Category: Spinning

Articles in the Spinning category

Feeling Blue

On the spinning wheel, that is. My wheels have sat unloved for a little while so yesterday I dove into the stash (and survived!) and pulled out a little something to brighten my mood. It’s something that I received as a Christmas gift from my friend Sophie a few years ago, and has been marinating in the stash as treasured fibre.

The fibre is from Jacqui of Spinning a Yarn in the ‘True Blue’ colourway in batt form. I love Jacqui’s batts. They are fabulous. And she no longer makes them. If she had more batts without sparkle I’d have hoarded more, but alas, she’s is has a sparkly personality and it transferred into her batts. Needless to say that these are my last SAY batts so it is kind of bittersweet to be spinning them, however, the last set of sparkly batts came out so beautifully I decided to just go for it.

True Blue Laceweight

I’m spinning them up as a 2ply laceweight on Georgie, my Kromski Symphony, at a 1:20 ratio. They are spinning up beautifully and I’m enjoying it immensely. I have 115g (ish) of fibre, and whatever the yardage, it is destined to be a shawl. Patterned to be determined once I’ve got a final yardage count, though I must admit I’m really hoping to make an Annis

I did this pattern once before, but never finished it. Funnily enough, it was out of the leftovers of my Ishbel shawl which were made of SAY batts that I spindle spun. However, I ran short of yarn and ended up frogging the project and made a cowl which I gifted to Sophie as a birthday present last year.

Romney Love

As part of my ‘Year of Longwool’, I pulled out some of the Romney I’ve had in my stash for a while.

Southern Cross Fibre

This is from Southern Cross Fibres in a colour called ‘Binary Sunset’. It was a club colourway that I acquired through a destash. I totally fell in love with the colour, but it sat in my stash for a while because I wasn’t sure about the whole Romney thing. I was worried about mucking it up and I was too in love with the colour to spin it badly.

Having a few longwools under my belt, I finally had the courage to spin it. I loved spinning this. It made me happy every time I looked at the filling bobbin.

I spun it up as a single on my Louet Victoria because I really wanted to keep the colours intact. It worked up to a lovely worsted-aran weight yarn with beautiful drape and sheen. I’m in love with this yarn even more than I was in love with the fibre.

Binary Sunset Romney

The skein worked out to 175m, and I’m going to do something special with it, but what that special something is has yet to be determined. I’m thinking something that isn’t a wearable. For the moment I’m going to happily pet the skein.

Primrose Corespun

Spinning Saturday is back, albeit a couple of weeks later than I had intended. When we last left off I had just finished spinning up my first braid of my Primrose BFL/Silk fibre (Wildcraft Club March 2012). Here’s what the fibre looked like originally:


I corespun this on to some 2ply wool laceweight I’ve had hanging around the stash since Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show 2005. It’s a big huge cone, so I figured it was ideal to use, especially as it was an off white which blended into the fibre quite well. This is how it turned out:

Primrose Corespun

I’m pretty pleased with it. The second skein is definitely better than the first, and there is certainly room for improvement. If I were to do this again, I’d first send the core through the wheel to unply it and help balance the yarn. I didn’t do it this time since I had no idea where this experiment was going to go, but now that I’ve tried it, I think it is worth the effort. I’d also not let the yarn sit unwashed in a loose pile for a week. I admit I wasn’t feeling well, but I certainly didn’t do the yarn any justice by letting an unbalanced skein sit without tension for a long period of time.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with this. I might make a bag or pouch or some other such item. I haven’t decided yet. I am interested in knitting (or crocheting) with this yarn, though. I want to see how it behaves. I truly believe that to become a better spinner you need to work with your handspun, art yarn or otherwise.

Spinning something a little different.

Welcome to this week’s edition of Spinning Saturday. And if it wasn’t for a little bit of spinning that has happened this week, I wouldn’t have much to talk about. It has been a pretty weak fibre week and most of my knitting is on hiatus. This happens occasionally. In the meantime, I’ll dedicate my normal knitting time to other things like scrapbooking, and spring cleaning.

