North Ronaldsay II

Early this morning I could not find any more sleep, so I got up and n-plied yesterday’s single. My Joy spinning wheel has a built in Lazy Kate, which I used for my bobbin. Not a good idea with this yarn. As the single is fed at an angle, there is much abrasion and difficulty to get it from the bobbin. This puts much strain on the fibre, and the first meters, where I still had spun at ratio 8, did not survive this treatment and were torn apart systematically. I finished by putting them aside.

The resulting 3-ply is a little bit overspun, but this will be set after a good bath, I think. The yarn is not extremely soft, but it passed the neck-test nevertheless.

Then I started to spin the second batch. After drafting, I began at ratio 11, but the single had difficulties to take the fibre in; I had to help a lot. As I had heard of wool having a “sense”, as there are scales, and they open in one direction and close in the other, I finished by spinning from the other end. And, indeed, in went more smoothly.

Family life resumes now, as I have to pick up my daughter from her flute lesson.

North Ronaldsay

I’d like to spin the fibre of a lot of different sheep breeds. There is a whole vocabulary of specifications to take account of and to get some sense from: staple length, crimp, micron count, guard hair, down hair, andsoonandwhatnotelse.

As in the beginning, I still like to not let too much theory influence my way of spinning, so I just get the wheel out, try to remember what worked and what went terribly wrong the previous times and start. There is a certain pertinence in making errors and then finding a way to avoid them. When there is such a wide field of possibilities, too much choice can kill the choice…

Today’s fibre is North Ronaldsay. I purchased it from Spunky Eclectic, a source for a variety of fibres. Additionally, I re-subscribed to her fibre club after a hiatus of about two years. I like the broad panel of wool I discovered this way. South African Fine is one of those happing findings.

When opening the ball of North Ronaldsay roving, the fibre seemed somehow flat, without bounce. I got 2 oz and began spinning right away.

To start, I predrafted to become acquainted with my new precious. Then I set my wheel on ratio 8, but very soon changed to ratio 11. Woolen spun, drafted occasionally when the fibre did not take enough in by itself.

Drafting:

One oz spun up:

It is amazing how much space this woolen spun roving takes up. With 1 oz my bobbin is 2/3 full, as for top prepared fibres this nearly equals the volume for 2 oz. The fibre, a natural colour, is slightly crimp, rather soft. Even the long guard hairs do not feel harsh.

The singles will be n-plied, I’d like to make some fingerless mittens from them.

Matching

After test knitting this beautiful shawl, I initially wanted to keep it, but it really is the perfect Christmas gift for my mother:

 

Furthermore I wove a scarf with the same yarn:

My mother loves to wear matching colours with her husband, so a second Christmas gift was easily found.

The yarn used is Mirasol Nuna, a silk/ wool/ bamboo blend. What a beautiful drape it has! I purchased this yarn some years ago, and never found a pattern I wanted to try with it. But after having used it for these two accessories, I’m so much in love with it, that I ordered more of it in a grey colourway.

The yardage is fabulous (175m for 50g), the knitted fabric is very soft, shiny and drapes like a gentle breeze. It blocks great, there is not much pinning needed. The yarn bleeded a bit while soaking, though.

When being woven, it behaved very differently from pure wool yarn. The sides drew much more in, even still on the weaving frame. Beating is very easy, as the strings don’t stick to each other at all. It held well enough though to be sewn without hem stitching (I took the scarf directly from the weaving frame to the sewing machine).

A pleasure to work with!

Fall is near

I finished the handspun cardigan:

It is the first time I used techniques that I learned when taking the “Perfect Sweater” class with Ysolda this summer. It got me a garment that is well fitting in the back, around the shoulders and has the perfect length. So much joy!

When discussing with Ysolda, I told her about my problems with armscythes that are too narrow and what I did until now to prevent this. Well, it seems that lengthening the armhole is not necesserily a good idea; I should rather widen the underarm. Furthermore she told me it could be helpful for me to chose my garment in function of the shoulder measurements, as I have rather broad ones. She said that a good fit at the shoulders really made a sweater keep in shape. That had me thinking about the shoulder type I prefer. And I realised, that raglan shoulders are perfect for me, and that i really don’t like round yokes.

