Monday, 22 October 2012

Spining, Dyeing, Knitting

The Spinning

So... I've taken up spinning. It was inevitable, lets face it. I could not help it. Show me a craft and I just have too. So with a bit of extra money in the old bank account I bought a drop spindle starter kit from She doesn't seem to do the same kit any more but it came with a lovely rosewood top whorl spindle, some fibre and a copy of Respect the Spindle.

Then I read the book and spun some yarn. I made yarn! It is not perfect yarn and the process kept me on the edge of my seat but the end product is stringy and holds together so... yarn! Hopefully as I get better I can say what the hell I did but really all I know right now is that I spun wool on a spindle.

I had my imperfect yarn. I also had two choices, knit with it or leave it on a shelf. I really didn't want to forget about my first hand spun. It wasn't perfect but it could still hold stitches and I was proud of it. For all it's faults it is the first yarn I've ever made. I had to knit with it. It was time to make a plan

 The Dyeing

First the colour. It had to go. White is not my thing. Luckily I had just the right dye stuff in my freezer. About a month before people in the Plants To Dye For group on Ravelry were discussing using Californian Poppy roots and flowers to dye. At work they grow like weeds so I picked 300g of the flowers and brought them home.

The finished object (note: this colour is most true)
With flowers I like to follow India Flint's Ice-Flower Dye method of freezing the flowers and then thawing in lukewarm water to produce colour. I gave the yarn a quick alum mordant then into the ice flower bath it went. The colour took beautifully. The yarn was now a lovely, cheerful yellow and was given it's name: California.
Imperfections: too thick!

The Knitting

I chose the pattern Diversify from Knitty Winter 2011. It had lots of options which I though might help me get somewhere with the inconsistent yarn. I first cast on the small worsted version but it soon became clear that the thick sections of my yarn wouldn't put up with that so I switched to the chunky. I knit until I ran out of yarn and then I put it on and hugged it to my face. It is, perhaps, a project only a mother can love but... I made this thing, I adore it!
Imperfections: too thin!

The End?

Nope! I'm still spinning. I have four bin bags full of the shavings from Captain Kid and Chieftain, the two alpacas I've been feeding for a couple of months now and I found a lovely local lady with fabulous coloured roving: Little Owl Crafts. I bought some in Exeter early in September and it's now my second handspun. Still not perfect. Still fills me with pride.
The second attempt: stay tuned for more spindle fun!

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