Shunklies Bag

March 2nd, 2020

Shunklies Fibre Studio made up some boxes of 9 mixed sparkly rolags and I couldn’t resist buying them. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but they were just too pretty to resist! :o)

Since each one was so different I decided I wanted to spin a little mini skein from each one. During this process I mentioned to Chris that I’d like an Andean plying tool. I usually use my hand but it’s awkward when doing other things. The available designs on thingiverse weren’t great and so we ended up designing a new one which somehow turned into a ghost :o) This is one of the prototypes being used :o)

Spinning up the rolags was really fun. There was even more sparkle hiding inside than I realised from the outside and they are all so beautiful :o)

I spun them all up, gave them a wash and then admired them for a while.  The numbers are how many wraps I have of each to give me some vague idea of yarn length I had to play with.

After sitting on my side being stroked and enjoyed for a few weeks inspiration suddenly struck… a bag! My new iPad is too big for all my usual bags so I needed a new one and this yarn would surely look awesome woven :o)

Time to make some squares!

The Moon on a Stick mini skein holder proved to be a big time saver again as I had no need to wind tiny balls :o)  Weaving up squares on the pin loom is so quick and satisfying it didn’t take long at all to complete 2 in each colour.  The leftovers clearly wouldn’t make a third square in each colour.  I considered making some mixed colour squares but then realised my bag would need a strap!  Out came the Inkle loom and I bravely warped up using hand spun yarn for the first time.

I used some of the leftover yarn from my Led Zep (which was mostly turned into gloves) to weave with here.  The fluffy yarn with all the sparkly strands made for some rather challenging shed changes as my string heddles were getting fuzzy and argumentative.  Funnily though, I was enjoying the pretty colours so much that I just zoomed through the weaving :o)

Once I had sewn 9 squares together and could pin the strap around the edge I realised I would need to weave another piece for the bottom of the bag rather than wrapping the strap round entirely.  I just used my kids weaving loom and mostly Led Zep yarn with some of the ends of the Shunklies mixed in to help the colours match.  No one is really going to see the bottom anyway ;o)

I hate sewing. Somehow the awesomeness of the yarn spurred me on regardless :o)  From concept to finished bag in just a few evenings of intensive weaving and sewing :o) Yay!

Nikki helped me line it with some very silly kitty covered fabric and now I can take my iPad out of the house in style :o)

Led Zep

September 11th, 2019

I have been eyeing up this beautiful fibre by Dye Candy for quite some time.  I finally gave in to temptation whilst I was ordering some beautiful yarn from her website the other day :o)

The fibre is called “Led Zep” and has so many lovely colours all mingled together!  I split the braid into two, and then thinly striped the roving to give me sections of different colour mixes.

Watching the colours mix as I spun was mesmerising so I took lots of bobbin photos so you can see that each section is a bit different as I worked my way across the roving.  It spun up beautifully and so easily :o)


To keep the colours together I opted to chain ply again since that’s my new favourite technique ;o)  Maybe I’ll try a proper 3 ply soon since I have enough bobbins for it… but for now, the Navajo ply is keeping my colours together beautifully :o)

I knitted up a little sample and threw it in the washing machine with my hand knit socks and it came out perfectly.

It’s not a Superwash Merino, but the wool wash seems to be gentle enough for it to survive, and since it has nylon in it I think it will become a pair of smooshy socks, eventually :o)

Toy story

September 11th, 2019

The August fibre box from Siobhan’s Crafts was Toy Story themed and came with these 3 glorious batts to spin :o)

Each one opens out to look very much like the little picture included – I really love how Siobhan does this!  They looks so cool :o)  I started with Buzz!