This is Bibi, a very nice design I knit with Noro Matsuri. My shoulders are angular, and a rond yoke makes them poke out, which is not very flattering. Additionally, this results in sleeves which are distorted, again an effect I’m not very keen of.

This, on the other hand, shows those shoulders very nicely off:

There will be much more raglan in the future!

Test knit

I’m test knitting this beautiful shawl from Jennette Cross aka doviejay on Ravelry:

 

 

This was a bit challenging at the beginning as I could not make out a pattern. While knitting lace, I look at the stitches on the row below as an orientation, and usually you knit the same pattern in the same stitches. At the beginning, I really could not make out the slightest rhythm. But once the first ten rows knit, it quickly got easier. I’m cruising along now, still quite at the beginning (row 57 of  190). The shawl is going to be beautiful, with leaf-like designs and structuring purl rows. Love it already!

I use Mirasol Nuna, a silk, wool, bamboo blend. It’s so, so soft and a bit shiny, and has a very nice stitch definition.

A lot of things

Moving was a very interesting experience. When our friends came over to help us and we started to fill the boxes (after the almost 70 boxes I already had packed, mainly with books), I had a weak moment and apologized once and for all for the state of our appartement. I really got to wonder why there were so much things. It took two days to move all the big affairs, and I spent two days cleaning, sorting out the last small bumps of our former live. There was a moment where I sincerely thought that it would never end. I sat on the floor in our former living room, several stacks of things nicely aligned (I could not get around to believe that those things could depress me so much), and felt like those women who get the impression that they will be pregnant forever, that the baby will never come out. I felt eternely pregnant with my past hording.

For the time being, we live with my parents-in-law, waiting for an appartment for them to be arranged, so that we can take their house full of stairs, hard on ageing knees. We chose this option, as it implies changing schools, and my daughter is in “college” now, so I wanted her to already be with those she will be frequenting later.

That means that we compressed our appartment into two rooms and a cellar. That did not lessen the crowded effect, as you can imagine. Some moments are rather difficult… One has to focus on the future in that case!

I have some things to keep me sane:

A new club from FatCatKnits, Mixed Fibre Blessings:

September BFL

Once spun, it became this beauty:

For skeins 2-ply, one with both plies from the blue roving, two skeins with one ply from the green and one from the blue roving, and one skein with two green plies. One of these plies was finished with a bit of dark teal merino roving, as I wanted to finish the other bobbin completely.

I started to knit at once:

Nomnomnom.

Spinning and boxes

With all the packing that is going on, I achieved to finish spinning some yarn that I started while looking for new fibres to work with.

Merino was my go-to fibre in my debut times, but in recent days, I surprised myself by finding it annoying to spin with this easy fibre. There is no resistance when you draft it while spinning, a fact that made me un-appreciate silk after loving it for the fine singles I was able to work from it.

So I purchased a variety of sheep hair to get to know other qualities. Part of it was some Spunky Eclectic Targhee in the Tie Dye colourway. It’s a rather long fibre, which opposes a little more character while being drafted. To this I added Spunky Club from March 2011, Organic Merino in Little Periwinkle and a simple all black merino. The club fibre was purchased at a destash on Ravelry, at the moment I’m just member of the weaving club.

The yarn reminds me of church windows, so I called it “Vitrail”, which is french for “stained glass window”. Even my husband thought of it, too, when he saw it for the first time.

 

 

I count the tours I wind on the Niddy Noddy and then mark it on a plastic crochet ring, attaching the latter to the skein. After the bath I check the skein’s perimetre and calculate the yardage. I’ve got three skeins with roughly 600m of yarn. It’ll have to wait until autumn before being used, I think.

My most important WIP: boxes. (I’m at number 39 with boxes marked “books”. And it’s not finished yet 🙂 )