Monday, 15 June 2015

Baa Baa Black, White, Brown and Grey Sheep

Shetland Fun

It has been a fun fibre filled weekend! Today I had the great pleasure to visit Derwent Shetlands. I was able to pick out some fantastic, soft, crimpy fleeces with some of the previous owners in attendance.

Obviously with my problems resisting fibre (or chocolate) related temptation, I could not return home empty handed - well that would have been just rude! Unlike Baa Baa Black sheep in the nursery rhyme, I did not come home with 3 bags full, only 1 and a half bags full.

Sue from Derwent Shetlands was very helpful and passionate about her gorgeous flock. I am really looking forward to washing this little lot up, and combing those fantastically crimpy locks to make some fine laceweight from each coloured fleece to make into a large naturally multi-coloured shawl. That should keep me out of trouble for a while!

I may even do some comparisons between combing and carding these fibres (which are between 3-4 inches in length) I will keep you updated with my experimentation / progress over the summer.

Also, since the sun did decide to shine this weekend, I have started to take pretty photographs of some of the fibre blends for the etsy shop, which will (I hope) be opening on 25th July.

Steely Yak, a 50:50 blend of yak and silk that when spun up looks like steel (I think anyway)

Whitecroft Roses, a well blended mixture of different shades of merino, tussah silk and rose fibre.

One of my all time favourite blends, merino, cashmere and tussah silk. The cashmere feels divine and gives the yarn a warmth and soft halo, whereas the silk gives a strength and an ease of spinning with its longer staple length. I have this in a number of colours, and have loved spinning and knitting this up into some of my favourite shawls - like this one. My take on Boo Knits pattern Cobweb. Using the merino, cashmere, tussah silk blend in duck egg blue.

Sadly the light started to fail before I could get any of my hand blends in front of the camera.

My newest shawl that I pinned out on Saturday evening is Ashputtel by Nim Teasdale. Stupidly I did not weigh the cake of yarn before I cast off. I only used 213m of my 400m, leaving much of the beautiful Fybrespates pure silk 4 ply yarn unused.

This means that the remaining yarn obviously cannot be wasted, so it has already been cast on to be made into part of a two yarn shawl called Dicentra .

Happy Crafting until next time

Carol :-)

Friday, 29 May 2015

An Inspector Calls

Since my last blog, crafting life had to stop temporarily thanks to the arrival of school inspectors (those who shall not be named!) Since then, I have been trying to make up for lost time!

After many nights left on the side, I completed the shawl made from the blue gradient batts mentioned in my last post. The pattern is Nigella by Rahymah

I then decided to use the first yarn I made from punis off my new blending board. The punis had all sorts of fibre in, hand dyed merino, scarlet silk, sparkle, Coopworth locks, and superfine merino.


I decided to knit a new style of shawl for me, this pattern is called Whirlwind Romance by Nim Teasdale

Since then I have been happily busy washing fleece

This was a particularly smelly fleece from a young female Shetland called Katie - who REALLY needs to change her perfume! Beautifully soft, but quite short staple length, so after trying to comb some of the fibre, I think carding will be the way to go.

I now have quite a nice collection of washed fleeces in pillow cases ready to play with, including Shetland in Moorit and Grey, Castlemilk Moorit, Portland, Jacob and another wonderful Merino x Shetland - with polled Dorset and Ryland on their way.

Finally I have even managed to get back to blending fibres, after wandering around walking the dogs, I was inspired to use the colours of native wild flowers as inspiration (not necessarily ones out now!)

Dog Rose Gradient in merino


Foxglove punis - blend of merino, tussah silk, crab and kid mohair.

My carefree days of fibre fun are drawing to a close again for a little while, I still have more flowers to use as inspiration for gradients and punis (I need to write them down before I forget!) However, Woolfest is near, and this little gem will be coming home with me - a Timbertops!!

Happy Crafting Everyone!


Monday, 4 May 2015

So much fibre... so little time.

I adore fibre - of all descriptions colours and origins. I learned this only a few years ago when I learned that I could buy a spinning wheel and not have to inherit one.

Since that time I have been on a steep learning curve and tried every fibre that I have been able to lay my hands on - with differing amounts of success.

Possibly plying mink with muga silk was not the best idea that I have ever had, but you live and learn!

Now that I may have more time to adventure through the world of fibres, preparation, dying, spinning and knitting I hope that you may enjoy sharing the journey. Recently I have decided to work out EXACTLY how to use my drum carder to make what I want ( and not what it wants) and made some gradient batts.

They spun up really easily into a heavy laceweight yarn, which I am at the moment knitting into a beaded crescent shaped shawl.

For a change I am knitting the shawl from the darker shades to the lighter. At the moment I am on row 50/64 of the lace ... photo's will follow in another blog.

Finally my new adventures have just started. FLEECE. I have always worked from prepared fibres before now. Then a friend gave me some washed Clun Forest fleece to play with. I had a ball! I flick carded locks to my hearts content and made some lovely springy, soft 4 ply yarn.

My mission now to prepare fibres from raw fleece. The spin dryer has been obtained - as have 6 buckets. I have washed and dried 1 Portland fleece, 2 Ouessant fleeces and 1 Shetland merino cross fleece (so soft and wonderful). I have a llanwenog next in line and a Shetland fleece in the post on its way. As I said, so much fibre to play with so little time....

Shetland merino cross - raw lock, washed fleece, combed 'nests'