Catching up..

So I went to the farm & country fair (last week). Remember when I said this World Cup was killing me..? It still is. Of course I HAVE to watch all of the matches.. *le sigh* Back to the event.

I’ve spent some time knitting. It was a 1.5 hour drive so I’m glad I brought my knitting.

We saw some alpacas, sheep, goats and pigs and it was very awesome 🙂

Aren’t they adorable? I really want a pet pig 🙁 (Too bad they don’t stay like this)

This little piglet is seriously adorable, but mommy pig is huuuge.

This was my favorite part! A (rather large) wall with felted, spun and knitted samples of different types of fiber. How awesome! I spent some time petting the samples 🙂

A little ‘close-up’

After this visit I got inspired to do some carding and spinning.

By now I’m almost done with the 100 grams of this kid mohair, but this is what it looked like last week 🙂

In the mean time we (finally) remodeled the living room and it appears the bunnies are happy with the changes.

Remember the singles on the Russianspindle? I chain plied it on my spindle. I ended up with 200 meters of 3 ply yarn (22 grams). It’s a bit finer than I expected, but I’m happy with it.

 

I hope you enjoy this odd Kiwi pose.

 

Stretching..

This World Cup is killing me. It may not be a surprise to hear that I’m a very big fan of the Tour de Fleece, but not much of a fan of the actual Tour de France. The World Cup on the other hand is something I can get excited about. I don’t usually follow soccer/ sports at all, but there’s something about the World (or European) Cup matches that I love. It reminds me of the times that I was a kid and we would all sit down and watch the matches together.

I had plans to updated a new design this week and to look for test knitters, but I was counting on being able to knit while watching the matches. I can’t. The matches are really fun to watch, and even though I can knit and watch, I kept making mistakes so I switched to some lighter knitting (sock and scarf).

I’m hoping to have it done by next week, but I’m not promising anything haha. I’m following the matches and my sleep pattern is a bit less than ok at the moment.

I bought this spindle for my moms birthday in April. My mom got really interested in spinning, but I thought it’d be a little too crazy to start off with a wheel. I do think that it’s important for a starting spindler to start with a very good spindle. I’ve tried a few spindles myself and I believe this golding is the best I could get her for her birthday. She has issues with her shoulder so a lightweight spindle was important. Also, even though I love Turkish spindles, the process of winding the cop can be time consuming. (This is due to my own obsessiveness of making pretty cops and by no means a reflection on Turkish spindles).

I believe mine is a Walnut 3″ Tsunami and my moms is a 2″ Cherry Tsunami, but I’m not sure about the type of wood. I have it written down somewhere.. I really like how they look so much alike, but the 2″ version is so much smaller.

I usually order some fleece/ fiber before the TdF and this year is no exception. The only thing that is really different this year is that I have my own fiber to spin as well! So far I’ve saved up all the clippings of Bam and Zuzu, but I’m not really sure about what I’m going to do yet.

This is (I believe) half of what I’ve saved up from the clippings. I have two tiny (dwarf?) angora’s so they produce a bit less than a regular sized angora. The advantage, however, is that I can clip them every two months instead of every three months. In these two months the bunnies ‘grow’ to nearly twice their actual size (because of the hair), so I’m not exactly sure how much less fiber they produce. I usually get about 150 grams to 200 grams of clipped hair from my biggest bunny. The smaller one gives me about 50 grams less on average. That’s still a lot of bunny!

I remember seeing something on Diva’s blog last year about a camel blend, so when I saw these I knew I had to try them. I’m still expanding my spinning knowledge and spinning different fibers is a great way to learn about their characteristics. It’s actually one of the most important things (imho), because the fibers characteristics will determine what the yarn (and eventual product) will do and how it will behave. You can’t expect silk socks to behave the same as BFL socks.

The similar colored ones are the ones with the camel and polwarth (another fiber I’ve never spun)

Meet Alliser. He’s still not done, but I’m working on it. I’m planning on finishing this as a ‘warming up’ for the actual tour. I just simply LOVE the spindle (and the fiber) and they both match as if I color coordinated them. I haven’t had time to sit down and spin for a while (also due to problems with my right hand/ wrist), but I’m going to finish this so I can get in the mood for some TdF (while watching some WC). I’m going to take the smartest road and start a new cop. This one is getting heavy and it’s really not good for my wrist/ hand to keep spinning like this (which is why I stopped spinning in the first place).

