a yarn that is not available in Australia, it was ordered about 7 months ago.  I have Buckley’s chance of getting more of the same dye lot.  Pooh!  So I have been searching Ravelry for Knit Picks shine sport in peoples trade/sell pages.  I figure that with 2 balls of cream and another two of an entirely different colour will do the trick.  Oh yeah!  I was waaaaay off the mark.  I have found a number of prospects and have been sending out messages, I just hope I get a bite.  I found a fair few stashes of other tempting things while I was searching.  Like alpaca/silk blended Andean Silk and Shimmer, which is a pretty lace weight.  Heh, just another reason to love Ravelry.

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Filed under Dyeing, Finished Objects, General Happenings, Knitting, Spinning, Works In Progress

New tools, WIPs and yarn. PIC HEAVY

Meet Hank everyone.

…and just in case you weren’t sure just which Henry I named it for…

I am certain you will agree that Hank sounds more yarny than Henry 🙂  The bust was one of my Christmas presents, by the way.

I promised to show off my new drop spindles too, so here they are.

Paua shell above, and jade below.

Both are from ButterflyGirl’s Etsy store.  Should I be concerned that her drop spindles are habit forming?  Her stuff now accounts for more than half of my drop spindle collection, and that that includes the broken ones.  Haw!

Alas I have been too busy since the arrival of these toys and I have not had a chance to play with them.  But I know what I’ll be spinning when I make time though.  Merino tencel blend fibre hand dyed by Ewe Give Me The Knits.  Yummy!  It is as shiny as it looks too.  Can’t wait.  I think I’ll spin it fine and Navajo ply it, but we’ll see.

Anyways.  Obviously it is still Christmas at Miss Vicki’s place, goodies just keep arriving.   One arrival that was a great relief to me was that of my new Knit Picks Options set.

OK, so I didn’t really NEED more needles. bUt you know how it is, and besides, that is why I lay-by’d the set instead of shelling out over a hundred bucks for them right away.  Yes, you heard that right, they cost me a lot 😦  You can see why I was concerned when I finally went to pick them up last month, and was told they were lost.  Arghhh!  Like I needed another reason to complain about my local yarn store!  But eventually they were found and posted to me.  I am much happier now that I have been able to test them out, very nice indeed.  My first project using them is a shawl for Lady Llanalla, in fact I had put off casting on for it so I could take advantage of the extra long cord in the set.  I need to get cracking on that now too.  This shawl is to be a nursing cover up, and as the Lady’s baby has now been born I am sorely behind.  CONGRATS LARRY!!!

That is tools taken care of.  What else did I promise you pictures of?  Oh yeah yarn.  Well, I ought to start with the merino and silk yarn I mentioned just a few posts ago.  It is only fair seeing as I have already flashed the un-spun fibres at you.  Remember?  I was going to spin a 2 ply yarn for my Nana’s 75th Birthday, one of merino and the other silk.  Well, here is what it looks like.

One more pic to prove this was a Hank spun effort, below.  That is the merino strand you are looking at.

I think Nana really liked it.  She is yet to swatch and decide for certain, but she is planing on knitting a Snakes and Ladders Shawl out of it.  I have so far spun 3 of the 4 skeins, I just hope that the thickness has not changed any.  I am scared that it will because I have already given her the first two skeins. 

More yarn.  This is what I received from my secret Santa.  Thanks Djdhaysjr, you rock!

It is soft and yummy.  My feet are gonna love it 🙂

You wanna see my current FOs?  We’ll OK, but I can’t show the nursing shawl yet.  Not that it is a surprise or anything.  Just that it didn’t photograph well against a cream background.  Yeah, it is cream, so of course that didn’t work.  LOL.  What I can show you is another One Skein Wonder.  This was taken when I was halfway done.

I only have ribbing left to do now.  But I am saving that for when I get sick of the plain cream knitting of the nursing shawl.  I can’t help it, I just need colour.  If I go without for too long, I get a bit nuts.  So I have wisely (I hope) left this baby unfinished for when that time comes.  You see, because the OSW is almost finished, I need not fear my getting carried away with it.

Just a few posts back I was showing off a partially knitted sock.  Ermm, ah well, I still have not finished it. 

 

The second sock is at least 3/4 done, but I have not touched it for over a month.  Sadly it will have to wait until after I have completed the shawl.  But then I will be released from my sock slump and be free to begin a more exciting pair.  Most likely these will be in Lorna’s Laces (for obvious reasons) or Noro Sock.  Of which I may or may not have ordered a ball when no one was looking.  *cough*

Next time I’ll have for ya, the shawl WIP pictures as promised.  Some more FOs to show too, four bags I finished back in November.  Three fulled ones that I made for stash-busting purposes and one knit that was a pattern testing effort.  Before I go I wanna leave you all with the picture I have been promising to show for much longer than all the rest.  Finally!  An action shot of my awesome apron from the embroidery ring.  It is not a great pic by any stretch.  It is however, the best I have managed to take so far.

