Back in the spring, I entered Shiela’s competition on the Handspinner website to create a blossom themed project. My hat was selected by the judge as a winner and the voucher I was given has been burning a hole in my pocket for a couple of months.
Now, I love my Ladybug wheel dearly, but have never been too happy trying to ply multiple singles from the inbuilt lazy kate. I tried a four ply. Once was enough… So, I decided to use my voucher to buy an Ashford Competition Lazy Kate.
I’ve only used it once, but what a difference it makes!
I had been working on spinning a consistently fine yarn. About a year ago a group of us on Ravelry were trying to spin 800 yards of two ply from 100g of fibre. I had been spinning for about six months back then and got to about 500 yards and was pretty chuffed with that 🙂 I didn’t start spinning this fibre with a goal in mind, but I ended up with around 550 yards of three ply – so that’s 1650 yards of singles and if I’d made two ply I’d have got just over the magic 800 yards.
The fibre is Whisper from World of Wool – £3.50 for 100g:
Well, it has been a little quiet on the blog of late, due to a spell of ill-health. However, I’m on the mend (ish) now and have been busily spinning away this week for the Tour de Fleece.
I bought a bulky flyer for my Ladybug recently. I’ll write up a post all about the flyer as it cost an eye-watering amount of money and I could find very little about it before I handed over the money. The first week of the TdF has been spent getting to grips with my new toy and experimenting with art yarn.
Before knitting and spinning took over my life I had a brief spell I spent lots of time fiddling around with beads. As with all craft hobbies, things like this never really die, there are always bits of this and that still tucked away.
For one of the Christmas parcels I put together I made some stitch markers and, having got the gear out again, I made a couple of other sets over the weekend. I don’t really do ‘cute’ but these beads did make me smile:
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.
Here’s my first finished spinning for the Tour de Fleece:
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.
Today’s my 42nd birthday. How did that happen, eh?
The last year has been a real mixed bag with some almighty lows, but the odd high too. Probably the best thing to come out of the last year is spinning.
It’s only a year since I started fiddling around with a spindle, then I bought my Schacht Ladybug last November and used it pretty much every day since. I have fibre falling out of boxes and bags, and skeins of handspun here, there and everywhere.
I bought the Ladybug blind – nigh on £400 in one go, just like that – not like me at all, usually I am so careful and analyse, compare, make lists etc. Ladybirds have featured in my life before, I painted the tank of my GS400 (motorbike) as a ladybird many moons ago – it seemed a good sign and thankfully this time round it worked out perfectly.
I’m still far too easily distracted by shiny pretty things (can you ever have too much angelina)? I flit from one project to another, rarely achieved a truly finished project as new ideas keep on coming and interrupting.
I must take stock some time soon and see if there is any way of making spinning/knitting a bigger part of my life. If there was a magic way of making my living doing it, perhaps it would take all the fun out of it? Be nice to find out though…