Friday, 9 July 2010

Fleece, fleece, fleece

I've been really getting into spinning lately (always one for a new challenge) and so, as a treat to myself following payday, I took the liberty of purchasing a spinning wheel. On ebay. From Yorkshire. As this has turned out to be a somewhat protracted delivery, I have currently received this much of my wheel.

I should stress, that in no way is this the fault of the lovely seller, or Royal Mail, but the courier should be quaking in his boots.

You may notice that amongst the pieces of wheel lies a lazy kate with 3 very nice looking bobbins and a book. These were generously given to me by the seller as part of a spinning clear out of her house. I have no idea what she was thinking but I'm very grateful! Additionally, I received 2 whole, raw fleeces. Having only been spinning for a few months, and spinning combed tops almost exclusively, this amounted to something of a challenge.

Remember what I said about challenges?

Here is the fleece, fresh from the bag.

It looks massive because it was. Following a whole bunch of scouring the net and reading my spinning books I realised

1) Life would be a lot easier if I was American and had a top loading washing machine (similar issue with felting)

2) I was best off making it up as I went along.

As every source I consulted said to use as hot water as I could stand I purchased some washing up gloves to help me. Sources seemed to disagree about detergents, some suggesting washing-up liquid, some baby shampoo. I plumped for what seemed like the middle ground suggestion and went for greasy hair shampoo. I filled the bath half full with hot water, added a whole lot of shampoo (afterwards, apparently suds are bad) and then in went the fleece.

Which then came out as I drained the water and washed the bath, and then went back in;

and repeat;

and repeat;

At which point I ran out of shampoo. Which was fine, because it is pretty much clean. I'm hoping that any last bits of muck will come out in the carding process. It's now drying flat in the kitchen on a sheet as we don't have any outside space. Seems to be drying well. This picture doesn't really do it justice, it's a lot whiter than it looks.

So just to check that it's all running smoothly, I gave a little bit a card and finger spun a bit. To be honest, I feel like this is a pretty awesome moment.


Thursday, 1 July 2010

Shawls galore!

So there's not been much to report of late, a lot of finishing off socks and a (potentially) wasted attempt at making a bag. That being said, I can announce that something for next year's MODO show has been completed. Oooooooooo! A sneak peak image coming soon!

This post however is dedicated to a little technical exercise I have recently completed that I'm pretty proud of. I have a subscription to The Knitter magazine, and this months issue contains the absolutely beautiful "Golden Wheat Shawl". I was instantly in love, however, despite having done a fair bit of lace knitting in my time, I had never yet knitted a shawl. Trawling the depths of the Ravelry shawl database led me to the outstandingly pretty "Percy Shawl". I set about knitting it using Berrocco Alpaca Fine, a lovely yarn, unsurprisingly alpaca based, that I had almost all of a skein left of following the making of some socks earlier in the year. It made up incredibly quickly, taking less than a week and I must say I'm pretty pleased with the result.

And as for the Golden Wheat Shawl......

Speak soon!!