Friday, 21 December 2012

Polwarth again, are you green with envy?

I've been shopping at The Fibre Fairy and bought a few things but instead of showing you all of my purchases I will just show them to you as I spin them.  I know, I am such a meanie.

I bought 150g of Polwarth top in shade "Emeralds Kiss".

I spun it as a double knit weight 2ply yarn and got 425m from my 150g.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Merino called Marina

I bought some beautiful blue Merino spinning fibre from Yummy Yarns UK.  How can anyone resist these gorgeous blues?

I spun it as single and managed to get 508m from my 124g of fluff.  A light fingering weight yarn.  I am so happy with this.

More Merino

I bought 2 x 100g of lovely Merino spinning fibre from Sara's Texture Crafts in shade "Anemone".

I spun each 100g separately and split each one down the entire length 7 or 8 times and spun a single making sure that I started with the same end each time.  I then plied to two singles together to created a worsted weight yarn of 212g with 324m.

I made this simple beaded lace leaf edged shawl with my yarn.


This Corridale fibre came to me with my spinning wheel.  It is one of several fibre samples that came free with the wheel.

I spun it as a single and then navajo plied it to give me 78m from 98g.  It is lovely, smooth and soft.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Recipe for Cranberry, Apricot & Banana Tea Bread

A couple of weeks ago I done some home-baking and following the outcome of that hubby bought more ingredients and requested that I make some more of the delicious tea bread.  I decided to take photographs as I went along this time and share the recipe with you.

Ingredients needed to make 1 medium sized loaf

175g/6oz plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
60g/2oz rolled oats
250g/8oz light brown sugar
60g/2oz dried cranberries
60g/2oz dried apricots, chopped
2 eggs
120ml/4 fl.oz sunflower or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F/175°C/Gas Mark 7.  Lightly grease and flour a 8" x 4" loaf tin.  Sift the flour, baking powder and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl.  

Add the rolled oats, brown sugar, cranberries and apricots and mix well.  Make a well in the centre ready to add further ingredients.

Using another bowl, beat the eggs, oil, vanilla essence together (I used Flora Cuisine, in place of regular oil)

and then add the mashed bananas

 and mix well.  

Pour this mixture into the well made in the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl.  

Stir well until combined and then put the mixture into the loaf tin and cover loosely with grease proof paper (baking parchment), as this will help to prevent the top of your loaf from blackening too much, and place on a low-middle shelf in the oven.

Bake until well risen and golden brown, about 1 hour, and when you insert a cake tester or knife into the centre to test it it should come out with just a crumb or two attached.  If it comes out wet then you need to cook it a little longer.  Once cooked, allow to cool in the loaf tin on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto the wire rack with the top side up to cool completely.  I made multiple loaves this time.

Slice as required and enjoy your home-baking.

The last of the Merino from The Rainbow Room

This is the final pack of small Merino samples that I got from The Rainbow Room.  These are all earthy colours, called Mother Nature.

I split the amount of colours into two, so both halves have different colours in them.  It then took them in order to spin from and spun two singles. which I plied together to make an ever changing barber pole yarn.

I got 147m from 155g of fibre.  I made a crochet cowl and the left over yarn, especially the blue/red was donated to my children's school for crafting.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Gotland Roving

This is another bag of roving, from those that I purchased from Griffiths Mill at The Staffordshire County Show.  For the fact that Gotland is supposed to be soft, long stapled fleece, this roving has quite a lot of short fibres in it and also is not what I would call soft at all.  It feels a little crisp/prickly to me.

Spun up as one single and left as such I have 235m from 100g of roving.  Its OK, but not at all what I was expecting after reading such wonderful reviews about Gotland Fleece.  Maybe one day I will try preparing it myself from a fleece and see if that makes a difference to the final yarn.

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Long And Short Of It

I made a decision a few weeks ago, a big decision.

After loosing several friends and family to Cancer, knowing a few survivors and after seeing My Sister's Keeper and then a few days later reading a local newspaper article that a friend had posted to Facebook I decided to do a little bit of research.  The newspaper article was about a hairdresser who had donated her own hair to a charity that makes wigs for kids with Cancer from the donated hair.  I had heard about hair donation before but I had never given any thought to it.  I done a bit of research on-line to find out more about organisations/charities that were involved in hair donation and what the requirements were for each one.  I discovered that the minimum length of the hair donation varied with each one and also that some of them will accept grey hair whilst others don't.

My initial thoughts were that I wanted to make a hair donation but without making an overly big change to my own image and so I looked into the Charities that required the least hair length donation.  I settled on Little Princess Trust as their minimum donation is only require 7 inches and they specifically help children by providing a real-hair wig free of charge to a child in need of one.  Real-hair wigs are so much better than  synthetic wigs because they are more comfortable, feel a lot nicer and they can be washed and styled with heated rollers/curling tongs/straighteners/styling products just like your own hair, something that cannot be done with a synthetic wig.  I thought that I would grow my hair over the Winter and then have it cut in the Spring back to my usual length, which is about level with the back of my bra.

