I have started to spin up all the goodies that I bought at Wonderwool last weekend..and having great fun in the process 🙂
I have been experimenting a bit with the yarns, and the first one I am going to share is a ‘Frankenskein’! It is spun from random merino tops, picked at random from a bag and then spun into a couple of singles before being plied….and I am really pleased with it:
The second yarn was spun after a play on my new drum carder (aka Fenella Fellorick). I took a selection of fibres in various shades of blue, along with white, grey, black and yellow and carded them into batts ready for spinning. The spinning was left as a single…mainly cos I love knitting with singles:
In all I spun up 5 skeins this week, some of which are 2-ply chunkier yarns and a couple of them are singles, but the weather being so rubbish – cos I have a week off work – has meant it has been a problem setting them and also photographing them. This weekend is supposed to be a bit better weatherwise, and if it is I will be sharing more of my yarns with you 🙂
I am keen to start experimenting with dyeing yarn, and with this in mind I acquired a Solar Dyeing Kit when I was at Wonderwool at the weekend.
The thought behind this form of dyeing is to allow the sun’s heat to do all the work of dyeing the cloth/fibre….over a period of months. Think of it as slow-dyeing!
So, earlier this morning I had a play with my kit. Thankfully, after reading the instructions I realised that the jar the dyestuffs go in doesn’t have to go outside, and that a warm, sunny, windowsill would do. I put some rusty nails and some Persian Berries at the bottom of the jar, followed by the fibre – which is some undyed White Eider fleece – then made up a muslin bag of Logwood chips to go on top of the fleece. A mordant of alum and cream of tartar was then blended and added to the jar which was then topped up with warm water…and placed on a warm, sunny windowsill (in my studio).
I was quite impressed that ‘something’ appeared to happen straight away. The bottom of the jar went a vibrant shade of orange and the top of the jar turned a slightly less vibrant orange…which was interesting, as the colours I chose were to produce a green and purple fibre. However, I have just had a quick look at it and after an hour or so, the sunny side of the jar is turning purple and yellow, with the intense orange still at the bottom – its fascinating! I am looking forward to seeing how the colours develop over the coming few months.
In the meantime, I am going to give my studio window a damn good clean…its filthy!
For today is Yarnmas, aka Wonderwool Wales, and its one of the highlights of my yarny year. It’s held not far from where I live…and, luckily, today the weather wasn’t too bad, which makes a nice change.
I went with my Dad, who does a sterling job as my porter – although, he is quite fascinated by all the yarn and people, so he doesn’t mind too much…well, that’s what he says.
There was a bit of a mishap when we arrived, as those of us with pre-paid tickets were left queuing to get in for a long time, whilst people buying them on the door were going through much quicker. Around us tempers were starting to fray BIG time, until finally someone came along and sorted the problem out…and then we were in!
I dropped off my donations to the Welsh Air Ambulance stand…and then I was like a kid in a sweetie shop. I made my way around the hall looking out for the odd bargain, and was soon shopping in earnest. I have plans to start a venture selling my hand-spun yarn, so I was mainly looking to buy fibres and bits and bobs for spinning instead of actual yarn, and I was spoiled for choice. Lots of independent producers and dyers were there and the choice was amazing…here is the spinny stuff that I bought:
I think it’ll keep me busy for a while!
I also got spoiled by my Dad…I have been hankering after a drum carder for quite some time, and jokingly told Dad that I wanted one for my birthday….well, he only went a bought me one! I am beside with my excitement about this little beauty:
Not only that, but I want to give dyeing my own yarn a go, so he also bought me a solar dyeing kit (which SHOULD work in the Arctic region known as Mid-Wales), as well as a package of natural dye materials:
How lucky am I? Not only that, but he is not making me wait for my birthday in a few weeks, so I can use them straight away…which is fab, as I have a week off work now so I can have a play with my new toys and fluff…I have a feeling that I will be happily covered in a fine halo of fluff all week 😉
I had a brilliant time, and will definitely be going again next year…and Dad, if you are reading this, then thanks! You are the best Dad in the world 🙂
This week is proving to be quite a busy one at Fat Lady Towers!
