Archive for the 'yarn' Category

Spindle Spinning

handspun shawl sample 2

I recently had the sudden urge to try to learn to spin again. I bought a spindle and some fibre (about 200g of Bluefaced Leicester) a few years ago, but I couldn’t quite get the hand of it, so they have been languishing in my yarn storage box.

This time though, something seems to have clicked. I’m hoping to be able to spin yarn to make shawls, scarves socks in sock weight and heavy lace weight. My first attempt was too thick – when plied it came out approx DK weight. I’ve been practising for about one hour every evening over the past week, and last night I finally managed to create a 3 ply sock weight yarn.

This is a sample showing my most recent attempts.
handspun sock sample
The first (bottom) yarn is two ply, and came out too fine for socks (it also wasn’t well balanced hence the visible twist). The second (top) yarn was navajo plied. It’s actually for the same roving (some of the Bluefaced Leicester that I hadnpainted with the help of my daughters), but the colours look quite different due to the plying techniques.

I’ve also been experimenting crocheting with singles. The  photo at the start of this post shows a sample crocheted with a (rather uneven) single which was slightly underspun and then dryed with a weight after washing)

I’m really enjoying experimenting with my spindle spun, but I’ve got  a couple of christmas presents to finish  so I’ll have to resist spending too much time with my spindle until they are done!


Yarn, yarn… and more yarn!

knitting and stitching show yarn 2008

Had a great day at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace yesterday. There were lots of yarn stall this year ( the number seems to be increasing every year). It’s great being able to see and feel yarn, that isn’t available locally. I was very pleased with my purchases – should keep bme busy for the next few months at least. This year I came away with some heavy laceweight cashmere from KnitWitches, 2 balls of kauni yarn, some Jamieson and Smith jumper weight and best of all, some beautiful malabrigo sock yarn from Socktopus. I also bought some very nice buttons and a shawl pin from a the One World Button Supply Company.

I’ve now started two of my planned cardigans. The first one is Liesl from
liesl progress

This is a really nice, simple pattern, but I’m not really too happy with my yarn choice (Wendy aran with wool). I really wish I had chosen a nicer yarn, but at least this will be easy care (i.e. won’t felt if it accidently finds itself in the machine!)

The second cardigan is the Rayne Wrap Cardigan from Cosmicpluto knits.
wrap cardigan progress

I’m using the New Lanark aran yarn for this one. I love working with this yarn, and will definitely buy more for future projects.

I’ve been searching Ravelry to decide what to make with the Alexandra Palace yarns. The Kauni will become a shawl – either another Eva’s shawl or Revontuli huivi I haven’t decided which yet. I think the Jamieson and Smith will also be a shawl, probably knitted. I’m looking for a nice garter stitch based pattern (thinking of this one).

It’s that time of year…

Autumn is well and truly here. The days are getting shorter and the weather has suddenly turned much colder. At around this time of year, my enthusiam for all things yarn realated increases dramatically.

 I’ve been busy knitting and crocheting away of the past few weeks. I’ve finally finished the olive cardigan.

olive cardy

I’m pleased with it, but it’s really a spring/ summer cardigan so It probably won’t see much wear until next year.

 I also finished the charcoal wallaby. This is lovely, warm and cosy, and will definitely get a lot of wear over the next few months.

charcoal wallaby

I have three or four more cardigans planned, two will be machine washable, and I wll be using a wool acrylic blend for those (wendy aran with wool – comes in a big 400g ball and is very reasonably priced) and I have ordered some lovely wool and wool/silk blends from New Lanark Yarn Shop for the other two. More details in my next post!


We finally got our campervan after months of waiting for the conversion to be finished and we have had several trips away over the summer. I have been taking my projects with me, and although I didn’t get a lot finished, I have really enjoyed knitting and crocheting whilst relaxing at various campsites. I did however finish one of the colourful socks

colourful sock

And the hemp summer top


The “Oops!” in the title refers to the fact that two of my favourite cardigans met with a felting accident after my very helpful husband put them  in the washing machine (the original top down round yoke and my shell stitch wrap around cardigan). I must admit I was very upset at the time, and vowed never to make anything wearable out of hand wash only yarn again.

I have started on two more seamless garments – this time knit rather than crochet, and worked from the bottom up. The first will be a basic cardigan with either a crew neck or a ribbed collar in Texere Troon Tweed (not machine washable!)
tweed cardigan progress

And the second will be an adult sized wonderful wallaby in Wendy Serenity ( a very soft alpaca/wool/synthetic mix)

wallaby progress

it’s interesting working on the two projects at the same time. The texere tweed is a little bit rough compared to the synthetic blend, but it’s so much more enjoyable to work with. Although the Wendy yarn is very soft, it does have a synthetic, slightly squeaky feel, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed so much if I hadn’t been working with the Tweed yarn as well.  I think in future I will probably stick to working with non-synthethic yarns but just be more careful about ensuring that they do not end up in the washing machine!

Manos Silk Blend

We went to Bristol this weekend, and managed a quick visit to Get Knitted whilst we were there. I have been a very satisfied on-line customer for some time (great service) but the shop is amazing. It’s really well thought out. There’s a children’s corner with books and toys, comfortable sofas with magazines, snacks and drinks, as well as toilet facilities and free parking nearby. It’s an aladdin’s cave of yarn – almost too much to choose from, but this really stood out.
manos yarn 2

It’s Manos Silk Blend. It’s beautifully soft and comes in really lovely colourways. Unfortunately they only had one 100g skein of my favourite colour, but I bought it anyway. I plan to make (yet another) crochet shawl with this – I’ve already started swatching.

More laceweight

I’m really getting into crocheting with laceweight yarn at the moment. I love the malabrigo laceweight and have been looking around for other nice lace weight yarns. I ended up having a bit of a laceweight splurge. I think I’ve got enough now to keep me busy for some time!

lace weight yarn

From top to bottom they are: laceweight alpaca from Fyberspates, Cobweb Mohair from the Natural Dye Studio and Margaret Stove Artizan Lace from the Woolly Workshop. It’s the first time I’ve ordered from any of these shops and I in each case I was very impressed with the custormer service – all the yarn arrived within 48 hours of ordering. They are all gorgeous – I’m not sure which I want to use first.

My dye experiment

During a recent clearout, I rediscovered this yarn
lace weight mohair yarn
It’s a cone of over 600g of a heavy lace weight yarn that is simply labelled “mohair” and came as part of a mixed mohair pack from yeoman yarns. As I am currently into laceweight knitting and crochet, I thought I would have a go at dyeing some of it to make shawls, scarves etc.
I’ve had fairly good results using food colouring to dye yarn in the past, but the mohair content of this yarn must be pretty low as it didn’t take the dye well at all (I was aiming for a dark purpley colour!)
Yarn dyed with food colouring

A bit disappointing, but still a pretty colour. I am using it to crochet a shawl for one of my daughters and will be posting the pattern if it turns out OK.
shawl stitch detail