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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Tweed 3

The carding and spinning continues, well over half way now, and I've started knitting.  I trawled through patterns on Ravelry looking for a sweater or cardigan that would show off the handspun tweed, and finally came up with this one : 10 Days by Suvi Simola.  It's a top-down pattern, so that's something new for me, and has the advantage that I can just keep knitting until I've used up all the yarn.  If there's enough, it may end up as a sweater dress.  We'll see!

This is as far as I've got so far, almost to the point of separating out for the sleeves, and I've used about a quarter of the second ball of wool :-

I really like the way the tweed is turning out; I'll definitely do more in the future.  Here's a close up showing the different colours :-

The nice thing about spinning a tweed is that you can use up lots of bits of different coloured fibres that wouldn't be enough for a project otherwise.  I've got lots of those!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Tweed 2

Yesterday I managed to squeeze in a bit of time during the day to start carding the fibre for my next ply.  I've cut down on the number of passes through the drum carder to 4 rather than 6 so expect to get through this lot a bit faster.

The colours aren't quite true in this photo - the pink isn't pink at all, it's a dark mauve. Also, I decided to put some more white in with the fleck colours, just because!  I won't bore you with lots of drum carder photos this time; the mauve and white at the top went through twice, then the colours were added and they went through twice as well.  The result looked quite promising :-

Yesterday evening was spinning time!  I spun these three batts and decided I had enough to ply my first skein.

The colours in this photo are much truer than the ones above.  I really like how this is turning out.

For plying, I used my Ashford Traveller, mainly because that gives me bobbins of about 80-100g.  I wasn't sure how my ball winder would cope with larger amounts.  I'm amazed at the difference in size between the Aura bobbins and the Ashford ones.  I'd expected to be able to ply all of the smaller bobbin (above) with some of the first ply and get it onto one Ashford bobbin.  Nope!  It didn't fit.  This is what was left when I'd plyed one Ashford bobbin's-worth :-

You can hardly tell any yarn has gone from the left hand bobbin!

Anyway, the finished result (before washing) :-

I just wish I could get a better photo of the colours - this is far too pink.  It's also quite a bit thicker than I usually spin, but I must admit I didn't pay much attention to that - I wanted some texture as well as flecks so it's a bit slubby here and there.

Hope to try knitting a swatch of this as soon as it's dry, then I can decide which sweater pattern to knit with it.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Tweed Experiment

Happy New Year everyone.  Hope you all enjoyed the festivities wherever you are in the world.  Wishing you health and happiness for 2015 (and I'm sure a bit of wealth wouldn't go amiss either).

For a while now I've wanted to spin a tweed yarn, but haven't really known what to use as a base.  Then I found 500g of mauve merino that I'd been saving, mainly because I didn't really like the colour.  I ordered it from World of Wool thinking it was a nice lilac colour, but when it arrived it was actually a peculiar shade of mauve/purple.  I decided to card it with white merino and use that for the base colour.

Three passes through the drum carder gave me this :-

which was a little bit closer to the shade I expected when I bought it.

I also had a large bag of World of Wool floor sweepings (Botany lap waste) of various colours and picked these out to go into half of the mauve :-

After adding these to the drum carder, the batt looked very bright and garish, but I was fairly certain it would calm down with another couple of passes.

Fourth pass :-

Fifth pass, and the colours have almost disappeared :-

Time to add more colour to the fifth pass,

Which looked like this :-

The sixth, and final pass, gave the result I was after :-

Just enough colour showing to gave the yarn flecks when it's spun.

This is hopefully going to be a cardigan when it's finished, provided I have enough yardage.  I started spinning this on my new Majacraft Aura spinning wheel which has massive bobbins.

Tonight I spun the rest of this bobbin and then took it off and weighed it.  The full bobbin weighed an amazing 480g; an empty bobbin weighs 160g; therefore there is 320g of yarn.  I haven't finished spinning this ply yet, I still have another 140g.  So, if each ply weighs 460g, that would give me 920g of plyed yarn.  More than enough for my cardigan!

140g still to be spun
I was hoping to show you some finished yarn long before this, but it's taken forever to card this lot : 21 batts x 6 passes each = a lot of work!!  The next ply will be slightly different as I used all the red, dark blue and yellow fibre on this.  These are the colours I will use in the second ply :-

At my current rate of progress, the carding should be finished in about two weeks, so don't hold your breath!