Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Full Circle colourway

Full Circle has been one of my most popular colourways recently, and I keep meaning to keep one of the sets for myself. And failing. So this time I had a not quite 300g lump of Captain Poldarles fibre (John Arbon) that I dyed up just for me.

So I spindle-spun all the singles. I tend to use my spindles in pairs these days, which works well for handdyed yarns. A matched pair of spindles and coloured top split down the middle as near as perfect as possible does lead to singles that will almost always match. It's very satisfying to spin consistently enough to achieve this. It's about a week's worth of spindling, and I didn't take it to work so it's only a couple of weekends and a few evenings. 

Quite a bit of spindling can be done while I'm walking the dogs. This was taken at the far end of the nature reserve, when I'd just finished the second orange spindle and was about the start the first purple one.

This is the next spindle along - both oranges and one purple done. The orange singles were spun on a pair of Bosworth spindles, and you can see the purple is about to go on a pair of IST ones.

 And this is all six spindles full! The last two aren't the same make, but are nearly the same weight (in this case, all six are between 26-28g). One's a Dragonfly, the other's a Grafton, I think. The bag is made from a gorgeous handwoven scarf given to me a few years ago; too short for a scarf, perfect for a bag with secret pockets and a fringe!

The singles were then wound off from the spindles into a ball, each set together, so it's ready to wheel or spindle ply straight from the ball. This has to be done carefully, so you don't end up with odd little pigtails, but it does give you the opportunity to cut and paste if the colours don't quite match up.

And this is the yarn plied. Because I spindle-spun the singles, it was much easier to make it a fine high-twist single. This had to be balanced by lots of twist in the plying. And yes, I just about managed to get it all one of my standard Majacraft bobbins. At the moment, the 2ply yarn looks like a scrawny and underplied thread!

And here it is after a very hot and soapy wash, a good spin, an equally hot and slightly vinegary rinse, and another spin. The plies have plumped up, relaxed and bloomed, which has the interesting effect of making it looked slightly more twisted. All the green in the colourway has vanished inside the skein, and won't come out until I unwind it and see what I'm doing with it next.

 This is the yarn I spun on holiday in Wales, once Wonderwool was out of the way. It was a series of batts I made up from black and white Shetland tops and some angora fibre. Tightly spun on my Suzi, with the accelerator head and baby bobbins. Each ball is a single, which I wound off into a centre-pull ball and plied on itself.

This is it plied, the other week. I had to run it through twice the first couple of balls to get it sufficiently high-twist. Again, before it has a hot bath it looks like garden twine. Not a trace of the angora yet. 
And now here it is, washed. Very hot water, washing-up liquid, equally hot rinse. I'm intending it for weaving, and you can see the angora just starting to think about making a halo.  The green is BFL I spindle-spun at the Tynedale Spinners' Gathering last Saturday, plied on the wheel. 

So there we are, a bit of yarn biography. I just have to work out what to do with them now. 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Wonderwool 2017

So there we are, another Wonderwool rapidly disappearing into the distance, just a few memories and a lot less wool to show for it. We drove down to our lovely little cottage at Llangammarch Wells on Thursday afternoon, unloaded our seriously stuffed Discovery then, and reloaded the stall things on Friday afternoon. This was the empty space that faced us:

And this was what it looked like a few hours later. I was rather pleased, even if I say so myself. Especially the tree at the back! (This was a printed fabric panel from Ikea, and doesn't it look like a real tree? People saw it on IG and Twitter and came to see how I fitted a fir tree in!)
Normally I share a bigger space with another fibre-supplier, but this year we decided to have a space each, and I'm really pleased with how it looked now I had three walls to cover. The stapler-gun came in very handy. And now I have to finish that Welsh wool quilt hanging on the left wall.

I taught a workshop at the Wonderwool Woolschool both days - Chain-Plying. There were only a few people each day but that was just as well, as it meant I could really pay attention and help people get to grips with it. I got good feedback.

This is a new line this year - limited edition grey Shetland yarn, a 2ply coming up in a fingering weight, in eight colours. 25g skeins, which gives 114m, just perfect for colourwork. I shall dye up the remainder for Tynedale Guild's Open Day on 20th May and Leeds Wool Festival in June, and then that's it.
The sock yarn took a bit of a bashing too. I actually remembered to take a photograph just before end-of-show-packing-up, to see what colours I need to dye. Lots of blues and greens needed, plus some warmer colours and bright mixes. I did a few more Full Circles on various wool tops this weekend just gone, and yarn will be dyed next weekend.
And after Wonderwool, as we've done for a couple of years previously, we now stay in Wales until the following Saturday. It's one of our favourite places in all the world! We went walking (this is us with Cecilia and Graham Hewitt at Elan Valley), toddled around Builth and Brecon, had lunches out, paid our annual visit to Penderyn Distillery (buying gin as well as whisky this year) and just rested and had a wonderful time. 
I also managed to get quite a bit of spinning done, just for me. Having had to bring my wheel with me, I got some serious use from it. I meant to cast on a hat using the new Shetland yarn to show with the yarn, but that only got cast on on the last evening. 

So now we're home, and the dye-pans are hard at work again. As mentioned above, the next shows are Tynedale Spinners' Gathering and Leeds Wool Festival. See you there?