Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Meet Teddy

What does the word 'teddy' conjure up for you? For me it's soft, cuddly, comforting and huggable.

Let me introduce you to Teddy, a gorgeous blend of superfine merino, baby camel and mulberry silk (60/20/20). It's a new fibre that Marianne over at Picperfic's Fluff-n-Stuff has just brought into her Etsy shop. I lent Marianne a couple of shawls to use on her stand at Fibre East recently (you can read all about her weekend at Fibre East here!) and she very kindly sent me a braid of her new fibre as a thank you when she returned the shawls to me. This is in her Lovehearts colourway.

Fluff from Marianne (2)

I was itching to spin it as soon as I set eyes on it, and managed to spin it up during the Tour de Fleece. I spun it up as a single, very similar in fact to the Darling fibre that I spun up and used to knit my Citron shawl recently. It was just a delight to spin; Marianne's fibres are always so well blended and this was easy to draft. It was like spinning a cloud of marshmallows!

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I fulled the yarn by immersing the skein alternately into hot and cold water, before giving it a jolly good thwack and snapping out the skein between my hands. Then it was hung up and left to dry. I ended up with a rather pretty skein of around 450 metres of light fingering weight yarn.

Tour de Fleece 2012 (1)

Next began the search for a pattern. I knew that I wanted a scarf or a cowl because of the softness of the yarn. It felt so luxurious, just perfect for something snuggly to wrap around once the weather gets a bit colder. Marianne came up with a lovely suggestion, the Botanical cowl.

Lovehearts cowl WIP 002

It was a super quick knit, driven partly by my need to see the pretty pastel colours of the yarn emerging. The ribbing at the top and bottom stops the edges from curling in and the eyelets add some interest.

Lovehearts cowl WIP 014

It can be worn as a longer, single loop like this ......

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...... or doubled up for extra cosiness around the neck, just perfect for chilly autumn mornings.

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The colours in the yarn are just so pretty.

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The cowl used up less than half of the yarn, so I decided to knit a Drop Stitch scarf with the rest, as I thought it was the perfect pattern to show off the colour changes.

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I've still got quite a bit of yarn left to knit, so will show you the finished scarf another time.

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I bet you'd love to try some Teddy wouldn't you?! Well, one of you will be able to, because I'm having a little giveaway! One lucky reader will win a braid of Teddy fibre from Marianne's shop. Marianne is such a sweetie, she has said that the winner can choose a colourway and she will dye it up especially for you! So what you have to do in order to be in with a chance of winning is become a follower of my blog (if you aren't already), take a look in Marianne's shop, (it's probably worth a look in her sold items too so you can see all the gorgeous colours she dyes!) and leave me a message telling me your favourite colourway. I'll pick a winner using a random number generator at 9pm next Monday, August 6th. It's open to anyone, anywhere! So what are you waiting for?! Good luck! xxx

Monday, 23 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - summing up

It's been a busy old Tour for me this year. I managed to spin every day, except for the day we went to Bruges. I thought I might have a 'ta-dah!' moment and share my yarns with you.

Firstly, Picperfic's Fluff'n'Stuff Twinkle fibre, N-plyed. I ended up with 210 metres, so not enough for socks (for me at least!), but perhaps a hat?

Fluff'n'Stuff Twinkle

Next, my British breeds spun up for my Sheep Heid hat. In total, I have around 400 metres of lovely, sheepy 2 ply yarn. This will be my first real colourwork project - it's something I've wanted to try for some time now.

British breeds Sheep Heid

My greatest spinning efforts probably went into the Sweet Georgia Panda fibre. It's a mix of merino, bamboo and nylon. I have around 560 metres of 2 ply laceweight yarn. It drapes beautifully and I think I am going to knit Wandering Thyme with it.

Sweet Georgia Panda

Lastly, a touch of luxury with Fluff'n'Stuff's Teddy - a mix of superfine merino, baby camel and mulberry silk. I spun it as a single and have about 450 metres of light fingering weight. I'm not quite sure what it's going to become yet!

Fluff'n'Stuff Teddy

So although I didn't manage to achieve all my goals (spinning enough yardage for socks and spinning silk fibre), I am pretty pleased with what I achieved, especially with a busy end of term going on too. Now it's back to the knitting!! I have a lot of new yarn to knit up! See you soon! xxx

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 23

So here we are on the last day of the Tour. I'm quite sad it's come to an end as I have enjoyed spending time each day on my spinning. Although it has to be said that my knitting time has been severely eaten into. Today I have been spinning some rather lovely fibre - a blend of merino, camel and silk. It is gorgeous and deserves a blog post of its own another time. So for now you'll just have to make do with a photo! I hope to finish spinning it this evening. Then I'll be back tomorrow for a summary of my Tour de Fleece. xxx

Tour de Fleece 2012 day 23 (1)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 22

I wound my yarn onto the niddy noddy this morning and am delighted with the yardage. I have about 560 metres to play around with. I think I know what it's going to become, but I just need to check on the wpi before making a final decision. Then I'll spill the beans! The skein has been soaked and is currently hanging up to dry.

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It feels really silky and I think the bamboo is going to give the yarn a gorgeous drape. Here's the skein pre-soaking.

Tour de Fleece 2012 day 22 (1)

I also got round to soaking all the little skeins for my Sheep Heid. I colour coded each skein so that I'd be able to identify them afterwards. I've printed out the pattern now and will try to match up my colours with the suggested ones. I'm keen to make a start on this once the Tour de Fleece is over. Here they all are drying in the shower room!