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Filed under General Happenings, Knitting, Spinning, Works In Progress

No pics yet :-(

Well, I am back from my Christmas break.  I hope you all had a great holiday, with at least a little rest in there somewhere.  Mine was quite restive, I caught up on a lot of reading, watching, crafting and more reading.  I did manage to get my new spinning wheel to work.  He has been dubbed Hank.  It could still use a good service though, to iron out the wobbles.  But I got it working well enough to work up a few skeins of a silk and merino yarn for my Nana’s 75th Birthday.  Just as well, as I hate to think how long it would have taken me on a drop spindle.  I am 550 metres down, with about another 150-ish to go.  Sadly, I don’t seem to be able to get my USB to do it’s thing this morning.  So pictures of my new wheel and Nana’s yarn will have to wait a bit 😦

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Filed under General Happenings, Spinning

Whoooo hoooo!!

I haven’t seen it yet, so no pics and I really don’t have time left today for blogging…..

but I just got word, Dad has bought me a spinning wheel and dropped it on my front porch for me.  Gah!  It is gonna take sooooooo long to get home today 🙂

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Filed under General Happenings, Spinning

Where to start?

Gah!  I am so behind I have no idea where to start.  ummm… here’s a picture

Yeah, I know, that was lame.  I suppose I should tell you all what on earth happened, ‘cos I didn’t fall off the face of the earth.  Yeah, it has been a long time since I last posted, much longer than the hiatus that usually occurs when things get too busy for me at work.  In fact things have gotten awful busy and calmed down again at work twice since 😦  The short explaination is that I learnt to spin (see pic above) and got bitten by the Ravelry bug.  Not a good excuse by any measure, but that is what happened.  I have never been good with my time anyway, but I do normally manage to make things run close to on time, normally.  I have been a bad girl these last two months.  Dragging my heels all over the place.   Here is another pretty pic

I still haven’t printed off the invitations for my Nana’s 75th Birthday party, should have done that two weeks ago.  I am yet to finish of the bear on the embroidery for Cmc_aust.  The apron swap?  Yeah I stuffed that completely, I was so late sending out the last part of that that, well I still feel bad.  I’ll be a while working that off my conscience, seriously, I have never sent so late.  Sorry guys!  I put off picking up my Knit Picks Options Set from the LYS, now I’ll be late starting Lady Llanalla’s nursing shawl.  I have not sent out Christmas cards yet, nor have I put up my tree and I have so much to do around the house it really isn’t funny.  Oh dear, now it is beginning to sound like I’m just complaining, that is not the idea.  Here look, some soy silk mmmmm…

Right.  So here is what I am to do, aside from just getting my arse into gear.  Post for you all some FOs, I have some that were for Lady Llanalla’s baby shower that haven’t made it up here yet.  They have been received now, so that is fine.  I also need to post up all the awesome stuff I have received, a package from LL, a secret santa package possibly from a fella in Ohio (not sure yet, my SS has not made themselves known to me since I received my gift) and my apron from the embroidery tour.  Yes, that is the tour I messed up.  It is rather unfair, but I just happened to get my item back first.  Some are still out there, which is sucky, did I mention the guilt yet?  OK, back to the plan.  I need to share all about learning to spin, which has been nothing short of exciting, and about starting out on Ravelry (then becoming completely obsessed with it).  I have made a lot of great new friends on Rav and it is such an increadible resource, very enabling indeed.

Heh, guess what I have bought?  Yeah, a winder!  Anyone for cake?  Mmmm cake.

I have some dyeing to show off too, including some experiments.  Which reminds me, I am behind on the jelly experiments I am supposed to be doing.  Chalk that up on the to-do list.  That is another tale for me to share along with a little fulling and pattern testing too now that I think about it.  I will be sharing ll that too. 

Time to go.  Ya know, stuff to do 🙂  I’ll leave off with just one more picture.  This is the fibre I intend to spin for my Nana’s Birthday.  On the left is silk caps in blue and turquoise, the right is merino in grey, mauve and blue.  I am planning a 2 ply yarn, one of each fibre.  I haven’t decided if I want laceweight or fingering yet.  Perhaps I ought to go with fingering to save some time.  It would take me too long to spin lace on a drop spindle and I don’t yet have a wheel.  I was going to borrow a wheel over the holidays, but it is just to busy this time of year to make these things happen sometimes.  Fair enough 🙂 

Don’t worry, she doesn’t read this blog so I haven’t ruined the surprise.

TTFN

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Pumpkin Bom

Introducing my first ever handspun yarn, Pumpkin Bom.  She is a little uneven, but she is fabulous, as far as I am concerned. 

I plied it, well, because that seemed like it would be much easier than the spinning so I figured ‘why not?’.  I think I was right.  It did my very overspun singles a world of good.  I ended up with what appears to be a balanced yarn, albeit one with varying thickness.  Interestingly enough, the thicker bits are at either end, so maybe I can knit it up to make that less noticeable.  Now there is only 20 meters of this stuff, almost exactly.  Any suggestions as to what I ought to make with 20m worth of 2 ply lucid orange merino handspun?  It is kind of a heavy aran to bulky weight once you average it out some (that is at least 12 ply to you Nana).  I think I would prefer to knit this into something seasonless, a tiny purse perhaps? 

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Filed under Finished Objects, Spinning