Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cloudy skies!

I like the blues in this first batch of fibre, I actually dye 100g at a time in a microwave steamer.

I found a second microwave steamer in a second hand shop, so I usually prepare the second batch while I'm waiting for the first to cook. I'm not trying to make them exactly the same, although this second batch is not quite what I had planned, but it will still compliment the blues, whether I ply them together, or keep them seperate.

These last two, are my favourite dye experiments so far, I can't wait to get spinning them up, maybe later this week, I've still got that cardigan kicking around, the sleeves are in, just the side seams and sleeve seams to go, might even see if I can finish it off this week, now it's there in writing I better go and see where I left it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Green Meanie!

Inspired by the beautiful greens of Emerald City over on the Weekend Whirls, I set about dyeing some fibre in shades of green. I've seen some great green results with the limes and blues of Koolaid, so gave it a go, I used 1 sachet of Koolaid per ounce as recommended, but all I got was this, I started spinning it up, maybe I thought it was going to miraculously transform into a green goddess, but the colours just weren't strong enough to satisfy me.

Someone with a bit of patience may have just spun the whole lot up and then overdyed it, but spinning takes a little time, and really you want to be spinning with colours you like, so I took my fibre and little ball back to the dye pot and got this:

This is the original pale green ball, overdyed with emerald, and turquoise, not a caterpillar!

Actually I overdyed the fibre and the ball twice, because it was too bile green second time round so I had to introduce some more blues, to achieve the desired effect.

Now as we at Freestylefibre are very aware you have to be very careful and patient and gentle when dyeing fibre, but unfortunately after 2 trys at overdying and cooling, the fibre hadn't faired aswell as the ball and hadn't bloomed back to its original fluffy self, so not to be defeated I put it through the drum carder, added a little sparkle with some blue angelina and spun it into this:

7oz of feltable fluffy green singles to play with!

Monday afternoon I dyed another 16oz of fibre and some more silk hankies, and this time I've actually achieved the kind of results I was hoping for, coming soon!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bag Tag!

Going back a couple of weeks, well actually June 1st to be exact, Marianne showed us the contents of her purse, or bag as us Brits are apt to call it. I like to see what's inside people's bags just as much as the next person and as I am actually about to move on to a new bag, one that will hold all this and a knitting project, I emptied mine out and took a snap.

I love the concept of 'bag tag' so I thought I would bare all with the contents of my bag, I'm not really going to tag anyone else, well I tried to tag Jackie, (but she seems to think just because she doesn't carry house and home around in a big sack that it's somehow not valid). If you do pass this way though and would like to join in and show us the contents of your purse or bag, please link back, or leave me a comment as I would like to come and nose through yours!

Right at the back is the 'old bag', it's quite a roomy babycord sack of sorts, and serves its purpose well, now round to the right is my purse or wallet, I always used to carry a black purse but this is easier to find in the dark of a bag, next to that is my i-pod nano, for-head headache stick and imodium tablets, a diary I use as a notebook, below that is a Scoobydoo Mystery Machine dice. This is a great little dice within the cab of the van, when you press the button it flicks the dice!

Just below this is a credit card wallet, which is completely unnecessary, the cards I use are in my purse, mobile phone on the diary, piece of old jigsaw I picked up in the street to use in a journal page, small change, chewing gum, lipsalve, almost empty bottle of perfume, 3 pens and a crochet hook, a tissue, and a calender. The only other thing that is missing from this picture which is usually in my bag whilst I'm out is car keys, and I sometimes carry a tape measure aswell.

Naked Tuesday!

Today as it is naked Tuesday I am exposing my body art, this first tattoo is a heart of course, I had this done when I was 18 by Fat Bob. I think he may have been drunk! Anyway somebody told me that the outline is the painful bit, so rather than choosing a butterfly or a rose I picked a little heart to wear on my sleeve. Another girl who was with a gang of boys went in before me, and she actually left as soon as he turned his buzzing needle gun on, me, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth just sat there and let him get on with it, to be honest it's no worse than having a pinprick for a bloodtest.

This second picture is the chinese symbol for birthmark (at least I hope it is). I chose it out of a book I borrowed from the library all about Chinese symbols, it was a toss up between this one or the Chinese symbol for cake. I had this done age 29,by John Treharne at Skin Creations

This is my third tattoo, also by John at Skin Creations, and was a 30th birthday present from a girlfriend, it really is my favourite tattoo so far, but I'm not entirely sure if it is my last!

You see I like this tattoo, this is Carrieoke's KNIT tattoo, I found it on a random search one day for images of balls of wool, although I don't think I have anywhere to put it, the trouble with tattoos, you have to think carefully about them, and where you put them, and whether you want them to be on show all the time, and whether you want to be able to cover them aswell, you've got to be able to live with them for life! The only one I really regret is the first one, simply because I didn't really think about it much, I was just a naive 18 year old who wanted a tattoo.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dejá vu part deux!

Caught some photos of the finished yarn this morning when the promised rain didn't materialise.

Still on the purple theme, here are some silk hankies I dyed up last week, I've actually done most of the drafting, just the spinning left to do!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dejá vu

This is the second batch of purple yarn cakes ready to ply. I dyed this second lot of 8oz with the leftover dye from the first batch, this is more violet and black where as the first batch had a little more amethyst and grey in.

I seem to be drawn to purple at the moment.

I started spinning Monday 4th June, and was averaging 1oz a day, and suddenly things seemed to speed up towards the end of the week and I had completed all 8oz Saturday morning and got them plied on the Joy Saturday night.

