Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Disgusted" of Westmeath

In the tradition of the letter to the editor and later, email to the British Broadcasting Company - I must declare myself as "disgusted of Westmeath".
Having completed several boring chores today, I rewarded myself by having lunch while knitting and watching an episode of "Doctors" on BBC1 TV.
What an affront to the wooly community that was!! Every cliché available concerning our yarnies was wheeled out!
The plot itself is too complicated to go into here (in the crazed tradition of daytime soaps I might add). However, it hinges upon a hand-knit scarf which is described as "horrible" by one of the regulars of the show, turns out to be knit by one of a brother and sister team of mentally defectives who are capable of massive self delusion and cruelty, not to mention nastily eccentric dress sense. The investigation leads to the source of the wool yarn - a repressed cranky old dame behind the counter of her stuffy little yarn store - they stopped just short of giving her a bun - and haven't they seen The Yarn Room and This I Knit and such like?? No nasty old hags in those breezy premises full of imagination and promise. Anyway, the bespectacled old bag identified the breed of sheep which gave rise to the wool (Karakul or some such) and comments on the luster of the fibers but notes the color is not quite good enough (did it come from my stash I wonder?). This expertise is met with a rather impatient dismissiveness by the investigating officer - who is eventually given the vital information required to solve the case (but not without the screen writer giving her a few lines to indicate what an out-of-touch old twit she is).
So there you have it.
We have an image problem, we yarnies - not helped by the BBC I might add.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Creative changes

There seems to be a pattern for me - imagine making some item, get real enthusiastic abut it, spin materials etc., make it - and feel quite ahppy with how it is emerging - then finish it and .... well first it looks fairly good to me, then i start seeing the flaws - technical defects as well as not living up to the original idea - then dislike - nay, loathing!. It sits somewhere for a while and I come upon it - this time with no particular expectations - and actually like it again!
That's what happened with the woven runner of previous post - so much so that I awarded it the 2 red hand-painted buttons Jen gave me this Christmas - to look a bit like this:
woven Runner with buttons


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Table Runner

Dopey's wool, dyed "Mist" and spun worsted on the wheel and lumpy-bumpy on the drop-spindle, some dyed "Tropical Punch" and spun worsted on the wheel.
I origionallly thought I'd make a smooth "professionsl looking" runner but just couldn't stop myself making it irregular and textured. Not sure why - might have looks better smooth and even but - that just seemed boreing so I had to add in the irregular stuff.
Perhaps it looks more like a scarf or wrap than a runner - but...
Anyway, I learned a lot from it. My worsted spun does work as a warp - good! I could have made it a bit thicker though for the 7.5 dent heddle I have (it's about 16 wpi while it could have been better at 14 wpi). I learned how to make a float using Betty Anne Davenport's book "Rigid Heddle Weaving" that I got as a Christmas present (thanks Jen!) and from the same book, the value of starting and ending the weaving with a few rows of scrap yarn - among other things.
I haven't soaked it, just pressed it lightly - probably should soak it and dry it blocked. Yes, will do that

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Squeaky wheel, silent wheel

The Traveler complained a lot recently - squeaking every time I treadled the left treadle. This, despite all the oiling. Eventually I turned her up and there was the culprit, the hinges. These were oiled and violá! squeak gone -

- only to e replaced byt a rattle from the mother-of-all. This turned out to be due to a loose drive band so out with the lighter and shorten the band.
Sweet silent spinning.

Dopey 09, Black Cherry spun at 12:1 over 1".
The color is not good (too dull and spotty) so this will have to be overdyed with a brighter red.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Dopey's Mist yarn

Over December, I've been processing and spinning Dopey's (wether) fleece.
I've a yen for light gray with a red accent so I dyed some with Landscape "Mist" - which is now spun and with Kool Aid "Black Cherry" - below, not yet processed.
The woolen spinning was done with the softer fibers carded and ended up as 3-ply:
A hank drying:
A Hank twisted:
A knitted swatch - from 7 - 5 mm needles :
The vital statistics: 321 gms, 371 meters, 8 - 10 , modal ave 9 wpi, 3-ply.
Singles spun at 5.5:1, with 10 treadles out to 22 inches and 2 in then pyled at 5.5:1.
Very bouncy!
The coarser, longer fibers were combed (but not in tip to bottom order therefore it is semi-worsted). The wheel spun at 12:1 over 1" for this and plied at 9:1 over 1".
It's vital statistics are: 2-ply, 289 meters, 129 gms, approx 12 wpi. Very strong but light.
Suitable for my 30/10 heddle.
The left=overs from the combing are being spun on a spindle to make lumpy-bumpy textured yarn. Real nice to do after the discipline of the woolen and worsted.
An assortment form the same fleece:

The amount of shrinkage after washing the hanks was remarkably consistent - the niddy-noddy winds 1.8 meters and in each of 10 hanks, woolen, worsted or lumpy-bumpy, it was down to 1.68 meters after finishing and drying. The good thing is that if it is knit or woven without undue tension, it will not shrink further when made up.
The misty grey is a little nicer in real life and it should be good when the red is combined in a weave of knit - all I have to do is process the red stuff now. Here we go again!