Chicken Wire and (French?) Onion Soup

I had plans for an interesting post about spinning for sock yarn, or so I thought. But this past week has been rather busy, and my “me-time”, which is supposed to be just a few hours for (almost) myself on a Friday, has vanished today as I had a rather intense mummy-day, and the weekend promises to be along the same lines. Anyway, enough rambling: long story short, I have had virtually no time to write the post I planned.

Tonight, I needed a comfort food. The kind that makes you feel like you’re at your mum’s: warm to the stomach and kind to the soul. I had quite a few onions, some bread, grated cheese in the fridge… I decided to make an onion soup. Original, huh?

Now and again, in restaurants and shops, when I can see “onion soup” on the menu, or for sale, it is always sold as “French onion soup”. Why “French”? I have no idea, but it always makes me smile (if any of you know why onion soup is “French”, please let me know!).

So tonight, I made a (French?) onion soup. It may not be the way you find it in recipes, but it tastes good. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share this easy “recipe”, which doesn’t cost a lot, but brings quite a lot of comfort.

You will need: a large deep pan, 3-4 large onions (more if they are smaller), a good chunk of butter (forget any diet, be generous), a couple tablespoons of flour, salt, pepper, grated cheese, bread.

Slice the onions (don’t chop into tiny pieces). Melt the butter in the pan. Add the onions and let them cook until soft and transparent. Be careful not to let them burn. If they stick to the pan and become brown too quickly, add more butter. If it doesn’t work, add a glass of cold water and let them simmer. When the onions are cooked soft, add the flour, stir and let cook until golden. Add water and bring to boil. Let it cook slowly (no big bubbles!) and skim if necessary. Salt and pepper when the soup is almost ready to serve. Toast some bread (with grated cheese on top and in the oven if you’re patient enough). Serve the soup and toasts, grated cheese at the ready for those who want to add some to their soup. Enjoy.

Sorry, no picture. The soup was all gone before I thought of grabbing my camera.


On the knitting front…

Grillage – © Aurelie Colas

Grillage – © Aurelie Colas

For those of you, sock knitters, who may not have seen it yet, I released a new pattern, “Grillage”, at the beginning of the week, which is specifically designed to showcase variegated yarn (you know, the sort of skein we buy on impulse “ohhh pretty” with lovely colours).

Grillage – © Aurelie Colas

Grillage – © Aurelie Colas

This pattern is inspired by chicken wire (“grillage à poules” in French) and works equally well with a solid or semi-solid yarn. It also incorporates a roomy short-row heel featuring “shadow wraps”, for extra comfy socks.

Until Sunday 12th October, enjoy £1.00 off (no coupon needed) when checking out on Ravelry.

Posted in Cooking, Design, Knitting, Socks | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Of “piggy tail” and splitty yarns

Disclaimer: I don’t pretend to detain the Truth, but rather would like to share my thoughts, and make room for discussion. This is a subject I have been thinking about for a good long while (ask Janice… she is probably tired of my rambling by now!), and I’m happy to share my thoughts with you. And yes, it has been two weeks and one day since my last post. This is because I had set my reminder on Fridays!

 

Ever wondered why your working yarn goes all “piggy tail” as you knit on your project? Or why it becomes all splitty as you crochet? Or as you (thumb) cast on a gazillion stitches? I have, and here are my “two pennies”…

 

Context and Empirical observations

I knit quite a bit. I think it’s no secret to anyone at this point. And when I knit those endless stretches of stocking stitch, my brain wanders to weird places, and pays attention to little things, and starts questioning them, and (over?)analysing.

I am a “thrower” (English-style knitting), and hold my working yarn in the right hand. However, when I started knitting stranded patterns, I figured out how to knit with the working yarn in my left hand too. And naturally, when working crochet chains (for provisional cast-on only, I can’t crochet!), I also hold the yarn in my left hand. Similarly, I hold the long tail in my left hand too when I (thumb) cast on.

