Monday, 26 November 2012

Tuesday Top

This Tuesday some fibre from one of the first shops I bought spinning fibre from, TacttileDactyl.  I'm still on a camelid kick and this hand dyed Alpaca is awesome!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Melbourne Move

Well, after way too long in Sydney we are finally making our move to Melbourne.  With one week to go the apartment is a shambles and I'm still not sure how to pack my Ashford Traditional for the move.  She's old, she is so going to get damaged!

Anyway, I've been checking out some of the yarnie places to visit when we get to Melbourne, it's best to be prepared.  I haven't been to any of these places before, I'm hoping they will be good!

Sunspun: seems to be a nice LYS. Seems to have a good range of yarns.

Onabee: looks like I missed ot on the actual store by a couple of months but the range of products looks good, maybe have to check out one of the "studio days".

Wondoflex Yarn Craft Centre: this one has fibre and some spinning stuff too - that's exciting!

Kraftkolour: I didn't know these guys have a showroom you can visit.  I'm gonna have to get in there to stock up on some Landscape dyes.  They have fibre too, so maybe I'll be stocking up on some other things too!

Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria:  This may have to be my first stop.  I only recently joined the NSW Guild and it's brilliant!  Lots of books to borrow, people to learn from, classes, equipment.  The Melbourne rooms look amazing - and they have a shop!

And now that I am going to be a bit closer to Bendigo maybe I'll get to go to the Australian Sheep and Wool Show.  That would be cool!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Tuesday Top

This week I've been checking out some Camelid fibres.  This Merino/Camel from GirlMeetsSpindle is beautifully dyed and looks like it would spin like a dream.

Camels shed their coats and the soft down is separated out to use for spinning.  The staple is about 2-7cm and natural colours are in the brown range, from cream to dark brown.  It's not cheap but well worth it for a special spin!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

What's on the Wheel?

I've been busy knitting for a few Ravelry swaps recently and haven't been doing as much spinning as I would like.  So I started spinning this very bright solid merino top from Ewe Give me the Knits.  It was gifted to me in an Aussie Swapper swap on Ravelry.

 I am going for a traditional 3 ply, hoping for a fingering weight but I'm thinking it might poof a bit. I'm hoping that the short runs of undyed Merino that I'm adding in randomly will show up as little flashes of white in the swathe of orange when knitted up.  I think that would look cool. We'll see....

Monday, 12 November 2012

Tuesday Top

Check this one out!

It is called "Swiss Chocolate" and is a 50/50 blend of Merino and Tencel from AlohaBlu.  I love the shine and it has excellent subtle shades of colour.  AlohaBlu is in one of my groups on Ravelry so I see her work quite often, her colourways are great - and often dyed on yarn as well as fibre.  I love that!

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Meet my first spinning "wheel", Frankenstein. 

Obviously he is named after the inventor of the monster and he is my homemade e-spinner.  My boyfriend made him for me following instructions from "Build Your Own Electric Spinning Wheel".  We have been working on it for about 18 months now, tweaking and improving the design and it is now probably time for Frankie: Mark2.

Right from the start it worked pretty well, but we had trouble finding the parts mentioned on the website in Australia so there was quite a bit of trial and error.  We bought a lot of the parts from Small Parts including the bearings and motor and drive band.  The drive band gave us the most problems.  It was hard to find a combination of pulleys/band that wouldn't slip or derail.  We ended up using a toothed band so it really can't slip at all.  We built a speed controller from a kit from Jaycar that has a soft start feature (so the fibre doesn't get yanked out of your hands when it starts up) and allows the speed to be adjusted from barely moving to faster than human hands can draft.  There is also a switch to change the direction of the motor for plying.

Boyfriend built the flyer assembly and bobbins from scratch and they both work well.  The bobbins easily hold 4oz of spun yarn.  The spinner works on scotch tension which was surprisingly easy to set up and control - it's just a bit of brickers twine tightened with a screw mechanism.  We originally had the flyer running straight on the wood but it was causing a bit of friction and noise so we added bearings.

Lots of people make electric spinners.  Many use parts scavenged from sewing machines and it would be easy to use a ready made flyer assembly from a traditional spinning wheel.  There is a good thread with pictures here on Ravelry.  Our next version will just need a bit of cleaning up so that all the parts are positioned neatly.  The box that houses the components is completely unnecessary and just makes the electronics hard to access and the machine really heavy.  Instead we will probably mount it on top of a small base that contains the motor.  Although the motor is not that noisy some shielding would make it really quiet.

This is the first yarn I spun on Frankenstein, and a more recent laceweight:

There is much discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of espinners, I personally think they are awesome.  I also have an elderly Ashford Traditional that I enjoy,  I'll introduce you to her later!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Tuesday Top

This week I'm loving this Alpaca/Merino/Silk gradient from Upstream Alpacas on Etsy.  I think this would make an awesome shawlette. Gotta get my hands on some of this blend to dye myself too!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Etsy Update

Just added this hand dyed Teeswater top to my Etsy Store.

I bought the undyed fibre when I was on a trip to the Uk earlier in the year.  It isn't like any other fibre I have spun before, although apparently it is quite similar to Wensleydale.  Anyway, it is classified as a "long wool and lustre", it is about 50micron with a staple length of around 20cm.  I just find it takes colour brilliantly and spins up quite heavy with a nice drape and a lovely sheen.

Here is some I dyed and spun a few months ago in an almost solid grass green.  It's 100g, 118m, 2 ply, 13wpi, spun on my Ashford Traditional.  Very fun to spin!