Category Archives: LADYBUG

Bracelet plying

Waste not, want not, as they say…

I’ve been spinning some lovely, but rather slippery, fibre recently.  It took me a little while to get to grips with it, so I’d used quite a few handfuls of it before reaching a point where I could spin it consistently. I figured that my early attempts wouldn’t make great finished yarn, so, once I was happy with what I was producing, I tied a slip knot in the singles to mark the end of the experimenting, split the remaining fibre, spun it and plied it.

This, of course, meant I had quite a lot of singles left on the first bobbin.  I knew I would need to try a few needle sizes to get the right gauge for this project, so I thought that I might as well ply what was left and use it for swatching.

I have used bracelet plying in the past, but it has usually ended up with me being on the brink of going to A&E to be cut out of the mess that was wound round my hand, having cut off circulation to my finger!

This time I opted for the high-tech, finger-preserving, “DPN poked in a book” method:

  • Pop the DPN between the pages of the book so it sticks out of the long edge
  • With the front of book facing you and leaving a long tail:
    • Take the single up from the spine of the book (on the right of the DPN), behind the DPN, down to the spine of the book (on the left of the DPN)
    • Take the single under the spine to the back of the book, up to the top (on the left of the DPN), wrap it in front of the DPN, bring it down (to the right of the DPN) until you are back where you started.

Eventually I ended up with this:

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Using a book has its advantages (apart from keeping your fingers intact) – you can put this down at any point and come back to it later.  No more odd looks from the postie as you struggle to open the door…

When I’d wound on all the singles, I set the wheel up, put the start and end of the singles together and tied them to the leader.  I then gently slid the DPN up and out of the book:

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I then poked the DPN between the singles and the front cover to hold the space that my hand would go through.

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I edged the bracelet off the book:

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Then pushed my hand through the loop:

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I fiddled about with the two singles until they fed onto the bobbin without catching themselves up in the rest of the bracelet:

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And I was away!

I wish that I could show you a huge skein of neatly plied yarn to encourage you to try this for yourself.  It was all going so well… I did manage to get a fair amount of extra yarn this way, but I also let my attention wander somewhat and ended up with this:

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Maybe a smaller/tighter bracelet would have helped?  Or maybe concentrating more…!

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Wonderful Wensleydale

I haven’t used many longwools in my spinning before, but I have been really enjoying spinning these:

wensleydale locks

They are Wensleydale locks, purchased from PippaJo’s Fantastic Fibres on Folksy.  These sheep must have been kept in a luxury hotel and given regular hair conditioning treatments – the locks are lovely to work with and virtually no VM to pick out.

I just flick carded the locks to change them from this:

wensleydale locks and flick carder

to this:

wensleydale fluff and flick carder

Beautiful fluffy clouds:

wensleydale fluff

Spinning with fibres this long has taken some getting used it, my hands seem to be miles apart when drafting.  I have set the Ladybug up so it is on the fastest whorl with a high speed bobbin and one lock seems to be producing huge amounts of very fine singles with a slight halo to them.

From Fibre to FO (a rare event)!

A couple of months ago I purchased some ‘hotchpotch’ packs of fibre from Helen at My Heart Exposed Yarns (www.folksy.com/shops/myheartexposed).  I used one pack to experiment with corespinning and over Christmas I put the other pack of blue shades to good use.

Another rare event happened before Christmas – I won a prize in a raffle!  It was bath goodies and came wrapped in some lovely paper:

I used the paper as inspiration for creating the yarn.  The ‘hotchpotch’ was mainly shades of blue with a bit of plum thrown in – I added some blue merino and some brown mystery fibre that I received in a waste selection from www.worldofwool.co.uk.

Once carded together they looked like this:

and I even remembered to write down the ingredients:

 

It started to go slightly downhill from here…  The fibre was great to spin, I navajo plied it and got an aran weight yarn.  The mix of colours began to get a bit muddy looking for my tastes:

 Again, I remembered to note down some of the vital facts…

I adapted the stitch pattern from the Spiral Mitts I knitted before Christmas and made a squishy cosy cowl:

I’m still not 100% sure about the way this turned out, but hey, I actually finished something!

Singles

A couple of posts ago I wrote up how I drumcarded a mix of fibre samples from the Fibreholics into a heathery batt in shades of pink.  When we left this saga, the yarn was on the bobbin…

I decided to leave the yarn as singles, so wound them off onto the niddy noddy.  Things looked quite in control at this point:

Then it came off – wheeee!

It went into very hot water, then cold, then very hot again, then cold with a bit of swishing about each time to try and felt it enough that it would hold together.  By this time it was then really, really curly:

I hung it up to dry with a coat hanger hooked in the bottom of it, just to try and encourage it to de-kink a bit.  By the time it was in a skein it looked better behaved:

It came out a bit thinner than I had aimed for, so another skein that goes in the big ‘I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with this’ pile.  The skinniness of this yarn is averaged out by the 200g of Light Grey Suffolk that I spun aiming for an aran-ish weight to make some nice thick boot socks with – it started well, but I got distracted and spun a couple of bobbins of really fine singles before going back to it.  The second and third bobbin ended up on the thicker side so I have some 3 ply bulky-ish yarn instead. 

I have been working on a record keeping system, I just need to remember to fill it in at the vital points so I can remember how I got the yarn the first time!

