Monday, March 30, 2009

Bypassing the orifice - and recycling yarns ...(Einzugslochumbau!)!

First of all, I've got to show you this:

It looks like a very modest - and a bit ugly - modification on the flyer, but it really means a lot for spinning bulky yarns and plying beads and sequins ...! Maybe I'll find an even better hook someday, but I'm very content with this solution for the moment - if you want to try it out, make it reversible, like I did, using strong sticky tape (the black one) for holding the wooden plug (where the hook is attached) fixed in the original orifice.

When spinning with the hook, I find it helpful to increase the tension on the brake a bit more than usual, and to sit a bit more to the right, so that the yarn doesn't get off the hook.

(German Version: Ich habe noch eine Veränderung am Flyer vorgenommen, damit ich auch dicke und knubbelige Garne spinnen bzw Perlen und Pailletten verzwirnen kann, ohne daß sie im Einzugsloch stecken bleiben.

Der Haken ist etwas aufgebogen und in einem passenden Holzdübel hineingeschraubt, danach habe ich den Dübel mit starkem Klebeband am Einzugsloch fixiert, damit alles auch noch rückgängig zu machen ist. Damit mir das Garn nicht vom Haken fliegt, habe ich die Spannung an der Bremse ein bißchen erhöht und sitze auch etwas mehr links vom Rad beim Spinnen.)

I've also been experimenting with recycling yarns from my stash, mostly through core spinning and overspinning dull yarns. Another solution is to ply together a couple of thin, matching yarns of different qualities first - creating a new base for further plying or partial overspinning.

This one, for example, consists of a weak and slobby acrylic yarn in Indian spice colours, which I think got more of a character being tightly plied with the black wool:

Below, I've used different short, blue yarn ends, which I found in my stash, and overspun them with a blue/green/brown carded batt, forming nubs when overlapping two yarn ends. For the finish, I plied it all with a thin blue thread holding blue sequins here and there.

Here you see three yarns from my stash - blue cotton, turquoise viscose and green wool - which I just plied together to form a single yarn. I even have enough to knit a slipover out of it - and it sure looks much more interesting as a single than separated.

(Ich experimentiere mit verschiedenen Möglichkeiten, "gehortete" Garne zu verwerten, indem ich sie z B ganz oder teilweise überspinne. Manchmal erreicht man auch recht interessante Ergebnisse durch einfaches Zusammenzwirnen verschiedener Einzelgarne - als Endprodukt, oder auch als Basis für weiteres (Teil-)überspinnen oder Verzwirnen.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Colourful vest with (mostly) handspun yarns

Today I've been experimenting a lot with 'handspun recycling' - that's really quite exciting - but before I dig deeper into that, I have to show you my colourful vest first, which I finished this morning!

Most of the yarns used are handspun, but I mixed them a bit with suitable scrap yarns from my stash, too.

After having finished knitting the second part, I decided to wear that one as a front instead (right picture), despite of my first plans - but I also deliberately made both sides equal at the neck, so I can change my mind which side to wear in front from time to time!

As usual, I didn't use any pattern, as I find it more convenient to knit freely, just checking the size on some suitable garment.

Do you recognize the 'liquorice' and scrap yarns from earlier postings?

And another small improvement on the flyer:

I put the "heads" of some plastic envelope clips on top of the hose covering the new screws, so that my yarn doesn't jump off when my wheel is going real fast ...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More yarns, more snow ...

And this is the reason why I haven't started my gardening season yet:

Poor flowers!

But in my little house, I keep the fire burning and keep dreaming of summer - of the salty sea, blue and green waves, of seaweed and green grass ...

... and of ice-cream, soft-ice, sugar canes and candy:

I'm so hooked on spinning, I just can't stop! I've gathered all my yarns and yarn scraps, and now I'm trying to figure out a way how to use spinning for recycling purposes ... more about that next time!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Knitting, reading and spinning ...

