Saturday, 20 September 2008

A whole lot more spindling

Another weekend, another post. Seems I only update my blog at the weekends at the moment, but that's ok because I've also been taking photos this weekend. Oh and I've also been sanding my fingers, which hurt and is making typing difficult, but it's all in a good cause as I've been making whorls for resin spindles!

So, this past week I have been mostly spinning, packing things and taking them to the post office, and then doing more spinning. You probably don't want to know the details of the packing part (it's boring, really), but the spinning bit's interesting.

Here's my most recent FO, some spindled yarn.

Handspun Yarn

It's a navajo-plied blend of English wool top, which started out looking like this...


Originally I named to colourway 'Meh', as it was the result of me plonking down a bunch of leftover dyes on some leftover fibre and I wasn't sure it would turn out well. But I'm very pleased with the yarn. It ended up being 210 metres long, and about 12wpi (my yarn gauge said 14, but I think I squooshed up the yarn too tightly). It was lots of fun to spin, the wool drafted really easily and made for some great mindless tv spinning. The Navajo plying wasn't accompanied by tv though, as I went really slowly and carefully to avoid tangling the yarn. It's not the softest of yarns, but that doesn't matter as I'm planning to make a bag from it, so not-so-soft is good.

And here's another thing I made this week, a phone cosy:

Phone cosy

I'd made a bunch of batts for the shop from leftover scraps of fibre. It seemed rude not to test one of them out, so I spun some yarn (on a spindle of course!)...

Stock Pot Yarn

Then I improvised a pattern and knitted it up into the phone cosy above. It only took around 15 metres of yarn, so I still have around 10-15 metres left, enough to make another one as a gift. My phone is now happy and toasty-warm as the yarn's very soft. If only I could make clothes for myself so quickly!

I've also been spinning some lovely alpaca fibre from Spindlefrog, on a new Butterflygirl Designs spindle which arrived with me this week... or was it last week, I can't recall. Anyway, it's a lovely spindle, and the fibre is wonderful, the colours are just gorgeous.

New spindle New spindle

I'm spinning a heavy laceweight yarn with it, with the intention that it'll eventually become a lacy knitted shawl or scarf.

And finally, here's my most recently started project. It's some more spindling, this time for the Quarterly Challenge organised by the Spindlers Group on Ravelry. I'm using one of my resin spindles to spin this superwash merino top (from Violetgreen Yarns)...

Superwash Wool Roving

Into some fine singles that will eventually become navajo plied sock yarn...

Spindlers Quarterly Challenge

Can you tell I'm a fan of navajo plying at the moment?! The challenge is to spin 200 or more yards of yarn by the end of November, I'm hoping that I have enough fibre to make 200 yards. I think I will, as I have over 100grams of it, just need to make sure I spin it thinly enough!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Busy busy

Ack, it's been a crazy week around here so far, and it's only Thursday! Things are going from strength to strength with the Wildcraft shop, but this also means I've been run off my feet packing orders, making spindles and dyeing wool. I've nearly completed my recent stock update, which will have to last at least a fortnight :), then hopefully I can take a breather!

In the meantime, some interesting things have been happening around here:

Mum's started making spindles from Yew wood, in a slightly different style from the cedarwood ones. And she let me have the first one to test (for which, read - I snatched it and wouldn't let go when she showed it to me!).

Yew spindle

The spindle spins really well, but I'm starting to expect that from mum's handiwork. She reckons making spindles is a lot like making toy spinning tops. I never mastered the technique of spinning a top, but the theory clearly works for spindling (which I can do)! The yarn on it is being spun from a gorgeous purple 'Beautyberries' batt from Loop, which I bought a few weeks ago.

These spindles are running out of the shop as fast as I can list them, actually some of them are finding new homes before they make it there, and that's not just because I'm pinching them! Don't tell anyone, but I hear that there might be some walnut ones appearing soon. I've seen the blanks and yes, I'll be keeping one of those too! :)

I've also managed to knit up my first spindle-spun sock.

The yarn was spun from some lovely naturally dyed roving from The Natural Dye Studio, which I blogged about before. I love the way the colours are shifting gradually from one to another. It's what I intended when I spun the yarn, but it's nice to see it's actually working out as I planned. This is the first time I've knitted a short row heel, and I quite like it. Normally I prefer gusset heels, as they seem more robust, but this style does show off the colours well, it's super-quick to knit too. I've started the next one before casting off the first, just in case the second ball of yarn isn't the same length. I can't be doing with odd-length socks!

And finally, I received a lovely squishy package that I'd ordered from, containing many goodies.

It took a long while to get here (apparently they had a problem in their warehouse or something), but it was totally worth the wait (and the price, their yarns were an amazing bargain). There's three skeins of laceweight merino yarn, and two gorgeous chunks of merino wool fibre. The colours are so sunny and bright, they were just what I needed after all the rain and dullness we've had here lately.