And then there were three…

The third pair of mittens are complete:

These were a scaled down version of this pattern:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/nalu-mitts.  Now I need to find something else to create, the Christmas projects are at an end!

Mittens galore

Knitting gifts for Christmas always seems such a good idea – but why does it always end up taking more time than you have?  The snow and ice has returned and it meant a day of going nowhere and an excuse to do nothing but knit.

I’m doing three pairs of mittens and have finally finished one pair, the other needs another three rows per hand and I have finished one of the other pair (which was the pair I started first…).

This pair are for my mother-in-law, a lover of animals.  The yarn is spun from a batt made of merino, alpaca and angora so represents a good selection from the animal kingdom.  I’m not sure I carded it very well, the angora went into little clumps, but it made an interesting tweedy effect so I’m going to claim it’s a design feature.

Corespinning

I am amazed that there are so many things you can do with fibre.  I seem to have so many things on the go, so many unfinished projects and somehow no self-control when it comes to trying things out on the spur of the moment!

I have wanted to try corespinning for a while, having tried spinning coils earlier in the year.  I sat down last night to ply some singles to make gloves for a Christmas present, but somehow I accidentally ended up corespinning…

I bought some fibre from Helen and Angelica at http://www.folksy.com/shops/myheartexposed a week or two ago.  They specialise in using natural dyes and come up with an amazing range of colours.  Helen and I seem to share a love of autumnal colours, so this mixed lot of fibres particularly appealed to me.  I put the fibre through the drum carder and threw in some gold nylon to add to the autumnal feel, ending up with a mix of burgundy/pink/rust/copper colours.

I then spun some white shetland singles, adding lots of twist.  Next time I’d use something closer in the colour to the fibre I was using to wrap my single – in some places in my yarn the core peeks though, but you live and learn.  The end result is rather twisty – not as curly as some singles I have produced, but maybe another time I can get it to balance a bit better.  I love the end result and hope to use the rest of Helen’s fibre in this way (when I have finished the Christmas projects…).  It’s currently drying on top of the woodburner, but I am impatient to try knitting a swatch, just to see how it behaves.

 

How many plies does a girl need?

It’s almost a year since I started spinning on a wheel.  I’ve been stocking up on bobbins and whorls as the membership discount that I purchased when I bought the wheel runs out pretty soon.  I’ve now got 5 standard bobbins and 4 high speed ones, which should be enough to keep me going for a long while.  At around £30 per bobbin that’s a lot of money on bobbins – one of the (few) downsides of a Ladybug wheel.

I decided to put the bobbins to good use and try a 4-ply yarn.  I had 100g of grey cheviot which I had already made a start on – I was impatiently trying out double drive and waiting for the high speed bobbins, so started on a standard bobbin, then put it to one side when the exciting new shiny high speed bobbins came along.  Fickle, me???

So, there was about 35g on the existing bobbin so I split the remaining fibre into roughly even sections and spun three more bobbins worth. So far, so good!  I went and fiddled with the inbuilt lazy kate, adjusting everything so all the bobbins sat nicely and the tension bands went where they should.  I think I overdid it as it was hanging onto the yarn a bit too much whilst plying, so I’ll have to go and tweak it again.

Plying four singles at once was interesting…  I tend to ply using a whorl which is a couple of sizes larger than the one I used for spinning the single, but even this resulted in a somewhat overplied finished yarn.  I think it was a combination of trying to keep four singles under control, them all fighting the lazy kate and me treadling like a demon.  Although it wasn’t perfect it did make a lovely round yarn.  Of course I ended up with three bobbins with varying amounts of singles on them, so made some more 2 ply to use it all up.  I have a picture in my mind of a hat I’ve seen somewhere with a seed stitch brim, then plain stocking stitch and a knitted flower on it.  Despite looking in many place I can’t find it online, so maybe someone wore it in a TV programme.  If the yarn isn’t too wire-like it may turn into something like that.

I want to try this again though – I have a vision of a lovely fat squooshy yarn which I could make into a great big wrappy round scarf.

Hanging on to summer

The weather is definitely changing.  I am managing to stick with my running but getting up and going running at 6.00 am is getting harder as the mornings get darker and the temperature keeps dropping!

In an attempt to stop the sunshine becoming a distant memory, I spun up the Summer Flowers fibre that I dyed earlier in the year.  I’ve been using double drive on my Ladybug again and I’m enjoying experimenting with spinning this was and am gradually achieving thinner and thinner yarn.  This yarn is just starting to become a pair of socks.

  

The Tour de Fleece is at an end…

I had quite a productive time.  I didn’t complete the projects that I had planned, I’m too easily led astray, especially with shiney new fibre and spindles.  I’m pleased with what I achieved though, especially the coils!

 

Tour de Fleece – Black Welsh Mountain Fibre

Here’s my first finished spinning for the Tour de Fleece:

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It’s 100g of Black Welsh Mountain fibre that I bought from World of Wool.  I wanted to try out this fibre as I’d been promised a fleece, but apparently the poor old sheep are still wearing it (and must be sweating away given the weather at the moment).  It was my first go at using my Ladybug in Double Drive and it worked out OK, althought I found the takeup a bit light for my taste.  Thanks to the Schacht Spinners group on Ravelry for helping me to get all my string and whorls the right way round – I will try and write up what went where soon.