Returning with a few interesting books in my bag and the impact of some precious talks in my mind, I feel it's so good to be home again. Having a break - this seems to be just the right thing to do at some points.

Inbetween, the snow brought by last weeks blizzards has melted away entirely, and the vibrant growth of Spring proceeds vigorously.

Still the weekend in town was quite cold and windy, and I was very pleased to wear my tube scarf (see last posting), which held not only my neck but also my ears and nose cosy warm!

At night, I then sat down to spin a simple yarn again, brown-brownish-black, mixed up with some dull colour slubs here and there, then plied with a bright variegated stocking yarn.

It looks a bit like English liquorice to me, and I'm planning to use it for that dark/coloured vest, which I started two weeks ago - this would be the back of it:

By the way, I've altered the original hooks on one side of the flyer of my spinning wheel to slim screws instead, covering them up with a bit of hose, so that my bumpy yarn doesn't get hooked up all the time. It's a real improvement, and quite easy to do!

Now I'm thinking of ways to expand or bypass the orifice, as Ashford does not provide Jumbo flyers for this mobile wheel. It's a pity, as this would be so easy to do for the producer - but I guess I'll find a solution to that myself, sooner or later.

One of the books I found in Vienna is called "Sweater Surgery - how to make new things with old sweaters" by Stefanie Girard (German version: "Ich war ein Pulli - aus alten Pullis Neues machen") - it's all about recycling knitwear in a young and modern way.

There are several books on this matter right now, but still I think there must be far more exciting ways to re-use knitwear, especially in combination with felting, knitting, punching ...

Please join me in experimenting and sharing!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More yarns, knit and spun ...

What can I show you today? Well, actually just a few new yarns I've been experimenting with.

1) - silk and wool plied with variegated cotton
2) - wool plied with commercial yarn
3) - random batts of wool plied with variegated wool stocking yarn

And another tube scarf, knitted with the yarns I spun last week (front and back).

I've also been spinning another four bobbins of the blue-green batts for my "Nature pullover" - the back is already knitted as well - pictures of that will follow next week!

(And inbetween, there's laundry to do, food to be bought and prepared, kids to be taken to the doctor, a house to be cleaned - the usual everyday stuff ...)

But tomorrow I'll be heading for the capital to see friends and maybe do some shopping - see you again next week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Spinning and Carding Session!

This is the harvest of my spinning and carding session with Sara!

As Sara had brought her huge drum carder with her, I used the opportunity to card a whole stash of blue-green batts for a new project: I'd like to spin enough yarn in this colour range for a pullover, looking like nature itself ...

First, I had only planned to use different shades of blue and green wool - but Sara encouraged me to use tiny little bits of bright red inbetween, and also some yellow spots on the turquoise segments to make the basic colours come out even clearer and brighter. Inspired by this, I decided to use some brownish and purple wool inbetween as well - "to add further interest", as Sara would say.

Anyway, we had a great time this extended weekend - covering my living room/kitchen with two spinning wheels, two laptops, the drum carder, a weaving loom and loads of wool, yarn, books and other supplies; working, eating, laughing, drinking, talking 'til the early mornings ...

It really is a very special gift to get to know someone with whom you can share so much of your thoughts and ideas, making plans for future projects, inspiring eachother ... I'm so grateful for that.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This is a Niddy-Noddy! (And some more yarn, of course ...)

Thank you for your encouraging comments on my first spinning attempts!

As I realized that the kitchen chairs could not permanently be occupied as yarn winders, I decided to make a Niddy-noddy myself with some spare wood I found in the barn - I know it won't exactly win a prize for best design, but it is at least doing its job ...

(I wonder where that funny word "Niddy-noddy" comes from - does anyone have an idea?)

This time I tried to do some really soft yarns as well (above) -

and below you can see that I've started knitting the earlier ones, blending them with commercial yarns, in order to do some kind of a vest or slipover.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oh, what a Joy!

