Saturday, 23 June 2012

Merino/Silk Blend Rainbow

I bought some lovely little packs of fibre from an online shop called The Rainbow Room in her closing down sale.  This rainbow coloured pack contained 8 different lots which each contained 4 or 5 different colours of Merino along with Tussah Silk, all blended together.  All in all this is a 70% Merino/30% Tussah Silk blend.

I sorted the little fibre balls into rainbow order and spun them in one long single and then I had another go a navajo plying to keep the colours in the order in which they were spun so it would look like a rainbow rather than the colours barber polling. 

I managed to get 96m from 111g and its about a worsted weight yarn and its really soft and squishy.

I wanted to make something that would show off the colours and finally settled on this simple lace scarf.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Shropshire Lambswool & Kid Mohair

I purchased some dyed roving from My Heart Exposed Yarns and Fibre.  I bought 100g of Shropshire Lambswool in colour-way "Mandy" and 70g of Kid Mohair in colour-way "Copper Halo".

I spun them as separate singles and I loved them both individually but decided to that I wanted to make another barber pole yarn and would ply them together.  

My barber pole yarn is 117g/164m and is a worsted weight yarn.  The left-over from the Shopshire Lambswool, I tried my hand at Navajo Plying, which is a form of 3-ply yarn made from a single ply using loops to create the 3 strands, and made a lovely bouncy yarn which is 53g/56m and also a worsted weight yarn.

I made a hat with my barber pole yarn.

Click to discover more about Shropshire Sheep

Sunday, 10 June 2012

British Wool Samples

As part of the promotion for the launch of The Campaign for Wool, the Wool Marketing Board in the UK offered some free samples on a first come, first served basis and I was lucky enough to get a pack.  The pack contained 4 different coloured wool samples but did not specify what breed they were from.  The white and the pink were both around 27g/28g each and the green and brown were both around 17g each.

I spun them as singles and then plied the green and the brown together and the white and the pink together to make two barber pole yarns.  When I spun the white, I added a bit of Angelina in Mother of Pearl colourway as I spun.  The green/brown yarn is 38g/60m and about a Double Knit weight.  The pink/white yarn is 55g/71m and about a worsted weight yarn.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Preparing and spinning Coloured Ryeland

I want to try all kinds of different sheep fleece and I saw this small amount of Coloured Ryeland fleece on Ebay.  A bag of 120g of raw fleece from a young teenage farmer based up in Scotland.  Just the right amount to try a fleece.  I found quite a few small black dead beetles in the fleece, which scared me half to death but the at least it wasn't dead spiders, that would really freak me out!  I washed the fleece and left it to dry.

Dirty fleece on the left, clean fleece on the right.
I had a go at carding this fleece as the staple length wasn't really long enough for my wool combs.  I really struggle with carding and I can't make those nice little neat rolags to save my life so the best I could do was just card it and the lift it off flat.

I spun two singles from this fleece kind of woollen style and then plied together to make a yarn 73g/99m that is approximately an aran weight yarn.  I would like to try Coloured Ryeland again in the future when I have more experience and see what I can do with it then.

Click to discover more about Ryeland and Coloured Ryeland Sheep

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Staffordshire County Show 2012

With my interests in spinning firmly taking hold and wanting to learn more about different breeds of sheep and other animals and maybe make some contacts with farmers who sell fleece direct to the public I suggested to my husband that maybe we visit a couple of Country Shows with the kids and make it a great family day out.  We booked tickets to go see Staffordshire County Show 2012 at the Staffordshire County Showground and we visited yesterday, on 5th June.

We didn't tell the kids where we were going, we kept it a surprise until we got there when we were all wowed with the shear size of the event and how much there was to see and do.  With the typical British weather, we did get rained on on and off throughout the day but we still had a good time.  My girls are the two in the second photo, standing in front of the North Ronaldsay sheep.  I can tell you that the white bull in the 6th photo was absolutely huge and was one of the biggest that we saw at the show.  The sheep in photos 9 and 10 are really docile and came up to us for petting and are Ryeland sheep.

I didn't make contact with any farmers on the day but I did find a stall that was selling bags of spinning fibre, both tops and roving, I'm not entirely sure what the difference is, will have to research that.  I had a hard time deciding which breeds and type I wanted to try but finally settled on these 4, all of which are roving and I got them from Griffiths Mill.

I can't wait to get spinning these and will write separate posts about my experiences with these when I spin them.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Rich chocolate brown Alpaca

I enjoyed preparing and spinning the Alpaca fleece so much that I decided to have another go, this time with the fleece from Orlando, a rich brown Huacaya Alpaca belonging to Aston Alpaca's in Aston Flamville, Leicestershire.

I started out with approximately 381g of Alpaca fleece.  With Alpaca you don't tend to get bits of hay and such as much as sheep but they do like to roll in dust.  You can see the dust in the unwashed fleece below on the left, especially in the clump on the right hand side, and how nice it washed up in the photo on the right.

I spun it worsted style and then plied the two singles to give me 174g/257m of light fingering weight yarn.

Click to discover more about Alpaca