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.

 

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Tour de Fleece day 5: passe-partout “grey”

Spinning a new top: Passe-partout Merino Silk. Hoping to combine it with the Wolop Dutch Grey from yesterday which turned out to 484 meters of DK yarn. Which may not be enough for a vest. My Grover Hilja took 525 m.

By drafting the Passe-partout roving from end to end the colours blend and I get a marvellous variegated grey that’ll go nicely with the Wolop yarn:

I wasn’t able to spin much today, most “spinning” was done by Lillepoes:

Weaving: warping with a knitting tool.

Finally! I’m warping my new (to me) loom. It’s an Ashford Rigid Heddle, 80 cm wide, with a stand. It’s much lighter than my Glimakra and this one will not damage the table top.

It has a fairly low stand and I’ve learned that most people weave sitting down. Either with the loom on a stand like this or with the loom in their lap, its far end resting on a table top.

I love to stand while weaving, I’ve never done otherwise to be honest. But I’m going to give sitting down a try. This loom is so light I can carry it from this room to the sitting room easily so I have numerous chairs to choose from. It also invites me to declutter the floor, which my husband thinks is a good enough reason to tolerate another wooden wool toy in the house..

Tie Rack (Closetmaid) pic by Joe Hall

To warp with even length I was having a look out for those vintage racks people used to hang their ties on. So I saw the potential when I found a bag of Chinese plastics called knitters looms/aids when I strolled through the Action:

A couple of clamps and go warp!

On the other side the warping yarn is on my ball holder:

My yarn ball holder is one of the knitter tools I never thought I needed but now I feel such luxury whenever I use it. It’s wooden and it takes up space and it’s a well made piece of equipment, artisan made.
And it’s multifunctional as it turns out to be!

I’m warping a length of 1.90 m for a cloth of about 65 cm wide. I’m using a high end light fingering I bought at Spinspul at Knit & Knot Fair in Tilburg:

It will shift the colour of two weft yarns which both come from this little number:

It’s the weird hat I knitted but never wore. Pattern inspiration is the wonderful designer Lee Meredith.

The lighter yarn is that beautiful Passe-Partout handspun that I’ve been trying to make into something great for years now….

Fulled singles, 283 m out of 100 grams of really soft BFL.

It has been a shawl, another hat…

At least by now I know this yarn doesn’t knit up really great on its own, colourwise. Combining it with the Wollmeise Lace colour Grand Mère did wonders in that one hat, every colour nuance showed:

It will do wonders in the weaving too.
I don’t know how yet, because I’m a beginner. I have two large weaving sticks, each filled with one colour, and I will alternate them in the weft. I don’t know yet in which rhythm, I’ll have to play.
Colours are in the palette I’m loving at the moment so I’m really looking forward to make a usable garment/item with these yarns and these tools.

 

PS warping this way gives a more consistent length to all the warp threads. When I used the umbrella the outer threads were longer than the middle ones. This can cause a difference in tension. It will definite cause extra loss of yarn because you’ll have to cut away the excess at the sides, in the end.

PS 2

I may have miscalculated how much yarn the warp or the weft takes. It’s difficult to predict because the warp is a wool thread under tension and will therefor spring back more then the weft.

In previous projects I often have more weft yarn but no warp left. For this project I keep in mind I can use the left over yarn to add details with. Perhaps use knitting or crocheting as a border or to attach woven panels together. (just a little note to myself)

Spin a yarn, have a treat.


204 meters out of 100 grams.

It’s the BFL hand dyed by Passe-Partout that I received in the Elementary, My Dear swap:

It’s Fractal Spun:

The person who gave me this great roving is coming here today, for a lazy afternoon of knitting and sweets. No worries, just hanging out:

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 09.35.15
I have the sweets, you bring your knitting.

I, being the perfect host, am having breakfast at the moment by sampling the pears with custard:

Approved.

(The pears were cooked with ginger and kardemom, in addition to the cinneamon (and two clovers if I had been able to find them). It adds a delicious flavour to it. The pears themselves are organic, they have more flavour than regular ones.
The custard I made myself: unwhipped cream, egg yokes, vanilla, salt and pepper. YUM!)