Among many things, I noticed over time that:

  • Sometimes, the working yarn would turn all “piggy tail” when I knit, leading to an annoying mess between my work and the ball.
  • The long tail becomes all splitty, and seems to “untwist” when I cast on a large number of stitches, and I need to “straighten” the long tail to let the yarn “re-balance” somehow.
  • When working a long crochet chain, the working yarn (often cotton yarn, since I want it to be smooth) becomes all splitty and seems to “untwist” too, and can turn into a mess if the crochet chain is quite long.

 

Back to basics: Yarn Anatomy

Now, let’s come back to the basics of how yarn is constructed before we discuss the matter further. A piece of yarn is usually constructed out of several (2 or more) thin strands, called plies, twisted together into the final yarn. For this discussion, we won’t bother about those thin strands, but we will only consider the general direction of the yarn: whether it is plied “Z” or “S”.

Take your current project on the needles, and look at the yarn in the ball closely. No, closer than that. What do you see? Is the twist more parallel to the middle bar of an “S”, or to the middle bar of a “Z”?

"S" or "Z" construction?

“S” or “Z” construction?

Almost all commercial yarns I have worked with are plied “S”, which means that the individual “strands” hold together thanks to an anti-clockwise twist. There were a few exceptions to this “rule” (as for all rules…), like the now discontinued Rowan Colourscape Chunky, which was (softly) plied “Z”.

 

Discussion

Somehow, I figured that knitting with the yarn in the right hand (throwing / English-style) adds a tiny amount of twist anti-clockwise to the yarn for every stitch worked. And ever so slightly, this extra twist builds in the yarn, and causes the usual commercial plied yarns (almost always plied “S”) to become a little over twisted. This can lead to an unpleasant piggy tail mess in some extreme cases.

This is noticeable for example when knitting (yarn in the right hand still) in the round forever with a never-ending ball of yarn (a vanilla sock, the body of a jumper, a blanket knitted in the round), as one doesn’t “release” the extras twist every now and again by turning the work over. Have you ever noticed, when cutting the yarn to darn in the toe for example, that the tails you just cut seem to have that “need” to “untwist” to go back to their “normal” state? It’s that extra twist that gets released: that same twist you added as you knitted!

On the other hand (pun intended…), holding the yarn in the left hand leads to a slight inverse motion which adds a tiny bit of twist clockwise for every stitch (knitted or crochet). Adding twist clockwise to a yarn plied “S” is equivalent to “removing twist”. And as you knit/crochet/long-tail cast-on with the yarn in your left hand, more and more twist is removed from the yarns, leading to an underplied splitty yarn: the plies seem to separate, and the yarn becomes a pain to work with.

Here is what happens to the long tail when I cast on... Underplied, and splitty!

Here is what happens to the long tail when I cast on… It becomes underplied, and splitty!

 

I have read here and there some knitters complain about a yarn coming apart as they knit, and in particular as they cast on. Especially, this seems to be a common complaint regarding some softly spun and plied yarns (gently plied “S”…), like Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (which I’m very lucky to have been given a skein from over the pond), or Rowan Felted Tweed (a favourite of mine). I am not very surprised of the yarn untwisting as they cast on, but I would be very very curious to know whether those knitters were knitting “English” or “continental” style! I would bet a skein of yarn that they knit with the yarn in their left hand!

Similarly, some people (and lots of crocheters) complain about some yarns, especially cotton or cotton blends, for being too splitty. Cotton is a non-elastic fibre, contrary to wool, so it doesn’t bounce back in place like wool does. I am not entirely sure how much this plays a role in our matter, but I am sure that a lot of the “splittiness” is not so much that the yarn is “wrong” or “faulty”, but that it has not been spun and plied in a way that’s adequate for crocheters (or continental knitters).

