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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Finished Sock Yarn!

While at the craft fair this morning I had the time to finish plying the superwash merino I've been spinning this week. It just needs a good soak in a warm bath and it'll be ready to knit. I'm really happy with how this colourway turned out:
340 metres of fingering weight yarn~fractal spun, it's destined to become socks.
Now the bobbins are empty I will have to decide what to spin next. I think it may have to be the purple gradient superwash!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Spinning Superwash Merino

I hand dyed a batch of superwash merino a few days ago. I love how it takes up the dye. If you were to dye some merino alongside some superwash with the same dyestock, same method, they would both come out rather differently, I know because I have done it.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic of the fibre before I started drafting and spinning, so here's a pic of the fibre all ready to spin:

I'm spinning this as a fractal yarn.
I split the fibre in half lengthways and spun one half of it onto one bobbin. I divided the second half into three lots lengthways and I'm now spinning those three lengths of fibre onto one bobbin, starting at the same colour every time. Then they will be plyed together for a 2 ply yarn!

The first bobbin.

On a sad note, my beautiful dog Ruby passed away yesterday.  Life already feels so strange without her presence. Ruby has been part of our family since she was 6 weeks old and she was 14 years and 9 months when she passed. A very good age for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Ruby and my 2 Son's grew up together. We are all so saddened by her loss. It's a case of keeping myself busy (as always).
A dog is for life, but unfortunately only for their life, not ours. We have many happy memories of her. She would have been 15 on Christmas Day 2015.

Ruby at 12 weeks old.

Ruby, photo taken yesterday morning. She passed away in the afternoon. Rest in peace my little Princess.xx

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dyeing Fibre & Yarn

I've been messing in the dye pots again:

A knitter's Paintbox, Part I
Merino Superwash High Twist Yarn
Fingering weight
Gradient dyed
Part 2 & 3 coming soon!

Nor' Wester
Merino/Bamboo 80/20 blend

Purple Rain Gradient Set.
Superwash Merino

The lighting in the photo's is not so good but the colours are showing pretty true to life.

I've also been busy sorting out stock, packaging alpaca fibre and dyeing a few extras for a craft fair on Saturday. I plan to take my spinning wheel and hopefully get in a couple of hours spinning time.

Friday, September 18, 2015

More Fibre & Silk & Fleece etc....

While having a sort through when looking for the Suri Alpaca fibre I found these:

65% Alpaca
15% Merino
20% Silk
Beautifully soft carded fibre.

Multiple batches of silk hankies (mawata) that I dyed a very long time ago.

What a nice feeling to find things I had forgotten about as they have been sitting hidden in a box in a cupboard for so long. I've always meant to get around to having a go spinning the silk hankies ~ maybe next week.

I spent a leisurely hour in the sunshine working on the Gotland fleece. I washed it a few days ago, it was extremely dirty ~  think it had 4 or 5 scours in total. Using really hot water and some wool scour, I divided the fleece up into multiple batches of 100g or so then put it in small mesh bags. The water was filthy in the first 3 scours. I also rinsed it in hot water then laid it out to dry on an airing rack.

Afterwards I read up about Gotland fleece and found out that it felts easily and not to use hot water lol! Mine survived the washing process, but I don't agitate the fibre when washing ~ just letting it sit in the hot water for 5 minutes is enough, then lift out the bags, repeating the soaking process until the water is clean. It's now all clean, dry and ready for combing:

A few locks that I've combed to sample the fibre. Looking forward to seeing how it spins.

Spinning Suri Alpaca...

65% suri alpaca
20% hand dyed merino
15% hand dyed silk

A beautiful fibre blend that I'm spinning as a fine single and will possibly 'N' ply it. The Suri and the silk both add a lovely sheen. Looking forward to finishing this one!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Vintage Yarn ~ In Pinks!

I confess that I broke the yarn diet for a second time, but I had good reason ~ a small stash of vintage yarns that crossed my path, how could I say no?:

87g of Jamieson & Smith 2ply jumper weight in the bottom cake.
94g of the same yarn in a different colour (3 cakes) and a skein of Rowan 4ply Botany. Now don't they just go so well together?

I'm surprised to find that Jamieson & Smith still produce these 2 shades of heathery pinks.

This week's spinning project is ~ black Suri alpaca blended with merino and silk, beautiful fibre. I shall post pics tomorrow.

