Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Poncho Project

Quite while ago now, I bought a stunning Targhee roving from Juliespins on etsy... I was determined to use it for a garment of some kind, but the thought of spinning to knit didn't appeal to me at all.
Then I got my looms, and so out came the Targhee, and the planning of a woven garment began.
It's been a longterm spinning project, as I've had to work with over 400g of rovings... and so I fit it in around other things, so boredom didn't set in :)
I used various fibres for the other plies... all co-ordinating nicely with the Targhee :)

I have some lovely millspun colours for the warp, and am still trying to decide what pattern I should use... (there's a multitude of combinations, and I am prone to

Am pretty sure it'll be a balanced weave... the warp yarns and my handspun are fairly evenly matched, but that is something I won't for know for definite until I begin, and no, I am not going to weave a sample... haha, I always fly by the seat of my pants.
Therein lies the excitement element of it all!

One thing I do know, it's going to be based on my ideas of optical mixing, with the black as an 'outline' of sorts... think Briget Riley :)

But before I begin, I am going to push my 32" Ashford Rigid heddle to it's limits, to see how much, and how wide I can possibly go...
I am going to do another space-dyed warp, and then just plain weave over it.
This will also help to get my 'head' back into weaving :)

Saturday, January 14, 2017


 As you all know, I love to work with merino & merino x-breeds in my spinning and dyeing, French merino being my absolute favourite. 
I have a lot in my inventory, both yarn and spinning fibres, because they dye extremely well, and spin beautifully. 
The development of the breed itself originated in France, dating back to the 18th Century, crossing Spanish merino and English longwool breeds. 
Wool, historically, has always been a great trading commodity, and the Rambo is both great for that, and also it's meat... they are a biiiig sheep, ewes typically weighing in at up to 200lbs, and rams up to 300lbs :) 
Thankyou for the stats
In the 19th Century, the the Rambouillet Association was formed in the USA, and from that migration, in the 1920s, the Targhee breed was established, crossing the Rambo with the Corriedale. 

Those earsies tho & another of my favourites to spin :)

Rambouillet is also in the bloodline of the Aussie Merino...

I know there's a lot of varying opinions on the qualities of the fibre itself with regards to yarn, and in particular the well being of the sheep with regards to *mulesing*... and I am careful to source my base yarns and fibres from trusted sources, favouring UK small businesses (who themselves support small flocks) so please, be rest assured, my people!
(If you do want my personal opinion on the practice though, you'll have to get me drunk :P)

Anyway... enough of that adult informative nonsense :P

I have an etsy window open constantly on my laptop, because taking a leisurely stroll through my favourite searches and shops is something that brings me joy... (and a huge rabbit hole that sometimes makes me spend far too much money... hahaha)

On one of these meandering journeys recently, I stumbled across a UK supplier of Rambouillet tops, and I was like 'Why have I not discovered this earlier???'

Safe to say, I was all over it, immediately, and had the sellers last kilo within a few days, and it was dyed, dry and test spun within 2 days after that... because... Priorities!!!

I am dedicated to bringing woolly awesomeness to my friends and fellow spinners :)

The things I do for you guys!

Friday, January 06, 2017

Sanity Knitting

Every Christmas and New Year, I try to set myself up with a project that doesn't take a lot of concentration.
This is my 'Sanity Knitting'... easy enough to follow, so I can lose myself in in the process without making an endless array of mistakes, but that is also interesting enough not to bore me.
This year it was a handspun cowl, from a pattern called 'Octopus' by Katya Gorbacheva 
I stumbled across it on a meandering Ravelry stroll through marine inspired patterns, and I fell in love with it immediately.

I was already spinning a 3ply gradient, consisting of some yummy Oatmeal BFL bought from fellow dyer and total greenius, Freyalyn.
The third ply was some 50/50 merino silk I got online somewhere.
I split the gradient *very* carefully down the middle, lengthways, and then split it into manageable sections... and started spinning. The quality of the fibre and the beautiful colours just jumped onto the wheel... it was a complete joy from beginning to end :) 
The pattern is mainly garter stitch, with a row of yarn overs thrown in, and it made for a very tactile fabric... just really perfect for a gradient :)

I knew I wouldn't have enough yarn to make a long scarf, as the pattern suggests, so I used a provisional cast on and then when I reached an appropriate point in the pattern, along with enough yarn... I just grafted the two ends together, making a cowl.
The 'tentacles' were fun to do, and I added a couple of modifications of my own to them... 
On every other tentacle I used a picot cast on, and when the section was finished, I did a picot cast off... also added an octopus charm too (only on one edge).
It gives the impression of a little Octopus nestling in seaweed :)

It knitted up very quickly, and it definitely got me through the holiday *noise* successfully :)