Stash Enhancement – Hilltop Cloud

Falling down the rabbit hole that is Ravelry, I found a new source for spinning fiber, again from the UK.  Hilltop Cloud is located, more precisely, in Wales, and specializes in British breeds of wool.  I was especially excited about her gradient dyed fibers.

I saw these kits (there are TWO kits pictured above) using Welsh Black Mountain fiber mixed with silk.  The idea is that you spin up the colored fiber separately from the dark fiber and then knit them up as fair isle mittens.  She has examples on her web site.

Of course you can spin this up in a variety of ways to achieve mitten yarn.  You could split each colored braid in 2 length-wise, spin them up and 2 ply them so that you have exactly the same yarn for each mitten.  Or spin it up and chain ply it to keep the colors together.  Or fractal spin it.  So many possibilities!

But I saw this combo and immediately thought “Brioche!”.

I bought 2 kits.  My plan is to spin the colored braids from dark purple, through blue, green, yellow to red – and then add on the other braid starting from red, through yellow, etc etc so that in the end I have 2 bobbins.  Each bobbin will be identical double rainbows.  Then I will 2 ply them so that I have 100g of double rainbow yarn.

I’ll spin and ply up the dark brown to the same wpi.

Then I will knit them together into a 2-color brioche shawl.  Ta da!

I was so excited that I started on the color right away, the same night that I got the package in the post (VERY quick shipping by the way).

She also has a lot of undyed fiber in her shop and I couldn’t resist trying some from a breed of sheep I’d never heard of – Dorset Horn.  I bought 200g for 8£ total. Wow!

It’s pretty soft (not as soft as Merino, but far softer than Texel) and looks like it will be wonderful to spin.  AND it just so happens that the “Spinner’s Study” group on Ravelry has voted to study Dorset Horn in January!  Perfect!

I will certainly buy from Hilltop Cloud again.  Stay tuned for more photos of this gorgeous fiber!

Skein 5 – Pink Party!

Remember this ball of merino/nylon I bought back in September?  It’s from Fondant Fibre in the UK.

I started spinning it in September and then it got set aside while I worked on some other spinning and knitting projects.  I picked it up again 2 weeks ago and finished it off.

Here are the 2 bobbins of singles.

I had started spinning this back before I was making lace weight singles.  Coming back to it after 2 months meant that I had learned better technique in that time and wished that I had actually started this thinner.  It was not easy to match the same thickness of the single after so long and forgetting what I was doing in the first place.  This is something I need to remember for future projects, at least while I’m learning and EVERY spinning project is something completely new and different.  Finish what you start in pretty quick order or you will forget what you were doing and how the spinning felt in your hands!

Anyway, I pretty quickly finished the second half of the 120g ball.  The fiber is super soft and was prepared very well.  It really flowed through my hands like water. I wanted to keep it fairly thin so that I could maximize the yardage so I 2-plied it.  It came out like this:

Now, notice that there is no white in this skein while there was white in the fiber? Well, when I dropped the skein into hot soapy water to soak, so much dark pink dye came out that the water turned that color immediately.  I left it alone to soak until the water cooled off and then hung it to dry.  The dye colored the white fiber a light pink.  I don’t mind.  It’s still really nice and there’s less of a barber pole effect now.  But this is something I’ll keep in mind next time and I’ll also let the seller know what happened.

The resulting yarn is about a sport weight – 300 meters to 100g.  I have 116 grams (from a 120g ball of fiber).  I think I’ll make a really simple scarf out of it.  It’s so very soft and bouncy and will feel really nice next to the skin.  I have to hold myself back from casting on right NOW!  But first I have to finish some other knitting….

Close but not quite – Skeins 3 & 4

Remember this fiber I bought in September?  Merino and silk.

I spun it up into a heavier than lace single and then cable plied it and now I’m making mittens!

I’m really happy with the yarn.  It was my first time cable plying and actually this is only my 3rd skein of yarn EVER.  I worked really hard to finish spinning it before my last business trip so I could take the yarn with me as a travel project.  This is as far as I’ve gotten since other home-bound projects have taken over my time.  I expect I’ll pick them up and finish the mittens before Christmas.

Now, I had also bought the lighter colored sister of this fiber, also in September.  This..

I started spinning this in September and finished spinning the single in October.  I went for lace weight and did really well at making lace weight singles.

I decided to do a 2 ply. Here is the skein with also a tiny little bit of chain ply with the leftovers from one bobbin.

I have to say, this is not as nice as I was hoping for.  The chain plied bit I like a lot, but the 2 ply is just kind of blah.  Boring.  The colors blended together into this kind of flesh toned boring thing.  AND the ply is too loose.  The only positive thing about it is that I’ve proven that I can make lace weight yarn. 🙂

I have thought a lot about what to do with this skein.  I could run it through the wheel again making a tighter ply.  I think I’d like it better then.  But that means I have to wind it either into a ball or onto a bobbin first and we’re taking 800+ meters/yards of very thin yarn. Not fun.  And that doesn’t solve the boring color.

OR I could do the above AND over dye it an interesting color.

Or I could just use it for further spinning practice by running it through the wheel again and over spinning the 2 ply a bit and then turning THAT into a 4 ply, just for practice.

OR I could just chalk it up to experience and set it aside and move on to something else fun and interesting to spin.  Life is short….

Fall Weather and Summer Knits

Fall has arrived in NL.  The only way you’d know this is because leaves are falling and the days are shorter.  You wouldn’t know it by the actual weather – it’s been strangely warm and sunny.  We went to the beach yesterday and had lunch in the sun.  We spent this morning gardening – planting bulbs for next year.

There is still knitting and spinning going on, even if the blog has been sorely neglected. Is anyone out there still reading?  Today I finished Hitofude.  The Japanese word means something like “in one motion” and if you had a long enough yarn you could make this sweater from beginning to end without breaking threads.  It’s a strange and interesting construction that defies understanding before you knit it.  Just trust the instructions and do it.  This is the result.

It will be perfect for summer.  Bad timing on my part.  But it will also be perfect for those business trips to Thailand where the airconditioned offices are too cold.

I’m also spinning these days.  I’ve spun up and Navajo plied some yarn (my first 3 ply ever and first N-ply!!) but I don’t have photos yet.  The yarn is drying and I’ll take photos later this week.

I’m spinning some lace weight singles! Wow! Lace! I’m pretty proud of myself.  This is only my 4th “bump”, “skein”, whatever you want to call it 120 grams worth of singles.  I think I’m going to 2 ply it and use it for a lace shawl. It’s 50/50 merino/silk.

I only have this much more to go and all 120g will be spun up and ready to ply.  I split the bump in half by weight and spun each half on separate bobbins.

I’m working on this on my friend’s Matchless wheel.  More news about wheels soon!