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Gotland Feece

I've stuck to my self imposed yarn diet that I started way back in January. The only yarn I have purchased has been for 2 swaps plus a further 2 balls to knit a baby hat for a gift. I have not added to my stash in any way shape or form. However, I did succumb recently and bought a bag of Gotland fleece, just a part fleece, not a whole one ~ my excuse was that I have never spun Gotland and 'needed' to try it!

The Gotland is a rare breed of Baltic origin. Their fleece is extremely soft, curly and silvery grey. The Gotland is a very hardy sheep and when the lambs are born they are jet black.
There are approximately 1000 Gotland sheep in New Zealand. These sheep are very curious and friendly, being closer in appearance and personality to goats than to sheep.

On the left are a few locks after washing, unwashed on the right. The grey colouring seems to be concentrated more at the tip end of the fleece. I love the way the tips curl up and also the nice springy crimp:
After washing the locks seem to have a nice lustre to them, the fibre would be soft enough for clothing although it's not like merino soft. I will wash the rest of the fleece and hopefully sample it on the wheel this week.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dyeing Combed Top~

A productive day so far, in pictures:

Polwarth, 160g

Polwarth, 125g

Merino, 25g knots

Monday, September 7, 2015

Merino & Bamboo Fibre, Bambino, Meriboo ~ Dyeing Fibre for a Gradient Yarn

I bought some natural 80% merino 20% bamboo fibre to see what it would look like once dyed. I wanted a gradient colour scheme:
I've dyed this blend in a yarn base before but never as combed top. I'm in love, it's squishy and soft and I love the way the bamboo takes up the dye differently to the merino. I'm planning on spinning a laceweight 3 ply yarn. Really loving these pinks and purples at the moment.

Here's how I did it:
Divided the fibre into 5 x 20g lots and soaked in cold water + 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.
Mixed up some red, blue and black dyestock.
Pink = 1 teaspoon red dye
Mauve = 1 teaspoon red + 1/2 teaspoon blue
Lavender =1 teaspoon red + 1 1/2 blue
Purple = 1 teaspoon red + 2 blue + 1/4 black
Black/purple = 1 teaspoon red + 2 blue + 1 1/2 black

It's a beautifully sunny Spring Monday here in Selwyn, I even managed to get a couple of hours out in the garden - weeding, tidying and mulching, the work outside never ends whatever the time of year.  These little beauties are springing up all over the garden ~Trilliums. I love everything about these:

The colours of the Trillium inspired me to dye this Polwarth:

I mixed up the deep purple red, yellow and green to match the shades in the flower and painted it onto the fibre, once the dye had exhausted I poured on some other random colours I've had sitting around for ages, this is a great way to use up all your bits of dyestock that are lurking about. It's often surprising how the colour turns out.
This is 200g of NewZealand Polwarth, all ready for spinning into a very very colourful yarn.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cheese Rolls

Before I moved to New Zealand a cheese roll, to me, was a bread roll or bun filled with grated cheese and eaten as is. If you ask for a cheese roll here in New Zealand this is what you get:

And so I embarked on the cheese roll slippery slope and find myself eating far too many of them. I know they aren't good for you, but eating them gives immense pleasure,  especially on a cold day accompanying a bowl of (healthy) cauliflower soup.

If you don't want to get addicted to these then don't look at the recipe below. You have been warned!

Cheese Rolls:
1 pkt Maggi onion soup mix
1 can of carnation evaporated milk
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon mustard powder
500g grated cheddar cheese (medium to mild)
1 small onion very finely diced.

Put everything in a large microwaveable jug/bowl and heat for 6 minutes in 2 minute bursts, stirring in between. You will be left with a smooth gooey mass. Let it cool and it will firm up nicely.

The best bread to use is a soft white sandwich loaf, I have tried making them with every variety of bread and nothing comes close to the white sandwich loaf for taste and texture here.

Spread one side of the bread slices with the cheese mixture and fold into 3, I toast mine on a sandwich/panini press. They only take a few minutes, when they are nicely browned put them on a cooling rack and put another batch in to cook. You can eat them warm or reheat them later in the oven.

The recipe makes a lot, at least 2 full sized loaves-worth possibly 3. You can keep any unused cheese mixture in the fridge for a few days.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tarndie Polwarth ...all finished!

I managed to sneak in a little extra spinning time over the last week and got the Tarndie Polwarth finished:

All the skeins together

Natural ~ 95 g, 326 mtrs

Chocolate ~ 50g, 182 mtrs
Grey ~ 50g, 180 mtrs

Beautiful fibre that was an absolute pleasure to spin. The finished yarn is a fingering weight and is N plyed, it's a nice and soft bouncy yarn.