Pop Up Shop @ Stephen & Penelope

spin_day_invite

The announcement above says it all – come on down to Stephen & Penelope on the 7th or 8th of November and participate in Spin Days!

I’ll be there all weekend with spinning fiber to sell and a couple of spinning wheels for you to try out.

The very talented Christopher Kale will be giving spindle spinning lessons on Saturday.

Myself, and a few others, will be there with different kinds of spinning wheels, spinning flax into gold. Come see for yourself.

If you have a spinning wheel, or a spindle, come on over and join in the fun.  And buy some fiber of course!

Color by Numbers

There’s been a lot of dyeing going on chez UDS these days.  I’ve decided to split up the news into a post about acid dyes and a post about natural dyes.  First up, acid dyes!

I recently bought a small amount of Greener Shades dyes to try out.  I bought 10g of each of the 9 colors they sell, plus I bought the pdf download of their color book, which shows examples of dye percentage combinations at various DOS concentrations.  I bought these dyes because they are supposed to be easier on the environment, claiming to have no or fewer heavy metals than other acid dyes on the market.  If you search Revelry or online you’ll find some detractors who think the dyes are less “green” than claimed, but if using them allows me to dump water into the sewer system with a clear conscience then I’m all for it.

Of course using only 9 colors requires you to work a lot harder to get interesting colors than just buying them already mixed and tested for you.  I’ve used Dharma Trading dyes with great success and they have even more colors than ever, so it’s a big jump backwards to DIY color mixing.  I was skeptical.  But not any more.  Look at what I did!

I’ll take you through a few photos of dyeing in progress and then the final results.

The weather was fine, so I was able to put one pot outside.

This pot turned into these:

Merino/poly super wash sock yarn.

Dorset Horn fiber.  I dyed them as braids because I was curious how much dye would reach into the bound up parts of the fiber.  I was actually kind of surprised to see so much white.  I have no idea why I decided to dye BOTH braids like this.  Now I have 200g of fiber with big white spots, which is not my favorite.  Maybe after spinning it will look good/interesting?  Not sure what I will do with these.  Maybe over dye.

The above is some BFL dyed with red and black dye.  I expected the dye to mix more, but I like this affect.  I’ve already spun it up into a 3-ply worsted weight yarn sample.

I was really excited about dyeing some of the special blend of fiber I recently ordered.  It is 20% white BFL, 20% oatmeal BFL, 20% merino, 20% silk and 20% mohair.  It’s almost too soft to spin.  Several spinning friends have given it a try and most of them found it easiest to spin woolen.  What I found is that after dyeing the crimp returned to the wool and it was much easier to spin.  Here are before and after photos.


Last but not at all least, the series of gradients dyed on 3 different kinds of fiber.  First I dyed 100% merino, and after that success I decided to replicate the colors on 50/50 BFL/silk and Super Soft Shetland (from J&S).  I mixed up 5 bottles of dye and hand painted the fiber and steamed to set it.

Merino above.

BFL/silk blend.

Two 100g braids of Super Soft Shetland. I can’t WAIT to spin these! They feel fantastic!

And the whole family together.  I’m really happy with the dyes.  So happy that I’ve ordered more from Greener Shades!

Tomorrow I’ll have photos of the natural dyes. So much color from one pot!

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!

Dag van de Wol

You might think that every day is a “Day of Wool” chez Underdutchskies, but today was the official “Dag van de Wol” in Oijen, Brabant.  DB even came along for the ride.

I had never been to this event before so I didn’t know what to expect.  I was hoping for lots of spinning wheels to try out, sheep shearing, lots of different kinds of wool from many sheep breeds.  But I was also realistically thinking that it could be much less than this.  It turned out to be less, but still worth a day out.

Here’s what it looked like.

There was a display of lots of spun fibers from lots of different animals, from sheep breeds to yak and even brown bears, to different dog breeds.

And a few animals who were very shy.

But there was no sheep shearing and the only booth selling spinning wheels was LowLandsLegacy, and they only brought Kromski wheels with them.  I did get to try out a Kromski Minstrel wheel which was lovely to spin on.  So smooth and silent and I took to it immediately.  It was like we were old friends. I guess this wheel has jumped to the top of my wish list!

I did of course buy some fiber to spin.  Here’s what I bought, but not all of it is for me.  I bought 2 of the little buckets of sheep breed samples for W. who has loaned me her spinning wheel.  The rest is mine.

The sample buckets, A and B, are filled with 20g bundles of different sheep breed wool to try out and see what you like.  I already had B at home so bought A for myself. Here’s what you get.  These are from LowLandsLegacy.

The big blob of wool, all 500g of it, is Merino, but look how lovely it is! Not just plain white Merino, but this lovely mixed grey and white super soft fluff.  Maybe if I get really good at this I can spin enough for a sweater.  We’ll see.  But it’s a lot to practice on anyway.

