Sheep Yoke Cardi – Step 1

I have spun the singles and done a 2ply and 3ply sample which I have washed and am waiting for them to dry.  Hopefully tomorrow I can knit some swatches. At the moment I prefer the 3ply, as its a more rounded and even yarn, but if I do a 2ply I won’t have to spin as much length of singles.  I need to measure the wpi and gauge before making a decision.  I hope to be able to calculate how much fibre I need to dye tomorrow, and start on the dyeing.

I said to some Ravelers I would document the process of spinning for a project, altering a pattern and calculating required yardage and weight.

The pattern for 9-12months requires:

DK weight superwash wool in tan (220-250 yards); blue, green and cream (60-90 yards); black (less than 20 yards); for girl’s version, pink (less than 60 yards).   Gauge: 5.5 stitches and 8 rows = 1 inch.

This gives a garment with 22inch chest and 14inch length aprox.

Sleeves 7inches long by 8inches-7inches.

My Woolly Life

Yet again I am guilty of not updating,….  To busy spinning and knitting!

As a quick fill in, I got my Ladybug and have been spinning merily, hand blended Jacob and Agelina Batts for socks, Jacob and Angelina Batts in pink and lilac for a cardigan for Em, Laceweight (well almost) superwash BFL for a shawl, English wool Blend from Wildcraft for a bag in the style of Lizard ridge, my first long draw, thick and thin slub yarn for a necklace, …

Excitingly I got an Ashford drumcarder as a Valentine, Birthday, Xmas present (That’s xmas ’09!), I’m really pleased with it, I must wash some more fleece for blending.

But what I really wanted to post about is a pattern I’m planning on spinning for, its called Sheep Yoke Cardigan.  I will have to alter it for Em, as its sized for 9-12months, and recalculate the yardage.  I’m going to spin it from Superwash Merino Tops, being machine washable and soft is important for toddlers.

So plan of action;

1. Spin some sample singles and try 2ply and 3 ply to see what I think will be best.

2. Work gauge swatch.

3. Work out meters/gram of the sample I want to use.

4.  Rework the pattern in the size I need to make, and work out the yardage I need to spin.

5. Dye up the fibres.

6. Spin 1/2 (or 1/3) of each colour of fibre into singles, then spin the rest.  (To help with consistency.)

7. Ply.

8. Finish and wind into balls.

9. Start Knitting!

10. Happy sheepy Tot. 🙂

My first spinning wheel

I can now proudly say I bought my first spinning wheel, a Schacth Ladybug.

Here are some of my opinions and a mini review of the Ladybug;

It is quirky looking and it took me a while to get used to its styling, but now I have decided it is beautiful.  Every Ladybug has a tiny Ladybird stuck on it somewhere, Mine is on the front of the right hand leg, at the bottom.  I can just about see it if I peer when I’m spinning.  I bought my Ladybug from , I’m very very pleased with it and have no regrets.  I got one with an attached lazy kate, and have plied from it with no problems, but I guess it will depend on your style, but if you haven’t done much (or any) plying on a wheel before it you may well be ok with it as you have no previous preference.  I do tuck the ends of any yarn on the bobbins in when not in use just incase they get caught up in the wheel (which hasn’t happened yet, but a few other people have said its happened to them, as the lazy kate is directly infront of the moving wheel).

I think its an all round fantastic wheel, the scotch tension and double drive option make it very flexible, it has a good range of ratios with the additional whorls ( 5:1 – 16:1), it has a smooth double treddle with an easy action,  a  nice wide orifice for bulky yarns, the flyer an orifice are in the center; combined with the duble treddle I think this really encourages you to sit straight at the wheel and not favor one side, its light weight (5.6kg) and easy to move with the 3 handles, it seems robust and well main.  My wheel came complete with; 3 bobbins, tensioned lazy kate (which holds 4 bobbins), poly drive band, drive band for using double drive, orifice hook, a medium and a fastt whorl (giving ratios of 7:1, 9:1, 10.5:1, 12.5:1).

Official Website.

I span some green and grey wool, to give me enough to finish the handspun hat I’m making.  Then I started on the beautiful “Roses Swirl” BFL superwash which I bought from , I’m spinning the singles quite fine, and will be 2-plying, I haven’t checked the WIP’s but it will be between a 2ply and 4ply weight yarn.  Probably for a shawl but maybe socks, it depends what the plied yarn comes out like.

I’m really pleased with how even I can spin on the wheel compared to my hand spindle.  It all comes down to being able to use both hands 100% of the time for drafting and being able to vary the speed so easily.

I will post photos in my next post.

Ooh I’ve also made some tiny ladybugs and other bits for the shop.


Schacht Ladybug With Lazy Kate

I’m going to look at and hopefully buy my first spinning wheel on Monday.  GoldfishGirl who is an experienced spinner is coming with me.  I’m hoping to get  a Schacht LadyBug Spinning Wheel.    It’s more expensive than the one I had planned to get, but it comes with more accessories; Tensioned Lazy Kate (for easy plying), 3 Bobbins, Threading Hook, Medium and Fast Whorls, Band for Scotch tension setup and Band for Double Drive setup.  It has 3 handles built into the wheel, making it easy to carry and more.
Every Wheel is unique, as somewhere on the wheel there is a little LadyBug pal to keep you company wheel spinning.


Double Treadle
Single Drive Scotch tension
Double Drive
Weight: 5.6Kg
wheel diameter: 40.5cm
orifice diameter: 9.5mm
spindle height: 73.5cm
drive ratios 7, 9,(medium whorl) 10.5, 12:1 (fast whorl)

I’m so excited, I feel like a small child all over again!

I haven’t spun on a wheel for about 15yrs, and even then it was only a short go.  Though having used a drop spindle I can draft and I understand the theory behind the wheel.  Here’s hoping  I don’t make a fool of myself in the shop!

Schacht Ladybug

I’m desparate to love it as much when I try it as I do already, I want to get it home and sit and play with it. 🙂

I’ve ordered  some beautiful fibre from Wildcraft , but I think I’ll get some more when I get my wheel, as I’m sure it will soon disappear.

GoldfishGirl brought me a batt of random fibres to our SnB this week.  It was beautiful and quick and easy to spin.  I’ve spun all 25grams and 2plied it.  It’s 16WIP, so about 4ply weight.

I didn’t check the yardage, but I’m going to make a beanie for Chad with it.  If there isn’t enough I’ll spin up some brown jacob with some green to finish the rest.

Spinach and Beans Handspun

Spinach and Beans Handspun Closeup

I’ve finished writing a new pattern,  for kids socks, knitted toe up.  It  needs some tidying up, and calculations for extra sizes.  I plan to make it in baby, toddler, 4-6yrs, 7-12yrs sizes.  I plan to have a few variations in the pattern, traditional or short row heal, ribbed or lace cuff, etc.

Here’s photos of  the first pair which I’ve made for Em, these are size 2-4yrs, with Openwork Rib cuff.

Bex\'s Toe Up Kids Socks

Bex\'s Toe Up Kids Socks OpenWork Rib detail


I am guilty of not updating, but its because I have been busy knitting lots, dyeing yarn for the shop and making a few buttons.  I will post some sneek previews of shop updates here as often as I can.

I found some beautiful yarn recent “Wendy Happy 4ply”, made from 75% Bamboo 25% Nylon.  It comes in a selection of beautiful striping colourways and is so so soft and smooth.  It costs aprox £5.49 for 100g.

A quick plug for a knitting friend who has just started her own blog.

First Crochet

My first attempt at crochet (I had one previous attempt, managed 2 stitches and threw the yarn and hook on the floor).  So I’m very proud of this, its a Golden Snitch from Harry Potter (basically a ball with wings).

I however manage to snap the end off the plastic crochet hook in the process, enough said I think.

In other knitting news, my socks blanket is coming along well.

I have knitted some little socks for a friend’s son’s first birthday. I will try and remember to take and post a better picture.

Sock Yarn wip5

Thank you to Clare for some blue sock yarn, this photo is of the little bit, there’s also a whole ball!
ClareL\'s Sock Yarn
(Clare has just started a sock yarn blanket, using DK yarn, its going brilliantly!)

Thank you to Twiglet Queen for some more sock yarn.
Twiglet Queen\'s Sock yarn

I’ve now done about 40squares of my sock yarn blanket, but I won’t post a picture, as it will hopefully be abit more dramatic when I’ve done some more!

I also managed to buy some King Cole Zig Zag 4ply Sock Yarn today, I got it at a wool shop in Wareham. It was £3.99 per ball (100g) which will do a pair of socks with some left over, which is really reasonable compared to some of the other patterning sock yarns. It is 50% Superwash Wool 50% Nylon, but feels nice and soft.
King Cole Zig Zag Sock Yarn

Just to add… I finished this, its an Ipod Cosy, it’s a pressy for Karen, as she was kind enough to give me some of her beautiful Handspun yarn. The yarn was intended for my sock yarn blanket, but it was a bit thick and I was worried it would felt. Karen didn’t know what to knit with it, so I made her a cosy and hopefully there is enough left for a little phone cosy or purse for me.
Karen\'s Felted Ipod Cosy

Sock Yarn Blanket wip4

I managed to do 4 squares from the donations of yarn I received last night, and there will be many more!
I finished my first big square (counting as 4 squares), taking the running total to 22 (+ the 1 lost in the sofa…).

From bottom right, Grey-Light Brown is from Katrina’s yarn, Brown-Black and Cream are from Bea’s Yarn, Blue-Green is from Tanya’s yarn.

Tonight I’m going to try and do some of my Stained Glass Fan Bag which I really want to get finished so it can be my knitting bag 🙂

Sock Yarn Thank you

Thank you to the SnB’s for their very generous donations towards my sock yarn blanket, I think I will have to knit faster! I’m so pleased with the variety and colours, as I tend to buy the same sorts of colours all the time.

Thank you to Karen for her beautiful handspun wool, this is quite thick compared to the yarns I have already for the blanket, so I might do the squares with fewer stitches and see how it comes out, or I might have to make Karen a small and pretty gift.

Thank you to Bea for her cream with bright specs sock yarn and cream-brown-grey with red specs sock yarn. I think the darker one will knit up especially nicely, I might do this at a make square to take advantage of the colour changes.

Thank you to Katrina, who I met for the first time this evening, for her blue regia sock yarn and pinky-beige, green, brown sock yarn, I’ll really interested to see how the latter patterns when knitted.
As promised I will try and type up my version of that pattern for you. 🙂

Thank you to Tanya for her blue-green-purple regia sock yarn, which is the leftover from her first sock.

Looking at this large pile of wool, which has kindly been given to me, I feel the urge to go away and knit a square from each and add it to my blanket.

Thank you to everyone for their kind comments about my hand made bamboo needles, I hope you enjoy them and welcome your feedback.

Sock Yarn Blanket wip2

I’m now knitting square 7, I love this project so much!

Thanks to the Bournemouth SnB’s who have offered me leftovers, I’m really looking forward to seeing the different selection of yarns and how they knit up!
I can definitely see myself buying sock yarn to make socks, so that I have different left overs!

Quick Update Re: Colourful Designs Shop Hopefully I will be adding some knitting needles in about 2 weeks time!

Sock Yarn Blanket wip1

I’m starting a blanket made out of scrap sock yarn. I’m in love with hand knitted socks and the beautiful yarns.
So I’m going to use the remnants I have, and any I receive from others to make this blanket.

My reasoning behind this project is…
I have a condition called Fibromylgia syndrome, it causes me to have chronic pain over most of my body most of the time, the pain doesn’t respond well to treatment, so most of the time I just have to put up with it. Among other things it makes it very hard for me to sleep and I get cold limbs.

So I tend to spend a lot of time sitting in a chair, instead of in bed, and to pass the time I knit, as I don’t have the energy for much else. I have numerous blankets which I have tried to keep me warm, but they are all so heavy they make my legs hurt more.

So… I want to knit a warm but lightweight blanket, that is just the right size for me. I did start one, but the plain blocks of colour drove me to boredom and it has since hibernated. I have recently fallen in love with knitting socks and beautiful sock yarns and I thought that a sock yarn blanket, where I can knit little bits at a time would be brilliant!

If you’d like to give me your sock yarn remnants place email me. (Anything 4ply with some wool in it would be brilliant, any colours.)