Weaving Tales

Weaving was always something I wanted to learn but I thought I’d put it on the backburner until I was fully retired and had the time to devote to another craft. Things changed when the stars aligned and I managed to pick up a new Schacht Inkle Loom and then my dear friend Rona offered to show me how to use it. The warping was lengthy and boring at times, however, once I started pushing that weft through the warps these amazing patterns emerged and I was captivated and hooked!

Brown reddish 01-tileAt our January spinning camp, another friend of mine, Catherine, offered to show me how to use the Ashford SampleIt loom which I jumped at enthusiastically. Again, the warping seemed to take forever but once I sat down and started weaving I was immediately drawn to the pattern that emerged.

Uh oh! This wasn’t supposed to happen until a couple of years down the track!! Needless to say, I started looking into the Ashford Knitters’ loom and absorbing myself into all things weaving! I particularly liked the idea that it was a rigid heddle loom and yet it could be folded in half even if you still have a project on it. So it was a quick email to Lindy, who’s an Ashford agent and also a member of my spinning group. At our next meeting I was the proud owner of a new 50cm Ashford Knitters’ loom, the stand and carry bag.

Meanwhile while on one of my many visits to Facebook I found someone who was selling a 30cm Ashford Knitters’ loom plus four reeds for a bargain price that included postage so I quickly snapped it up. This loom will be so easy to take to Knit and Knatter if I so desire.

30cm Knitters Loom 01 The very first project I wove at camp was this scarf made with Ashford Tekapo 8ply.

Weaving Melanie 03Once I had my 50cm loom I wove this project. It’s made from some very old wool that I had dyed with Queen food colours as a first dyeing experiment.

Queen dyed old wool 16I’m so pleased with the end result! I can’t wear it as a shawl as it’s a bit scratchy but I’m sure I can use it as a table runner.

Queen dyed old wool 18My sister gave me a stack of acrylic to make some beanies for charity and I found these three colours which I rather liked so they became more practise on the 30cm loom.

DSC08946Very pretty don’t you think?

DSC08948I was on a roll! My next project was made from my huge stash of sock yarn left overs.

Sock Yarn Left Overs 03In hindsight I shouldn’t have used all cream as the weft as it’s washed out the colours a bit but on the positive side, it is incredibly soft!

Sock Yarn Left Overs 04My final project was woven on the 50cm loom using some early handspun of mine: the grey is alpaca plied with rayon and the purple/blue is merino plied with rayon. The black is Patons Embrace 2ply. The warping was ‘lots of fun’ as I have limited space in my  home.

Grey Purple Black Warping 01Grey Purple Black Warping 08The end result was so worth it!

Grey Purple Black 03This time I used three weft colours which has made it so much more interesting to look at. It was a bit tedious at times as I was using one 50cm shuttle and two 30cm shuttles on a 50cm loom. Need to invest in a couple more 50cm shuttles methinks.

Grey Purple Black 04I had to quickly work out how to add a new warp as the alpaca from one of the warps simply wore off the rayon. As I mentioned, it’s my earlier handspun when I was still learning and it probably didn’t have enough twist in it. I have since heard that if you use hair mousse on the alpaca warp it helps to prevent the ‘fluffing’ tendency and then once it’s washed the alpaca blooms nicely.

Grey Purple Black 05 I really love the colours and am so pleased I’ve been able to use this handspun. My only fear is that I don’t snag it on anything as it’s so delicate.

Grey Purple Black 06Grey Purple Black 07 Grey Purple Black 08I also used my Ashford Fringe Twister. It’s so easy and a saves all that finger twisting.

Fringe twisterMy next projects will probably be using the same grey alpaca with the black Patons Embrace on the 30cm loom to make a long narrow scarf and then maybe the same with the purple/blue too. I’ve stacks of this handspun and this is the ideal way to use it up.

I am still going to attend the two day beginner/advanced weaving workshops in mid April so that I can pick up some more useful tips and techniques 🙂

More sheep joined my flock in the last couple of weeks. I found this huge sheep in my local Woolies (thanks Lindy for the heads up). You can see the size by simply comparing her to the chair and surrounds. The little sheep next to her used to be my largest sheep!

Huge sheep 01And when I was grocery shopping in Coles yesterday, I found these sheep in the Easter section. I succumbed but I only bought one of them!

Coles sheepUntil next time…

Melanie

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Easter Yarning

Over the years I have collected bits and pieces of china…some cheap and some not so cheap. So I was quite amazed a couple of days ago when I realised that I had a lovely Royal Doulton plate from the Susan Neale ‘Old Country Crafts’ range called ‘The Spinner’.

The Spinner 02

To think I’d had this plate since the early 1990s and didn’t realise it replicated my love of spinning.