I’m planning on spinning 100 grams of kid mohair with this little spindle to try it out. I’m thinking of spinning the blues and brows together and then plying them for a complete barberpole. I’m usually not a fan of barberpole at all, but I think it might be a good idea to try it for once. (again I’m still not sure.. what do you think?)

 

Goodbye..

I’m saying goodbye to my phone. Dear Note. You served me well. You started out amazing. Deteriorated too quickly, your battery life was ok at first and then just plain non existent in the end. I feel bad for saying this, but you didn’t even manage to survive for the 24 months you were supposed to function. Now you can rest. I’ll see if I can find a new battery for you and if that will fix your problems. But I doubt it will do you any good.

I stopped updating my twitter and instagram because my phone couldn’t handle the apps. It would either crash or it would empty the battery in less than an hour. I now have a Lumia 1520, and I’m back in the game. I’ve set everything so if you like you can follow me on instagram/ twitter.

My new phone makes some awesome pictures! I borrowed these from my instagram feed because I was too lazy to take ‘real’ pictures with the ‘real’ camera. These are my “By the river Seine” socks in Dutch Wool Diva bamboo sock yarn (in colorway: Jelly Fishing). I’ve knit these before, but I frogged them because they ended up being waaay too big for my feet. I usually cast on between 60 or 64 stitches on 2.5 mm needles. I’ve found that this produces socks that always fit my feet in a comfortable way. I don’t like knitting socks with smaller needles, and I only use bigger needles for the BF (because he doesn’t wear them very often and needs them to be ‘airy’ because of hot feet).

I really had a lot of fun with the combination and made some (really horrible) mental jokes about jelly fishing in the Seine…

I forgot to mention but we visited Paris last week. I wanted to blog while I was there, but in the end I decided to enjoy the stay first, and blog about it later.

We found a star and Megaman (and the bubble bobble guy). I usually take more pictures, but I guess this time I was more focussed on taking in the sight and I actually forgot to take pictures.

I used my 5 ply Manx Loaghtan to knit a Dryad (by Brooklyn Tweed). I had already bought the pattern a while back, but I wanted to use woolly and textured yarn. I think the pattern and yarn work really well together.

In the mean time I’m still expanding my TdF spinning stash. My goal this year is to (only/ mostly) spin on the Bliss. My goal is to make yarns with 4 or 5 plies, and yarns with special effects (like glitter). There’s still some time left, but I’ve already ordered some extra. Maybe I should dye some of the stuff I have at home…

 

Shopaholic

Thank you for the kind and awesome comments on my birthday 🙂 We’ve had some great weather the past few days so I’ve been busy relaxing in the sun and spinning and plying some yarns.

Here’s the 5 ply Manx Loaghtan. I’m happy with the way they turned out, but again, it would’ve been better to spin smaller quantities on a spindle. I didn’t manage to get a full 5 ply all the way because I ran out of one of the singles, but it was pretty close. I already have a project in mind for this yarn, but I’ll have to swatch first.

It’s a bit irregular, but that too is because I tried to build a huge cop on my spindle. It was a bit overdue, but I got three extra bobbins for my Bliss (it was a gift for my birthday from the BF). So now my bliss looks like this:

I had to do the drilling myself, and I used an Ikea drill (because my other drill is very heavy and I can’t keep it steady with one hand). I have a nice bobbin train thingy going on and I’ve already tested them out. I spun a bit on 4 bobbins and made 4-ply just to test it out (no picture, oops).

Granted, my drilling skills won’t win me any prizes, but it’s functional and steadier than it looks, so I’m very pleased with myself at the moment.

Here’s a picture of the holes I drilled. The first three were already present. The fourth and the fifth are mine.. the fourth is not so bad, the fifth is franken-hole. But it still works so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

Anyway, remember when I mentioned something about not wanting to buy any fabrics for quilting? I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it until I had made at least one little quilt. I think I lied. I’m not sure if I lied on purpose or if I lied ‘by accident’. But there was a fabric fair (5 minutes from my house, it must be a sign or something) and I came home with this:

I guess I’m not supposed to complain because the fabrics were all crazy cheap, so it wasn’t all too bad. This one, however, was quite expensive, but so worth it:

There is so much detail in here! I think I can get some nice and cute images out of this fabric for my quilt 🙂

While shopping I decided to buy these two other fabrics to make garments. I’m thinking of a top and a dress maybe.

The fabric on the left is a bit see-through, but it will be nice for a dress (or something) anyway. The fabric on the right seemed like it would like to become something soft and drapey.

And while I was there I decided to get myself some nice colors to go with them.

