Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

Local Yarn Shops

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

I make it my mission when we go away on holiday to find the little local yarn shops selling locally hand dyed yarn, and now floof too!  I’m just back from a trip to Florida and Vegas where I managed to visit 5 lovely little shops :o)

The first, A Bit O’ Yarn in Englewood didn’t seem to have any hand dyed yarn but did have a sale table ;o) I bought some lovely purple rafia to crochet a new hat and Chris chose some pink yarn for more socks :o)

Next up was Needlefish Yarns in Venice where I found some beautiful yarn hand dyed by Emma’s Yarn in this amazing Mexican Wedding Dress colourway. The shop was full of beautiful yarn, but a lot came from Ireland which seemed a bit crazy to buy in Florida! The lady in the shop even wound the yarn into a ball for me so I could get started on my next pair of socks whilst on holiday :o)

The final stop in Florida was to A Good Yarn in Sarasota. They were in the process of moving to new premises but still had some floof on display (and a lot of amazing yarn I somehow resisted!) I bought some lovely merino, bamboo, silk mix which was their fiber for Spinzilla :o) It’s beautiful :o)

Chris chose some bright neon fiber for me to play with and I also picked up a couple of replacement pin loom weaving needles as I’ve been having such a hard time finding them in the UK :o)

Once we were in Vegas I already knew of one yarn shop as I’ve been there before! Sin City Knit Shop has a good selection of local hand dyed yarn and I’d seen online that they had a new colourway for the local ice hockey team. Not that I know anything about ice hockey, but I wanted some anyway! ;o)

They’d actually sold out, but the owner asked her locals who were sitting knitting if anyone had an unused skein and happily sold me the yarn already wound into balls ;o) Chris chose some yarn and a pattern for a new hat too :o)

Oh, and they had a “trunk show” – a new to me phrase I had thankfully researched before being led into the back room ;o) Greenwood Fiberworks from Utah had sent a selection of beautiful yarn and fibre and I couldn’t resist this amazing rainbow braid with added sparkles :o)

The last stop was a new place in Vegas which had somehow never shown up in previous hunts despite having existed for years. Golden Needle Arts looks like a cross stitch kind of place mostly, but actually contains supplies for all kinds of crafts. I picked up some lovey purple malabrigo fibre and got to stroke a lot of kitties too :o)

Rainbow Mitts

Friday, October 19th, 2018

I ordered these beautiful rainbow rolags from Barn2Yarn which were quickly dubbed “rainbow snails” by my husband :o)  There were 11 in total, not just 4!

I like to pre-draft quite enthusiastically before I spin. This means my hands don’t have to do so much whilst I’m treadling and helps me achieve more consistent results :o)

It was really enjoyable watching the bobbin fill up with each rainbow :o) There were 11 snails in total so I put 6 on one bobbin and 5 on the other. It soon became apparent that there was more yellow than anything else in these rainbows and that getting the colours to line up wasn’t going to work!

Plying proved my suspicion and there is yellow throughout most of the yarn. I managed a fairly consistent Aran weight turning 97g into 140m.

I decided a pair of fingerless gloves would use up the yarn nicely and chose a fairly simple pattern so as not to detract from the yarn. The Eureka Valley Mitts seemed to fit the bill :o)

The pattern worked up quickly and it was lovely to see the rainbow stripes appearing as I knitted :o)

The finished gloves are super warm and snuggly :o) A little longer than I really needed, but I really like the faux cables :o)

I turned the leftover yarn into little squares using my pin loom and I was amazed by how different the yarn looks like this! :o)

Spinning Batts

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Patricia from Yummy Yarns kept sharing photos of her beautiful batts and eventually I gave in to temptation and purchased these two bundles of pretty :o)

I also bought some thread as I decided I wanted to try spiral plying to stop their colours becoming too muddled.

Opening out the bats and tearing them into strips to use was really fun. Each section was different and there was a surprising amount of pretty shimmer hiding inside the darker one! :o)

I saw a broomstick lace crochet wrap on the front of a magazine and did something I rarely do – I bought it! It did come with some cute broomstick lace tools which looked useful :o) I figured the lace would help show off the yarn with its big open loops and I slowly started making squares :o)

I was trying not to worry about lumps and bumps. Not really going all out “art yarn”, but embracing the different fibres wanting to do different things. My husband didn’t seem impressed with the inconsistency given I’d been showing off my smooth purple blanket yarn the day before! Spiral plying was really fun and I think the end result looks cool :o)

Spinning without worrying too much about consistency was very freeing, but it was a little challenging at times working from the strange mixture of fibres – some wanted to draft much more easily than others! I really enjoyed seeing each batt turn from a bundle of fibre into yarn and then into squares :o)

I hadn’t left an awful lot of yarn for the border so I joined them by sewing with some of the thread. This reminded me that I hate sewing squares together! Wow it took a long time. Not helped by managing to get 3 squares attached the wrong way and having to redo them! Ugh! But eventually I got them all joined :o)

I had to get the scales out for the border to make sure I didn’t end up with any partial rounds (it’s not easy to undo this yarn). So the border is fewer rows than the pattern, but since I changed the square construction too this is no surprise. I’m not good at following patterns ;o)

The final wrap got a good blocking which really helped even out the squares and open up the border.  I wore it to Yarndale and it received a number of lovely comments :o)

Return to Spinning

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

It has been years since I last spun any yarn, literally! My Mother actually found my membership card for the New Forest Association of Guilds we joined for Saturday social spinning in 1994!

Bizarrely, I recently found the last yarn I spun over 20 years ago stashed at the back of a draw!

I’m definitely going to have to try washing this and, assuming it doesn’t fall apart, make something with it :o)

Back then I didn’t really knit or crochet or have anything to do with the yarn I created. As fun as it was, the process stopped there.

Recently my parents came to visit and my Mother turned up with her Ashford Traveller wheel for me to try out and see if I still enjoyed spinning. The answer was a resounding yes! :o)

So much so I apparently wanted to start writing a blog again to share my creations :o)

My first yarn was rather lumpy, bumpy and very bulky! But I had just enough to make a little scarf! :o)

From floof to finished item was incredibly satisfying :o) So much so that I quickly ordered more merino tops and began my experimentation blanket. A simple granny stripe blanket I can use all my crazy attempts on, in purple ;o)

My most interesting discovery so far is that when I crocheted I was undoing the ply in my yarns and in fact I need to spin “backwards”. So now I spin my singles anticlockwise and my plying is done clockwise and the newer yarn remains nicely plied as I crochet :o)

The left of the photo shows the new rows where the yarn stays plied whereas on the right you can see that the 2 plies end up just sitting next to one another. Interesting and useful to know! :o)