Malibu Socks

So my smaller knitting needles arrived yesterday. An added bonus I forgot I ordered some more sock yarn, so it was a surprise to have that in my package 😀 It is a wool/cotton (and other things) blend which I’m hoping will be good for the not so freezing days (for anyone not from Brisbane, temperatures in the daytime below 19C (and for the Americans that’s about 66F) are considered ‘freezing’ cold.)

So I’ve started knitting with one of my new balls of yarn- the colour is called Malibu Stretch. The pattern suggested size 2.5mm needles and the band on the ball suggested 2.5-3mm. I first did a gauge swatch with the recommended needles of the pattern and I was one stitch too many but when I moved up to 2.75 it was perfect.

dsc_3685

This is my progress so far.

dsc_3696

Meanwhile the yarn gets twisted up as I knit it. It always does this but it more noticable with this yarn. Right now I’m letting my knitting hang every few rows to untwist but it is anoying.

dsc_3694

The needles are ‘Karbonz’ and in the longest they come in. I’d prefer longer needles, like at least 30 cms long but dpns don’t seem to come that long any more. I find these ones are better than metal, but one of the tips is a bit rough and scratched up the needle next to it, so I switched that needle for another in the packet (there were 5 in the packet and I’m using 3 to knit with). I’ll have to see if I can smooth the rough tip down with anything—any suggestions?

Meanwhile I’m also doing some spinning.

dsc_3673

Advertisements

Just what is a Skein of Yarn?

When I first ventured on the internet I began learning a whole new language—American English. I already knew the jelly-jello and mum-mom and a few other bits and pieces from American books and film, but conversing with people from another country online means a lot more comes to light.

For example when I mentioned I was buying my dad a new jumper I was confused why a whole bunch of people were shocked that my DAD wore jumpers. Or the time I casually mentioned I left my hairbrush in the toilet—it was beside the sink near the mirror, but the word ‘toilet’ has a more narrow meaning over there.

As I’ve got older and started talking about crafts online I’ve learnt other things. What I call printed calico they call calico. What I call calico they call muslin. What I call muslin they call… actually, I have no idea and this has caused some confusion.

What’s causing me confusion right now is when we’re talking about forms of yarn, ie is it in a ball or a skein or whatever. Now, growing up in New Zealand it was ‘wool’, not yarn. You would knit something out of acrylic ‘wool’ or out of a wool that was a silk/wool blend. This doesn’t actually make any sense, so I’m 100% with the Americans on calling it yarn. Except when I forget. But that’s not the confusing part.

The confusing part is growing up wool came in ‘balls’ of wool or ‘skeins’ of wool. A ball of wool is when it’s wound into a ball type shape, a skein is when it is made into big loops on a skein winder or niddy noddy.

Thus, these are balls of wool (yarn):

dsc_2257

dsc_3252

dsc_3679

 

These are skeins

dsc_0995

 

dsc_3338

Then I started hanging out online with American knitters. Apparently skeins are called hanks, and some types of balls are called cakes and others are called skeins.

Confusing? Not so much, I figured American’s call hand wound balls of wool balls of yarn, those wound on a yarn winder cakes of yarn and those bought commercially wound into balls skeins, and all skeins were called hanks.

The confusing part? I started hanging out with American spinners.

These people will call a skein winder, a skein winder. They will talk about winding a skein on the skein winder. The finished product is what an American knitter will call a hank.  Why is this? Is it just the knitters are wrong? If the knitters are right, why don’t Americans call skein winders hank winders, and why do they wind skeins not hanks?

Now I’m confused and never sure WHAT someone means when they say a skein of yarn!

 

Alpaca Sunrise

Last year I treated myself to the November Spinning Box. One of the fibres inside was a sheet (possibly a bat?) of alpaca. I tore it into strips based on colour.

dsc_3306

I then spun the strips in to a single

dsc_3311

 

dsc_3316

 

dsc_3320

Then I chain plied it.

dsc_3328

 

dsc_3338

I’m new to chain plying so I didn’t do it too evenly. Here it is after washing, I think it is slightly underplied as well as the uneven tension on the chain plying, but I like it how it is.

