OK so it's not quite the New Year yet, but my early New Year resolution is to write regularly about my spinning, dyeing, knitting and tapestry exploits, if for no other reason than to remind myself of what I have done and what I am planning to do! Today's post is the latter.
One of my younger daughters has been asking for a pair of Very Warm gloves. In an attempt to meet her needs for cosy little hands, I have spun up some fibre to meet her requirements. Being the child of a spinner she knows by now that she can have whatever fibres she wants, no matter how luxurious! Consequently she chose cashmere (of course!), angora and merino, all of which I purchased in the form of wool tops from World of Wool.
This project is emerging in stages, the first of which was to learn how to spin a yarn thicker than my normal thin fingering weight yarn. I was not planning on knitting these on size 1.25 needles!! [Maybe for a future project though this could be fun...think of all the possibilities for design work...mmmm....]
I began by spinning the angora and merino top (a 50/50 blend)into 1 ply. Initially I spun it on my Schacht Matchless wheel using the 11:1 ratio but it was far too twisted for my requirements. I wanted to accentuate the softness so I switched to the 19:1 ratio. At first the yarn tended to drift apart, but by ensuring that just a little more twist got through I ended up with the singles I was hoping for.
Next I spun the cashmere and merino fibre (a 30/70 blend) using the same ratio of 9:1. After that I plied the 2 together on the same ratio adjusting the position of my Lazy Kate so that it was to my left rather than my right as I had always done before watching 'The Gentle Art of Plying' by Judith MacKenzie. It took a bit of getting used to a different position, but after a few yards it all ran smoothly. Very smoothly in fact. While I always Love spinning angora and cashmere, the act of plying the 2 together has to be the last word in spinning luxury. I can only imagine what it must feel like to ply 100% of each together...paradise?!
In the end I spun 2 skeins with the following meterage: Skein #1 : 171 metres = 50gms = 342m / 100gms Skein #2 :129 metres = 40gms = 320m / 100gms --A slight variation in grist, but not enough to put me out as I am not planning to use this yarn on its own but as part of a stranded knitting design.
OK it's been a while since I last posted! But I'm back now and I've been having lots of fun, not just spinning, dyeing and knitting, but playing on Ravelry. Now that is one fun place to hang out! This morning I somehow managed to persuade my eldest daughter to pose for some photos which I have just uploaded on to my ravelry page. [This is what happens when university finishes and you ahve nothing better to do!] By the way my Ravelry name is goddesswarrior. No, don't ask! It's a long story!! Funny thing is that while I thought I had done virtually no spinning, dyeing or knitting for some time, or at least none worth talking about, in fact I seem to have a lot more than I realised! Wow, imagine if I actually got organised! Think what I might achieve then. Maybe that handspun waistcoat I've wanted to knit for myself for some years now...or a handspun Fair Isle nordic-style cardigan pewter buttons and all...or how about an entrelac waistcoat or scarf...and what about all those handsun shawls I've been wearing in my dreams....mmmmm, time to get committed and have fun!
These are the results of dyeing with ground cochineal using a recipe devised by Debbie Bamford which was based on one by Trudi Van Stralen. This recipe called for ground cochineal, which Debbie had supplied me with previously. The recipe called for 10% dye stuff per WOF : 5gms dye to 50 gms of fibre. The fibre used was a 50/50 blend of white silk/merino top, prepared for dyeing by plaiting lightly first in an attempt to prevent felting. The fibre was pre-mordanted in 8% alum and 7% cream of tartar. Stainless steel pot and soft tap water were the other elemnts involved in the dyeing process. There was a lot of dye left in dye bath. Hard to rinse dye from fibre, so required multiple rinsings. Even ended up not fully rinsing all remaining dye out for fear of felting. However fibre felted anyway. Might be able to use it for novelty yarns.... ............................................................................
EXHAUST DYE BATH #1 ---Dyed 50gms kid mohair top in 1st exhaust bath. No pre-mordant used. Water source as above. Results: Beautiful medium DOS pink. No felting. Photo shows kid mohair drying it the garden!
Here's a cable yarn I spun today as part of the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers online spining workshop for spring 2009. http://www.wsdworkshops.org.uk/ 1 ply was created from handpainted BFL top and a silk/merino blend dyed in Lanaset Royal Blue; with the other ply consisting of the same BFL as before and a silk/merino handpainted with Lanaset dyes. Both plies were plied on my Ashford Traditional wheel using the 6.5 ratio at 20 turns per 18'' span approx. Then they were cabled on the 6.5 ratio again following Judith MacKenzie McCuin's instructions to ''throw'' the plies at the wheel orifice -- see Spin Off, Spring 2008, ''Cables: Demystifyig the Mysterious Yarn''. I am pleased with the results,and curious to see how it will knit up. Also thinking of trying more cabling, this time with cashmere.
This month Debbie Bamford as part of the UK Online Guild of Weavers, Spinner and Dyers has been running a natural dye workshop using a variety of natural dyes to create a series of red samples of dyed fibes or yarns. So far I have dyed 3 samples using 2 different recipes for cochineal dyeing. The first photo shows merino/silk top (50/50 blend) dyed using a recipe adapted by Debbie from Michelle Whipplinger. The second photo shows a tiny sample of alpaca dyed in the same dye pot as the silk/merio above. The third photo shows more silk/merino dyed based on a recipe by Gosta Sandberg. It is interesting to note the different uptake of the dyes on the merino and the silk. The silk is a whole lot paler. My daughter said that the Sandberg sample looks like candy floss!
My new tapestry is finally begun! I warped it up on my Mirrix loom some time ago and even wove the header, but then stalled. Today I overcame the big block, which was to create some sort of cartoon. I had thought I could weave it without one, but after a number of unsuccessful attempts finally gave in and pulled out the sheet of paper and sketched. If you look very closely you will see the sketch behind the tapestry warps. You can also see a selection of the ymmy yarns I am using for this piece, as well as the first design ideas in colour.
This blog is dedicated to all my fibre pursuits -- spinning, tapestry weaving, dyeing and knitting. It will show works in progress, finished pieces, fibre destined to become something as of now end unknown, and dreams of fibre art to be created sometime in the future.