To keep the structure of the batt intact I decided to just tear thin strips off along the batt and spin top to bottom from that photo.  Then I Navajo plied it to keep those colour sections together.  It’s my first real attempt at Navajo plying and I was really pleased with the result :o)

Next up was Woody, with his cowboy hat, red neckerchief, yellow shirt, blue trousers and brown boots, all so cleverly presented inside the batt :o)

I used exactly the same technique and this time wound it more carefully on my niddy noddy so you can see that the colour sequence remains :o)

Finally, the lovely Bo Peep, in colours which are perhaps a little more usual for me, but still match her profile perfectly :o)

Without meaning to this one ended up a smidge thinner and with a little more twist on the plying, I think I was distracted by my TV show ;o)

I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to make with these yet, but I can’t wait to see them used in something! :o)

Fleece to Yarn

September 4th, 2019

In August, Angela came to visit for almost a week of fibre based fun! :o)  Stopping at a farm on the way to buy some fibre for us to play with she turned up with an entire fleece!  A Dorset Poll Shearling fleece which spread out over my entire dining room floor :o)


We separated it into 3 piles – the best bits, the good bits, and the bits too short for spinning (but good for needle felting or stuffing).  Plus a small amount went in the bin, but there wasn’t much of that :o)  We decided to go for the best bits first and set about washing it :o)

One of those moments when I’m very glad for the epic sinks we added to the garage!  Fairy washing up liquid and warm water for 3 rinses so that the water was clear and not a murky brown anymore ;o)  Then a soak in a bucket with some vinegar in preparation for dying.

To save having to buy any new equipment specially for dying we opted to use food colourings and my largest saucepans.  It was a little scary putting fibre into gently bubbling water/vineger/food colouring!

The colours didn’t come out quite as bright as we’d hoped, but perhaps we didn’t use enough colouring for the amount of fibre, or many other variations.  But, we did definitely dye the fibre and we didn’t felt it! Woo! :o)

Much dying later and then the sun went away so it all ended up in my bathroom with a dehumidifier trying to dry it all!  There’s more in the bath you can’t see too!

It took longer to dry than we’d hoped, but we managed to find enough dry bits to start playing around with the colours and fibre and trying to turn it into something to spin.

We made rolags with the hand cards and with the blending board, and also made some roving with my hackle too.  Trying out all the different colours and preparations to see what we liked best.  Then we each spun up half and plyed it together :o)


The fibre wasn’t as easy to spin as we had hoped and wasn’t coming out as evenly as we’d liked.  To prove all was not lost I quickly made up a pin loom square and then needle-punched with our pretty yarn into it, which worked really well :o)  The back is yarn spun from a matching batt of commercially prepared fibre Angela bought at the farm – it is not anywhere near as soft as our preparation even at this stage!  Weird!

So the next day we tried a little harder with our fibre preparation.  We opened up the locks more carefully on the carder before using them on the blending board or hackle, making sure all the VM was removed and there were no tangles at all.


This yarn looks much better! Yay!  Clearly the extra time and effort in preparing was worth it, and so the rest will be prepared that way.  I am now slowly turning all the yarn we spun of the week into squares, and spinning more too :o)  Angela has offered to sew all the squares together for me, yay! :o)

It was a really fun week spent playing with fibre and spinning together :o)  Next time we’re together it will be time to visit Yarndale and try not to come home with everything ;o)

TDF 2019

August 23rd, 2019

I didn’t know what “TDF Prep” meant when I kept seeing people mention it in my various spinning groups.  By the time I’d worked out it stood for “Tour de Fleece”, a spinners excuse to spin every day during the Tour de France, I was too late to do any preparation, but not too late to join in!  I joined a Facebook group and shared lots of photos of my daily spinning :o)

My first spinning was the grey dumbo fibre I mentioned in my previous post, but after that I had no particular plan, so I grabbed this lovely braid of fibre from Yummy Yarns which had been sitting in my cupboard rather longer than expected!


It spun up really beautifully into a very consistent yarn.  An absolute pleasure to spin :o)

TDF includes a couple of challenge days, timed to match the challenge days in the race I believe.  I decided to finally try some lock spinning with these beautifully coloured locks I bought a long time ago.


