Weird Wool Wednesday: I’m blaming you

That’s right, blogreader. Now you’ve gone and done it!
Look at where you’re making me spend today:

In a rustic corner of my antique house, surrounded by wool and exquisite lighting. How dare you.

You made me want to knit this little tunicdress in that green handspun. Badly!

Remember this? You liked it. You did!
Now I’ve been obsessing about it for months and I really want to wear it at the Countryfair in June where the owner of the sheep will be. The Clun Forest I went on and on about in the Tour de Fleece.
But I still can’t knit! I’m looking for alternative ways left and right, curling my little brain in all kinds of Brioche.

So I swapped favours with my friend Pauli -the one who made the chicken clutch!– and she’s going to knit it. She needs the yarn by next Saturday and she may be able to finish it before the fair!

But the commercial pattern we were looking at is not exactly what I want it to be.
So now I’m spending hours and hours writing my own pattern.

I’m knitting in my head! In exquisite surroundings! With tea and chocolate nearby!
I’m so telling on you.

PS. this is where I’ll be forced to drink said tea:

There’s even a rose in bloom outside I’ll have to look at. Sigh!


not knitting in the city

I’m in the city and I have a new cowl:

This is handspun BFL in lovely colours. It was spun by Pimmie who is the one I know that spins fleece for money on a regular basis. Other people do sell their handspun but spinning for money is actually Pimmie’s job.
For fun, she spun this buttery soft BFL, in colours that make me happy and that fit the colours of my face.
I traded it for a rainbow of Jacquard acid dyes. (some DIY required to get that rainbow)

Today I’ve been wearing my cowl like this all day. Also out of the house! I’ve been to the doctors’ like this. I’ve walked around the city, visiting shops, like this. And I’ve walked like this in front of all the people sitting at terrace cafées, enjoying the first sunny day of the May holidays.
I’m also wearing two different socks:

I have another pair like this at the cabin. I keep exchanging them, never bringing a matching pair together…

Yes, I’m a knitter living dangerously!
(also: I’m tired. You can tell from the picture. I had a very busy day yesterday with train rides and attending a singing performance and meeting friends and family I hadn’t seen in decades. So today is a slow day, a day of recouperation. That means sipping tea on the couch and twirling a spindle.
And walking around town in the sunshine, wearing a yarn cowl and two different socks.

Tomorrow I’ll drive to another friends house and she will have spindles to play with. Initially I was to visit her today but her neighbours decided to do some noisy DIY today.
My friend is smart and caring and she told me to stay away and come tomorrow instead.
You can tell by the ear mufflers that I’m not particular good with noise today.

I prefer my DIY to be quiet, with yarn!

Making Spindles

I confess, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of spindle spinning.

I’ve got the Enid Ashcroft turkish spindle. It’s small and that means it spins fast. I love it! It’s a Midge, 13 grams.

pic by Enid Ashcroft

Besides this one I’ve got two top whorl drop spindles made from a dowel with a toy wheel on top. They spin fast too, faster than spindles with the wheels at the bottom.
But they don’t spin long…

They are lovely to spin “rustic” yarn with. From fun batts, standing or walking on wool gatherings or in the garden. In fun colours.
Especially colours that match the spindles, that makes it extra fun! Giggling while spinning? It’s the best!

But for expert spinning I crave more turkish spindles. But I don’t want to spend money on commercial spindles (they are expensive!). So I made one myself. I used this tutorial.
I carved it from a little oak tree in my garden:

It’s really small. I purposely made it with short “legs” so it spins fast. It does!
You can see a turtle from the Enid Ashcroft turkish spindle in the back, to get an idea of the size of this one. It’s about the size of a Midge.
It’s quite good, for a first handmade one.
But it will take a little disassembling once it’s full.

I’m looking to make another one who disassembles more easily. For that I split some old, dried oak length wise. You can see the parts lying there.
They need a hole drilled in the middle to put the shaft in. (The drill is in the city). The shaft will grow smaller towards the top.