One thing that did happen was the arrival of my March Wildcraft fibre club.


This month’s theme was ‘Primrose’ and there were two varieties sent out. It was luck of the draw which you received, and I received 2 braids of the ‘thrum’ version, which is a gradient fibre going yellow, yellow-green, orange, yellow-green, yellow. The other version was ‘pin’ that went from yellow, yellow-green to orange.

I have to admit that I’m not a fan of yellow, mostly due to the fact that no one in my family can wear it. However, the fibre was beautiful and it jumped on the wheel almost immediately. I spun a few grams worth of laceweight singles and stopped. And I didn’t go back.

Yesterday, I finally realised that this just wasn’t the yarn for me. Even though I had picked out a pattern for the yarn, and split the fibre into the colour sequence I wanted, this just wasn’t going to happen.

And then something clicked.

A spark was lit and I was at the wheel faster than kids run to candy. I took the laceweight off the wheel and started with a fresh new bobbin. I started corespinning.

Yes. Corespinning.

I’ve never been much on art yarns. I find them infinitely fascinating, but because they are not overly practical yarns I’m not drawn to spin them. I want to be able to knit (practical) things from my handspun. I’m a very practical person. Crazy and weird, but practical.

However, corespinning (in its most basic form) seems to me to be verging on the edge of a practical yarn. I wanted to try it. I wanted to see if I could do it. It’s that whole idea of expanding the skill set.

Primrose Corespun

I finished spinning up the last of the first braid today, so I don’t have any final numbers on yardage or pretty photos of skeins to show you. However, I found this entire experience fascinating and I saw how much I grew as a spinner by attempting it.

Do you remember when you first started spinning? How you had to make a lot of effort to manage to spin yarn? That’s exactly how I felt at first. I had to pre-draft out my fibre in order to spin it. I had to concentrate. I had to keep stopping the wheel. Yet, by the end of that first braid, I was spinning with ease. No pre-drafting was needed and the yarn just seemed to flow onto the bobbin like magic. It’s one of those learning curves I haven’t had to tackle in quite a while.

It was invigorating.

I have no idea how this yarn is going to wash up, however I do plan to knit (or crochet) with it. I want to see what it is like to work with and whether I can find practical applications for this, and potentially other art yarns. I want to play.

The yarn will get a spa bath, and I should have some yarny photos for you next Saturday. And if my wrists are up to it, I might even try casting it on.

Spinning Saturday: Autumn Leaves

I was working with some more superwash Cheviot, this time in the Autumn Leaves colourway. I love this colourway, so much so that this isn’t the first braid I bought. This is the same colourway I have on my spindle in the 50/50 BFL /silk blend.

Autumn Leaves SW Cheviot

I wanted to spin this up thicker than usual. I’m on a mission to try and spin thicker yarns on occasion. This is partly because I think it’ll help me grow as a spinner, and partly because my stash currently has a lot of fingering and DK weights of handspun.

I love how the colours spun up. It really does look like autumn leaves.

Autumn Leaves SW Cheviot

I decided to navajo ply this skein, and the resulting yarn was what I’d consider a chunky weight yarn. It measures out to 91m in the 100g skein, and is lovely and soft and bouncy. I’m really pleased with the results.

Autumn Leaves SW Cheviot

This yarn is destined to be a toy.

Spinning Saturday: Snowstorm

During the last week in Denmark we’ve had some amazingly beautiful spring weather, with sunny skies and temperatures up to 13 degrees Celsius. However, in the house there has been a snowstorm happening.

I alluded to this last week when I mentioned I had originally planned an entirely different post. I had planned to talk about the progress I’d been making on my January Wildcraft fibre club.

Snowstorm in progress

This is Suffolk top in the colourway ‘Snowstorm’, and it’s the first time I’ve spun this particular breed. I have to say I really enjoyed it. It isn’t a soft wool like Merino or Falkland, but it has a lovely spring to it. The spring and crimp of the fibre make for a really enjoyable and effortless spin. The fibre was pretty much drafting itself and was just there to hold the fibre and treadle the wheel.

