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.


White wonder time.

winter canal dutch frost

These are the historic canals and harbour around my house 🙂
They illustrate nicely the “white time” that I often experience after Christmas.

white winter dutch netherlands

It’s a time for crisp morning walks, for snow sun and for looking into the skies while gazing internally. It lasts anywhere from two weeks untill the end of February, depending on the weather.

It is a winter mood but not the depressive kind. It’s the one of light and snow sparkle and cold. The time of anise and ginger drinks and light butter waffles, not the time of hot chocolate and gingerbread that go with xmas time.

These pictures I took last Thursday, when I went to get the car. I have to park a kilometre away because in historic Dutch cities there’s not much parking space.

That’s why we ride bikes:
winter canal harbour Holland Dutch Birman
This picture is from yesterday. Why dahlias? It’s winter! I don’t know. I had them last year on New Years Eve too and was just as amused by them.
winter canal harbour Holland Dutch Birmanwinter canal harbour Holland Dutch Birman
To celebrate this white time I took out all the green, red and gold ornaments of the tree. I received a glass bird from a friend and it was the perfect gift for this time of year. Years ago she gave a similar bird and it’s been over our wood stove all this time, all year round. I love glass 🙂

These days I particularly enjoy wearing my light coloured clothes. And my Wolop Advent shawl! It’s perfect for this weather and the colours are cool and light.

And this time is about spinning, as it is Frau Holle time.
This week I spun that beautiful Tour de Fleece price I received this year: batts called “Birch”:

The ceramic bowl is Raku and holds the threads I use for securing skeins before setting the twist. It was made by Lieneke from Wolop because she commands many skills and she knows I love birches 🙂

Are you done now? I now a cat that needs feeding.

Tour de Fleece day 20: ice colours

I plied the turqoise mulberry:

and then I spun hours and hours of ice colours of these Passe-Partout Winter whisper mist colours:

Merino with mulberry silk. Got it at the Knitter’s party with chickens last Summer. There’ll be a new party again this year! Looking forward to it.

This roving is so beautiful, with true Mulberry silk, it gleams and glistens in the light. It’s like spinning spider’s silk, from a happy spider.

It contained the colour of my new skirt (sewn by me, finished this morning, a light Summer linen with a silk chiffon lining):

We were spinning at the new studio of Wolop and I bought this beautiful soft ice blue BFL from her:

to go with the grey sheep I spun earlier this Tour that needs an additional colour to make a vest for me.

And I bought this green sock mix:

as an alternative for the blue Leicester above, as a companion for the vest. I’ve had my eye on this green one since the Midwinterwol Fair but Lieneke from Wolop knew to keep it from me because it contains mohair and I didn’t enjoy spinning mohair the first time I tried it.

Today I bought it because the colours keep making me happy. If the mohair still proves to be tricky I could chose to just ply the two other breeds and leave the mohair out of it. The mohair has a beautiful colour and gleam though!

I’m looking forward to what I will make with today’s yarns and rovings. They fit my palet wonderfully.

With the skirt I made I now have a workable basic pattern. Tomorrow I’ll cut the first real skirt from it, using one of the linens I bought in the right colours:

Weekend at the cabin

I left all the thinking and all the projects in the city and came to the cabin for a leisurely weekend without a plan.

It’s going well. I’m “leisuring” through the day pleasantly.

When the sun is out I settle in a low chair in the grass and knit on a sock I started:

With cream puffed whatyamacallits, my purple iPadcase and a lovely Spring WIPbag. And tea. And LOUD birds all around me. Spring is here!!

The yarn is a beauty that I’ve admired in the skein for years. It was so beautiful in the skein that I hesitated greatly to knit with it. It would never be this beautiful again:

On the last woolfair I visited, the one in Tilburg, the indy dyer from whom I bought the skein a few years back, had a stall. Wol met Verve. Together we chose a semisolid to combine it with.

After that I dared to destroy the skein and cake it up and I started a SlipStripeSpiral sock in the car.

I don’t know what I think of it yet. The skein is gone, that’s for sure. The colours are very different in the knitting. Not as special. But it has a beauty of its own and if I just relax and let it be I’ll be able to see it.

Either way these will be socks I’ll wear often and gladly. I don’t have many socks in dark colours and quality yarn. They complement an outfit.

When the sun isn’t out I’m spinning. For the first time in months:

It’s these lovely batts with lots of silk and soft merino:

It’s the price I got from last year’s Tour de Fleece. They were handed to me at that lovely knitters’ party at the petting zoo, the same day I got the Noro from which the legwarmers are knit that I’m also wearing today.

