Monthly Archives: May 2015

Extreme Yarn Emergency

I encountered a truly stressful and anxiety provoking situation yesterday.

We have travelled down South (or dahn Sarf as they say here) and I thought I had come well prepared. I packed my spinning wheel (the Ladybug) with some fibre, my latest Sophie’s Universe Throw project plus, just in case, a half completed shawl knit using some handspun. Plenty to keep me going for a week away; I usually over-estimate the amount of yarn time I’ll get but better too much than too little. However, it was mostly a completely epic fail. 

Someone who shall remain nameless broke the lazy kate on my wheel so I managed to finished spinning my singles within a couple of hours only to discover I wasn’t able to ply it and am now empty bobbin-less.

I also managed to use up all of two colours for my crocheting so am unable to carry on until we get home when the yarn to complete Sophie will be waiting…progress thus far:

 
It will be for our bed, but someone who continues to remain nameless thought the total yarn needed was too expensive so I had to ration my orders (are you beginning to see a theme yet?). 

Then while we were stuck in a three hour traffic jam (yes really. THREE hours), I managed to finish the hand spun shawl.

So, I ran out of yarn. If you are a non knitter/crocheter/crafty type, it is a bit like one of the cast of Made in Chelsea running out of fake tan, or the Strictly Come Dancing dress department running out of sparkles. An absolute disaster darling.

So at the first chance available I quick footed it into Nottingham to do a tour of yarn shops, enabled by the nameless person. I went to Knit Nottingham where I found some hand dyed sock blanks dyed by a local dyer 

  


These are rectangles of pre knitted yarn that’s dyed, unravelled then you can reknit them into socks or a shawl and you end up with really lovely effects.

Next was the Yarn Loft which was just heaven. Piles and piles of beautiful yarn from places like Fyberspates, Juniper Moon and Arucania. Absolute bliss. I came away with a pattern and yarn from Manos del Uruguay to knit another shawl.

 
As well as some Fyberspates Scrumptious lace and sock yarn, just to stroke as needed.

So I feel much much better and Mr Weaving Heart has truly redeemed himself. Phew. 

Dyeing inside

I’ve been wanting to experiment with a  hand dyed warp for a while and finally managed to put together the magic mix of a free loom, the right ingredients like yarn, dye, fixative (I don’t think you call it a mordant when using procion dyes) and inclination.

Much as I hate the light nights in the Far North during summertime (I use that word loosely), they do come in handy when you decide at 9pm that now’s the time and the dyeing fun begins.

I have been winding a natural organic cotton warp specifically for this over the last week or so, just when I needed to stretch my legs in between weaving and had it soaking in some cold water, ready for action.

  
Mr Weaving Heart helped out and prepared the dyeing surface, also known as the dining table, by taping a couple of bin liners over it then a layer of cellophane on top of this.

I rung out the warp which I had in four chains and we laid them on the dyeing surface. Next I mixed up the dye solutions; now I’m not an accurate kind of person (except randomly when it come to making bread) and after a quick glance at the destructions I guesstimated the amounts of dye, soda ash (pure baking side or something like that) and salt (remember tie dye??) and mixed them with water. I’ve bought four colours; I decided on this rather than make up my own as I do for wool dyeing, procion dyes are much cheaper than wool dyes so it made sense.

Next was the fun part; look:

   
  
The first person to point out that I forgot to unchain my warp will get a smug clever clogs prize. Um yes, let’s just say that was deliberate mistake number one, ahem.

It was wrapped up in more cling film and bin bags (super enviro friendly) then left over night. I rinsed it the following day which took a whole reservoir of water (super super enviro friendly but we do have alot of water here in Bonnie Scotland)

  
And then left to dry. Which took forever. And then some.

However,all good things yadda yadda and I finally got it on the loom and started weaving today.

 
Rather pretty don’t ‘cha think?? It reminds me of the Northern Lights but partly as there are soooo many baby wraps named after that already and mainly as I made a promise to someone, it will be called ‘Ivy, Briar and Willow’ after three special little girls.

Reunited

A wee update: the Sophie blanket was auctioned for a considerable sum which has gone to the Miscarriage Association and she has gone to live in Memphis! So a HUGE thank you to everyone who bid including Dedri Uys, the actual Sophie designer- starstruck, me?!?

So while I await yarn to arrive for another one (our bed needs a Sophie), as I don’t already have plenty, I’ve started a knitting project. Yes, you read right, I’m actually knitting. It’s been a while; my needles and knitting WIPs have been glaring reproachfully at me, like a scorned partner while crochet and me have been floating on a pink cloud of infatuation.

However knitting has welcomed me back with open arms, although I did need to revise a few seduction techniques (aka how to cast on!).

