Monday, June 18, 2012

Adventures in spinning

 One of the very best things about having creative hobbies is the fact that, no matter how much you think you know, there is always plenty more to learn. I daresay that's true of pretty much any hobby and it's the reason why I cannot imagine never wanting to make and create beautiful things.

Thanks to my pretty new friend Victoria the knitting has slowed down dramatically of late - kind of ironic given that I'm making new yarn on an almost daily basis! Before the spinning obsession took over from the knitting obsession I did manage to whip up a fun pair of socks for the Minx - made entirely of scraps left over from other sock knitting projects.

 The pattern is called 'Dreamin' of Tulips' from a book called Think Outside the Sox - now sadly out of print but a good used one on Amazon is going for nearly £45!

Mr Moog was most impressed when I told him that my craft books have a better rate of return than the best savings account these days ;o)

Minx informed me that these are 'the best socks ever, Mum!' and I must admit they are quite possibly the happiest socks I've ever knit.

I want to make a pair for me too if I can tear myself away from Victoria for long enough.

So, onto the spinning. It became apparent to me early on in my new craft adventure that fibre spins up pretty bloomin' quickly. In no time at all a great big pile of fluffy stuff becomes a skein of ready to knit yarn. While that's great - after all we all like a bit of instant gratification in our crafting - it does mean that this new hobby can soon become a very expensive new hobby.

To help avoid bankruptcy I did a bit of research and found that undyed fibres are much much cheaper than those gorgeous colourful skeins that are oh so tempting, and for a beginner who is likely to be whizzing through heaps of the stuff it made a lot of sense.

A quick online shop at Wingham Woolworks, and I had a bag full of beautiful natural fibres to play with, from a plethora of different sheep breeds, for the price of two skeins of the colourful stuff.
 First I played with some brown Shetland - and forgot to photograph it.

Second, I spun up some Jacob humbug, which was absolutely delicious to spin. Here it is, plied and looking smooshy.

It's probably a heavy dk/aran (worsted) weight and there's about 280 yards of it. It's now resting and wondering what it's going to become.

Next up was a lovely 100g bag of
Corriedale fibres, all creamy and
 smooth and again, gorgeous to spin.

This time, rather than doing a two-ply yarn I investigated something
new to me - Navajo plying.

It's a brilliant way to get a three ply yarn from just one bobbin of spun fibre.

The Corriedale became about 130 yards of yarn - possibly more on the chunky side of things. It's the colour of clotted cream :o)

Another way to spin pretty things without breaking the bank is to buy something called lap waste. I got a 500g bag of mixed fibres from World of Wool and it only cost £9.

This pretty turquoise was hiding in there and fifty grammes of this together with about thirty of a red fibre and twenty of green found it's way onto my spinning wheell.

Here it is, all spun up and plied. I tried really hard to make my spinning more even with these fibres and overall it's not too bad.

The most exciting thing though it that this is just about the right weight for knitting socks!

There's about 315 yards of it, so I'll need a bit more of something else to get a whole pair of socks.

You may (or may not) be surprised to discover that that isn't the only spinning I've been doing. I joined the Hampshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers at the weekend and had a wonderful day at my first Guild meeting. Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming and it felt so right to be surrounded by fifty other people spinning, knitting and stitching.

Whilst there, I was chatting with my new spinning buddy Dawn about dyeing fibres with Kool Aid, as she had dyed the most beautiful fibres in shades of blues and lavenders. I've tried Kool Aid dyeing white sock yarn before with mixed results. Naturally, I now felt an overwhelming urge to go straight home and try with some of my lap waste fibres.

I had no Kool Aid (although some is on it's way!) at home so cracked out the food colouring!
Another delve into the bag of lap waste brought out a 30g handful of undyed unknown white fibres. I'm not sure what the white bits are but they're probably not an animal fibre, as they resisted the dye, which actually gave a rather exciting effect :o)
I deliberately went for a thick and thin yarn with this one, to really show off the colours and texture. I've only got about 30 yards of it and have no idea what it'll become but I'm so happy with it - especially as when I washed the skein today almost none of the food colouring came out!
....and finally, this beautiful beautiful fibre arrived in the post on Saturday from Fondant Fibre on etsy - I only ordered it on Friday afternoon! It's white faced woodland sheep fibre, dyed in a lovely rainbowy range of colours.  I've split the skein up into four and have started spinning.                                                        's so pretty.........
Can you tell I'm having fun?

Moogs xxx

p.s. sorry about the stoopid spacing but I just can't get Blogger to do what I want it to!

p.p.s. CarolQ left a fab link in my comments to the sock book mentioned above - WHSmith have it for £12.59!! (Now I'm wondering why a new copy on Amazon will cost you £75?)