Friday, 26 April 2013

Two Sides of the Coin

More spinning stuff from me today.

Here's a skein of yarn I've made that I'm pleased with:

I started off with this top (which I think Lucy - who dyed it - and I decided was probably Falkland):

I divided it into three and spun each third into a single:

And then I plyed it into just over 150m of a worsted/aran-weight yarn.

It will probably become a hat, a scarf or a pair of mittens.

This one I'm not pleased with (I haven't even taken it off the niddy noddy to wash):

I started off with this merino/silk blend from World of Wool (it's called Gemini).

I originally spun the whole 100g bump into a single:

With the intention of spinning another single from this bump of red-toned merino:

and then plying them together, but as the blue/red/rust one began to spin up, it became obvious that the colours wouldn't work together once spun.

So, I wound the blueish single into a centre pull ball on my ball winder and then made a 2ply yarn.

If I've counted the turns on the niddy noddy correctly, it's 264 metres and a heavy fingering weight yarn.  Probably enough for a pair of socks.

The red?  Well, I've spun the 100g bump I had into this single:

I'm now planning on buying another 500g and spinning it up into enough yarn to make a cardigan.  Red is always a difficult colour to photograph which is why there's a banana in the photo above, which gives quite a good indication of the colour.  It's a very rich, ruby red.

I'm now going to concentrate on my knitting WIPs for the next few days as I've got a sweater and two pairs of socks on the go and could do with getting them finished.

Have a good weekend, even if the weather in the UK has got a bit pants again.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Spinning Around

The last few weeks I've been doing more spinning than knitting.

Last summer I bought 500g of North Ronaldsay top (from Scottish Fibres).  North Ronaldsay sheep are different from other sheep in that their diet consists mostly of seaweed.  This gives their fleece a different feel to that of other sheep.  It's springy - almost stretchy.

I have to admit that when I first started spinning this, it wasn't love at first treadle.  I wondered if I'd made a big mistake in buying it - that it was beyond my nowhere near expert spinning ability and that I should put it aside for future use, but I'd bought it with the intention of knitting a Reine cardigan and I'd already bought and downloaded the pattern.

Early last week I finished spinning the fifth 100g bump of fleece, so washed it and hung it up to dry.

Using my niddy noddy to make each bobbin of plyed yarn into a skein (before washing) and counting the turns, I was able to keep track of how many metres were in each skein and I've got 1087 metres.

Which I'm not sure is going to be enough.  The pattern says that for my size, I need six skeins of yarn, which is 1255 metres for five balls, plus however much of the sixth skein needs to be used.  In other words, 200-400 metres short.

Looking at the finished Reines on Ravelry and reading some of the comments, it seems to be quite a long cardigan, so I'm tempted to read the pattern properly before I start (unusual for me, I know!), knit a swatch and compare the finished measurements in the pattern to my own body length and decide if shortening it would mean a better-looking cardigan for me.  I might just start knitting it once I've finished my current sweater and then buy some more fleece/top if it looks as though I'm going to run out.

I'm quite pleased with this.  My spinning was fairly consistent and the four of the skeins are more or less the same metres/gramme (one's slightly thinner than the others, but that's ok - I can alternate skeins).  The original Reine is knitted in Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn (knitting the cardigan in that would cost in the region of £80 for my size, I think) which is a woolly, lofty yarn and I think the way I've spun the North Ronaldsay has given me a yarn that's similar in style.

Overall I'm pleased with it and I think working with this breed of fleece has definitely meant my spinning has improved.

I've been doing some other spinning since finishing off this, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow as it hasn't worked out quite how I expected.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Roam Fusion Socks

See this yarn?

It's the remains of the ball of Wendy Roam Fusion sock yarn I used to make this pair of plain socks.

Here they are:

Nothing special are they.  Which is a shame, as the yarn in the ball looked quite promising.

I have to say that it's not a yarn I'll be buying again.  It's quite loosely plyed, which meant it was easy to split it whilst knitting (a bit more twist would have made a difference).  It's also not that soft.  The finished socks feel a bit rough and also a bit hairy.  Once I've worn them and get round to washing them, I might rinse them in some water to which I've added a blob of hair conditioner and see if that softens them up again.

Having said that, I'll probably find that these wear like iron and I'm still pulling them on my feet two years from now!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

One-Row Handspun Scarf

Way back in December, I made this post about some yarn I'd spun to make a scarf.  A couple of months later I showed you the work-in-progress.  But, I never got round to photographing the finished item.

Here it is:

The reason I didn't take photos is because it's been so bloomin' cold that as soon as it was off the needles and had had a wash, I started wearing it.

And very cosy it is too.  Because it's from my own handspun yarn (which takes me ages to do - I haven't been brave enough to try spinning on a lower whorl which makes the bobbin spin faster), I wanted to use it all up.  This has resulted in the scarf being long.  Long enough to wrap twice round my neck.  With hindsight, I could have cast on four or eight more stitches and it would still have been long enough (this baby's longer than I am tall), but wrapping it twice round my neck works well too.

I think this is some of my best spinning to date (says she, in a self-congratulatory way).  I think the colours blend nicely and the pattern's very easy and one I'd recommend - Ravelry link .

Back to knitting my greeny-blue socks now.  I've got 13 rounds of ribbing and casting off to do, so I'll probably be back tomorrow to show them off.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Pink Socks

It's ages since I last blogged.  I've been having problems with my laptop and think it might need to go back to the manufacturer (Acer) to be fixed.  Hubby thinks it's the graphics card - the laptop's not always coming out of standby mode, but just gives a black screen that flashes up the desktop for a nanosecond before going  black again.  I've been able to solve it by plugging the HDMI cable into the slot on the laptop and using the TV as the monitor, which seems to kick-start the laptop screen/graphics card, but once the girls are back at school I'll probably contact Acer and see what they suggest.

In the meantime, I've been knitting away on socks.  I've finished these:

I've had the yarn for ages and I've been playing with patterns a little bit.  I'm not very keen on lacy patterns when it comes to socks, but sometimes want a bit more than plain, stocking stitch socks and garter rib seems to fit the bill to give a bit of interest whilst knitting.

I find the best fit and fabric for my feet is a sock 64 stitches round, on 2.25mm needles.  I usually use an Addi lace circular and magic-loop, but I bought a Chiagoo 2.25mm steel circular recently and am using that on my current pair of socks.  The pattern on these is a simple 4x4 garter rib.  64 is a good stitch count because it divides into 4 and 8 which means I can balance a pattern across the foot.  The pattern for these is:

Round 1: K2, (P4, K4) x 3, P4, K2
Round 2: Knit all stitches

The sole stitches are knit on every round.

For the leg, the round 1 pattern is repeated on the back of the leg as well.

I've also been knitting two other pairs of socks.  The second pair came about because I forgot to take my notes on how many stitches I cast on for the first sock when I went to knitting group a couple of weeks ago and didn't trust my memory, so had my Addi circular and an extra ball of Regia sock yarn in my bag, so cast on another pair of socks.  So now, I've got two single socks finished and should finish the second sock of the greeny-blue pair today or tomorrow.

More about those socks next time :)

There's also been some spinning going on and I've finished 300g of the 500g of North Ronaldsay I started just before Christmas.  It's taking ages - but would get finished much more quickly if I actually sat down at my wheel every day and did some spinning (but something always seems to get in the way of that).

We've got this week to go on the school Easter holidays and I'm hoping the weather will continue to get a bit warmer with the sun making regular appearances.  This winter seems to have dragged on and on and we're all feeling a bit gloomy and fed up of the cold weather.