Thursday, 31 July 2014

Have wheel will travel - on the road again!

After her holiday in Yorkshire for Le Tour, Miss Bliss demanded another!  So I took her to Fibre East..

Fibre East for those not in the fibre loop, is a festival of yarn and fibre held for the last four years near Bedford - hence the name!  This being the only event of its kind held on the eastern side of the UK.

I have been involved from the very first - taking part in the Back to Back Challenge in 2011, sitting sewing up Woolsack cushions in a waterlogged Marquee in 2012 and sweltering in the heat at the new venue of Redbourne Community College in 2013!  This year it was bigger and in my opinion even better - this year we had workshops!  Deb Robson, Sarah Lamb, Sarah Anderson, Abby Franquemont and Ann Kingstone.  All were very well attended and from speaking to the participants afterwards it seems that everyone had a great time and learnt loads!

Unfortunately because I was so busy I forgot to take many photos...........

Ampthill was festooned with knitted bunting as was the walkway leading to the main entrance, where visitors were confronted with a knitted bike,  

a decorated spinning wheel and

 a ram with attitude who presided over the information desk.....

I did manage a 'quick' tour of the marquees catching up with old friends and chatting with new ones! 

This cushion I think really represents the colour of the whole event - it was on My Fine Weaving Yarn's stall, which was a riot of colour as it always is, but this caught my eye!  I really must get out my loom - think I said that after Wonderwool too!

Miss Bliss was a little disappointed that she didn't get out and about much, but after the stresses of a day volunteering she and I did managed half an hour spinning each evening and I finished my final challenge for the Tour de Fleece with this gorgeous skein of Southern Cross Fibre's Polwarth, Cashmere and Silk in the colourway Bushy Tailed!

Next year?  Yes of course.........................

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Singles, love them or hate them.........

By singles I am not talking about people without partners, or the record single of the 1960s, or even the one to one game in tennis, nor the film or the singing group - but of the single stranded knitting yarn..........

A singles yarn, often called a single is what you end up with when yarn is spun and before it has been plied with another singles to make a plied yarn. Often called a 'one-ply yarn'  but that isn't really accurate because there are no multiple plies in this type of yarn.  Because of this singles yarns are not balanced yarns.  

If you look at a plied yarn you can see that the individual ply has been spun in one direction, and then multiple plies added and spun in the opposite direction to make what is known as a balanced yarn. Plied yarns generally do not lean to the left or to the right, and they do not curl.  Singles yarns will curl.  In fact, they are guaranteed to curl...............  This where the love hate thing comes in!

Several of my knitting friends are totally in love with single yarns, so much so that they seldom knit with anything else!  Because they love them so much I was asked if I would custom dye  a sweater quantity and naturally I said yes!

Didn't think that there would be any problems and since I acquired 'Baby' (my Baby Burco water boiler) I can easily dye 500 grams at a time!  The undyed singles bought I set to work sampling

 The aim was to get as close to the yarn on the card as possible - the far right sample is almost bang on - so onto the 400 grams of singles! 

Simples, or so I thought!

What a disappointment - uneven coverage and lots of places with no colour at all!  Not at all what I expected and I couldn't understand what had happened until..

About a week later, by mistake I skeined up some singles for samples rather than the superwash merino that I normally use and I got similar results to the whole skeins!

I'm not sure that it is clear from the photo but these samples are patchy, lots of undyed yarn, not like my normal samples with an even saturation of colour.

It was then that the light bulb moment happened - singles are slightly felted so that the fibres stay together - felt sheds water - so the answer is that the yarn wasn't getting wetted right though and dry yarn doesn't absorb dye like wet yarn does!

So here is a sweater quantity of singles, no undyed bits and a good even coverage....................... 

So the dyeing problem is solved!  But do I like singles as a knitting yarn - well I am sitting on the fence on this one, will see how much I like the sweater I am knitting with singles when it finished and blocked.


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Have spinning wheel will travel....

I been more than a little absent from my blog over the last few weeks, but with good reason - I have taken my spinning wheel on holiday.............

To Yorkshire, so that she could watch Le Tour de France, and she and I had a wonderful time

We were fortunate to have booked a pitch at Cragg Vale right on the route for Stage Two

Here is our pitch with bunting - all knitted my yours truly, and yes I know that there isn't a pink jersey in Le Tour, it is my celebration of the Giro where the leader wears a pink jersey!

Mytholmroyd at the foot of the longest continuous climb in the UK attempted and made a new world record for the longest stretch of bunting -  12,115 metres
Some of the Bunting
The Robin Hood Inn at Cragg Vale
Painted Bike
More Yellow bikes
The sign reads 'no cycling!'
The bunting stretched from the village right up the hill and all along the route there were yellow bikes, and various effigies and on the hill a painted bike that really needed to be seen from above....

Did I really spin? Yes I did and so did a lady cyclist from Somerset who couldn't resist getting a fix!

Two bobbins of singles that were spun on the roadside - SCF Perendale in Cheese Platter

And to finish a perfect Mr S was lucky enough to catch a musette thrown by one of the Garmin riders......

Thank you Yorkshire!

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