Another little plate I picked up on Ebay last year is this one…

Irish Spinning 02

It’s quite beautiful isn’t it. And then there’s this tiny little spinning wheel I also picked up on Ebay last year. Just couldn’t resist it.

Small spinning wheel 02

And here’s the three of them lined up on one of my timber kitchen dressers.

Three spinning 2

Yesterday I washed two lots of handspun that I’ve recently finished spinning. This one is called Kangaroo Paw…

Kangaroo Paw 01

Lovely shades of yellows and reds…

Kangaroo Paw 04

Kangaroo Paw 06

This one is called Rainbow # 2…

Rainbow No 2 02

Rainbow No 2 03

One of my friends asked me whether I spin to get a certain colour effect. Well no, at this stage I consider myself to be an organic spinner and what I mean by that is I spin without thinking of the end result. My aim is just to get it relatively consistent in thickness. Maybe when I’m more experienced I might get a bit more mathematical and scientific about it. With this particular roving I broke it down into many thin strips before spinning as it suited my Peacock spinning wheel that I was using for the first time. It’s a bit chunkier than my previous spinning efforts but I absolutely love the colours in it.

Rainbow No 2 07

These rovings are part of a large bundle I bought from Jumbuck Julie’s Etsy shop and I showed you them all here. This is what they looked like in their roving shape…

Kangaroo Paw 01

Rainbow # 2 01

Now I have a bit of handspun waiting to be knitted into garments….probably hats and scarves at this stage.

One more look at the beautiful Rainbow colours…

Rainbow No 2 05

That’s all my news for now. I hope you’re all having a wonderful Easter and will find some time to do something crafty. Until next time…

Melanie

 

Two Handspun Woolly Neck Knits

Another handspun garment has flown off the needles! I am particularly happy with this ‘Forest’ Handspun Scarf. The spinning is getting to be quite consistent and the colours are simply wonderful.

From this…

Forest roving 02

To this…

Forest Handspun 02

To this luscious skein…

Forest Handspun 05

To this beautiful scarf…

Forest Handspun Scarf 01

Isn’t the striping effect gorgeous?

Forest Handspun Scarf 03

The pattern is called One Row Handspun Scarf from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka The Yarn Harlot and it can be found on Ravelry. It is soooo easy to knit and is reversible which is what I like in a scarf.

I added a lovely fringe to make it look like the scarves I used to wear when I was a little girl and my family lived in the UK for a year.

Forest Handspun Scarf 06

Forest Handspun Scarf 07

I bought the two x 100g rovings from Kathy’s Fibres. They are lovely to spin from and Kathy’s colours are amazing.

Forest Handspun Scarf 08

The scarf is 100% merino wool.

Forest Handspun Scarf 11

Forest Handspun Scarf 13

The second handspun garment is a 50/50 kid mohair/merino cowl. It was challenging trying to spin this yarn and it became a very thick and thin textured labour of love.

The original fibre was very soft and fluffy…

Kid Mohair 01

As you can see it is very thick and thin…

Kid Mohair 04

The colourway is called ‘Autumn’ and it has lovely bits of blue and orange throughout it…

Kid Mohair 06

The two skeins have a real ‘chunky’ look about them…

Kid Mohair 08

But as I learn every day, there are no mistakes in spinning. The thick and thin look is actually what some spinners aim to achieve and here I am doing it without even trying!!

I only had enough yarn to make this very warm and incredibly soft cowl…

Kid Mohair Cowl 01

Not bad for a spinning ‘disaster’ is it?

Kid Mohair Cowl 02

This is also the same One Row Handspun Scarf except I joined the ends to make a cowl.

Kid Mohair Cowl 03

I love all those muted colours.

Kid Mohair Cowl 04

Only a small cowl but very big on warmth and character I must say!

Kid Mohair Cowl 06

You could say I am very happy with my handspun achievements to date. Plus I am going to have the warmest neck in the whole world next winter 🙂

Before I go I must let you know that I have subscribed to Dyed By Hand Yarns’ 2014 Simply Sock Club and the first instalment is released next week! I can’t wait!

The theme for 2014 is Australia II – colours inspired by the ocean, sea, sails and coastlines. This is a six month sock yarn only club and you receive:

Two skeins of sock yarn posted out in the last week in March, May and July. Yarns included are 2 x Tough Stocking, 1 x Mother’s Love, 1 x Big Blue Stocking, 1 x Silk Stocking and 1 x Blue Chip Stocking.

Each skein of yarn is dyed in a colour inspired by something Australian. These colours are exclusive to yarn club members for 12 months. Plus custom dyeing of these colours on any yarn base may be ordered by yarn club members for the duration of the club.

