Weird Wool Wednesday: my head is spinning

It’s the last day of February and I have done so much spinning here, over the past three months:
Unfortunately it’s been mostly in my head, the spinning.

Now the months are changing and my eye for colour is already veering away from solely in-between-time whites. There’s light green seeping in. But I haven’t finished my spinning!

The washed Saxon Merino is all flicked and ready to spin. A delight! I only need to go sit and enjoy. There’s a box of organic sheep ready for flicking. Another joy! Just go sit.

More Saxon Merino, not yet washed. I was going to wash this, at the start of December:

I did set the twist in the few skeins that I did spun, somewhere before February:

They say that you do not need to produce art to be an artist, you can be an artist in your head. I wish this to be true for a yarn spinner too.
If only those boxes of fleece would conveniently be out of sight to facilitate this illusion…


finished some handspun

172 meters 3 ply sock yarn from this roving:

Hedgehog Fibres. It spun like a dream.

172 meters is less than I aimed for but when combined with another yarn they will become nice hiking socks.

Finished: handspun Feather and Fan shawl

My plan for larger stripes at the bottom did not work out as well as I thought. I’m also not convinced about the obvious “stripeyness” of this shawl, I prefer the more toned down green one.

Still, I’m wearing it today. It’s nice and soft and just as functional as my green one. I think when worn the colours may blend in with each other, conveying a greyish purply shawl. Definitely less contrast then the green one.

It’s the same size as the shawl Ribbels made:

I used up all the 100 grams and all the 357 m. I think I got 1 m left of the Dutch Wool Diva Sassy.

Spinning for a triangle shawl

This spinning fibre was given to me last Wednesday by Pukkieplanta:
 (sorry for the early gloomy Autumn Sunday picture)
It’s Dutch Wool Diva Sassy which is a soft South American wool with 20% soy silk. Soy silk does not take up colour well so the end result will have a misty appearance. This is from her Spin Fibre Club February 2016.
I love the colours! Grey, Fliederbush and ice blues. I cannot help but put it on the wheel asap.

I’m planning to make this shawl from it:
handspun handknitted green shawl
It’s Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl 
This particular one is already mine and I wear it a lot. It was made by Ribbels and is actually her first handspun. That’s pretty special and she noticed that she doesn’t wear it so she was willing to sell it to someone who’ll wear it and love it. I gave my first handspun away and have always regretted it. So I really enjoy wearing it. I’m wearing it today.

It’s a triangle shawl and this is significant for colour handling when spinning. Sara Bradberry has some really good pictures on her site which explain:
pic by Sarah Bradberry
pic by Sarah Bradberry
This shows that the first couple of rows of the project will be shorter than the later ones. I am going to build this into the spinning project because I would like a shawl that has some colours at the top but long rows of the same colour at the bottom. Just like my shawl by Ribbels has, with its distinguishable darker green rows at the bottom.

Unbraided it turns out my fibre is one sequence of four colours:
 (still 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning)
I’ll be spinning a 2-ply. If I split the roving in two, 50 grams for each single, I could do fractal spinning:
 (look, somebody turned on the lights)
On the top is one single going through the four colours once. On the bottom the second single going through the colours twice.

I don’t want a gradient shawl though, not one single going through the four colours. I want the colours to repeat at least once. And I can’t just divide them up evenly because the triangle shawl has longer rows on the bottom then at the top.
For that one single going through the colours I will not make every colour the same length. Here you see me trying things out for one single, in a small blurry picture: 25 grams in 4 colours on the left + 25 grams in 2 x 4 colours on the right:

Below is my eventual preparation. On the top is the fibre for one single. This will be the main colour transition and it will have shorter repeats on one side and longer on the other.

The ball on the top right is 25 grams, it has one knot. The middle one is 16 grams, it has two knots. The top right one is 8 grams and has three knots. They all transition through the colours once. The knots tell me which one to spin first.
 (aw a little bit of sunshine!)
On the bottom is the 50 grams for the second single. It transitions through the colours pretty fast. Although the ones on the left are a bit heavier than the ones on the right and will have longer repeats.

That card with the coloured sheep is a holiday card from Spectre. With it came 2 kilos of amazing salt! I thrive on salt, as you know, with my ridiculously low blood pressure, and good salt really is as valuable as coffee or pearls to me. Talk about a loved souvenir 😀

So that’s my day today, as we have the first cold and dark Autumn day: spinning some soft fibre in great colours and having funny sheep greetings in all the colours and having salt and coffee and a warm shawl around my neck.

Spring spinning clean up.