Snowstorm in progress

I had originally thought I’d make a 2ply yarn, but wasn’t happy with the sample and fell back on my trusty 3ply yarn. I really love 3ply. I love spinning it. I love how round it is. I love knitting it, and I love how the knitted fabric feels. With few exceptions, such as for colourwork and lace, I really believe that it is worth the extra effort to make the extra ply.

My final yarn plumped up nicely during the bath. It came out to approximately a sport or light DK weight yarn with a total of 447 metres and 200g over 3 skeins. Try as I might, I just couldn’t make it all fit on two bobbins.


I haven’t decided what to make yet. I’m dithering between hats, mittens and other such winter warmers. At the moment, it is yarn that is still full of possibilities.

Spinning Saturday: We're off to see the Wizard

I hadn’t planned to share this bit of spinning with you today, I had something else planned. I was keeping this fibre to spin in March, but it jumped on the wheel ahead of schedule. Just like that. One minute it was fibre on the shelf, next thing I know I was skeining up yarn. It was off the wheel so fast I almost got whiplash.

The fibre is some Masham in the ‘Emerald City’ colourway (inspired by ‘The Wizard of Oz) , from Spunky Eclectic. It is actually a club colourway, but I received it from my friend Maggie as a ‘congrats on Thing 2’ gift. I’m hoping at some point to join the Spunky Club, but until then, I’ll enjoy remembering my first spin of her fibre.

Emerald City Masham fibre

Masham is a longwool fibre. (It’s also a lovely town in NorthEast England with two good breweries and a sheep festival. ) The staple length of my fibre was a little over 8 inches, and I knew that called for a gentle touch. I decided on a low twist single, so I pulled out Gracie (my Louet Victoria) and set her up on the biggest whorl for a 1:6 ratio. I decided to go for slow and thick, which since I normally spin fast and thin was a bit of a change of direction for me. I showed the yarn to my husband and even he remarked how thick the singles were. Needless to say, I was really please to achieve a DK weight single. Getting thicker is going to require a lot of practice.

Emerald City Masham singles/WPI

I even pulled out my WPI gauge to make sure. 12 WPI. It’s official. It is a DK weight yarn.

Emerald City Masham singles

The yarn has a nice twist, good integrity, and not the least bit rope-like. At 190m over 110g, I’m really chuffed with the final yarn. I’m a bit sad it isn’t the technicolour skein I imagined it would be, though. It is lovely and I’m looking forward to knitting with it, but it more real world colour than technicolour. That’s okay. I’d look silly in a pair of ruby slippers anyway.

Emerald City Masham singles

In all, the fibre was excellently dyed and prepared, and it was an absolute joy to spin. I’m already looking forward to my next longwool breed in my personal 2012 challenge.

Spinning Saturday: SW Cheviot Goodness

I’m a day late. I know. I got trapped under a giant crochet rug and couldn’t get out. I’ll make it up by showing you lots of spinning goodness. :)

This week I’ve been working on some lovely superwash Cheviot from Wildcraft. I love this stuff. It is easy to spin and soft. I wouldn’t have expected Cheviot to be so soft, but this is fabulous. Must be the process of making it superwash.

The first time I used her superwash Cheviot was when she introduced the fibre in her fibre club in March 2010. It was the Shamrocks colourway.

11.03 March Wildcraft fibre club

I first thought of socks, since Cheviot is a great fibre for socks and other everyday items. However, it was so soft I went for a baby cardigan instead.

Shamrocks SW Cheviot

I made a Tomten out of it, though I ended up double standing the yarn as I wasn’t in the mindset to do a fingering weight tomten at the time. It turned out wonderfully, and Thing 2 got a lot of wear out of it whilst it fit, though he was such a big boy it didn’t make it to 6 months. Details of this project can be found on my Ravelry project page.


Another favourite was the Calendulas colourway, which I navajo-plied to keep the colour sequences. I never knit with this particular skein as it was one of the yarns I’ve sold, but I admit it was difficult to give it up.

