Citrus Handspun Goodness

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll have noticed that I’ve been knitting lots but not doing much in the way of spinning. Since I was first taught how to spin about 18 months ago I haven’t practised as much as I should have! But that has all changed since I started using my Ettrick Standard spinning wheel that I bought not long ago. I love it! Maybe I’m more suited to the double drive. What I really love is how the Ettrick gently but firmly pulls the wool from the roving and I just have to guide it through the orifice. It’s very effortless for me which is what I love.

This particular handspun 100% merino that I purchased at the Redland Spinners and Weavers open day in June 2012 was actually spun on my Ashford Traveller. It sat on the bobbins for ages before I plied, niddy-noddied, washed and skeined it last week.

I quickly grabbed a picture of the last bit of the roving so you can see the original colourway.

Colourwheel Spun 06

And here are the two full bobbins…

Colourwheel Spun 05

Still not a perfectly consistent spun yarn but I am getting there compared to my first attempt!

Colourwheel Spun 04

Lots of interesting colours in this colourway so I have called it ‘Colourwheel’…

Colourwheel Spun 03

Now this is what I have spun on my Ettrick wheel…

Citrus Handspun 01

I purchased this roving from Kathy’s Fibres. In fact, I actually purchased 2 x 100g rovings of seven colours to maximise the postage costs. Remember, I believe in spending money to save money! These 100g rovings only cost AU$11 each which is a fantastic price.

This colourway is called ‘Citrus’…

Citrus roving 02

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, this photo is a bit overexposed but it does show two full bobbins…

Citrus Handspun 02

Rather than use the inbuilt Lazy Kate on the Ettrick, I used the one on my newly acquired Fomotor Peacock spinning wheel (which I will blog about in the near future once I have taken more photos). The reason I did this is because I like to have the yarn behind and to the right of me rather than in front of me plus the weight of the Peacock wheel really anchored the bobbins quite nicely.

Citrus Handspun 04

Two niddy noddies full of scrumptious handspun yarnie goodness…

Citrus Handspun 05

I am loving those citrusy shades….

Citrus Handspun 07

I am so excited as I spun each 100g so consistently there was only a very, very small amount left on one bobbin after plying….enough to use as ties on each skein.

Citrus Handspun 08

Yarn goodness drying in the hot sun…

Citrus Handspun 10

Citrus Handspun 13

Dried and skeined…

Citrus Handspun 14

Beautiful crisp citrus shades…

Citrus Handspun 19

Time to be wound into a ball on the squirrel cage swift…

Citrus Handspun 21

The consistency isn’t looking too bad at all!

Citrus Handspun 23

Two wound balls of handspun…one 89g and the other 109g…

Citrus Handspun 24

Now the big question is what to make???? A scarf? a hat? I need a pattern that will really show off all these lovely colours.

Citrus Handspun 28

Love it, love it, love it!

Citrus Handspun 29

Anyone would think I’m the only person who’s spun yarn in the whole world! I guess what it all boils down to is a sense of achievement when you finish a job, no matter what it is. Now all I need is another set of hands….one set to spin and the other to knit!!

Until next time…

Melanie

BTW, On the right hand side of the home page of my blog there are lots of interesting links. I’m not sure when you receive my weekly posts whether you see these links. If not, what you can do is click on the Home button which is at the top left hand side of the page. This will take you to the home page where you can view all the links plus the most recent post. One link also takes you directly to my Ravelry home page.

New Sock Blockers, Squirrel Cage Swift (and a little more yarn)

If you recall I told you the story recently about the new bobbins I had made, by a local retired wood turner, for my Little Peggy Spinning wheel. Well, today I picked up my newly made sock blockers and squirrel cage swift!!! I am so excited as they are gorgeous and look sooo good.

How’s this for a lovely pair of sock blockers!

New Sock Blockers 01

New Sock Blockers 03

I love the detail at the top of the blockers. He did such a great job!

New Sock Blockers 04

Now to my new squirrel cage swift. That’s the new swift on the left hand side and the old one I bought earlier this year on the right hand side.

New Squirrel Swift 01

The new one is slightly taller and has a slightly larger base which makes it a bit more stable when I’m winding my skeins.

