Friday, 14 June 2013

Mitred squares rug

I've seen many beautiful rugs at the annual exhibitions of Operation Cover-up in Thames, New Zealand. People from throughout the Coromandel Peninsula generously knit rugs, hats and jumpers for children in Romania. I was intrigued by the mitred square, also known as domino, rugs.

After I'd completed my Spinning course (see Creative Fibres Courses) last year, I found I had lots of small balls of experimental yarn in a range of natural colours.  When I sorted through my stash I found many others so I decided to make a mitred square rug entirely of yarn spun from naturally coloured fleeces. Since I began the rug, friends have given me more coloured fleece.

The pattern I used was based on one developed by Chris de Longpr√©. I found it on her website pattern for rug

The rug includes fleeces from Polwarth, Gotland, Corriedale, Romney, and Cormo and Perendale. I love the soft shades and the sculptural ridges of the squares. 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Fractal spinning

Last year I spun and knitted a hoodie for my 2 year old grandson. It looked great but was a bit scratchy. I'd used a Romney fleece and spun it with too much twist.

Top down knitted hoodie
He looks happy enough in it here

So this year I am determined to make him a garment that is soft and gentle on his skin. I've chosen superwash Polwarth to spin and I shall include yellow in the dyeing as that is his favourite colour.

I painted the dye onto the sliver in bands of red, orange, yellow and brown. Altogether there were 12 metres of sliver with 8 repeats of the colours. I steamed the sliver for about 40 minutes.

I wanted to use fractal spinning for the yarn for this project. To prepare the dyed sliver I split each set of the 4 colours in half lengthwise. One half I split further into 4 equal portions.

One of the eighths being dizzed.

 I spun the halves one after another onto one bobbin (right one in the photo). The eigths were spun onto a second bobbin (left). I used a worsted spinning style. When the yarn is knitted I should see bands of colour and within each band, for example the red band, there will be red with red, red with orange, red with yellow and red with brown.

Closeup of the yarn
200 g of glorious yarn



Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Spinning angora

I spun a worsted style yarn from some of my first blend of 30:20 merino:angora and was thrilled with the result. After I'd washed the yarn it became fluffier. Here is a knitted sample. I think this blend works well. The yarn has a lovely angora halo and the merino gives it bounce. One idea is to make a beautiful bunny hat with ears for my 6 month old granddaughter.
For the second batch of carding, I used pink merino sliver and angora in a ratio of 4:1. This time I handcarded the angora.
 then made a sandwich with the merino on the outside and angora as the filling.
I elongated the sandwich as I put it through the wild carder

I separated the batt into two lengthwise then made each smaller batt into a pile of 4 pieces. I took a section from one batt and elongated it then put it through the carder. Then one from the second pile and so on alternating the pieces.

 Here are the exquisite balls of fluff.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Angora bunny

angora fleece
Last week I was given 2 shopping bags of white angora bunny. I tipped one onto the table and was surprised to find mice had been nesting in the bag. Fortunately the mice were gone but their droppings and additions to the nest like shredded paper remained. More importantly they don't seem to have chewed the fibre.

I sorted the bunny into 4 piles, one was rubbish, the second was really short pieces, the third pieces about 1 inch long and the fourth and largest pile was fleece about 3 inches long.

For my first experimental blend I decided to use 30g superwash merino to 20g of the 3" bunny. As I'd heard that angora is easier to handle if it has been rested in the freezer I put it into a plastic bag and "froze" it. I divided the 50g of merino and bunny into 4 equal lots and carded 1 lot at a time using an Ashford Wild Carder. I made sandwiches of merino with bunny as the filling. After about 3 or 4 cardings the fibres looked evenly blended. There were a few specks of dirt in the angora but I figure they will come out when the spun blend is washed. Next time I would put the merino through the carder on its own first to encourage the fibres to spread out easily.