Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Handspun baby socks

I wanted to make a pair of socks for my husbands cousins (relatively) new baby.

Both of these yarns are spun from merino tops.  I created the first by plying together one black and one white single yarn.  The second was  made by spinning a sea green and light blue top together to create the singles & then plying those together.

Handspun yarn

And here are my little socks.  They are sized for 6 to 12 months.

Crochet socks from handspun yarn
There is a slight gauge difference between the yarns - my consistency is getting better, but its not there yet.  Even with the difference I think that they look OK.

Crochet socks from handspun yarn

They are pretty cosy.  Hopefully the little fella will like them.

Crochet socks from handspun yarn 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Next batch of yarn

I've been spinning again.  I liked how the two colour pink yarn came out so much I made a two coloured green one.
2 ply handspun merino yarn

I think I am starting to get more consistent with my spinning - not perfect yet, but getting better.  I think that getting near perfect will take many years :)

I made this two coloured yarn the same way as the pink, by spinning the singles in  each in a colour and then combining them by plying.  I've not settled on a project for this little ball of yarn yet, perhaps another set of booties - ideas are welcome.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Completed booties

I have completed my booties now. 

My first finished project with my own, handspun yarn.  I confess I am quite pleased with myself.
Crochet booties from handspun yarn

Now I just need to package these up and send them to my friend.

In the mean time I am spinning like fury to create more yarn for more projects.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My handspun booties

As promised .... here are the booties I am making for my friend.

So far I have just finished the body of the booties.
Booties made with 2 ply handspun merino yarn 

I still need to sew up the fronts so that they sit in the correct position, add the piping, flower and fastening.

Booties made with 2 ply handspun merino yarn

You can see in the background my little ball of handspun yarn.  In the end I did have enough to finish my project - and even a little to spare :)

2 ply handspun merino yarn

I think that, although I actually spun this in the wrong way - clockwise for the singles and anti-clockwise for the ply.  I think it turned out pretty well. 

The consistency is not bad, and it worked up quite nicely into the booties.

2 ply handspun merino yarn

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Finally making something with my yarn

I finally got round to starting a project with some of my hand spun yarn.

My friend as recently had a new baby daughter so I thought I'd have a go at crocheting these from a pattern selection I got from Annies Attic called Beautiful Baby shoes

I got a selection of merino fibres from forestfibres

I have plyed the pink and pinky-grey colours together to make a 2 ply yarn and have started my little project.  I'm not sure I'll have enough yarn to finish so I have another one of these selection packs on order in case I need to spin up another batch.

I'll post the results of my endeavour when I get a chance to take some photos.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My first attempts at spining

I have had my spinning wheel for almost 1 month and now that I have worked out how to setup it up I am starting to get into actually spinning some yarn.

 One of my first attempts is this generic wool top.
Handspun Yarn 

Its pretty inconsistent and lumpy .....

Handspun Yarn

You can see some of the areas look like actual yarn, but others are pretty fluffy!

But I don't like to give up so I kept on going and spun this from some Grey Suffolk wool tops.

Handspun Yarn

I think I am getting a little better with my consistency

Handspun Yarn

Don't get me wrong, I know its a long way from perfect and I still have a LOT to learn about plying but I feel like I am making some progress - what do you think?

I'll keep posting with further progress or if I actually make anything with this yarn I am creating :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Second frame coin purse

As promised, here is my second frame coin purse.  Using the same Sirdar Baby bamboo yarn, but this time using  both strands together rather than in stripes.
Frame Purse 

I kept the base the same, as a circle

Frame Purse

But I altered the shaping of the purse a little so it came out more squat and puffy.

Frame Purse

I think I prefer the shape and colour of this one.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My new Niddy Noddy

Now that I am becoming (will become - eventually) a seasoned yarn spinner I need to gradually build up my kit ... so I have purchased my first Niddy Noddy.

Firstly - what a great name !!! Niddy Noddy :) I love it

I put a bit of thought into this purchase.  Originally I was going to get an Ashford niddy noddy (that name again!) but they come in 2 sizes and are not adjustable, so I wasn't sure if I should get the small one now - because my capacity for creating yarn is pretty small right now - or if I would "out grow" that one and then have to just go and get the large one.

So I did a little research and found the Lou√ęt Niddy Noddy (below) which is adjustable - it can either be a 90cm or 180cm length.  So I get both sizes with one device, happy days.

It comes in 4 sections, the two end pieces and two middle sections that can be fitted together to adjust from the smaller to larger size.

I got mine from the lovely people at ForestFibres.

I am looking forward to joyfully niddying and indeed noddying with my newly created yarns :) 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Learning about my spinning wheel

I've been trying really hard to learn how to use my new spinning wheel - don't let the folks at the craft shows fool you, its not nearly as easy as they make it look!