I mentioned my intentions to my husband, who was supportive, and then set about setting up a Just Giving Page and taking some photographs showing how long my hair is and I edited them to mark on them the length that I would be having my hair cut back to in the Spring.

Over the next 24 hours or so I got to thinking about how my hair will look after its been cut and whether I would have it layered and graduated again.  I realised that I have had pretty much the same style now since my eldest daughter was born 9 years ago - long layered with a central parting, fringe (bangs), graduated length around the face.  I have had it different lengths over those 9 years but still basically the same style so I began looking on-line at the latest styles to get some ideas.  I found a few that I liked but some of them would require a lot of styling everyday and some just wouldn't work with my hair/face.  Then I found one that I absolutely adored but it was much shorter than I planned to cut my hair so I posted it to my personal Facebook page and asked for opinions on it, specifically asking what hubby thought of it.  He loved it, it would suit me and would be a change for me.  Decision made.  I would now be going much shorter and making a bigger donation of hair which means that a little girl could be receiving a longer wig and feeling like a little princess again whilst she undergoes treatment for Cancer.

I haven't set the actual date for the cut yet, but it will be in March 2013 so that my layers have time to grow enough to make sure they clear the minimum length required and will coincide with my 40th birthday so that I get to mark the occasion by doing something awesome for someone less fortunate than myself and also get a much needed new look at the same time.  I have also decided, after watching numerous hair donation videos on YouTube, that I would prefer to have my hair put into several smaller ponytails for the cut and that I want to cut the first one off myself.  I will be discussing all of this with my hairdresser when I go for a trim in December and I am also hoping that they will kindly donate their services to my cause but if they don't I am more than happy to pay anyway.

The links for my chosen charity and my Just Giving page where donations can be made can be found in the text above but I guess I should also show you some photos of my hair now.

This is the style I have chosen to have after my hair has been cut for the donation.  I have flipped this photo from the original because I have a half-crown in my fringe and so the sweep-over will need to go in the opposite direction for the style to work with my hair.  I will be keeping my own natural colour though.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Shetland Wool/Tussah Silk mix

I'm on a spinning roll and after spinning up the beautiful Polwarth, I got on and spun up this sweet little bit of Shetland Wool/Tussah Silk that I bought from Yummy Yarns UK.  I halved it lengthways and spun it as two singles and then plied the singles together to give me 97g/97m of worsted weight yarn.

It took me a little while to find a pattern for this amount of yarn that I actually liked and thought would look good with this yarn.  I settled on a simple lace scarf.

Monday, 15 October 2012

I thought I would try some Polwarth fleece

I bought 300g of Polwarth fleece from The Whorl's End.  This fleece comes from her own Polwarth Sheep, a ram called "Cassy".  Even with the dirt in the fleece you can see that this is really really soft and fine.  There was no VM in the fleece so just mud and grease to wash out and this left me with 268g of clean fleece.

I combed the lovely clean fibre and I got 202g of lovely soft fluffy clouds ready to spin.  I split this into two equal amounts and spun as fine as I could and then plied the two singles together to give me a skein of sport weight yarn weighing 200g/612m and it is incredibly white.  This will have to be knit into something a little bit special.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Bluefaced Leicester

Another purchase of spinning fibre, this time "Biffle Fibre" from an indie dyer, which is 100% Bluefaced Leicester dyed in oranges and reds and called "Solar Flares".

It is lovely and soft but I was a little shocked to discover that my hands turned red and orange during spinning and when I looked at the legs of my blue jeans, I could see very faint traces of dye on those too where the spinning fibre was brushing against them as it fed upwards from the floor into my hands.

I decided to leave it as a single and just full it (slightly felting it during the washing process so that it adds strength to the single without making the yarn strands felt to each other).  The amount of excess dye that bled out into the water was amazing and I suspect that it may bleed a little bit more when I knit with it and wash the final finished item but I hope not so much that my hands change colour again!

The skein weighs 115g and there are 430m of light fingering / lace weight yarn.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Baaaaa Humbug

I have decided to spin the Jacobs roving that I bought from Griffiths Mill from our Staffordshire County Show visit back in June.

This was in two different coloured lengths, one long white and one long black.  I spun them as singles and then plied to make a barber-pole yarn that resembles Humbug sweets, which is Aran weight and measures 96g/74m.  I used this small amount of yarn in a scarf, along with a lot of other yarns.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Falkland Wool and Soy Bean Top

I bought some more pre-dyed spinning fibre to try, different to anything I have tried so far.  These are Falkland Wool Top from Dunnose Head Farm in the Falkland Islands, and Soy Bean Silk Top both bought from MandaCrafts, who dyed them.