End of Winter, new things are developing:
This is how I like snowdrops the most, with their neat little bells.

Today I’m spinning some of the Iboy Wintersilk and the colours of the Great Tit came by:
Koolmeespic by Harmen de Vries
We call it “koolmees” in Dutch, “coal-bird”, because of it’s black face.
“Mees” being the same word/bird as the German “Meise” in Wollmeise:

Shhh, it’s all connected. Wool is everywhere in the world!

Tell that to the squirrel whose nest blew out of the tree tops yesterday. He lost all the merino that he stole over the past year from my fleece rug FIP (felting in progress):
Last Autumn the squirrel stole my merino from the Fleece I was felting into a rug. Then lost it from its nest in one of the Spring storms.UntitledUntitled
What a nice cosy winternest he had made with it!
Just now, I put all this back under the car port, where he can find it again.

I myself am also riding a new wind (is that a polite expression in English? Not sure.) and changing living arrangements involving wool because I have decided to sell my spinning wheel!
This one:
Mirabelle handmade spinningwheel based on MajacraftMirabelle handmade spinningwheel based on Majacraft
The all-round, multi-purpose, hand made copy of Majacraft’s best: the Mirabelle.

It’s an excellent wheel, specifically made for someone with joint pains: no trembling, adjustable heights and angles. It carries big Louet S10 bobbins and can spin the whole range from art yarns to Long Draw. And it is collapsable for easy transport. Sturdy oak.

I cannot really rationalize why I’m ready to part with this wheel…
I don’t do art yarns much (which is why the Countryspinner is being sold too, gasp). For Long Draw I have my antique Finnish wheel which is made for just that.
My default spinning weight is thicker than most people spin on these supple modern wheels and I love to do that on the vintage Louet S70 (of which I have two, ahum) so why should I keep a wheel that’s equipped for so much more?

Modern wheels, like this Mirabelle, allow you to always spin in your most comfortable way and adjust the wheel to get different weights or yarns.
Turns out that I’m in the minority that instead likes to adjust my technique to the wheel. I love to spin everything on the S70 and just change my speed of treadling, the way I hold my hands or how much I have to “fight” the wheel in order to produce different kind of yarns. Since I don’t spin much thin yarns I don’t need a supple, advanced wheel. Besides, with a stable of seven wheels selling two sounds reasonable 🙂

So it’s for sale. And I’m all right with that. I think.
I’m in conversation with a German lady who got the scoop on my intention and is first in line. I’m waiting to hear back from her, she has not replied for several days now but she does have the flu so I’m waiting a bit longer.


In the mean time I cleaned out the bobbins and made a photoshoot of the wheel. Man, this is a good wheel! So much attention has been given to the technical details…
There are about ten of these Mirabelles in existence. I doubt there’ll be any more. The maker is a wood worker and metal worker and his wife spins and has joint pains so the concept of these wheels was well studied and executed.
If you want to, here’s the photo-album on Flickr with lots of pictures and explanations.

This is the only Mirabelle that carries big bobbins, apart from the one his wife has. I feel like a fool parting with it… big bobbins that can spin stable Long Draw, that’s like the unicorn of spinning wheels! I must be a fool for thinking about selling. What’s in this Spring air??


I made some yarns.

One more silk ball spun into yarn:

74 meters out of 20 grams, fingering weight. Worsted spun.

The “bunny batts” that Gwen the Random Knitter gave me at the Knit&Knot Wool fair:
 Two skeins of 68 meters, each in a gradiënt.

I dyed 500 grams of a Merino sport in a nice cool light grey:

(Cake for white value.)

It’s for a Pumpkin Ale cardigan which will have a different cable motif on the back panel, I’m leaning towards the cables from A Floral Affair, by Hanna Maciejewska:

The dyed yarn is beautifully soft and bouncy. And round plied. Very good for cables. I dyed it in my big pot. 5 skeins of 100 grams can be swished around in it comfortably, ensuring a reasonably even dye.

The skeins for the workshop Mushroom Dyeing are properly mordanted now:

The wool bloomed beautifully. No spinoil residu. But they do feel a bit sticky because of the alum.

And I just finished plying this Merino Silk blend:

Dyed by Passe-Partout, spun into aran weight, 80 grams, 180 meters

This roving was fractal spun:

I took out some of the bright pink and also some of the bordeaux on the single with the short colour repeats. Because I wanted a yarn with a little less contrast.

The idea is to knit another Rikke hat, in a more greenish colourway:

Right, I’m off to set some twist.


