Where to begin?!

Before I start I’d like to wish you al a wonderful Nowrooz! I think I mention this each year, but I think it’s worth mentioning, so just scroll past this part if you’re getting bored 😉 Nowrooz is the Iranian new year in which we celebrate the arrival of spring. Nowrooz is the exact time of the spring equinox, which according to the wikipedia article means that the poles of the earth are not tilted away or towards the sun. So you could say that every part of the earth is getting an equal amount of sun. If you’re interested in reading about it you can do so here on this wikipedia page.

Nowrooz means New Day, and we celebrate the spring and everything it brings. Of course Nowrooz is not only celebrated in Iran, but in many countries in the region. We celebrate for 12 days (and visit family) and on the 13th day we go out and make sure we’re not in the house. We usually go for a picknick, no matter what kind of weather we’re having, but we don’t stay in the house 🙂

So you can imagine I’ve had my hands full with the preparations and the cleaning that comes with it. I’m still busy because we have a lot of family to visit 🙂

To keep my sanity I’ve been knitting and spinning a bit 🙂

At the handwerkbeurs I bought this cute little batt from Dutch Wool Diva. It’s 100% Falkland, and I absolutely love the colors. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I didn’t want to make a gradient. So I decided to spin one long single and make a 2ply out of it. This way you’d get a barberpole, but the colors would come together in the middle.

I decided to to separate the colors and spin them in a gradient so I would end up with a barberpoled 2 ply.

From there on I made faux lags and spun them up one by one. I started out with the yellow and ended up with the dark greys/ black.

I don’t mind having some dramatic effects in yarns, but this time I wanted something cheerful, and I believe I got it. Overall it’s a muted yarn, but it has a lot of happiness and I’m very happy with the results. I haven’t had the time to wash it or to even measure it, so I have no idea how much yarn I have here, but it’s ok. I can wait 🙂

I also spun and finished these rolags. I also haven’t washed and measured that yarn, so I can’t write down the specifics, but I can tell you that it was great to spin this yarn. It became a chain plied yarn, and I’ve put it away so that it can be washed.

These projects helped me to get used to the new wheel and to see what I can and can’t to with it. So far I haven’t noticed any ‘can’t do’s’ so I’m very happy. At some point I’ll have to buy the huge bobbin and flyer set, because I seriously dislike cutting my handspun yarns.

I noticed that there’s definitely a learning curve when you switch to double treadle wheels. This is my first double treadle wheel and at first I constantly felt as though I was going way too fast and I wasn’t getting enough spin for the speed I was going for. Then I realized that I was taking the rhythm I usually spun on and I was cutting it by half. I usually ‘count’ the times my right foot goes up and down, and now I was counting double.

So this yarn was rather underspun and at some points underplied. I decided to let it rest for a while, but I might give it a little extra spin if I see it needs it. I learned that it’s okay to feel as though you’re spinning twice as fast, because you’re really not 😛

I almost forgot! I gave Bam and Zuzu their bi-montly haircuts. Isn’t it amazing how a ‘big’ bunny turns into a ‘tiny’ bunny after a haircut.. it seems like they shrink to half their size after a haircut. I usually put them on the ironing board, but they had too much space to move around, and it wasn’t very comfortable for my back. This new position is much better. Obviously I can’t be hanging over them anymore for the good hour and half it sometimes takes to trim their hair. This little bunny weighs less than 1,5 kg and can be a huge pain in the butt, but this time it seemed like she was okay with getting it over with 🙂

So here’s the thing. I’ve had cats for a while and I know that temperature is very important. When it’s very hot outside they lie down and generally stop being active, but my cats’ fur doesn’t grow. These bunnies can go from very hyperactive to not doing anything all day because they’re hot. But because it happens gradually over a period of 2-3 months you won’t notice right away. Once’ they’ve had their haircuts though, it’s like you have new pets altogether. Zuzu is incredibly naughty. Bam isn’t at all. He’ll try to chew on something that is not a toy and you’ll reprimand him and he’ll go play with something else. But Zuzu is a different story. Tell me I’m crazy but she KNOWS she’s not allowed to do something, and she’ll do it when you’re not looking. Then she’ll gnaw on something very slowly so you won’t hear her. But the couch is the biggest issue. She’s already mauled the couch and she’s no longer allowed near it. But every time she thinks you’re not looking, she’ll sneak underneath there and wait until she gets kicked out again. Which happens a lot 😛

She has a lot of other things to play with and a lot of other places to hide under, but she gnaws on the couch and we find pink pieces of textile everywhere…

Whenever that happens I put her back in her house and she’ll go upstairs to munch on some sticks. Usually I just keep the door closed for a few minutes and open it up again, but sometimes she doesn’t come down anymore. They really like their new home 🙂

I’ve spun silk hankies before, but I’ve never just pulled them apart and knit with them, so I was going to try this out. I had found a beautiful handwarmer pattern for my cousin Sara (because I had promised her a pair for her birthday in November………), so I started knitting.