And then I did get 200g of super white Merino.  Both the above grey and this white I bought from Meervilt who happen to be located in Haarlem! Oooo dangerous.

Actually, the first thing I bought, was this gorgeous combed top of Merino and silk blend, from Q-art.  The second I saw the lighter ball, I had to have it.  She only had 1 of this color, so I bought a second one in a kind of darker sister color.  I’m sure they will look great together if I want to end up using them together.  I haven’t spun with silk yet, and I think it’s going to be more challenging than the merino and blue faced leicester I’ve spun so far.  It’s going to be fun to try out!

Lastly, I bought this 50g group of rollags, in the first photo at the top of the post.  I can’t remember the name of the shop I got them from. These are to practice long draw drafting.  The videos I’ve seen of people doing this, well, they make it look so easy.  I don’t think it’s easy.  But I want to try.

Oh and I also bought a jar of hand cream and anti-moth spray.  And that was it.  I really wanted to buy some Texelse wool to spin, but no one had any.  Not a one.  That was a surprise.

We got there early and as we were leaving at noon, there were a lot of people still arriving, so I guess we missed the crowds.  Also fine!  We drove to Oss and had lunch there and then came home.

And now I need to show you what else I recently bought to spin and just got in the mail from Fondant Fibre in England.  All of these items were on sale in her web shop and after paying shipping from England (which is very reasonable compared to postage prices in NL), it was all a bargain.

I got this cute dark pink and white merino/nylon blend, which I’ve already started spinning.  I am hoping to make some nice 3ply (my first 3ply) from it.

I also bought this batt of Shetland wool, white yak, and silk blend. Wow!

She also had some sock yarn on sale and how could I pass up a skein of sock yarn in a nice color way for £7?

AND she threw in a little sample of some special fiber to try out. This is blend of Norwegian wool and bamboo she calls Norboo.  Hmmm. Interesting.  I really recommend her web shop for some lovely fibers to spin up. Great service too.

And now it’s time to stop writing and start spinning! I can’t wait to get my hands into all this fluffy stuff!  More photos to come as I make my way through it.

Buying and Selling

It seems that lots of knitters are also wannabe shop keepers.  We hoard our yarn that we’ve bought here and there, without an idea of what to make with it but we bought it because it was just too beautiful to leave behind.  And when we have more than is reasonable for space/budget/partner understanding, we sell it on to other like-minded knitters.  We buy and sell and trade yarn with almost as much enjoyment as knitting with it.

I have so much yarn now that I’m in danger of reaching SABLE (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy).  Yes, this is a subject discussed on Ravelry.  I love all of it.  Some more than others.  I decided the other day that if I can in any way justify buying a spinning wheel I have to sell some of my stash.  I have to get this monster under control.  If you are interested, and are on Ravelry, you can find my destash page here.

It doesn’t help the stash balance when I go to interesting places and end up buying yarn.  I always say that yarn bought while on vacation doesn’t count.  But I still have to find somewhere to put it!  I never did show you what I bought in Finland.  It wasn’t much since I was trying to be good.

I bought this yarn from Tuulia, who’s company name is Knitlob’s Lair.  The blue/green is sport weight wool.  The multi skein is sock yarn with 75% wool, 25% poly.

Then, when we went to Vassa to look around, I bought 2 skeins at a yarn shop.  It has dog hair in it.  Actually, 30% dog hair.  I bought it for the uniqueness of it and I think it will make a fine pair of color work mittens.  It’s actually pretty darned soft.

And that’s all the yarn I bought to bring home and knit with later.  I did buy 2 big skeins of Finnish wool that I used in the Swing Knitting class.  Here’s a photo of my project in progress.  I’ve set it down now while I finish some other things first.  I really like the gradient dye.  It’s going to be a large rectangular piece which I will sew into a bag and will wash and felt it.

And that’s all I bought in Finland!  Good, right?

So, I’m busy trying to sell stash yarn (and I did immediately sell off 5 skeins), and up pops an ad in the Dutch Spinners group on Ravelry.  OMG.  You know, I’ve been stalking spinning groups and spinning sites for 6 months now and nothing ever made me want to put down my money before.  But this was just perfect. In every way.  Here she is.

I will pick her (all spinners call their wheels either him or her, mostly her) Tuesday night and this is the photo from the owner.  It’s a Kromski Mazurka.  Now, I’ve fallen in love with the look of the Kromski Minstral and this Mazurka is kind of the grandma to that newer wheel.  What a perfect wheel to learn with and at a steal of a price.  The owner is also going to show me a few things about it when I go to her house Tuesday.  I can’t wait!

Which leads to my last recent purchase…some fiber to practice with of course.  I bought this at Penelope Craft Thursday.  100% merino.

And now I’m done buying.  For now.  Until I need more fiber.  And sell more stash.