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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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A Very Bright Baby Blankie!

Samantha's Blankie/1060 metres

It’s a pattern from Wooly Thouhts, available on Ravelry. Best of all, it’s based on math and really easy to improvise as you go, once you get the hang of it ๐Ÿ™‚

I used some of the shetland lamb, dyed it in a multitude of colours. I use the Dharma Trading Co. acid dyes and they are excellent! I blended the dyed locks on hand cards and added a pinch of targhee cross to each rolag – each rolag was split in half so when spun, the plies pretty much lined up and created the blending of one colour to another. In total, 1060 metres of handspun two ply went into this blanket.

handspun from handdyed shetland lambswool

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ (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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

So That’s Where All The Pillowcases Are…Taking Inventory

Good morning!

Another ‘weekend’ for me and I’ve decided to include fleece inventory in my cleaning – more ofย  a thorough spring-type-cleaning than I usually do ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I *think* I’ve gotton most of my clean fleeces together now and WOW – I think I can spin for the next year without really needing to buy anymore, lol.ย  Here’s a pic…

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Yep, lol.ย  A little bit carried away.ย  But (in my defense), quite a bit of this was free so how could I help it? ๐Ÿ™‚ย  There is still some awaiting washing, in bins, both alpaca and woolย — as well as the bin of clean soft-as-a-babys-skin alpaca, of a much higher quality than the alpaca here in the pillow cases.

The group includes;
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Free meat sheep fleece – three bags full! – black, very springy, good for socks/mittens/scarfs and outerwear.

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Free meat sheep fleece, I presume suffolk/suffolk cross – both lamb and young adult – great for socks, mittens, outerwear, felting – springy and very white.ย  I have managed to stuff this into one oversized pillowcase and one of those shopping bags.ย  I believe I have more of this if I get around to washing it.

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Silver/black and red mohair – great for blending for socks/mittens/outerwear.ย  ‘Nature’s Nylon’

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A full bag of mid grade alpaca (free!) which I’ve found is excellent for spinning for mittens and the lighter shades dye wonderfully for stranded colour work.ย  I blend this with wool to give it a little bit of memory.ย  I also have this in two lighter shades….

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And yes, there’s more…

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This is some Border Leicester that I purchased last year – lovely, long and silky – great for blending for socks or anything where you want to add some silky strength.

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This is absolutely lovely silver shetland fleece (about 1.5 to 2 fleeces left) which I absolutely think is a staple fibre.ย  I’ve belended this with so many things! Spins up lovely on it’s own too ๐Ÿ™‚

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This is probably my current favorite fiber.ย  Purchased from Raspberry Hollow, it is a mixed breed lambswool which I cannot remember, with excellent crimp and beautiful softness.ย  Love it.

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And finally – some really wonderful icelandic lamb fiber purchased last year from a local ebay seller.ย  soft and silky!

More to come – I’ve got to see what I’ve got in bins and then there’s going to be the yarn to go through, lol.ย  Oh yes, and the cotton.ย  And the silk. Probably a little bit of superwash merino to rediscover as well…

Happy fiber addictions people!ย  We could do worse things ๐Ÿ™‚

Yes Sir, Yes Sir, Three Bags Full…..

Oh yes, I DO have wool!!! :)))

I’ve been accumulating a variety of wools and fibres this year. It’s the ‘year of the blend’ around my house. Last year I had a couple different types; shetland and jacob and some very dirty suffolk/dorset (actually unknown – this is my best guess). This year, I bought two shetland fleeces, both silver and cream — one is silver thel and cream/brown tog and the other is cream thel and silver tog. Absolutely soft and silky. Though I don’t know the micron count (and frankly am not too concerned with it), I’d guess they would class as fine or superfine. They both came from youngish animals, possibly yearling fleeces. They are my faves….a repeat purchase from a fantastic seller here in Canada. I’ll go back year after year!

Ok, so, to begin at the beginning – the shetlands; (approx 10 lbs total before washing)

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Then, I was given some beautiful alpaca, in shades of honey and brown (which I had already blogged about), also from Canada, Ontario actually. I haven’t any idea of weight but it’s at least one full fleece and parts of another or two?