A swap received!

We’ve just had a swap in the Dutch Karma Swap Group. It was a secret one and it was called “Elementary, my dear.”
Revolving around British detective stories!

You were to send a package to your swappee without revealing your identity. Some clues should be given so that the receiver could go investigating. For the past two weeks packages have been received and people have been guessing and in the group we’ve had the most fun trying to steer them this way and that.

Look at what arrived at my house:

Wonderfully wrapped presents and clues! Done with much attention!
I love all the nice papers and labels! Such an harmonious combination but with funny details and no shying away from colours.
I think that in itself is a clue towards the identity of my anonymous sender.

There was a real treasure map/clue letter, cleverly not handwritten because that I would trace back to someone:

In rhyme!

From this letter I deduced that my swapper is a person who’s intelligent and humourous and knows her way around computers. And has a natural eye for details.

This focused me on a sub set of members of the group who are currently in higher education or are known for a high degree of finesse when it comes to crafting.
Also probably no kids or chronic illness to distract the mind.

Next was a major clue! The letter was sealed with a personal seal:

A “G”! There were no participants with ravelry-names starting with “G”… but this seal is too special to own for merely a Ravelry nickname, no, it’s probably the first letter of their real name. Something to investigate!

Also, whoever owns a seal and sealing wax and knows how to use it properly must be somewhat of a geek.
However, that does not narrow down the field particularly with the participants in this swap.

I unwrapped some more.
The four small packages contained written clues in a certain order. Each was in a lovely quirky paper. I think they come from a brand called Flow, which is a magazine and sometimes gives out nice printed pieces of paper.
I know at least two participants who revels in paper and stationary and this particular magazine…. Made a little mental note.

The two large packages contained high quality spinning fibres!

BFL, Mulberry Silk and Merino by Hilltop Cloud and BFL by Passe-Partout!
The last one I know well, the former will be an lovely exploration. By the looks of things it will be a delight to spin, it’s soft and beautiful in colouring.
Looking at the site of Hilltop Cloud I’m getting even more enthousiastic. A one woman entreprise, focussing on specifically spinning quality. Yes please!

My secret swapper had done a marvellous job, choosing these fibres for me. My favourite fibres (BFL and Mulberry Silk) and great colours.
This had been some excellent sleuthing on her behalf!

There final package contained a large bar of chocolate with hazelnuts, Tony Chocolonely, a producer that tries to deliver not only fair trade products but slave free too. Apparently there’s still a lot of slave labour in the cacao industry.
Tony C. has recently launched in the US and is now for sale at PDX, Portland International Airport.

Even though Tony produces big bars (180 grams of chocolate!) this one was already half gone by the time I was done unwrapping and petting.

Here are all the goodies!

I’m not ashamed I ate all the chocolate. As any crime writer can tell you chocolate is excellent fuel for the little grey cells.

That’s how I deduced who my generous sender was. But I didn’t say so out loud online and we made fun to and fro for the next couple of days. Especially when she herself received her package (not sent by me).

Hint/her ravatar:

This is a person who’s name starts with a G and she’s finishing up her Masters and wants to go on to get a PhD. And she has lots of humour!!

Knitting a weird hat.

I don’t know why but I’ve been knitting a hat for the last 10 days.
A hat is not at the top of my To-Do list. But I wanted to use that handspun I’ve used before that doesn’t look so good just knitted on its own. I happened to have a ball of Wollmeise Lace yarn in a glorious deep purple (Gran Mère) that would be a great combination. I wanted to knit these yarns so casted on.

I alternate the two skeins and I knit the Wollmeise in stockinette stitch and the handspun in garter. The colours of the handspun finally look splendid.

Contemplating hat shapes, I was toying with the idea of a sideways crescent shape, to cover my ears, from which you pick up stitches on one side to form the back.
Mainly because I didn’t want to knit a swatch, I wanted to start right away and that sideways part you can just knit until it’s long enough.