Remember I was trying to reduce the stash to help raise funds for the Welsh Air Ambulance? Well, that took a whole day! However, the result of the stashdown is two bags of yarn, as well as a few books and magazines that will be donated to a good cause…and a much more organised stash of the yarn that is staying with me.
Whilst I was sorting the stash I thought I may as well continue to have a flippin’ good clean of my workspace….and that has taken three days. Still, I am now sat here typing this in a serene and tidy room as opposed to the complete mess it was earlier in the week…all of which has not left much time for getting anything made.
I did have a skein of my hand-spun that was crying out to be made into a scarf though, and I finally managed to get it off the needles and blocked earlier today…
The yarn was spun from a combination of lots and lots of remnants of merino, lambswool and recycled sari silks that I wanted to use up. I just tossed them into one of my beloved plastic buckets and spun up whatever came to hand. Once the yarn was spun it was knit up into an asymmetric triangle on large needles, with the odd ‘point’ added to give it a bit more interest. I am really pleased with the results 🙂
Well, its not long to go until Wonderwool (three sleeps….not that I’m excited or anything), and I am planning on treating myself to some more lovely fluff to spin up…I will definitely be sharing my new stash with you soon – watch this space!
Around this time of year I start getting a bit fidgety…the way that kids do when they know its nearly Christmas and there are only a few sleeps to go. My reason for getting fidgety is that Wonderwool is almost here! YAY!!
However, the excitement is tempered by a bit of panic. Where am I going to put all the goodies that I want to buy? My little workroom can only hold so many boxes of yarn and still allow me to be able to move in it…so, I have made a decision. I am going to have a clear out of the stash, and donate my unwanted balls to the Welsh Air Ambulance stand at Wonderwool. Living where I do, the Air Ambulance is a vital lifeline as the nearest hospital is a minimum of an hours drive away, so raising money for it is a really good cause as you never know if one day you may need to use it.
Hopefully, it’ll mean that my work room will no longer resemble this:
Another reason for the stashdown is because whilst sorting out some random balls earlier today, I was hit by the realisation that my stash contains stuff that I am probably never going to knit or weave with..and now that I am also spinning my own yarn, the yarn is just going to sit there taking up room that more productive yarn could be using….basically, like most knitters I have stash that was started when I first got back into knitting….you know, the cheap balls made from clown barf to the really chunky stuff that would make anyone wearing it look like a Michelin man…to the stuff that you get given and can’t think up an excuse to turn down and the stuff that you receive in Ravelry swaps (from other people who may or may not have been having their own stashdown).
Now, don’t get me wrong..I will still have stash, but it will be of a more controlled nature….right up until I hit Wonderwool 😉
Oh, and if you are heading along too, then please visit the Air Ambulance stand in the interactive area and drop some pennies their way – thanks!
Good grief! Where did last week go? I spent a chunk of the week in a different city for work…which meant I didn’t get much time to do anything yarn based 😦
However, crochet is fairly portable, so I managed to squeeze in a few flowers and leaves in order to make a necklace.
I love making floral necklaces….back in the day, I used to do a fair bit of patchwork and quilting, so sitting down with a needle and thread is something of a treat. I find sewing quite relaxing as its quite meditative and it focuses your attention…if it doesn’t grab your attention then it hurts your finger with constant stabbing…
…and a sore finger means its painful to do any knitting, weaving or spinning 😉
I weave in the freeform ‘Saori’ style, which allows weavers to express themselves. Each piece of fabric made is completely unique and a work of art…well, back in the depths of last year, I was weaving away at a length of fabric in shades of grey, black and brown with hints of blue and yellow thrown in to liven it up a bit…but when I finished it, I was unsure what to do with it.
Well, that particular problem was solved this week when I sat down, cut it up and sewed it into a top:
I am pleased with how it turned out…even more so when my good friend, Naomi, said that it reminded her of a ‘huipile’. At first I had to look up what she was on about, and when I read that they are a traditional South American garment comprising a square cut blouse that is hand woven and heavily decorated with embroidery, I was thrilled with the comparison.
However, the comparison has left me with a dilemma! The fact that the original ones are woven and then embroidered has got me thinking that maybe I should weave another piece of fabric, turn it into a top and then embroider it……I am quite excited about the prospect of doing that 🙂