Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Productive Weekend

Despite the clocks going forward (or as happened in our household back - yes Mr S actually put the clocks back one hour and was totally gob-smacked when he found that the Gran Prix was over!!!!!) the weekend was a success.

First off - I found my red polka-dot notebook. Where? In the little bag I keep under my wheelchair, which I had checked at least twice!!! My defence is that I can't actually see into the bag.. I have resolved in future to back-up my notes and to this end I now have two spinning notebooks.

Second using pictures for inspiration I produce what I think is some really lovely fibre.


The Blues in the roving are really much darker than they appear in this pic - I used violet and navy blue mix for the petals and emerald, lime and grass green for the foliage.
These two other samples were inspired by day lilies with really strong colours.

With such good results I think that I shall dye a full 100grams of each.

The final success was space dyeing a skein - I had tried this at the SDW February Meeting, but with limited success (most probably because the ball had been wound too tight and the dye stuff couldn't penetrate) This time I used a loose skein and the results are spectacular (modesty is my only weakness)

So excited about this success I have been busy spinning up some more superwash merino to dye....... when I should have been writing up the paper I am going to be giving in July at the South West Women's History Network Summer Conference. I wouldn't normally be this on the ball but as I am going on a spinning tour (watch this space) it really has to be written and agreed with my supervisor before I give my self up to self indulgence...

Thursday, 25 March 2010


This NT property had been on our list of must visit properties and yesterday we finally got there. Probably not the best day to choose, very overcast and it drizzled most of the time - but for the most part we were indoors. I was particularly keen to photograph some of the textiles as I had heard that there were some very individual patterns - designed for the Gibbs family. Unfortunately flash wasn't allowed and the carpet that I was most keen to see was rolled up and there was only a photo on display

I was fascinated by the way one fabric had faded over time,orginally blue after the sun had done its work one part, (and it was the same on all the chairs I looked at)was green

The downside was that all the rooms were dim and the shutters were for the most part closed - it wasn't just me either that voiced these thoughts - but I did come away inspired by some of the colours and patterns and am hoping that some will feature in some new rovings.

This camellia definitely will - I think that is Camellia 'Moshe Dayan' but not 100% sure as this one has some subtle pink stripes on sime of the petals.

Thinking of tones of white, soft peach and pink with spring green, but would that be too close to Apple Blossom I wonder?

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Getting Organised

Made a new spring resolution to organise my stash, the sitting room and bedroom etc! Because I was having a great deal of trouble finding yarns and fibre that I knew that I had but where oh where had I put them? As we live in a small bungalow it shouldn't be that hard to locate something and I have a dedicated space for my stash - which I have to say is jammed packed........

Yesterday I sorted and photographed my entire stash and it took a couple of hours - but I thought that it would be worthwhile and afterwards I felt very self-righteous, unfortunately it doesn't make finding anything any easier - but now I know that I am not imagining a yarn I know I have it and which box its in..............

I have been very busy spinning the yarn from my last session with the dye pot and got to wondering what on earth I am going to do with the yarn that I have created. First I thought that I should check out for weight and eveness. So I spun a sample of Rainbow from the World of Wool

It isn't as bright as I thought it would be, perhaps this is because it was only 20grams! I navajo plied it and tried to keep colours together, but it still looks a bit muddy to me! However, I got 51 metres from the 20 grams at between 16-17 wpi (wraps per inch) - which equates to at least a 4ply weight.

I have now knitted this up in a test swatch - beginning on 2.5mm needles for the rib and first rows (I have separated by garter stitching either the first or last five stitches)and changing to 3.25mm,3mm and 2.75mm needles.

The best stitch definition is definitly with the smaller needles where the yarn kniited up at 28 stitchs and 40 rows to 10cm. I am very pleased that I can spun this consistantly, but now I need to spin different weight yarns - DK, Aran etc.......

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Time for reflection...

This weekend was the six month anniversary of Mr S's heart surgery. So much has happened since and I have so much to be grateful for......

Why does it take something so life threatening to make you take stock? Is it only when you think that you are going to lose someone/thing that it becomes precious or does it merely emphasise how much someone/thing means to you? Certainly I have a lot of people to thank - the wonderful GP who noticed something in the ECG, the technician in the blood lab that spotted the telltale sign and then the team provided by the much maligned NHS that swung into action and finally after eight weeks returned someone very precious to me.

Well all that was six months ago and on Friday we retraced the journey that triggered the events. We visited the Spinning Weal, walked by the sea and bought sushi at Waitrose in Portishead - all very mundane.....but wonderful.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Red Polka Dot..........

No not a bikini, but a little notebook - lost and it contains all my spinning, dying and weaving notes - a record of my gradual improvement from big chunky to fine yarn all as you can imagine I am seriously upset. I have other books, but that was the first - started when I realised that I couldn't possibly remember what each skein was, its length, ply etc. There is a moral here - something to do with eggs and baskets.............

Still on a brighter note, I have had a lovely weekend - spinning, weaving, knitting and nursing a cold - finished my Cranford Mitts

Also cast on for my Shetland Felted Bag and already I realise that I haven't nearly enough yarn. I have spun up some Jacob Humbug to which I am going to add some colour and shall probably use this for the front of the bag - so it looks like I shall have to whiz down to Clevedon to get some more shetland roving or something similar that will felt well.

This is a bobbin of the Girly Blues roving that I spun up on Sunday - 100grams of Falkland and really pretty.

I had been thinking of getting a frame for my loom, but the Ashford frames are not right for me, I tried all ways, so Mr S custom made a frame. He is getting seriously good at adapting ideas (the Whizzy Winder now has a yarn counter attached seriously clever..) and this was made easier because Ashford very kindly allow you to download assembly instructions, so it was just a matter of adjusting the height. It has made it so much easier and I am getting on well with a second scarf orginally going to be a birthday present, but now I am not so sure.....

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Playing with colours.....

After the excitement of the weekend I couldn't resist having another dyeing session. I particularly wanted to try the black theory with the cool colours from the Saturday's list magenta, acid yellow and turquoise. I mixed up a black dye at 0.5% and the rest at 1% and although the outcome is nice enough it doesn't have the contrast I had hoped for.

I dyed up a further 4 100 gram rovings ( one merino and three falkland) - two using combinations of Navy, Raspberry, Grey and Turquoise and these I am very happy with

There are subtle differences between the two, with the Merino, at the top, having the turquoise. As the raspberry was producing some really good results I tried another but this time with just turquoise and left a lot of white - what this shows is that if you want white then you need to leave a lot of undyed roving.

And then finally just for the fun, I dyed the last roving in three shades of red, Cherry Red, Crimson and Scarlet

This was particularly hard to photograph and this pic doesn't do the colours justice there is a lot more variation in the reds going from a dark red down to a pale pink. I used the microwave to set the dye and the results are so much softer than when I steam set and even better with a fianl rinse of hair conditioner (thanks Shani)

Overall I am pleased with my afternoon, but I have to let you into a secret - not until I had finished did I realise that I had been using the wrong ratio of dye to fluid - I had used a liquid measurement for the dry dye stuff!!! When I tested this out with salt on the scales it seems that I was using just over half as much as I should have done. Not that this has spoiled the results, but it is something to remember for next time....
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