Monday, February 11, 2019

Another Chair Pad

Since I loved the first punch needle chair pad that I had made with handspun yarn, and I had enough leftover yarn, I had to make another.

To finish this one I again traced around the outer edge with a compass (it is about an inch)-

as a guide where to serge the edge to finish it.

For this one I added a layer of wool batting for a bit of extra padding.

I whipped stitch the hem in place through the batting and in to the back of the punch needle.

After I stitched a backing on to the piece.

I also added a couple to ties just to hold the batting in place (again through the batting and in to the back of the punch needle).

I made it a circle that was the inside diameter of my hoop for hand quilting just to make it easier to work the punch needle, and it turned out just the right size for this chair.

A bit of a windy day
Ice crystals in the air created this rainbow around the sun.
The snow covered fields look like the ocean.
 All the best!♥︎

Monday, February 4, 2019

Start of a Sweater

I finished spinning the fibre that I had drum carded a couple of weeks ago.

I ended up with about 457g, 1640m of a DK weight yarn.

I am really pleased with how this came out - it is well blended but you can still see individual colours and fibres (local wool mixed with silk and yak).

I started knitting a cardigan with the yarn. The pattern is Storm Mountain by Heidi Kirrmaier.

It is a top down, seamless cardigan (the above photo is a good representation of the colour).

I also machine quilted a little lap quilt that my Mom had made for a friend - it is a log cabin with appliqués cut with the Rose of Sharon die on the GO! fabric cutter.

We have had very cold weather recently but today my oldest son and I couldn't resist the fresh snow and went snowmobiling (that's me coming out of where the pond is - our skating rink is filled in with snow now).

All the best!♥︎

Monday, January 28, 2019

Wool Chair Pad

I finished a punch needle, wool, chair pad this week.

The project started as another raw fleece that I was given.

I cleaned, combed, spun the wool, and dyed it,

Punch needle is worked from the back with a special tool.

I drew the design on a piece of 22 count Hardanger fabric that I had - it worked well (I think punch needle is generally worked on Monk's Cloth or a linen fabric).

When the work was all done I steamed the piece and pinned it out to block it. To finish the chair pad I used the serger to finish off the edge of the fabric about 1.5inches from the punch needle, pressed the fabric to the wrong side and then whip stitched it in place.

This is the first time that I have done this type of punch needle, it was really enjoyable and worked out well.

The wool makes a nice, soft chair pad (I even started another one with the leftover yarn).

the flock of Grey Partridges

All the best!♥︎

Monday, January 21, 2019

Carding Wool for Yarn

Last week I finished combing another raw fleece, from a local farmer. This one was over 700g after washing.

The sheep are a cross, but mainly Down breeds (Southdown and Dorset Down) - named for region of England they originate. The fleece exhibits the typical characteristics of the breeds - crimpy locks, lofty and resistant to felting. I have been very lucky to have had the chance to work with these fleeces, and this year I want to experiment more with them (usually I just clean, comb and spin the fleece into lovely yarn).

After a bit of reading I discovered that the best way to prepare this type of fleece for spinning is by carding, so this post is about that experience.

I did start by combing the cleaned fleece, to remove most of the vegetable matter (carding would just break up the VM, but not remove it). Combing also gets rid of the short cuts and nepps.

The bag on the left is the prepared wool - 387g. The bag on the right is the 'waste' - almost 50% of the fleece, pretty typical for the breed I have read (it didn't go to waste, this was stuffed into and old pillowcase and used to make a little cat bed).
This particular fleece was really fine (compared to others I have spun), so I decided that I would make a sweater with it.

For this yarn I decided to combine the wool with a bit of yak for fuzz, and some silk for shine, for a 83% wool, 11% silk and 6% yak blend.

I dyed the fibre before carding (the first time I have dyed this fibre before spinning).

After weighing out each colour I divided the fibre into six piles.

I chose six because my drum carder holds about 100g and I wanted an even number since I am making a two ply yarn and I knew that I would be adding different add ins to each ply.

I started by adding the fibre to the drum carder (each batt was about 80g).

After the first pass I then passed them through the drum carder (this is an Ashford wide drum carder) two more times. I tore the batt into pieces and spread them out across the layers before putting them back in the drum carder (you can see the shiny silk in the above photo).

For three of the batts (or one of the plies) I added some dyed raw silk to the large drum during the last pass. The other three batts had a pinch of silver angelina added during the first pass (I couldn't resist a bit of sparkle).

The above photo shows the dyed fibre, the initial pass, the second pass and the final batt. With three passes it was quite well mixed, but you could still see individual colours and fibre types.

I dizzed the fibre off the batt ready for spinning (dizzing is just pulling the fibre through a button, essentially pre-drafting).

The little bundles ready for spinning - the ones on the left have the sparkle and the ones on the right have the gold coloured raw silk. I made sure to prepare and mix up the bundles for each of the plies before spinning in case there were differences in colour between the batts.

Carding adds lots of air to the fibre and for spinning I made sure to keep as much of the air in as possible by using a short backwards draft and letting the spin enter the fibre bundle.

It created a real woolen spun yarn (lofty and light, as opposed to a worsted yarn that has most of the air removed and is denser - the yarn I spun in last weeks post for socks was a worsted yarn).

I am really pleased with the colour - it is a nice heathered, tweedy yarn with a hint of sparkle.

It puffed out a bit after washing and came out to about a DK weight yarn. I don't usually sample, but I wanted to make sure that I would be happy with the final product before spinning all the fibre.

The knitted sample is really soft (I think I will be able to wear it on my bare skin) and squishy/bouncy, with a nice drape and a little bit of a halo from the yak - I think it is going to make a beautiful sweater.

the full moon before sunset last night (and before the lunar eclipse)
she looks so angry
All the best!♥︎

Monday, January 14, 2019

Spinning and Knitting

This past week I finished knitting a cowl -

The pattern is Wolkig by Martina Behm - a free pattern on Knitty. This had been my take-along knitting for the past little while. It was really simple to make, but a lot more interesting to knit than just stockinette.

I used handspun yarn (a light fingering weight),

which started as this Merino fibre that I dyed.

I also spun up some wool for a new take-along project -

a pair of toe-up socks.

This is from one of the raw fleeces that I was given,

washed and combed,


and dyed.

All the best!♥︎