Honestly, I didn’t get along very well with it.  I think the locks had been somewhat felted during the dying process and they were a real struggle to work with.  I found attempting to keep the lock structure intact very hard, and combing them out still didn’t make them particularly easy to spin.  It was a fun experiment which I think has mostly taught me to be more careful when buying locks ;o)  I have since bought some more from another dyer and they look much easier to work with! :o)

I was very pleased to get back to the second half of the River Walk braid! :o)

My final spin for TDF was this fibre which Nikki inadvertently chose.  I asked for her assistance choosing some fibre for Angela and she kept telling me she liked this one by Spin Jones, so I bought it to spin for her :o)


The fibre was beautifully soft and I barely had to pre-draft it :o)  Pixel wanted in on the action whilst I was spinning so furiously trying to get it finished before the end of TDF!


I managed to get it all spun up just in time and made a lovely soft, consistent fingering weight yarn which I knitted up into a cowl for Nikki :o)

Here’s a photo of my finished TDF spinning, although only with a little of the grey as I had already finished knitting up the shawl :o)

Dumbo – 210m, Lock spinning – 55.5m, Riverwalk – 241m, Feather – 302m

I really enjoyed joining in with TDF and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year! :o)

Disney Shawl

August 5th, 2019

I decided to combine some of the fibre from the Peter Pan and Dumbo boxes from Siobhan’s Crafts to make a knitted shawl for my Mother :o)  I saw the pattern on Ravelry and it just felt like a perfect match for the fibre sitting in my cupboard!  With her Birthday fast approaching I set about to spinning and knitting it at high speed :o)

The Peter Pan box had these 4 lovely mini braids.  All merino blend, some with sparkles :o)  They spun up beautifully into a pretty consistent DK weight yarn :o)


The finished four yarns back in their fibre bands so I didn’t muddle them all up ;o)

In the Dumbo box was this wonderfully soft braid with 50% merino, 30% baby alpaca and 20% mulberry silk, so lovely!  I split the fibre in half lengthways to maintain the gradual gradient along it when I spun my singles.

My split wasn’t weighed so I wasn’t too surprised by needing some Andean plying at the end, but this was the most I’ve ever had to wrap around my hand! :o)


All five colours balled up and ready to start some knitting :o)

The pattern is Swoop by Rosemary Hill.  Obviously I’m not capable of actually following a pattern, as I had the wrong number of colours, and not quite enough yarn, but I certainly followed it to start with ;o)  I just had to change it at the end a bit :o)

The only photo I took of the finished shawl was on a bright red towel whilst it was blocking!  Thankfully Angela sent me some more photos :o)

The finished shawl was wonderfully soft thanks to the alpaca and silk, and the slight sparkle in the coloured sections really catches the light :o)  I managed to finish it with just hours to spare, it might have still been a little damp from blocking when I wrapped it up! ;o)

Ravelry Project Link

Alice in Wonderland Spinning

April 15th, 2019

The wonderful Siobhans Crafts runs a monthly Disney fibre box.  I was very sad when I discovered I’d missed out on the first two, but very pleased that my first one was Alice in Wonderland themed! :o)  Apparently I was so excited to start playing with my fibre that I didn’t take a photo of everything together, so here’s her photo:

There’s a lovely batt in Alice blues, a Cheshire Cat pink braid, some wonderfully soft bunny fluff and wooden bunny button, and a cute little Drink Me bottle pouch :o)

It didn’t take long after opening the box fo me to begin spinning up that beautiful batt :o)

I opened it out and then tore it into 8 strips.  There’s a beautiful mix of colours in here, blues and whites, a few streaks of yellow for Alice’s hair.  There’s sparkle and shimmer and it’s oh so soft! :o)

I gave each strip a gentle draft and turned them into little nests ready for some easy spinning :o)


The fibre spun up beautifully and was ready in no time :o)

