Tag Archives: spinning

Shells and wool

I’ve been slack in the posting department but we went away on holiday for five weeks during January and February. We rented a couple of weeks on the beach at Sanibel island in Florida. Sanibel is known as one of the top shelling beaches in the world and I’d thought I’d share a picture of the booty I collected; needless to say I have dozens and dozens more shells aside from these.

sanibel shells assorted
Assorted Sanibel shells.

sanibel shells coquina
This is a collection of colourful Coquina shells, they remind me of tiny angel wings.

While I was on vacation I also worked on a table runner and a pair of socks. The table runner is waiting to be quilted and of course the pair of socks are still one sock unfinished. Instead of working on these projects when I got home I started to spin instead and this is what I’ve done so far.

wellington mills fibre green-blue-purple
Five skeins of yarn and two left to be spun of Wellington Fibre Mill’s “Mystery” fibre. These are boxes of fibre usually made up of some ratio of wool to mohair.

blue-green-purple mystery rovings wellington mills
This is how the roving originally looked like before it was spun into the above skeins.

I’m not sure what I’m going to make of the yarn I guess it depends on what the final yardage ends up being. I spun it about a double-knitting to worsted weight yarn. I haven’t washed the fibre yet as I’m waiting to do it all at once. It did occur to me that perhaps some of the dye would wash out of the yarn and I didn’t want to wash the skeins in different batches and then have the dyelots turn out different in each skein because I’d left one skein in longer to soak. The fibre should fluff up some so maybe it’ll be worsted weight when all is said and done.

Tomorrow sees me off with my husband on another five week trip this time to New Zealand and Australia so that should be fun…there is also this certain fibre mill there…enough said the visit to the mill may or may not happen.


Fibre Goodness from the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic

Saturday saw my treasure of a husband driving me into Toronto to the 2015 Toronto Knitter’s Frolic so that I could make a mad dash to the Wellington Fibres Mill booth. I’d bought some of their mohair/wool fibre last October at the Woodstock show and spun it up and knit a beautiful shawl with the yarn I’d made so this was my excuse for getting yet more fibre. I mean it’s not like I don’t have a full closet full of the stuff but you can never have enough even if it’s only to take the stuff out and fondle it every now and then.

So all of the roving came from Wellington Fibre Mills. I admit I haven’t a clue what is in the rovings because I bought five boxes of “Mystery” fibre at $20 a pop for 250 grams. I do know that it has mohair and wool and probably some alpaca but I’m not entirely sure. As the booth helper explained it could even have dog in it, dog? Anyhow this time around I bought two boxes each of the two colours and one box of the red. Seeing as how I ran short when making the shawl I didn’t want to do the same for the next project I knit.

blue-green-purple mystery rovings wellington mills

grey-purple mystery roving wellington mill

scarlet-yellow-purple mystery roving wellington mills

I also snagged a couple of boxes of kid mohair. I’m not quite sure how I’ll use these but they were too pretty to pass up.

blue-green kid mohair

pink-purple-blue kid mohair

Next I visited the Fullin Woolens booth and grabbed some Firestar. I’ve used Firestar in my batts and I really like how it gives some sparkle to the yarn.

various firestar

Finally I picked up some buttons from A & B Creations. I was impressed with the look of a horn button I’d used in a recent project so decided to buy some more buttons for future projects. A couple are horn and the rest exotic woods. One of the buttons is African Blackwood, two are deer horn, two Yew and I didn’t make note of the final three buttons.

wood and horn buttons-african blackwood, yew, horn, other

After being inspired by the show I spent hours yesterday and finally finished some yarn that I spun from some Wellington Mystery fibre I’d bought at the 2014 Woodstock festival. I tried spinning finer so that I’d get more yardage but the yarn still comes out to a fingering/double knitting weight but I’m okay with that as it’s less work to knit. I think I got more yardage but I’ll have to wait and see when I wind the yarn into a yarn cake.

Wellington Fibre Mill - Mystery Rovings


I thought the fibre looked like a dusty rose but after working with it I’m not sure whether or not to call it a rose-brown or a copper colour. The fibre was interesting with pink, yellow, grey and blue in it. The mill sells it’s roving in boxes. Any roving that is left over from being weighed and boxed is thrown in a bin. This roving is then combined and made into new roving and since by this time it’s all a jumble as to how much of each different fibre is in the roving they call it Mystery roving and sell it at a bit of a discounted price. Seeing as how it’s hard for me to pass up a deal that’s what I bought.

