I had my friend Melanie come round and do some spinning with me – she had bought a pack of fibre from Spin a Yarn, and was experimenting with it. I found this incredibly inspiring, and it prompted me to get out some of the fibre that I have been…well, hoarding for a while, and play with it. For hours…until 1 am in fact.
I have finished spinning up the nylon roving and the sparkly unicorn tail has been spun! Now I am ready to ply it – as soon as I’ve spun up the rainbow tops. I may have to go to the Handweavers Studio and get more of the nylon – this will not be an issue, we went and check yesterday and they still have loads of it.
Melanie has been encouraging me to try new techniques – so I will be plying this as a three ply, with seed beads and thread too! I’m very excited to be trying this out, and have been watching YouTube tutorials with bated breath. Now I just need to get the beads and start the process off. I feel very Louisa Harding.
I bought some alpaca fibre at Unravel 2013 – this is from UK Alpaca and it is deepest darkest black combed roving. I adore it – soft, fluffy and like having an alpaca to pet in my home.
I also have some Bearhouse Alpaca fibre which I bought from a petrol garage in Honiton (I know, WHAT?). The fibre is ‘fawn’, and completely unprocessed fleece. It has a lot of alpaca dandruff and vegetable matter in it, so this may be the start of me wearing an apron while spinning…
I’m holding the two together and letting the single grab bits randomly. I’m aiming for a subtle striping, but it might just become a muddy yarn because I’m planning to spin three sets of singles and plying it all together. Whatever happens, I will be happy with it! I would like to knit a sampler shawl out of it, as Melanie has done this and I am now enamoured with the idea.
I’m very excited about the two new projects that I have on the needles and wheel – my Solomon’s Temple socks, and my rainbow fibre. I’ve talked about them on Episode 5 of the podcast – check it out here! Here follow the latest pictures for you!
When John and I went to Buxton in August, we visited Sew In. While here, I looked for yarn that would be a lovely symbol of our trip, and I found some West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply. A self-striping yarn, it has two shades of green and three brownish, reddish, earthy tones. There is also a stripe that separates each colour which has light and dark grey speckles in it.
This all serves as a reminder of a very cold and wet journey up a hill – nay, a mountain in Buxton as we headed to explore Solomon’s Temple, a fortified hill marker with views of the Peak District. Halfway up the mountain, a giant thunderstorm started. I was stubborn. I refused to go back down. We got to the top and took the obligatory ‘on top of a hill in a thunderstorm near a stone tower’ selfie, before pretty much running down to a cafe with hot chocolate and a warm place to change out of our wet clothes!
I absolutely adore the colours, although I was a bit unsure about exactly how it would knit up. I bit the bullet and chose my pattern from a book I got for my birthday. I am more than thrilled with how the yarn is turning out, and I cannot wait to wear them! It is wonderful and soft, and the self-striping is just brilliant.
My newest spinning project is some nylon yarn that is coloured like a rainbow! It is incredibly sparkly, soft, and is spinning up nicely! It drafts smoothly and the only downside is that I get covered in sparkles while I’m spinning. Is this really a downside, though?!
My plan is to spin some rainbow coloured solid tops into a gradient single, then ply that with the sparkly single. What will it become? No idea! We’ll see what yardage I get. I’ll have to do a careful swatch to see how it all knits and washes up before I do anything with it.
I’m heading out to the Handweavers Studio in a moment to ooh and ahh over their equipment. I’m hoping to pick up more bobbins so I can do more than one project at a time! I’ve been coveting an Ashford Joy they have for sale – but it’s not in budget at the moment, unfortunately.
Episode Five of the Plutonium Muffins Podcast kicks off with some talk about knitting, followed by excellent progress on the spinning side of things. We move on to mine and Shatki’s resolutions, all rounded off with a chat to Vicky of Hulu Crafts in Modbury! Enjoy.
I’m going to be coming down to Devon a lot in the future, and I decided I needed a stash down here…it shall be my secret stash, and I shall call it squishy. Being local, I had to stash local yarn, obviously…OK, so it’s not so local, the roving is from Uruguay and the sock yarn from Germany, but the shop, Hulu Crafts, was local!
Stash from Hulu
I blogged about Hulu last year when this was my local yarn shop – to read that post go HERE. I was absolutely delighted to be able to go back to a knit and natter last night. This will be a monthly event for me, and I will even be able to go to their Christmas dinner! I’m so excited.
I have been into Hulu twice in the last four days, and fell in love with two things that I decided I needed to stash. The first was an Opal sock yarn. I knitted my first ever socks from Opal yarn, and they are the best pair I have – I prefer them to Regia, Artesano, and all of the yarn from small yarn companies that I have bought over the last few years. I actually noticed it when Vicky posted about it on the 22nd of August and decided I must look when I was next home.
She still had it! So I bought it.
The roving caught my eye as I walked past it, and I’ve always wanted to try Manos del Uruguay fibre but never seen it in person. That was snapped up – the colours are fairly similar to the Opal yarn, but I’m loving it and started spinning straightaway. I fascinated everyone at Knit and Stitch at Hulu, and Vicky posted a photo of me doing it to the Facebook page! (I’m famous, heehee.)
Anyway, now that you’ve drooled over my secret stash, carry on!
PS Anyone recognise the quote in italics in my introductory paragraph?
As promised in the Plutonium Muffins Podcast Episode Four, here’s a bit of extra information on the Navajo-Churro sheep for you! I hope you enjoy it – if there’s anything extra that you would like, or you have any questions, do let me know.
The Navajo-Churro are the modern descendants of a cross-breed between Jacob Sheep and Churra, an ancient Iberian breed. They were brought to North America with the original settlers in the 16th Century and were adopted by the Navajo as an important element of economy and culture shortly after this.