On to the Cheshire Cat.  I found the pinks to be just a little… girly… for my liking, so I grabbed a braid of purple merino I had to hand and used my blending board to make some cute rolags, blending in some of the fluffy angora fibre too! :o)


I spun these aiming for a sock-weight 2-ply and I think I just about managed it :o)

Here’s all of the yarns ready to be washed and finished :o)

Making the most of the good weather I hung the skeins all out on the washing line to dry :o)


After drying a quick measure tells me I’ve got about 130m of the Alice blue which weighs 66g, so about double-knit as expected.  I’m considering weaving with this, to make a light scarf :o)

The Cheshire Cat is not exaclty consistent… altogether there’s about 500m for 200g, so more double-knit than the fingering I was hoping for, but definitely varied.  Hopefully there’s enough to make the Cat Paw shrug I’ve been eyeing up, I’ll just need to do a swatch and some maths before I start! :o)

Breed Experiments – Washing Machine

March 13th, 2019

Part of the reason for these spinning experiments is to discover which fibres are okay going through the washing machine.  I know everyone will shout “None of them!” at me, but I have faith in the “Wool Wash” setting and what’s the worst that happens?

So here are the 8 fibre squares after a gentle soak and lying flat.  Each square is started with worsted, then swap to woolen half way, to test both preparations.  In these photos the woolen is on the left, worsted on the right.

Top row: BFL, Shetland, Corriedale, Charollais. Bottom row: Finnish, Falkland, Gotland, Polwarth.

I put them in the washing machine with all my hand knit socks on the usual wool wash setting, though I turned down the temperature to 30 degrees, the coldest it will go.  Some detergent but no conditioner (as I read recently that was bad for wool).  The results are… boring!  Nothing happened… everything came out clean and looking much as it started!

At this point I realised I wasn’t going to have quite enough yarn from the 8 I had spun for the cardigan, so I purchased 3 more braids which you’ve already seen.  Here are the initial swatches from those: Eider, Ile de France and Merino/Bamboo

Time to try the washing machine again, this time on the standard “Wool Wash” which runs at 40 degrees and has been washing our hand knit socks for years.  This time with fabric softener too.  The results?  Much the same!

The squares still show no signs of felting.  The stitches are all visible, the squares all maintain their stretchiness.  So, hooray for the washing machine, but it did make for rather an unexciting post!  I think I will keep throwing these in with each sock wash and see if there’s any interesting results over multiple washes in case some fibres do stand up better than others over time :o)

Breed Experiments – Merino 70/30 Bamboo

March 11th, 2019

The final braid from Ewenique Fibres was chosen because I knew it would be super soft and be a good choice for the collar of the cardigan I’m making with all these :o)

The fibre was a little hard to pre-draft but also very soft.  The bamboo fibres are quite “fly away” and wanted to stick to me!

The colour variations across the braid matched up pretty well in the worsted spinning, so you can see the variation.  The bamboo stands our against the purple as a lovely shimmery white.

As there wasn’t all that much variation in the colours I opted to just make 4 larger rolags of mixed colours for the woolen spin.

This second spin definitely blended the colours and fibres together more.  The finished yarn here is a mostly consistent colour and the bamboo shimmer is more contained.

Both fibres are super soft still, but I do like the way the bamboo blended in once in the rolags.  It was easier to spin too as I wasn’t getting the bamboo stuck to my hands/skirt/everywhere! :o)

Breed Experiments – Ile de France

March 11th, 2019

The second braid from Ewenique Fibres is this Ile de France.  The peach colour is a little out of character with the rest of my yarns, but I think it will be okay :o)

The fibre was quite a challenge to pre-draft, but then it spun up very nicely and consistently :o)

I even managed to line up the colours pretty well across the two halves!

On the blending board with the second half I split the colours:

There was a little extra fibre left, I’m not sure how I missed it when I was making these, hence the 7th muddled one!  I only managed 6 rolags as the fibre was quite challenging to work with.

Somehow I completely failed to line up the colours even though it looked perfect on the bobbins!  Oh well :o)