In an ideal fibre world, I think there should be yarn constructions specific to crocheters and continental knitters (plied “Z”), and yarn constructions (plied “S”) for English-style knitters. This is where spinning comes in handy: one can just spin the yarn to suit a certain knitting style, and/or a certain project… Isn’t that fantastic?

Anyway, I have another few dozen ideas, interrogations, theories, etc which I’d love to discuss, to infirm or confirm my hypothesis and analysis. So, perhaps there could be future posts on this subject, who knows? I find looking at the engineering part of the yarn-to-knitting interaction fascinating (as you will probably have guessed by now!)

 

Now, I’ll stop rambling for a minute, and kindly ask you to share your experience. Do my “two pennies” worth of thoughts match with your experience as a knitter / crocheter? Or am I completely wrong (entirely possible, mind you…)?

Oh, and one last question to crocheters out there: I was wondering if, by any chance, the yarn that is specifically labelled as “crochet yarn” (for instance the crochet cotton) would be plied in the other direction, to avoid the splitting issue.

 

Thanks a lot for reading this far…

Aurelie

PS: Anything I forgot, anything you think of, please leave a comment below, or in the Ravelry group!

 

 

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Spinning, Yarn, Yarn construction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Routine in a Cup of Coffee

With two young ones at home, I get told often how much a “daily routine” benefits children. How a routine at night time is like magic and makes bedtime easy and straightforward. While it doesn’t seem to apply to all children (ask me how I know…), it got me thinking recently about my own “daily routine”, or more especially, the lack thereof.

When I had a job, I had a schedule, a precise time in the morning to get ready and out of the door, and stuff to do with deadlines while in the office. Now, I don’t have a “real” job, I am just trying to get the housework done (with a very limited success), and work on my knitting designs in my “me-time”. It is taking me some time to adjust, and the arrival of the Little Miss threw out the window any sort of pseudo-routine I had in place.

My Precioouuuusssss...

My Precioouuuusssss…

I guess this is a problem common to all mums: one puts oneself at the bottom of the priority list. However, I was reminded not long ago that I need some me-time, at least so I can keep some sanity. And this is when I realised that I actually still have one routine thing I do every day, several times a day: one structured activity which helps me refocus, and brings some sense of safety: preparing myself a cup of coffee. A lot more than the caffeine in the cup, it is the routine in the preparation of the cup of coffee which makes it so special. So much so that I often prepare the coffee machine, prepare my cup and all that… and then forget to drink it because I’ve moved on to another activity / duty. Yet, the sheer routine of preparing that cup benefited me: it helped me relax, refocus, and feel like I had control over this one domestic thingy.

A few days ago, I reorganised part of the living room, to free up a little corner where I could put my little bureau. It took me a full day (well… many little chunks in that day), but at the end of the day, I had a tidy corner, with a little space to write on, lots of light and a nice environment: great for being focused and creative, while being able to keep an eye on little people if by chance they were having a quiet activity (read: a nap for the littlest one, a quiet activity for the little man, that would last long enough for me to take my knitting out). It feels good to have a little dedicated workspace!

On top of my bureau, there are two boxes full of yarn, for two upcoming designs (hopefully), both already charted, pretty much ready to knit… I “just” need to finish a few other designs first, and having these two boxes under my eyes is a nice incentive… I am not giving myself any deadline for these, though, so you may not see them before next year. In the meantime, do you want to see what’s in the boxes? Here is the content of one of the boxes: both colour palettes for the two designs are in there. But I’m not saying what colour(s) will be used where… For full disclosure: the other box is full of neutrals.

Yummy colours...

Yummy colours…

And today, as I was preparing the coffee machine (again), I decided to regain control over part of my days. I know it is vain to pretend introducing a lot of new habits overnight, so I decided to start slowly, and first: bring some structure to my “me-time”. So I took the diary out, and opened the task manager on the computer too…

I listed all the upcoming family appointments/activities instead of keeping them in a corner of my brain. That way, I could see what time was possibly left for some “me-time”. I listed all the designs I had started, with their different levels of completion, and what the next steps are, when they should be published in an ideal world, etc. At this point, I got scared at the amount of work sitting there, in project bags… and the amount of work still to be done. Even if this was scary, it was soothing to see it all written there, and to start working on the next-in-the-list thing immediately.