Calendula SW Cheviot

Calendula SW Cheviot

I think the SW Cheviot really excels as a 3ply, but then again I really like 3ply yarns, so I might be biased.

This week I’ve been working on a colourway called Bonfire.


I spun this fibre up on my George (my Kromski Symphony) as a traditional 3ply. It works out to approximately a worsted weight yarn, with 141 metres on the 93g skein.

Bonfire handspun

I think this would make an excellent yarn for a toy, hat or mittens. I’ve set it aside for the moment, however, as I’m thinking about popping this yarn up in the shop for sale. I’ll decide later in the week.

I am delighted to say that Studland Beach is off the wheel and is fabulously squooshy.

Studland Beach, take 2

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I decided to spin up my second braid of the Studland Beach (Falkland, Wildcraft, Sept 2011 club fibre) by breaking down the colours, carding them up into rolags and spinning them up longdraw into a 2ply yarn.

They are soft and lovely and total up to 348 metres of squoosh. I had to augment the off-white colour with some undyed Shetland as there just wasn’t going to be enough of that colour otherwise. These five skeins will be turned into some Fiddlehead mittens as soon as I decide what the main colour and yarn is going to be. I’m currently toying with either navy or orange. Comments and suggestions welcome.

I love the difference in how the two braids spun up:
Studland Beach, all together

This is also why I love club fibre. Each spinner has their own take and style and each braid comes out differently even though they had the same starting point. Speaking of starting points, here is the original braid.


So long Studland Beach, I look forward to revisiting you soon when I’m ready to knit.

Spinning Saturday: Dusting off Autumn Leaves

I decided to pull out a long term spinning WIP in hopes of it actually becoming yarn before the turn of the next century. This is a 50/50 BFL and silk blend from Wildcraft in the colourway Autumn leaves.

Autumn Leaves Bfl/silk

Here is what the braid looked like:

I mentioned that this is a long term spinning WIP, and I meant it. I started this before I got my Victoria in 2010. I have to admit I spindled less once I got that wheel. I bought it for guild meetings, but that was also where most of my spindle spinning happened. In fact, here is a photo from December 2009.


Recognise that fibre. Yep. That was when I started spinning this. Pretty shocking, really.

I’ve got half the fibre spun already, and am working on the next 25g. It goes pretty quickly when you actually work on it, but I think I need to work on discipling myself to actually sit down (or stand up) and spindle for 15 or 20 minutes a day.

The spindle I’m using is a Wildcraft lightweight walnut spindle that was a gift from my husband for our fifth anniversary. It is a mere 18g, with a long shaft (now standard on her spindles), and is a fabulous spinner. I’m very fast at drafting and even I sometimes have a hard time keeping up with this beauty.

Wildcraft Lace spindle

I’m also using a matching wrist distaff which was a birthday gift from Karen and Sophie. I actually special ordered it from Karen as I wanted two distaffs — one walnut, one cherry — to match my two wood spindles, and specified the approximate shape, texture, length, and the fact that I wanted a clasp at the top that would turn. The two of them then went behind my back and gave them to me as a birthday gift! Such sweet friends. :)

I really like the swivel clasp/hook feature as I don’t have to keep unwinding the fibre. The only downside to this is that it is hard to keep small amounts of fibre on the distaff… but that’s what I use my watchband for.

Walnut spindle & distaff

And yes, that’s another photo of the Autumn Leaves fibre in progress, this time from June 2010.

I am determined to finish this. Preferably soon. I’m really looking forward to seeing the final yarn and yardage amounts so I can pick out a shawl pattern. I love this fibre and colourway, and I think it is high time it got the attention it deserves.

Poke me with a pointy stick if I’m not making progress on this. It is embarrassing enough that it is going into its third year. I’d love to have it done by my birthday in May. We’ll see how long it takes. I’ve almost finished the first of four strips of fibre that will comprise this third cop. In fact, I think I’ll finish this strip now and avoid the birthday rush.