The Navajo were extraordinarily good weavers, and the wool came in highly useful for the makers. Weaving reproduction rugs is a popular pastime at the moment, and a search for them comes up with a wonderful range of examples. The below is an example of a rug that was woven around 100 years ago.
The sheep are considered threatened in conservation terms, and are considered a sheep of the United States of America. They have been protected since the 1970’s, and there are a number of projects which I have managed to find in which the focus is preserving the breed.
Navajo-Churro rams have been blessed with the ability to have two, four or even six horns! This comes from their Jacob ancestry, and makes them one of very few breeds of sheep in the world that can have this number of horns. Females can be horned or have nubs of horn which are termed scurrs instead.
These sheep are primarily bred for their fleece. They are dual-coated, with a soft, short undercoat and a long, coarse outer coat. The yarns which can be spun from this fibre is different depending on what you spin; the undercoat makes soft, warm yarn and the outer coat produces a stronger and more coarse yarn.
The sheep come in a bewildering array of colours! They are seriously good-looking sheep, with anything from reds to browns, blacks to whites, in-between colours, mixtures of these, different colours on their points (legs and head) and hips…check out this flock!
I would love to try this fleece, and have found a few sources online:
bide a wee farm – online shop here. Unfortunately, there are no fleeces currently in stock, and I cannot see any information on when it will be available again – but if you are interested, keep an eye out!
Arriola Sunshine Farm – I suspect you have to contact them directly as they do not have an online shop, and I am not that dedicated (I dread to think how much it would cost to ship a whole fleece to the UK) so I haven’t enquired. Shop here.
Spin Dance Acres sells yarn, fleece and roving, and looks to be my personal best bet if I ever manage to get some of this fibre. You have to email for information on roving, which I have done and will let you know when I receive a reply. Check out the website.
Of course, our favourite marketplace Etsy, also has fibre available – try out a search and see what comes up. I added a few things to my favourite in this quest, I can tell you! The main shop that seems to come up is Liongate – here.
In case you would like some of the more technical information on the fleece, these details are:
Inner Coat: wool fibers ranging from 10-35 microns, comprising 80% of the fleece,
Outer Coat: hair fibers measuring 35+ microns, comprising 10-20% of the fleece,
Kemp: short opaque fibers of 65+ microns, not to exceed 5% of the fleece.
The fleece is open with no defined crimp and should be lustrous with a silky hand. It is high yielding with a low grease content.
The lambs are unbelievably cute (I suppose all baby sheep are!), and are often born in pairs.
Do you have any requests for another breed of sheep you would like to know more about? Do let me know!
It has been a tricky few weeks and I’ve been reminded by my lovely family and friends to concentrate on the journey rather than the destination. I thought I would take a moment to celebrate some great things about my journey this last week! Please join me, and let me know what you have been enjoying this week.
Enjoying the Journey
It has been the most positive week, mental health wise, that I’ve had for a long time. It feels wonderful to start enjoying things again! I can’t express how delighted I am that I can enjoy the simple pleasures that have been lost to me for several months. October brings me plenty of things to revel in:
The Gilmore Girls have come to Netflix! They got me through my final rocky year of university, and I’m so happy to have their great sense of humour and caffeine fuelled madness to enjoy while I’m knitting. It beats daytime telly, that’s for sure!
John bought me a new notebook! The business plan is going to be for my next big project, but no more details here – you’ll have to wait, hee. I love notebooks, and I love this.
The Must Stash Podcast. I love Stacie and Steph, and they are back to a regular podcasting schedule. I’m so happy to have them back! They are so great together, I love the editing of the podcast (which is really a videocast), they talk about interesting things and are always knitting the most wonderful projects. I’ve been finding them very inspiring this week!
I finished spinning Splash. I KNOW, RIGHT? I took the opportunity to play around with my spinning wheel while John was at a band practice, and the singles sat on the wheel for just over 12 hours to set the twist. I couldn’t wait any longer, and plied after a cuppa with a friend. I’ve left it drying in the flat – it will be dry when I return next week!
I’m on my way home to stay with my parents for a week. This is going to be a monthly occurrence for the rest of this year at least, and I’m thrilled to be able to spend time with them – and this lovely girl, who is now nearly 13 and slowing down a lot!
What have you particularly enjoyed on your journey this week? I would love to know what you get up to while you knit – I know a lot of people listen to audiobooks, some people read, some watch TV, others listen to podcasts, many people just concentrate on the knitting…! I do all of these and more, depending on the pattern, and I’m feeling so content with my craft today.
Doesn’t the idea of a Sherbert Cushion sound delicious? Well it’s very soft and squooshy and gorgeously coloured, and in my opinion is as delicious as yarn and stuffing can get. It looks lovely on our (new) sofa! (more…)
I cannot believe it is time to set my September Resolutions already. What is up with that!? I have so many ideas buzzing around and I’m really looking forward to getting going on some September knitting – so here goes! (more…)
I was digging through my yarn box yesterday (putting my New York yarn away!) and decided to pull out all of my handspun. I don’t know why – something to do with catching sight of the Sherbert Yarn and wanting to admire my handiwork again.
Crikey, it has been a long time since I posted anything at all – much less anything about my July Resolutions projects! Things have been going crazy – I had a birthday, JS and I are moving house and I am trying to find flats desperately, JS went to New York, Piccadilly left us (cry) and I’ve been dealing with some health stuff. Ack! (more…)
Welcome to Plutonium Muffins; a blog about knitting, spinning, some general craft, and life as a twenty-something year old trying to figure out how vintage and traditional pursuits fit into the twenty-first century.