Friday, 27 April 2012

Fibre & Fleece & All Things Nice

After having a look through my handspun; I was looking at one of my favourite books The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius.

As a spinner, I felt that I was sadly lacking in even basic knowledge of different breeds of sheep and other animals and what each fibre was ideal for. This book helps to fill in all those gaps. It only covers fibre that comes from animals; so there isn't anything about cotton/linen/banana fibre etc. but what it does cover is very comprehensive.

I love the maps inside the front and back cover that show where in the world each animal is native to. There is clearly a very strong history of sheep and wool in the British Isles because an individual map of the UK is needed to show all the different breeds.

For each fibre there is a, wealth of information succinctly shown. There are clear photographs of the fibre in all sorts of different states; raw, clean, spun, knitted and woven samples. I like that it shows that they've actually tried the fleece and are talking from experience. There are photos of the animal; as well as some detail of the origins / history of the animal. There is a good list of facts including fleece weight, staple length, fibre diameter, lock characteristics and natural colours. The most interesting part for crafters is the section for what the fibre is ideally used for which includes how well it dyes, what fibre preparations and spinning tips they recommend, whether it works well for knitting, crocheting and/or weaving and what it is best known for.

There are lots of sections throughout with extra information of the more well known breeds as well as some well placed photos from companies that use the fleece to make commercially available yarns.

The majority of the book is taken up with the myriad breeds of sheep but there are some more unusual animals such as angora rabbits, wolves, dogs, bison, goats etc.

It really is a fantastic and comprehensive book.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Yards of yarn

A quick catch up on my spinning. I have a few of my most recent skeins photographed.

The purple/green handspun is 70% BFL / 30% Silk. It's a 2ply laceweight, 25 w.p.i and there is about 452m. The roving was bought at Woolfest from FeltstudioUK.

This one is the same mix of fibre, 70% BFL / 30% Silk. This was spun on a spindle and is single ply laceweight and there is about 920m worth. Again the roving was from FeltstudioUK.

70% BFL 30% Kid Mohair. 2ply & 246m. This I bought when I was at Fibre East last summer from Picperfic

This is some beautiful Suri alpaca that Chrissie from Homefield Alpacas gave me to try. Homefield is a local alpaca farm and a lovely little place. There are lots of alpacas, Shetland sheep, Gotlands (who are a bit weird for sheep - they were quite fussy and wanted petting) and Buster, the Lincoln Longwool. Definitely worth a visit. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


I've just been flicking through some of my photos and came across some of my hand made quilts that I haven't shared with you before. 
Tumbling blocks

They are all hand pieced; I tend to use the American method now. Using Jinny Beyer's Quiltmaking by Hand as my bible. I find it very quick and only marginally slower than using a machine; with the extra upside of being able to take it with me if I'm out. Saying all that the top quilt was made using traditional English paper piecing; which makes for very accurate piecing but very slow work.

Inner City

The Inner City quilt was for a friend, who is a big traveller and the border fabric is of  old luggage labels. A little gimmicky but seemed to work well. 

Compass points

I forgot to take a photo of the compass one when it was finished. The photo is of the top just before basting.  It was a gift for my Mother-In-Law. I was especially thrilled with the compass points (all the points are there - when machine sewing it's so easy to sew across the tips of the points) and another reason why Jinny Beyer's method is so good.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Twisted cables

 My current WIP (one of quite a few if I'm being honest) is a pair of socks; Alpine Glow by Stephanie van der Linden. I'm really enjoying them; the pattern is quite detailed. The yarn is Sparkly Stripes - Sparkle Duck.

I'm always in wonder at the simple little tricks that there are in knitting. The top cable travels across the foot and it's such a simple thing. On the right hand side a stitch is made every few rows and decreased on the other side and voila the cable moves over. The little triangle I've drawn is where the stitches are made.