Both spindles are carved with my wood knive, a Norwegian spike knive.
I love wood carving. I don’t like wood turning much. Nor sanding it down.
The guy who taught me to carve an Inuit Kayak with just a wood knive explained that sanding down is the very last step, if done at all. After sanding you should not use your knive again since the residue of the sanding paper will make your knive dull.

Good tools and fun displays are important in life:

On a roll!

These are the little fibre candies I send to two fellow spinners:

Each “blob” of fibre is 20 grams. There’s Merino and Shetland and BFL and Silk and Baby Camel and a particular soft blend of Alpaca and Silk from Coldharbour mill in Devon, UK.

I dragged all the boxes of fibre I have from the wool room and spend a lovely day sorting them and making rolls:

I tried making rolls directly on my blending board but I found out I do better when I first card a batt on my carder. Then I put it onto the blending board in bits and make it into a roll using two dowels.

It is such fun to do!
I couldn’t stop and made some rolls for me too:

Merino, silk, glitter and bits of mustard coloured textured silk.

Previously I found out that I don’t particular like to spin from batts -fibre flying everywhere- but rolled into rolls I quite like it! On a spindle that is, spinning rolls on a spinning wheel is not my cup of tea, I prefer rollags or roving.

Can’t wait to play with these:

Because I so like the subtle colours in the rolls from Sasssefras I showed yesterday I tried my hand at a batt (and rolls) in warm greys in some of the high end fibres for me too.
Here’s a soft, soft cloud of Silk, Baby Camel and Merino. It’s so soft you can barely feel it! I still have to make it into rolls but I wonder very much how it spins up on my Turkish spindle.

I put little streaks of lilac in it, to mimic the magic Sasssefras made.

Spinning mad

I’m spinning on my Turkish spindle every day now.
With some Dutch spinners we started a group where people make small bundles of fibre for each other. Batches of 20 grams. In nice colours, nice fibres.
This arrived in my mailbox the other day:

5 x 20 grams of various fibres from Sasssefras, a person who’s famous for making excellent little rolls.

The green silvery rolls made me squeek with joy and I put them on my spindle immideately.

They go fantastically well with my ring! It’s a big old rock, nearly an inch high, caught in faux gold.
It’s my Secret Mountain Fairy Queen ring.
I wear it this time of year (Feb thru May) and it makes my spirit travel to the mountains of Norway. It’s also an hommage to Frau Holle, that ancient European goddess (from before Celts, Vikings, Romans) who resides in a mountain and spins the threads of life.

Ooops, is my personal tag of madness hanging out again?
A more rational person would have rephrased it like: “spinning great fibre with good tools is as much a spiritual experience as it is one of skills.”
And we would all nod understandingly and not feel the flurry of fibre butterflies around our hearts 😉

Look at this roll, who thinks off adding a bit of lilac to a roll that’s all warm greys and warm greens??
Sasssefras would. She’s a master of colour.

Every thread I wind upon the turtle gives such delight. The fibres, the softness, the glitter, the colours. The precision with which I add twist. Pure delight.

I spin on the couch. I spin outside. As long as I manage to catch the rays of sunshine on my spinning thread, it’s all good.

So many subtle colours… going through a roll is like a journey through colours and textures.

Turtles having the last laugh

I put the skein of gold spindlespun silk through the spinning wheel, to add a bit more twist. Here you see at the top the original yarn and at the bottom the one with added twist. My fingers keep the twist from travelling into the top part.

I hope you can see it, it’s not easy making the iPad focus when you hold it with one hand and hold thread with the other. (I used my nose to tell it where to focus.)(I had a hard time convincing it that the radiator isn’t nearly as interesting as string)

But it worked. The extra twist now makes this yarn more like stringed pearls. Just the way I like it. It will wear well, pill less and withstand extreme blocking.
Great for a lace shawl!

However, putting in the extra twist didn’t go without trouble…

The skein was on my skeinwinder, on top of my Louet, and it got caught in the hooks of the flyer and then it went “Wieeeeew!” wrssswfrrrtblb!