Finally, one of the “tasks” I wrote is “write a blog post”, with a kick-in-the-bottom (aka. a reminder to do it) every other week… We shall see how this goes! Hopefully, you will get a little message from me before two weeks have passed.

In the meantime, please tell me… Do you have a daily routine? Some trick / tool / anything that helps you refocus, and give you a sense of achievement? Please share your magic, I would love to get better at this whole organisation thing!

Speak soon!
Aurelie / spinnygonzalez

Posted in Design, General | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Above and under

It all started when I realised that no, I really didn’t like knitting with cotton. And I have quite a lot of cotton in stash. What else could I do with it? Weaving?

I had heard about weaving, and when watching a few podcasts, it looked like everyone was taking on weaving. At the beginning of the year, I went back to my local spinning, weaving and dyeing guild meetings, and there were quite a few ladies weaving with all sorts of looms. So I did my homework, asked questions, as to whether it was possible to rent a loom from the guild, just to dip my toes in the water and see if I could see myself weaving. Just to use my stash, you see.

And once again, I have been struck by the generosity of people. First, I was given great advice. The ladies didn’t get upset at my never ending questions. And then, as I was about to go back to my spinning, with the head full of ideas, and about to place a request to rent a loom from the Guild, one of the ladies simply told me that she had an old, unloved little rigid heddle loom that could do with a bit of fixing, was not the best loom but could be enough to see whether I like weaving, and would I want to have it and give it a home.

Needless to say I took the generous offer, and a few days after, the little loom came home with me. In the meantime, I had ordered a book on Rigid Heddle weaving so I could “do my homework” and have an idea of what to do with it. After I took it home, I fixed a couple splits in the wood, re-tied a few bits and bobs, and promptly tried warping it.

 

Dryad Rigid Heddle Loom

Dryad Rigid Heddle Loom

As a warp, I used a black fingering weight, 100% BFL which I figured would be sturdy enough. Beginner error: black is not the best colour to see things… Also, the yarn was not smooth, and the shed was not always opening properly as the strands were a little grabby. The weft was a nice choice of baby alpaca, a light fingering with a lot of drape.

Rigid Heddle Loom - First Project (in progress)

Rigid Heddle Loom – First Project (in progress)

First Project (1)Two or three days after, I had finished weaving that warp. Cut off the thing from the loom. It looked decent for a first weaving project. I then spent an evening making a twisted fringe (it takes ages, but is a rather meditative process). Then soaked it, let it dry flat… and there was a nicely formed scarf with a lovely drape.

 

My next plan was to weave something like a blanket for the little one I was expecting. I had read somewhere that it was possible to weave panels, and join them together afterwards. This trick enables one to create a blanket wider than the loom. My little loom measuring 15 inches, I couldn’t make a piece of fabric wider than 14 inches or so: on the loom, the fabric is under tension and usually becomes 10-15% less off the loom… and then there is the potential shrinkage of the yarn, especially cotton!

So I made a few plans, with my rather large stash of organic cotton 4ply in mind (Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton 4ply, now discontinued). The plans revolved around the idea of weaving an odd number of panels (3 or 5?) so that there would be no seam right in the middle, as with my luck, chances are that it would be slightly off-centre and bother me!

