Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Yarn Along returnee

I haven't joined in with the yarn along recently after having doubts over projects I started, and then spinning taking up more of my crafty time and then not being well taking away my crafty time.

But I am back to it all now. Spinning quite a bit, as you can see in my previous post and spinning more this week as it is National Handspinning Week this week in the UK.

Back to the knitting and joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along - I shared a project a while ago using some handspun yarn but it wasn't going as well as I hoped and I decided to rip it back and start again. I then deliberated much over what I was going to cast on and have settled on a tunic style jumper and I will finish it this time!

 Handspun yarn

I am using my handspun wool spun last year which is a zwartble/Suffolk cross breed wool sourced locally and taken from raw fleece to lovely yarn by my own fair hands. I think I spun almost a kilo of yarn in a worsted weight (DK/Aran-ish) which is my preferred spinning weight as I am slow at knitting so spinning fine yarns isn't really my thing.

The original  fibre before spinning

Here is some of the yarn, and progress pictures of my tunic ...

Casting on for the tunic
Growing ...
... and growing (although bad light for the picture)

 Onto reading, and I have been slow on reading too just lately but have been dipping into a few things. I am re-reading Walden by Henry D.Thoreau in PDF on a tablet periodically, it was the 150th anniversary of his death a few days ago - a great writer, everyone should read Thoreau at some time in their lives. Inspirational author, naturalist, philosopher and more - a man whose writing inspired and influenced other notable people from history as Gandhi, Tolstoy and Martin Luther King.

 File:Walden Thoreau.jpg
"Thoreau seemed to be ahead of his time, viewing the world with intense curiosity and calling for the connection between humans and nature." Today he would be labelled an eminent ecologist, and it is a delight to be able to read his writing, his journals are particularly wonderful reading as are his other books including Walden and Civil Disobedience.

Other reading at present is some technical books on spinning borrowed from a friend, I want to learn some of the technical mathematical stuff around spinning just to tell myself that I can if I want to. I am more of an organic spinner though, go by feeling and rhythm which suits me well.

 Essentials of Yarn Design for Handspinners
The books are by Mabel Ross, considered "the mother of modern spinning techniques" applying her mathematics skills (as a teacher of math) to spinning and developing simple calculations to the creation of all sorts of yarns. Her methods create debate in the spinning world, some people love her work, others don't. The books are full of tables and diagrams to master techniques and I think have a place in teaching spinning - I shall learn what I can from them and develop my own path.

Unfortunately her books are out of print, and sell 2nd hand for ridiculous money which is a shame as they are useful books  and should be read and used. I am lucky to own other books by her and have the ability to borrow the ones I cannot afford.

I'm now getting my things together to go to a spinning in public event tomorrow and looking forward to spending the day with like-minded friends just losing myself in the rhythm of the wheel.

Look forward to seeing other projects, and one day sharing this as a finished project.



  1. Dawn your tunic looks so soft, can't wait to see the finished piece :) Great reads too, I think I'll have to download Walden onto my Kindle, such a great read to go back to time & again :) xx

    1. Thank you, it is snuggly when I'm knitting. I started re-reading Walden on a borrowed Kindle last year, and then transferred a pdf copy to a tablet when the Kindle went back to the owner. Lovely to pick up and read a little as you say.

  2. Your handspun is wonderful Dawn so evenly plyed.

    1. Aw thank you, I feel honoured that you say that!
      This fleece plied really nicely, something I'm getting better at now I concentrate more on plying rather than "let's get this over and done with" from my early spinning.

  3. The start of your tunic looks so cosy. I love the natural colour. Interesting reads. I'm not sure I'm ready for technical spinning reads yet. Maybe this winter. I'll keep an eye out for her books. Enjoy your event tomorrow. Hope you are undercover.

    1. I'm not sure I'm ready for technical either, but it's interesting reading and sampling! I would love to own these books but not prepared to spend £40-80!

      Yes, we're indoors tomorrow, and quite a few of us so should be a good laugh.

  4. I love Thoreau, and yet, I've not really sat down and read Walden all the way through. I need to. Your tunic looks lovely! Did you spin that yarn yourself?

    1. Hello and thank you, yes all handspun on my wheel - from raw lanolin rich fleece, so all washed and prepared by hand too. Very satisfying to finally be knitting it into something for myself.

  5. Thank you for the nudge to reread Thoreau's work. I will need to transfer a few to my tablet as well. Your spinning is impressive. I love to see someone spin their own yarn and make something useful and beautiful.


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