Finished: Trees Shawl and: Who I am.

Trees Shawl is finished:

The handspun ridges bulge out nicely. The white ones, which are a tiny bit scratchy, stand away from my sensitive neck skin, just as planned.
The gorgeous grey-green-blue colour is more prominent near my face, working well with my colouring. The lady who did my colour analysis approves.


Dimensions unblocked are 23 x 73 cm.
It weighs 100 grams exactly.

Used:
93 m of the white handspun
125 m of that lovely handspun Mountain Queen
273 m of the BC Garn Semilla Fino. It’s a Danish brand.

I ended with a lace border:
1) k, yo, k, k ,ssk, p, k2tog, k, k, yo
2) k all
repeat.
unblocked:

This is how I’ll mostly wear it, because I get so cold around my head. And, somehow, covered ears make me feel safe and secure. Probably a treat I share with persons on the spectrum.

I can also wear it as a shawl, with a shawl pin.

Oops, should have cropped the picture better. Ends were not woven in.

I so love the grey-green handspun!
I remember fondly spinning that “Mountain Queen” during the winter. It resonated so much with me. The colours, the fibres, the spindle, the ring:

It reminds me of Norway and of the sense of snow in the air. Of fairy castles inside mountains and of skilled handling of natural materials. Of having breathing room and of being alive, larger than the mere urban human who lives by the clock.

Today I have the Summer variant of the same sentiment as a favourite colour board and substance board on my Ravelry profile page:

This is who I am.

Another sock on the wheel

I started another sock fibre on the wheel. This one is a combination of BFL (long fibres) and sparkly Nylon (strength).

It’s a roving from Kleurvol and it’s wonderfully soft. And such vibrant colours! I love spinning it in the sun, after so many soft and harmonious colours the past few weeks.

I’ve divided the roving in two lengthwise so I’ll have two socks with the same colour sequence.
Each part is is divided in two again because I’m making a 2 ply sock yarn. I spin from one end of the colours to the other. Orange to teal.

Usually I go for a 3 ply (rounder yarn, more sturdy) but for that you need four bobbins and I only have 3 for my wheel. Navajo-plying, the other way of making a 3ply that only requires two bobbins, is not a favourite technique of mine. All that waving around, getting your fingers knotted up in singles. Just not relaxed spinning.

My singles have much twist and so does the plying so I’ll get a roundish yarn that’s quite sturdy because each fibre is wrapped around others a few times. You see this in most of my worsted spun yarns, I like yarns that look like a string of pearls.

I found someone on Ravelry who spun a 2 ply from this very fibre mix, also dyed by Kleurvol, and her socks look great and wear well.
I’m already planning to knit them toe up, with toes, heels and cuff knitted from the other end of the ball, in contrasting colours.
Orange toes or teal ones? I’m thinking orange…

Here’s one sock on the bobbin:

Weird Wool Wednesday: the chocolate prompt

This chocolate custard:
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is the reason these skeins for Passe-Partout top did get soaked and are now ready for reknitting:

I learned I cannot multitask when fresh chocolate custard is involved when I missed my mouth completely and covered my favourite shirt in chocolate. Emergency hand wash ensued and then there was warm rinsing water and I just remembered to throw in the skeins before I threw in my shirt. Also some wrist warmers which were in need of a soapy wash:

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Knitters, brace yourself, because I also spilled drops of chocolate on Deco Cardi!
Luckily I know it’s not only the enzymes in dish soap that work on chocolate. The enzymes in saliva do too. I sucked on my button band and the stains have gone:

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Hmmm, chocolate and wool, my favourite combination.

If I can now find something to work on tomato sauce stains, my life is complete:

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Perhaps I should crochet some bibs for me?

— end of post —

My RECIPE FOR CHOCOLATE CUSTARD
Ketonic, low carb and gluten free. Use organic products for extra flavour.