These batts are akin to another set, with green, which I spun up and knitted into that vest that I love so much:

The purple white batts I’m spinning into a fairly thin single which I will then ply with a solid white (solid silk perhaps) to knit (or weave!) a lovely drapey garment with. Either a vest or a shawl:

There are plans forming in my head for a new direction of my wardrobe and a rich silky purplish whitish fabric is just the ticket…

Cats are happy to be here too:


Hope you have a fine weekend too. With lots of wool and lots of comfort.

Speaking of comfort: I bought a second pair of the best house “slofs” ever to keep at the cabin:

They are Haflinger Torben Slippers.

I have a green pair that I use all the time.
Felt top. Rubbery sole.

I particular chose brown coloured soles instead of the black ones because reviews say the black ones can leave markings on your floor.

I also chose one size up from my foot size so I can wear handknit socks in them, my Hiking Socks which are two strands of fingering yarn held together. Thusly sportsweight or 6-ply.

This pair will stay here and the pair I already have, the green ones, stay in the city. No more dragging them with me to and from the cabin. But I’ll probably continue walking out of the front door on them only realizing a few paces away that I’m not wearing proper shoes and should go back and change. That’s how comfortable they are.

Have a good weekend!

Finished: handspun ice pastels

Dig right in:

The fibre is about 150 grams of Surprise Gift we received at the Annual Spinners’ Retreat 2015, in October, and it’s plied with a commercial yarn.

We got 2 colourways of 25 grams each and I traded and got some gifted by people who didn’t want to spin it and I ended up with 200 grams of the same colourway:

I tore it in long strips, pretty much sticking to one dominant colour per strip. When I was halfway done spinning I started to leave out the red, I didn’t like it much.

There were lots of colours. Hard pink, soft green, bright green, turkoize. I decided to add a colour that would not mix the colours together but would tone them down: white fluffynes. It’s Lang Yarn Alpaca Superlight. A lovely yarn, the one alpaca yarn I’ve found that doesn’t make me sneeze.
However, I do not enjoy knitting with halo-yarn. This yarn, Kid silk, it’s not for me. I knitted one sweater and only the story behind the sweater motivated to see it through:

Ooh, but I never told you the story! It’s about Herman, the blue shrimp that went on holiday back in 2011. I feel a Weird Wool Wednesday post coming up. 2011… that’s when I bought the yarn. All 20 balls of it. It was on sale. This blue sweater only took 3,3 skeins. That’s 80 grams! 660 m

Over the years I cast on for a bunch of other things with the yarn but I never found joy and have abandoned each and every one of those projects. In the end the balls just hid in the stash…. for years.

Then last year I realized I’m a spinner. And spinners are inventive! This yarn is excellent for spinning. Both plying like I did here but I also did corespinning on the Ashford Country Spinner like I did with the Ecosheep for the woven blanket:

I bought Lang Yarn Alpaca Superlight in red, white, blue and purple. I still have some of the blue and purple left. I used the red and lots of white on the blanket.

The rest of the white yarn is in this handspun, about 4 skeins of it:

It’s total is now 720 meters for needles 3,75 mm or bigger. (Lang Yarn on it’s own is fine on 4 mm or even 5 mm but now it’s more condensed).

I want to make a soft striping vest with it and show it at the next Spinners’ meeting either in March or October.
My inspiration is a vest my fellow spinner JustMagic made from the Surprise Gift we got the year before, these 4 colourways that she combined with dark alpaca fibre and a red handspun:

pics from Justfibers.net
This is a very good project, with attention to details on the inside so it can be worn both inside out and outside out. Blog post about it found here.



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!

A smörgåsbord of handspun.

I spend today’s woolen energy on winding skeins into cakes:
Handspun handgesponnen

Here are the five Shetlands. And a commercial yarn, the one that looks like rhubarb.
Handspun handgesponnen

These are the thinner handspuns. Made from the little fibre swaps we did via Ravelry the past year.
I think some will combine great in a textured shawl with various colours.
Handspun handgesponnen

And the three yarns from the last few days:
Handspun handgesponnen

The brightly coloured sockyarn from Kleurvol is finished. A tightly plied 2ply:

It came up to one ball of 50 grams of 173 meters and one ball of 50 grams with 161 meters:

The sock yarn from the roving dyed by Wolop has become a nice round yarn with subtle colouring:

100 grams, 148 m. A little on the thick side but that’s great for socks meant to be worn in clogs.

I spun another roving dyed by Passe-Partout. This one:

Non-superwash BFL, a fibre we’re both fan of.

One half I spun from end to end, creating long colour repeats. The other half was torn into small strips that barely needed drafting. Just like that sugary spicy seashell coloured one I spun in the Tour de Fleece.

100 grams, 235 m of yarn. Very well suited for a pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I recently bought the little book in which her garter stitch patterns are gathered. Knit on Knit all (ravelry-link)

Now I can grab whatever yarn I fancy and cast on right away.

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!

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.