Tag Archives: spinning

FO hanspun BFL green plums

handspun handdyed green plums

Thsi time I was quite fast spinning up the BFL that I had dyed with Acid dyes previously. I do tent to get my default yarn, which is about worsted weight, perfect for another Thorpe hat for my flute teacher. it is nice and bouncy, I’m happy with the outcome. I still cannot spin the singles even enough. It looks ok, but I do for exaple split the roving in exactly two parts and i start from the same ends, but I still don’t get the different coloured spaces together. I’ll have to practice more.


I’m washing a fleece!

I’m not too sure what came over me, but I found a farmer not too far away who sells whole Zwartbles fleeces. So I bought one. I’m not too sure if I thought that all through totally. The fleece is sitting in our bathroom (no windows) for a while until I could get started, wrapped up in three garbage bags, still stinking! I don’t have a garage or garden, not even a balcony where I could leave it outside. So I better get started soon.

I started looking for info on how to wash the fleece, different people do it different ways, so I tried to find the one most suitable to me. I knew i had to do it in small batches. I don’t even have space to spread out the whole fleece for the skirting. I don’t have an American top-loading washing machine with vertically mounted drum, just a European front-loading horizontal mounted drum. So decided to scour the fleece in the bathtub. I didn’t know how fuzzy this is gonna be, so I make sweater bags out of thin muslin like Amelia suggests in Ask the Bellwether (great information on the page, you should bookmark it). Then I read a lot in Alden Amos’ Big Book of Handspinning. He recommends a bathtub, too. He says lots of water is important. He also tell you to move the fleece very very slow through the bathtub, up and down, to get the water stream slowly through all the fibres in the fleece. As for detergent I think I found somebody on Craftster recommend just plain Fairy dishwasher liquid, since it is the best for dissolving fat and also cleaning out the dirt.

I started by packing about 350g fleece into the one muslin-bag and put it into the hot water (about 125°F) with a good dash of green Fairy (quite a lot of fairy, added after the tub was filled a bit more than half, until the water appeared slightly green). Nothing happened at first, but when I started to slowly move the pack up and down the length of the tub (with a speed of about 40 seconds per tub length), all the dirt came out and I had diarrhea-brown water. I was quite surprised how much dirt was in the fleece, because when I picked those few handfuls out of the bag to put it into my muslin bag, I thought that I must be lucky because there was no VM and hardly any other visible dirt on it. Oh well. I emptied the tub, and filled it now with fresh water, hot enough to dissolve the lanolin and another good dash of Fairy. I added  put the fleece in again, let it sit for about five minutes, then super-slowly moved it up and down the tub 3-4 times (with a stick cause the water was too hot), pulled it out at the shallow end of the tub and let it sit on the rim to let it drip out a bit.
Then I filled the tub a third time, hot clear water only, no detergent, and rinsed the fleeces in clear water, again slowly moving the fleece up and down.
I put them into my washing machine for a quick spin and then spread them on my kitchen table (covered in layers of newspaper) to dry.

The locks feel nice, I only think that sheep had quite some dandruff. Most people say to throw a scurfy fleece away, but after they were completely dry and i shook the locks open a bit, lots of the dandruff came out. It only looks as if the dandruff is in the middle of the length of the lock and where the most dandruff sat there seems to be now a lighter and thinner spot. You can even see it on the photo. Oh well, I have no idea what that is and how bad it really is. I’ll see how much I can get out and if it is too crappy I can maybe use it for some felted  coasters or so.

Thorpe Hat

I used the KoolAid dyed BFL roving to make a Thorpe (pattern also on  ravelry of course)hat just before I went on holidays. Oh I love it, it is so soft! And it still smells like berries and grapes from the KoolAid! It was really nice and straight forward to knit. Somewhere on the net there are instructions on how to do the knit a round/purl a round so that you cannot see the jump between them from knitting in the round, but I just did not understand them. The jumps don’t bother me at all anyway, they are hardly noticeable. I cast on for medium size, it is slightly on the bigger side with ny wool, but that is ok. That way I can fit my ponytail under the hat. It was finished in time to take it on holidays home to Germany and short trips to Italy, but it was far too nice weather to be wearing  a woolly hat! … and I just notice the colour of my glasses does not really go with the hat.