It’s so lovely and smooth and the cages turn so effortlessly…

New Squirrel Swift 04

It also has more holes along the side for the various sized skeins that I have…

New Squirrel Swift 05

The reason I wanted a new swift was because the old one was a bit rickety and not very smooth in places so the yarn caught at times. Without me asking, my wood turner smoothed down the old swift, re-glued the base and gave it a coat of varnish so it’s as good as new. Now I have two fantastic swifts! Can’t wait to start winding some skeins now!

On the way home from picking up these goodies, my car suddenly had a mind of its own and for some reason or other I turned left into the Lincraft car park. Well it seemed silly not to slip inside to see whether I could pick up some yarn that could possibly be on sale. I mean….you’d do the same thing wouldn’t you?

Here are a few little gems that I found…

Some gorgeous Panda Magnum Soft 8ply acrylic which I am going to use to make this crocheted ripple blanket. This website has a great tutorial which I’ll be using.

Magnum Soft 02

Sixteen balls in total for AU$3.83 each. Beautiful colours aren’t they?

Magnum Soft 03

Five balls each of the following colours of Shepherd Colour 4 Me Prints at AU$4.18 a ball. It’s an 8ply 100% wool and each ball weighs 50g. I think they’ll make cute little toddler vests and hats.

Colour 4 Me Brights 01

Colour 4 Me Outback 01

Colour 4 Me Sea 01

I couldn’t walk past this gorgeous fluorescent yellow Cleckheaton Country 8ply 100% wool in the colourway ‘Neon’. Six balls at AU$3.48 each. Again, perfect for toddlers’ hats and vests.

Cleckheaton Country Neon 02

And finally, this lonely ball of Cleckheaton Country 8ply in the colourway ‘Citron’ was all by itself. I felt sorry for it so bought it to add to the collection of this colourway that I have in my stash!

Cleckheaton Country Citron

All I can say is that I’m stockpiling for when I retire (hopefully in under four years’ time) as I probably won’t be able to afford to buy yarn at the rate I do now. That’s my reasoning and I’m sticking to it :-)

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend as much as I am. Until next time…

Melanie

Spare Bobbins for my Little Peggy Spinning Wheel

Firstly, I would like to thank one of my readers (Deanna) who contacted me by email recently to let me know how much she enjoyed reading my blog posts and in particular the links to free patterns. This email gave me such a thrill as quite often no comments are made on some posts so I often wonder whether anyone is reading them; are they enjoying them; should I continue? Thank you so much Deanna!

As you’ll recall I managed to buy a Little Peggy spinning wheel on Ebay in April this year however she only came with two bobbins.

Little Peggy 04

In September I visited one of the local festivals held in my area called RedFest and it was there I stumbled across local woodturners who were displaying their goods. I managed to chat to one of the retired gents who’d been woodturning for over 35 years and asked him whether he’d be interested in making me some spare bobbins. So I drove to his home and took one of the two bobbins from Little Peggy and asked whether he could make me another four.

Last week I drove back to pick up my bobbins and I am so pleased with the five (yes he made one extra) bobbins he made. That’s the original bobbin at the top and the five new ones below.

New Bobbins 02

Original bobbin on the left and new one on the right…

Old left New right

And wait…..there’s more! I also took along the old squirrel cage swift that I purchased in June this year in the job lot which consisted of a spinning wheel, chair, lazy kate and the swift.

Squirrel Swift 04

Now even though the swift works well there are some rough edges on it. My personal woodturner :-) was instantly fascinated with it and how it works (I took along the wool winder to give him a demonstration) so he’s going to make me another one that’s nice and smooth all over! I also took along this picture of sock blockers…

Sock Blockers 02

And he’s going to make me pair of them!!! I found this template online which I also gave him. There’s a great downloadable pdf on the web page.

So you can see I’m quite excited about having my own personal woodturner!

Until next time…

Melanie

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

Over the weeks I’ve been gathering photos of lots of ‘bits and pieces’ to show you so this post is a bit of a mixed bag. BTW, this will be my 101st blog post. Can’t believe I’ve managed to generate so many posts in less than a year. At least it means I’ve actually been working through my stash (as well as constantly replenishing it….but we won’t mention that)!

One of my dear friends who retired a year or so ago has started crocheting and I must say she is ‘hooked’ on it!! Every few days she shares her projects on Facebook and this little christening dress and shoes are just so beautiful and adorable I just had to show them to you.

Christening Dress 01

The shoes are a little big for baby so they are being remade in a smaller size. The christening is in October. I can’t wait to see pictures of little Matilda in her dress.

