Friday, 29 June 2012

And then there was yarn ...

Following on smoothly from my last post (where that time went I do not know!), there was more spinning of my blue dyed roving.

The bobbin filled up and don't they look lovely together.


The plying began ...

and went on and on and on ...

I was so busy I didn't get around to photographing any more of it on the bobbins.

I then wound it off onto the niddy noddy, which also went on and on and on ...

The finished yarn, which I am very pleased with. Approximately Sports weight to DK weight (will see after a finishing wash) and approximately 650 yards. The search is on for the perfect project, I may need to add a little of something else, we shall have to wait and see.

Linking up again with Linda's Creative Friday as a follow up to my last link up of the dyeing of the blue roving.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Satisfyingly quick and easy dyeing

Kool Aid dyeing

Following on from my last post, here is a little write up and pictures of the Kool Aid dyeing I did with Imogen the other day. Nothing new, same old thing for those who have done this kind of dyeing before, but thought I would share some pictures anyway, quite a few pictures to tell the story.

First let me show you my new dyeing pan - this was a great find in a charity shop recently for £3! A large pot with a colander style pot to go inside - fits all the way to the bottom, then a steamer basket can sit at the top and a lid with two steam holes. Perfect! Perfect for dyeing in the simmering water and also for steam setting so this will get a lot of use.

 My new dyeing pan

Kool Aid dyeing is simple, safe and fun. As it is a foodstuff (although why you would want to drink it I don't know) it is safe to do in the kitchen, using kitchen equipment and with children without having to think about protective equipment like gloves, etc.

I soaked this 150g merino white in a bucket of cold water during the day and then drained it just before the dyeing began.

In the big pot I poured cold water and then the Kool Aid dye packs came out. I wanted a range of blues and lavender/purple shades so I used 3 packets of Berry Blue and 1 packet of Grape. I had a couple of spares to use later if I was not sure if I wanted to go deeper but wanted subtle shading so went for less. You can always add dye but cannot take it away.

In the packets went - first the blue and it was stirred to dissolve, the grape was added last and stirred through without complete mixing to allow for different colours to emerge (hopefully!).

The wool was put in the collander pot and submerged into the dye and the pot was heated on the hob. I gently pushed the wool down and turned bits slightly but without too much agitation as I didn't want felt.

Simmering on the hob

Simmered until the water is clear - a quick check to see if it is clear. Careful, it's hot!

 Clear water means all the dye has been absorbed by the wool

 Draining and rinsing the fibre

Drained and rinsed, although none of the dye came out in the rinse and then squeezed gently to remove excess water. I also wrapped in a towel to remove more water before laying it out to dry.

Here it is on the drying rack over the bath.

And here are some pictures of it dry. This was much admired at the guild on Saturday, with members impressed at how quick and easy I dyed it. These pictures will feature in the newsletter sometime too.

Loving the range of blues in this, reminiscent of waves

Now it is almost all spun up - one bobbin full, another nearly there. I'm finding it hard to get the photos to reflect the colours well, I think between the two below you can get the idea.

Plying soon with this, can't wait to see how it turns out. Loving the blues, my favourite colours. Back soon.

Bobbins to ply together

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Kool dyeing to spin

Last weekend was Guild weekend, a day I look forward to each month to spend time with other fibre loving friends. This weeks meeting was a spin and chat morning and a transfer dye workshop for the afternoon.

But before I write about my day at the guild I shall go back a few days. Earlier this year I spun some lovely superfine merino from Collinette which is still sitting on some bobbins waiting to be plied, lovely blues, lavender and purple. I have spun it quite fine and think it will come out as a 4ply weight yarn if plied with something of the same thickness single. Only I was unsure what I wanted to ply it with - have gone through several ideas in my head, then a couple of weeks ago decided I wanted to ply it with blue, but not just a solid blue.

I was going to do some indigo dyeing over the half term holidays, but as Imogen wasn't too well for a couple of days I didn't get around to creating a vat - had ideas of other dyeing with her so we'll do this some other time soon.

