Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Dancing With Wools

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that title has been used before – many times! It’s just too good a pun to resist, isn’t it?

The woolly work goes on. Yesterday after spending too many hours out in the hot greenhouse trying to get it ready to plant the tomatoes (notice how I got the garden reference in there) – I went up to the studio to do some more dizzing. For those who might be unfamiliar with how this works I took a few more photos to augment yesterday’s. Here I’m threading the first little woolly tail into the diz ready to begin:


My diz is a limpet shell with a small hole drilled in the middle (carefully because you do NOT want to breathe shell dust). I use a threader with a very fine wire hook. The handle was carved by a friend’s husband and, not surprisingly, it looks just like him:


Always more pleasure in a task when you can use nice tools, huh? I’m starting to get a more consistent rhythm to the dizzing off:


I pull hand-over-hand from right to left, then left to right and finally back to the left again to get all of the usable fibres in one long strand of top. It’s not quite a worsted preparation because it hasn’t been combed but it’s close. A somewhat-semi-worsted prep! I’m still getting quite a lot of waste but it’s only about 1/3 of the weight of the fibre, the rest being spinnable top. I’m happy with this result since I started with mostly secondary quality rovings anyway.

Here’s the next set of fibre piles lined up:


Each pile is one hackle full. I’ve done 8 of them now – only 64 more to go! The colours get lashed onto the hackle in single layers one at a time, beginning with the dark green. It’s at the bottom of the pile so I flip them over and try to maintain the same colour sequence each time, ending with the lime green.

With my first little sample skein I knitted up a swatch and discovered that my first impression of this yarn was incorrect – it’s actually closer to a worsted-weight yarn. It knit up to a gauge of 18.5 sts and 27 rows to 4” on 4.5mm needles.


I didn’t try any other size needles. I like the feel of this swatch very much. It’s light and woolly and drapes nicely. Now to make about 1,300 yards more of it and I’ll have enough for a sweater. I’ve now decided to make the Harvest Moon cardigan by Heidi Kirrmaier.


My gauge is pretty close and I already bought this pattern awhile ago because I really like it, especially the curvy pockets. It seems to look good on a variety of figures and in a variety of yarns. I even saw one in handspun! I’m going to have to hunt for the perfect button to showcase on the front. I have plenty of time because I’m not going to be finished this project for awhile yet. This is definitely a long-term project. Slow Cloth indeed!

Time to head back out into the garden before it gets too warm to work in the greenhouse. More soonest.


Heather said...

Oh, too beautiful. And very you - at least the image I have in my mind of you, having not had the pleasure (yet) of meeting in person.

Dixie said...

Heidi's patterns are very well written and this style is going to be gorgeous in the yarn you're spinning. Guess I'll have to patiently wait to see it completed!

Anonymous said...

very slow process indeed! the blended colours are lovely.

Sharon in Surrey said...

Love the blend of colors in your top & they look even better in your little swatch!! Amazing how even ugly dyed stuff can become lovely yarn, isn't it?? I've found that handspun always knits to a heavier gauge than expected - probably the air trapped inside since I don't think you can get a truly worsted yarn without oil or water as you spin. It will be lovely & I can't wait to see it finished. Makes me think I better get my a** in gear & finish Arvik. hahahaha And congrats again on your Bogiversary!!!

Louisa said...

Thank you all for your sweet comments. I'm very pleased with this project so far. It feels like it's been too long since I've spun yarn.

Yes, Sharon, you need to finish your Arvik! Even if it won't be cold enough for you to wear it for awhile you'll be all ready for next winter.