Blanket - ColoursI didn’t have quite enough of a single colour to do the weft for the whole blanket in one colour. So I decided on two weft colours. I am not beating the weft evenly enough to pretend to have horizontal stripes that match. So I decided against horizontal stripes. Hence the final choice of 3 strips with the weft in one single colour (white), 2 panels with weft in another colour (beige-ish). The vertical stripes were created with all the other colours I had in stash. The width of the stripes I created very scientifically by choosing among the elements of the Fibonacci* sequence of numbers (not keeping them in order as I didn’t want the stripes get wider and wider), bearing in mind that I wanted all strips to be roughly the same width, and to work with the amount of yarn I had in stash. It made the warping sessions quite entertaining! Ok, I heard you… call me geek if you like! :)

Blanket - on loom

Blanket - Pre soaking (2)When I completed all 5 panels, I laid them all on the floor and tried to find a combination of stripes I liked. Of course, all my panels didn’t have exactly the same length. I decided to take care of that later, with a hem to enclose the uneven side(s). With a simple whip stitch, I attached the panels together, starting at the bottom of the blanket consistently. That way, that side would be almost even too. When all panels are attached, I hemmed carefully the top and bottom sides (leaving the edges “raw” as is can’t unravel from there), trimming the extra fabric where needed. Surprisingly, I found the hand stitching very soothing and quite quick too!

Blanket - Post soaking (12)Finally, I put the finished blanket in water with a little soap to soak, rinsed it, and let it dry. I even took the iron out (it’s cotton after all!) to even out some folds! And voila! The blanket is ready to be puked on.

And the loom is ready for warping the next project. What will it be? Possibilities are endless, even if I just consider my stash…

Blanket - Post soaking (5)

Above and under… And no, I didn’t need another craft!


  • Fibonacci sequence is defined by the recurrence relation: un = un-1 + un-2 ; with seed values: u0 = 1 and u1 = 1
    So Fibonacci numbers are: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, …

 

  • Elements of vocabulary for those new to weaving:
    • Warp: the “vertical” strands that form the length of the woven fabric
    • Warping: preparing the loom with said strands, which need to all be at (roughly) the same tension for an even fabric. An even tension also makes weaving easier and a more pleasant experience overall.
    • Weft: the “horizontal” strands that form the width of the fabric. This is the yarn that gets woven “above and under” the warp. Mastering an even beat and clean edges are key to a nice looking item.
    • Beat: the action of putting the weft in place, against the already woven part. On a rigid heddle loom, the beat is usually done with the heddle, by sliding it along the warp and pushing the weft in place.
    • Rigid Heddle loom: a simple loom with only one heddle (at least on my loom), where the strands are placed into holes and slots alternatively. The heddle has three positions: up, down, and neutral. Neutral has the warp all flat and horizontal. Up and down open one shed each: either with all threads in holes above the threads in slots, or the other way round.
    • Shed: the space created in the warp when some threads of the warp (called “ends”) are moved up (or down) while the other ones remain in place.
    • Shuttle: the tool (with my simple loom: a flat stick with a slit at each end, and around which is wound the weft) which enables to bring the weft across the open shed.
    • Weaving motion for a simple weave on a simple rigid heddle loom is as follows, starting with the heddle in the up position for instance: *pass shuttle through the shed just open, heddle neutral and forward to beat, heddle back in the down position, pass shuttle back into the shed, heddle neutral and forward to beat, heddle back in the up position. And repeat from *
Posted in Community, Weaving | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Feeling ‘blue’……..or should that be ‘pink’?

I do not seem to be able to get my mind to stay in one place at the moment…I had great plans for the summer. Catching up on set aside designs, getting up to date with my work load while the workshop season is quiet, sorting out the house, etc, etc….alas I have achieved very little…apart from making bucket loads of jam!

As most of you will know Aurelie is rather busy right now, not only with her new ‘rainbow’ but with a lively toddler too! And so, it is my role to keep everything ticking over. We both have many ideas filed away so that we have something ready to ‘pull out of the bag’ when required. However, on this occasion my head would not co-operate with the task on hand.

It has been a funny week, so perhaps the easiest thing to do is to share it with you.

Happy 80th Birthday Mum!

Happy 80th Birthday Mum!

