Colourful Yarns

This week I’ve been doing some more spinning – and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it!

The focus was all about colour!  I ordered some fibre from Hilltop Cloud – which I can thoroughly recommend!  I ordered a rainbow coloured silk brick.  I received this and also a small sample of Yule from her Ceilidh Collection:

I’ll start off by talking about what I did with the green fibre and then get into the knitty gritty of the rainbow!

So the green fibre is an interesting blend of fibres: 45% Merino, 25% Bluefaced Leicester, 12.5% Shetland, 12.5% Soya Silk and 5% Angelina (sparkle!).  It was so nice to work with – unfortunately I have an animal allergy (which turns out to be fine with silk!) but I’ve worked out that if I can find/make some thin gloves I should be fine to spin with animal fibres!

I simply spun the green fibre into a fairly fat single of yarn, then I plyed it with some Patons Washed Cotton DK in Jade Green (just because…experimental spinning!).  I love the result I got:

I got a whole 3m of yarn!  Not sure what I’m making with it yet!  (For those interested, to set the twist, I soaked it in warm water for around 15mins and then let it hang dry with a clothes hanger to tension it a little bit).

Now, onto the exciting yarn!  I’d set my heart on making a fractal yarn.  So fractal yarn I was going to make.  Many readers of my blog will now be going “what’s one of those?”  A fractal yarn is a multi-coloured yarn where on one ply the colour changes slowly whereas on the other ply it changes a lot faster.  This diagram should help:

FractalPlying

Imagine twirling the first ply and one of the second plies together, and there you have it, a fractal yarn!  When doing my yarn, I used the second option of the plying – reversing the colour order for the second ply.

To do this, I split the silk into two equal halves so that there was a rainbow on each half (split by weight).  One half, I split into even thinner sections – these I’ll spin end to end to create the second ply.  The other half I split into sections of each colour – I’ll use this to make the first ply!  The important thing is to make sure I spin each single ply in the same way (clockwise for me) so that when I ply them them, I can ply them in the opposite direction to create a balanced yarn and neither should unravel!  Here’s my silk all split up and ready to spin, the large bits in the middle are for the first ply – there is a little bit of colour overlaps at the ends, but I decided that that would add to the final yarn – and at the top you can see the thin parts for the second ply curled up into little balls:

This is the point where photos cease – imagine me sat in my living spinning together all this fibre.  Several hours later, I’m finished!  I took some photos and then set the yarn to soak in warm water for a short amount of time to set the twist – had a small panic here because some of the blue dye leaked – but it all turned out fine and hadn’t run into any of the other colours.  I wrun as much of the water out as possible and hung it up to dry with a clothes hanger to add a little weight to the yarn to pull out the small amount of twist left in the skein!  There is about 13m of yarn here!

And there you have it!  What is probably my most colourful project complete!  What can you see this yarn being made into?

Spinning With Bamboo

This year has seen me learning to spin with some interesting fibres – cotton and ramie.  This weekend was the turn of bamboo fibre!  I brought all these fibres on Etsy from Wool Finch Studio.

Here is my 50g pile of fluffy bamboo fibres – all ready and waiting to be tamed!

First up, like when I’ve done all my other yarns, I split the roving up into sections that contained as much fibre as I wanted and into more manageable lengths.  Then I grabbed the drop spinde and spent some time twirling and spinning and generally relaxing.  All of a sudden I found I’d finished all the fibre and I’d amassed a fair amount of yarn in the process!

Next I grabbed my niddy noddy and transferred my yarn onto it.  When I get some more fibre and make my next yarn I’m going to try plying – that would require me to keep my yarn as a cone!  Anyway, the yarn made it onto the niddy noddy:

Next I soaked it in the bath tub while it was still on the niddy noddy to set the twist into the yarn.  Then it was just a case of hanging it up to dry – I nearly have some yarn:

Finally, a while later, my yarn is dry and ready for using!  I have 50g or about 18.5m of 100% bamboo yarn all handspun my myself!  I’m very proud of myself.  I wound it up into a neat, twirled skein.  Now to find a suitable pattern…

Ramie Yarn Complete!

