Monday, 6 February 2017

Black & Cerise Shetland Shawl - Design S122

I found another simple lace shawl pattern with a plain back and lace edging.  Whereas the last one, Design S207, is knitted in one piece and worked from the bottom up, this one has the lace worked and then you cast off all but one stitch and then pick up the stitches along the straight edge of the lace.  This means that the lace edge is knitted on sideways to the main body of the shawl.

I picked another skein of the Shetland wool from when I made three, each having a different coloured third ply.  This one is 86% Shetland wool, 14% Cotton.

I started this on 31st January and finished it on 6th February 2017.  I kept it simple and without beads.

It is really nice and soft too and looks so much better in real life than what it does in my photographs.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Grey Jacobs Shawl - Design S207

After making four shawls in Twilley's Goldfingering I need a break and work with something else.  I picked some nice, soft and squishy Jacobs wool that I blended and spun myself back in 2014.

Revisiting a design that I made twice last year, first in Shetland wool and then in Alpaca, I stared knitting this on 26th January and was done and dusted by 31st January 2017.

It does have a tendency to roll but is smoothed out with a soak and block.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Pearl Capelet - Design SB168 Small

I had a small amount of yarn left over in Pearl from when I made the large version of this capelet in various colours last summer.   There was just enough to make the small version, which I have two of in my shop already in a blue-green colour and the same design as the one bought for a photo-shoot.

Of course it looks ridiculous on me as this small version is made with small petite women in mind, and its been years since I could be classed as small or petite when it comes to my figure.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Pretty in Royal Blue - Design LF433

I really love these shawls and working with the bright colours of Twilley's Goldfingering.  It might sound daft but working with Twilley's Goldfingering stirs lots of happy memories from my early childhood.  My parents used this thread to make several "pin and thread pictures" that were so popular in the 60's and 70's.  I know we definitely had one in the design of a London bus and another was a geometric design.  I think there may have been one of an owl and one of a boat as well.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, here a few images that I've pulled from the internet.  People still make these and there are lots of modern designs around now as well.

Ok, shall we get back on track and bring my mind forward about 38 years to the present day?

For this shawl I decided on silver, medium blue and royal blue.

Actually, I started making the centres for this one immediately after making all the centres for the last one on that long train journey but I only managed half a dozen or so before we had to get off the train at our home station.  This one then also got put to one side whilst I made all those Christmas baubles.

I got back to work on this after completing the bright green one, so that would have been the first week of January and I started working with the royal blue on 13th January.  It really is a beautiful colour.

All done by 18th January 2017.  The way that the motifs are joined to one another makes it look almost like a Moroccan tiled floor once it has been soaked and blocked.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Pretty In Christmas Green - Design LF433

This shawl I started making way back at the end of August 2016, using the time spent on a long train journey, there and back, to crochet the centre of the flowers in gold, but only just finished making it on 2nd January 2017.  I find that with the motion of travel I cannot knit but I can crochet quite happily.

It's another of the 1970's crochet motif design shawls made with Twilley's Goldfingering thread that is of varying ages, but all of it is 80% Viscose, 20% Metallised Polyester.

This I have chosen gold, forest green and emerald green.

Because I was making Christmas baubles for the past 3 or 4 months of last year I found that I didn't have much time to spend making this and so really only picked it up again once the baubles had been made.

The photos above show my bag of gold on a train, spread out on my lap being worked on and getting ready to trim that fringe straight.  I have a laminated board just the right width to match the perfect length of the fringing so the knots get lined up along the top edge of the board and the fringe can be trimmed straight using the bottom edge of the board.  In this photo I still have to push it upward to the top of the board.

The true colour is probably best represented by the photo of the shawl in the box that it will be delivered in.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Portland Fleece - Part II

I've thought about what I want to do with my Portland yarn.  I will dye the fingering weight yarn a different colour to the other 3 and the the 3 skeins of double-knit weight yarn will be used together on one project that I have already chosen, and so will dye these specific colours to be able to make that.

First up is the fingering weight yarn, which is 106g/369m.  I dyed this using Greener Shades dye at a dye depth of 1% in shade Sunrise Yellow.  A 1% dye depth means that you use 1g of dye for every 100g of yarn.

I had decided that I wanted to have a go at trying to obtain a set of peach yarns.  Peach can be a difficult colour to achieve, getting the tone right is a nightmare, nevermind having to try to get three different shades.  I was using my micro scales to weigh out the tiny tiny amounts of dye needed in the percentages of each colour required and a milk bottle screw top cap was "the bowl" to weigh the dye into.

This first yarn is 105g/300m, dyed using Greener Shades dye at a dye depth of 0.1%, made up of 75% Sunrise Yellow and 25% Sunset Orange.  A dye depth of 0.1% means that you use 0.1g of dye for every 100g of yarn and then this total amount of dye is split 75/25 between 2 colours.  Can you imagine weighing out 0.075g of dye and 0.025g of dye to make up that one-tenth of a gram of dye required!

This yarn is just as I had hoped for.

This yarn is 104g/317m, dyed using Greener Shades dyes at a dye dept of 0.2%, 75% Sunrise Yellow, 25% Sunset Orange.  Technically this is just a dark shade of the first yarn.  The colours and percentages used are exactly the same, its just the dye depth that is increased, which means that I use double the weight of dye for the same amount of yarn which produces as stronger/darker shade.   Not too bad, a tad orange, but maybe that was my dye weighing.  The micro scales that I have are not the best as a really really good accurate set cost a lot of money, which I hope one day I will be able to afford to get.

The final yarn in the set of three is 105g/296m and again dyed with Greener Shades dye at a dye depth of 0.2% made up of 75% Sunset Orange and 25% Ruby Red.  With hindsight I am thinking that instead of shifting dye colours and introducing Ruby Red that perhaps I should have just doubled the amounts of dye used on the previous 2 skeins again to make a 0.4% dye depth or even calculated for a 0.3% dye depth.  I am sure the contrast will work on my chosen project though.

 And finally a pretty photo to show all 3 colours off together.

Want to know how I made the yarn for this shawl?  Just click Portland Fleece Part I

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Portland Fleece - Part I

I brought a kilo of Portland fleece online from Farnell Farm in Kent back in July 2014.  Portland is one of the many breeds that are classed as a conservation breed where they were close to extinction but efforts have been made to dramatically increase numbers and save the breed.

They are a small breed and the fleece washes up to be a warm shade of white.  There can be red kemp in the britch area of the fleece, and I did encounter some.  Kemp is a very coarse hair like fibre that you really want to remove during the preparation process.  The photo below shows a couple of locks, with a small amount of "seconds" attached, so called because it is the very short fibres produced when the shears go over a sheep a second time, shortening the fleece that is remaining on the sheep, and some will inevitably stick to the fleece as it is removed.  These are easily removed by wool combs during the preparation for spinning.
 The photo above, on the left, shows a clump of washed fleece with lots of red kemp in it and the photo above on the right shows a washed lock and an unwashed lock of fleece.

At the time of spinning the yarn my camera had broken and I didn't have a decent camera on my smart phone and so, unfortunately, there are no photos of the wool being combed, or of the combed nests or even of the spun un-dyed yarns.

I can tell you though that from my unwashed fleece weighed 1086g and after washing and removing a small amount of coarse fibre, including the red kemp, I was left with 675g of clean fleece ready to be prepared.  After combing I was left with approximately 420g of nice, clean, soft fibre to spin.  I spun 2-ply as usual and made 4 skeins of yarn, one in a fingering weight and 3 in double knit weights.  I decided to dye the yarn and will cover this in Part II.