Sunday, July 26, 2009
Tony has been working 12 hour shifts flat out since Woolfest which is good news in one way as it means that at least in some areas the economy is picking up and they have now taken on more staff this last week. But it was a relief to get away in the van last week albeit for only a couple of nights and we headed for Anglesey again .
The weather was on the whole kind to us and we did rest up as well as doing some walking.
I loved how the lichen drapes these trees and in the evening light they were quite spooky
We had a walk down at Porth Swtan or as the English call it, Church Bay
On a hot sunny day this beach would be packed with holiday makers but as we just had heavy showers of rain we had it all to ourselves.
These rocks are some of the oldest in this country apparently, a fact I hadn't realized until I read the notice board. I just noticed that they were all colours and looked great wet !!
There were plenty of sea anenomes in the rock pools and I love the structures of this kelp seaweed ; it reminds me of freeform crochet
I had never been to Parys Mountain before and as we were passing we thought we would go and see it. It is an old copper mine that dates back to the Bronze Age. I know that there is a lot of controvesy about the health issues re this mine and that it is still causing pollutants but I was overcome by the whole beauty of the place. It looked out of this world in its bareness and all the colours of the waste , stones etc. I hadn't realized how big it was either and I can only begin to imagine what a hellish place it would have been to work in with the fumes and the noise.
The most important thing for us in these trips is to chill out together and we found this wonderful meadow which was perfect and again not a soul in sight .
I was able to play with my new Jenkins Turkish Delight spindle which had arrived the day we were leaving and I had brought Babylonglegs 'Clover' roving along ; very fitting for the occassion I thought.
I am now fully converted to Turkish spindles and will be getting a larger one but I do love this dinky little one which nearly fits in the palm of your hand .
So its back to normal and Tony is back to work for now but our next trip is back down to Pembroke to catch up with some very dear friends .
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Still as I spin every day I thought I might as well. I did start as I meant to go on with fleece but after seeing such beautiful pictures on Ravelry of all the coloured yarns that folks were doing I succumbed to doing dyed rovings.
I am also playing on the new wheel so it was good to see what I could turn out on it, plus I have a new drum carder too to try out , a Louet Junior
So here as requested and promised is a photo of the Louet S15 and on the reverse is the metal hologram disc which weights the wheel and which has picked up colour from the flash on the camera
So what have I created on it this week ?
First of all I started on a gorgeous fleece I bought at Woolfest, its a Teeswater X Jacob and it so silky and lustrous. I have spun this in aran weight for a waistcoat
Then I had a play and did a navajo plyed fine single and then a thick and thin one with the same roving .
As I said I have a new drum carder as well. Am I happy with it ? well yes and no. I can see that it does blend better than the Barnett I have but I reckon the Barnett is better for fleece . Yet again not all fleece though as I tried this very fine cria alpaca fleece I had and the Louet was far better in prepping it.I was going to get rid of one but it seems I need them both , well for now any way !!
I guess overall I still think the Barnett is better , until I do find another ;)Wish we had the choices folks in the US have ; would love to try a Pat Green or the Straunch .
Right back to reality .....here is a small skein of the alpaca and again I have spun it in various thickness laceweight
a) to see if the wheel can do it and b) to see how the softness of the alpaca holds out . It held up really well even spun super fine and the only problem I had was in washing it as I nearly felted the skein. I didn't pre wash this fleece ,dirty though it was as I feared it would felt . So I will just have to cope with really dirty hands when I spin the rest;)
On the wheel now are some drum carded batts which have been chucked on lumps, bumps and all to use in weaving and will be plyed tonight .
I feel I have given this wheel a good test run this week and I still love it and I am still surprised at how a very simple wheel is so versatile .
I can't forget my Suzie though and this week I plyed the laceweight yarn I spun from Freyalyn'srovings bought at Wonderwool Wales. The biggest skein comprises of two rovings, one is finest English wool and its plyed with a kid mohair roving . I didn't spin the mohair as fine so had a lot of the other left !! 576yds on the large skein and 364 yds on the smaller.
I have realized that I have too many blue yarns and garments and that this rich plummy pinky shade actually suits me so I am going to do more in this shade and feel the urge to get the dyepots out soon .
I have also since Woolfest spun over a kilo of Alpaca roving from the lovely John Arbon at UK Alpaca to make a jumper and its about the only photo I posted on the Tour de Fleece group before getting bored with the whole event . Guess I am just not competitive any more ;)
I also haven't got out of TdF I was hoping for ie get a whole fleece spun so I am now going to get on with that instead but at least I have tested a new wheel and done good samples for future projects
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I thought it would probably be a clunky , noisy spin but that would be okay as I wouldn't be using it that much.So imagaine my surprise when after cleaning this dirt covered wheel which hadn't been used in a very,very long time to have a noiseless spin apart from the whirring bobbin and this baby loves spinning laceweight with no effort but can just as easily spin chunky too. To say I love this wheel is an understatement and I rate it as highly as my very expensive Suzie Pro . I love its simplicity ,its low maintenance (no oiling at all !!)and its versatility. I can more easily take this to guild with me without worrying about getting it dented and its far lighter than the Suzie.The only thing I have bought for it is a new stretchy band and I can't see the need for anything else; it came with three single speed bobbins and one smaller one (is that the standard one ?)
I bought this wheel at an auction for peanuts and the yarn on the bobbins indicated that it was once owned by a talented spinner . It has a lovely Celtic design painted on the front but on the back is a metal disc that I wasn't that impressed with & I was about to take it off until I realized it was there for a purpose, to weight the wheel :)
Call me sentimental but I always wonder about objects bought second hand and about the person who owned them and I wonder who or where this person is and why they got rid of this wonderful wheel but I am so glad I have come by it .
So it just goes to prove you don't need to spend much for a great wheel , it doesn't need to be complicated and you can produce any yarn you need ,you just need to be patient and keep your eyes peeled for a bargain, they are out there :)
I will post a picture just as soon as I find my camera !!
Sunday, July 05, 2009
The end results in all their blues and the vat is still going strong so I am going to mordant more yarns and do some cochineal ,weld and onion skins this week and then over dye with the indigo.
Carrying on with the blue theme I have two blue FO's to show you. The first is a weaving I have just finished in hemp ,handspun silk and few beads here and there.
I quite like the finished effect but boy do I hate hemp now !! I still have to show you the beaded hemp waistcoat but I need DH to take pics of me wearing it and another two cardis I have done too!! Going back the hemp and the reason I hate ? It has no life, its like knitting with string and as for weaving it, it kinks but also limp and is hard on the hands. never again , my love affair with hemp is defo over . I have to say it does hang well and I am told it softens with wear but I ain't doing nothing else in the darned stuff, no sireeee, hate hate it !!! There do you get it ? No hemp for me again .
The next bluey, is a shawlette in some of the suri alapaca fleece I bought at Wonderwool and I love this quick little knit and its so warm too.
Technically its not all blue as I dyed the spun yarn with some purple too.
Talking of alpaca, I am spinning some I bought at Woolfest I was going to wait until Tour de Fleece (on Ravelry!! ) started but I couldn't wait ,so started this on Tuesday . I had two bobbins by yesterday and then today ,as I have been up from 3.30am I have done another bobbin and started the fourth. I guess this will be finished tonight and I will ply the lot when all the singles are done.
Its uber soft and I have done it DK weight and have just the jumper pattern lined up for it .
I was going to stick strictly to fleece for TdF but I haven't had any time to card the one I wanted to . Still it might be just the incentive I need to either finish last years Katmoget or carry on with the yummy Polwarth . I really should finish the Katmoget as there isn't much of it left !!
We had a good time at Woolfest but unfortunately I didn't see much of the show itself due to a migraine , it was oh so hot too but then I didn't need much and they are pretty much the same stalls as in Wonderwool .The highlight was meeting up with friends old and new and the impromptu evening gatherings were such fun too. I did succumb to the wonderful Oliver Twists again and of course picked up my fleece and ended up with another two unexpected ones . I really will show you samples of our fleece mountain next post plus more on weaving and Tony's new loom. Plus some more FO's maybe ;)