Thursday, 31 July 2008

Through a glass...

Darkly, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

This week I've been spinning this lovely Wensleydale fibre from Adrian at Hello Yarn. The colourway is called "Darkly" and is a mixture of purple, browns, greens and orange. I've spun it quite finely and it's ended up as 201m and 12 WPI from 111g. It's quite dense but it has a nice fuzziness that means it's reasonably soft. I'm hoping that this will be fine enough to use in a pair of mittens, using a pattern also by Adrian called "Fiddlehead Mittens". The mittens have a stranded pattern as well as an inner lining. I'm thinking that this could be good for one of the colours of outer mitten, as it will sort of stripe quite subtly. However, the beginning of the skein is brighter than the end, and I'm a bit concerned that this might make one mitten much brighter than the other. Although I'm not bothered about them being perfect matches, I do want them to look like they belong together. Hmm, I'll have to think about that. I do have some more of Adrian's Wensleydale, this time in a lovely range of blues and greys. This might work better, I think.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Sophia's Baby Surpise Jacket

Sophia's Baby Surpise Jacket, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

It's finished! I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

The Hello Yarn "Darkly" fibre is currently drying after setting the twist, having been spun into about 200m or so of fingering weight (I think) loveliness. I think my next spinning project needs to be the All Spun Up spin-a-long fibre, which is so gorgeous. I think it wants to be a shawl, which is a bit scary as I'm not very good at lace.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Bramble BFL

Bramble BFL, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

I had great fun on Saturday learning how to dye with plants from my garden. This BFL was dyed with bramble that we hacked down with our new hedge trimmer. Who knew that gardening could have such a great result?! The greys are really subtle with hints of green and purple in there too.

In BSJ news I have finally finished! I gave the neck a crochet edging which I think finishes it off nicely. The dark wood buttons look great too. Photos will be coming tomorrow when it's light outside.

In the meantime, I've done a massive Flickr update today, so have a look at my stream for more of my natural dyeing photos (on yarn and fibre) as well as the lovely fibre from All Spun Up and Spunky Eclectic that arrived today.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Row 87...

Sophia's BSJ, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

of 115 and running out of yarn! I've just had to order another 50g skein.

Sophia's BSJ, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

I'm really pleased with how it's developing though, the colours are so pretty and this is such a fantastic pattern. As I'm going to have more yarn I'm thinking of doing a crochet seam at the shoulders as well as a crochet border too.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

BSJ for Sophia

BSJ for Sophia, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

I'm knitting another Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket as a commission from a friend. The yarn is Colinette Cadenza in the glorious colourway Raphael, which makes me think of raspberries and wine. I bought the yarn at Get Knitted with the intention of making another BSJ so I'm really pleased that it's going to be going to a good home. There are 140 rows in a BSJ and I have done 20 so far, so I'm progressing at a decent pace. I shall take it to school with me this week and try and do a couple of rows at breaks and lunchtimes. At some point I shall be sticking my class in front of a DVD (come on, it's the last few days of term!) so I might even get a bit of knitting time in working hours ;)

I took this knitting along to my spinning guild day out yesterday to Warburg nature reserve, where we looked at the different dye plants that were growing there. We had a lovely day out looking at the native plants there and I've made a little list of ones I have in my garden that we're going to dye with. I'm going to be trying bramble and blackthorn at the weekend, on some DK yarn and also on some fibre.

Friday, 18 July 2008


Miela, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

This is 223m/164g of the softest alpaca gorgeousness. I've deliberately slightly underspun it for extra softness, as I didn't want it to end up looking like twine! It's about 11WPI, so DKish weight.

I bought the fibre from Redhill Alpacas, Oxfordshire at our guild fleece day. The label says "rich fawn cria fleece from Miela". Miela must be very cuddly indeed if this fleece is anything to go by! I highly recommend Redhill Alpacas. This fleece wasn't too dusty and there wasn't a lot of VM in there either. It was the most expensive one there (we went by touch rather than looking at the pricetags!) but the others were also very soft, and in a good range of colours too.

Currently on the wheel: manx loaghtan. I gently washed the manx fleece, then dried it in the airing cupboard. I experimented a bit and although it does spin really nicely straight from the fleece, it's a bit quicker and slightly more even if I card it first. I've made a shoebox full of rolags that I'm off to spin now.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Mmm, Alpaca

Mmm, Alpaca, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

Here's how I'm getting on with the alpaca fleece I bought at the guild fleece day. It's gorgeously soft. I'm trying to not put too much twist into it, as I don't want it to end up looking and feeling like twine. I reckon I've spun just over 100g or so at the moment. I'm going to just fill this bobbin, then put it into a centre pull ball to ply.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Flowering Weeds

Flowering Weeds, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

This is 91g/185m of merino and mohair loveliness from Spunky Eclectic. This is my first month in Boogie's fibre club and I have to say- it's so worth it :) I love the colours in this- it's not a colourway I would usually pick but I've really enjoyed the hints of yellow and purple amongst the browns. The fibre is gorgeously soft too, the mohair gives it a bit of a halo and it was a delight to spin. Now I need to work out what to make with it! Any ideas?

Friday, 11 July 2008

Tour de Fleece mountain stage

Tour de Fleece week 1, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

Here's my spinning from week 1 of the Tour de Fleece, modelled on a mountain stage.

The bottom slopes are two skeins, one of hand dyed merino and one of the merino plied with black welsh mountain. I think that this looks like some of twisty Z bends on the fast descents.

