Tuesday, 29 January 2013

My Latest Project

    Some time ago I discovered Polwarth tops ( at the top of the photo) were being sold by World of Wool and having been told that this fibre was very soft, probably not as 'scratchy' as other wool fibres, I decided to try some when I placed an order for some BFL.Before spinning any I hung the length of tops around my neck to see how it felt as I warmed up. GREAT! I had no reaction, no tickle even. Perhaps I have found the fibre for me to use in knitting garments for myself.Some months ago I had lost a favourite chunky, snuggly cardi and so decided to spin yarn that would knit up to replace it. The skein in the photo is only one of several I have spun in past months. It is three ply and nicely rounded with sufficient twist, hopefully, so that it will not pill in wear, something that annoyed me about the orriginal cardi. The round, wound, hand dyed yarn is a test skein for the project. I had no idea how much I would need. Last week I knitted the yarn and calculated the area of fabric it made, so from the pattern diagram of the cardi I was able to work out approximately how much yarn I need. I'm sure I will spin more than that! But would it have been a better idea to dye the tops rather than the yarn. I need too much to dye in a dye bath. Whatever could I find that was bis enough? So, maybe, dyeing the tops would be the best solution and give me a more evenly spaced colour pattern. (I don't want an even one coloured yarn.As I often dye woollen tops to sell I also decided to see how the polwarth would turn out (bottom left). I'm afraid this was not very successful. The fibre was a little felted on the outside. In the photo the depth of colour of the dyed tops and dyed yarn don't look very different...... Bottom left is some of the dyed tops drum carded. Already the colour is paler. The same pot of dye was used for the yarn and tops.This is the drafted tops, ready to spin. It is much paler still.  

This is picture, though taken in too much sunlight, shows the difference, in colour depth, between the dyed yarn and the yarn spun from the tops.So, I guess I will continue spinning to dye the yarn!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

New Year, New Stitch

Happy 2013 to any readers.

I can't quite remember what sparked my interest in learning Brioche knitting stitch but it seemed a great and different way to highlight space dyed coloured yarns and the way the coloured and plain yarns can have their positions changed within a knitted piece. intrigued me.

I researched it online and found that it creates a similar effect and textured fabric to fisherman's knit, something I had heard of but would not recognise or had ever knitted.

It looks like a simple rib stitch, initially but takes longer to knit what is esentially two layers of knitting which are bonded together,understandable when you realise that it takes two rows of knitting to create one row of fabric. A smaller size of needle than one would normally use for any diameter of yarn is used in this stitch, at least 2 sizes smaller!

Not wanting to use my handspun yarn to practice and learn the stitch I decided to buy some yarn and after some practice I used the two yarns to knit the dark hat in the photo above. It took some time and I was daunted by the difficulty caused by a dropped stitch - not at all as easy to repair as any other stitch I had tried - you really do have to understand the structure. Although knitting the second hat to give to one of my sons helped me to understand the stitch better I still have a way to go.

Now for something different.
My hubby and I visited Whipsnade Zoo yesterday ad this time I remembered my camera! Last time we were there on a chilly day, the baby cheetas and their mum were huddled together in/under Cheeta rock and I thought what a wonderful photo opportunity I had missed. Yesterday they were there again and I managed this photo - cute eh!

It's my computer screne backdrop.