For once I had a plan, my week would start with the simple updating of a Christmas Toe- Up Stocking workshop in preparation for forth coming bookings. ‘It won’t take long’,  I said to Aurelie while visiting last week. The fact that she burst out laughing somewhat hysterically should have been a clue! If we have learned anything from our mistakes over the last few years it should be that the overuse of this statement can tempt fate. I firmly believe that those four little words should not be uttered unless you are literally wearing your project!

Let me explain…..All that was required was to re-knit a sample in a different yarn from the one originally used. One that the workshop venue had in stock…..easy, peasey, lemon squeezy!

I had been sent some lovely red and white merino wool to knit a Christmas Stocking. Beautifully soft and the colours were gorgeous.  However, once I had cast on and started knitting I realised the yarn just did not work with the original slip stitch pattern. Not to worry I thought, I will make a few alterations to suit the yarn……….click, click, click….there….much better!

Then came the heel. The original was a simple short row heel……hmmm….it did not look too good in this soft and smooth yarn, too untidy, gapping holes from the wrapping. Not to worry I thought, I will use a differnt wrapping technique, it will be something new to teach……..click, click, click, there….much better!

The leg was a whizz, I finished off the stocking with a Vikkel Braid (thank you for the inspiration Kate Davies), i-cord bind off and hanging loop. I was quite chuffed, simple for beginners, a few new techniques, Christmas colours, perfect!

Now for the blocking………..

The ball band said to machine wash at 30 degrees, however, I did not feel one stocking could justify a full load so I opted for the trusty Eucalan and warm water in a wash basin. I knew something was wrong as soon as the wool hit the water……and then…..it looked like there had been a murder.…eek!….…The colours were bleeding….I whipped it out pronto, but it was too late……….My candy cane stripes were PINK and my stocking had gained several inches in length. I panicked! Maybe it was because I had washed it by hand. I quickly threw it in the machine and paced the floor anxiously waiting for the end of the cycle. In happy anticipation a pulled the stocking from the drum only to find I still had PINK stripes and more inches. Quick….the tumble dryer (not recommended on the ball band)…….20 mins later…..I had a tantrum!

I will not bore you with the aftermath of my tale, except to say that this week I learned 3 very important knitting tips:

  1. Check the water temperature before launching your knitting into the water. It may be too hot. Higher than recommended temperature can cause colour bleeding and growth issues in Christmas Stockings made up of red and white superwash merino stripes.
  2. Soaking in cold water with added salt or vinegar before washing in Eucalan prevents colour bleeding in Christmas Stockings made up of red and white superwash merino stripes.
  3. If you do not heed the advice of tips 1 and 2 it is not advisable to PANIC or to have a TANTRUM. This only confirms the suspicions each family member already has about your sanity. If something goes wrong with your Christmas Stockings made up of red and white superwash merino stripes…….stay calm….call a friend (preferably Aurelie if you are lucky enough to know her number), post cries for help on Ravelry groups and wait patiently for advice.
image

Christmas Toe-Up Stocking Adventures

With Christmas Toe-Up Stocking made up of red and white super wash merino stripes mark 2, I guarantee I will listen to knitting tips 1, 2 and 3 and will post the results to prove it. Be patient with me while I build up the strength to cast on!

P.S. As my post seems very wordy on this occaision I have broken it up with images of other summertime adventures. Hope you enjoy them x

Posted in Baby, Child, Christmas, Cooking, Design, Festive, General, Gift, Knit-Along, Knitting, Ravelry, Socks, The Auld Woolly Alliance Group, Toddler, Toy, Uncategorized, Workshop | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A wee break from knitting…

I have kept things quiet, as the past year has not been an easy one. Knitting and designing have been a great way to try to focus and maintain a link to the kindest people. And perhaps a gentle way to put my head in the sand too, but I’m okay with that.

