Sunday, 13 April 2014

Lace at Experimental

I always love the challenges that each session of Experimental Spinning brings, this time lace was on the agenda, courtesy of an article in the latest edition of Ashford's magazine, 'The Wheel'. It described a method of add those odd bits of lace to your spinning in quite a wild way. Not being a lace girl, cutting up lace seemed like an appropriate thing to do!

We had plenty of lace with a donation from our craft outlet volunteer, and lots from all our stashes.

The first part involved cutting up lace, taking lengths of wool top and threading the top through the lace.

You end up with a pile of lace and tops, like this!

Spinning isn't difficult, or slow, though having my lovely poly wheel with  big hooks certainly helps and even with that, there is some lace that is stiffer than others and does get caught. As I was going to ply this with a fine single, I hoped I could smooth those pieces of lace that had moved or were scrunched up too much, as I plyed.

That proved the case and the plying was done quite nicely and I ended up with yarn that is really quite sweet!

The lessons learnt....

I think that because the pieces of lace were quite short, when I plied they tended to keep sticking out rather than get wrapped. I think that the longer pieces would have been more twisted from the spinning, making the plying easier.

For further experimentation:

Trying to get the pieces of lace closer together, for that full-on lace look!

Dyeing would be interesting! All those different fibres!

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this yarn, but it was fun! For such an over the top look, it's not difficult or particularly slow.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Lessons learnt at Harrietville

No, this is not a tale of woe, but a celebration of the weekend away at Harrietville, in the Victorian Alps, organised by the Handweavers & Spinners Guild of Victoria (thanks Marilla, Diane! and Dorothy for bringing the shop).

 You book in before Christmas, never seems to come, and then it's over in a flash!

This year I attended two classes, properly, and watched in another. Unusual, as I just like to sit around, drink coffee and knit or spin. Some of that did get done, as well as the catching up with friends and making new ones!

The first class I attended was the Moebius cast-on with Nicole. This is the Cat Bordhi method of cast on and what fun it was. Spun your head around a little, but once past that it's just knit.

This is my first one, in progress. I decided to go big, I mean BIG! With 8mm needles, a fine kid mohair, I cast on 150 sts and then proceeded to use ALL the yarn. Usually, I can get two decent sized cowls with this, but decided to be extravagant.

This is the result and it's gorgeous. You can see how it twists quite nicely, and there's lots of it.

I have immediately begun another. This time, same needles, same yarn, but now only fifty stitches. You can see how the needle is a double loop, as with the cast on, you cast on down the middle and work outwards on both sides. It means, somewhere in the middle the twist means that you effectively change sides. This is a little mind blowing, as you can just knit and end up with half purl and half knit ??? I think a mathematician would have a field day with that description, but, hey, I'm not a mathematician!

I'm trying for a five rows of knit and five rows of purl to give it bounce.

After this, I'm going to try another little one, but a more conventional use of yarn. An 8 ply and try and find a reversible stitch pattern.

Love Harrietville!