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