Christening Dress 02

I bought this quilted knitting tote on sale at Spotlight recently. It has so much room in it.

Quilted Tote 01

It also came with a small purse that is attached and will hold scissors, stitch markers and my tape measure. There’s also a zip up knitting needle case.

Quilted Tote 02

Now I don’t do much sewing but when knitting I am sometimes required to sew on buttons and of course there’s all the weaving in the ends of every item I knit. My old plastic sewing box is over 40 years old and has lost its lid so I thought it was time to spoil myself and buy a new one. Another Spotlight purchase.

Sewing Box 01

I like the transparent tray so you can see through to the bottom of the sewing box. It also comes with its own small pin cushion.

Sewing Box 02

I’ve been using my squirrel cage swift quite a bit lately.

Squirrel Swift 01

It’s so much fun winding all my skeins into balls. The thicker yarn winds a lot easier than the finer 4ply yarn. I have to be very careful not to go too fast otherwise I can run the risk of the yarn tangling around the cages. Yikes….it’s not much fun trying to untangle it either.

Squirrel Swift 04

I bought the ball winder on Ebay for a few dollars. It’s such an ingenious invention. From each skein grows a lovely ball of wool with a centre pull start.

Squirrel Swift 05

Here’s another nifty cowl which I’ve called my Bramble Cowl. The pattern can be found under the Free Knitting Patterns section along the top banner of my blog or here on Ravelry.

Bramble Cowl 03

The yarn I used is Moda Vera Bouvardia which is so incredibly colourful. It’s a 10 ply / worsted 70% acrylic / 30% wool. The beauty about this yarn is you can turn the cowl upside down to get a completely different look as the yarn does not repeat its colours very often.

Bramble Cowl 05

Once a month on a Friday as I walk to work there’s usually a charity stall selling lots of second hand goods, knitted goods, cakes and plants. A couple of weeks ago I found these two lovely jewellery holders. I only paid $3 for both of them. I think they look quite cute standing on a chest of drawers in my bedroom with this lovely address book in the middle.

Black lady hangers 01

When I was on holidays in Noosavile in July I found this gorgeous bright orange oil burner. I’ve been searching for an orange one for about a year and finally found this little beauty in a small gift shop in Thomas Street.

Black lady hangers 02

It has a huge water bowl so there’s no risk of the water evaporating too quickly. It cost $14.95 which is more than what I would usually pay for an oil burner but I just didn’t want to risk not being able to find this colour again.

Orange oil burner 01

And finally, about a month ago one of my fave Brisbane online yarn suppliers Yay for Yarn updated their website. Kiri placed a message on the FB page asking for feedback, ie whether the new site was better, were there any problems, etc. Obviously no one did provide feedback so Kiri took another tack and started a discussion on her Ravelry page and offering $35 worth of yarn to anyone who trialled the webste (not necessarily to purchase yarn) and let her know what they thought of it. Well there was an influx of interest! It’s amazing how the prospect of free yarn can motivate people. I got onto the website and actually ended up buying some yarn (surprise, surprise!). I gave my feedback which was the new website was so much quicker to scroll through.

Anyway, the winner was drawn and you guessed it…..I was the winner. Here’s the yarn I chose…Dream in Color It’s Native which is a 2ply / lace 52% mohair / 48% merino yarn. The skein contains 700 yards. This yarn has been discontinued as of March 2013 so I’m lucky to get one of the last skeins. Here’s a lovely description of the yarn from Ravelry:

Luscious, velvety domestic mohair from Stotts’ Ranch in Texas lends this lace-weight yarn its irresistible, kitten-like soft­ness. The fiber content, combined with our unique dyeing process, gives It’s Native its deep and lushly-shaded tones, while the luxuri­ous texture makes for exquisite, special occasion, gift-worthy accessories.

Dream in Color Its Native Gold Experience 01

And a close up of that Gold Experience colourway…

Dream in Color Its Native Gold Experience 02

And for the grand finale….a picture of the Knit and Knatter group (sans Gillian who took the photo) last Saturday at The Artist Tree. That’s me at the back in the middle knitting my Serengeti Scarf. And look at those beautiful bright crocheted squares made by Kathleen….can’t wait to see the completed project.