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Some sari silk waste fibre caught my eye. I bought 100 grams and love the effect it has carded with wool! You could make a really nice silky tweed yarn with this! (I like it so much I’ve now bought another 100 grams – hopefully arriving soon) Gotta love ebay. It seems I didn’t take any pictures of this…

I purchased one pound of border leicester fleece. It’s a lovely, strong, long and shiny fibre which cleaned up nicely….from a yearling ewe.

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I was then sucked in by some beautiful red mohair…lovely stuff! I purchased one pound and have tried it with some of the shetland — truly beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚

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Icelandic fleece (again, from ontario) was my next find. 2.7 lbs of black and white (mostly white, really). I haven’t done anything with this yet, besides cleaning it. It seems very soft and silky (the softer undercoat does, at least)

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Then, of course!, I couldn’t help but order more of the lovely mohair. This time I bought a pound of charcoal/silver/black. Seems not as fine as the red but the fibres are longer. I think it’s going to be beautiful mixed with the right wool or perhaps the brown alpaca….

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Romney fleece became available and I thought – why not? I had never tried romney (actually have not tried most things and how do you know until you experience it for yourself?) and wanted to so I purchased 2.5 pounds and washed it up. I had to flick the tips before washing to get it to come up white but it was worth the work. Beautiful bright white and very soft!

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This next picture is after flicking, but before washing!

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My one, ‘non bargain’ purchase was some local (very local – we could drive to pick it up), very long, fine, white alpaca fibre. The staple is 6 or more inches. I WAY overpaid for these two pounds of alpaca but I don’t even feel badly about it since the fibre turned out so very very perfect! The fleece was absolutely covered in burrs and so I had to hand comb the locks before washing in order to clean them. It hadn’t been sheared in two years which is not usual and is why the staple is so long.

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I am waiting for some mulberry silk top (500 grams) – thinking this would ply beautifully with the white alpaca…perhaps for my next up pattern Multnomah Falls by Magit Sage of Fiber Fiend. Very beautiful, isn’t it?

And then, on Saturday, I was given four fleeces! Suffolk/dorset or a mix of some sort – the shepherdess isn’t sure since they are more pets than anything. One is deep black and seems to be a lamb fleece. One is charcoal, one silver and one (very large one) is white. The blacks are cleaning up easily and the white is a little more difficult – there is a bit of vm in there that’s too fine to come out without combing. I’m positive it will be fine once I comb it out. All of the fleece is fairly soft with the black black one being the softest of all.

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So, I’m overwhelmed. A little. I’ve been washing fleece for what feels like forever since I can’t handle leaving it to do later. I’ve got the silver and the white free fleeces to wash but the rest of the list is washed and waiting in pillowcases to become some very beautiful yarn this year! On the plus side, I haven’t bought any yarn since I began spinning and my yarns are a higher quality and much more interesting than anything I could buy ๐Ÿ™‚

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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A Hard Week

This week has been really hard for us. Our beautiful Lukie (the basset hound) passed away last friday after suffering from poisoning for over a month.

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I seriously think they ought to stop selling rat/mouse poisons to the general public. Why, with all they know about the dangers of poison, do they presume that everyone who CAN buy them WILL use them responsibly? For that matter, they have outlawed pesticides here but yet still sell the poison??

Our boy got into a box that was irresponsibly left OUTSIDE behind our home when the back neighbor moved out. This is what we assume because he was never unsupervised or off leash. The vet couldn’t confirm the type of poison but 2+2 still equals 4.

We buried him by his favorite stream at the farm, on Saturday. It’s been a very difficult time.

I’ve been knitting the shetland, some more. The sweater is coming out beautifully with my mods and I should have something to show soon.

Oh, yes, and still washing the rambouillet fleece. That’s about halfway done. I have the second half soaking and a BUNCH to comb and process. I like to get it to the combed top in little nests stage and that way it’ll be ready for me when I want to spin it.

I’ve become fascinated with the idea of weaving. I have no idea how really, unless it was the ‘Wild Fibres’ article about the weaving in Morocco – yes, that was likely it! I highly recommend that magazine. I bought it for the first time and read it cover to cover the same day. Really really well done and informative. I may have to find space and pull out the weaving loom from Seneca College that I have!

Take care. Hopefully by tomorrow or so I’ll have a lacy sylphish cardigan to show you ๐Ÿ™‚