Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Autowrap Spinning

This spring I picked up a copy of Jacey Boggs book Spin Art.  She is the guru of textured spinning, constantly coming up with amazing and inspirational yarns and techniques.  The book is quite comprehensive, starting with more basic sounding techniques and building on those as the book progresses.  It also included a DVD.  I've been picking it up and flipping and reading through it every so often, but I've been too chicken to try any of the techniques in it.  Until Yesterday....

I was finally feeling a bit braver, so I plugged in the DVD and watched the first few sections on autowrapping and racing stripes (both of which involve letting a pre-spun strand wrap around the yarn that is currently being spun), tracked down some lace weight alpaca and midnight blue corriedale, and sat down at my Ashford Kiwi.  I wasn't super-keen on the look of the racing stripe, so I decided to try the autowrap technique.  The premise of the autowrap is simple. After joining the two fibres, you drop the pre-spun strand, and let it dangle on its own while it twirls itself around the yarn that you are spinning (there are some tweaks to the technique, depending on your wheel - give Spin Art a look if you have a hankering to try this at home!)  After a bit of fumbling, a few tangles, rearranging yarn and fibre, and retrying this is what I got...

The raw materials.

The first little bits.

Extreme closeup!

The finished (wonky) product.
I've gotta say, it was a little bit nerve-wracking at first, to let go and try a new technique. After working so hard to produce even, consistent yarns it felt really strange to purposely make something kinda wonky. But after the initial nervousness passed I had so much fun! I can't wait to try this technique again, with different fibres. I have some shiny sparkly metallic thread that I think needs to wrap around something purple......

Monday, 27 August 2012

Elvish Singing Shawlette

“Tired as he was, Bilbo would have liked to stay a while.
 Elvish singing is not a thing to miss,
 in June under the stars”
“The Hobbit”, J. R. R. Tolkien

Fellow Canadian Josie Mercier, of Mercier Knitting Patterns, has recently published a gorgeous shawlette pattern using my Starry Night colour-way in Sparkle Sock.  The Elvish Singing Shawlette is a deliciously lacy neck-edge-down shawl that uses a single skein of sock yarn. 

The Elvish Singing Shawlette

I've been waiting eagerly for Josie to publish the pattern, because I can't wait to make one for myself.  The main lace stitch on the body looks to be interesting, without making one want to pull out ones hair, and I am smitten with the way it transitions into the delicately-pointed edging.  (The pattern thoughtfully has both written instructions and charts.)   I am quite in love with the entire project, but my very, very favourite part is the amazing leafy motif on the top edge.  See how gorgeous it is...

The gorgeous leafy edge!

 The most difficult part of this project could be deciding which yarn to use; though I'm leaning toward this one.  It's Sparkle Sock in the Robot Ninja colourway.

I'm also seriously tempted to use this one.  It's a 50/50 merino silk blend sock yarn that I call Silky Sock. This is a one of a kind, how did that happen colour that I fell in love with and had to keep. Hmmmm, which one do you guys think???


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Cast On Baby!

I just saw this on YouTube, and I gotta say, it completely made my day! Theses folks look like they'd be a BLAST to hang out and knit with. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Dye Fever!

I've had a month off from my dye-pots (on holidays with the family) and I really missed them. Don't worry, I still had scads of fibrey fun. I got lots of knitting and spinning done, and even a little bit of yarn and fibre shopping. So (relatively) early Monday morning I got all my cauldrons dye-pots bubbling. Monday and Tuesday were both long, full dye days; resulting in over 65 skeins dyed. When you consider that they are mostly done in batches of 2 or 3, that is a lot of crock pot loads! I dyed up some Smooshy Sock, Twisted Smooshy Sock, Luxe DK, and Silky Sock. Tomorrow is for Smooshy DK and BFL Sock. Here are a few pics...

Monday's Batch

Tuesday's Batch