Thursday, 28 January 2010

Playing with my two new make Apple Snow!

After all the excitement of getting the new wheel last week life has been a little tame, except for Andy Murray and Peter Norfolk getting through to their finals in Australian Grand Slam, that is.

Over the weekend I ordered a new sliding hook flyer kit and a drum carder 'Packer Brush' from the
HandSPinner which was a good move as I heard this week that Ashford are putting up their prices again, and this after quite a big increase back in November!! The cost of wheels are going up around £40 and even a bobbin is going up £1.....

I digress, the new toys arrived Tuesday afternoon and both were soon in action.

First I had been inspired by
Peahen's Wheatfield colourway. She had blended cheesecake and white merino with silk and it looked gorgeous. I am not that keen on yellow, so I dug around in my stash and found a pale green which I thought would make a nice blend.

I managed to get 78grams of well blended merino and silk (it is really harder to get the silk to blend in invisibly)which I have called Apple Snow as it reminds me of a pudding my grandmother used to make from cooking apples and meringue

This I spun on the Trad with the new flyer. Pleased with the result, although I am finding it hard to move the squeeze and slide stainless steel yarn guides. Not sure whether this because it is new, or that I am not squeezing right - or what? No doubt practice will improve the technique over time.

Anyway here is the result.

166 yards of yarn from just under 80 grams of fibre (the 88 grams in the pic is due to the ties) although it isn't as even as I would have liked. Two reasons:
1) Carding the fibres produced quite a lot of little blobs (a bit like when knitting is roughed up) which I should taken a picture of. This meant that I had to keep stopping and removing said blobs from the twisted yarn - tedious to say the least!
2) I am not sure whether I had then tension right on the Trad for the new flyer. There appeared to be too little twist once the yarn was on the bobbin and in some places the yarn was very loose, so when I plied I had to make quite a few joins although you can't see them in the pic, but you can see the untwisted yarn...

I think that I shall take the Trad down to the Spinning evening next Monday and see what Sarah has to say - there are so many variables to consider.

Next week I am going to take the Trad to pieces so that it can be sanded down ready for its new coat.....

Sunday, 24 January 2010


What a week that was..... Starting last Saturday with Molly's mischance the week as been one of ups and owns, mostly ups. Luck was definitely on my side, for at the Felting Workshop I happen to mention that I was looking for a Ashford Trad and what do you know one of the other participants was selling a 'TRAD'. Fate or what? Moreover she was selling it because it was dark wood and she didn't like the colour!! Worry not said I. For I have ideas about colour which will be revealed at a later date. Anyway Tuesday night I collected and paid for my new spinning wheel. Needless to say I couln't wait to get started, but Mr S wanted his supper (selfish or what?).

So Wednesday I set to to clean and oil said spinning wheel. I reckon it is about 15 years old - mainly due to the way it was put together - screws instead of allen keys and the flyer has only two ratios. I have already ordered a new flyer so am not too worried about that. A good oiling and the wheel works like a dream.

Here is a pic of me spinning on the new wheel - note the inscription!

Meanwhile to make room for the wheel I have been forced to make some tough decisions - mainly to throw out unwanted/unused objects. Who says they are unwanted or unused? Mr S that's who. Ok so how many wheelchairs does a girl need? Déjà view here (how many spinning wheels does a girl really need springs immediately to mind) Wheelchairs - does six seem to many? One day chair (very new' extremely light and much admired), one heavier outdoor chair for muddy walks, one old day chair, much loved, a comfortable old friend so to speak! One tennis chair, specially made for playing tennis, one chair that is part of my handcranked bike and a folding chair (the first chair I ever had). Seemed altogether reasonable to me - but taking up a lot of space. Two are to go! How is the question? Ebay - but would I get anything like what they are worth (the 'folder' alone cost over £1500 and the old day chair £2500, (although I did get £800 from Wheelchair Services for this one - big deal!!) I am going to put them on a specialist webpage and see what happens first.

Other things were much easier - like the old printers and other computer stuff - I am going to freecycle these so don't feel too bad. Although none of the above would matter if we had more room - don't you just wish you could order an extra room from John Lewis and have it delivered........................?????

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Felting Workshop

Saturday didn't start well - first off, we woke to Molly (our Persian) being sick.... great just what I needed, but she didn't stop and kept retching. When I managed to get hold of her and got her mouth open I could a sewing needle sticking into her hard palate - rang vet, too early, so was on the door step at 9 o'clock when they opened - 15 mins and £72 poorer the needle was out and Molly, although groggy, fine.

After all that drama I was late for the Felting Class I had booked at the Spining Weal 'More Felt Bags' with Kirston Hill-Nixon'. I had thought about felting before but never got round to doing anythin about it (as you do!) but when I saw the one day course I thought I would give it a go - and I am really glad I did. It was FUN and messy and I got wet....

The bag was made with Corriedale fibre grey on the inside and pink on the outside, that is four layers of each laid one up and one side to side (if that makes sense) and then I added some multi-coloured merino to create a pocket on the front. That part was relatively easy - then came the hard work rubbing with soap - reminded us of washing days 'gone by' and we even used a washboard!

The finished result looks like this:

I ran out of time, so I didn't round to felting some dreds for handles, so cheated and bought black plaited handles which I will attached when the bag is totally dry and I may add a large purple or pink button

Friday, 15 January 2010

Finished - First Francis Revisited

Last night while watching the snooker I finally finished my first Francis Revisited. It has taken a lot longer than I had hoped, mainly because I thought I was smaller than I really am, so I had to go back and make the larger size and I made a couple of adjustments to the sleeves which entailed ripping back twice.