In the mean time I’m prepping for the Tour de Fleece. That means I’m searching the internet and my favorite shops for spin supplies. I’ve decided to only do wheel spinning this year, so I’ll need som serious supplies. 100 grams is enough for one day when I’m spinning on my wheel.

This is the first one. It’s a merino silk mix and it’s dyed by Feikje. She still has some nice ones left so hurry to her blog and pick one!

I’ve also ordered 200 grams of camel mix from Dutch Wool Diva! To be honest, I don’t remember exactly what it is.. I saw, I drooled, I ordered. But that’s what usually happens when I visit her shop….

It’s too hot to sit inside, so I’ll be going now. Happy knitting/ spinning! 🙂

Celebrations!

yay! today is my birthday, and I think I’ve never actually managed to blog on my birthday! The past few weeks I’ve been cleaning out my house and organizing my stuff, and the past few days I’ve been organizing my spinning basket (and getting ready for the TdF and the world cup!).

I decided to try some outdoor carding. Some nice music, some coffee and I had the time of my life, just carding away. Without even realizing I spent an entire day carding. Starting at 1pm and stopping at 11 pm when it became too dark to see out.

Apparently, that’s not really a great idea. I really enjoyed the carding, but I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening to my arm. I have wrist problems and this was really not helping at all. So I spent 2 days with a painful arm and joints and learned a very valuable lesson! Moderation is not so bad…

I really liked the proces and I’m very happy I finally caved and bought one. Carding by hand isn’t all that bad, but compared to this it’s much harder work and it takes much longer to process much less. I think I’ll be using this a lot!

I really wanted to card some more, but I had to take a break because my arm was hurting too much. So I spent the next two days spinning yarn. I learned to spin with two hands open (from the Spin to Weave dvd) so I could spin comfortably without moving my right arm.

This is 100 grams of Manx Loaghtan I still had left from last years tour de fleece. I had bought a total of 500 grams and I was planning to make a 5 ply. I started spinning on my golding spindle, but I used the Bliss wheel to spin the last 250 grams. Looking back I believe it would’ve been better if I had spun smaller quantities on the spindle, instead of trying to force the whole 100 grams on there. The singles start out light when the cop was tiny, but they get thicker at the end (when the cop is very big).

While sitting outside I decided to see if Bam liked the fresh koriander I had planted for him. He went in to sniff and appeared not to like it in the beginning. But he kept coming back for some more sniffing. After a while he decided to take a bite and before long there was nothing left.

It took him two days to eat this much, but I think it was a great success. I had planted these so I could feed the bunnies, but also in hopes that they would leave the other plants alone once they had their own little plants to eat. Unfortunately it soft of backfired. Bam appeared to think that all plants must be delicious so he decided to eat all of the other plants as well. This ended up in me having to find a plan to save my plants.

They can have the parsley (which they don’t really like), and the mint (which only Zuzu will eat). But the blueberry and gladiolus are off limits. Obviously this makes them smell and (probably) taste even better, so that’s the only thing that Zuzu (the other bunny, not pictured) will eat. So I had to protect the plants, and yes, this was all I could come up with.

I’m still looking for a better solution, but I really want the bunnies to be able to go outside without me having to watch them all the time. They can’t get out (because I’ve fenced off everything), but I don’t want them to eat all the plants (and get sick). So I’ll have to deal with this weirdness for a few days until I come up with a better plan.

No use of the table either.

Bam soon realized that his best option was the Basil plant. He can have all the basil he wants so I say it’s a win-win situation for both of us 🙂

Back to the spinning. These are the 200 grams of handspun manx loaghtan I had spun last year. I finished the rest and plied them together.

I decided to use the old Rotterdam for this job, instead of the Bliss. The Bliss is a much nicer wheel to spin on, but there isn’t much room on the bobbins to make a 5-ply, and I didn’t want to end up with a lot of knots in my final yarn.

I really like this picture. The singles and both spinning wheels in the background.

So this is how I ply. I ordered a set of 3 extra bobbins for the bliss, so I’ll be able to make such yarns in an easier fashion. At least it will also be possible to work on multiple projects now.

I don’t know how much yarn I have. I haven’t counted and weighed any of it yet. I ran out of one of the singles quite soon and I made some 4 ply yarn after that. The sizes don’t match so I won’t use them together, but there’s still enough to use for other purposes/ in combination with other yarns.

While the yarns are drying I’m going to relax and enjoy being 30. Have a great day everyone!