Saturday, 6 June 2015

Proper Woolly? Proper Amazing!

What an amazing show! For those of you that attend Wonder Wool or Yarndale then you may not be as impressed as I was, but, as I'm someone who can't manage to attend those shows, it was truly amazing! So much fibre and yarn in one place - I really was a child in a sweet shop!


Talking of sweet shops, look at this stunning knitted gingerbread house!


It was lovely chatting to so many people who shared my passion and I was given some good advice in fibre preparation as well as making some new contacts.
I bought some fabulous prepared fibre. This tops is a John Arbon merino tops with a pretty blend of greens and a hint of mustard.

This one, also from John Arbon, is a merino zwarbtles blend.


This fibre came from The Threshing Barn and is a Blue Faced Leicester and seacell tops. 


I have already started spinning it and love the subtle colour changes. It always surprises me how colours can change once spun. 

This is a merino and silk blend of very muted tones and is beautiful when spun.


I also bought two raw fleeces: a lincoln longwool and a Lleyn cross Jacob which is very soft and pretty.



A gentleman at the show had been asked by his wife to make a fringe twister and it was so successful he decided to make some to sell. 


At only £15 and made from recycled oak saved from going in a wood burner this was a real bargain. I have requested some wraps per inch gauges from him too.

Ok, I'm not being completely honest about all my purchases! There was a big one, a very special one, of an item which I have coveted for some time. I have a big zero birthday coming up this year and I have been asking for one of these for all the shows and travelling that I do currently with my Ashford traveller, which is a little on the heavy side when having to cart across a show ground along with my daughter's wheel and other miscellaneous equipment and fibre. And so here is my birthday present...
Tah dah!!!
An  Ashford Joy 2, a simply beautiful wheel and a pleasure to spin and transport. How lucky and grateful am I to my amazingly understanding husband? Exceptionally!

I'm not sure how successful the show was for the traders. It was the first here in the South West of England, but I suspect we simply don't have the population of people to warrant the money that the traders spent in travel and accommodation costs. There were also a lot of traders selling the same thing and so if your stand was near the end you may have lost out to other traders who had taken all the sales first. 


Anyway, from my point of view it was simply brilliant and I can only hope that they repeat it next year.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Off to the Proper Woolly Show

On Saturday, Lulus and I are off to the Proper Woolly show in Devon. It's the first of its kind where all the fibre artists; yarn, spinning and weaving suppliers; etc...  come together in one venue in the South West. There will be demonstrations and workshops, as well as many lovely goodies for sale. You can view their website here.


If you're nearby, why not pop along?
Becky x

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Wingham Wool Wonderland!

LIn my last post I talked about a few 'little' purchases that I had made when Wingham Wool visited Cornwall. I was like a child in a sweet shop! Perhaps you'd like to see them?
This is one of the wool batts that I bought. It's a mix of merino, silk and cotton.

I loved the muted lavender colours, but, when I started spinning it, the colours were so subtle they simple looked grey. So I'm putting it on the hand carders and mixing in some more purple and green. 


What do you think?

The second purchase is actually two batts that I have put together to make one. 

I love the mixes of greens and oranges that this creates. There was some dark orange in the green batt already, but I wanted a more vibrant effect. I can't wait to spin it and I should have a lot of yarn in the end to make something to wear as the two batts together weigh over 700 grams. That will keep me busy!

I also bought some merino and silk blends.


 I bought some dehaired brown yak and some camel tops so I can practise longdraw using some short fibres.


This carded waste sari silk is beautiful to blend in with other fibres. 


I carded some with some chocolate alpaca last year and it spun beautifully.
I also bought these cashmere neps for adding texture to my own carded batts. They are beautifully soft and 100 grams should go a long way.


Finally, I bought this hand dyed mulberry silk sheet.


Unfortunately, my hands don't seem smooth enough to handle it without it catching on my skin. I don't think I have particularly rough hands! It might be tricky to spin - presuming I can spin it at all.