This is the very first top-down sweater that I have ever made and I found it really easy and I especially like the fact that you can try it on (make sure that you have a large circular cable) as you go. So why, oh why don't British designer use this method? Interestingly in this months letters in The Knitter someone ask the same question. The Knitter replied thus 'Our garments have largely been made this way because the majority of our designers have trained design backgrounds from UK fashion colleges, who traditionally favour more classical garment construction methods'. How shortsighted is that? Also if they are good designers then they should be able to design both ways. I certainly shall be using this technique again and have already purchased on Ravelry a simple top down cardigan from SweaterBabe

That's enough moaning - the snow is melting and tomorrow I am going to the Spinning Weal for a felting workshop. This is something that I have been wanting to try for ages so hopefully I will produce something worthwhile so that I can post some pics.....

Postscript - I was just looking at the pic and the sweater and realised that the frogging is so, so noticable............ Hopefully this will disapear when I block/press don't want to spoil the lovely 'Posh Yarn'...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

First Pic From New Camera

My new camera came yesterday afternoon!! Its sooooo small, real dinky and very stylish. Had to wait for the battery to charge but here is the first picture taken with my new camera.....the first skein of Zante.

This was suppose to echo the colours of olives (black red and olive green)that I watched being harvested when on honeymoon in Zante many years ago. But there are no green olives present in the yarn(wonder if that is because I don't really like green olives!!)

On the downside, I now have to purchase a new AC Adapter and a special connector so that I can run the camera from the mains (absolutely necessary when copy large numbers of documents) - at the Dorset Record Office I photographed nearly 2500 pages from a silk throwster's account books in one day, couldn't have done that on batteries.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

How many Spinning Wheels are too Many?

Been watching a couple of auctions on ebay over the last few days - spinning wheels of course! - and wondering whether to bid or not.. Well how many spinning wheels does a girl need? Mr S thinks one, well he would wouldn't he? My lovely Joy does the job, folds away tidily, is easy to transport to workshops etc - but it doesn't look like the sort of thing people imagine when you tell them that you spin. What I want, what I really really want is a Ashford Traditional. I have even worked out where I could put it (space in a bungalow is limited especially if you and your partner are horders)

So to bid or not to bid, that is the question?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Housebound Rants

We have now had a week of being snowed in. Yes I know that in other parts of the world people have to cope with deep snow for months on end, but they have all the proper equipment and I don't.

Haven't been out for a week - the snow in our cul-de-sac is too deep to push my wheelchair through. The car if I could get to it is covered and I can't reach to clear the windscreen etc.

On the subject of windscreens - a month or so ago I got a ticket for parking in a disabled bay (Blue Badge clearly displayed) - but I couldn't reach the ticket and there is a message that says only the registered owner of the car can remove - great what was I supposed to do - wait for it to fall off?

It isn't that I haven't plenty to do. I have been proof reading several essays for a friend who is doing her MA at Bristol University - internet shopping and of course spinning.

I have spun all the fibres that I got in the sale last Monday - the Grey and Black Shetland have spun up great. I got around 90 metres to the 50 grams navejo plied which is the best I have ever done - a consistant 4ply. The Welsh Black was much harder and is quite coarse whereas the Brown Yak is soooooo soft but quite hard to spin. Also have some hand painted rovings to get on with so I am not short of things to do - but I want to go out..............

Saturday, 9 January 2010


I really can't believe it, my camera, which is just two years old, died yesterday! One minute it was fine and the next it had stopped working. New batteries? No I tried that, the only way it would work was through the AC Adapter - and that is no good for taking pics away from a power source.

No choice, as I can't possibly manage without, but to purchase a new one. The old camera was a Fuji Finepix A920 - a Christmas present from Mr S, which we found had a museum setting a function that has proved valuable for taking pics of documents in Record Offices and the like. So the new one had to have the same function.

Several hours later I had plumped for another Fuji, this time the F200 EXR. Now I just can't wait for it to arrive.................

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Results from the Dye Pot

Last week I spent a couple of days in the kitchen with my dyes. I had varying success with some turning out as I had hope others more happy chance than intentional.

From the bottom up:

1. Fee's Thank you - Falkland Roving hand-painted with Aubergine (3pts Blue Violet, 2pts Fushia and 1 pt Black), Red-violet (4pts Fushia and 1 prt Blue Violet), Turquoise and silver grey, this was the 1st attempt with too little grey

2. Compost - an attempt to emulate 'Rose Bud' a lovely mix of red and green with a touch of tumeric. Mine is more mud and yukky green, but hey ho you do learn by your mistakes and I think that I moved the contents of the dye bath and allowed the colours to mix..

3/4. Jemima. Corriedale hand-painted with teal and burgundy, more burgundy than teal and in this picture the two rovings don't look the same!!

5/6. Mallard. Hand Painted with Teal and Burgundy. Next day I tried again this time with Falkland with much better results

7. Zante. Hand-painted Falkland in Olive and Magenta.

Here is the 2nd 'Fee's Thank You' which has more grey.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Wednesday - snow, and more snow, which means that it is a perfect day to sit by the fire and spin.

This is our garden at about 8am this morning and snow is still falling

I bought a selection of fibres on Monday night at the Spinning Weal some 250 grams of Grey and Black Shetland. 100 grams of Black Welsh, 100 grams of De-haired Brown Yak Down and a bag of mystery fibres. The Grey Shetland is spinning beautifully.
WIPS are a pair of warm gloves for Mr S. he suffers greatly with split fingers in cold weather, and a beret for me. I also still have a francis revisited sweater in Posh Aran to finish and the inevitable pair of socks
Today's thought 'Pushing a wheelchair in deep snow is not recommended..............'
Related Posts with Thumbnails