A Bit of Excitement

There was a little flurry of excitement chez moi on Saturday morning…in fact, it was so exciting that I let my toast go cold and forgot about my brew!

A few days prior to this momentous event, I had ordered myself some new weaving bits and bobs, and was waiting for them to be delivered some time in the near future. Well, some of it arrived on Saturday morning.

I was like a kid in a sweetshop!

Anyway, the first item out of a very long box was a 5 dpi reed for my loom…this was fairly exciting as I have been meaning to get one for quite some time. I like a bit of texture in my weaving, and a heddle of this width would allow me to weave with thicker yarns, whilst leaving larger gaps between thinner yarns……but, the main event was (insert drum-roll here) A MULTI DENT HEDDLE!! It was a little bit on the expensive side, as I could have got three heddles for the price of this one….but, seeing as I was one of the people sending emails to the makers pleading for them to make one, it was only fair that I fork out for one once they had produced it.

I am aware that the casual, non-weaving reader will wonder what the hell I am on about, but this piece of weaving loveliness will transform my life (kind of)! Basically it is a reed for my loom that comes with lots of little bits of heddle, that I can chop and change to my hearts desire. So, if I fancy weaving something quite fine and then decide it needs to have a really thick bit of yarn running though it I can insert a piece into the heddle that will allow me to do just that…… and, yeah, I know it makes me sound really geeky, but I am already in love with it!

This morning I used it for the very first time….behold the magnificence in all its unwarped glory:

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Can you see what I mean about it having different sized bits? I went a bit nuts and decided to have some thick sections, some thin sections and some pretty flippin’ huge sections!

I have an idea in my head of something I want to weave (and knit….more of that in a later post), so I fumbled around in the box of green yarn…and then had an extra fumble in the box of brown yarn (yes, my yarn stash is colour coded into various boxes….), and then I had a bit of fun warping the loom.

Here it is..all ready for action:

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Ooooh, there is going to be some nice texture in the weave!

Now all I have to do is weave it….but I am going to save that treat for tomorrow. I don’t want to spontaneously combust with excitement!

If you want to have a look at the new heddle, check them out here: Heddle, they are available quite widely, so I imagine that your favourite supplier will have them in stock 🙂

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Making Yarn

Now, I am no expert spinner, and I don’t claim that my yarn is perfect – but I really enjoy the process of spinning and creating yarn out of what is, basically, fluff !  I was lucky enough to be taught to spin by a lady who lives nearby, and who has been spinning for decades….she found me via a plea that I put out on Ravelry for someone who would be kind enough to teach me to spin, and invited me round to her house.

Her lounge was full of spinning wheels (well, there were at least 4 in there), and she had set one up in the dining room for me to have a go on. She was very patient, and taught me the basics over a period of about 2 hours. Then, she completely blew my socks off by offering to lend me the wheel that I had been practising on, for as long as it took me to find my own wheel. I practically bit her hand off in my eagerness to take her up on the offer.

So, another fibre obsession was born.

I began to read all I could about spinning, and when I came into contact with other spinners I asked them for all the advice they could think of….and basically it boiled down to a few points:

“Don’t be afraid to try because you are afraid of ‘wasting’ fibre – sheep will always grow more”.

“There are no spinning police! If the way you want to spin works for you, then that is the way that you spin – there is no right or wrong way to spin”.

“Once you get good at spinning you won’t be able to spin thick yarn”.

Now, I never actually believed that last one…until I got a bit better at spinning, but its true! Now that I actually want to spin art yarns, I have to remind myself to keep the yarn on the chunky side!

Here is some yarn that I spun last week….

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A few weeks later, I did manage to find a wheel of my own (a Haldane ‘Lewis’)….but I also ended up buying the wheel that I was lent by my spinning guru too….so now I have two wheels….perhaps I’ll end up with wheels placed all over the house too?

Let’s Get Started….

I think it is pretty fair to say that I like to have a bit of colour in my life…and this definitely applies when it comes to yarn. Basically, the more colours it has in it, the more I like it! So, when it comes to spinning my own yarn I do like to include a fair few colours in it.

I recently had a tidy up of my ‘fluff stash’, and came across some rolags I had made a while back out of some leftover bits and bobs…so I thought I would spin them up into a lovely soft single yarn (a yarn which is loosely spun and unplied). The only problem was they were maybe a little bit too mad on the colour choices – which in my book is not a bad thing – but, its not everyone’s cup of tea, which meant I had to look for a pattern that would allow the yarn to sing its little heart out…and I just couldn’t find it!

Eventually, I just decided to knit a scarf, on the bias, with quite thick 12 mm needles, and every so often I would add a bit of interest by inserting ‘teeth’…I think it worked out pretty well:

I deliberately spun the yarn to include various lumps and bumps, and also changed the thickness in places so that some parts could be quite dense and some areas quite ‘lacey’ when it was knitted. I think the final result is quite eye-catching, and just shows what you can do with one skein of hand spun art yarn.

However, if you do know of any patterns that would look great in a hand spun art yarn, let me know!