Of course I couldn’t let go of the yarn (on the left, outside of frame) to stop it quickly. Then I had to keep hold of the twist while untangling all this. Which took quite a bit. (and this wasn’t the first time either but I didn’t take a picture the first time because, you know, these things happen)

Then 5 minutes later…. it happened again:

Those blasted turtles fighting me for the very last meter!
They sure got the last laugh.

How come I never see these kind of things on other blogs?

Well, since sealife mocks my spinning, I might as well end this post with a seal that hiccups.

Please know that when I laugh too much I get hiccups.
This seal makes me laugh.
Too much.

Two toned shawls

You can knit a shawl out of one skein of fingering yarn (sock yarn weight but mostly softer than sockyarn). Such a skein is 100 grams and has about 400 m of yarn on it.

Many shawls at the moment combine two skeins, just to make the shawl more wrappable. A bit more yardage, a bit more warmth.
I love colour contrast and it suits my face so I love these kind of shawls. This week I made a trade with someone and she is going to knit a shawl for me, out of two skeins from my stash.

The pattern is Me and You…and you and me from Fiddleknits
pic by hummingbirdtx
pic by knitcrazycpa

So I spend some time “tossing the stash” to chose which yarns to send. I found some lovely combinations.
Now I want all these shawls!

This is the combination my friend is going to knit:

A Merino Lace from 100%wool -the one I tried to make into Brioche with a white lace– and a OOAK handdyed silk single from Bart&Francis from Belgium.

Both are boldy coloured skeins but the striping in the pattern will tone them down, perhaps even give the illusion of green (I lóve green).

Fiddleknits has another shawl pattern coming out next month, it’s a sister design to the one above.
I chose these colours for it:
A Seasons and Elements from Moonwise in Cassis with a dark silvery Krokus from Dutch Knitting Design.
You wouldn’t believe how soft these yarns are!

Then I found an orange The Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga! with a OOAK handdyed silk merino mix from Dutch Knitting Design:

I have no pattern in mind for this one but I love how the combination is way out of my comfort zone or my habits in combining colours.
A Rhubarb green and red with orange? Go me!

In my queue is still the Rockefeller for which I chose the colours months ago. My handspun with a pale blue lace from Colourmart held triple.

pic by IgnorantBliss
Some of my friends have made this design and added some intelligent tweaks, to make it perfect and neat in all its details. I’ve been impatiently waiting for my shoulder to heal because I cannot wait to follow the trail along the pattern and their technical tweaks! And I get to knit it with my handspun, such a treat.

Digging through the stash I ran into plenty single skeins I’ve planned to turn into shawls for a while now.
Like this Drops Kid Silk into a Boo Knits Temptress shawl, with big old beads.

pic by Boo-knits

Yes, I made a Temptress before

I need another one! A fluffy one!

And this steel colours tencel that needs just a little bit encouragement to become a finished Spikey Gothic Neckwarmer. It has steel coloured Miyuki beads…

And then there’s this wonder of a skein, handdyed sock yarn by Wol met Verve:

Its colours are very much out of my comfort zone (just like the Rabarber skein up top, the one I’m going to combine with the orange Skinny Bugga).
But I love it and have been admiring this skein for a year now. There are so many colours and nuances in it!

It requires a clever approach, colour wise, because a skein like this will pool and flash and might loose a lot of its subtleties if the colours are not mounted right.
So I’m thinking knitting in the round, stacking the colours. Then perhaps steeking? Or weaving. Or crocheting freeform and let the colours guide. Or using elongated stitches.

I’m going to have a long hard think about it to find out how to make this gorgeous skein into a gorgeous piece of fabric.
Might just as well because I still cannot knit a stitch… I tried some knitting the other day -on those blasted leg warmers- and my shoulder pain came back. Together with tingling in my fingers. Even a whip like sting.
I’d better play by the rules and stick to playing with yarn and colours in my head.