Friday, March 13, 2009

Spinning myself to sleep

As you can see my spinning has improved quite markedly. The first sample I must have done 12 months ago, when I first got my second hand traditional Ashford wheel, (thanks Leeanne). If you look in the earlier posts there is a photo of my wheel and other early spinning samples.
Since then I have tried to spin on a regular basis. It is a very peaceful and calming activity.
I enjoy the rhythm of the wheel and treadling a great deal. It does tend to send me to sleep. I find myself nodding off over the wheel, if I am spinning in the evening.
But then I am a bit the same when I knit. I have sometimes jerked myself awake with the needles still resting in my hands. Which is fraught with danger!
The second sample is spun from Romney roving, naturally coloured. Love it. I don't usually name yarns I produce. But the name for this one popped straight into my head, Wild Rice. I am thinking about putting it on Etsy to sell. I am very happy with the consistency of the spinning and the plying. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

She spins, She knits

I have knitted for as long as I can remember. Now I can spin, thanks to the ladies at the Coffs Harbour Spinners and Weavers group. So, I dyed some 22 micron merino, Landscape dye, Jade. Then I spun the wool as best I could, I plied 2 strands together and achieved a bulky yarn. Using a free pattern from the Garn studio range, I made this for my 12 year old daughter. I am quite pleased with the way it turned out and she loves it.
I really have the spinning bug now. I have now started spinning some beautiful, dark grey romney marsh roving and a lighter tan colour romney and I will ply that together. I think if I make enough I will sell some of the finished product.

Monday, March 2, 2009

BALL FELTING, or felted balls

Sometimes getting used to using the blogger tools can get complicated. I have lost posts in the past and now I have realised they have been saved in a place called "Drafts", how cool is that?
This is a little tutorial in balls, felted balls. These are great fun and real easy for kids to make.

I like to use corriedale, but merino will certainly work well. The first photo shows how you need to spread the wool out and then you start to roll in the edges. I roll it in the palms of my hands, as though I was making a pastry/playdoh ball. Squeezing it firmly at the same time. When you have a basic ball shape, takes strips of the roving and wrap it around the ball in various directions using whatever colour takes your fancy. I pull them firmly around and then rub the ends into the ball where I want it to finish. This helps hold the wool in place. Continue to do this until you are happy with what you have and the ball is a third larger than you want. Felting tends to shrink things by about a third.
Then using old tights, pantyhose or stockings push the ball into the toe and make a knot tightly behind the ball to keep it in place. A few balls can fit in the leg of a stocking, just remember to tie knots to keep them in place. Then place the lot in the washing machine and add dishwashing detergent, a few squirts . Wash on a hot cycle only using the washing cycle, check the felting after 10 minutes. This can be done by undoing one of the knots and peeling back the stocking to reveal the ball. The ball should have some fibres meshed into the stocking and the ball should be firm.
After they are felted enough, take the stocking with the balls in it outside and slap it firmly on a solid surface. I use the house wall, and do it about 50 times. Then rinse in cold water and take the balls out of the stocking, shape with your hands and leave to dry. TAH DAH. Great for juggling and if shaped flatter, they make excellent pin cushions.