4

What was I saying?

It seems the “Manx Missile” is back on track…I really felt for him standing up there on the podium, crying his heart out. It just goes to show that saying is true…”If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”. I almost live by that saying. I love to learn new things and I won’t leave it until I’ve won, I suppose you could say that I become obsessive. I will live and breath the new task. But what do I do with it, once it’s learned? Nothing, I go on to the next thing. There’s another saying; “Jack of all trades, master of none”, oh yes, that’s me. There is hardly anything I won’t try (as long as it doesn’t involve leaving the ground…and water…not keen on those!). Fibre wise, I’d love to be able to do it all, but I will also admit that if I really feel I’m “fighting a loosing battle”, I’m quite happy to wave the white flag and surrender.

designed by Barbra Breiter

Lace…the bain of my life. I look at all the beautiful shawls and scarves and wraps and I long, really long to be able to produce such stunningly, wonderous garments. Alas, I do not have the concentration, the time nor the patience needed to make them. I will get there one day, but today is not the day. No, today is the day for mastering the corespun yarn, on a drop spindle!

First attempt – it wasn’t pretty!

If you search on You Tube you will find plenty of tutorials…though they are for the spinning wheel (I came across a lovely one where the lady was spinning yarn that looked like a Christmas tree, complete with presents and a star! But I can’t find it now), but the theory is just the same. The main difference is, you have two free hands with a wheel as your feet are doing the spinning.

Here’s a quick demo

So, you need one hand to hold the core with tension, one hand to hold the wrapping fibre and another to spin the spindle…hmmm…unless you have a willing spouse, child…dog(?) to hold…something, I didn’t think this was going to be easy.

I then thought teasing fibres whilst spinning is going to be out of the question, not enough hands, so prepping needed to be done. On my first sttempt I had already spun the yarn.

Welsh Black tops, spun with silk then plied with merino.

I then attached the core yarn to the drop spindle, holding that with tension between my thumb and finger. The wrapping yarn  I placed between my index finger and the next so it could freely slide, while my right hand did the spindle spinning.

Like so; the fibre needs to be kept well away from the spindle otherwise you end up with a big fibery mess…which I suppose could be interesting in itself!

After spinning I washed the yarn in hot water and soap, so lightly felting it all together.

TaDa! merino/bamboo/flax/tussah silk corespun yarn.

Just a little bit of patience and knowing what you hands are doing and it’ll all be ok. Another yarn I’ve been working on is Limegreenjelly’s “Ocean Drive” Merino/Bamboo.

Which is turning into a very nice sock yarn weight yarn if it’s left in it’s single state. I’m not sure whether to make socks or wristwarmers…I’ve seen a couple of patterns I’d like to try – Archie’s socks (ravelry link) or there’s the hat heel in Knitty and these Mary Wristwarmers. I would dearly love to be knitting lace…

2

Buns and bikes and batts…oh my!

*fanning myself franticly!*

The Tour de France got on it’s way on Saturday evening and as always, the house goes a bit Tour mad…the poster of the route has gone up and Cycling Weekly will be bought and ITV4 will be on almost religiously for the next three weeks.

And of course the fibre and spindles are out too for the Tour de Fleece…where spinners all over the world have wheels moving as fast as Cavendish on a winning sprint…or, maybe not going by yesterdays performance!

That was a pretty impressive crash!

So what’s my plan of action for the Tour? Well, Cycling Weekly gave me an idea. On the front cover it poses the question “What type of Tour rider would you be?” Now, during the TDFKAL the “riders” would state which jersey they would be working towards, but in the Tour de Fleece, we don’t do this so I decided to see which kind of rider I would compare to instead.

hmmm..

Cycling Weekly suggests that sprint climbers need to propel themselves upwards so being a small or medium in size helps. Yep, sounds good to me, not sure about the stocky build and large quadriceps…(where are they again?) though.

Climbers have long legs and ferocious aerobic power…that’s me out then being a measly 4ft 11″!

