Saturday, June 30, 2012

Experiments in Spinning

I have been having problems learning to ply. At least, thats what I thought. As you can see from the sample below, I wasnt producing yarn, I was producing string. Hard, scratchy string with no drape. It was balanced, it hung correctly. But it was string.

So I went to Woolfest and asked several people how to ply. The spinners were their usual generous selves, and gave me the benefit of their experience. They allowed me to watch them ply, and one spinner even allowed me to have a go on her wheel.

Then I came home, did everything suggested to me, and produced the above sample. Misery and frustration ensued. I rang a friend to have a moan and she simply asked "Have you checked your singles? You may be over spinning them"

So I unspun some of the singles until they had about a third of the twist I usually put in, and then plied them half as much as I would usually do. As the above result shows, it was an improvement, but it was too loosely spun and came adrift in places.

Finally I spun these last singles. I used my medium whorl (about 11 ratio) and did 2 treadles for each 3-4" draft. Then I plied it with 2/3rds as much twist as I had put in the singles. Result!!!!  Soft yarn, gentle drape, balanced and just enough twist. Moral of this story? Dont assume anything and experiment, going back to the beginning.

It sounds like the Golidlocks story, but with yarn LOL

Finally, this is my newly finished Wingspan shawl. I used 4mm needles and Kauni effect yarn to make it bigger.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Bit More Making : )

 I finished some gloves for my friend Adrian. He has slim hands but long fingers, so he is thrilled to be getting some made-to-measure gloves.

And Mr Spin-a-yarn (DH) has knitted me this scarf. It is sock yarn, on 3mm needles with a garter stitch border all round and it is 6' long. I am very, very happy with it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flowering Cactus

Every year our Cactus flowers. It flowers for just 48 hours, then its over for the year. Enjoy : )

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Have Been Making

 I got around to plying these Shetland singles. It is approx 270 yards long and DK weight. The skein weighs about 80g

Then I plied my Merino singles. This skein weighs 90g and is 470 yards long, so approx 4 ply weight. I already have a matching skein, so enough for a shawl. The yarn was custom dyed for me by Freyalyn
And lastly, I finished a cardigan for my beautiful granddaughter. The yarn is Stylecraft Life DK and the pattern is Heidi from the book  "A Princess Tale #3198" by Patons. I adapted the pattern to suit myself. The details of my changes are here

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stuff Wot I Have Been Doing : )

 Firstly, my wonderful Eldest daughter has become a Biker. I am so proud of her achievement and courage to learn to ride a bike. And, to show my pride, I refer to her a Baby Darth Vader, when she is wearing her outfit.

Secondly, DH and I decided to do our first woolly show at Shipston Wool Fair last month. It was a great experience, very tiring and a steep learning curve. We were supported in our efforts by The Yarn Cafe, who let us share their stall, and were fantastic.

 Finally, I finished a new cardigan for my grand-daughter.

Friday, June 1, 2012

We've Been to Wales!!!

We went to Wales for a week, just me and Dearest Hubby. We left the sprog behind for the first time. He is nearly 18 years old, so he is safe to leave. Above are some Water Buffalo we found grazing in an RSPB nature reserve. We went there to look at the Ospreys. They were fantastic!!!  It was here:
I asked a keen twitcher about the migratory pattern of the water buffaloes and where to spot their nests, but my attempt at humour fell flat. They do take their bird watching very seriously......
 While we were there, we almost bought a cottage. Just look at the view!!! But we resisted bravely and took photos instead. Tantric shopping is such fun : )

Friday, March 16, 2012


A few weeks ago I went on a Quilting weekend run by Chaos Quilters. It is always a hoot. I have been going now for 8 years and a fun time is had by all. Here are the fruits of my labours:

 The little bags were fun to make. They only used a fat quarter for the outer, half a yard for the lining, and a scrap for the pocket. And the little chick has a hole in the back to put a cream egg or something similar.

I also made some more 9" squares for my sampler quilt.

I am not following a pattern. I have a book of 200 blocks, and I have selected 20 of them to make. I will use pink sashing between the blocks when I make the top up.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Not Knitting

I am not always knitting. Sometimes I quilt, and sometimes I do cross-stitch. This lovely Delft Tile of a Rose is one of a series of 3 I am making. I will frame them individually and put them up in my hall.

I have also finished the Chrysanthemum one. The embroidered parts are about 6" square. The final one is an Iris, but I wont start that just yet as I am knitting a sleeveless vest for my grandson.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Actual Knitting Content : )

Actual knitting content for once. I finished both of these last week. The socks are from a random Opal ball of yarn I bought years ago,lost the button band. The fingerless gloves are from yarn dyed by Babylonglegs. Spell checker wants to turn that into Babylonians, which is curiously apt lol

I tried doing the fingers with 4" dpns, but they kept sticking into my palms and were awkward to use, so I went back to my trusty 6" ones instead.

I have now started my Green beret, and am finishing off a cross-stitch picture of a Delft tile.

Monday, January 9, 2012

In search of an interesting topic

My daughters recently pointed out that I have not blogged for some time.

The problem is, I seldom have anything interesting to say, or show. I have no witty banter to share, or hilarious anecdotes to regale people with. I have no deeply moving story to tell or any important political or newsworthy item to discuss. And I'm not sure how my daughters would feel about a steady stream of doting grandma photos of their children.

I am just an ordinary woman. So how do others find something to speak about day after day I wonder?

Here is a gratuitous knitted shawl photo, just to keep the blog alive. Its made from 2 skeins of Artesano DK in Chaffinch.