Friday, 28 August 2009

Hanging out to dry

From the left: superwash in Peacock, superwash in Sailor, coloured bluefaced leicester in Beryl and then Northern lights. Nicely dry but I shan't get them packed up and posted before we go to Durham tomorrow morning - they'll all go out on Tuesday morning.

I managed to gird the loins enough to wash these two fleeces; I now have no unwashed wool in the house. The further is a Teeswater I picked up at Woolfest, to be dyed and resold. Nice fleece, but it really wasn't skirted enough - lots of wastage. The nearer is a Shetland (cross?) which I picked up at Butser back in May. Lots of veggie matter and even more second cuts, but it's actually a surprisingly nice fleece. I shall comb a bit and see how it comes out. They obviously don't use a particularly good shearer at Butser.

All knitting is growing apace. Photos after the weekend away, in which vast amounts shall be done.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Dyepots again

I have just remembered why superwash merino is such a pain to dye - you have to use cool water for the dye solution. If I use the recycled, hot, already acidulated water that I've just spun out of the previous dyebaths the superwash grabs the dye molecules out of the liquor as it's poured over, meaning the top layer of fibre is too dark and parts underneath are barely coloured at all.

I'd used all my superwash up before Woolfest (still have some, but it's dyed up and packaged and waiting for me to be energetic enough to Etsy it), so I've been in touch with my little chap in Guisely and 5 kilos of it was delivered this afternoon. Nice stuff, too - perhaps not quite so fine as the previous, but fine and nicely textured.

So, I've dyed up the BFL order and that's drying, the first lot of superwash is in at the moment, and I've got one more lot to do tonight.

Popped into Adelaide Walker's this afternoon for the BFL. I managed to get there without being rained on (public transport is idiotic in that direction now - a train and a bus from Leeds, and another bus back to the train to get back to Baildon). They are such sweeties there; Margaret very kindly drove me up to Menston station as it started to chuck it down again as I was leaving. You don't get that level of service everywhere.

Of course, it being damp and muggy it's not ideal fibre-drying weather. Never mind, at least it's not cold.


I now discover I have rather a lot on the go....

Twist Collective's Cottage Garden - not to be resisted, floral patterns on a circular yoke. The yarn's the last of the Babe handspun, much more silvery than showing here. Started last night.

Couple of days old, as I've been playing with stitch numbers and gauge.

A project from March's Piecework magazine, a tunic top based on a 17th Century knitted undershirt from the Museum of London. This is the superwash BFL I spun up a few weeks' ago.

Then, of course, there's Mark's Orkney Gansey which has been in abeyance for a few months, but must be done before his birthday this year.

I also have the dark brown shawl, which is turning into a version of Cheryl Oberle's Wool Peddlar's Shawl from Folk Shawls. I started the patterning while watching the last part of Desperate Romantix. I would been watching from behind my fingers if I hadn't been knitting. Oh dear...

Off to Adelaide Walker's now, as I have an order for some dyed BFL tops as, having turned all my dyeing stash upside down yesterday, I have come to the conclusion have none at all. I though I did, but it seems I mentally confused it with some camel/silk. Given my current mental state, it's a wonder more isn't getting confused. At least the knitting is making me feel better about the Disco - at least, I keep telling myself it does.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

A few skeins

Various bits and pieces done over the last week. From the left: a generic skein of handspun used as the my demonstration sample for last week's dyeing workshop at Queensbury; next two are both indigo from previous evening, when I was checking that the indigo was up to scratch - the left is generic handspun, the right bfl sock yarn from Baa Ram Ewe.

The next three were all done up at Magrat's the Friday just gone: first another BFL sock yarn, then some dk I found, both dyed with weld (mordanted with alum) and then overdyed with indigo, to make a lovely lincoln green. The last is skein of laceweight dyed with cochineal (again, alum), then unevenly dipped in the indigo. I foresee a scarf with this yarn.

Detail of the cochineal/indigo.

Detail of the weld/indigo bfl.

Just wound off the wheel at home. This was a badly-handled and slightly matted top of superfine merino which I'd dyed in Festival. The skein on the left is as it comes and then chain-plied. It wasn't drafting happily, so I split the top into it's colours and stuffed it through the Hedgehog. No idea what it's for, and it may even go up for trade on Ravelry.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

On the wheel.