At first it was a bit wonky and uneven, but after a while I got the hang of it and was actually very happy with the results. Unfortunately I frogged the project because of one reason. The pattern I was following isn’t really great. I usually look at my own work for mistakes, so when I found out that the pattern wasn’t adding up, I thought I misread the pattern and restarted. Twice. After the third time I went searching on ravelry. The pattern gets a 5 star rating, surely it had to be my fault. Well no.. almost everybody mentions that the math is completely wrong and they all redid it. Some of those didn’t work out for me and I decided to give it a little break. I still don’t understand why such a pattern gets a 5 star rating.. I’m not going to link to the pattern, because I don’t want to give it a bad name, and I might still have misunderstood something. But seriously??

It’s a free pattern, and I’m very happy to have found it, because it’s absolutely gorgeous, but I’m going to email the designer with some questions (this is why I’m not linking to the pattern yet). Once I’ve resolved the issue I’ll post my work and I’ll link to the pattern 🙂 I don’t want to spread negativity and/ or hate 🙂

The good news is that I really liked knitting with silk hankies, and I’m going to do this more often!

Even though I’m nearly 7 months pregnant, I haven’t been paying much attention to the fact that I’m nearly 7 months pregnant.. dear God.. what am I going to do.. In 3-4 months I’m going to have a baby and THERE’S NOT ENOUGH KNITTING…. *pant pant*

You may remember the baby blanket I knit for my little niece Yara last year. I bought 300 grams of nunoco fiber and spun it into a fine 2ply. Then I knit this into a garter stitch blanket, that was done when she was about 3-4 months old..

I bought two batts in apple blossom and one in hazelnut. This is a merino silk blend with silk nepps and it was an absolute joy to spin.

I tried to keep the colors together for a little gradient fading in and out of green. In this picture you can also see the effect of the light pink nepps in the green areas. It made for a very textured yarn.

In the end it became a big, but very lightweight blanket for an adorable little baby. The blocks underneath are about 60cm wide, so the blanket was about 1,20 x 1,40 meters.

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it, but halfway through February I decided to place an order at Nunoco. They had an amazing batt named Bayou, which is a merino firestar mix. I fell in love immediately. I didn’t want any soft pastels, so I chose some bold blue, teal, green and olive. I ordered 300 grams and they custom made 2 extra batts for me and shipped it within a day or two. Unfortunately the poor parcel got lost and a month later I sent them an email. I got a reply immediately and they shipped another parcel the next day, which thankfully arrived a few days later. I feel so sad for the lost parcel, I hope it turns up eventually, so I can ship it back to Nunoco HQ.

I made litte faux lags to keep the colors together and started spinning. Because this yarn doesn’t have any nepps I can probably make a much finer yarn. I’m going for a chain plied, light fingering weight yarn to keep all the colors together. I’m trying to make one huge, lacey blanket without a separate edge and I want a nice gradient for this blanket.

So one end will be olive, the other will be blue.

I don’t mind if the yarn isn’t completely even or if the colors do blend a little. As you can see there’s some specks of lighter green and teal in there as well. I’m going to chain ply it so it doesn’t matter, it’ll probably add to the effect.

By now I’m almost done with the olive part, but I had to take a little break as I had forgotten one little faux lag at my moms’ in Utrecht. So I’m going to pick it up and finish the spinning. I’m afraid I’ll have to buy a bulky ply set before I get to the plying part, because something tells me this is going to be a LOT of yarn…

I’m pretty sure I won’t make it before he is born, but I don’t really mind. My due date is June 28th, so I honestly don’t think it’ll matter if he’ll have a wool blanket by then. I’m hoping to having it finished by September or October, when it gets a little chilly. I’m also working on the other projects I’m trying to finish. Obviously I need to get some work related things in order, and then I’m going to work on some baby knitting. The good thing is that baby knitting is easy to finish, the only problem is that you’ll actually have to knit to finish them 🙂

While organizing some stuff I also decided to frog a few projects. I worked on this project, but in the end it’s been hibernating since november, and I’m not crazy about it.

