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Dreambird Shawl in Handspun Yarn

Dreambird shawl in handspun yarn

I’ve been working on a special shawl for a special friend’s birthday and I’m finally done! Yay!!

Heather's Shawl Close-up

It is Nadita’s Dreambird pattern, purchased from her shop on Ravelry. She is a really interesting designer with a lot of patterns I think would work really well with handspun yarn 🙂

Hanspun Shawl

A reminder of where this came from — the shetland lamb from earlier this year…(the handdyed coloured sections)

Shetland, ready to wash

The grey is a rambo/bond cross.

Hand spun shawl - dreambird pattern

The pattern takes some getting used to but is really easy once you get the hang of it. Highly recommended!

Have a great day 🙂

If you might be interested in my handspun yarn for sale, please check out my destash site!

It’s Fleece Season!!

Oh yes, happy day!

It may still be snowing outside but I still love spring – I usually stock up on my fleeces and this year I’m pretty pleased with what I was able to find 🙂 (lol, to be honest, I have always been pleased – I just love fleece)

There is the Romney fleece – purchased from a seller on Ravelry.

Romney fleece

It was very clean to begin with, hardly any vm.

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I separated the locks and laid them in a basket.

I really like taking the extra time to do this – the results are excellent and the fleece cleans very easily. I place these locks in a wire waste basket from the dollar store and then this basket is placed in a large pot of simmering water on the stove. I keep an eye on water temperature with a candy thermometer. I do the same with the rinse water and I have a second basket so I can keep one washing at all times. The going is a little slow because I don’t overcrowd my baskets but it’s easy and the results are excellent!

Romney all washed up

And this is the whole fleece, after washing.

Romney fleece/washed

The next fleece is a shetland lamb fleece – really nice!

Shetland lamb

Charlie really loves fleece!
(our dog really loves this fleece!)

I purchased this from a little etsy shop.

It is a beautiful fleece with minimal vm, well skirted and soft. Count me as a happy spinner 🙂

Shetland, ready to wash

Washed shetland lamb fleece

I found some lovely suri alpaca – baby suri, just a little so I could try it…lol, I fell in love…

Baby suri alpaca

I ended up blending the suri with a little of the shetland lamb and have not yet plied the singles.

Happy spring 🙂

A Little Shetland Lace Cardigan

Using my handspun!

Remember the shetland fleece I bought earlier this year?
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I washed it, combed it – seperated the down coat from the coarse outer coat, and spun the down into a nice, lofty two ply.

handspun shetland

I wanted a little sweater – it’s really soft and I’m not overly sensitive to wool anyways. The Sylph Cardigan by Robin Melanson (Interweave Knits) was perfect. Or at least close to perfect! I downsized it, one size. I also continued the lace pattern throughout and knitted on the neckband rather than sewing it on later. I reshaped the sleeves a bit when downsizing. I like them well fitted.

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I love how it turned out!

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Awesome!

Very cool day in wool-land!

I’ve started to knit with my charcoal shetland…

handspun shetland

It’s a ‘sylph’-ish cardigan…or at least that’s what I’m going for…

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I had to downsize it, one size, and am thinking about leaving the open pattern throughout rather than changing it to the closed version halfway, as the pattern is written. I think it shows off the shetland nicely AND the mods are necessary if I hope to have enough wool!

Since I’m new at this, I didn’t realize how much weight is lost in the cleaning and processing of the fleece. I have approximately equal amounts of the outer coat (silvery gray) and the inner coat (the chocolate brown/gray that I’m using for this sweater).

My rambouillet fleece arrived today! From Knit-Knackers in Ottawa, Ontario – purchased from ebay but also available directly from the store and sold by the pound, for anyone who is interested. 🙂 It’s so soft and fine, really really fine. 17 to 21 microns. I’m almost afraid of it, lol.

It’s soaking already, in a cold water soak.

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rambouillet

And – the 3rd fantastic part of today – I’ve found (or been found by, lol) a local lady who raises sheep and she’s going to drop off three fleeces on the weekend, for FREE. Yay for free things! Very cool and she says next spring I should get back in touch again. LOVE the idea of having local fleeces and saving money even IF they are more work! She’s shearing tomorrow and I’m excited. 🙂

Washing Wool

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I washed/am washing the shetland fleece indoors since it’s not exactly balmy outside this week in ontario.

I began with soaking the fleece, in parts, in tubs in cold water – changing the water as it dirtied and warmed. I’ve still got a little in a cold bath that started soaking the first day. I think extra days make it easier to clean.

Next, I used this method of hot water wash. My soap is a presidents choice aromatherapy dishsoap – it smells like lavender.

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The wastbasket was a stroke of genius – we found it at the second hand store for 75 cents! It works as the perfect colander. I used an old tupperware bowl for the wash, the metal bowl for a drain to set the basket in.

Each batch got two soapy soaks and two or three rinses in nearly boiling water. In the interest of saving water I use the last rinse as the first soapy soak for the next batch (and make the last rinse very quick to prevent significant cooling). I used a couple of towels and rolled each batch, squeezing out most of the water and laid them out on my sweater drying rack (in the livingroom).

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As the fleece dried, I seperated it into locks…

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By starting at the tips, it was pretty easy to seperate. Dirty tips aren’t so bad, lol….they help the fleece stay together and (mine) combed out easily later.

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I’ve still got a third of a fleece to do…

I’ll be the lady in the kitchen 🙂

It’s Here!

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I picked up my fleece this morning at the post office. Good thing too…now it looks like it’s going to pour rain today! It came in a pretty small box, it’s amazing how well they vacuum packed it.

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About 4.5 pounds of raw charcoal/black shetland fleece from Devine West Ranch in New Brunswick, Canada.

Couldn’t help it – had to see! – so I’ve let it stretch a little in a smallish bin in the living room until the kids get home for lunch. I want to let them share in this whole thing – it’s a real learning experience for all of us and I’ve always been craft mama with them 🙂

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It fluffed right up and it’s not nearly fully ‘fluffed’…

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I can see some finer fleece as well as some coarser and there seems to be a variety of browns/blacks within the fleece. I’ll be able to say more once I stretch it out (planning to use an old sheet for that!) and have a better look. Doesn’t look like too much hay or other fun stuff in there but again, I need a better look.

I’m all excited and intimidated at the same time, lol! Wish me luck 🙂

SO Excited!!!

I’m getting a raw shetland fleece!!

And! The news is good…saw my surgeon today and the tests came back negative after my operation. Happy Dance time! I’m walking on clouds today. Ah, and the healing is going perfectly well 🙂

A belated birthday present – the fleece is just over 4 pounds, from a farm in New Brunswick, my very first ebay purchase ever, my first fleece ever.

I totally can’t wait. It’s surprising I’m this excited over dirty sheep, but I really, really am 🙂 It’s listed as ‘charcoal’ so I’m not sure I could dye any – if I felt like trying out dying. Doesn’t matter actually…its the adventure I’m after.

Oh yes, I finished the camp shirt…
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Still not thrilled with the sleeves but the handspun worked really well and it’s a comfy sweater to wear.

Not sure, with the shetland, if I will make something fine like that or maybe a really nice outerwear cardigan…decisions for later!

I’m hoping it’s a ‘good’ fleece (as if I would know!) and the final product seems secondary to the learning curve, which I truly enjoy when I’m learning a new craft. I’m reading everything I can find about methods of processing and spinning. I’m leaning toward going slowly with the cleaning, in small batches, and probably trying to keep the locks nice and spin from those since I don’t have carders. I’m pretty sure I can flick card with the dog brushes I have. LOL…again, guessing – I’ve never actually ‘carded’ anything but the flick carders I’ve seen look exactly like dog brushes with longer handles.

I expect, on the outside, I’ll get the fleece in about three weeks. You see, this way, I’ll be pleasantly surprised, hopefully!

I’m off to work on my blanket…

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