Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tour de Fleece - Hedgehog Fibre Batts

This is my last finished yarn of this year's Tour de Fleece. I've had batts from Hedgehog Fibres in my stash for a while, at a bit of a loss for how to treat them. I've spun other batts from Hedgehog Fibres before, & really love the little bright colours tucked away inside the batts. I've been trying to spin with a finished project, or at least a finished yarn in mind lately, & decided that these batts would become a soft fluffy DK yarn. Or at least, that was what I was aiming for. 
I split the layers of batts & tore off strips before rolling them around a brush handle to make faux-rolags. I tried to keep the yarn light & fluffy as I spun. The finished yarn is a 3-ply, about DK weight, and with 133 metres to play with, should make a nice fluffy accessory. I had originally planned this for baby booties, but am now thinking that it could be a slouchy hat for myself, eventually!

Tour De Fleece - hand dyed merino/soybean yarn

Today is the last day of the Tour De Fleece. I have been slowly spinning away on projects, but neglecting to share images as I went along.

This yarn is spun from a merino & soybean blend from World of Wool. I wanted to experiment with my dyepot & see how the different fibre would take up the dye in different ways. While I didn't get exactly the result I wanted, I did learn quite a bit about applying dye to fibre... like not trying to be precise by using massive puddles of dye!

Once the dyed fibre was dry, it was time to examine & assess... I may have had some help. 
As I took apart the fibre, it became obvious that I was a little too rough in handling the fibre during the dye process. Quite a bit of the fibre was just a little fulled, and a little difficult to draft. Perhaps I stirred the pot a little too vigorously, or I may have used too-cool water to rinse the warm fibre. I managed to tear the fibre into strips & spent quite a bit of time pre-drafting before spinning semi-worsted. I then chain or navajo plied the singles. 
The finished yarn is about DK to aran weight, and at 154 metres long should be easy to match up to a project.... eventually. I have no idea what this will become! It was a good learning experience though.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tour De Fleece 2015 - Falkland handspun

I've been spinning away for this year's Tour de Fleece, just a little bit most days. My first finished yarn of the tournament is a 2-ply spun from Falkland tops, which I arranged into wee imitation rolags before spinning. My aim was to get a 2-ply woollen (warm, springy & steel-worthy) yarn to use as a contrast with some Kauni Effektgarn I received in a recent stash swap with other knitters. 
My handspun is quite inconsistent, and not quite as close to the Kauni (on the right) as I would have liked. However, I'll knit it up in a swatch before deciding if this was a total failure.
I now have 100 g & about 248 metres of this yarn to play with. I've been drawn to beautiful blanket patterns by Pinneguri recently and think the Kauni yarn's colour changes would look wonderful in something along these lines... when I get around to it!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tour De Fleece 2015 - Dye experiments

Over the last week or so, I've been participating, rather slowly, in the Tour de Fleece (spin every day of the Tour de France; set your own challenges; share pictures on Ravelry to egg on other spinners). So far, I've been spinning boring white yarn. But I did have some fun dyeing fibre last weekend, experimenting with variegated colours, and digging into the long-neglected fibre stash. 

First up, a merino & soybean fibre. I started by dripping & pouring complementary colours in small sections onto the wet fibre, and came to the conclusion that I used far too much liquid for this stage. I then added the fibre to a blue dyepot without stirring too much. The colours bled a little more than intended but I'm happy with the results. The streaks of soybean didn't take the dye as much as the wool, which I'm happy with. 

Next up, a merino/cashmere blend. It was my intention to end up with a variegated purple, with spots a little bit more blue or more red. I laid the wet fibre out & poured the highlight colours on in small areas, before adding the fibre to a purple dyepot. It became immediately obvious that I used too much red & pink dye! The colours will blend a little, depending on the spinning method I use. 

Another merino/cashmere blend; this colour was achieved by making up a dye pot using the excess blue & red from the previous attempt. Once the fibre was in the pot, I added some more purple & stirred a little, to try achieve a semi-solid colour. I'm really pleased with the depth of the colour - it reminds me of beetroot!

I haven't decided what these braids will grow up to be yet. To try challenge  my spinning self, I'm trying to achieve particular yarns to suit specific projects rather than spinning mindlessly. The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Finished knits

Over the last number of weeks I have been lashing through some simple baby & kid sized knits. Sometimes, miles upon miles of stocking stitch can be very good for the soul. 

First up, Bella by Dani Sunshine knit in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino in Clotted Cream, with some light purple leftovers. This is the second time I have knit this sweet pattern, though I hadn't realised how many ends would result from using the contrast colour! 

Next up, two little short sleeved baby tops. They are both a mash-up of Tama and Beyond Puerperium from Kelly Brooker's Button Lovers e-book. I used the stitch count from the 6-12 months 4ply version of Beyond Puerperium, but joined for working in the round as described in Tama. I've knit both these patterns many times; they are simple but versatile.
The first example is knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply; the second is knit in Malabrigo Sock. Both garments are sitting in the baby box waiting for some new arrivals to... well, arrive.

Last up, is a hat & mittens set, for a soon-to-be 5 year old who loves the film Frozen. I made these up as I went along, vaguely referring to previous hat & mitt projects for structure. They are knit in Milla Mia Naturally Soft Merino sport weight in that particular shade of ice-ish blue.
I am ashamed to say that the mittens were originally intended as a Winter gift last year. I only picked them up again recently & discovered that my tension must have changed since I began the first mitten, which is visibly smaller than its counterpart. I believe my usually loose tension may have tightened slightly in the run up to December 25th - not surprising with the self-imposed knitting deadlines at that time of year!
The obvious difference in size has been blocked out just enough. It is a good reminder to keep using gauge swatches though! There are a few hibernating projects from around the same time that I think I will need to start over with though.