Saturday, 14 November 2009

A New Technique!

I've been doing a little bit more spinning since my last post, though of course not as much as I should. I want to work my way through the rest of my Wildcraft stash, before I order any more! First up was this Shetland top called 'Seaglass'.

It's a little softer than the English Wool blend, though still a bit coarse for navajo ply I think, so it's another 2 ply.

Again I had a problem getting the colours to match up, and ended up with about the same amount left on one bobbin as before. I can't quite work out how that's happening! I've also found out that my plying technique has been all wrong. I usually separate the 2 threads and control the twist with my right hand, leaving the left hand completely free for tea drinking! I realise now that I should have been controlling the twist, and feeding the yarn onto the bobbin with my left hand. I should have realised it wouldn't be that easy! I got a pretty good mileage out of it though, 228 yds at 10wpi.

I've had some plain pink merino sitting on a bobbin for quite a while, so I used that to have another shot at navajo ply.

It actually worked quite well this time! Well, the yarn snapped at one point, and I had to tie a knot in it to continue. I was surprised how quickly it came together though, once I got into the rhythm of it.

It gave me some confidence to try it out for real on some of this delicious Wildcraft Organic Merino (colourway 'Violets').

I'm stupidly pleased with the way this has turned out! It's not flawless, the yarn snapped a few times at the start, so I had to cut off a fair chunk of it to get rid of all the knots, and I think it's a little over-twisted at some points, but I don't think it's too noticeable. I love the way the colours have come together though, hopefully it will make for some decent colour repeats when it's knitted up. Actually I haven't decided what to do with it, or any of my handspun, yet. I'd like to try weaving some of it, but I'm reluctant to waste it all (my little bits of weaving leave much to be desired!). This one's 150 yds at 10wpi.

On another subject, I got my last harvest out of the garden before the winter...

Jerusalem Artichokes! Not exactly pretty, are they? I actually cut the plants back ages ago, and forgot all about them. I found them the other day when I was tidying the garden. They seem to have coped though, and were still nice and fresh looking when I dug them up. This is the first year I've ever tried them, and I still have no idea what I'm going to do with them. Apparently you can cook them like tatties, or make them into chips. We'll see!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Walking and Spinning

On Wednesday we had a farily decent day up here, for the first time in a good couple of weeks. So I went for a walk around a little loch not far from here, to try and get some final pics of the very last of the autumn colour, before it's gone for another year. It was a crisp, frosty sort of morning, that turned to bright, clear sunshine!

I had a lot of fun trying out the newly-discovered close-up function on my five year old camera!

I came home after my walk to my lovely little stash of Wildcraft fibre, that, I'm ashamed to say, has sat in a bag for months and months on end. I'm not sure what it is about this time of year, but I'm finally getting round to doing all these things that I've barely had time to look at all summer.

I've been trying to learn how to navajo ply by reading tutorials and watching youtube videos... to no avail whatsoever. In the end I was just about ready to hurl the entire wheel out the window in frustration, and gave it up. I really would like to learn how to do it though, becuase these hand-painted tops are really lovely to spin, but I can never get the colour to match when I'm plying, and it tends to make for a 'muddy' sort of yarn.

So this time I went for this English Wool Blend, which is too wiry for navajo plying. I split it right down the middle, in two equal parts (I thought), in the hope that when it came to plying, the colours on each bobbin would match, and that I would have roughly the same amount on each one, so as little as possible would go to waste.

In the end it didn't go exactly to plan. The colours went their seperate ways pretty early on, and there was an awful lot left on one bobbin after plying.
I think it still looks ok though. It's just over 168 yards (if I've done my maths right!), and is around 11wpi. I got the lot into one continuous skein thanks to my new jumbo flyer, which I am very chuffed with!

I'm so glad my spinning-mojo is back! It's nice to be feeling creative again.

If you've read this far, I'm amazed! I'll leave you with this little poppy that I found stuck into the side of the path on my walk. I thought it was nice, and left it there.