The Knitter’s Frolic show itself was spectacular but I forgot my camera so sorry no pictures. I can safely say that if you save your entire year’s craft budget you could spend it all at this one show and come away very happy. The booths were a feast of colour and beauty, lovely yarn everywhere and all the gadgets you’d every need.


Aunt Grace Baby Quilt and more…

I have a few more things to post since the last time I wrote. I finished dyeing up the bulky yarn that I’d planned to turn into a hat for John and then I knit the hat.

shetland bulky overdyed sapphire blue and jet black
Shetland homespun yarn dyed with Jaquard’s Sapphire Blue and over-dyed with Jaquard’s Jet Black dye.

hat side view 1
Shetland bulky homespun knitted into a hat, the pattern is called Jason’s Tweed Hat by Melissa Thomson of Sweet Fiber Designs.

Next up is another baby quilt that I finished for the daughter of a good friend. She is expecting her first child come spring so I was invited to the baby shower and this is what I came up with. The fabrics that I used where from a charm pack of Aunt Grace 30’s reproduction fabrics. I chose to pair the fabric with plain white and then picked out some green homespun to match for the backing. Usually I dye my own backing but somehow with these prints I didn’t think funky tie-dye would work so I settled for the more muted green and I’m glad I did. Kind of scary that I’ve had this sitting in the closet since 2006, it just seems like yesterday I bought the charm pack. The quilt was made from a quilt tutorial put out by the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Go over to the right of the web page and click on Tutorials to find a listing. Zipper Quilt

aunt grace baby quilt in playpen

Aunt Grace baby quilt

Aunt Grace “Scrapbag 2006” – Marcus Brothers textiles.

One of the girls in my Ravelry forum groups posted a cute little scarf and I immediatley thought of my mother-in-law who likes this type of scarf where you can put one end through the other, I think it’s called a keyhole scarf. Anyhow this one was a quick knit that I did while watching the Olympics. I just used a simple acylic for the yarn as she is allergic to wool.

Miss Marple scarf
Miss Marple Scarf by SusanneS-vV, done in Red Heart Supersaver.

This looks like the bulky yarn that I spun for John’s hat and it is wool from the same fleece but this time the yarn I spun is finer more of an Aran weight yarn. I’ve spun up two of these so there is about 360 yards. I was going to spin two hanks and then dye them together but I’m not sure what project I’m going to use the yarn for. I was thinking of an Aran sweater for one of the grandkids so I guess I’ll research the yardage needed and go from there but meanwhile here are two hanks of Shetland White.

2 skeins aran weight shetland
Shetland White homespun, Aran weight approximately 360 yards.

Finally I thought I’d share some fiber that I have sitting out ready to be spun into something (at some point). Some pretty eye candy, I always like seeing fiber on blogs so here is some of mine.

The Great Pumpkin Patch dyed by Vickie from Vickie’s Raspberry Hollow, This is a Coopworth/BFL wool fiber.

Northern Lights dyed by Karen Burren Stained Glass Art. This is a merino/silk blend.

That’s all for now. I’m not sure what I have planned next but I’m sure it’ll be more spinning and maybe some more quilting as well. Now that I’ve done the two baby quilts I realize just how much fabric I have so I need to get some more sewing done.


Girly-girl Hat and Cowl

I seem to be having great fun washing fleece and spinning up yarn and then making projects from the results. In fact looking back at my last few posts I realize that I’m a bit behind on posting pictures of finished projects. So before I get to the topic of this post here are a few photos of projects that I’ve finished.

Here is a cowl that I knit up using the polwarth and gold angelina fibre that I blogged about a few posts back. The gold sparkle is nice and subtle but unfortunately you can’t see it in the photo.

Elizabeth's cowl
Elizabeth’s Cowl, by Wendy D Johnson from the book “Wendy Knits Lace”. This is a wonderful book full of good patterns and useful tips. I had taken it out from the library and ended up buying it.