– split 8 eggs and collect the yokes in a large bowl. Discard the egg whites. Add some pepper.
– pour 500 ml of unwhipped whipping cream in a sauce pan. Add some salt. Add some real vanille.
– have 100 grams of chocolate stand by. I use De Lindt chocolate. 85% or a mix of 70% and 99%
– heat the cream, stir touching the bottom.
– when it’s too warm to hold your finger in it, lower the heat. Now slowly pour the cream over the egg yokes while you whip them. Mix egg yokes and cream.
Pour everything back into the saucepan. Don’t reheat yet.
– crumble chocolate into your mixing bowl. If you want you can add mint oil or something else to give it an additional flavour.
– now reheat the cream/yoke mix. Not too high. Stir. A lot. Touch the bottom with your wooden spoon. The goal is to have the egg yoke particles solidify but only in small droplets of protein. It will be a suspension (I think).
At one point the fluid will change slightly in texture, it will become a little bit less fluid. Now it’s custard. You’ve just made vanilla custard. You could take it of the heat and put it in a bowl and leave it too cool. You could pour it over apple tart. You could pour it into a baking tray and make a custard pudding.
Or you can pour it over your crumbled chocolate and make choc custard.
– with a wisp mix the chocolate, let it melt and thoroughly mix it.
– Let cool. While it cools the top will form a seal. Most people don’t like this much. Stir to prevent this. If you use a wisk you can add bubbles as the mixture cools and stiffens, you’d get lofty chocolate pudding.
– eat wearing a bib.

Spinning for prickly socks?

I can’t stop spinning!

Today I started on some roving that’s meant for socks. Three different breed of sheep to ply into a nice round, sturdy sock yarn. That’s such a clever thing to do, to combine three breeds in three singles and utilize the spinners’ skill. Just the thing spinners delight in.

I’ve spun three breeds for socks before and I wear them with extra joy.

This is a roving from Wolop and the three breeds are BFL, Mohair and regular Dutch sheep. Dyed in great colours!

I bought it at the spinners’ meet where I also bought the Shetland and the Blue Texel.

The mohair is nearly done. It’s prickly:

See the hairs poking out of the single. I can imagine the socks already! Sturdy but scratchy.
Normally I avoid mohair as much as possible but for socks they are very well suited, with their sturdiness and nice gleam.

Mohair is fleece from a goat and was traditionally used a lot for farmers’ socks over here in the Netherlands. Later on it was embraced by “people who like to be in touch with nature”. Mohair socks are solely responsible for the image of hippie tree-huggers in the Netherlands: we call them “goat hair sock wearers”. Preferably wearing sandals.

But the last 15 years things have changed. Tree huggers are no longer hippies. Sustainability is marketable (if not common sense). Natural fibres have a PR budget. And socks and sandals are a fashion statement:

Still…. mohair…
It’s terrible to spin. Loose hairs everywhere! At intervals I have to step outside and shake my skirt in the wind to get rid of them. The fibres are coarse against my fingertips. I had never spun mohair before and I don’t think I’m in a hurry to do so again. I look forward to find out how this single combines with the BFL and the Dutch breed, those two are soft to the touch.

Yes, the combination is great and I look forward to wearing my handspun socks. As a modern handspun homage to our history and tradition:

Only with green socks.

TdF finish!

I spun a lot!
Far more than I thought I had, considering I had to lie down for several days in a row and in between spinning sessions. Wow!

The total is 2337 metres out of 780 grams of fibres. That’s a lot of meterage from not a whole lot of fibres.
(There’s 125 m out of 10 grams of silk hankies so that skews the numbers.)

Big contributors are the 5 skeins of natural coloured Shetland: 488 m out of 250 grams total.

The Passe-Partout roving from the last days is 325 m out of 100 grams.

The dark green Nunoco batt yielded 239 m out of the 50 grams.

And it’s light green sister that I combined with my most precious silk and a white fairytale batt: 348 m out of 140 grams total.

The others are smaller skeins. Very suitable to combine with other yarns. For example as a colourful accent in a shawl or as part of mittens.

What a result!
I wanted to spin more green and I have. I also wanted to spin some of my most prized possessions and I did that too. So brave!
I also wanted to spin three fleeces on my Countryspinner (Pip, the Horse for Spinning) but Pip has not left the stable at all. All spinning was done at my regular wheel.
I did prep nearly all of the Bowmont fleece so some fleece was involved this Tour de Fleece.

Now it’s time to knit with these gorgeous handspuns. But first I have to soak the skeins, to make them into proper yarn. Luckily today is soup day, I’ll have a bucket of hot water at the end of today.