As I was forming my thoughts I was roaming through the Ravelry database and sure enough I had just “unvented” a hat that already exists. Lee Meredith, a fun and good designer, already has a hat pattern very much like my idea:

Gentle on my Mind by Lee Meredith

Now I had a bit of a dilemma.
If I look close enough at the pattern pictures I can reverse-engineer this design. Knit it without buying it? That doesn’t feel right…

So I ventured to create my own pattern from scratch but I was pleased to see that it could be done. It still didn’t feel quite right, to knit a hat that looks very much like a designed one. Especially with a designer that’s so skilled and writes such good patterns as Lee Meredith does, you really want to support them.
I seriously contemplated buying this design, just to feel good about myself, but at 7 US dollars I thought it a bit expensive for just that purpose. It seems the price of my quilt maxes out at 4 euros. I’m not proud.

I did my best to make my hat differ from Lee’s design. My decreases at the back are different, creating a different shape and rhythm in stripes. I don’t know what Lee did with the short rows in the back, I did my own thing.

And now I’ve ended up with a weird hat:

I doubt I’ll wear this in the city. It’s more of a Renaissance fair look…

Fit is perfect though and it does keep my ears warm…

I’ve got no idea how to bring this hat around. The bottom needs to be finished. And perhaps it needs some kind of trim at the front, to make it more sophisticated. But what and how?

No idea. It’ll be parked for a while while I hatch a new thought.
Neat stripe work. The colours work well and the fabric handles well too. That’s some problems solved. Now to un-weird it. Because it’d be a shame not to wear this.

Annual Spinners’ Retreat: LSD 2015 Mennorode

I just got back. It was a lovely weekend!
I’ll show you some pictures, in non-logical sequence…

This is the project I brought with me, artistically photographed in my room:

One single of fulled handspun and one Wollmeise Lacegarn in colourway Grand Mère. It’s going to be a hat with an original construction…
On its own the handspun knits up with the colours all heathered but combined like this they get a stage to shine one.

It’s that handspun I knitted a Shapeshifter from. Which I’ve never worn after I took the photos of the finished object...
I frogged it to use the yarn in -yet- something else because I adore this yarn.

This is my room. I like it! I wore my green legwarmers to show to everybody:

We had tea at arrival and I was reminded of my little black kitten:

My room is really nice! I rested there a few times during the day. I brought wool.

We spend many hours spinning together:

I did a workshop Art Yarn Spinning but I didn’t do so well. It was great fun though and the teacher was very good.

To sit more comfortably I brought my cushion to the workshop, knitted in the Freestyle way promoted by artist Mary Walker Phillips:

This approach to knitting I like very much. It’s interesting to do as it’s both technical and playful. It’s a pity I don’t have need for many lacy planes in my home…

Back in the main room it was so fun to see all the different wheels! We were with about 85 spinners on Friday and on Saturday there were 250!

The second part of the workshop was about learning to add beads to your thread, without stringing them on first. This I could do:

Even very big beads because my wheel has a delta flyer for an orifice hook and yarn hooks that are open on one side.

During the Friday and Saturday I spun and plied some of my green handdyed BFL roving:

Torn in small strips which only need a little twist but not much drafting (keeps the colours intense). Going for worsted weight yarn: spinning this way will get you from 100 gram roving to 100 gram yarn in 24 hours.

On Saturday and Sunday I did the same with my beautiful “little piglet from the hedge row”, the Hedgehog Corriedale:

 (some spinning as done in my room, before breakfast)

The plying was finished while we were drinking the last cup of tea before we all headed home again.

I don’t know about the meterage yet, I have to skein both yarns and set the twist. I think they’ll both become legwarmers. I love legwarmers.

Oh! On Saturday night my spinning wheel snare broke! I lost the option to use my gear but I could go on spinning, I just had to peddle more with my feet.
You can “glue” the band together again, with heat. I’ll do it when I get home.
Otherwise I can’t spin my Merino Silk mix from Passe-Partout! It’s still on this wheel but I didn’t bring the rocing to the weekend because I want to savour every moment of spinning those moonbeams.

Each year we get a little bit of surprise fibre from the National Spinners’ Organisation. This year it’s this interesting mix of colours:

All merino. Colour designed by Passe-Partout.
We got this colour and a dark variation, with purple and black. But I preferred this one and swapped with someone who like the purple better.