Ok, that's more than enough to keep me busy for some time! However, I've been persuaded to take a spinning contract for a local lady who keeps Southdown sheep. Has two white, Cloughie and Bertie, and one black, Pepsi, that she would like me to spin. This is the first spinning project that I will done for someone else and I'm a little nervous about it. I haven't got time to start it until the Summer holidays, which she is fine about, but I shall try to prepare the fleece and spin some mini skeins for the lady to see.  
Becky x

Saturday, 16 May 2015

A Spinning Masterclass with Ruth Gough from Wingham Wool Works

Today I was fortunate enough to attend a spinning class led by the expert spinner Ruth Gough of Wingham Wool. Each year, Ruth and her husband bring much of their supplies to Cornwall where they sell their fibres and other products in Marazion village hall and then Probus village hall (where the guild meetings are held), whilst incorporating a mini-break in Cornwall. I will confess to one or two purchases, but in a room full of fibre to leave with just one small bag is really quite impressive, or that's what I keep telling my husband anyway!

As a member of the guild, I was asked if I would be interested in a day's tuition with Ruth and I jumped at the chance!

I thought that I knew quite a bit about spinning now, through my reading and practise for the certificate of achievement, but in reality my spinning has settled into a default mode and there are many techniques that I have yet to try and understand.

Ruth has been spinning for over 50 years and was fortunate enough to go to one of the few (if not only) schools in the country that taught spinning, weaving and dying. She gave advice freely, but didn't dictate hard and fast rules. Experiment and learn from successes as well as disappointments, and don't believe everything you see on YouTube!

This is Ruth above. I was too busy spinning to take photos so this one is leafed from the internet- sorry!

What I learnt in a day was staggering. Somehow, I have been plying all wrong! I thought for the yarn to be balanced it had to hang without twisting when you pull a little out of the orifice off the bobbin. But no! It needs to twist on itself with a z twist. Once I had finished plying, I skeined the yarn on the niddy noddy and found it hung with a clear but gentle z twist. However, when I dipped it in water and held it up, it was balanced! The skein I spun which hung balanced before dipped in water, came out of the water and twisted on itself with an s twist - not balanced! Now I know why my ply always looked so loose, I wasn't putting enough twist in! Easy when you know!

Somehow I'm going to have to find a way to get to Wingham and view their shop for myself! I may need a second mortgage for this visit, but when I googled it I found this image from someone else's visit.

Fibre heaven! 
Next post I'll share some of my new supplies and how Ruth showed us a way to prepare fibres on hand carders for fancy/art yarn.
Becky x

Saturday, 9 May 2015

What's On Your Wheel?

I'm currently spinning with a few different fleeces. Last year I bought some beautiful Gotland that I have washed a little at a time and slowly combed and spun. 

It has been a bit tedious to prepare: hand combing individual locks; careful storing so that the butt and tip are not mixed up and then spinning a small handful at a time semi- worsted. 

However, it is really beautiful and I now wish I purchased more - 300 unwashed grams becomes a lot less once washed and combed. 

I have also been spinning some Llanwenog fleece. This is a beautiful fibre with a semi-lustre and spins up beautifully. Again, I have made it a little hard for myself as I'm using Viking combs to prepare it. It is time consuming and there is a lot of waste. 

Some of it I have kept as it is soft and fine and I will card it and spin it from rolags. I will be interested to compare the worsted with the woollen techniques on the same fibre.

If you're wondering why the pursuit in techniques and range of fleece, it is because I am following the Certicate of Achievement syllabus for spinning. I don't know if I'll get so far as actually applying for the certificate, working full time makes such personal pursuits hard, but I am learning lots by simply following the syllabus with others from my local guild and have some amazing teachers. 

I'm off to a fibre sale today with a company called Wingham. Very excited!!! Will try not to spend too much. Ha, Ha, Ha!!!
Becky x

Friday, 17 April 2015

A New Beginning

Hello! I'm glad you've joined me here at my new blog. I've been blogging for a number of years about my pursuits in felting, but for the last couple of years I have followed new interests with fibre: spinning and weaving. This new blog is a diary of my progress in these crafts and, hopefully, will serve as a a link to others who share my passion for the fluffy stuff!

Post by post, I'll share with you my experiences with fibre, equipment, techniques and end products. I'm hoping to learn lots from you, so please leave a comment sharing your ideas or experiences too. 
Becky x