Tour de Fleece prize received

This week I received my prize for participating in the Tour de Fleece event of the Dutch Karma Swap Group.
In TdF we share our spinning projects for 3 weeks and in the end we all donate a prize and then we all get to choose a prize, in an order that’s determined by a random generator. It’s a really fun and friendly event and it doesn’t matter how much you spun or how often you post.

I chose “Batts made in the colour of your liking” and I liked  the colour “birch”.

This was a bit of a challenge for my friend from the NKS who adores colour-colours but she welcomed the challenge and made me some birch:

It’s BFL (white and oatmeal) and some grey Merino, black wool with silk, white silk, green wool and sparkly Angelina.
90 grams in total.

This will be a nice spinning project in any time of the year! Especially if the day is calm and tranquil. Perhaps a silent Winter day?

For project I’m thinking this could be a yarn with some kind of structure which can be an accent in a woven fabric of solid, light colour. Becoming the front of a cushion.

Spun a Sockyarn in One Weekend!

Finish Photo! Ran out of yarn right on the 7 o’clock finish line:

Here are my finished skeins: the sockyarn, my meager turtle silk and some random stuff I found lingering on my bobbin.

This was this morning, around half past five:

Yawn…. Let’s do this!

At half past six I was well on my way. I had tea, I was spinning in my pjama’s and was watching Along The Lanes knitter’s podcast. My life choices were still audibly questioned:

On 5 minutes to 7 my first strand ran out. The rest will be 2ply.

I marked the transition with a bit of pink thread. When knitting I’ll change needle size here. Or start a lace pattern or something. Now I had 5 minutes left until the deadline and I started peddling like mad. 2ply does take more twist than a 3 ply.

Earlier on I had marked another transition, it was when I ran out of Wensleydale and used a second strand of Hollands Sheep instead in the 3 ply:

There was Holland Sheep on the Wensleydale bobbin because on Sunday I had tried to transfer the Hollands Sheep entirely to another bobbin because I needed its original bobbin for the plying. I only have three bobbins that fit this wheel, you see.

So the vintage Louet S70 was brought downstairs and I started transferring the Hollands Sheep to it. But I hadn’t put in enough twist I guess because it kept breaking. It made for a very frustrating hour on Sunday Afternoon! Until I decided to transfer the Wensleydale instead. I just continued on the same bobbin and left the Holland Sheep as is:

The lack of twist in the Holland Sheep came back to bite me again in the end because after 7 o’clock I thought I’d chain-ply the rest of the single and use up all the singles I’d made. It wouldn’t play. Breakage. Frustration:

So at 7:02 I called it quits.

End result:

Here’s a picture of Sunday when I plied what little silk I had spun:

I put it right on top of one of my sock yarn singles since they are spun in the other direction than the silk singles. Before plying I took off the silk and counted its metres.

And I also plied some green single that was lingering on my bobbin into chainply.

Overall I made 275 m of sockyarn and have spun 1128 competition metres in total. A little more actually because I have not counted the few metres left of Hollands Sheep. But who cares. Pimmie, the organizing spinner, has spun over 6000 metres and made over 2000 metres of yarn this weekend! And she has 3 children! Including twins!

She used the long draw technique which yields a lot of metres fast. It’s the ultimate woolen spinning technique and my favourite, together with the ultimate worsted which requires smooth, well prepared fibres suchs as Mulberry silk. Long Draw also requires well prepared fibres: hand carded rolags. Pimmie spend a lot of time making those, prior to the competition:

Ohoooo, when I see this I want to card rolags by the box full too!

Longdraw is such a fun way of spinning. It gives bouncy, light, warm yarn. My Sprig pullover is spun longdraw (even though I used batts instead of rolags, shh, don’t tell). It was Longdraw on a vintage Louet wheel even!

I’m sure I’ll spin Longdraw again soon. In the mean time I’m looking forward to knit some socks with this:

Spinning like mad

This morning, starting with the second breed:
While wearing my Bines socks!

I finished it this afternoon:

That’s the podcast from RandomGwen I’m watching, the Random Knitter!

Just a minute ago, I finished spinning the third breed:


Now starting plying. I’ve got till tomorrow morning 7 o’clock. Knees, back and fingers ache…

I usually go make things ready for bed at this time (9 o’clock at night) so I’ll be asleep by 10:30. I’m going to stretch things a bit. Then I usually wake up at 5 o’clock, wait for 45 minutes until my pills kick in and then I can get up and get dressed. That will give me another solid hour of plying.

It is do-able…. if I start NOW.

Talk to you tomorrow!