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.

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Spinning Weekend Catch Up

I had a lovely long weekend which started last Thursday (Anzac Day), flex day on Friday and then Saturday and Sunday. On Thursday, I drove for about half an hour to pick up my Tarra Carousel that I purchased on Ebay recently and then spent part of Thursday and Friday cleaning and oiling my three latest spinning wheels to get them ready to start using. A trip to Bunnings found some suitable jute to use as drive belts and then I managed to get all three up and spinning!

On Friday afternoon I practised some spinning on my Wee Peggy wheel to try and get my yarn thickness a bit finer and more consistent. I had some yellow and pale yellow wool rovings that I used.

Yellow Handspun 01

All I can say is that it’s going to take a lot of practise to get where I want to go! Believe it or not this is actually a bit better than my first lot of handspun yarn. The close up photo makes it look quite thick (that’s my excuse anyway 🙂 ).

Yellow Handspun 02

All wound onto the niddy noddy….not much there but I will have two skeins.

Yellow Handspun 03

Two skeins….just need to soak them and hang out to dry before they can be used.

Yellow Handspun 04

Another close up photo…I quite like the two colours together.

Yellow Handspun 05

I had a little of the pale yellow left over so I spun it…..more practise!

Yellow Handspun 06

Yesterday I went along to the first get together for the Redland Spinners and Weavers that was held at The Artist Tree. There were only three of us there however there was not a silent moment for the whole two and half hours we were there! That’s one thing that women can do so well….meet and talk and bond.

Michelle was spinning on her Ashford Traveller wheel and I was astounded at how fine her yarn was. That is what I am aspiring towards. She spun so effortlessly…the wheel was just gliding around and there was an aura of calmness and serenity just watching her. Along with a natural talent she has, there’s lots of practise there as well.

I took along my knitting (a shawl in garter stitch so I didn’t have to concentrate on the pattern) and Gillian came along and gave me lots of hints and tips as I asked a myriad of questions. I found out the Queensland Spinners and Weavers open day is 26 May so I will have to put that in my diary.

I was all fired up today so I got out my Tarra Carousel and tried her out. This is the result….still trying to get my yarn a bit finer. I find I’m going along quite well and then suddenly I think about what I’m doing and I get all flustered and confused…my foot starts pedalling faster, I have trouble drafting the wool and have to stop….take a breath and start again.

Pink Handspun 01

Check out the nasty thick bits and where the twist is a bit too tight! Sigh! As I was spinning this I was saying to myself “I must spin nice and fine like Michelle”. It doesn’t appear to have worked….maybe next time.

Pink Handspun 02

I love spinning on my new Tarra Carousel….she is such a beautiful wheel to look at and spins like a dream. Why do I have to take such close up photos….they only enhance the irregularities in my spinning!!

Pink Handspun 03

Just to finish off…I’ve been knitting a couple of things for a friend’s grandchildren…a baby boy due any minute will be getting this cute little Mock Cable Hat and Mock Cable Socks made with Patons Big Baby 8ply.

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And his big sister who is about 13 months old will be getting this cute pink Ribbed Pumpkin Hat made with Ashford Tekapo 8ply.

Ribbed Pumpkin Hat Pink 01

Ribbed Pumpkin Hat Pink 04

Now I MUST go and do some ironing that has been gathering over the last month!!! I hate ironing….I would much rather be spinning or knitting.

Until next time….

Melanie

The Birth of a Cushion

Once upon a time there was a merino sheep that lived in Australia…

Merino sheep

It ate lovely green grass and breathed in lots of fresh Australian air to help it grow lots and lots of lovely fleece…

Merino grazing

When it was time, this lovely fleece had to come off. Who better to do that than an Australian sheep shearer…

Merino sheep shearing

Off came the fleece!

Merino sheep fleece

It was washed…

merino-fleece_washed 1

and set out to dry…

merino-fleece_washed

It was then carded and ready to be dyed…

Merino roving-wool-detail

It eventually found its way to a spinner who dyed it and sold it at the Redlands Spinners and Weavers open day in June 2012. This is how I bought it.

