Socks Started

Thought it was high time to try to start the blog up again.

Just started a pair of socks using a yarn I spun when I was visiting my parents

It is a 3-ply sock yarn (spun and plied quite tightly) using BFL and dyed using food colouring


The colour in the photo isn’t really accurate though. It’s sort of a bluish wine colour – a bit like wine diluted in some water. The wool was oatmeal to start with, which adds a bit of nice texture to the colour (which, again, doesn’t show in the photo…

I want to knit something along the line of these Smocked Guernsey Socks, but the pattern doesn’t seem to be available any more, so I’m trying my best to recreate it.


Well, this is a somewhat better representation of the colour

Wrist Warmers for Friend


My friend complained about cold hands and the flimsiness of the fingerless gloves she bought from Primark, so I’ve offered to knit her some better ones.

They’re going to be in the same general style as the yellow ones, but in thicker wool that I had at home, plus the inner layer is going to be in a contrast colour, which is rather exciting šŸ™‚ I’m slightly worried that the blue is a bit too strong – she’s only seen a photo but I’ll bring it along next time I see her.

Project 3 – Gotland and Oxford/Texel Mix

The third project I did over the holidays involved some Gotland wool my mum got from an acquaintanceĀ which I mixed with the Oxford Down-Texel wool I mentioned in a previous post.

The Gotland is very beautiful with different shades ranging from silver to black and a slippery silky texture – almost like hair. On it’s own it has a tendency to get a bit ‘ropy’ and it is very straggly with strands sticking out everywhere (I’m sure there is a term for this, but I don’t know it…). Mixed with the Oxford-Texel it added a nice airiness as well as extra texture.


This is the uncarded Gotland locks.


And here’s the carded Gotland (right) next to the carded and dyed Oxford-Texel


Here you can sort of see the difference in texture between the airy, straggly Gotland (left) and the more civilised Oxford-Texel.


And here is the finished yarn.

It is a:




I love the ‘visual texture’ with the streaks of silver and roughness the Gotland has added. As for the actual texture, it does make it feel a bit scratchier, but I would assume it is also a bit moreĀ durable.

Project 2 – Light Green Texel/Oxford

My mum has a friend whose bother in law keeps sheep, andĀ they gave her some wool! The sheep are kept for meat (not commercial – just for the family) and are a cross between Texel and Oxford Down. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of them, but here are some Texels and Oxford Downs

Texels are meat sheep, as you might have guessed from their build – they look quite a bit like cows…

And these lovely Oxford Downs are a meat-breed as well, though a bit less butch.


This is the wool in question. It was pretty dirty as apparently it had been chucked in a corner for some time before being adopted by my mother. It has been washed but there wasĀ still lots of bits of hay and stuff in there, which took ages to get rid off…


And here’s the wool going into the carder!

There was quite a bit of this wool and I ended up dyeing quite a few colours. The first I did was a green one though. I dyed it with acid dyes, and then I carded a bit of white back into it to make it lighter and less saturated.


Front: Undyed wool

Middle: Mix of dyed and undyed

Back: Dyed wool

And here’s the finished wool:


It is:






It is a very light and fluffy, soft yarn!

What I Did Over The Holidays – Recap

I went home and visited the family over Christmas and New Year, and I spent most of the time making use of my mum’s (shared with a friend) new carding machine as well as local wool, dyeing facilities and a spinning wheel.

I was way too busy to do any blogging, and I’ve been quite busy since I’ve been back in Leicester as well (including setting up the new blog), so it’s only now I’ve made the time to blog about what I’ve been doing.

Project 1: English 56s

I bought some English 56s wool from Adelaide Walker shortly before Christmas. I had 200g to go before the shipping cost increased and the 56s was on offer, which is why I got it.

I used acid dyes and dyed half of it a somewhat subdued blue, going towards purplish, and half a lovely burgundy-ish red.Ā I would say that having a carder is, if not essential then at least a great help if you’re dyeing wool tops. No matter how careful you are, there will be some amount of felting and compressing taking place, and giving the wool a spin in the carderĀ returns it to a wonderful fluffy state. In addition to this it gives you the opportunity to make ‘heathered’ yarns by carding together different colour fibres. I love this effect which adds depth and interest.