First off I had my wheel set up completely wrong - I have a double treadle, double drive wheel.  The wheel comes with a scotch break, so I was confused about what I was supposed to do with it.  I have subsequently learned that I have a piece of my wheel I don't need to use - the scotch break

The picture below shows the WRONG setup.  I was using the scotch break and putting the drive bands around the flyer whorl. 

What I should have done was remove the scotch break completely, put one drive band round the other end of the bobbin and one drive band round the flyer whorl.

What I have also recently found is article in eHow which discusses changing the tension with an Ashford traveller double drive.  Now I understand why the wheel came with a scotch break at all!!

I think I am managing to get a little better with my spinning - I don't think I have my technique quite sorted out yet.  I am still struggling with drafting and not letting the twist get back into the bulk of the fibre,  I am having to control the twist by slowly letting it travel down the drafted fibre until I meet the bulk by just slightly releasing my pinch on the drafted fibres and sliding my fingers back along the fibres until I meet the bulk.  Then I pinch hard to stop the twist completely and then draft out the next little piece of fibre.  I know its not a classic or indeed correct approach but I don't think I have sufficient control of the speed and density of twist yet to just let it fly.

I decided that I would try to make things easier for myself by getting some pencil roving - the theory being if I don't have to draft then that I removing one complication, I  just have to control the twist.

Well as they say "the best laid plans of mice and men" .... the fibre is lovely, its 100% pure wool and very finely drafted from Cornish Wools. But sadly my talent is not up to the job.  When I tried to spin it, it just breaks immediately - I simply cannot get any twist into it - I have absolutely no idea what I am doing wrong and the experiment has just proved how much I have to learn.

In an effort to not waste such lovely fibre I decided to try spinning two thicknesses of the fibre together.  I have no idea if this was smart or not - but after a few false starts it "seems" to be working.... for now ... we'll see.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crochet Frame Coin Purse

I've had a few coin purse frames for a while and just hadn't got round to using them.  So in between learning to use my new spinning wheel (still a work in progress!) and finishing off my shawl for my mum I decided to get them out and make a little purse or two.

Crochet Snap Purse

These little frames are abut 3.5" wide and have pretty little olive shaped heads.

Crochet Snap Purse

I Sirdar Baby Bamboo DK yarn in my two favorite colours, purple and green, alternating in single row stripes.

Crochet Snap Purse

I think its quite a cute little coin purse and not bad for a first attempt with this frame.

Crochet Snap Purse

I'll blog again soon with my next attempt with this frame size .... its still a work in progress.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Spinning Wheel - Have I got it right?

Can any spinners out there help?

So I have my new Ashford Traveller Double treadle spinning wheel, but I confess I am not sure I have it setup right ....

Spinning Wheel

The bit I don't understand is the Flyer, bobbin, drive band & break setup.  Here's how I started with it.
Spinning Wheel

Here's the thing, my flyer & bobbin don't match those in the assembly instructions.

My flyer doesn't have the stepped end next to the oriface.  Its at the other end.

Spinning Wheel

And my bobbin's have a stepped end, unlike the ones in the instructions


Now I originally had the break on the stepped end of the bobbin, but since the break thread length is 32cm between the springs that just didn't work.  I had to put the break on the other end - Is that right ???

Also in the instructions the drive band is at the other end of the flyer.


But the stepped "cap" I have doesn't have a hole in it so I can't put on the other end


An educated guess says I have this the right way round, the drive band on the right thing (the cap) and the break on the right end of the bobbin.

But, since I am a complete novice at this - does anyone know if I have this right or not??

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Finished my Shawl

I have managed to finally finish my Midsummer's night shawl.  Woo and indeed Hoo.

After my wopping mistake and the painfulness of having to rip back 17 rows when I had almost finished, I finally got there !!
Midsummer's night shawl

Midsummer's night shawl

In the end I really like how it turned out.  Even if it tested my patients enormously during the creation.

 I packed it up to day and posted it off to my mum.  I really hope my she likes it, fingers crossed.

Midsummer's night shawl

Monday, September 12, 2011

Expanding my crafting empire ....

I've been toying with this idea for a long while, ever since I tried out a drop spindle.  I managed to get the hand of drop spinning "fairly" quickly, but was frustrated at the speed of progress.  Also I had the habit of dropping the spindle on my feet rather too often (OUCH!)

I love hand spun yarns, they are so much more interesting than most commercial yarns.  But with the slow progress in trying to spin with a drop spindle I thought that the only course of action to continue was to get a wheel.

