Friday, October 29, 2010

29 October: Dyed batts, and a close encounter?

First, Happy Birthday to OGS (Older GrandSon)!

Remember those carded batts piled up in my work-room? Well, some of them have been dyed -

The orange shades are particularly yummy. Each batt is quite small, about 30 gms, so I am now wondering whether to card several together to make a bigger skein of yarn; if so, which colours should I blend together; and then should I spin different coloured singles; and then how should I ply them together. So many options.

To change the subject completely, a couple of evenings ago, this vapour trail appeared over nearby houses -

Perhaps the pilot changed his mind about where he was going, or practicing the air equivalent of a handbrake turn, or perhaps the satnav was throwing a wobbler - or was it Visitors from Outer Space?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

24 October: Carding - done?

So now there's no bits of fleece all over my workroom, but a huge pile of batts.

These batts are a blend of the 2 fleeces I started with, and the plan was to blend the batts together further with another pass through the carder (they've been through twice so far), then dye some or all of them. But the amount is rather more than expected.

And there's still another fleece to be dealt with ....

Perhaps the next step will be clearer after a cup of coffee.

Friday, October 22, 2010

22 October: TV knitting

That is, knitting which is simple and straightforward, and requires no thinking or working out the pattern while it's being done.

First are these simple mitts -

Handspun Shetland yarn, helical stripes, easy thumb shaping; they're a bit big for me, but a gorilla might like them.

Then there's that good old stand-by for simple knitting - a scarf -

Handspun merino/silk in Old Shale pattern, sometimes called Feather and Fan (I don't know if there's a difference). It worked out eventually about 6 inches wide and 57 inches long, but isn't as soft as I would have expected. Perhaps it's the garter rows.

The mitts weigh 42 gms and the scarf 100 gms - so not even a small dent in the stash.

And there wasn't much TV involved either, as few of the the programmes recently have appealed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

19 October: Carding

Had to stop for a moment - slight carding mishap, don't want to get blood on the fleece. Now there's a sticking plaster on my thumb, I can take a photo of the work in progress -

Three-legged stool at the back to sit on, drum carder on low stool, tray on table with current pieces of fleece and doffing needle, remains of fleeces on floor behind stool, and on jersey-drying trays at the front, carded batts in big paper bag, small bin for rubbish. The fleece on the floor is whiter and more Shetland, the one on the drying racks is more BFL and very light fawn/silver with brown patches. The aim is to blend them. The BFL one apparently liked rolling in sand, judging from the amount of it left after washing.

Must speak to Dear Husband about lack of coffee mug.

I'd like to dye some of these batts, but can't find any information about dyeing fleece before scouring and spinning. It must be possible, as I have spun some Estonian batts of varied colours that were still greasy.

The only thing to do is try it - when the carding's all done, of course.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

17 October: Yarn problem

There's so much of it. The new wheel seemed a bit strange, with a tension device that works (the Little Gem had grown a bit slack), so it has taken a few days to get used to it. And 500 grams of black Shetland tops that happened to be in the stash. Now 500 grams of yarn.

Now there's still that black Shetland fleece, all carded and ready to be spun, in a bag. And since Tuesday's Wool Event at Lanehead, there are 3 more fleeces waiting in line.

2 have been washed; they are Shetland/BFL crosses, maybe white eventually, but one has a patch of brown in it. Perhaps they will be dyed. The third is a pale moorit Shetland, which hasn't even got washed yet - waiting its turn while the bathroom is still full of damp Shetland/BFL.

Meanwhile there are 6 plastic crates packed with yarn (and the odd bit of roving), still not yet worked up into anything. I'm knitting like mad, but there's years' worth of yarn to get through. In fact, I'm in a good situation if I can't afford to buy more yarn, thanks to our dear government.

And just a note to them - instead of messing about with Child Benefit (one of its purposes, if you remember, was to put some cash into the hands of mothers whose husbands hold tight to the purse-strings, and that problem can affect all income groups), and replacing it for the rich with some tax complication, why don't they just take more tax from the better-off? Or even get the money back they gave to the bankers.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

9 October: New wheel

My new Suzie Pro arrived yesterday tea-time. I wasn't expecting quite so much assembly to be needed, but it didn't take long (and there were only a few screws left over!).

Here she is -

I spun a very small skein from Shetland tops as soon as everything was together. In comparison with my Little Gem, the new wheel is much smoother, and the draw-in is more sensitive - it'll take some getting used to.

And there just happens to be a whole Shetland fleece freshly drum-carded, waiting in a bag on the other side of my newly tidied and re-arranged work-room - or should I say play-room.

Monday, October 04, 2010

4 October: Kingfisher!

As we walked across the road bridge over the River Wear at Sunderland Bridge this morning, my Dear Husband and I watched a kingfisher repeatedly darting across the river and diving into the flow (deep, fast, and brown after all the rain at the weekend).

We were delighted - the first time he has ever seen a kingfisher alive and flying, and only the third time I've seen one. I saw one many years ago near the Uni playing fields in Durham, and one last summer at Low Barns, a Durham Wildlife Trust place.