So I mixed in a bit of the blue in the red, and a bit of the red in the blue. Actually, the blue made a much bigger difference to the red than the other way round, so I ended up adding quite a lot of red to the blue in order to make it noticeable.

This is what the carded wool looked like:


And this is what the finished yarn looks like:img_2370img_2366

I’m very happy with the result and would happily buy more 56s. It spun very nicely and has made a light, fluffy and soft yarn.

I’m thinking of adding in a few more colours and making a fairisle scarf, but that’s a future project.

The blue yarn is:






The red yarn is:






I have a bit more of the red stashed away somewhere, hence why it doesn’t quite add up to 200g…


Green Merino


I’ve spun the first 50g of the lovely forest green Merino I got fromĀ Adelaide WalkerĀ at theĀ Big Textile Show. I want to make a hat of it, which means it would make sense to spin it more woolen, but it’s a combed top – so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try spinning from the fold!


I’ve been using the spinning tutorials byĀ Jacey Boggs FaulknerĀ onĀ Craftsy, which I’ve found very helpful. Drafting from the fold was pretty tricky. Jacey uses a spinning wheel rather than a drop spindle, and I have a feeling it might be easier with a wheel as you get a different angle between your hand and yarn.

The resulting yarn is more uneven than usual, but I don’t really mind. I spun and plied it very loosely (for the first ply I actually went back over it and ‘un-spun’ it a bit because I thought it was a bit tight) and I’m very happy with the result, which is a lovely soft and airy yarn.

It is:




~8WPI (aran)

I’ve had a look around on Ravelry for suitable hat patterns and I think I might go for a really simple one likeĀ thisĀ Simple Slouch Hat by Robyn Devine.


I’m definitely having a lazy Sunday with much knitting and tea, and shortbread I made yesterday. I’m feeling a bit like an invalid after having a rather bad fall on my bike yesterday. Nothing serious, just superficial wounds, but they are quite numerous and painful so I feel justified in staying in bed šŸ™‚


Spinning for Jumper

I’m making pretty good progress with the Blue Faced Leicester I got from Adelaide Walker at theĀ Big Textile Show. I’ve spun 312g out of the 500 I bought and I’m in the process of buying some more.

You see, I want to knit a jumper.Ā This jumperĀ to be precise. And I’ve calculated that I’m going to need about 900g to spin the 960 metres I need for it.


This be the jumper – by Isabell Kraemer on Ravelry. I really like the simplicity with subtle details.


And this be the wool I’ve spun so far. It’s a 3 ply with nice drape. I’ll most likely dye it, but I do like the ‘texture’ of the colour as well (it has a bit of ‘heathering’ or ‘tweed’ quality to it), which means more depth when you dye it over as well.

First Section of Scarf

I’ve made a start at the scarf I’m making out of theĀ Portland/Coloured Ryeland/Manx LoaghtanĀ that IĀ dyed the other day.

I’m very pleased with what I’ve done so far, but unfortunately I’m out of wool šŸ˜¦

It is going to be a circular scarf, and the plan is to make half in this wool (yellow) and half in another wool (maybe blue-grey), but there’s not even enough for the first half. I guess I’m going to have to get more of theĀ Portland/Coloured Ryeland/Manx Loaghtan, but it’s fairly expensive – Ā£6 for a hundred grams. I mean, I do think it’s worth it, seeing as it’s from rare breeds, keeping them from getting extinct. But I can’t afford it at the moment, so I’m just going to have to shelf it for now.

I do think it’s looking really awesome – I love the chevron pattern and the aran braid. Honestly I can’t wait to finish it, but alas…


Turmeric Dye

I’ve dyed the Manx/Portland/Ryeland wool with turmeric and I’m pretty happy with the results.

I boiled a few tablespoons of turmeric for ten minutes or so, then added the wool (unmordanted). I only left it for a few minutes – it absorbs the dye very quickly.

I managed to get a few different shades. My theory is that there are (at least) two different pigments: one warmer/redder and one colder/yellower. The first one seems to absorb more quickly. So, the skeinĀ in the middle was put in the same dyebath as the one on the right and it seems more of the red pigments were absorbed by the one on the right. To the left you have the undyed yarn.


I wasn’t quite happy with the cold yellow though, so I made up a new dyebath and dyed it over to get a consistent dark gold shade.


And here are the finished skeins! I’ve already started planning a circular scarf for them…