Finally got a couple skeins done of the Alpaca/Dusty/Blue Faced Leicester. Thought you might like a peek:
Back in January I finished the BFL handpainted roving and I remember not liking the magpie nature of the other handpainted singles that I Navajo plied. So I sampled it with some pure black alpaca (back on 5/25/2011 in Next Up... Alpaca!)
I finished maybe a quarter of a bobbin of the pure alpaca and decided I was tired of all the drifting apart, it was forcing me to spin singles heavier than I really wanted for this yarn.
Having just washed Dusty's fleece, a lightbulb lit in my brain (don't worry, there wasn't too much smoke) and I decided to blend the two fibers and see what the result would be - sure couldn't be any worse to spin!
Those two up above are the blended plies - the smaller one has one ply of the pure alpaca and one ply of the 50/50 blend. Visually, they are identical. You might be able to enlarge the pictures enough to tell the difference, but I really doubt that I'd let someone close enough to me to do that kind of visual inspection of any finished garment of this yarn!
These new singles are a lot more fun to spin, I can draft in my usual way and spin it up as fine as I want. No slipping, no drifting apart and lovely fine singles so that the three ply finished yarn will be more like fingering or DK weight when it is finished. Best yet, this is some of the softest yarn I've ever spun. The fine wool and the alpaca seem to be made for each other!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The next one I've started is for another order - this time three matching tams for a group of three brothers. This set matches the Buchanan tartan #151 (if you want to look up tartans, here is a great site to do it: http://houseoftartan.co.uk/house/tfinder.htm) Could not find a way to cut and paste the image of the tartan, but it is a lot of fun to look up family tartans on that site.
|Tam to match Buchanan tartan #151|
Here's a shot of the work in progress:
This is one of the most complex tartans I've ever seen. Not only is it asymmetrical, it has more colors than any other tartan I've found. There may be others - but I did the best I could to match it. Missing the blue in the original, but this was getting pretty busy with color already. Vertical lines are tough in this kind of knitting, I think duplicate stitch would be the only way, and I'm not sure how the extra layer of yarn would behave in the felting process, so I'm not taking any chances. That is an experiment for another time - when I don't have a tight deadline to meet!
I'm up to the point where I knit even for 20 rounds or so, which forms the outside edge of the turned edge before the tam begins to flatten out across the top and the decreasing rounds. These are a lot of fun to do, even with all the surprises that happen in the felting process.
Onward and upward...
Thursday, June 9, 2011
This yarn knits up beautifully - the heathers from Knit Picks are just to die (or maybe dye?) for in my opinion. This one is Solstice Heather in the Wool of the Andes Worsted yarn. It looks like navy blue, but has touches of purple, teal and even fuschia if you look really close. My camera didn't even come close to capturing all the colors - so I fiddled with it so it looks pretty close on my screen. Anyway, here's a close up of the fabric of the hat as it is now. Maybe you can see a little of the color range here.
This was done up on size 10.5 needles and took about three balls of yarn. I've got the yarn ordered for the next three hats like this - they'll match the colors in the Buchanan tartan. Wowee - it is a bright one too! So, next thing is to felt and finish this one for Jeff, then I'll be knitting more wooly bags in very bright colors!
On the spinning side - I found a fascinating blend of fiber from a mill in California - Corriedale wool and Samoyed dog hair. I can hardly wait for it to arrive! I used to have a Samoyed and I collected a lot of fiber from him. Beautiful stuff - develops a halo like angora rabbit fur and is exceptionally warm to wear. Many of the people who climb Mt. Everest are said to have worn dog fur blend hats to stay extra warm. Of course, I don't know any of them personally, so it is all hearsay... but I'd believe it. Statistics say that dog fur is about 10 times as warm as wool. This particular roving is a blend of 80% wool and 20% dog, so it should be easier to spin and a lot more wearable in a finished item. Besides, the halo is really a neat effect in a finished piece.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
|Dusty - Corriedale|
|Frene Creek Farm roving in process|