After a failed attempt at a free and badly written pattern for a baby knit (I won’t out the author), I settled on my default knitting setting of an easy shawl using some handspun.

 
I’d forgotten how lovely handspun is to knit with, the subtleties of the hues and slubs are making it a joy to play with. 

 
I’m trying not to get bored, and not frustrated with just how long knitting takes to grow; I understand that all relationships need a little effort but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll let you know how it goes though my fingers are already yearning for a little hooky. 

Finished!!

My very first CAL (Crochet ALong) is finished: here is my ‘Sophie’s Universe’ from a pattern written by Dedri Uys from http://www.lookatwhatimade.net/crafts/yarn/crochet/sophies-universe-cal-2015/sophies-universe-part-1-cal-2015/

It’s an extremely well written pattern so despite being pretty complicated, Dedri makes it all very easy. 

Before I finish by show you the final photos, I’m auctioning it off at www.Facebook.com/weavingheart to raise money for the Miscarriage Association, it would be great if you could place a bid. Thank you.

 
  

   

Oh wow!

popular2I didn’t actually get around to telling you about the weaving competition did I? Some of you may be aware of the bi-annual contest run by the Loom to Wrap Facebook group; I entered last time in September 2014 with the ‘Mother and Child’ wrap, a marathon in doubleweave.

This time I wanted to keep it simple and use colour rather than pattern to express to inspiration. Based on the Seven Wonders of the World (any interpretation of this was allowed) I chose the Taj Mahal for my weaving. I found a photoshopped photo in bright vibrant colours that I associate with India and off I went. Here is my entry, I came 8th out of 60 odd entries so was very pleased.

It is a mercerised cotton warp with a hand dyed silk weft and some clasped weft action going on for the middle marker. The weave is a straight twill from Strickler’s 8-shaft book and very easy but perfect for stripey type things.

The unfortunate mother and baby in the photo collage who have had their heads cut off (it has to be completely anonymous) are Fiona and Ayla who were the perfect models and without whom, the entry wouldn’t have been possible. The wrap has gone to live with them now and is being used to wrap Ayla very happily. The photography was by Jayne Wright Photography.

Jayne Wright Photography - Images for marketing purposes only.Newborn, Baby, Family, Maternity and Boudoir.

Jayne Wright Photography – Images for marketing purposes only.Newborn, Baby, Family, Maternity and Boudoir.

‘Oh wow!’ – Those were the words that escaped me unbidden the first time I used my spinning wheel with her new accessory. If you take a look at the photo below, you can see my wonderful treadle covers in espresso sheepskin from https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HareandThereStudio. I kind of knew they would be lovely but they are lovelier than I could have ever imagined.

IMG_5618   IMG_5616

Made to order by Suzie at Hare and There in Santa Fe, they are my treat for surviving the weaving competition and just bliss for my little (!!) feet. I experience some pain in my soles so having them cushioned by little clouds of fleece has made treading so much more comfortable. She makes them for a wide range of spinning wheels, I think when I enter the next one I’ll order them for the ladybug wheel too…

Normal service has resumed 

 There are an abnormal number of posts this week, today is just a crochet update. Above, Stanley the cat, whose house we stay in, is inspecting the Sophie CAL. She’s getting rather large and unwieldy; we’re close to the finish line I believe, well about five weeks away, having been on the go since the beginning of this year. I’ll be very sad to see the back of her as she’s been great fun.

Next we have the other CAL (crochet along) for you. This is the lilypond one by Jane Crowfoot and Stylecraft. It’s very pretty but a real PITA to actually make so I’m taking my time.  


It’s going to be a lap blanket make from a combination of rectangles and squares. 

Then there is the crocheting I do in between CALs, just a straightforward blanket in the ‘Coast’ colours from Attic24.

  The photo is a few days old now so it’s slightly larger now.

Finally, a flower, just because everyone needs a flower.

   

More cake

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 21.17.46

Not really! Anything mentioning cake will grab my attention, let’s see if that tactic works on you.

This is just an update to yesterday’s post so if you haven’t read that I suggest you take a look before reading today’s.

I’m looking into setting up some crowd funding (thanks Ruth) but in the meantime I remembered I am also a consultant for Neal’s Yard Organics and that this would be a good way of raising some funds towards a loom.

If you haven’t come across Neal’s Yard Remedies let me tell you a little about them. They make natural skincare products that are cruelty free and good for you (did you know 60% of everything you put onto your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream?). They are also a UK based company and support fairly traded goods when they can’t source ingredients locally.

I love them, they work, smell gorgeous and make me feel good.

If you’d like to take a look at what they have to offer my website is uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/rachelraynor

Happy shopping x