I first enquired about a wheel back in May and got some really good and honest advice from Shiela Dixon at Handspinner.co.uk.  I wanted a compact wheel that I could store relatively easily and I wasn't sure if I should go for an Ashford Joy or an Ashford Traveller.

Ashford Joy
Ashford Traveller

After the some advice I have chosen the Traveller, which I finally plucked you the courage to buy over the weekend.  It is currently en route and I am like a 3 year old at Christmas waiting for it to arrive.  How I am going to explain what it is when it arrives at my office is any one's guess.  They already think I am quite eccentric :)

Check back here from time to time to see how I get on, perhaps I will be a one woman yarn factory before long :) having said that I would be thoroughly satisfied if I can successfully make enough yarn to keep my little projects moving.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Well frog it all to hell....

I have been working on my Midsummers night shawl that I am making for my mum.

I was getting on great, progress was going well - given that I only have a couple of hours a day at most to work on crochet.

I got up to the final piece of the edging and then disaster struck ... the pattern just didn't work.  After a couple of attempts and  a bit of head scratching I finally thought to check that the shawl was even on both sides.


It wasn't, damn it all .... I'd made a mistake, and not one of those "I can cover this up" sort of mistakes - a proper, buggered it up mistake.

So I took a deep breath and thought to myself. "It might not be that bad.  Just start frogging ("rip it") and see when the mistake happened, its probably not that far back".

17, yes 17 rows of frogging and I finally got back to where the shawl was correct.  17 !!!!!!!!!

Feeling pig sick, I wound myself up the largest ball of yarn and got back to crocheting those 17 rows.  So far I have managed to rework 6 of my rows.

I should chalk this up to a learning experience, at least now I am checking that everything is as it should be with every finished row.  I don't plan on frogging this one again.

Monday, August 15, 2011

what to do with a butterfly

I created this Irish Crochet butterfly during one of my enforced periods of resting. 
Irish Crochet butterfly

This is created by crocheting over a number of strands of cotton to create the padded appearance.  This was quite a challenging piece of work for many reasons.  The tiny gauge thread, working over multiple strands to create the padding and also the pattern was vintage.  The phraseology and ordering of instructions in vintage patterns can take great patients to work through.

Irish Crochet butterfly

Having battled my way through the pattern and the pain of stabbed fingers from the tiny hook I needed to use I finished the butterfly.  I think it looks quite pretty.

The final challenge is what to do with it.  I had considered;

1. Make a brooch
2. Thread it up for a Christmas decoration
3.  Attach it to a hair ornament

At the end of the day, I'm really not sure what to do with it - but it seems a shame to have put all the effort in and just leave it there.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Midsummer's night Shawl

After returning from my holidays again and having put my shawl to good use again I have decided to make another one.  This time for my mum.

I had a good look through my existing patterns but I found that a lot of shawl patterns are too light weight for what I had in mind.  I wanted to create something that had a little warmth but not heavy weight.

I found this pattern for a Midsummer's Night Shawl on Interweave Store.  It's just what I was looking for. 

It is substantial enough to have some warmth but also not too heavy.  The pattern is pretty easy to follow and has a really useful stitch diagram - actually after the first couple of rows I put the rest of the pattern to one side and just followed the diagram.

I am creating this using Adrafil Azzura 3 ply yarn, this is a 70% Wool and 30% acrylic mix.  It is lovely and soft, east to work with and comes in a pretty good range of colours.

I've chosen to use shade 33 Turquoise.  I've really only just stared with this project, but so far so good - I think its going to work out quite nicely, fingers crossed anyway.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Finished my shawls

I can't believe how long its been since I posted here, the fact that I have completed both the shawls I blogged about before says it all !!

These are the two shawls that I planned to create, the patterns are by Kristin Omdahl from her Crochet So Fine book

Here are the images of what I was attempting from Kristin's website

I made the first shawl for myself.  For this one I used Louisa Harding Willow Tweed in Heather.  Its a wonderful luxury yarn of 40%Merino Wool 40%Alpaca 20%Silk

Hand crochet shawl

Hand crochet shawl

My shawl has already been put to good use on holiday :) 

Having finished this one I was inspired to start the second shawl, I started making it using Anchor Aida #10 crochet thread but no matter how I tried I just couldn't get it right.  I had to use a large hook to get the right gauge and it was working up very loopy, even when blocked.  So I took an executive decision and went for a completely different yarn, I used Rowan Panama in Daisy. 

Rowan Panama is 33% cotton, 12% linen, 55% viscose, it has a sheen to the yarn and is lovely to work with.  I found that using this heavier weight yarn I could work with a smaller hook and get a less loopy outcome.
Crochet Shawl
Crochet Shawl

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, and thankfully so is my mother-in-law who I made it for (or maybe she's just being polite!)  :)