Monthly Archives: February 2016

Hashtag fail

I have an admission to make. I bought wool. And angora fibre. I’m a failed vegan. 

Oh man, feel free to publicly berate me. Although, if I’m completely honest I don’t feel guilty about it, I just don’t want any ‘real’ vegans to find out. That I do feel a teensy bit guilty about.

When I first went vegan I decided that there was to be no more animal fibre. 

Then I decided that I would hold onto my stash and work my way through that but just not buy any more wool etc.

Then, after a fairly unsatisfying adventure into the world of faux cashmere (great spin, ok to knit with, rubbish to actually wear; it’s so shapeless) and a fingernail biting stint at cotton spinning I started researching animal sanctuaries. 

I found one the the U.S. where they rescue farm animals who live out their natural lives comfortably and happily and to fund this, they sell the fibre from the sheep and the angora bunnies. Now this seems like the ideal solution; I get to indulge my love of animal fibre while the animals are exploited  looked after and well cared for. 

Hmm, I’m ok-ish with this but I do know that many other vegans really wouldn’t be. Why does that bother me so much? Who knows and it is for my private consideration really.

Anyway onto the good stuff; my fibre-filled package (is there ever a better three words than those?) arrived earlier this week containing 100g of Margaret’s fleece; she’s a Romney sheep with the most beautiful soft and crimpy locks that had already been washed, as well as the same weight of angora bunny fibre (unfortunately no name).

I started on Margaret’s wool straight away. It only needed a couple of passes with my wool combs and a little spritz of spinning oil to make dreamy fibre clouds

  
These were spun worsted on the Matchless and I tried to spin a little thicker than my usual laceweight as I have a hat in mind for the finished yarn. It was heaven to spin; it’s the first time I’ve spun Romney and the staple length is a good few inches so really easy and quick (especially compared to the cotton!). The whole lot was combed, spun and plied in just a couple of evenings into a delicious hank of soft and springy yarn.

  

Someone really needs to invent ‘touch cam’.

And so my journey continues, as does yours, let’s make it a joyful one today.

In case you’re interested the sanctuary can be found Here and for my spinning oil I mix 4 parts water with 1 part olive oil and a few drops of lavender oil.

Do you qiviut?

  
 One of my problems is that I end up with lots of handspun that’s not really suitable for any immediate knitting/weaving/crochet project or I have a knitting/weaving/crochet project but no yarn. 

I’ve never really got my head around spinning for something. I get distracted by pretty fibre that only comes in 100g and you can only make so many shawls really. Well one would probably be good but the patterns all look a bit scary like you need to concentrate and stuff. Plus, and this is the killer, I don’t actually wear shawls. So what to do? 

Well this clearly an issue I’ve contemplated previously as I delved into my ever expanding fibre stash and came out some time later with 1oz of qiviut. Yes, that’s right, a whole 28g but the American kind. I know why it’s such a small amount. Qiviut is the down of the muskox (I don’t really know what that is, I imagine one of those huge brown things you see in herds rambling across vast plains on the telly) and is one of the most luxurious (read expensive) fibres in the world and it’s reputedly eight times warmer than cashmere.

So you can only buy it in small amounts or risk bankruptcy. But what to do with it? Thankfully, there are few patterns knocking about for teeny weeny amounts of qiviut given that no one can ever afford that much of it. But I’m getting ahead of myself because there’s no way I would have been organised enough to find a pattern first then spin according to what was needed. Of course not! 

After a little research and a couple of failed spinning attempts later, I picked it up after spinning some cotton. Now qiviut, like cotton, has a very short staple, hence why I’d found it a little, ahem, challenging. But not nearly as pull your hair out and scream before throwing your wheel though the nearest window difficult challenging as cotton. So after spinning cotton it felt like a breeze (are you following me so far? This is becoming slightly, shall we say, involved).

I spun it long draw with lots of twist in the singles then plyed them as normal and carefully measured how much there was. 

  
I found a pattern via Ravelry (thank the Lord for their clever searchy thing with yardage and stuff) from Caryll Designs for a cute scarf in a fairly easy feather and fan type pattern called ‘Wavy Feathers Scarf’.

  
And here it is, I’m not 100% sure I spun the qiviut properly as it’s not as soft as I expects. It’s starting to bloom a little; like angora, it fluffs up once knitted and worn so I’m hoping it will soften up too. You’re supposed to spin it with a lot of twist but that does make for a harder yarn so we’ll see. 

   
 
So what with last week’s wrist warmers and this scarf, I’m managing to find a use for some handspun, now I’m off to finish spinning some laceweight which will be perfect for a shawl. No, wait….