I think I’ll tear this roving in small strips also. Lengthwise.
Another way to preserve colours (through minimal drafting) is spinning from the fold. But that yields too thin a single to my taste.

This is probably the 5th year I attend this weekend now and I’ve always had to stay the night. This was the first year that I slept like a baby. Mind, I did bring some things to make my room my own:

There’s my own low light alarm clock. And the felted throw you know. I use it as an underlayer because this venue has a plastic sheet over the matras. For hygienic reasons I’m sure. But it doesn’t breathe and makes lying on it for more than a few hours very uncomfortable.
Lying on wool (felt) is VERY comfortable! (I’m also often cold in bed and this matras cover is a good help)

There’s some chocolate, my own mug, a cat magazine, my iPad and my ear mufflers. What you cannot see is the glorious beech tree right outside my window.
Behind it stands the wifi antenna, a large antenna emitting a strong Electric Magnetic Field (EMF). In previous years this EMF had me bouncing of the walls during the night, not able to settle down. That’s why I brought my EMF-shielding silver cloth this year. I slept wrapped in it, from head to toe. I wore my bed-hat (handspun yak with a tiny yellow moon for a pompom) and this keeps the EMF-cloth away from my face.
What I said: like a baby! From 23 to 6 o’clock, solid sleep.

During the weekend my husband kept me up to date how he was juggling the three cats in the cabin:

On Saturday morning there was a market at which we could by wool and tools and books and trinkets. For my birthday I had gotten a sealed envelope, addressed to me and Passe-Partout. It contained the means to buy these:

More moonbeams!

Wonderful Merino / Mulberry Silk mix, handdyed by Passe-Partout.
What a treat!

There was a little money left and I bought some Mulberry silk balls, handdyed by Iboy from Iboy’s Mohair:

That right one, isn’t it just like Labradorite?! I’ve been wearing my necklace all weekend, feeling very stylish AND in touch with mountains and water.

At dinner we had to wait a bit for our food… what’s a girl to do? I know what knitters do:

I send this picture to my husband who promptly replied that someone else was waiting for their food too:

On Sunday Morning I joined the nature walk with someone from the protective council. It was a lovely misty morning:

We saw rare things like marter’s poo and this sponge mushroom. It’s edible but a lot of grit nestles into the folds.

Wild boars had roamed and plowed the ground everywhere. We even found a muddy patch where they bathe. You could see the indentations of their bodies. These are big beasts!

Ink-mushrooms, used to make ink in earlier times:

This forest is beautiful. So many small tableaux of nature:

And the big displays of nature, with large trees and miles of tranquil nature:

It was a Sunday in a religious part of the country so it was also nice and quiet. Except from that one person taking a brisk walk through the mist, singing the Lord’s praises. We couldn’t see him but we surely heard him.

Who knew a dung beetle had this gorgeous colour?

More gorgeous colours and textures:

A purple mushroom, probably a Clitocybe nuda but is has a bit of a weird shape. Our guide had his pockets filled with paper field guides and a little mirror and all sorts of things but he said he had left his biggest mushroom book at home, which contains 50.000 species, so he couldn’t say for sure.

In Dutch this mushroom is called “paarse schijnridderzwam” and I’m not sure how that translates. “Purple shining knight toadstool”? The word “schijn” is both “shine” and “mimic” in English. So who knows, is this a purple knight in disguise or is he beaming on the forest floor? He looks velvet-y.

This boring white mushroom is filled with arsenic. You eat this one, you die:

The Medici family in Renaissance Italy used these to feed their enemies, our guide said.

After the walk there was time for a little bit more spinning, we were with 50 people now I think. Most of them had already gone to lunch:


What a beauty!

When I came home I was greeted by cats. One hadn’t been fed all weekend, or so he said.

Morning mist in the forest:

Spinning

I finished the Spring rolls:

Chain plied, 68 grams, 176 meters, DK weight. Merino, silk and a bit of sparkle.

Weirdly enough the yarn doesn’t speak to me. That’s really really weird!
Usually I’m eager to get to the next stage (fiber-spinning-yarn-knit-wear) but not this time. Weird.