The Falkland Wool Top is produced organically and on the Dunnose Head Farm website, it says this about their wool. "Naturally pure, naturally beautiful, and grown without the use of any artificial fertilisers, dips, injections or other chemicals, our wool is as unspoilt as you will find anywhere on this planet.  Hence the DHF green sheep logo - your guarantee of purity."

The Soy Bean Silk Top is the vegetable alternative to Silk and has been spaced dyed.  There is 150g of each fibre.

I spun both fibres individually and then plied them together.  I made two skeins of yarn, one is 148g/193m and the other is 138g/198m and both are Double Knit weight but because of the slight difference in measurements it will be best to use these working from both skeins, alternating every 2 rows to even the yarn out.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Morocco Capelet - Design SB168 small

This pretty little capelet was a really quick knit and I started it on 30th August 2012 and finished it the next day.  I used just over 1 skein of Colinette Point 5 yarn in shade Morocco.  It is super bulky weight, 100% pure wool and is a single ply thick and thin yarn.

When I came to photograph this little capelet I had to use my mannequin as I am just to big for this.  What can I say, I like to eat and I have to make goodies for all shapes and sizes, not just big girls like me.  I didn't take any work-in-progress photos, because it was such a quick knit.

The customer who went on to buy this in 2016 was Camilla Jorvad, a lifestyle and wedding destination photographer and she had purchased it from me for a photo shoot and a few months later sent me some wonderful photographs for me to use as I wish.  Her photographs are so beautiful and show off the capelet a million times better than my attempts at photography.

I do have more of the same design capelet available in my shop made from different yarns and in different colours.  This is the small version of the design and there is also a larger version available too.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Zebra Capelet - Design SB168

I found an interesting pattern to try out with some Colinette Shimmer Five in shade Zebra, which is a Super Bulky single strand yarn that is 50% Wool and 50% Viscose.

I made this in its entirety on 28th August 2012.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Angelina Fibre

I just spun a Rainbow Yarn using some Angelina to make it sparkly.

So, what is Angelina Fibre?

Well, its interesting to discover that these are iridescent soft shimmering ultra fine strands of Polyester that create an intense luminescent effect where light is reflected and refracted and they come in a wide range of colours and finishes and can be used to create all kinds of things including being used in spinning to add a bit of sparkle.  There are two types; heat bond/hot fix and non-heat bond type.  The heat bind kind can be arranged as you want on a piece of baking parchment, with different colours if you want, in patterns or randomly and you can even add in things like feathers or sequins.  Place another piece of baking parchment over the top and iron gently on a low to medium heat to bond the strands together.  Once cooled you can remove from the parchment and you have yourself an interesting piece or art or fabric for textile art, collage.

I have a few different colours, even the 4 white ones are different to each other - one sparkles with violet, another with gold etc.  The generally come in 5g or 7g bags and it goes a very very long way!

Monday, 13 August 2012

100% Merino, but then I added something

This is the second of three little packs of fibre brought from an online shop called The Rainbow Room in her closing down sale.  This rainbow coloured pack contained 20 different colours of Merino Wool.  

I wanted to spin another rainbow but I had an idea, let's make it a sparkly rainbow as I had just bought some Angelina fibre in different colours.  I matched the different colour Angelina fibre as closely as I could to the Merino fibre and just added in the Angelina as I drafted and spun the Merino. 

I kept it as a single because it looked so lovely but when I took it off my niddy-noddy it resembled rainbow spaghetti.  I had overspun it.  I corrected this by running it quickly back through my wheel in the opposite direction to take out some of the overtwist, don't want to remove too much as then it will fall apart, but just enough to straighten it out.  See the difference between the bottom two photos?  That's what I'm talking about!

I managed to get 286m from 128g and its about a light fingering weight yarn and its really soft, squishy and sparkly.

Again, choosing the right project for this was a bit of a task but I settled on making a cowl.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Handpainted combed top

I've been shopping again for more pre-prepared spinning fibre.  I love the vibrant colours in this handpainted combed top, called "Joy" and it is 70% BFL (Bluefaced Leicester), 30% SeaCell. SeaCell is a cellulose based fibre containing seaweed and is breathable, soft and non-allergenic.

I split the top into two, down the middle lengthways, and spun two singles, each starting from opposite ends so that one started with pink and the other started with lilac.  By doing this it means that I will get different colours coming together when I ply.

I love the effect that I got from this, reminds me of the colours of the sweets in the jars on the shelves of The Candy Box, a shop from my childhood, especially the jar containing lots of layers, all different colours, of the rainbow coloured sugar crystals called Kali.

I needed to make something simple, but interesting, to show off the colours of the yarn and so I created this crocheted ripple effect cowl.