Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Sheik Yerbouti

...with apologies to those of you old enough to remember Frank Zappa...

In case you have run away with the idea that I have abandoned all acquisition and usage of yarn and fibre this post should redress the balance. I give you, in no particular order as I am posting on dial up in Italy on a German computer and do not, it appears, have the attention span necessary to wait for it to follow my instructions.

So, here we go. First up is my next portable spinning project, some more merino tencel from the Yarn Yard, a club fibre from earlier in the year. I just can´t seem to get enough of spinning with this stuff.

Next is my ´club yarn´for this month. I posted on Ravelry that I guessed that it would be the colour of ripe rosy apples in honour of the harvest month. Due to some counting issues I got to be in a club by myself with my own bespoke yarn - how cool is that?

I told you this was a jumble.... next we have some beautiful Finn wool which was given to me as a hostess gift by Hanne. It is a gorgeous semi solid forest green. I will think carefully about the project as it is just my sort of yarn, earthy and natural.

What´s this? Oh, I remember, it´s some naturally dyed sock yarn from the Woolly Workshop in some wonderful sophisticated shades. Wish I could remember the brand - will edit to add when I get home.

Here is a batt from Rockpool Candy containing all kinds of different fibres which I thought might be fun and take me out of my usual comfort zone. The woman on the stall was very friendly and engaging and we had a long chat. She mentioned that the guild of weavers spinners and dyers in Northern Ireland were launching some study weekends which might be worth looking into. Some years ago I worked in Northern Ireland and have always planned to return to explore more of this beautiful part of the world.

Speaking of Tutorials, on the Tuesday night before I left for Italy I attended a spinning masterclass with Diane Mullholland. This woman is an absolute goldmine of information on spinning and sheepy things generally having been taught to spin as a child and being brought up on a sheep farm. She is an excellent teacher and not afraid to be opinionated. I love working with people with strong opinions because they are absolutely clear that they are just that, opinions, and absolutely individual to them. For example, Diane looked at my batt from Rockpool Candy with a mixture of horror and amusement and then proceeded to show me four different ways of preparing it for spinning - perfect! I know that she is planning lots more spinning workshops in and around London over the next few months so my advice is run, do not walk to sign up for her classes as I doubt you will find a better teacher or someone who shows by example how to find your own creative style. Again, I will add links when I get home.

Switching back to the Iknit day briefly, my only other purchase on the day was a ´sushi roll´of sock yarn from Jon at Easyknits which is a preknitted flat of Blue Faced Leicester sock yarn which you unravel and knit into a sock. The basic idea is that it gives a different dying effect from dying in the skein. We shall see!

Finally, a small amount of evidence of my industry. I have finished the spinning and knitting of the Flutter scarf but it is yet to be blocked. I think it will be a very useful addition to my autumn wardrobe.

I have also started another mindless sock project using my hand spun Sock Hop yarn. Thankfully it is a lot softer and better spun than my effort of a year ago so I am making some progress. I also heavily edited the roving to try and avoid large expanses of white which seems to have been effective so far.
Finally, I am very proud of this tiny hank of hand spun Romney shearling as it is the first time I have processed yarn straight from the raw fleece and whilst it is by no means perfect represents a lot of learning. Diane scrutinised it carefully and observed that whilst it is somewhat under spun it will probably make a lovely knitted fabric. She is also, I swear, a sheep whisperer. She looked at one of the locks and told the sheep´s fortune. Apparently, a few weeks before it was shorn it had some sort of nasty shock like being caught in a thunderstorm which caused a weak spot in the hairs of its fleece. She recommended just pulling the last inch of the lock away before spinning it. I was highly impressed with this information, I can tell you....

At the moment I am in Italy but without the connector to download any more photos so I will tell you all about my adventures when I get back later in the week, suffice to say I packed far too much knitting and still panicked when I thought I might run out and nearly went to hell in a hand basket but managed to hang on to my knitting. Arrivaderci!


Auntie Noo said...

Oh My You've exhausted me! - but it all looks so totally wonderful and desirable and scrummy!!! SO glad you had a good session with Diane, it sounds awesome.

sussexyorkie said...

All your projects look lovely. No wonder you are now on holiday. I too can vouch for Dianes teaching skills.Spinning is a real addiction. Enjoy the rest of your break.

picperfic said...

I must get to one of her spinning sessions....! Wow in Italy, you lucky girl. Seems like you are having an electric time there!

Lin said...

Lovely things! The sushi roll looks interesting, but I am a bit funny about them because they are already knit so its like frogging and re-knitting!

Diane said...

Heheh - that was the bright orange/red/yellow/sparkly one wasn't it? Me, I'm a blues and greens girl and proud :-D but it'll look gorgeous spun up!

Make sure we get to see lots of Italy photos!

Anni said...

wow, gorgeous yarns and fibre.