From ? To June 2014 – A Spinning Round Up

I haven’t just been knitting, I’ve had the drum carder out and the wheel too.

First up, two skeins which have been all spun for a while but not taken off the bobbins and skeined up.

The first was a braid from Hilltop Cloud, a blend of Teeswater and Silk, I spun this fibre before but not as a silk blend. I cannot actually remember much about the spinning process, but I do remember that I Navajo-plied this one. No idea on yardage yet as it still needs to be soaked, but it is looking pretty good so far. It is actually a brighter green in real life, but the camera wasn’t cooperating.

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Next up, one of my first blends from the drum carder the BF got me for my birthday last year (which gives you a good idea of how long these ones have been on bobbins, the Teeswater/Silk was from the Tour de Fleece 2013). This was a Merino/Tussah Silk/Angora/Firestar blend, plied with a strand of Habu Stainless Steel. It is incredibly soft and breakable, and I’m planning on weaving this one rather than knitting or crocheting it. Again no idea of yardage (plus in need of soaking) but I’m hoping there will be sufficient to make a woven cowl, as the Angora content should make it nice and cosy.

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And finally, a more recent one – I finished spinning this last week (or was it the week before… I need better notes). This was another of my carding efforts – a dark Gray Merino from Penelope Craft over in Amsterdam, a Gray-Pink Merino from Floop (from The Yarn Cake, Glasgow), some Tussah Silk and some alpaca from Ginger Twist Studio here in Edinburgh. Three skeins of slightly thick-thin 2ply Aran weight which I’ll stripe up with some Manos de Uruguay Wool Clasica in a dark fuchsia/purple colour.

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Adding in another hobby?

Yup, you guessed it. As if I didn’t have enough fibre interests, I acquired a little Ashford Sample-It! Loom from the Once A Sheep stall at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Weaving had intrigued me for a while, but the relative expense of a knitters loom (near the £200 mark) was rather off putting. It just seemed awfully risky to lay out that sort of investment when I wasn’t sure if I would even like weaving.

So the Sample-It! Loom worked out rather nicely.

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It is small, only producing cloth 8 inches wide. But for a beginner it is perfect. And if I want to make something bigger, I cannot see an issue with a few seams. Thankfully I have a sewing machine so I don’t have to inflict my hand stitching on anything!

Of course…. Having got the loom the warping proved to be fairly entertaining. With practice I can now do it by myself, though for the first few times I had a obtain an assistant (thanks Mum!).

A basic mini scarf seemed like the best introduction, so I raided the stash for some suitable yarn. And a bit later produced this. There are errors, as I tended to miss some of the warp threads if I didn’t concentrate. Although I subsequently determined that the tension in the warp was off, as a readjustment with later attempts has dramatically reduced this issue.

Once I got the basic scarf down, I suddenly realised that I hadn’t checked Ravelry to see if there were any rigid heddle groups. There are. And one of the groups has a ongoing thread acting as a study group for the The Weaver’s Idea Book. After having a good nose around the thread (by which I mean looking at all the pictures), I figured this was not a bad investment. And I can recommend it. Nice, clear and straightforward, with a good range of patterns and techniques.

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The chapters are divided into various categories, #1 is plain weaving, #2 cover lace, etc. I started at the beginning (it seemed sensible).

So first up was plain weave, with the caveat that plain weave does not need to be plain. One of the suggestions was using handspan to add additional texture and interest. This seemed like an excellent suggestion to me. So I grabbed the SpinPretty Angora / Merino blend I had also purchased in Edinburgh, and got a couple of hundred yards of slightly uneven (deliberately so) 2-ply. For the warp I used some Drops Alpaca in a pale Gray.

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The finished article turned out a couple of meters long, which was a bit of a surprise – I hadn’t expected the yarn to go so far. A good soak and the Angora fluffed up, while still keeping the woven texture clearly visible. So far so good.

The next technique from the plain weave chapter was plaid – using different warps and wefts to create a pattern with the fabric. I think I can safely say I went a bit mad with this one, dragging any random purple skeins and remnants from my stash and mixing them all up. Some worked better than others, but overall I’m pretty pleased so far. I still have some yarns left and need to re-warp the loom and finish those off.

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After plaid comes the colour-and-weave techniques. Which could prove interesting.