Archive for July, 2008

Woke up, coughed uncontrollably. Fell asleep.

Woke up again, coughed uncontrollably, suggested Neil might work from home in case I needed a dash to A&E to make my lungs go again. Fell asleep.

Woke up, had bleary-eyed breakfast, attempted to knit, failed, coughed.

Decided that no knitting/writing/spinning/thinking/talking could occur while I only have half a lung, so I made this:





It really was brainless, after a little bit of maths to begin with (which I messed up - you can see in the first picture that the warp is off-centre). I happily wove all afternoon, without the added brain-distraction of TV or music. The breeze came in and the pollen stayed out (thankfully!)

The yarn is handspun merino/silk blend which I spun at Mum’s last Easter with weaving in mind (it’s the yarn in the new blog header btw). The pattern is based on the one in the Schacht Newsletter, Winter 2008. It’s floaty and blue and gorgeous and took five hours from start to finish. Weaving is the new black.

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Last week I was lucky enough to score some of the new fibre now in stock at The Natural Dye Studio. In fact, I begged for some - I have always loved Amanda’s colours and since I’m trying to focus more on spinning and buy less yarn this year, NDS fibre seemed like Christmas in July!


My first impression as I tipped the fibre out of the squishy post bag was that this was incredibly soft and fluffy. Incredibly. I’ve had a lot of hand-painted roving and tops through my hands and almost all of them have had some varying degree of compacting (not felting, just squishing down) from the dye process. Amanda has managed to produce something soft, buttery and as light as air.


Given the poofiness (technical term) I was able to use a drafting technique which I love for shortish fibres, but which doesn’t work very well without a lot of fluffing up of the fibre beforehand. It’s essentially a point of twist draw combined with a short forward draft. Hard to explain without pictures, but imagine drafting forwards as for worsted, but allowing the twist far back into the fibre mass to draw out the fibres instead of pinching them with your forward hand. It’s very fast, and with a bit of practice produces a nice even single with a fair bit of air in it.


This particular colourway (Midnight Ocean) was dyed for long colour sections so I decided to chain-ply to keep them distinct. You can see how the yarn graduates beautifully from soft green through blue to a deep indigo.


Finished, with a bit of whacking, the yarn is deliciously soft, poofy and buttery with just the hint of a halo of fuzz. Tempted? There’s some great colours up now in the NDS shop and I’m really hoping there will be some left when I head up for the Open Day this weekend!

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According to the weather report, it’s currently 22% humidity here in London. Which just goes to show that you should never trust the BBC. I swear, it’s more like 85, and although I was planning to work all day on the blue barf, I’ve finally tossed it in favour of sitting at the computer near the open window, hoping that a breeze might wander in.

There’s not much in the way of pictures to show, I have been spinning a bunch, and doing some blends, but most of it I can’t show you atm. This is a bit of what I’m working on though:

green mohair

It’s some advance mohair from mum, the kind of stuff which will be appearing in her Etsy shop later in the year. It’s great fun to spin and comes out with a gorgeous sheen! Sadly, this was all I had of this particular colour (it was a mixed bag) so I’ll be combining it with some other yarns in the project I have planned.

I also have an FO:

Fiori di Zucca

Pattern: Fiori di Zucca by the lovely Alice. It’s the June Socktopus club sock and I love it to bits! If it wasn’t such bleh stincky weather today I’d be wearing them now.

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Hand-carved bead from a little shop in Amsterdam: 80p


Bamboo dpn: free really, as I bought the set for making i-cord.


Sheepy egg-cup from Wonderwool ‘07: £2


That thrill you experience when your tiny support spindle stands up and spins with grace: Priceless.


I spotted 10 minutes a day on a blog somewhere and later discovered that there’s a ravelry group. The idea stuck in my head and I decided to apply it to improving my support spindle spinning. I hereby pledge to practice for ten minutes every day this summer.


At the moment I’m spinning some cashmere which I bought ages age, it’s boring white but ok to practise on. I’m getting some cotton sliver, and will hopefully progress to the gorgeous naturally coloured cotton like you can see here.

The spare bead, btw, which isn’t a spindle yet, is for Kai. Who I’m hoping will join me on this venture!

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Has anyone else noticed? It seems that everywhere I turn at the moment I’m seeing bumps. And no, I’m sure it’s not some weird psychological thing to do with wanting my own bump. Uh-uh. No.

Anyways, it’s not just here, but Down Under as well. Two of my friends are having babies this year and I have thus produced two little Tulips.

One in Pink:

Pink Tulip 1

For the pink baby due this month, this is Cool Fire and Pansy Golightly.

and one in Green for the green baby undetermined baby, due in October. In Happy Forest and Spring Tickle.

Green Tulip 1

Pink baby gets a cute little tie as per the original pattern:

Pink Tulip 2

Green baby gets a non-determinate kitten button and loop closure:

Green Tulip 2

I started the i-cord in the same place but continued all the way around the neck edge and then finished with about an inch extra turned and stitched down at the end.

Two great things about 2-colour Tulips: Firstly, you only have to choose two colours (if you know the DIC range you know that’s a bonus) and it’s a bit cheaper than buying the kit with all the different colours, secondly, you can run the yarn down the seams and don’t end up with a billion ends to weave in afterwards!

And a couple more pics just cause I think they look so cool.

Pink Tulip 3

Green Tulip 3

Every baby I know is now getting a two-colour Tulip, unless someone comes up with an even cooler, faster pattern.

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I’m happy to announce that I will be teaming up with Alice of Socktopus to offer an introductory Learn to Spin course next month.

Over two Sunday sessions you will learn all the spinning basics, with time in between to practise. I’ll also be running my toe-up sock class again. All the details, and sign-ups can be found here.

Alice is also offering some sock classes with the ingenious Jane, so make sure you pop over and check them out. If you can’t make it, or miss out on a spot, don’t worry - the classes will probably run again in the autumn.

See you there!

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