Clearing bobbins

I’m working on a new design at the moment, so I don’t have a lot of knitting to share.  So that’s a little tease and here are some finished yarns from clearing off my bobbins ready for Spinzilla.

1177m of 2plied super fine Shetland. I haven’t washed it yet but I expect it to be heavy lace weight/light fingering weight. Love the colour of this.

200g of Merino / Silk blend top became 800m of fingering weight yarn. I love 3plied yarn, so I spun roughly 66g onto each of 3bobbins and made this great 3ply. I N-plied the remnants.

I had some tiny sample bits on a few bobbins so I plied those off to go in my box of oddments. All N-plied, some dyed mulberry silk, undyed mulberry silk and cotton.

The result… 

… a big pile of bobbins! I have some many Schacht bobbins as each wheel comes with 3 or 4 bobbins and I have 3 Schacht wheels that take these bobbins. The huge bobbins are the Hansen Woolee Winder bobbins. My Schacht-Reeves bobbins were already clear and aren’t in the photo. I managed to clear all the bobbins on Friday thinking it was the end of October and Spinzilla started today! I have no idea where that week went in my brain, but I’m glad to have that week back! Spinzilla starts a week today.

Dyeing workshop

Last weekend I taught a dyeing workshop in my garden, for 6 knitting friends who hadn’t done any dyeing before. 

All the dye stocks ready to go!

We mainly dyed mainly yarn, with a little spinning fibre. Thank you to my students for use of their photos, my phone decided to died half way through the day. 

We had a great day, filled with colour and chatter and cake! You’ll notice that they were often inspired by each other’s colour choices, so there are some similar skeins dyed by different people.

Here are some of the students finished yarns.

Great sets of gradient mini skeins!

And using bits of left over dye from the students I dyed these random skeins and some BFL fibre. 

The Flatiron

After an excited wait my new Flatiron from Schacht Spindle company arrived this week!

These great new wheels come totally flat packed, hence the reasonably small box for a 22″ saxony wheel. So I cleared the table and set about assembling this modern wheel. Looking at the table of parts might feel a little daunting if you’ve never assembled a wheel before.The team at Schacht have not only created a great product that is precision cut and beautifully finished, which makes the assembly straight forward, they also created this Assembly video which should put you at ease.

Assembly takes about 90mins and all you need is a Phillips head screwdriver and a straight head screwdriver, they have included all the other tools you need.  Only fully tighten things when you are told to and for the nuts and bolts holding the nut still with the spanner and turning the bolt with the screw driver/hex key is easiest.

90mins later and a few drops of oil and we were up and spinning!  She’s sturdy and quiet and nice and fast.

Oh and I didn’t tell the most unique thing about this wheel. You’ll notice the flyer is on the right, rather than on the left like most saxony wheels. Well Schacht came up with a design that means that every Schacht wheel can be set up with the flyer on the left or the right. Change your mind, loan your wheel to a friend, sell your wheel, then you can take it apart and reassemble it with the flyer on the other side. Brilliant!


I decided for her first spin I’d spin some oddments of black, navy and purple merino into a thick slightly textured yarn to knit into a little fulled bag to hang from my Flatiron with the oil bottle and spare whorls etc in.


At the moment I’m knitting a cardigan in natural grey Falkland 4ply yarn that I was given for my birthday. More on that next time.

Flicking Shetland

I’ve had a 3week long battle with a dental abscess and the dentist. I won’t bore you with all the details, but today we got to;
Dentist “I didn’t know you were in pain last time I saw you.”
Me “I told you I was. And the receptionist.”
Dentist “you didn’t tell me or I would have prescribed some antibiotics.”
Me “The receptionist told me there was no way for me to get an appointment any earlier (than 2weeks), that I’d have to wait, even though I told her I was in pain.”
Dentist “You could have come back sooner.”
Me “As I said before the receptionist said the earliest I could be seen was …”
Me “The only reason I called today was because my GP said you HAD to see me today. So I thought I’d try.”

So the result so far? Another course of antibiotics, stronger ones for anaerobic bacteria this time, hopefully they will work and we can get on with treatment.
The toothache is bad enough but I’ve been getting waves of the most horrific pain all up that side of my face, jaw and neck. These waves of pain leave me unable to do anything but lay there shaking and sobbing until they pass, usually about half an hour later. There doesn’t seem to be a trigger and the painkillers make no difference. I just hope the antibiotics work quick!

So as you can imagine I haven’t done much knitting in the last 2weeks and especially not the last few days.
Between waves of pain I’ve managed to knit most of the raglan for a jumper for my daughter.

