Archive for the 'Spinning' Category

What you can do on a two-week road trip



Five dish cloths. The bottom left square is – hopefully – the start of a fully handspun patchwork blanket. Knitting ten squares and spinning enough yarn for another ten will be my Tour de Fleece project.


Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

I started spinning while I lived in Slovakia and got my first spinning wheel when we lived in Norway. Nice countries both, with vibrant handicraft and knitting traditions, but spinning is very rare both places. It is fun to finally live somewhere where there are actual fiber guilds and wool festivals.

I’ve recently joined the Potomac Fiber Arts Guild, which has its own spinning study group. And this last weekend, I took the family to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. After these three years spinning in complete solitude, it is a little thrilling and also a little terrifying to find a whole huge festival of people who know the difference between roving and top, and who have definitive opinions on the merits of double-treadle versus single-treadle spinning wheels.

We only spent a couple of hours at the festival, but I got to see some of the nice things about a wool festival.

Sheep to Shawl – three of the teams (I’m sorry I neglected to note their names!)

(this one seemed to have a pirate theme going. Okay, then!)


I kind of regret not buying a flicker when I see this picture. It looks deceptively quick and easy.

While I was browsing the shops, my family looked at the sheep dog demonstration. Those are some impressive (and slightly scary) dogs. No wonder the sheep haul ass, with those dogs coming at top speed, then suddenly crawling towards them with that hunting grin.


The loot:


I’ve wanted a new spinning wheel for a long time, and this wheel is ideal for taking to guild and study group meetings. It is also significantly easier to spin on than my old Traddy. I love, love the double treadling and the ball bearings. The fiber I bought is from Hobbledehoy Fibers – the braid is SW merino/bamboo/nylon (60/30/10) in colour Strawberry Jam, picked by my daughter for a scarf for her. The bag is something called a Ply Pack, whatever that is, of 50/50 merino/tencel in colour Cherry Jam.  We’re jam people, clearly.


Did I mention that I love my new wheel?

PS! This is my 200th post! Woo!

Epic project

January 2010:

Spinner's lap cloth

March 2010:
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January 2011:

February 2011:




May 2011:


[fibre: jamieson&smith shetland
spun: short draw, two-ply to a worsted weight on my ashford traditional
pattern: acer cardigan
all posts on this project are here]

And the winner is…

I’ve been looking for the perfect cabled cardi pattern to make with my handspun Shetland wool.

After repeated searches on Ravelry (frustrated by what seems to be an ongoing issue with the gauge filter on the pattern search) I had it narrowed down to a handful of great options. And the winner is (so far, at least):


The Acer Cardigan by Amy Christoffers ($7 Ravelry download). It is a nice cabled cardi, with added lace interest, it buttons all the way down (I have enough of the 1-3 button jackets, thank you).

The gauge is 20 stitches to the inch. My handspun varies between 19 and 20, so I’m knitting the 34 inch size, and it seems to be a good size for now. My last sweaters have all been top-down, so knitting something bottom-up adds an element of surprise that may not be too compatible with this gauge uncertainty. We’ll see.

Yarn seeking project


I have finished 375 grams out of 1 kg of this moorit Shetland wool – wonderfully prepared and reasonably priced top from Jamieson & Smith, by the way – and my mind is turning to the ideal pattern for my first large handspun project. I want to knit a cabled cardigan that buttons all the way down. My WPI varies a little, unfortunately, but comes in at an average of 12. A super quick swatch suggests a gauge of 19 on 4 mm needles, but I’ll have to swatch more from several skeins, I think. The Central Park Hoodie has crossed my mind – it would certainly fit in with my pattern of shameless bandwagon jumping – but I’m still looking.


Sorry I’ve completely fallen off the face of the earth. For some reason, I haven’t remembered to get pictures of a lot of the stuff I’ve finished recently, so I’ve fallen out of the habit of blogging it. But here is a selection of stuff I’ve managed to both finish and photograph.

Wrap sweater of my own design:

Wrap sweater

Started sometime late spring, I finished early this summer, but it took some time before I put the i-cord ties on.

Yarn: Gjestal Østlandsgarn (I think)

One in a long line of baby gifts this year, finished in September:


Yarn: leftover Lana Grossa Cool Wool 2000 in #482

Pattern: Madam Møllers babysokkar from Strikk til nøstebarn.

I love the polkadot ribbon.


I got the very strong urge to spin just before we left for our summer holiday at the cabin in August. My wheel is much too big to take on holiday, so I brought my spindle instead. I haven’t spindle spun in a long time, but this was very nice. And I love, love the allspunup fibre that I spun.

A leftover that should have been blogged in May(!):

Same pattern as above (third pair this year, the first one is here), the yarn is Sandnes Garn Sisu Fantasy, colour #7648.

Things I’ve done


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Pattern: Madam Møllers babysokkar

Yarn: Askeladen silke-merinould

Knit in two days for a colleague’s child-to-be.


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Three skeins of Jamieson & Smith Shetland fibre, colour moorit. I still have plenty of wool to go, but I’ve made a start on what I hope will be my first handspun sweater.


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My new sewing machine! It’s a very simple Bernette 56, but I like it very much. I’ve already sewn a pair of trousers for my son on it, which I’ll show in my next post, as soon as I can get a good photo.