Knit and Knatter group resized

That’s all my ‘bits and pieces’ for the moment. Hope you have a wonderful long Labour Day weekend. Until next time…

Melanie

Harlequin Cowl and My Squirrel Cage Swift

This is a super quick easy knit and it looks fabulous if you use a multi-coloured yarn. I call it my Harlequin Cowl. It’s based on the pattern I used for my Vesuvius Cowl but I’ve simplified it by using circular needles so there’s no join.

Simply cast on 68 stitches on size 9mm circular needles. I made sure there was one twist before joining in the round. You can elect not to have the twist…it’s up to you. I also placed a marker at the join as I alternated every round with knitting and purling. Because you are knitting in the round this gives you an overall garter stitch effect.

Harlequin Cowl 01

Harlequin Cowl 03

The yarn I used is Moda Vera Bouvardia which is perfect for this projects as it is so colourful and the different colours hardly seem to repeat themselves. This yarn is a 10ply (worsted) 70% acrylic / 30% wool and is not itchy when it’s around your neck.

Turn the cowl around and different colours are displayed!

Harlequin Cowl 04

It took me a week to finish this cowl as I only did a few rows every day. However, it is quite achievable to finish the cowl in a day. Start it in the morning and wear it in the afternoon or evening!

Harlequin Cowl 05

I’ll end up having five of these cowls as that’s how many different balls of Bouvardia yarn I bought! It’s so easy to slip one over your head when it’s a bit breezy outside.

Now, remember when I blogged about the spinning wheel package that I bought for AU$50 and in particular the squirrel cage swift? Well yesterday I had a bit of wool winding to do in readiness for taking away on my holidays, so out came the now cleaned up squirrel cage swift. I clamped my wool winder on the top bar and once I’d worked out which ‘cage’ to put at the bottom and at the top to ensure they turned effortlessly I was away and quickly wound three skeins of 2ply yarn.

Squirrel Swift 01

Squirrel Swift 02

Pretty cool isn’t it?

Squirrel Swift 03

I’m now off to try and finish some knitting projects because I am so tempted to start this little baby cardigan called ‘In Threes’. I’ve bought the pattern and got the yarn all ready to go but I am forcing myself to try and not start another project until I have finished some. It’s sooo hard.

Until next time…

Melanie

A Spinning Wheel Package

Last week one of my friends contacted me to let me know of a spinning wheel and accessories that were being sold by someone she worked with. She sent me a picture of the items. As you can see everything is quite dusty and neglected. The total cost for the bundle was AU$50 which was a bargain as I was particularly interested in the spinning chair.

The following photos will show you before and after pictures once everything had been thoroughly cleaned with four coatings of a 50%/50% blend of boiled linseed oil / pure gum turps. It was certainly a labour of love as it took ages to get the wheel to its current gorgeous condition. That bobbin standing upright on the lazy kate looks like it’s been chewed by a dog!

spinning wheel

What an amazing transformation don’t you think? Oh and BTW that long thing on the left is called a squirrel cage swift and it’s used as a yarn winder. I had no idea but someone from the Ravelry Australian Spinning Wheels Group told me as I posted pictures of the wheel as I was trying to identify the maker.

Bundle 01

Mystery Wheel 01

The treadle certainly looks like it’s had a hard life but the linseed oil/gum turps gave it a bit of a lift.

Mystery Wheel 05

Crank 01

It’s hard to believe it’s the same spinning wheel. The wood is now gleaming! I cannot believe how parched the wood was. The first coat of oil/turps soaked in so quickly.

Crank 03

Flyer 02

Ironically, the hooks hadn’t rusted at all so I didn’t have to replace them.

Flyer 08

Look at those grungy old bobbins and lazy kate…

Lazy Kate 01

and look at these sparkling clean bobbins and lazy kate!

Lazy Kate 07

Chair 04

I love this spinning chair. Just need to find a nice comfy cushion for her.

Chair 09

The spinning wheel is extremely solid and quite heavy and I’m having a devil of a time trying to treadle and get the footman to turn the wheel so I have decided to sell the wheel and lazy kate on Ebay and keep the chair (which is really what took my fancy). All it needs is someone with some handyman expertise to get it going. I already have five spinning wheels and this one is taking up a bit of room.

Here’s some more pictures of squirrel cage swifts with a ball winders on top just to give you an idea of how they work.

squirrel cage swift

squirrel cage swift 2

Fingers crossed I can sell the spinning wheel on Ebay. A few more photos to finish off…

Flyer 07

Flyer 09

Tension Knob 04

Mystery Wheel 06

Until next time…

Melanie