To check that I haven’t gone off spinning (!!) I started on that beautiful mysteriously coloured Passe-Partout roving:

Merino with Mullberry silk. Spinning fairly thin to chain ply it later.

Wonderful colours and wonderful gleam running through my fingers. So soft! I’m stopping and to have a stare all the time. Admiring colours and material. Having a little sigh.
Yeah, I’m alright, I’m still a spinner. Pfew!

Finished: handspun vest redo.

It took an additional 22 grams of the darker handspun to get wider sidepanels. I used 80 grams in total and about the same amount of the colourful handspun dyed by Passe-Partout.
The difference in loft and thickness accounts for the difference in meterage.

The join at one side looks great:

The other one not so much, the ridge where the panels are joined has quite a contrast in colour and it shows:

It shows when I wear it. But it wears like a dream!
Comfortable, enough ease to move about, to breathe and lovely colours to look at and enjoy, while wearing it. I’m going to wear this a lot.

project page here

Weird Wool Wednesday: forming new habits.

I frogged the sidepanels of Passe-Partout Sprookjesvest and measured the width of the frontpanel:

Measured deliberately over the widest part since that’s the part I use most for breathing. My, look at those gorgeous bustdarts!

I measured the back, it was smaller than the front. Bustdarts + extra stitches? What a clever knitter I was back in 2011. Pity I did not believe in wearing ease in those days.

I then put a centimeter around my chest and huffed and puffed and read the measurement. Then I reasoned thusly:

The front panel is 38 cm wide at the apex
back panel is 33 cm wide
together 71 cm.
My bust sans wearing ease = 94 cm.
Need at least 23 extra cm (94-71).

Adding some ease I think I want a total of 28 to 30 centimeters added to the width of the panels. That’s 14 to 15 centimeter per side seam.

The original panels were knitted bottom up, picking up stitches on either side with every row:

I really liked that look. But honestly, it was too much of a bother this time. I opted for the easy way which is still visually acceptable: knit the panels sideways.

Leave well enough alone” is an expression I believe? In Dutch the phrase I’m trying to live by nowadays is “ongeveer goed is ook goed.” (“About right is also right.”)
A major change from all the phrases I used to live by when I was still the perfectionist warrior woman!
But in my 30’s my adrenals gave out and I acquired the mysterious illness ME. Two invitations to grow wiser and more content. Luckily I believe humans can change their habits and their cerebral pathways at any age. I’ve been growing more yoda-like ever since. Ear fluff galore!

Anyway. Sideways knitted panels are very easy and well enough/about right. I picked up 1 stitch for every 2 rows. Normally in sideways knitting you do 3 stitches for every 4 rows but the darker yarn is a tad thicker than the Passe-Partout handspun. I did use smaller needles though because my gauge has changed over the years (thanks to shoulder impingement and new live-by-phrases).

I then knitted until I had a panel of about 15 cm wide. And then added 2 more rows because I changed my mind about how to attach it to the existing knitting. Changed my mind twice, hence two extra rows. That’s fine because I shall not be skimpy with wearing ease ever again, the goal is to make things that can be worn comfortably. While breathing without thinking about it.

I fudged the live stitches of the side panel together with the knitted fabric of the front panel. Don’t ask me how I did, it’s like I crocheted with my needle? Bind off through an existing plane? You had to be there. One of those things. Monkey sees monkey does. It looks acceptable. Kitchener stitch would have been perfect but this is about right.

I didn’t break yarn but parked it to knit the lower hem with after I knitted the second panel with the second ball of yarn (which I parked to use for the ribbing around the arm hole border later).
The hem is in plain 1×1 ribbing (which I don’t like to knit very much) because the bit around the neck is like that too and was never frogged:

I tried it on and it sits very comfortable! I’m looking forward to wearing this!

Here’s where I am now, picking up stitches around the armhole for 1×1 ribbing. I take 3 stitches for every 4 rows this time because it’s not proper sideways knitting but on a diagonal and because I’m growing a bit nervous because I cannot remember or deduce whether I should decrease as I go in the round or not.
When I grow nervous my tension tenses.

But the side panels are great! Job well done!

Well goshdanrabbittyrufus!

I missed a stitch. Like I always do.