Another project that took a good month to complete and has actually give me shoulder problems from working too many hours on it was Feather and Fan Short Scarf by Kelly Faller. My problem was the scarf wasn’t short I knit it 60″ long.


feather and fan stole

head scarf
A couple of ways to wear it. Not handspun but Paton’s Lace Sequin yarn knit on 5mm needles.

I’ve also been playing around making more yarn but I’ll save that for another post when I finish knitting up the yarn.

Now back to the Girly-girl hat and cowl other known as the 5-Hour Hat and Gaiter by Rachel Kluesner…it started like this.

washed and unwashed shetland fleece
Some shetland fleece, unwashed in front and some washed in the background for comparison.

Woolen yarn spun with the washed fibre.

yarn cooking in pot - Wilton's sky blue
Dyeing the fibre with Wilton’s Sky Blue – turns out it’s really bright!

Exhausted water
Photo showing the exhausted water.

Wilton's Sky Blue on bulky shetland
This is the finished dyed yarn. Both skeins where dyed at the same time but in the one skein I got some barber poling effect. This was a single that was wound into a center-pull ball and spun two-ply on itself. The one end (that corresponded to the middle of the ball) dyed solid while most of it dyed one ply light blue and the other ply darker blue. The only reason I can come up with for this effect is that when I grabbed fibre to card on my drum carder I must have grabbed fibre from two different washed lots. One lot must have been cleaner than the other. Someone said the cleaner fibre probably dyed darker but my hair stylist always told me not to wash my hair before a dye job so the colour would take better so I’m not sure whether the dirty fibre dyed darker than the cleaner fibre. Another experiment for another time.

Bulky yarn on ball winder
Winding on into a ball.

cropped hat and gaiter

blue hat and gaiter
5-Hour Hat and Gaiter by Rachel Kluesner otherwise affectionly known as the Girly-girl Hat and Cowl by yours truly. Knit using Shetland wool and pink bobble novelty yarn on 6.5mm and 9mm cable needles.


Wilton’s Purple.

After much angsting over the whole process I finally finished spinning up the purple fibre I’d dyed with the Wilton’s purple food colouring. I have to admit that while I was spinning up the singles all I could think of was “Am I over-plying the singles?” Sometimes they seemed okay at other times I’d get into a real groove and realize I was whipping along with the wheel and then they seemed to tight.

closeup wilton purple singles
Bobbin of single-plied BFL.

I thought okay tight is good and I’ll ply the singles tighter than I normally do and it’ll balance out. Well needless to say I over-plied the singles so that yarn coming off of the bobbin was really twisty. Thank goodness for Ravelry and the members there. One lady suggested that I spin the yarn back off of the one bobbin onto an empty bobbin counter-spinning but with a fast uptake. This would have the effect of taking off some of the twist so that’s what I ended up doing. The yarn was still over-spun but not as badly.

I then proceeded to do the washout. This involves letting the yarn sit in a sink full of hot water and wool wash. The idea is the fibres relax a bit. After doing this the skein didn’t look too bad but there were still a lot of kinked areas so I proceeded to thwack the yarn. I’d seen a video of this on youtube and at the time thought it looked like great fun. I asked a question about thwacking on Ravelry and got directed to a discussion about the process. Generally it’s thought that thwacking doesn’t do much for the yarn if it’s a worsted yarn, however given how I was feeling at that point thwacking seemed like a great idea.

I can’t tell you what a relief it was to beat the crap out of that hank of yarn, lol. All the frustrations of not knowing whether or not I was over-spinning or over-plying the yarn came out with a thwack, thwack…bad yarn…thwack, thwack, thwack. Don’t know if it helped the yarn but it certainly helped my sanity, thwack!

A few kinks left in the yarn, so I thought about it and decided to re-skein the yarn. The problem is I have a small niddy noddy. At the time it seemed like a good idea but the problem is the niddy noddy is really too small to skein up a 100 grams of fibre. I took two chairs and rewound the yarn around them, old-fashioned but it works.

yarn stretched on chairs
Yarn plus various junk on the floor. If you have a keen eye you’ll notice the luscious fibre from Jamieson and Smith (dog brush for carding on top) and some spinning books from the library along with a new girly-girl knapsack I picked up at Costco for $10.

Rewinding the yarn seems to have really worked and I ended up with a decent looking hank of fibre.

Wilton’s Purple.