So the other night I decided I was going to dye some white merino fibre with some KoolAid I had and looked at some resources for a guide on what ratios to use to get the colours I wanted. I wanted to get it done so it would be dry to take along to the guild on Saturday. I'm going to write up more on what I did to achieve this and post separately soon, and to pop in the guild newsletter, but for now here is the fibre I dyed (ably assisted by Imogen). I was very pleased with it and it was finally dry on Saturday morning just before getting ready to go to the guild.

My new spinning friend kindly gave me a lift this month, and Imogen came along too as Alex was away for the day. We had a great day, although a little hectic at times - every time I sat down for a few minutes to spin something else came up - a quick chat here, a committee meeting there, a sales table to peruse and fleeces to squish and admire! Imogen had a great time too - chatting to others when I was busy and was very good all day.

It was almost lunchtime before I finally got my fibre out to spin.It had been sitting on my empty chair whilst I was in the committee meeting and when I returned I learnt that it was being much admired by friends. It was even nicer to hear that they loved the fact that I had dyed it (with Imogen! as she liked to remind me) in the kitchen with KoolAid - a few people had not heard of KoolAid but were very interested in how easy I said it was to dye with and the range of colours you can get, a newsletter article is in the pipelines.

I did get a little spun up at the guild, wound have done more in the afternoon but instead we all did some transfer dyed butterflies for the Naomi House project we are involved in as a guild this year. I blogged a little about it here, a wonderful charity helping families at a very difficult time. Whilst some members did a workshop, the rest of us did butterflies to transfer onto chiffon drapes, and to make butterfly badges. This was great as it meant Imogen could get involved too.

 Painting the paper with the transfer dye paints
 results of the transfer after ironing

These transfer dyes are lots of fun. We had a talk and demonstration on them previously and I was very taken with them then. Not that I need another craft, but maybe one day as I can see lots of potential with these.

playing with panoramic feature on the camera again!

We were out all day Sunday - a trip to the beach and catching up with family, but I did get a bit more spinning done on the evening and since then. In the picture above Imogen is wearing my jumper as the wind started to make her a little cold.
 Here is the blues on the wheel so far. (actually this bobbin is full and I'm onto the 2nd bobbin now but haven't an updated picture yet).

I'm just spinning it how it wants to spin, whether it separates some colours or mixes some and it's coming out exactly how I want it to and I think will ply with the other spun singles just perfectly. Will update again when I get to that stage.

Dyeing adventures will be following soon with updated pictures of the fibre spun ...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Knitting, reading and exciting delivery!

As it is World Wide Knit in Public week I have taken a little knitting out with me this week. Want to see where we've been?

 In the park
 On the bus
To school

This is a tunic I started way back for Imogen, it will be finished one day.

My knitting lately has been more focused on my handspun tunic jumper. I hadn't knitted it for a while, just took a break longer than expected and then when the weather was hot (remember that?) it was too hot to knit with this wool, just made my hands hot and clammy. So with the change of weather last week I got this out again and have added many, many more rows.

 Handspun tunic using the grey zwartble x

This is a top down seamless top (less work)and I am currently shaping the lower part that flares out like a tunic. I shall then be adding some finishing touches to the sleeves and maybe the neckline by picking up stitches, just haven't decided what to do yet. Maybe I'll try it on first when blocked/pressed and see whether it needs anything. I' enjoying this, enjoying knitting a large item with my handspun and loving the grey colours from this natural fleece.

Reading several things as usual, knitting and spinning items are being dipped in and out of mainly. We went to a local library the other day and when I returned to the childrens area after a browse in the craft books (as you do) I found Imogen sitting reading this

Getting into Terry Pratchett at the library

A girl following her parents love of Terry Pratchett. Later in the day she said she recognised the name from books by my bedside. I think I read this to her when she was younger, at the library. The next book she picked up was by Neil Gaiman. This girl of ours has good taste in books!

I'm going to link this up to Ginny's Yarn Along, since it contains knitting and reading.

Oh and the exciting delivery in the post?

Is this!

Any guesses? Oh what a tease ... back soon to reveal all or see if anyone guesses correctly (no prizes sadly, just for fun).

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Weekending and spinning

Well the crazy days of jubilee celebrations appear to have ended, here the long bank holiday weekend ended with some muffins! Muffins with a jubilee theme, just to go with the vintage bunting which is older than I thought. It had apparently been hanging at the garage for VE Day, so is a few years older than originally thought.

