Sunday, 28 July 2013

Batty Fibre-East

On Friday eve, the Saint asked me what I would like to do over the weekend. I told him I had never been to Fibre-East. After a lovely breakfast at the deli, Dish, we found our way to one of the most enjoyable fibre experiences. For me, it was love at first sight.

At the entrance I bought my memento bag.

The entrance was filled with all the equipment one needs for a well maintained fibre studio and looms stood displaying an array of work.

There were hand carders to play with too.

The festival was a celebration of all the wonderful Indie dyers that I love to support online and it is always wonderful to meet them in person. You will notice this blog has no yarn in it. Apparently knitting with handspun has cured my addiction.

These silks and cottons where on The Mulbery Dyer stall and all all dyed with natural dyes. Such beautiful shades.

P&M Woolcraft were in the main hall and I liberated some of their sparkly merino to play with.

At Texere, there was raw silk for weaving which I was very happy to find.

I always love seeing lots of spinning wheels together. It makes my heart sing.

The Saint bought me a beautifully Niddy Noddy at Spinwise.

 Shetland Sheep had these beautiful sheepy bits

and fleece shade wheels

Walking into the next room there was this garment arrayed with locks made by SpinCityUK 

and her stall was filled with delicious batts

and fun spindles.

One of her mermaid batts may have found its way home with me.

Beautiful baskets adorned a stall and were oh so tempting.

I spent a long time at Freyalyn's chatting to her, coveting her fibre and admiring the gorgeous quilts she made and uses as the backdrop to her stall. I love the sheep.

At Willo Fibres

I bought Corriedale.

It was a joy to see Katie from HilltopCloud and chat to her again.  If you look in the corner of the batt display there is a cream batt at the bottom that I stroked for a long time. It is has angora in it and it very nearly left her stall to join me.

Instead I fell for 50% angora and 50% silk and I have started spinning it already on my little Turkish Spindle from Ian at IST : The Wood Emporium. It is simply delicious.


In the guild's tent, all the local guilds were present with fine displays of their member's work, these rag rugs caught my eye.

Back in the halls, I chatted to Sara from Sara's Textured Craft

and examined the rolags. I have never spun rolags before so am quite exited by this purchase.

I was also seduced by a squishy braid of merino/nylon called Bohemia.

I went quite batty at the Low Lands Legacy stall where they were so beautifully displayed and

I liberated a few.

Dawn, this one has your name on it. Get well soon so that you can claim it.

Lastly, at Little Owl Crafts I met Heather and

bought this beautiful merino braid.

It was a fabulous day out, talking spinny / weavey / knitty things with lots of different folks. I wish I could have supported from everyone, all the great people that I have met who contribute to the fabulous fibre community that we have in this country.

I have enhanced my stash beautifully.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Crazy Tour de Fleece Challenge

This year I decided to set a simple TDF goal. For the last two I have spun up a sweater's worth of fibre and plied it as my goal.

The challenge this year is to spin yarn fine enough to make a Shetland shawl, to practise / spin for half an hour every day. I want to keep the goal realistic as life often has a way of interfering with my spinning.

I ordered fine tops from Jamieson and Smith as I am not a 'fibre preparation' kind of girl. Every time I attempt this, it is either too much for the hip injury or it activates my allergies.

Gorgeousness arrived on my doorstep. I weighed it out into 10g bundles and could not wait to start.

Next, Grace, my Ashford Tradional was cleaned down and given a service so she would be ready and waiting at the starting post.

Day one  arrived and I was off. I started by sampling some singles to see what kind of fineness I needed. That is turquoise sewing cotton in the middle with a 2ply above and the single below.

The first half hour and I thought I had it perfect ....

Day 2 and I was moving along swimmingly into Day 3 and 4 and life had intervened and I was not focused on spinning much.

On the morning of Day 5 I woke up to the fact that the single was not as thin as I needed it to be and was back at the starting post again. The bobbin on the left is the restart.

Day 6 and Day 7 and the size of the single was still nagging in the back of my mind but life interfered yet again and I lost focus.

I checked my single agains the first one and it looked good so I continued

and the amount on the bobbin grew.

Day 10 was a rest day and I again found myself thinking about whether I had the right single fineness for what I want to knit. It was awfully fine when I plied 2 singles together.  It was finer than a sample of lace weight yarn that I had so I continued spinning through to Day 12.

One of the ladies on the forum, Dawn, always posts the loveliest collages and inspired us all to play  and create some for ourselves. I looked at this image on Day 13 and looking at it photographed I knew that this single was not right.

Day 13 saw me back at the starting post AGAIN but my perseverance paid off and I managed to get the angel hair single that I do need to knit the shawl.  I switched from spinning from the fold to spinning worsted / semi-worsted and it worked a treat.

and here is a link to a video of me spinning it.

On Day 14 I did a happy dance around the room whooping with delight:) 41 wraps per inch for my 2 plied single which in means the single is 82 wpi and I am blown away by this.

I learnt that even though I had a sample and kept checking it against my single, they were both under tension and looked the same even when they weren't. Because I was aiming for so fine, I could not eyeball it and I only knew I had the weight I wanted once I wrapped it. I wish I had considered this sooner. This is where my spinning inexperience shows.

Below my sample with 2 Jamieson & Smith yarn samples

Left      = 2 ply Shetland Supreme
                (a laceweight yarn)
Middle  = my cobweb 2ply sample
Right    = 1 ply Shetland Supreme
                 (a gossamer weight yarn)

The bobbin on the left is what I am currently spinning and the one on the right is the restart from earlier. What I am currently spinning is half the thickness of the other.

It has taken me 8 and a half hours to spin up my current bobbin and I have spun about 15g of fibre.

Regardless of the frustrations I have experienced with this project I have learnt so much. I love Tour de Fleece for the encouragement and the cheering along in the forums and I am grateful to be part of a lovely group of enthusiastic spinners. They all helped me to continue on when I really was thinking of retiring form the race.

Thanks y'all!