Niddy noddied and twist set Sunday they just need a photo shoot and we're done!
Not much going on this week apart from last minute homework for the C & G Knitting course.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Knit Happens!

I'm still running a week behind, but I don't have much more to show you and I'll hopefully be caught up. I cast this on last Tuesday the yarn is 50% baby alpaca, 50% merino in a colour called strawberry cream, and I'm knitting matching cardigans for a friends baby and toddler, for a wedding in October...just thought I'd make a start, so there's something on my needles, and another friend is expecting a baby girl at the end of the why not knit 3.

I know baby stuff does fly off the needles, it's so small, I could probably finish one of these in a few days and even get it stitched up but I've got other irons in the fire. I have made a bit of progress stitching up the Vogue cardigan, the sleeves are in, I just need to do the side and sleeve seams, I just don't have an incentive to finish it because I'm worried that the sleeves won't give.

By the way there's a story behind my favourite Pony size 4mm needles, a couple of months ago I actually lost one of these needles, out and about, and I replaced it with a 4mm of the same length.

Whilst browsing second hand shops I always look at needles, even though I have plenty, but I still like to buy up any chunky wooden ones I find, anyway in a pot of needles I found this pony needle, exactly the same as the one I lost, and the eerie thing is it was a lone needle, I couldn't find another one, and they only charged me 30p for it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

You can't hurry Fluff!

Look I made 'emo' yarn. This is spindle spun merino plied on Joy which I dyed myself, this first batch of 8 oz/200g, is a waste not want not yarn.

I basically had a problem getting it dry, I wanted some fibre to spin at the craft fair I was having a stall at, and the merino only arrived on the Saturday morning, the fair was on the Sunday it had been sunny all week, but was quite a dull and cold day, I persevered none the less and got to work dying.

Although after dying I tried to cool down the fibre too fast, then I spun it to take out some excess water, and it looked a bit sorry for itself, so I rinsed it again and left it to drip dry for a bit. When it wasn't drying fast enough later in the day I took the hair dryer to it and finally by 9pm I put on the central heating, it was dry enough to start spinning on the Sunday.

But the combined process of all this treatment frazzled the fibre a little bit, but it's still super soft merino fibre, so I spun it. It was kind of fluffier and harder to draft but you can see and you know what they say...waste not want not.....but always remember when can't hurry fluff!

This yarn was completed Saturday 2nd June!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Fuzzy Felts!

More felted yarn experiments!

Still time travelling...this was last Saturday afternoon!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

30th June

Finally finished these socks on the 30th of June, so I'm only just a week behind on my blog but I've still got alot to show you.
It was a Regia self striping, and this was my first attempt at toe up and knitting two socks on circulars.
I used the Knitty Magic Cast-on for Toe Up Socks , I then did row below toe increases, this is one of my favourite methods of increasing, on the left slant of the toe (this is actually right of foot as you look at it) you knit the stitch but do not drop, then knit into the stitch below, and on right slant you knit into the stitch below then knit into the stitch.

For the heel I followed Wendy's Generic Toe Up Pattern, and wrapped the stitches twice.
I have given these socks away to my mum!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Catching Up!

I'm still on the catch up trail as far as finished work is concerned, so here is the finished superwash merino in the Twist and Shout colourway from Crown Mountain Farm, spun on the Turkish Spindle, and plied on the Joy.

This yarn still has a story of its own, I had all the skeins plied and skeined up on the niddy noddy, must have been about Friday the 18th May. Saturday morning I decide to give them a warm bath while I get dressed and go back to my soaking skeins only to find that the dark blue had somehow run and everything was a shade of blue, which although still looked pretty wasn't quite what I had in mind.

So I e-mailed Teyani from Crown Mountain Farm, and she was very helpful and spoke about a product someone else had used to remove colour, I think it was some kind of washer sheets you can buy, but not wanting to put this yarn through my unpredictable washing machine I went off to my local shop and bought myself some Dylon Colour Run Remover. You basically add this sachet of liquid to the water and soak the item in question in it for 20 mins.

After its soak again the water was an alarming shade of indigo, but it has restored the white highlights to a pale blue colour, and something I'm much happier with. None of these pictures really capture the true combination of blue, green, pink and purple in this yarn, but it's really soft and pretty and ideal for baby clothes.

What do I do with all this handspun UK Marianne? Good question, well I did a craft fair last week, it wasn't very busy due to the horrendous weather we had, but the one thing I did sell was yarn!

I'm going to tidy my knitting cupboard this week, and will be sorting all the handspun out and anything good enough to sell that isn't lined up for a project will be going into my etsy shop.

Now I've written it down I better get on with it!

I can see you all wondering about the cookie's how I can tell which skein is which before I label them up ready to sell.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Blog Fodder

I seem to be a bit behind with photos queued and waiting to be uploaded to my blog but I've been worrying a bit lately that my lack of knitting content and my spinning obsession, may be a bit boring sometimes....look I made yarn, look I made more yarn, but I called my blog Freestylefibre for the simple reason that way back last September after only spinning for 3 months I knew making yarn was my thing.

So look more yarn...


This fibre started life as a deep purple unknown sheep fibre lurking in my stash, it isn't soft enough for much, but as the saying goes waste not want not, so I tried spinning it without carding, just by teasing the fibre into short lengths, and as I did this I raided my 'Treasure Box' of fibery bits and just threw them at the wheel as I spun. once finished I wound the yarn onto the niddy noddy and tied it with a cotton yarn every five inches.

Next I put it into the washing machine with a little soap and an old towel, and felted it. You do have to be careful where the yarn is tied when you take it out of the machine, as it does try to felt onto itself.

This process creates a strong felted yarn suitable for making bags!