Those of you who read my woolly adventures on Ravelry regularly would have noticed that I went missing from the forums from the end of last week, after I published my latest design, Balustrades and Slates Beanie and Slouchy Hat, to match the Windows and Balustrades Socks released recently.

… and if I haven’t reappeared quite yet on the forums, it is because my days filled up somewhat earlier than expected with the most adorable little bundle of joy. And I know that there is a little star out there looking after her.

Precious...  (©Aurelie Colas)

Precious…
(©Aurelie Colas)

I will be back soon, with more knitting, more spinning, some weaving (no, I didn’t need another craft…), and of course more designing as it definitely helps me keep some sanity. In the meantime, I would like to thank all of you who have been so supportive and kind.

Love,

Aurelie / spinnygonzalez

 

Posted in Community, Design, General, Knitting | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Fluff and stuff: a Woolfest haul

Just like last year, I had in mind that I wouldn’t buy yarn at Woolfest, because I have enough at home to open a yarn shop. There were a few tools that I wanted to find, and I had made a list of what I needed (blocking wires, a little flick carder, possibly a heddle which could fit in my little loom, etc), and of what I wanted: clasps to make some bags, and then fibre, some of which I had reserved and “just” had to pay and collect. I was also shopping for fibre (locks) for a friend, and searching for gifts for another couple of friends. See, I was or-ga-nised!

The recipients of the presents (who also read the blog) have now received their little parcel, so I can now disclose the pictures of my haul!

Here is pretty much all I bought:

Woolfest 2014 - Aurelies haul (1)

And here is what is really for me:

Woolfest 2014 - Aurelies haul (2)Yes, it is Hilltop Cloud-heavy… but that’s because her fibre is very yummy! The big bag on the right is a jumper-worth of fibre in a wonderful blend and colour, now discontinued. I am very lucky of having been able to buy it, and I hope I can do it justice.

But in the meantime, back to the Woolfest recap’… Aren’t you impressed? I am. And I haven’t spent all my budget. Ok, that was easier since there were no blocking wires to be found, and there was no heddle that could fit my little old loom, or even remotely match the heddle I had brought with me. So I came back home with a little flick carder to play with and a few bag clasps to make purses (I’m hoping to turn some into gifts!). I bought a few postcards here and there to show my support to some stalls, or when the rest was out of my budget (the lovely felted artworks, or the cashmere fibre). And I bought some fibre of course, but nothing too silly.

Jacob

It was hard to resist this pretty face and little horns! (Jacob Sheep at Woolfest 2014)

The unplanned purchase was the two little batts (one ounce each, approximately) of Jacob sheep (the fluffy white/brown things top left of the second picture). I think I bought them because I spent a little time looking at the sheep, and wanted to buy a little something from the stall to support them. So I bought these two little batts, and a soap too.

And on the way back, I decided to not let these “extra batts” wait forever in my stash. So they jumped up the (mental) queue and made their way to my spinning wheel pretty soon after they entered my house. (Those of you who keep an eye on our Ravelry group have already seen the pictures below, sorry for that!).

Looking at the batts, my initial plan was to spin the white batt and the brown-ish one separately, and to ply them together to have one skein in the end, with a marl effect throughout. Then I weighted the two batts… and they were quite different, with the brown one being heavier than the white one. So I changed my plan and decided to make two skeins: one skein with only the white fibre, and one (bigger) skein with only the brown fibre. I split the batts in two, and spun each half…

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In the end, I have three skeins: a 25g skein of 2-ply white, measuring approximately 50 metres, a 30g skein of coloured yarn, measuring approximately 60 metres, and a tiny skein of about 2-3g, measuring about 5 metres. All in all, that’s about 110 metres of a DK(ish) weight yarn.

Now, I need to figure out what to do with them… I could look at them, keep them as memories of Woolfest, or perhaps turn them into something else, like a pair of (fingerless) mitts? And you, what would you do?

 

Posted in Gift, Spinning, Travel, Woolfest | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments