Archive for the “Fibre is good for you” Category

Spintelligence web

Welcome to Spintelligence! I’ve wanted to run a fibre club for ages and now that my Pilates training is finished I have the time to devote to it properly. The club will run for 6 months, with three postings of gorgeous hand-dyed fibre from Indie dyers. You’ll also get spinning techniques, tips and tutorials, plus chat and advice throughout the club.

You can see all the details and prices here, Sign-ups will open at 11am today Sign-ups Open!!

P.S. Don’t you love the logo :-) Made by the fabulous Rock&Purl!

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This was my third visit to Wonderwool, and it just keeps on getting better! I drove up to Wolverly with Ali and Nick and we stayed with Nick’s folks in their lovely old old farmhouse (which is now in the middle of the suburbs of course). From there it was only a fairly quick run over to Builth and with the addition of Yoshimi in the back seat, she’d joined us Friday night, it seemed like no time before we were squeeing at the sheeps!

There was way more fibre there this year, which is good as I’d made a firm rule about not buying any more yarn. The rules about fibre and spindles, however, were (ahem) a little less firm, shall we say. I started off with a dash to The Natural Dye Studio, as Amanda was holding a few silk packs for me to pick from (thanks Queenie!) and then we wandered around and around only semi-systematically until we figured we’d seen most things ran out of money.








Top to bottom: Fyberspates Merino/Silk, NDS Merino/Bamboo, Silk Brick from Oliver Twists, Artist’s Palette Merino, half a Spindlefrog luxury spinners set (I shared with Sarah), and of course, NDS Precious Tussah Silk (mmmmmm).

This was totally Sarah’s fault, still not sure how I ended up with it:


A lovely black/grey merino fleece from the Coloured Sheep Breeders Association, which we also shared.

And, well, Bossies are going to be hard to get soon so it seemed an intelligent decision:


16g of lovely Canarywood Bossieness.

The best part of course, was meeting up with people and chatting and catching up and nosing out their purchases! I met Megan for the first time in real life, which was fab. Also connected with Kerrie, Helen and Lucy who crashed with us at the pub later on where we took over an entire corner and scared everyone away with the yarny activities (I still think the owner chose to come out and sit in the bar just so he could watch us in fascination).

Wonderwool was so much fun that I think that this year I really need to make the effort to get up to Woolfest as well. Are you going to be there??

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We finally got to the fleeces in the shed yesterday - there were some duds of course, as is to be expected, but there were some gems among the bags as well. None of the wool fleeces were worth keeping, except one lovely black crossbred:


I didn’t put any in my pile though because it’s really a little bit short.

The Alpaca fleeces were great. We don’t know much about them, but if they were given to the shearer then we can probably assume they are from guard animals. Yet a couple of them were as good as any Alpaca I’ve seen apart from cria fleeces. A big pile just may have found its way into my suitcase.

This was probably the best one:


A lovely caramel colour and beautifully soft. There was also a couple of white ones, and another light tan.


I took my bits from the neck, I’m pretty sure these animals had two years between shearing and the saddle was about 8 inches long! There were also a few lovely suri fleeces and I pinched a bit of that to bring home too.


After we finished drooling over fleece (and getting very dusty and grotty), we headed over to visit Serena, my new friend from spinning group. You know those people you meet where you suddenly feel like you’ve known each other for ever and talk for hours and hours… We had a fantastic afternoon talking about spinning, and music and teaching and sheep and eating chocolate cake!

We were also lucky enough to be able to visit some of their Merinos:



And more importantly, some freshly shorn fleeces:



The top one is from a new ram, and measures 13.5 microns. They’re very excited to see what his lambs turn out like this year. The second is another ram fleece (with Serena’s legs, yes, we’re all wearing shorts as it was about 35 degrees yesterday). I scored me a little pile of that one to bring home :-D


Serena and Mark are considering holding back a few of their fleeces for the handspinners’ market, if you’re interested drop me a line and I can let them know what sort of demand there is.

Today it’s a lot cooler thankfully, I’ve caught up on ravelry and emails, and my only problem now is how to get all this fleece home to London :-D

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Last Saturday a friend of mine came over for a lesson, and, since she’s absolutely brilliant, and was feeling sorry for me in my sick-ridden state, she brought me a present. She was heading off to NYC for a couple of weeks for work, and she left with me her new drumcarder - yay!

So I grabbed the pile of this:


that I had sitting around waiting for just such an opportunity (Oatmeal BFL and Alpaca/Silk, both from P&M). And had an awful lot of fun making these:


They’re only 30g each and I have about 10 more to do! But it’s loads of fun. Then I started digging through boxes and found these:


which seemed to match in a rather meant-for-each-other kind of way. On the left is some NDS Halo, and dyed tussah silk on the right. I made this:


I can see why people get very excited about their drum-carders! There has been more being fed through it, but that’s all I have photos of for now. Sadly, my suspicion that I have no space to have one permanently has been borne out. The borrowed one is living in a highly inconvenient corner of the living room atm and I can’t see it becoming a long-term fixture.

- - - - -

While not carding luscious batts, I have been busy at the wheel. I was all set to launch into the main spinning for the Deep-V Argyle, but I decided, when I was ill, that I needed to spoil myself so I dug out a bump of Oceanwind knits from the Christmas pile and thought I’d just ‘quickly spin up’ some luxury merino. Famous last words.

I spent the last two weeks working exclusively on this project, and only the sheer delight of this fibre has kept me from ditching it in the middle. Here’s some:


I just spent two hours plying it. I haven’t skeined it off and measured the yardage yet, but I’d guess it’s somewhere in the region of 500m. It will be a shawl, and I am pretty sure it will be as much like heaven to knit as it was to spin.

- - - - -

Tomorrow is the Road Trip to P&M Woolcraft - double yay! There’s a bunch of us going, there will be cookies, and fibre to squidge, and new bobbins so I can spin five different things at a time! Have a great weekend, I’ll see you on Sunday.

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A little while ago, an Australian pal of mine opened up an Etsy shop and started breaking down our fibre resolutions by offering the lushest of hand-dyed Polwarth…

Here’s some he sent me, in a variation of the ‘Dingo’ colourway, all spun up now into a big pile of squoodgy lovliness.


I can thoroughly recommend this prep, and the dyeing and the fantastic service. David has other fibres as well, but really what could you want besides Polwarth? There’s an update tonight - even if you don’t want to buy anything please go check out Come In Spinner and wave hello from me :-D

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At the beginning of this week I made a list of things to do. Not work, just stuff, like ‘knit so-and-so’ but apparantly holiday mode had settled in deeper than I thought. It has been a week of playing around with new projects, reading, watching endless episodes of old TV shows and basically letting everything else slide. It was great!

However, after Mum’s comment yesterday that there hadn’t been anything appearing on the blog lately, I thought I’d pull myself together and get to some stuff (although I am still in my pyjamas and only likely to swap them for yoga clothes today).


I finally got around to photographing my Christmas haul (there’s some things still to come I think, Amanda, don’t worry - I haven’t posted yours yet either!).

Fibre, and fibre…



These have been in my eye at Alice’s since they first arrived, and it appears that adding them to my wishlist was a cunning plan (thanks Mum!).

Also chosen from my wishlist: Sheepaints Marisilk yarn (this is similar to Seasilk and very lush) in my perfect colour!


And Malabrig(i)o sock yarn,


It’s already wound up and as soon as I finish my current sock I’ll be casting on.

Finally the most gorgeous shawl pin from Moving Mud - which Alice hid away, letting me believe that someone else had bought it! She can be very sneaky :-D


Then there were books:


Already read!

And I have a pair of socks somewhere, perhaps in the wash - I was wearing them for Christmas. You can see them on Kate’s blog here. They fit perfectly and I love the yarn (Hazelknits), I have some to knit up that I must get around to starting.

I also received some cash from my MIL - she anticipated me spending it on fibrey stuff, but I figured I was pretty well-stocked so I treated myself to the complete box set of The West Wing which (on sale) happened to be the exact right price.

Finally, you already saw the yarn that Kai gave me for Christmas, I cast it on on Christmas Eve and it has been my festive season knit (well, along with the four other projects I started in the last week as well!).

Here’s a glimpse:


Lace looks rubbish before blocking so you’ll have to wait till it’s finished to see any more!

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Looking ahead…

2008 seems to have been the year of small projects. 11 pairs of socks, 7 scarves, 2 small shawls, 4 hats, 2 baby jackets and 2 pairs of mittens. The only other thing on my ‘finished 2008′ Flickr set (and anything that isn’t on there is doomed to be forgotten forever) is Maude, which doesn’t really count as I knitted 90% of it in 2007.

In 2009 I am determined to complete some bigger things, maybe even finish off the Central Park Hoodie, or Hey Teach which are both within a hair’s breadth of being done (hahaha - I kill me). Seriously though, I am setting three major completion goals this year:

1) Finish a handspun colourwork vest (that will be the Deep-v Argyle)
2) Finish a fullsized (i.e. long-sleeved) handspun sweater
3) Finish (at least) one small and one large handspun shawl
I’d also like to…
4) Knit more stash than I buy (I am in a sock club and a fibre club - so seriously, what else do I need???)

Completely unreasonable? I don’t think so, I’ll let you know how I get on :-D

Have a great 2009 everyone, full of (natural) fibrey goodness!

x x x

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I believe I have solved my nothing-to-spin situation, well, temporarily at least.


This one is from Lime Green Jelly. It’s got green bits too which didn’t show for some reason, the light’s odd today.

And I wonder what this could become?


For a special someone perhaps…

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I have been going through the wips at a great rate lately. This is not an unusual phenomenon, I have read other blogs where knitters finish up piles of things all at once. With me, I think it’s a result of getting to a point where I think ‘Oh crap! There’s a lot of stuff littering the place! And my naturally tidy and ordered mind (I heard you snigger, it’s going to thunderstorm from a little cloud over your head today because of that) wants to trim down the pile to something more rational.

So I have two more FOs (which I won’t show you today because they are both in serious need of blocking first), and with the wip list getting shorter, I’ve dug out an old friend which was snoozing at the bottom of the workbag.

CPH Sleeves

These are the sleeves for my Central Park Hoodie, I am a few inches into the back. I was knitting this last winter and, as is my experience with most winter knitting, the weather got warm when I was halfway through and it was abandoned. Well, I’ve had many days so far this last few weeks when I wanted to wear it, so out it comes!

In other news, I plied up my first teeny skeins of cotton spun on the charkha:

First Charkha cotton

I am quite disproportionately proud of this achievement :-D the smaller skein is the first spindle-full plied on itself, the larger skein is the second and third spindles plied together. It looks pretty even (and in fact is) but I will admit that the evenness was a result of severe micro-management of the singles - as in, I twiddled out every little bump that I made while I was spinning. Yesterday though, something finally clicked and I’ve pretty much got it down. I’m only getting a bump I want to fix in maybe every fourth or fifth length spun.

And finally, I was looking through my stash the other day, and discovered that there was Nothing To Spin! Luckily, this was on its way to me!


Hand-dyed Falkland tops from Spindlefrog. They are gorgeous and I just might spin one today :-D

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This is not really a proper post. Usually I put thought, photography and effort into blog posts. But today I have run out of effort and so I’m pitching an idea to you…

Allspunup merino/silk _1012497

Redstone silk/merino Redstone silk/cashmere

_1012763 Lambspun silk/wool

All of these are crying “Shawl!” at me. All (as you may have noticed) contain silk (just call me ‘life’s too short for scratchy’).