Dyeing roving with onion skins

I soooo loved the  craftster post about dyeing roving with onion skin, the golden/yellow/peachy brown is a lovely colour. So I gave it a go yesterday! I had been collecting onion skins for the last two weeks, I ended up with about 50g. When I did some research i found that most people suggest to use as much onion skins as you have wool, so 100g wool need 100g skins. I just did not want to wait so long (going on holiday tomorrow for ten days – yay!), so i just went on and used 50g onion skin for 100g nice BFL roving. To avoid onion skin bit sticking to my roving I sewed a little bag out of muslin, it was easy to store the skins in it beforehand and I just threw the whole thing in a bit stainless steel pot, my dyeing pot. I covered it with about 2.5-3L cold water, added a gulp of white vinegar and boiled everything up briefly. Whilst I let it sit to cool down again, i soaked the roving in lukewarm water.

It seems that onion skin is one of the few dyes you don’t need a mordant for because the yellowish colour from the skin attaches to the fibre without any help. But you can use one and it seems that most people do. Note that different mordants seem to change the tone of the colour you get from dyeing with onion skin. I just used a dash of white vinegar. There is a whole thread on ravelry about dyeing with onion skins and outcomes and colour variations.

Back to my roving. When my onion broth had cooled down to lukewarm, and it was very very deep brown by that time, I added the wet roving to it. I left the onion bag in the pot as well. I just dipped the wool under, did not stir much to avoid felting, put the heat on and brought the pot to a boil again. As soon as bubbles came up i switched it off, put a lid on and let everything sit overnight. I did not weigh the fibre down, hoping to get a bit colour variation in it.

The next morning i took the fibre out of the pot, rinsed it once in a big bowl of clear fresh water and hung it up to dry.

It dried quite quickly overnight and the colours came out looooovely. Nice variations of some light yellow and bits of deep peachy brown.
I’m not too sure yet what i’m gonna do with it spin-wise. I’ll see how a single looks like and if I want to ply it with itself or with something else or just use it as a single.

My Wheel! My lovely new Wheel!

Oh i treated myself! I went to a spinning on the wheel-course last weekend and i soooo loved it! i am absolutely hooked! I’ve been dropspindling for the last few months, i do like it as well, but spinning on a wheel is just a huge difference. I knew i had to get one. So here I am, proud owner of my first spinning wheel, an Ashford Kiwi! And Oh, I am soooooo excited!

But good things have to wait. I have learned that it is best to finish the wood or the spinning wheel. There are quite a few options for how to finish the wood: wax, all different kinds of oils, wood stains, lacquers and varnishes. It was a difficult decision. i found a link with lots of info how people finished their Asford wheels which helped me a little.  Also I’ve seen some beautifully painted ones, lots of beautiful ones in the Ravelry Kiwi group, but i’m still too much of a WHUSS to do that.  So i decided to go for a plain natural Danish Oil finish and maybe top it with a layer of wax for a little bit of shine. From a homeware shop i got the Danish oil, turps, sandpaper, steel wool and a brush for 20 quid. Some old newspaper and ready i was!

The wheel was there when i got home from work on Thursday. I sanded the parts a little bit, just to take of sharp edges, wiped them with a cloth with a little bit of turps and when they were dry i put on the first coat of oil. I let it  for about 15-20 minutes and then wiped off any excess oil with a soft cloth before it got sticky. I was slightly worried that since the wheel is not pure wood but MDF it might take a slightly different colour. But internet said it is ok to oil MDF so i put a coat onto that too. The result is slightly nauseating because now the wheel has some ugly dark yellowish colour and looks worse than before – i’ll have to paint it sometime cause i can’t stand the ugly yellow, but not for now, now i can’t wait to get spinning. Also the centre beam seems to be slightly different, the wood is much redder than all the other parts. Oh well. Friday morning i sanded the pieces again with a very fine 600 paper and added a second coat of Danish Oil, let it sit, wiped it off.  Friday evening i polished all the parts with some fine steel wool and then i rubbed in a nice layer of Antiquax to get it a bit shiny and assembled it – finally! The instructions were a bit IKEA like (a word or two sometimes would not have done any harm at all), but i managed. And here we go:

Dado Hat

My first post ever!