I particularly enjoyed spinning the Mulberry Silk. On its own and in the roving of Passe-Partout.

update: ack! I just spend time setting the twist on all the skeins, with the hot water from the soup cooling. Rinsing them in a particular order, keeping in mind residu spinning oil (Shetland), colours that tend to bleed (bluegreens, they didn’t) and the yellows (they did). Don’t put the wet whites on the coloured ones at any point.
Putting them all through the centrifuge. Putting them all on the drying rack, remembering to “twang” the silks to align the fibres.
Dry the centrifuge, the floor and the kitchen. Put on dry socks.
Sit on couch.
See the skeins from frogged Fractal Spun Jumper I mentioned this morning. They needed rinsing too, to get the crinkles out and make them knitting yarns again. Ack! I forgot them!

Fractal spun Passe-Partout pullover

Once upon a time, in 2011 to be exact, I ordered a custom dye job from Passe-Partout to make a little jumper from. I asked for fibres and colours that would suit me. Talk about a difficult prompt!
This is what she send:

It’s non-superwash BFL. BFL for its long soft fibres, non-SW because I don’t need that chemical treatment of my yarns (except for sockyarn).

The colours are happy and not basic (crayon-colours). The two skeins are not the same but the colours sure are related.

Her idea was to have one single with long colour repeats and one with lots of coloured specks that would liven up the thread.
This was my introduction to fractal spinning.

I spun one roving from begin to end, creating long colour blocks. The other one I tore into thin strips that each barely needed drafting, only a little twist. To preserve more intense colouring.

Combined the two singles looked like this. A ball of yarn knitted up in a front and a back panel:

The resulting jumper blocked:

I knitted this in 2012 and that’s when I learned that 200 grams is not enough for a jumper (what was I thinking? I still found it difficult to spend money on quality for myself back then)
To give it more width I added side seam panels:

It’s another handspun from a roving handdyed by Dutch Wool Diva called Comfort:

It too has multiple colours that work together well. But it’s not fractal spun.

The two yarns work together very well, the jumper really is a favourite!

Unfortunately I knit it back when I thought wearing ease was for crocheters. Because knitting stretches!
Yeah… it does. But wearing something that’s tight all the time is no fun. It’s not too tight. It’s just not comfortable.

This jumper is such a succes in other ways. The spinning, the knitting, the colours, the combination with the other yarn, the way I managed to keep the colours running even though I had to separate for the shoulders. And how I decided to not work in the round so the long colour repeats would end up in thicker stripes. When I found out I had miscalculated gauge and could not fit into the jumper I thought of the DWD wool and invented the side strips.
Yes, a very succesful jumper in every way. Except for the wearing part.

I’ve had the jumper laying around for admiration. Another legitimate use of knitwear!
For the last half year it’s been in my drawer of remembrance. But lately it’s been laying about the place again. Because I’m going to frog it.
And then reknit it. On larger needles. It was knitted on 3,5 mm but this can easily be done on 5 mm. Or on 3,5 mm with my new looser gauge.

(I could just add a wider strip at the sides, I still have a bit of DWD Comfort left. I’ll have a look about that. The tighter gauge at which this soft BFL is knitted does prevent pilling…)

One hour after I wrote this post:

Tdf 21: 325 m of Passe-Partout’s gorgeousness

A Dutch woman won the women’s race on Champs d’Elysees!
Anna van der Breggen!

It was a raining pipestalks, as we like to say here in the Netherlands, which is to say it rained heavily. All the soot and dirt detached from the road surface -pittoresque cobble stones!- and the road became every slippery.
Lots of riders fell. Some got seriously hurt.
I spun my second bobbin full of singles during that race, stopping and holding my breath frequently.

The first bobbin I had spun from end to end, making fairly long stretches per colour.
For the second bobbin I split up the roving in smaller strips so the colours would change faster.
This is called “fractal spinning”

In the evening the men’s race was adapted, there was to be no racing to minimize accidents. Just a little sprint at the end, when the roads were dry again and all the dirt had been washed away during the down pours earlier in the day.
The sprint was won by Greipel.
During this race I plied my singles and I had to peddle hard to finish just as the riders crossed the finish line. So now I know it takes 3 hours of serious spinning to get 325 m of yarn plied. In those 3 hours had to lie down for 30 minutes twice.

The result is a striping yarn with all harmonious colours. There are no hard breaks, colourwise.

With a little bit of luck each yarn has one stage where working with it is a sheer joy. It can be the knitting. It can be wearing the finished product.
Spinning offers more stages.

This yarn had its peak during the spinning of the singles. That’s where the silk shone. Where the colours excelled and interacted. Where the spinner gets some sort of conversation with the dyer. Especially when the sun light was falling on the drafting zone it was absolute joy.
So much colours. Such delicacy.

The plying was not much fun. The colours did not interact the way I anticipated (and I’m not particularly good with reality not confirming to my expectations).
One plus one did not bloom into more than the sum of the two. It ended up rather brown…

This is a tricky stage. I might be fooled into thinking this yarn is no good and might hesitate to knit with it. But the joy/quality of knitting the yarn and having a finished object from it cannot be predicted at this stage. I have to do it to find out.

The old ceramic pipes with their long stalks that give pouring rain its name:
pic by Goedewaagen which still sells old fashioned quality handmade ceramics.

TdF 19: 239 m sparkle

I spun the Nunoco batt that I got in the swap. I tore the batt in two and made a 2ply.

It was so soft! And very sparkly. This really is a top of the range spinning fibre. But I think I prefer others… This one is so delicate. I think I prefer my delicate spinning fibres to come rolags (think cashmere, yak, camel down, Bowmont) or locks (Bowmont, Saxon Merino, Shetland)

It’s a very pretty yarn. I already see a lace cap, to wear when I’m insecure about my hair. Lace with sparkling beads. In a pattern from the old days, when girl’s caps differed from boy’s caps.

It’s 239 metres out of 50 grams. It’s a heavy lace.

How are the cardigans doing?

Currently I’m working on three cardigans. Here’s an update.

Pumpkin Ale in Wollmeise twin:

I finished the collar. Repaired any wonky stitches before I bound off.
The pattern says to use an i-cord bind off. That’s a nice and sturdy bind off but it does take a long time to knit on such a long piece.

Besides cumbersomeness the icord also presents this problem: because my rowgauge is so different from my/the pattern’s stitchgauge I’d have to work really loose (byebye sturdiness) or work in some shortrows (hellohello more cumbersomeness).

I explored it a bit but I opted for another solution: work 2 rows in stockinette stitch then do a stretchy bind off from the Wrong Side.
It’s neat. It’s sturdy. And it was fast.

Never mind that I had to unpick a whole row because I was working it on the Right Side first, because I did 3 rows of st. st. because I thought it would better roll.

Here’s a try out from the right side (bottom) and confirmation that binding off from the other side works better (top):

Now I’m ready to take on the sleeves. But this requires a bit of study and thinking because there’s a lace pattern involved. So I’m distracting myself with the sleeves of Holle Cardi:

Yes I finished the body. With a lot of twisted stitches. They seemed to go on forever!

Luckily the sleeve is easy. Just basic pick up stitches and short row down.
Only it wasn’t that easy. (Is it ever?)
I wanted a neat pick up line so I picked up in every stitch. Then I had to decrease 25% which is ugly when combined with the short rows so I did one row before starting with the short rows. Which is ok because Holle Cardi is a bit snug in the shoulders. And in the back. And the left front panel. And the right front panel.

It makes me a bit nervous, all this snugness. I’m not very good with wearing ease. But I know Wollmeise relaxes significantly with blocking. I’m counting on that. Still a bit nervous though because you never know…
I think I’ll block the bodice first before I pick up stitches for the button bands.

But first the sleeves: just round and round and round downwards. I will have to think about how long I want the sleeves to be. And I want a lace detail at the bottom, just like in the cardi that inspired me, this one by Jettshin:.

The third cardigan in progress is Contiguous Blue:

I only had a certain amount of yarn left so I started on the sleeve. I was to knit the sleeves first and then throw everything I had at the body and hope it would knit up long enough.

But then I found an extra ball of yarn!
Seeing that Donegal yarn comes in sweet little balls of 250 grams now I have enough. I could make this a calf length cardi, should I desire so.

I desire it not.