 

dsc_3343

Tyrion, Ellaria and a Splash of Eri Silk

I had one braid of Tyrion left from Cat and Sparrow Fibres, so I split it in half. I also had two braids of a golden colourway called Ellaria so I added about 10cm of that to each half of Tyrion. I then pulled the braid of Tyrion apart as much as I could into colour segments, and spun from the fold, adding Ellaria and also some smatterings of eri silk throughout.

Here are my results:

dsc_3248

 

To compare this is the last bobbin of Tyrion I spun:

dsc_2245

I got a ball winder for Christmas from my mother, so once this was washed I put it to good use and balled it up.

dsc_3252

 

And another comparison shot, the new spin on top, just Tyrion on the bottom (yes, I rewound my hand wound balls into new balls with my new ball winder. They stack better this way.)

dsc_3254

I am planning a project using both Tyrion and Ellaria so this blend will tie the two together nicely.

Landscape

So I’ve treated myself to some roving from my home country. It’s a dark grey New Zealand halfbread dyed in a colourway called ‘landscape’ from Heavenly Wools.

 

dsc_2468

 

It’s a coarser fibre than what I’ve spun so far. I’m trying to spin nice and thick to get a nice bouncy two ply.

dsc_2462

dsc_2347

The coulours aren’t very true as the photos were taken at night, but hopefully I’ll get better photos once done!

Lap of Spring

So I bought a ‘lap’ of silk merino, not sure what a lap actually is but basically it was a big huge sheet of softness.

dsc_1600

dsc_1471

When I bought it I had intended it to be used in a chunky textured weave cushion. When it arrived the colour was more lime green than the teal I expected and the fibre was so fine and beautiful it called out for fine spinning. So I tore it into strips, spun two singles and spun it.

dsc_1636

dsc_1481

The colours of the lap ranged from yelow to teal.

dsc_1597

dsc_1627

dsc_1642

Once I had spun two singles I plyed them together

dsc_2260

dsc_2261

Now to decide what to make! I’m thinking a soft shawl or scarf.

Tyrion

MY first foray into spinning dyed fibre is with a couple of braids of ‘Tyrion’ from Cat and Sparrow fibres.

Here is my first attempt at spinning it, I was trying to spin thicker than I normally would and finding the colours blend together a lot.

dsc_1336

So I asked around online and got some tips including spinning from the fold and divding the braid into colours. With so many thin strips of colour the later was hard but spinning from the fold worked a bit better.
dsc_1337

 

Here is the resulting two ply from the first ball I spun
dsc_2252

 

And this is the second.

dsc_2257

dsc_2253

 

And this is the third, still on the bobbin.

dsc_2240

dsc_2245

 

I plan for this to become cushions for my lounge.

More Cotton Spinning!

Up to now I have been spinning on my tahkli spindle.

dsc_1177

Well, my beloved bought me a spinning wheel! Its a little Ashford e-spinner as it’s small and fits in our tiny house.

So of course I had to have a go at spinning cotton. It took a bit to get it working, you need just the right settings, not much tension and a fast speed but I got there!

DSC_1307.JPG

 

Spinning on my new spinning wheel. Left, the commercial cotton I’m trying to match. Right, mine.

 

The fist mini-skeins of cotton spin on my new spinning wheel. The first one was underspun but the second was better.

DSC_1316.jpg

And finally all my little skeins of cotton so far!

 

dsc_1327

 

Playing with Colour and Cotton

Amongst the kit I bought from Cotton Clouds was some naturally coloured green and brown cotton. I’ve heard that boiling this cotton once spun or woven darkens the colour. I’ve previously bought a towel weaving kit from Cotton Clouds and have read that boiling can increase absorbency too. So I set up a pot and boiled and boiled my tea towel in a small amount of washing soada.

Here you can see some of the threads without my boiling on the tea towel after boiling.

dsc_1136

It is both darker and more absorbent!

So, encouraged, I pulled out my naturally coloured cotton slivers and got spinning. I tried holding the two colours together and playing around with effects I could get.

dsc_1145

dsc_1146

dsc_1155

dsc_1164

The top skein is brown and green sliver held together in both plies.
The middle is brown, green and white sliver held together in both plies.
The bottom is brown, green and white sliver held together in one ply and white in the other.

Next to boil them with some washing soda and see how the colours look once darkened.

dsc_1174

You can see what a difference it made! Lighting in the photos were a bit different so I included the unspun sliver with the boiled skeins.

Finally, a picture of my post-boiling water– yuck!
dsc_0991