August in pictures

I’m working on a new project. Summer ended a few weeks ago and I’ve been strangely excited about colder weather.

I finished my cousins baby blanket six months early (for a change)

 

I really like the way it turned out. I nearly ran out of yarn, but I managed to finish it by knitting faster (it really works, trust me).

I bought some more fiber. Seriously I have a shopping addiction when it comes to yarn and fiber..

I may need to send Bam to therapy. He thinks he’s a plant. A cute plant. But still a plant.

I tried to bond with Zuzu a bit by trying to see the world from her perspective. I must look terrifying to her. No wonder she doesn’t like me to pet her (long) haha!

I’m very sensitive to my bunnies needs, and in this case Bam’s masculinity. I feel like labeling him as ‘adorable’ is emasculating, but we can’t help it. We both think it. Sorry Bam.

See.. he’s not amused.

This is Zuzu’s good side I guess :)

Pictures like this one are actually meant for my own documentation. I really get to miss the living green and colorful plants in the winter so I take pictures of them so I can enjoy them when they’re gone.

I made new stitch markers!

I measured/ skeined some yarn :)

I bought two of these pretty batts for spinning :)

The blue yarn is what I used for the baby blanket. It’s dyed by Dutch Wool Diva (the batts as well) and it was pure joy to knit with :)

There’s that. Now the blog has been updated and I have no more reasons to procrastinate :)

haircuts

It’s time for a short, in-between sort of post today! Today I gave my bunnies an early haircut. I usually cut them every 2 months, but due to the summer heat I decided to cut them a bit sooner. They were panting all the time and I felt really bad for them.

I know I’ve probably mentioned this before, and I might have posted pictures before as well, but I feel like nothing I say can convey the actual mess that comes with grooming/ ‘harvesting’ angora hair.

Here’s Bam getting a haircut. First of all, angora hair will get all over everything. It will be everywhere. This is a picture of me just starting out, I don’t have a picture of when I was done, because I was covered in bunny hair head to toes. It was everywhere, but most importantly: it was in my eyes. I’ve gotten so much better at grooming and cutting them, but for some reason you get covered in a thin layer of it and it feels like being covered in a spiders web. Nice..

Well now that the complaining is done, I should also mention that I’m actually getting good at this. It takes me MUCH less time to cut a bunny and they look so much better than the first few times I cut them. It also helps that they’re slowly getting used to being picked up and groomed. When we first got them it was terrible, they would kick and try to escape constantly. Obviously they don’t like to be picked up, so I decided to give them treats immediately after picking them up. I also groom them on my lap, but cut their hair on an ironing board. I can manage grooming them on my lap, but they’ll try to escape if I try to give them a haircut. Also: it wil get all over the house.. I can manage a covered ironing board.

Unfortunately it’s too dark to take any good pictures of the bunnies right now. They spent the entire day running and hopping around. So adorable.

I’ve been spinning a lot lately! This time it’s Fireshadow by Dutch Wool Diva. I’m going to spin another fractal yarn, because it’s my new addiction and I think this fiber and these colors will work. I’ve also been thinking and writing and rewriting something I’d like to say about the shetland/ clun forest fiber I wrote about in my last post. I’m really not a snob and I know that the fiber was very cheap so I shouldn’t complain. When it comes to my own work I can be incredibly picky and I can be very hard on myself. That doesn’t mean that I don’t make any mistakes, because I make tons, but when I make something for another (especially if it’s something I’m going to sell) I’ll try my hardest to make something that’s really worth it. I’d want the customer to enjoy my product, and to come back for more. This product made me want to throw it in the trash and not think about it anymore. Why? (and seriously, I’ve washed fleece before and I’ve spun with my poorly washed fleece as well. There’s a learning curve lol).

When you spin you don’t want your house, your clothes and your spinning wheel to get covered in dirt, sand, vegetable matter and a coat of dust. This stuff was filled with it. I remember spinning with some handwashed alpaca that I hadn’t washed well enough. This felt exactly like that. I hated spinning it because my spinning wheel got dirty and even 10 minutes of spinning left me with dirty hands. If you’re going to sell something that’s (hand) processed, at least make sure it’s clean.

Another problem I encountered was that the shetland/ clun forest blend was not a blend at all. It was quite random. Some colors were shetland (on the rough side) and some parts were clun forest (much softer than the shetland). The clun forest was also very greasy. You can blend fiber if you like, there’s a whole list of nearly endless possibilities of blending fiber, but you can’t make a nice yarn with sections of different fibers. You simply can’t. Some parts of your yarn will have a completely different texture and feel. You can of course if that’s what you’re intending and you’re well aware of this, but you should notify the buyer of this (imho questionable) quality. I spun it anyway and decided to see it as practice, but I’m not sure if the yarn will become usable or not.

Last but not least. The batts were filled with nepps and  overall huge knots of unusable fiber.

Again, I realize the fiber was really really really cheap so I guess I got what I paid for, but I still feel like they could’ve asked more money and taken a bit more care to make a better product. The fiber comes from local sheep and I would’ve loved to support such a business. I’ll stop the ranting here and leave you with a weird sleeping kitty picture :)

Onward!

As it turns out, nothing is as healing as knitting and spinning. I took a few days, but spinning really helped me to deal with the events of the last month. What I love about spinning is that it’s really forgiving and you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. There’s no counting, no pattern, no reading. You just sit there and spin and the emotions and thoughts sort themselves out :)

Remember these? I’d been thinking of a barberpole, but in the end I decided to spin them all separately and ply them separately as well.

I’m still practicing on spinning heavier weight singles. At first it was very important to me to be able to spin very fine yarns, but now that I’m comfortable spinning them like that, I also want to be able to spin thicker singles whenever I choose to.

Surprisingly, it’s very difficult. I keep ‘forgetting’, or at least, my hands keep sabotaging me haha. Apparently, spinning is something you do with your hands and feet, rather than with your eyes and brain. So long as you’re aware of your motions, it’s all good, but the moment I zone out my hands will move to sewing thread…

My usual go-to plying method is the chain ply (navajo ply) method. That way I’ll get a nice 3-plied yarn, and have waste yarn left. I never liked the idea of having to make an Andean bracelet for 400 meters of yarn, but for 25 grams of yarn it’s not so bad I guess.

I guess 25 grams really is the limit. I can’t imagine a bigger bracelet being more comfortable to ply with :P

In the end, I’m satisfied with the resulting yarns. All of them are (andean plied) 2ply yarns.  I haven’t measured them yet because they still need a bath. But I’m so happy with them I decided to blog about them today :)


I just finished spinning this bag of handdyed and hand carded shetland/ clun forest blend. I kept the two separate, so I’ll have a greenish gradient yarn and a red/orange. I’m still unsure about how to ply them (or if to keep them as singles. I’ll probably do the andean ply thing again :)

I’m going to spin the one on the left next. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but I’m honestly more interested in the spinning than the end result, so we’ll just see when it’s done :)

I also finished this one. It’s the same fiber as the one in this picture:

Now I remember the fiber fluffing up a LOT during the washing process, but I still feel like I spun this skein much finer than the first one. Even though I prepped and spun the fiber in the exact same way. Maybe I was distracted, or maybe the fiber will fluff up again, but this was an interesting lesson. If you’re going to spin 200 grams of fiber to use in one project, you have to spin them in one go.

Last but not least: I’d like to share a little sneak peak of my latest design. It’s a tuxedo for babies and I’m looking for test knitters! I’ll post it on facebook/ twitter  when I’m done writing the pattern in different sizes.

Thank you for still being here :)