I also decided to frog this project. I absolutely love the yarn, but I think there’s better things to do with it. I love the low-contrast project, but other thoughts are growing in my head.

I’d like to leave you with a question. I know cats like yarn, but does yours eat yarn as well? My cat Noodles (Kiwi doesn’t do this) loves to munch on yarn. She’ll just swallow it like she’s in lady and the tramp and my yarn is the spaghetti… I usually end up pulling large amounts of yarn out of my cat.. this time though she had left me a little present on the treadle of my spinning wheel. Nice..

Happy knitting!

 

 

New spinning wheel

I bought a new spinning wheel! I am SO excited about it! You’ve probably seen my Bliss show up on this blog a lot and I’ve done some spinning (and loving) on that wheel. So what’s wrong with it..? Well, nothing. There is nothing wrong with the Bliss. There’s something wrong with the amount of space I have and the addition to our family.

I love my bliss because it taught me a lot about spinning. Just like the wheel I had a lot of fun spinning on it and going to my happy place. While the first wheel taught me how to spin yarn altogether, the bliss taught me how to control the process of spinning. I can make thin yarns and thick yarns (or thick and thin) and it will have been my choice, not an accident. I’ve mainly focussed on the thinner side of the spectrum, but after the TdF14 I also focussed on some thicker spinning. I usually spin like the way I use my bicycle: superspeedy. I enjoy spinning fine yarns, so I treadle a LOT, and one thing I’ve noticed is that I get pains in my ankles because the Bliss treadles a bit heavier on the fastest ratio.

No problem if you only spin for an hour a day, but when I spin, I spin for entire days, several days in a row. So I tend to get a lot of pain in my ankles and sometimes in my knees. I think this may be a physical issue with my body, because I also know that my wrists are very weak and I’m very likely to get carpal tunnel within the next 20 years. My entire family has had it (also surgery). So I’m extra careful when it comes to my weird joints and body connections.

Anyways, my lovely little bliss is up for sale, and I’ve already bought a replacement wheel to play with 🙂 I can’t have any current wips on the bliss if I’m going to look for a better home for it now can I 😉

I feel like it’s some kind of lame excuse, but I also feel like I really need to defend my bliss. Truth be told: I loved it and I still do. The design is awesome, the way you can have 5 bobbins on your lazy kate is fantastic and the whole thing is very easy and pleasant to use. In a way, I’m sad to see it go, and I’d much rather just keep it for myself, but that brings us to the whole point of why I’m forced to sell it. I don’t have any space in this house.

I bought an Ashford Joy 2 from these people. I ordered it on (I think) a thursday night and on saturday morning it was sitting in my home (while I was at my moms in Utrecht). I had to wait for two whole days before I could play with it! Can you imagine…

As you may (or may not) know, the Joy is a foldable wheel. Which is the most important reason for me to buy a new wheel. I have angora bunnies and cats, and soon I’ll have a baby running around in this house. A spinning wheel is an (expensive) piece of equipment and I’d rather not leave it lying around anywhere in the house. It needs to be protected against kitty claws and bunny teeth. It also needs to be protected against babies, mostly because babies can hurt themselves with it (spinning parts etc.).

This is the closest I could come to an unboxing (because I had used it a little bit before taking pictures), but this is what it looks like all folded up. It’s really not that heavy (only about 6 kgs, which is 2 more than the bliss), but the bag and the folding makes it totally worth it.

As you can see the flyer and bobbin can be unscrewed and stored vertically, and the treadles can be folded up. This way it can be lifted by the ‘handle’ (see the shape?) and it can be lifted either in or out of the bag.

All you have to do in order to use it is to screw the flyer in place and open up the treadles. Now it looks like a ‘normal’ spinning wheel. What I love about it is that it’s so incredibly compact! I usually spin using a longdraw technique, so I don’t mind at all that it’s a tiny spinning wheel. I’m usually sitting straight and holding my hand sideways anyway, so my hand and the orifice hardly ever meet.

From the side it looks like this. Imagine the flyer and treadles folded up and you can see how small it actually is. I have to say that I’m really impressed with the whole double treadle business. This is my first time using a double treadle wheel and it’s much easier than I had imagined it to be. I don’t feel it in my ankles at all (maybe because I sit differently..?)

Also: the freedom flyer is really awesome! It takes some getting used to because I’ve really only worked with hooks, but it’s awesome to see that you can fill the bobbin more evenly than you can with hooks.

I hope to do some serious spinning on this wheel, and as a bonus: take it with me anywhere I go!

In the mean time I’ve been working on a secret project..

I’ll show you some more (and tell) in the next post 🙂