Sprinters can be any size (cool) have a strong core (yep) and arm and shoulder strength…hmmm.

and then Time trialists…have narrow shoulders and a small frontal area…(uh yeah, that’ll be me then), flexible, yep,  and feel more comfortable in a low position. sounds perfect. So the aim of the Time Trialist? Fastest average speed…

So, this concludes that I shall keep spinning as much as possible, speeding up for the straight and slowing for the bends. I had intended to spin everything I have until I bought a load more fibre. So now I’m going for as much as possible as long as I keep going, no days off.

During the prologue I finished Jo’s “My Velocity” BFL/Seacell

Sadly after spinning so much on Saturday, I had great difficulty spinning on Sunday as my hands and arms were aching but I did manage 50g of a Merino/Alpaca/Camel and Mulberry silk blend, which was incredibly light and easy to spin, although it made me sneeze like …a big sneezey thing!

Now this beautiful fibre is now spun into DK weight singles I have aptly re-named “Velo” .

Purchased from Limegreenjelly

Chunnky singles. Merino/Alpaca/Camel/Mulberry Silk

Laceweight singles so far. BFL/Bamboo which I think I may ply with some Black Welsh tops.

It’s back to the doctors for me today. After being told I will have to wait 6 months to see a specialist about my legs, I’m pretty annoyed so a fair bit of…not shouting but a little more than gentle persuasiveness (oooh think i just made up a word) and get this sorted. Just some non drug induced sleep would be nice.

Good luck with the spinning and knitting everyone!

5

There She Goes My Beautiful World…

(Nick Cave)

Well that’s that then, the Tour de Fleece is over. It was great! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I feel my spinning has improved greatly, I have learned to navajo ply, spin fine, consistant singles and I’ve had a go at art yarn, though not very successfully I have to admit.

2009-07-27 pinky4

I’ve also written a new pattern after discovering a neat little trick.

It’s quite a strange feeling after continuously watching the Tour on TV and spinning like a very spinny thing…to nothing. I have started some socks with a merino/solk blend that I beagan spinning at the beginning of the tour.

sock 002

The fibre was very kindly given to me by DeepSea Knitter.

And this one is next on the cards….

il_430xN.80584646

This is 50% Faux Cashmere and 50% Silk,  “Cherry Kiss” from Limegreenjelly.I’ve also got some fibre coming from HappyNeedle which I’m really excited about but I’ll have to wait a while for that, it’s coming from the states.

During the passed two weeks it suddenly dawned on me why I began blogging in the first place…this whole internet community thing can seem a little wierd at times. Especially when you have stories in the media telling us it’s bad for our health and state of mind, people are going out less and all that…where I see where they are coming from and no doubt for some people it can be a bit of an obsession…but without the internest (I quite like that typo so I’m leaving it in) I’d still be knitting in secret, I’d have never even thought about spinning my own yarn, or I would have done but I’d still be crap at it!

I’d never have been in touch with people like Jo and the LimegreenJelly group,  Anne and Kath, all the Plurksibs, The Ravelry lot, the Mobbloggers without whom Jim wouldn’t have been able to cycle 300 miles and to everyone who reads my blog and takes the time to leave a comment.

And though I have a tiny little voice, I just wanted to say, no, shout,  thank you all, all of you are wonderful and helpful and fantastic!

So what’s next?

I’m waiting for the other half to get back from London then we’re going to stay in Bosherston for a bit where I’m going to be giving some spinning lessons. I’ve got plans to give a friend of a friend some lessons on a knitting machine and no doubt I will be doing some craft sessions at some point, but those are still to be planned.

At the moment I am being tested to see if I have Coeliacs disease, which is a bit of a pain…as we’re in a pretty small town gluten free stuff is hard to come by (and if anyone out there also needs a gluten free diet and has any tips…they will be greatfully received). It also means no more Riggwelter…the beer that is, or whiskey…Do they do gluten free ale? Hmmph!

And on that bombshell (sorry I’ve just been watching Top Gear)…see you soon.