As we climb up the mountain we reach the area of rough scrubland, represented by aran weight icelandic yarn.

The very highest slopes are steepest and slipperiest of all, and are represented here by butterflygirldesigns superwash merino and angelina, spun on a butterflygirldesigns jade spindle. Of course, near the summit finish we have the flamme rouge.

Thursday, 10 July 2008


Caramel, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

I bought this icelandic fleece at my local spinning guild fleece day. There was 100g in the bag which had been washed once- after a good wash at the end to remove more of the lanolin I ended up with 74g, which is respectable I think. I literally just chucked it at the wheel, not separating the tog (the outer coat, in this case the long brown fibres) and the thel (the soft and short stapled inner coat). I toyed with leaving it as a single, but I decided a reasonably thick 2 ply would be easier to use as I was worried about the single breaking. There's not a great deal of it so now I'm trying to find a small project for it. I was wondering about a small felted bag or bowl maybe.

I've also been making progress on my Spindlers Quarterly challenge yarn, based around the idea of "Fire". I'm using my new Butterflygirl spindle, which spins really quickly and is very well balanced. I'm also using Butterflygirl fibre too, as I'm spinning some of her lovely blended batts. I'm really pleased with how it's coming on, I was worried that the colours wouldn't work in a thin yarn but it looks great.

In other news I have finally finished all of the reports! And there's only a week and a half to the end of term. I'm really looking forward to a break, but I also know that I'm going to miss my class terribly, so I've got mixed feelings about the end of term.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

TdF Update

Icelandic Ram, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

This is my latest TdF spinning- 100g of honey gold icelandic ram fleece from Fernbourn Fleeces of Orkney. I've just finished plying this and it's currently soaking to set the twist. There's only about 50m or so, and I'm thinking it's about aran weight, if not a little thicker in places. I'm thinking of washing and carding the next lot of this that I spin (I have two more 100g bags, slightly different colours but similar textures), just to see how differently it turns out. But what shall I make with it? I'm wondering about a felted bowl of some kind, that could be good.

Tomorrow will definitely be time to spin something dyed, I think I need some bright colours after all this natural fibre lately! It could be "Flowering Weeds", we'll have to see how I feel when I get home from the school play tomorrow.

Tal-y-llyn and merino

Tal-y-llyn, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

Here's the completed, washed and dried Tal-y-llyn, alongside the companion skein of merino that I'm going to use to the cuffs of the mitts. I need to find the bit of paper that I wrote my brief notes about the pattern on! I will probably need to reconstruct it a bit as this will be at a slightly different gauge.

I other knitting news, I have finished my Cader Idris inspired hat. I had *just* enough back welsh mountain for the edging- it was very close! Photos of that will be forthcoming once I've weaved in all the ends.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Tour de Fleece update

Today I decided I was too tired to do a good job with the Spunky Eclectic "Flowering Weeds" which was next on my list, so decided to have a go at some of the Icelandic fleece I picked up at the guild fleece day instead. I'm literally chucking it at the wheel and making a fairly lumpy single. I'm trying to decide whether to ply it or leave it as a single at the moment. The difference between the softer white fibre and the darker, longer more golden hair is very pretty. There'll probably be some photos tomorrow, if I get home while there's some light! It's going to be a busy week with our school play tomorrow and Wednesday night, followed by a course on Thursday. Plus I've only written 19 of the 29 reports I need to write... I'll just do a little bit of spinning as a reward everytime I complete a report :)

Sunday, 6 July 2008


Tal-y-llyn, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

My Tour de Fleece challenge to work through as much of my fivre stash as possible has started well. This yarn is named after a glacial lake at the foot of Cader Idris. It's 50% black welsh mountain and the other half is my own hand-dyed merino, Faience. It's going to end up as a pair of Cader Idris style mitts (eventually). I've spun what's left of the merino into a 2ply to use for the cuffs, and I also saved a bit of the black welsh mountain to make a 2ply to finish of my Cader Idris top down hat. Next up is the Spunky Eclectic June club offering, Flowering Weeds. I'm just deciding how best to spin it. It's only 3oz so I'm thinking of doing something reasonably thin to maximise the yardage.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Handspun sock progress update

Copper Oxide Socks, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

Here's where I am so far on my handspun socks, made from All Spun Up's gorgeous merino fibre. It's slow going because I picked a very tricky/fiddly pattern, but it's really going to be worth it when it's done. In fact, I'm off to do a few more rows on it now :)

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


Zwartble, originally uploaded by Bright Side.

Here's the completed test skein of Zwartble. It's 76m and 87g, 9WPI making it a good worsted weight. I'm so pleased with how it turned out! I did no preparation to the fibre before spinning it, I literally grabbed it out of the bag and chucked it at the wheel. The lighter brown tips have given a nice variation in colour and I'm really looking forward to knitting with it. This is going to become the ribbed cuffs for another pair of Cader Idris style mitts. I've spun a coloured merino single from my own hand dyed fibre, now I need another bobbin of Zwartble single to ply with that. It might have to take a back seat to the report writing for a while, but I have plenty of photos I've uploaded tonight to my Flickr steam to keep the blog updated with.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The Zwartble is coming...

I've finished my first skein of Zwartble- photos coming tomorrow when it's light! I've also made a couple of art yarn skeins for my UK Spinners swap partner. No photos of those though because they're a surprise :)