Wednesday, 23 April 2008

A little yarn

I forgot to post any pics yesterday of my recent spinning. Doh! Last week I spun up some beautiful roving I got from Fyberspates a while back. It's an alpaca/cashmere/silk blend and the roving was buttery soft and light as a feather.

This is how it started out:

Cashmere alpaca silk roving

And this is what I made with it:

Silk/Alpaca/Cashmere Handspun

The yarn is just as soft as the roving was, I keep getting it out and hugging it.

Silk/Alpaca/Cashmere Handspun

It's about a dk weight, and it's spun up a little bit thick and thin due to the variation in fibre lengths between the alpaca and cashmere. I like it a bit uneven, and I love the way the pinks have turned out candy-striped in places. I haven't measured the yardage on it yet, but I'm thinking I might try knitting a lacy scarflet or something with it. It's certainly soft and enough to wear around my ears on a chilly spring day.

Next update will be after I've been to the Wonderwool Wales festival this weekend. Mel and I are headed there on Friday, and we're so excited! Hopefully the weather won't dampen our enthusiasm, as we're camping for the whole weekend. I guess if it turns wet and cold we can always hide in the yarn we're planning to buy...

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Spring things

Since it was such beautiful weather today, I took myself off at lunchtime to take some photos of spring things. I love the light at this time of year, which is soft and muted, and I love the fact that I can walk about in the fields without being togged up in a huge winter coat. I've been playing around with the metering on my camera lately, the spot meter is fast becoming a favourite, especially for white flowers and those pesky white sheep.

Some of the resulting pictures will probably become new colourways for some painted rovings. This blackthorn, for example, looks very pretty against the pale blue of the sky behind.


And this little violet has enough shades in the flower alone to inspire a new colourway.


Speaking of dyed rovings, the Wildcraft shop is progressing well. I've finally got a holding page set up at and the shop itself will be following soon.

Finally, this hairy monster is also a spring thing.

Sam, trotting

That's Sam, my homebred gelding. He's trotting towards me in the photo as he thinks I've arrived to do some clicker training with him (which he loves, it involves treats!). When he discovered that the thing in my hand was not the treat bag but a camera, he gracefully decided that a good tummy scratch from me was a reasonable substitute. Which left me covered in horse hair, as another sign of warmer weather is the start of moulting season!

Thursday, 17 April 2008


Eek, I've been tagged by Bea! This game sounds like fun, so I'm joining in...

Here are the rules:

1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules.
3) Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people.
5) Be sure the people you tagged KNOW you tagged them by commenting what you did.

And here are my six non-important things:

1. I collect wild bird feathers that I find in the fields and woods where I live, and so far I've been able to identify most of them. My prize possession is a tiny barn owl feather that I found on our driveway.

2. I didn't eat pork for several years when I was in my teens, not because I didn't like pork but because I'm afraid of pigs. Eventually the smell of crispy bacon won me back, but I still don't like pigs!

3. I have a fascination for the drawings and stories of Tove Jansson and I particularly identify with 'Little My' from the moomintroll books.

4. My Ipod is called Kermit, because he's green.

5. I can't ice skate. I mean I Really Can't. Last time I tried, I fell on my behind right in front of a first aider at the ice rink, who looked down at me, then turned and said to his friend next to him: 'that's going to hurt in the morning!' And he was absolutely right.

6. Whenever I get a new kind of feed for my horses, I taste a little myself - just so I know what it tastes like. I particularly like rolled maize.

I'm tagging: Mel, Barbara and Zoe.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Two fine fish

A few people have mentioned to me that it's not possible to tell the scale of the goldfish in the pic at the top of my blog. I suppose if you didn't know that they're actually verging on whale-sized, they might be mistaken from that photo as little tiddlers. Today I put the record straight!

Or rather I try to... I took some photos of Vic and Bob the goldfish earlier today, but I'm not sure that my efforts have paid off. Most of the pics are a bit blurry because they wouldn't stay still. At first I tried holding my hand against the aquarium to show their size...


You can tell they were interested...

Then I tried holding a ruler held alongside. I wanted to get a lengthways shot of them, but again they wouldn't hold still, they were far more interested in peering at the ruler suspiciously, and Bob, the timid (red) one took an instant dislike to it and hid. You can see him leaving in the photo below.


This was not going well.

Eventually I managed to get a shot that sort of shows their heights.


Vic is about 1-2cm behind the glass, so not quite the 9-10cm high that the ruler shows, but still flippin' big (sorry, bad pun).

Eventually I gave up with the measuring, and was rewarded with a lovely portrait of Vic who finally decided to stay still for a bit.

Vic the Goldfish

The only thing that spoils that pic is the algae on the glass. I gave their tank a spring clean yesterday, but forgot to scrape the algae spots off. I keep pondering over getting some water snails to graze the algae, although past experience tells me that they tend to breed very quickly. On the plus side, Vic and Bob are very greedy, so they'd probably gobble up any snail eggs they find. And snails would at least stay still for their portraits!

Saturday, 12 April 2008


The handspun socks are finished! I think stripes on the second sock came out even better than the first, but they still match pretty well.

Handspun Socks

It had taken me a while to spin the yarn and it looks as though I didn't manage to stick to the same spinning thickness all the way through. So my spun yarn was a bit finer by the time I reached the second sock, which means it's slightly off gauge and a bit smaller than the first. But hopefully no-one will notice that when I'm wearing them and jumping around!

Handspun Socks

Spurred on by this success, I've also finished spinning up the BFL roving that I mentioned in my previous post. I navajo plied this one too as I want to see that stripey thing again when I knit the next pair of socks (yes, I'm obsessed by knitting socks, I admit it). The BFL fibre wasn't quite as soft as I hoped, I suspect it was just a bad batch as I've spun other BFL that's way softer. But it'll do for socks, and it's made a pretty yarn. I'll have to knit toe-ups again with this yarn, the 70grams of roving only made 190mtrs of yarn. But that should be just enough yarn for socks for me, I have little feet.

Handspun BFL Yarn

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Socks, again.

Back in January I posted about some superwash sock yarn that I was spinning from some roving I'd bought from Violet Green Yarns.

Just to remind you (and me), here's a photo of the roving before I spun it up.


I did actually finish spinning that yarn, a whole 100grams of it. It turned into three beautiful skeins of stripey navajo plied yarn in pretty burgundy and yellow colours.

Navajo plied sock yarn

They sat in my stash maturing for a couple of months. Well I say maturing, actually I couldn't bring myself to undo those pretty skeins. I've been taking them out and admiring them from time to time, muttering Gollum-like about 'my precious skeins'. Fortunately, my desire to knit with the yarn has overcome the power of the skeins, and I've now taken them apart and knit them into socks. Or rather, one sock and a bit.

Here's the sock:

Handspun sock

And here's the sock and a bit:

Handspun sock

Are they not striping nicely? I'm loving knitting with the yarn, and I'm loving the striping. I'm now also hooked on knitting socks with handspun! As soon as this pair is finished I'm hoping I'll also be ready with the yarn I'm spinning from this roving:

Hand dyed BFL roving

This is a roving that was left over after my big Easter dyeing session. It's BFL, dyed in the dyes that were left over from doing a another roving in 'sunset' colours. I'm currently spinning it finely, with a navajo plied sock yarn in mind. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

In the meantime, it's back to knitting that lovely stripey second sock for me, while watching a spot of Dr Who (yay for the return of the Dr! :) ).