Yesterday I told you about my niddy noddy and the finishing off process for my ramie yarn.  When we finished my yarn had been hung up to dry.

Today when I got up, much to my surprise I found that yarn had completely dried and was quite ready to be twisted into a hank ready to look beautiful for photos!  Its such a cute tiny hank!  Now to decide what to use it for!  Its smooth, shiny and a little fluffy in places!  There’s 25g of it and it comes to about 8.4m in length – any suggestions for use?

Ramie Yarn

If you were reading my blog back in May, you might remember a post about my adventures in learning to spin.  In that post I had spun and finished a cotton yarn, and had also spun a ramie yarn and had just left it on the drop spindle.

Well, today I finally got round to making up a PVC piping niddy noddy (you’ll see it in the photos!) and finishing off my ramie yarn.  I’ll tell you quickly about how I made my niddy noddy, and then a little bit about my yarn!

PVC Piping Niddy Noddy

My wonderful partner went to a DIY store and brought me:

  • 1m PVC piping that is 15mm in thickness
  • 2 tee-joints (to fit pipes of 15mm)

This cost around £10 (significantly than most of the nice wooden ones I’ve found on Etsy).

To make it up, my wonderful partner cut the pipe into 4 sections that were 17cm long and 1 section that was 32cm long.  The tee joints were put at the end of the long section, and the small sections were put into the other parts of the tee joint to make an I shape.

You can see some photos shortly after we’ve discussed my yarn!

Handspun Ramie Yarn

With the completion of my niddy noddy, it was time to get that ramie off the spindle and finished off!  To do this, first I held one end of the ramie yarn against the centre of the niddy noddy and then just wound it onto one side (this is because I only had a little amount of yarn!).  I then filled my bathtub up with hot water and let the yarn soak (on the niddy noddy) for about 20 minutes.  I then got it out and squeezed the water out gently and now have left it hanging up to dry!  Once its dry, I’ll find out how much I made and then I’ll either turn it into a small hank of yarn or wind it up into a ball (depending on whether I’ve decided what to use it for!).

Have some photos!

PS: I’m also now on Instagram where you can keep track of my creative and photographic activities!

Spinning A Yarn

Today I’ve learnt how to spin!

I was using a bottom whorl drop spindle that has been lent to me.

My first yarn was made using 50 grams of undyed cotton rovings.  I forgot to take pictures of it until I’d finished the process.  The second yarn was made using 25 grams of undyed ramie rovings.  I’ve got plans to make a third yarn out of 50 grams of bamboo I brought at the same time!  All the rovings were brought from Wool Finch Studio on Etsy (and they are lovely to work with!).

The Cotton Yarn

This is the first ever yarn I’ve spun, so naturally there were problems, its not massively even all the way through, but for a first attempt I’m very pleased with it.  The spinning process starts with the actual spinning, and then you need to set the twist in by washing it.  Here it is after washing and out for drying, I’m drying it flat although there are still some kinks that need working out:

Cotton Yarn, flat drying
Cotton Yarn, flat drying

Once its dry I’ll be winding it into a ball ready for doing some knitting or crochet!  Any ideas what to make with this?  There’s only about 18m of it!

The Ramie Yarn

Firstly, I’ll explain what ramie is!  Ramie plants are also known as Chinese nettle plants.  The fibre comes from the ‘inner bark’ that surrounds the stem of the plant.  Ramie is one of the strongest natural fibres.  It also has a lustrous feel to it.  Here it is in roving form, a mere 25 grams of it:

Ramie
Ramie Fibres

I then spun this up into a yarn.  It was a lot quicker to spin up, partly because I knew what I was doing and definitely because there was less of it.  I haven’t got to the stage of taking this off the spindle yet, I’m enjoying the beauty of it on the spindle!  As I knew it would be on the spindle for a few days, I span in a commercial yarn at the end so that I could use that to tie the end to the spindle and not worry about damaging my handspun yarn!

Ramie2
Ramie yarn on the spindle!

I haven’t worked out how much of this I have yet, but its feels lovely, almost silky!