Monthly Archives: December 2016

Peaceful endings and exciting beginnings

I really thought I’d blogged about this, but clearly only in my mind, as I can’t find it anywhere. Sigh.

Ok, so one of my ‘goals’ (this is a very loose term, more a mild proclivity towards) for 2016 was to spin 100m of 2ply from 100g of fibre. In November, I realised that if I was going to do this then I really should get on with it.

So I found this beautiful top from Fiber Artemis, a blend of merino and silk and got spinning

Photo courtesy of Fiber Artemis


It was a joy to work with, as you can imagine, and I tried to maintain the gradient so spun each braid (I had two) as they came, from one end to the other, then plied and ended up with this


1146m and 108g; the gradient would probably look a whole lot better if I caked it but I prefer to keep my yarn in skeins until I use them.

Another thing I did for 2016 was keep a spinning record; just a basic one of how long each final plied skein is and what it weighs.

My total for the year is
20,800m!!


That’s plied yarn. It included silk, flax, cotton, quviut, angora, cashmere, alpaca, soy and plain old wool. I tried several new techniques (part of my Tour de Fleece challenge) like corespun, wrapped and beehives as well as wheel spinning, learning how to use support spindles and the occasional plying on a Turkish.


What an amazing year it’s been! I’m so fortunate to be able to work with such beautiful fibre and equipment.

My ideas for 2017 include continuing with the Beekeeper’s Quilt (it’s going well), as well as some more spinning goals. I’m going to stay with the recording and try and up it a little. I’ve ordered a notebook where I plan to keep more information including a sample of the finished yarn; I’d like to improve my techniques too so I’m looking into attempting a Certificate of Excellence via the American Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers.

It will need a huge improvement in my skills, but it looks like it’ll be fun to try for. We’ll see..

I’m also planning to try some mosaic knitting; if you’re not familiar with it, it’s a colourwork technique that uses slipped stitches to create a beautifully complex effect with not much complexity involved. The pattern I’m considering is this and I have some yarn that’ll work perfectly.

Which brings me to my final and scariest goal. To abstain from buying yarn or fibre online. I have a huge stash and want to see how I can work through it. If I go to something like the Edinburgh Yarn Fest (highly likely!), then it’s ok to spend spend spend there. But otherwise not. This is truly terrifying so I’m taking it one day at a time tee hee. I’m not someone who berates themselves for not stitching to goals or plans so everything is always subject to change.

Have a very happy New Year and thank you taking precious time to read my ramblings.

One year of hexipuffs 

I have made a decision. And a commitment. It’s that serious. 

Well in actual fact it’s really not but I just didn’t know how else to start this post. I discovered the wonderful Beekeeper’s Quilt a while ago; it’s a knitted blanket made from lots of tiny stuffed hexagons called hexipuffs and offers a great opportunity to use up all those odds and ends of sock yarn. 

I even got as a far as purchasing the pattern. However, this was during my sock hiatus, and after reading through the pattern, which involves DPNs and knitting in the round with tiny things, I decided I had neither the time nor patience for it.

About a month ago, I rediscovered the joy of sock knitting (I was inspired by a couple of friends and the gorgeous opportunities offered by speckled yarn) and have been acquiring a small pile of left over yarn.

(Quick update as I really should have blogged about these earlier but here are my recent socks:

)

In the way that several little incidences collide and create a new incidence, I also had a bad day. I’m very fortunate as I don’t have these very often and I also have a great DH who is great at listening but on this particular one I felt very pointless due to be unable to work or do anything much other than sit or lie about. Then I came across this blog post, 1 Year of Stitches, that made me realise that I can manage little things each day that add up into something that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. I loved the idea of the embroidery especially as my Nan was an amazing embroiderer, but sewing really isn’t my thing which is when I remembered the Beekeeper’s Quilt.

It presents the ideal way for me to make one little hexipuff (although I’m determined to call them hufflepuffs) each day with the aim of having 365 of the critters by next Christmas.

They’re charming little things, so cute and it’s wonderful to revisit old yarns that I’d forgotten. I found a stash of yarn, leftover from socks, that I’d kept with no idea whether or not it would ever be used that’s just perfect.


I have been posting each day’s creation on Instagram, more as a way of keeping a record for myself, but if you’d like to give me a few ❤’s along the way that would be lovely.

Fleece to halfway, maybe

Mr Weaving Heart isn’t that keen on hand knits for him (have sympathy, he grew up in the age of the kind of jumper made famous by Giles Brandrith, scarred for life) apart from the odd hat or pair of socks, so when he finally agreed to a sweater I grabbed the opportunity firmly with both hands.

We decided upon a simple raglan jumper, Bradbury by Julie Hoover. Around the same time a merino x Gotland/Shetland fleece from Fernhill Farm had arrived here so it made perfect sense to spin this into jumper yarn.

It’s a lovely fleece, long staple in beautiful crimpy locks that had already had the skirting done – so nice.


I washed it in my usual manner – in the bath with very hot water (topped up with the kettle if needed, it needs to be too hot for your hands) with a squirt of washing up liquid, then soaked for 15 minutes (don’t let the water cool too much, you don’t want the lanolin to resolidify back onto the wool) and rinsed once, with some vinegar if I happen to have some sloshing around.

I’ve used the spin function on my washing machine before, but this was a rather fine fleece so I didn’t dare, instead it was wrapped in towels, trodden on, then laid out by a radiator. The cat particularly enjoys this part and usually ‘helps’ by sleeping on said fleece.


As the locks were still fairly intact, I tried a little combing but actually just flick carding the ends of each lock gave an equally spinnable result and is much quicker so I decided on that way.

I’ve developed a routine of carding a little each evening, then spinning. I plan to spin the entire lot, then it will be dyed navy with a small amount kept undyed for the contrast stripes and shoulders in the pattern. 

I’ve finished about half so far, this is the yarn unwashed. As it’s all mainly for dyeing, there’s little point setting the twist at this point, so this is still quite lanoliny (I think I’ve just invented a word).


I’m aiming for a 4ply weight and, makes sure you’re sitting down at this point, I did sample a little first by knitting up a gauge square. I know, unheard of here but after my recent yarn disasters and the amount of work that is going into this I figured it would pay off. As it was, I got gauge straight away – reaffirming the reason why I don’t usually bother!


So there we are, enough to keep me out of trouble for a wee while perhaps. Now if only I could stop ordering sock yarn…