Friday evening I finally got my spinning wheel, an Ashford Joy which I had found on Ebay. One of the reasons I chose this one is because it only weighs 5 kg (11 lb) and comes with an integrated handle and a sturdy carry bag.

On Sunday it was so warm and sunny that I could even spin a little in the garden ...

And I've practised a lot this week-end. First, the wheel just "ran off" on me, and it was quite tricky to co-ordinate hands and feet and wool and keeping the wheel from switching into the wrong direction and undoing the twist again ...

Finally, I managed to create something looking almost like a yarn and of course I was eager to try out a lot of ideas, even if my skills are not yet that high ... But I did notice some improvements even in these two days (or nights, rather ...)!

In anticipation of the wheel I had spun some more on my drop spindle as well:

And I've also finished the scarf I made out of my first drop spindle yarn - I decided to make a tube scarf out of it and added a crocheted border, a feather edge braid, for the finish.

This weekend, a dear friend brought me a book which I've been aching for so long: it's the textile dictionary by Hohenadel/Relton - really highly recommendable for all of us searching for those textile expressions in English when translating from German ... (and all I had to do to receive it was to feed the cats of my friend now and then!)

Does anyone of you maybe have a niddy-noddy you don't need in exchange for some yarn ...?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Experimenting with my handspun yarns - Part I

"The investigation of imperfection leads to creativity. A route to creativity is found through the attempt to master the skill.

You can focus so closely on perfect mastery that you go through the eye of a needle and you come out the other side into a creative world thrown wide open."

Lexi Boeger/pluckifluff in "Intertwined"

Good things are happening. I've been doing quite a lot of handspinning with the drop spindle lately - now I want to try out a real spinning wheel. It will be here tomorrow - and it's called "Joy". That's exactly what I feel too!

The quotation is taken from a fantastic handspinning book, filled with gorgeous pictures and very crazy and artistic novelty yarns, which I can highly recommend ... read it and you'll start dreaming, just like I did ... You can have a look at first, if you like.

Another really interesting book is "Spinning designer yarns" by Diane Varney; it's a bit more 'serious', but still very creative and inventive.

The picture above shows a weaving experiment with my handspun yarn, where I've used this yarn for the warp in a small weaving frame and then used unspun wool for the weft. I plan to add more material to it and then punch at least some parts of it.

Here you can see another ball of drop spindle yarn, which I'm adding to my knitted scarf.

I've used a "nostepinne" to wind it up (well, I actually happened to have a piece of a broom stick handy ...!) - that's a simple and brillant invention - Norwegian, I presume!

And next week, Sara and I are going to spin together at my place - if that isn't good news!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rhapsody in Blue - Whatiffing 121-126

These blue samples mainly consist of wool and yarn, some of them punched to a base like silk fabric or organza:

121 - wool punched on printed silk fabric
122 - wool and yarn punched on organza
123 - wool fibers
124 - wool and yarn punched on an organza ribbon
125 - wool on organza
126 - yarn and wool

And then I just have to show you this:

Spring is on its way - at last ...!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recycling - making your own "Angelina" fibers - and a stash can - and a small greenhouse ...

Yesterday I started looking through my stash, trying to sort out some of the fabrics I never use. While doing so, I found some small scraps of sparkling fabric, and I suddenly realized that I could use those fibers, ripped off, as a kind of sparkling "Angelina" (which is unknown here and therefore only available from abroad) ...

I don't know yet if it would melt as well as the "real" thing - but for sure it's going to add some sparkle to my spinning and embellishing projects!

At (Velma is a fantastic fiber artist spinning beautiful yarns -sigh ...) I saw her fancy glass jars filled with colour assorted material to add into her handspun yarns - and I knew I wanted something like that too. Unfortunately, I don't have enough of those big glass jars - but I do have some empty PET-bottles, and so I re-used them:

I just cut off the neck of the plastic bottles with a sharp crafts knife, dividing the bottle in

a) a stash jar:


b) in a "greenhouse" for my early Spring seeds: