Friday, 30 March 2012

Spinning: Progress Report

Right, the new spinning wheel has been in use quite a bit by now and I have finished two whole skeins of yarn and am currently working on the third. A friend just sent me a whole parcel full of fibre to practice with and I can't wait to start with them!

I've already posted about the sage-coloured yarn I spun and here is the knitted result:

This is a birthday present for a dear friend of mine who definitely appreciates the skill involved in anything yarny, and I hope she also likes this shade of green. The shawl is fairly small, though much bigger than I expected. I used a basic triangular shawl pattern and added a bit of patterning when it got too boring. 

I liked the stitch definition before blocking and how alive the fabric looked due to my spinning:

After the sage yarn, I spun up some black merino for which I have no plans yet. The spinning is better than in the green yarn, but my plying needs to become a little more regular and I need to add more twist next time, I think. (Navajo plying is still a problem and just won't work for me so I need to practice that. My two handspun skeins are simple 2-plies.) The sage yarn is roughly a DK weight, but I haven't checked the black yet, though I assume it is the same.

Currently, I am spinning up a very fine micron Falkland tops from Mandacrafts (bought at Fibre Fest last year). It is so easy to spin and the colours are wonderful too. I have less than half the fibre left to spin, but then I think I might put it aside until I have mastered Navajo plying, just in case. I would like to keep the colour changes in the finished product. I do hope it won't take me too long to master it!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Melly's KAL: Final Photos

At last I have been able to take better pictures of Melly's socks. Having had to reknit some parts, it took me a bit longer to finish them, but at least not they fit. The heel is slightly baggy because of their construction, but it doesn't seem to bother me much while wearing. Love the colour!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Plying on the Wheel: Day 1

Somehow, since spinning has always been a breeze for me whether on a spindle or spinning wheel, I assumed that plying would turn out to be just as easy on the wheel as it is on my spindles. Now I know better. 

Having spent a large part of the day spinning up the remaining green fibre, I have ended up with quite an ache in one leg from pushing the treadle. This did not stop me from plying it though. I have really been looking forward to plying navajo style on the wheel so that is what I set out to do. What a disaster! And it was all my fault. I was concentrating so hard on creating the loops that I completely forgot to turn the wheel in the right direction! Ah well. Instead of giving it another go, I opted for the easy way out and simply plied two singles together from my bobbins, and later from my Andean bracelet. 

I am disappointed. My plying does look like a beginner's. Luckily, that's what I am, but I wasn't expecting that, to be honest. Plying on a spindle was always really easy for me and the result looked perfectly even. On the wheel it is quite different and I will need to practice some more until I get it right. One bobbin is holding yarn that looks more tightly plied than the other, and on two occasions a single broke and you can tell. Also, it is easy to see the unevenness in the singles sometimes while that has never happened to me on a spindle. 

Once my leg no longer hurts (or I really can't stop myself, whichever comes first), I will give this a go again with some black fibre I was given along with the wheel. Let's see if I make any progress.

Spinning on the Wheel: Day 1

The most beautiful wheel in the world has now found a home at my place. Rosee sold it to me and threw in some more helpful goodies to get me started. I was so excited about it that I didn't sleep much at all the first night, but that didn't keep me from trying the wheel as soon as I got it. Rosee was so kind as to show me how to use it and after she left I gave it a go.

The start last evening was pretty wobbly for a few minutes and getting the wheel to turn in the right direction wasn't as easy as I had expected. Soon enough it wasn't a problem anymore and I could focus on simply drafting the fibre. By now I no longer have to concentrate as much during the whole process, so it is very relaxing to just sit and spin for ages. It is amazing how much faster I can now spin too - though the disadvantage is that I will need a whole lot more fibre much quicker than before! Oh dear. Wonderwool can't come soon enough.

The wheel needs some screws to be tightened up a bit, but other than that it is great. I shall fix this once the first bobbin is completely full and I can take it off the wheel. I've spun up about 50g of the fibre already and shall do a little bit more once I finish typing this. (Yes, I am very addicted. Could it have been any other way?)

I really did not think I would end up with a wheel so soon. Come to think of it, up until a month ago or so I wasn't ever going to get one because I love my spindles. Oh well. Things change, we progress, we get addicted to yarny stuff. I'm sure you know what I am talking about.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Meet My First Spinning Wheel

Ashford Traveller
Single Treadle
Single drive
I have been thinking about getting a spinning wheel for a while now, but considering the cost and the lack of space in our tiny studio flat, it wasn't going to happen anytime soon. Or so I thought.

Then today I came across a lady on Ravelry who wanted to sell her wheel because she wasn't using it as much. She said she was based in a city near me, that the wheel was in fact in my town, and the price was so good that I was immediately tempted. Still I hesitated considering I have no money coming in at the moment and wondering if this was the best time to buy something costing triple digits.

(All images: Pumpkinjelly)

The answer: yes, it was! I very much doubt I will find anything as convenient and as reasonably priced as this Ashford Traveller. As a first wheel, it is probably my best choice at the moment and I am really excited about it. If all goes well, the wheel will be here on Thursday evening and I will also get a demo so that I know what I am doing.

I can't wait!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Melly's Mystery KAL: Part 4

Just when I thought I was done with the KAL, I decide to undo the toe and lengthen the foot a little! I was getting a bit restless anyway, not knowing what to knit next, so I will get back to these socks first.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Melly's Mystery KAL: Part 3

It's done! Five clues later, I have finished the first sock of a pair and am well on my way through the second too. Though I am not particularly keen on the shaft design, I do like the foot with its travelling cables that lead to the side cabling. In the end, I didn't bother with clue 5 (toe shaping) because it involved cutting out bits of the chart and arranging the cabling on it. Instead I made it easier on myself by simply continuing the cabling and decreasing as usual. In the end this is the same thing I would have had to do after cutting and pasting anyway.

To my surprise the sock fits very well all round. The sock yarn is strangely coarse though and I hope it will improve after a wash. I suspect that the amount of salt I put in with the dye affected how the yarn feels because it was much softer originally. I am looking forward to wearing these socks soon.