Now as I have mentioned, I have no financial or other affiliation with Dyed By Hand Yarns. I simply love to promote fantastic Aussie artisan hand-dyed yarns and fibres as they are spectacular. Here’s my story about the 2013 Simply Sock Club with pictures of all the yarns. And remember, you don’t necessarily have to knit socks with the yarns….you can also knit some beautiful scarves and shawls.

One more pic of my scrumptious Forest Handspun Scarf…

Forest Handspun Scarf 04

That’s all for now. Until next time…

Melanie

My First Knitted Handspun Garments!!

I’m sooo excited as I’ve finally managed to knit my first two garments from my own handspun yarn. I didn’t think this would ever happen.

It’s gone from this…

Citrus roving 02

To this…

Citrus Handspun 01

Then this…

Citrus Handspun 19

To finally….this gorgeous hat…

Citrus Hspun Hat 01

I love this beautiful pattern…

Citrus Hspun Hat 04

I found the pattern in the Knitting: 100+ Patterns Throughout the Year: 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar and it’s called Heart Vines.

Aren’t those colours simply stunning!

Citrus Hspun Hat 10

But wait, there’s more. I also made this lovely cowl too…

Citrus Hspun Cowl 01

It’s the very popular Honey Cowl….over 15,000 have been made and are featured on Ravelry.

Both my head and my neck are going to be toasty warm this winter. The pattern gives you a lovely textured and thick cowl.

Citrus Hspun Cowl 05

Depending on how much yarn you have you can make the smaller version like I did. There’s also a longer version.

Citrus Hspun Cowl 07

Here’s a picture of that beautiful textured stitch definition which is simply alternate rows of garter stitch and slip 1 wyif, purl 1 repeated.

Citrus Hspun Cowl 10

I’ve also started knitting my third garment with my second lot of handspun and have also got the third lot of handspun on my Ettrick wheel. It’s called ‘Envy’ and it’s one of the many rovings I bought from Kathy’s Fibres.

Envy roving 02

Busy, busy, busy…that’s what I am.

Citrus Hspun Hat 09

Citrus Hspun Hat 06

I hope you’re having a wonderful yarnie weekend too!

Until next time…

Melanie

‘Forest’ Handspun Yarn

I’m on a bit of a roll when it comes to my spinning. Now that I’ve settled into using my Ettrick spinning wheel and loving how it works, I can’t get away from it! I even missed eating my dinner last Friday night as I was so engrossed in plying this yarn!

Forest Handspun 01

This is part of the large number of rovings I purchased from Kathy’s Fibres last year for only $11 each. This particular colourway is called ‘Forest’.

Forest roving 02

I love all these ‘earthy’ colours…

Forest Handspun 02

The plied and skeined wool came out a treat…

Forest Handspun 05

I am finally managing to retain some consistent thickness with my spinning. I didn’t think it would ever happen!

Forest Handspun 06

I couldn’t get all the yarn onto the one bobbin so I’ve ended up with a large ball weighing 166g and a smaller one weighing 32g.

Forest Handspun 07

I’ve even found a pattern I may use. It’s The Yarn Harlot’s One Row Handspun Scarf. I think it’ll look lovely in this yarn.

Forest Handspun 17

We found a new venue for our Knit and Knatter twice monthly gatherings which we visited yesterday. It’s the Hoya Garden Plaza and it’s perfect for our needs. There’s so much seating room that’s all under cover and it could even cater for multitude spinning wheels. Their coffee and cakes were wonderful and it was so peaceful overlooking all the plants.

One of my lovely friends lent me these two books to read. I am quite in love with both of them so of course I’ve sourced them on the internet and bought them from Abebooks!

The first is Elizabeth’s Zimmerman’s Knitting Around.

Knitting Around

There’s a great book review that can be found here.

And the second book is Amy King’s Spin Control, perfect for a newby spinner like me who’s still experimenting with lots of things.

Spin Control

Spin Control teaches you to make handspun yarns that may include the best traits of commercial yarns but always have their own personal touches. From soft, bulky singles to durable cabled yarns with terrific stitch definition and from tweedy yarns with rich texture and color to serviceable 3-ply that holds up to heavy use, the sky is the limit with this book.

Teacher, store owner, and fiber source Amy King of Spunky Eclectic shares her time-tested techniques for success in Spin Control, which include:

How to adjust spinning wheels for best results with the least effort How to combine techniques to create beautiful yarns. Instructions and brilliant photography on core spinning and other less traditional techniques And, Amy even takes you off the beaten path and shows you the exciting opportunities of novelty yarns. So you can explore the types of yarn and create beautiful, functional handspun to meet your fibre needs. From skinny 2-ply lace yarns to sturdy cabled yarns, Spin Control has the fundamentals you need for one-of-a-kind yarns.

There’s a great book review than can be found here.

One more look at my handspun yarn…

Forest Handspun 13

Forest Handspun 14

Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! Until next time…

Melanie