'Rustic' Roving 01

'Rustic' Roving 02

I used this wool top to spin my first ever bit of wool which was a huge learning experience trying to keep it a consistent size….I wasn’t very successful but I loved every moment of the experience.

DSC01360

Soon after I learned to ply my yarn, wind it on a niddy noddy and wind it into a skein…

'Rustic' Spun 10-4-13

I then wound it into two balls on my wool winder and swift…

'Rustic' Wound 02

Note the resemblance to something that could be used to tie the Queen Mary II to the dock. It didn’t take long to fill the wool winder! Back to the story….

I started to knit on size 10mm needles…

Rustic Charm Cushion 01

It was so rustic and chunky I had to resort to using a safety pin as a needle!

Rustic Charm Cushion 02

Another picture just to show you how resourceful you need to be when knitting!

Rustic Charm Cushion 03

And voila!….after a bit of stuffing a cushion is born!

Rustic Charm Cushion 05

Rustic Charm Cushion 04

Rustic Charm Cushion 06

It might not be big or even but it’s a genuine handmade article and I’m very proud of it. I may even crochet something to embellish it….maybe some sort of flower. I’ll think about it.

Rustic Charm Cushion 07

Of course, this was a very tongue in cheek and simplistic view of the journey from the sheep to the finished product. I probably missed some important steps but I think you get my drift.

This story is dedicated to Julie from The Mountain Spinnery in Brisbane who taught me how to spin. Thanks Julie! Here’s the finished product. And now I will keep practising 🙂

Happy knitting, crocheting, spinning and all other crafty bits and pieces that you enjoy.

Have a great week. Until next time…

Melanie

I Am Officially – A Spinner!!!

I didn’t say I was a great spinner or an experienced spinner but I can officialy say I have spun and plied my first two skeins of yarn. Phew!

Spinning is not as easy as it looks. You need to keep the treadle going with your foot so the wheel turns in a clockwise direction, feed the wool top/roving through the orifice with your left hand while separating the fibres with your right hand….plus keep the tension correct so there’s not too much twist……plus keep feeding the wool so it’s nice and even…something I struggled with. On top of that, when you’re plying your yarn you need to spin the wheel anti-clockwise!!

This is the set up….spinning wheel waiting to go……spun wool on the lazy kate beside my Ashford traditional spinning wheel that I bought on Gumtree last year for a handy $40! Waiting for spinning teacher to teach me how to ply the wool.

Spinning 1I have called my first attempt ‘Rustic Charm’ as that’s what it is to me. It’s very rustic, knobbly, with a tendency to try to turn into rope!….but full of character.

Spinning 2

You’ll never be able to buy this wool commercially which makes it even more special and sought after!

Spinning 3

This is how it started out before I spun it.

'Rustic' Roving 01

'Rustic' Roving 02

And here’s the plied wool after being wound on a niddy noddy and tied into a nice skein.

'Rustic' Spun 10-4-13

Winding wool on a niddy noddy is so much fun. The trick is not to think about what you’re doing….as soon as you do……you start winding crookedly. How a skein is formed is not a big secret to me now. It always looked so complicated to me…..now I know how to do it too!

nn_kromski_med_LRG

Niddy-Noddy-with-worsted-yarn

Thanks to my spinning teacher Julie from The Mountain Spinnery for being patient with me and giving me lots of tips and hints.

Now I must practise, practise, practise and when I’ve done that I must practise some more!!!

'Rustic' Spun b 10-4-13

Because my skeins are not exactly precise I’m going to make a cushion cover which can be displayed in my lounge room. Julie told me to always keep my first spinning project as I would look back on it with fondness. Just need to figure out what size needles to use….7 or 8mm maybe.

Now back to knitting to so I can work through my stash!

Have a great crafty weekend. Until next time…

Melanie