I just don’t know which one to do first…

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Although formal classes are obviously an integral part of SOAR, I was amazed at how much I learnt incidentally, along the way, out of class. Even more amazing was the amount of shopping that the new learning led to. Hence the title of this post. Okay, you’re not really amazed are you. And you’re totally not falling for the ‘Really, Fibergal made me do it!’ line are you. Dang.

Totally predictable or not, I decided to combine the incidental learning post with the shopping stuff, because really it does all go together as you will see.

First up - in pure enablement - Kai and I had an enthusiastic reunion on Sunday evening (it’s been a year since we last saw each other). We both arrived latish, jet-lagged and exhausted after a full day’s travel. My fibre-hunting skills were still sharp though, and I spotted this in her luggage:

Allspunup merino/silk

Since Kai is awesome and sweet and generous, and possibly a bit fuddled by the journey, it ended up coming home with me. I owe her something fabby sometime.

Meeting up with Lucinda in the 201 class, I got chatting with her about Charkhas and she let me have a go on hers. Luckily, Journey Wheel was only a phone call away and Sheila (who is lovely, btw) happily agreed to ship the Book Charkha to me at Pocono Manor, and it arrived within a couple of days. See the neat little box:

Book Charkha

Spinning on the Charkha is an incredible experience. When I sit down with it, I feel that there is a connection with the thousands of spinners of the past in India and other parts of the world who have sat cross-legged in the sun and spun cotton, perhaps to clothe their family or make household goods.

Book Charkha

I spun cross-legged on the floor of the hotel lobby, with a glass of wine beside me, but the connection was still there - trust me!

Still on the cotton theme, I had lined up before SOAR with Fibergal to talk about spinning cotton. She is an accepted guru on the topic and (over evening swill of course) we sat down one night and she taught me how to spin cotton straight from the seed.

Tabachek spindle

None of my spindles ws small enough (I told you it was her fault) so I wandered through the market to find a little spindle less than 25g. This one is made by Edward Tabacheck and I got it in the Rovings booth where everyone was fighting over the Polwarth fleeces. The whorl is Tulip Rosewood and the shaft is Ummo, it weighs a teeny 22.5g.

This one I had no excuse for except that it was incredibly pretty. And square is cool.

Spindlewood ebony/tulipwood 1 1/4 oz

Tulipwood and Ebony whorl, Ebony shaft, from Spindlewood. 35g.

I also got a chance to hang out for a bit with Wormspit, the resident expert on sericulture and silk reeling. I picked up some cocoons to have a play with in the silk class this weekend, and learned loads about silk prep etc. Go check out his website - it’s fantastic.

While wandering around the hotel I chummed up with Chendra from Red Stone Yarns. Dangerous relationship. She happens to have extremely similar taste to me when it comes to fibres and colours, and it didn’t take me too long to fall for the gorgeous cashmere/silk tops she had, and the merino silk batts.

Redstone silk/cashmere

Redstone silk/merino

In fact, after taking Judith’s class on the Friday, I pretty much didn’t want to spin everything ever again that didn’t have silk in it. I look at some of my stash now and feel uninspired. Spare Cotswold anyone?

Speaking of silk:

Lambspun silk/wool

Well, they were two-for-one, so it would be criminal not to get some right? This is 80% silk and 20% merino from Lambspun.

What else… (sorry, the jetlag has me in its grip.)

Actually, that’s pretty much it for the SOAR market. I was running seriously low on suitcase space by the end of the week and I knew I wanted to do more shopping in New York when we got there. For clothes of course, not yarn or fibre, cause I have enough lots of those.

Here’s some of the clothing I bought:


Well, it will be socks eventually, so it counts right? And Macey’s had their 150 year sale - 40% off cashmere sweaters! * drool * I bought two. And in Washington, I didn’t buy anything! * is virtuous * But I did take lots of pictures of important-looking buildings.

I’m running out of stamina I’m afraid. I may think of things to add later that I’ve forgotten, and I will tell you all about NYC and DC in later posts.


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