On the wheel at the moment: this is Archie's fleece, a grey Corriedale from Denise. It's not what I'd call a typical Corrriedale - most of it is extremely soft and silky, more like a Polwarth, though not as crimpy. There is some coarser, shorter, darker fibres running through is very small amounts - in a coarser fleece they'd be kemp, but not here. There's a beautiful lustre. I have run it through the Hedgehog carder in approximately 50g batts, with a small amount of purpley glitz blended into each one; each batt went through three or occasionally four times. Very lightweight, fluffy batts, that spin like a dream. There's enough resolution in the photos to embiggen and see the shine.

I have two 100g balls of 2-ply fingering weight at work so far, and should have another tomorrow. I'm debating whether to overdye it dark green - I think the grey would give tremendous depth and richness to the green and the glitz would really stand out.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Queensbury Dyeing Day..

.. has finally rolled round again, and was a great success, again. All I do it turn up with vast amounts of dyeing impedimentia, set up with newspaper on the tables, plastic sheets underfoot, pots for steaming, colours in bottles - quick demonstration and they're off. Last year there was only about six or seven that participated - this year I had sixteen! I had to instigate a queueing system at the steamers (luckily Jackie had brought another upright, 3-layer steamer otherwise we'd still be there) to get everyone through.

I set up a small indigo pot with the instant indigo crystals, but then everyone was so frenzied with painting skeins and tops (and yes, everyone brought suitable pre-soaked stuff) that it sat unwanted for an hour or so. Obviously this was the right thing to do - it worked brilliantly, and dyed lots and lots of yarn and fibre. We had some very successful space-dipping of both yarn and tops.

Very tiring. I don't think I've done any knitting all weekend! Spinning has been done, though, if not photographed and documented. I think, as I'm now on my own at work for the next three weeks with not too much work to do, that I'll take my Little Gem in. Busy tomorrow.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Socks and dyeing

Cookie A's Kai-Mei socks finished - I like them much better this way round, which is technically the 'wrong way'. But the pattern looks better on the inside on my feet.

Had a lovely evening last night at the Baa Ram Ewe knit night. 28 people in a small shop, but I ended up with a seat at the table which was good! I rang Ma before setting off to see if I could get a lift up to Guiseley for the bus to Headingley, but she was about to jump in the shower before she and Dad went out to Roundhay for an opening of something, so fair enough. I found out later that Dad had come down to the train station twice trying to find me (but that was at 5 and once I thought I couldn't have a lift I'd gone for the 5.26 train so wasn't there). On the way back from Roundhay they'd gone down the main street in Headingley, found the yarn shop, Ma stuck her head in and asked Verity if I'd gone, which I had, ten minutes ago. I was, at that point, waiting at the bus stop and they must have driven past me twice. Oh well, it would have been nice to get home at 8.30ish rather than 9.20, but that's just the way it goes. My stupid phone had switched off the calling ring which it does occasionally.

The annual Guild dyeing day up at Queensbury town hall tomorrow. I think I have everything organised. I have my instant indigo crystals from Paradise Fibres, which I had a quick go with this evening and now have a lovely navy BFL sock yarn, plus a small scrap skein in a pale denim colour. All my bottles of Gaywool solution are topped up and ready. I have packed newspapers, gloves, dye, electric rings, steaming pots, racks for the pots, stirring sticks, citric acid, cloths, clingfilm, scissors for clingfilm, brushes and squirters, plastic pots for mixing, indigo, large bowl for indigo solution, my own soaked yarn.

Instructions were supposed to go in this month's newsletter, but Ann sent it out a week early due to her being on holiday; I received it just as I was about to send my stuff through. So there's bound to be people who have brought completely the wrong stuff.

Oh well, we'll see. And a tennis racket cake to decorate on Sunday morning - joy.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Fresh batts

I had a couple of 100g tops of my superfine merino which I dyed up in what I thought was an original colour, but on later inspection turned out to be a reinvention of my Festival. Anyway, I hadn't dyed carefully enough (certainly not fit to see) and I started to spin some up last night. Not good - I really wasn't happy with the way it wasn't drafting.

So I pulled the Hedgehog downstairs this evening, divided the top roughly into purple, teal and lime, and carded. One batt has been spun and I'm lots happier with it. Probably another hat.

Cake-making took up valuable spinning time this afternoon. Ma has 'persuaded' me to make a cake for her to take to a birthday party at the weekend. It's going to be a tennis raquet - from an Australian Woman's Weekly book of utterly unbelievable representative cakes. I shall have to decorate it (with vast amounts of boughten icing) on Sunday morning, but so far a huge chunk (baked in a roasting dish) of butter cake is in the freezer.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

More socks

Leia, being baleful because I interrupted her cleaning activities to take a photograph. She is deliberately not looking at me.

Not sure about this. It's a 3-ply aranish-weight handspun, a very dark brown Corriedale/Shetland fleece with streaks of green merino. It's sort of started out as an Ishbel, but I'm really planning this as a warm and snug shawl for the winter and if so, then I'll need the depth rather than the length. I might knit a bit more and see what it looks like. I also might pull back and stripe it with similar weight yarn spun from the same fleece blended with tussah. Or perhaps turn it into something like the Wool Peddlar's shawl. We will see.

Cricket knitting - the leg, which isn't visible here, is rather short as I started this on Sunday morning just before going to the test match, and started the heel later that afternoon after watching the pathetic last thrashings of the England tail. It's my own sock yarn, in Beryl, which is possibly my favourite colour of all. Second sock is started. These are on the lovely brass dpns (about 2.5mm) that the lovely Sally Pointer's partner Gareth makes.

They are, of course, Cookie a's Kai Mei socks from her wonderful book, Sock Innovations, which I rather amazingly won recently. According to the pattern this should be the right sock, but I think the leaf pattern looks much better wrapping the arch rather than the inside of the sock.

Stripey Noro socks for Katie. This yarn was a bit of a sod to start off with - it's designed to look and behave like a single (but on reconstruction isn't) so when I started on dpns all it did was twist about madly and catch on each point. So I gave up and did toe up socks on magic-looped circulars - 2.5mm. The heels are afterthought/peasant ones, in the colour of the stripe they were knitted out from. I love how the colours have worked - one thing you can say for Noro, it may not be the best/softest/most knot-free yarn in the world, but the colours are amazing.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Hats and scarves

Slightly more attractive photo of the BFL Rose scarf. I'm really please with this,and hope I don't find someone who needs a pressie before I can wear it this winter.

Hot off the needles! A sudden urge to work with beads resulted in a more organised (ie written down as I went along) of the Beadie Beanie. I'll get a pattern written up and Ravelised soon. I love the shades of blue in this....

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Decorative dogs

The Nancy Bush Lily of the Valley scarf is finally blocked and finished with. Barely 15" of yarn left, which didn't make for relaxing knitting. Anyone else go by the theory that if you knit faster you won't run out of yarn? (The logical extension of this theory is that if you knit really, really fast - you'll end up with more yarn than you started with...)

Taking a leaf from Marnie McLean's book, herewith some decorative dogs and yarn. I'm sure Bil and Lunil are at least as decorative as Panda and Thea, and Bil being black will go with anything. I think there's a hint of Jedi-ness to this particular shot.

Lunil was a bit suspicious about the whole thing. She very deliberately would not look at the camera. Must spin something pale blue to set her off nicely.

And Bil, again channelling Sidious. There's lots of this yarn - just over 500g but nearly 1000m. Haven't yet decided what it will become, but I have ideas.

Flat smells of wet wool again. I've dyed up 400g of the superfine, which I had soaking with the rest of the order that's been carted off to Summer School this week. I put an extra four balls of fibre to soak, then didn't get around to doing them and had to this mornign before they started to get mouldy. Neither of the two colours are exactly what I had in mind, which just shows that I really ought to pay attention to what I'm doing.

Anyway, I've also been doing sock yarn - some Slate (part for an order for someone who needs some more), some Beryl because I wanted to see what it looked like in yarn not fibre and I could always do with some more green socks if I don't sell it), then there's some Mirkwood and some Sailor about to be tipped out now.

The I have three skeins of Aracaunia aran-weight which I bought cheaply up at Coldspring Mill a while ago in a very wishy-washy turquoise and white. It's about to be overdyed a very deep blue-green.