A while ago my  mum asked me to knit her a hat. We do have kind of the same taste, maybe differ in colour, but i know what she wants, warm and cosy and to cover her ears.

I went for a basic hat and added some 3D contrast-colur ripple-rails, and I’m really sorry i just have no idea what the correct english name is for them. I did search everywhere and I’m sure that there is a name for them, so if you know it, please enlighten me! Until that I’ll call them ripples. My BF called them Dadorails, hence the name: Triple Dadorail Hat. Short Dado hat. I quite like the name.
I even spun the wool myself, it is my first real spinning project, AND my first pattern, that makes it very exciting for me!

So that is what it turned out like, in two sets of colours. The Photos for the tutorial are from the hat with the lighter lavender as main colour and the darker heather as contrast dadorail colour.

Dado Hat

Technique Ripple/Dadorail:

The ripple is knit in the contrast colour. For this hat i knitted 4row-ripples, i.e. 4 rows in contrast colour. Less would make a smaller 3D effect, more would make the ripples bigger. Using the main colour again we will then close the ripple. I like to use a slightly smaller knitting needle or DPN. With the smaller needle pick up the last stitch in the main colour on the wrong side/purled side/inside of the hat. Since we are using different colours it is easy to see the purl-loops of the last main colour stitches. It might be easier to pick up a few stitches, maybe ten, but not too many. Now knit the live stitch and the “old” stitch from four rows below together. Knit the live stitch as usual and knit it together with the “old” stitch. It helps if you try to align both needles right next to each other. Make sure that the two stitches that are being knit together are the correct ones that go with each other, you don’t want to knit the first stitch together with the second or last, it will give everything a wrong twist. It is kind of like a three-needle-bind-off just without binding off.
I hope the photos help to understand what i’m trying to do here 🙂

dfg sdrtg

These are the stitches we are after. I use to pick them up on the wrong side as shown, from below.

Pick up a few of the “old” stitches

Hold the needles next to each other and start knitting

Knit first the normal stitch as usual and then the “old” stitch

Spinning the wool

I used 100g dyed Merino tops from Worldof Wool.co.uk, spun singles on my drop spindle and plied them together, also on my dropspindle. The yarn i got was about 10-11wpi, so DKish for weight. I used the wool for two hats with the opposite colours for maincolour and contrast colour, i still have some left. Because of it is handspun it is not perfectly even, but i like it the way looks a lot. The colours i used were no. 55 Heather and no. 53 Lavender. It feels lovely.

Dado Hat

The hat is knit with DKish yarn, but any other yarnweight will do if the stitch numbers are adjusted. It is knit in a main colour A and a contrast colour B. The hat is entirely knit in stockinette stitch in the round on DPNs. The brim is meant to roll up a bit.

DK yarn main colour A (100g)
DK contrast colour B (enough for 12 rows)
5mm DPNs
3mm needle or one DPN
Yarn needle

Cast on 80sts in A
Distribute stitches evenly on the DPNs
Knit in the round for 12 rounds or until the brim measures 6cm

Knit 4 rounds in B (do not break thread A)
Pick up thread A again and do the ripple the whole round
Knit 2 rounds in A
Knit 4 rounds in B
Pick up thread A again and do another ripple the whole round
Knit 2 rounds in A
Knit 4 rounds in B
Pick up thread A again and do another ripple the whole round – you should now have three ripples
Knit 20 rounds  or until hat measures 10cm from the last ripple
Start crown decrease:
*k6, k2tog*  (70sts left)
*k5, k2tog*  (60sts left)
*k4, k2tog*  (50sts left)
*k3, k2tog*  (40sts left)
*k2, k2tog*  (30sts left)
*k1, k2tog*  (20sts left)
*k2tog*  (10sts left)
* k2tog*   (5sts left)
Break yarn, and with the needle pick up the last remaining stitches and sew them up.

Sew in all loose ends.

Block if desired (i didn’t because it fits so perfect)

The Merino wool i used for my hat is so lovely and soft and warm and cozy. I only wish it was superwash so it could just go into the washing machine. Oh well, handwash it is.

Let me know if there are any questions, and of course i’d love to see any FOs (for private use only of course).

Thanks for reading and enjoy.