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.