On Sunday we went to the Theatre to see The Gruffalo. It was lovely, the performers were good and brought a lot of humour to the show and audience participation. Imogen brought along her Gruffalo hand puppet and mouse finger puppet and was enthralled.
 Theatre trip to see The Gruffalo

I spent the day on Monday at Manor Farm in the barn spinning with some friends from the Guild. It's an event on our calendar each year - Woolly Weekend, and one that is very special to me. It was here 3 years ago that I first met members of the guild, just a couple of weeks after my mad purchase of my first wheel knowing absolutely nothing about how to use it. One wonderful lady, now a friend, showed me how to spin and allowed me the opportunity to spin on her wheel and so my love of spinning began.

We regularly visit the farm, and were at woolly weekend for the last 2 years but just as visitors. But this year I promised myself and others that I would be there to demonstrate, to give something back and offer visitors the opportunity to have a go at spinning too.

Spinning at Manor Farm's Woolly Weekend

It was rather cold at times in the barn, but shawls kept us cosy. We had many visitors with varying interest, those who were interested were friendly and inquisitive and loved the opportunity to try the wheel. I was voted to be the best of those of us there to teach a couple of interested ladies who will hopefully be popping along to the guild meetings soon. Such an honour to be considered good at teaching the skills, from others who have been spinning many more years than I have. Very humbling.

Masham single ply

I had a lovely day, spun up a couple of bobbins of some grey Masham, which I have now plied at home. I also did some spindling on a drop spindle I love using, so simple but beautifully balanced. I also did a little card weaving with a few visitors too.

I love going to Manor Farm as does Imogen who came later in the day with Alex for a wander around and to pick me up at the end of the day.  In addition to it being a lovely day out, it is also where they are currently filming the latest BBC series "Wartime Farm" with Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn - from other series Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm. How exciting!

Today is our Woolly Wednesday gathering over on Spinspiration, more on my recent spinning endeavours over there if you'd like to pop over to see more pictures. I'd love to see what you've been up to too, any crafts with wool or fibre.  It's nice to blog over at Spinspiration, but would be lovely to see more bloggers link up with us - go on you know you'd love to - virtual cake and coffee (or whatever your tipple is) are available too!

Sunday, 3 June 2012


You can't miss the jubilee in the UK at the moment, quite an achievement for the queen being on the throne for 60 years (so far).

Family memories are rekindled. My Mom and Dad remember the Coronation, in fact it was when they first started going out together.

I remember going to Birmingham to the centenary square to see the Queen visit on the Silver Jubilee in 1977, aged 6½ - about the same age Imogen is now. My Mom took me and a friend and we took an arrangement of flowers to the Queen - although it was checked by police first as it was flowers arranged in some oasis wrapped in tinfoil - how very 1970's! I remember practising to curtsy too!

I don't really recall much about the Golden Jubilee, but that was the year we got married so perhaps my mind was on other things that year anyway.

So the Diamond Jubilee this year seems to have created a craze amongst some. We wouldn't describe ourselves as royal fans per se, but Imogen has had some interest in it with school having a jubilee picnic and talking about the royal family recently. Some friends of ours were up in London today to watch the river parade - how wet they must have been.

Something to connect these years, my brother recently passed onto me some bunting. Not just any old bunting, although old it is. This bunting was hanging at the garage owned by my grandfather for the Queens Coronation, here it is in this picture - although the picture is black and white from then. Obviously the coronation was 1953, so 59 years ago rather than 60. 


British made too, I doubt much of the bunting hanging around this year was made in Britain.

I separated a piece of this bunting for Imogen to take to show her class as school along with this photo and a photo of local children including my Dad aged 12 at a coronation celebration. Her teacher was so impressed Imogen was asked to pop and ask the Headteacher if she could show it to the whole school at an assembly, something she did and enjoyed. I even got the iron out to reduce the creases! Imogen also wore lots of jubilee colours that day, including the knitted crown I whipped up the night before whilst at a playshack for a birthday treat for one of her friends.

So thanks to having a family of hoarders - firstly my Nan who kept this all those years, and then my brother who acquired it when Nan passed away and the house was being cleared, now the bunting is here for us to keep a while.

Do you have any jubilee memories?