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The wool is beautiful Superfine Australian 8ply, maximum of 18microns. It doest say it’s merino, but it must be at that kind of fineness. It’s superwash and bright red of course so perfect for my daughter. It was a very kind gift from an Australian Ravelry friend.

Last night I thought maybe I could work through the pain by flicking some beautiful Shetland locks. I got some done before the pain overwhelmed me again.
The fleece is a White Shetland Ewe fleece I bought at Wonderwool last year. It’s beautiful; fine wool with a good crimp, no break.
Hand washed by me.

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A box of flicked locks.

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This is probably the simplest, easiest and cheapest method of processing fleece except for spinning directly from the unwashed fleece.
All you need a small flicker, you can buy one from your spinning supplier, but you don’t need to. A dog slicker from your local pet shop or discount store will work just as well. I paid about £2.50 for mine from Wilkinsons.
I’ll try and post a photo later so you know what you are looking for.
You’ll also want a piece of leather or thick plastic to lay over your lap to flick on, otherwise you’ll soon have a whole in your trousers.

As a final thought, I’ll show you the pretty card my daughter made for me. Wow her feet have got big since she was that tiny baby I bought home.

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Triangular Shawl Calculator

Here’s a little way to calculate the maximum number of rows you can work on a shawl (top down shawls only). You need to have knitted at least 20% of your yarn to do get an accurate answer, though it will return a result with more than 10% yarn used.

Triangular shawl
This calculation will work for any shawl pattern that starts at the top and has a consistent number of increases in each row. (ie. 4increases on every right side row and 2 sts on every wrong side row, or 4increases every other row.)
(Examples of this type of shawl are: ‘Swallowtail’, ‘Ishbel’, ‘Aeolian’, ‘Kiri’, ‘Traveling Woman’, My ‘Dew Drops’ & ‘Danish Ripple’ Shawls)
(I know these shawls have slightly different shapes, but trust me the maths works for all of them.)

You need to know:

Number of Constant stitches in each row: (eg. Swallowtail:5, Ishbel:7, Aeolian:5or7.) (usually edge stitches on each side + centre stitch) (If you don’t know this don’t worry too much as it doesn’t make a huge difference to the result.)

Total yarn weight: (This is how much yarn you have available for the project, in grams is best.)

Used yarn weight so far: (This is the total weight of yarn minus what you have left un-knitted.)

Rows worked so far: (with many shawl you can count the number of holes running up the middle next to the centre st and x2).

RESULT
Maximum Number of Rows:

This result is the number of rows you can work with the yarn you have available, it allows you 3rows worth of yarn to cast off which is sufficient for a very stretchy bind off.
If you pattern has a lot of increases in the final few rows, ie lots of yarn over’s for a pointier edge you will need to subtract a few more rows to allow for that.
If your pattern tells you to cast off with the yarn held double you will need to subtract a few more rows to allow for this.

This calculator requires javascript to be enabled.
I hope you find this page useful, I provide it free for everyone, please link to it here.
Contact me through Raverly, or email me if you have any questions.
P.s. Please don’t blame me if the answer doesn’t work out for you, I provide this script working to the best of my knowledge, free to everyone.
(c) Bex Hopkins 2010, please do not attempt to steal this script.
If you would like to know how this is calculated please contact mes.

Jacob Fleece Washing…


I washed some of the fleece today, as my new hand carders and spindle arrived in the post. It hasn’t come very clean, so I might try teasing the fibres more first, and maybe different detergent, as this had 3 washes and rinses in very hot water.


I also thought I’d try some spinning, which is going surprisingly well I think. The first batch is Corriedale Silver in Dark Purple.


This is the second batch in White, work in progress.

I will have to try and card some of the Jacob, then I can try and spin it… :-s

Jacob Fleece

Today I collected some Jacob Fleece from Tamsyn G.
It looks lovely, and Tamsyn has kindly picked out most of the VM which I am very thankful for.


Jacob’s are white with well defined black (dark patches), they produce a medium quality fleece, with micron count 30-33 and staple length 3″-7″, average fleece weight 2-3Kgs.


The fleeces I have are a mixture of off white, light brown, dark brown and black wool. Hopefully next weekend I will get time to wash a selection and have ago at hand carding it. (My new hand carders are expected to arrive this week.) I think I will try washing some with and without the lanolin removed to see how it spins up.

I’m determined to try and use this wool undyed and take advantage of the natural colours.
Watch this space…