Sheep Heid skeins drying (2)

I have some rather lovely fibre from Picperfic that I'm going to play around with for the last day of the Tour. It feels rather delicious. Florence thinks so too! xxx

Fluff from Marianne (6)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 21

I have managed to finish plying the merino/bamboo fibre and have a satisfyingly plump bobbin to present to you! I have no idea of yardage at the moment, but my hopes are high! I'll tell you tomorrow how much there is! xxx

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 19

Not a lot of spinning for me today, as it was the end of year disco at school tonight. I carried on with some plying, still got loads more to do. It was meant to be a 'challenge yourself' day today, but it was a challenge just to be able to spin! Tomorrow will be a bit tricky too as we're going out for staff meal. I'll try to blog, assuming I have something (slightly) different to show you!! xxx

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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 18

It's another rest day in the Tour today, so it's a chance for me to tell you about our day trip to Bruges on Saturday. It was a long day, with lots of time spent on the coach. Luckily I had my Citron shawl with me, and knitted loads! I'm on the last section now - the ruffle - and the rows are just never ending! Next time I blog about knitting, it ought to be finished. Delays on the Shuttle meant that we didn't get as long in Bruges as we'd hoped for, but we managed to get a flavour of the city, and know that we want to go back there sometime.

We started off by going on a boat trip around the city's rivers.

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You can see from the architecture of the buildings that there is a strong Dutch influence here, with the stepped gables.

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Despite the terrible weather forecast, it actually only rained once during our visit. Luckily we didn't need to borrow any umbrellas while we were on the boat! This was the starting point for our tour. I think the building used to be an old hospital.

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Almost every other shop sold Belgian chocolates! Mmmmmmmmmm!

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Those chocolate covered orange slices are yummy - we brought some back home with us. Talking of food, frites with mayonnaise seemed appropriate, although Mr JK preferred ketchup with his!!

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And it would have been rude not to sample the waffles too, wouldn't it. We had ours with caramel sauce!
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No time to search for yarn shops, but I did find this street. In Medieval times, Bruges was the centre of the wool trade, so I am guessing that this street, just off the central market square, played an important part.

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There was plenty of lace though. I spotted this little window while we were on the boat trip.

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A little taste of our day in Bruges. Hope you enjoyed the trip! I'll be back spinning again tomorrow! xxx

Monday, 16 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 17

Only a little spinning time today - well, plying time actually. I had to move classrooms this afternoon and came home exhausted! I decided to go for a simple 2-ply yarn and have made a start. There looks like there might be quite a lot!! It's a rest day tomorrow, so I'll be able to share my day trip to Bruges with you! xxx

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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 16

No spinning yesterday, but I have made up for it today! I have finished the second braid of the Sweet Georgia Panda fibre and have two bobbins waiting to be plied. I think I'll be plying the two together, but the possibility of sock quantities means that N-plying is calling out to me too! Which will I do? You'll have to come back tomorrow to find out!! xxx

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Friday, 13 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 14

I have made a start on the second braid of merino/bamboo fibre. All of it has been pre-drafted, as I find it a lot easier to spin that way. I hope to get it finished over the weekend. No spinning for me tomorrow though, as Mr JK and I are off to Bruges in Belgium on a day trip!! The weather forecast is pretty grim, but I'm sure that won't deter me from sampling a few Belgian chocolates!! I'll make a full report for you on my return, have no fear!! I have my trusty Citron packed for the journey - the rows are getting pretty long now, so I don't think I'll run out of knitting!! See you Sunday! xxx

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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 13

I finished the first braid of Sweet Georgia Panda fibre today. It is lovely to spin, very easy to draft, and the fibre is nicely blended. The colours remind me of summer berries, the mix of shades is rich and deep. My intention is to spin up the other 50g braid and then ply them together. With luck, I ought to have enough yardage for a shawl of some kind. Here's the first bobbin.

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I was delighted to receive a squishy parcel in the post today. You may remember that I won a team prize in my Tour de Fleece group, Team Superfleece. It was a $30 gift certificate from Briar Rose Fibers. I told Chris what my favourite colours were, and asked her to choose me something! There were plenty of big smiles when I pulled out this scrumptious BFL fibre.

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The only snag is, someone else appears to be rather smitten with it too! xxx

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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 12

Life conspired to get in the way of spinning today, so I only managed a miniscule amount more on the merino and bamboo fibre. It is gorgeous to spin, it's coming out nice and fine as you can see from the photo below. Tomorrow I'd like to try and get the first braid all spun up. There's about a quarter of it left, so I ought to manage! xxx

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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 11

It's all quiet on the spinning front today, so the perfect opportunity for me to show you what I've been up to when I haven't been spinning. Firstly, another Citron shawl, this time using Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace yarn. This is a 60th birthday present for a friend. I'm on the fifth pattern repeat now and plan to do at least 6 plus the full edging. I have plenty of yarn, so have no fears of running out!

truly scrumptious citron WIP (2)

I have also crocheted a couple more squares for the Great British Wool blanket. Crocheting doesn't come naturally to me, but I hope that as I complete more squares, I'll be able to work more quickly.  It's going to be fun playing around with the different colour combinations in the centres, while keeping the outer rounds neutral.

Great British Wool blanket WIP  (2)

Last week I had a stinking cold and needed some dead easy knitting. So I cast on  another pair of plain vanilla socks for one of my University friends. I found a yarn in my stash that has some cotton in it, so it feels lovely and soft. Do you notice the rather snazzy dpn protectors? I found these over at Atomic Knitting. I gave one to Snoopydog as part of her birthday present, so of course I had to have one too!! (That's how it works round here!!)

plain vanilla sock no.9 WIP

Flo has pointed out to me on more than one occasion recently that I need to get on with knitting my mink and cashmere cardigan. She has taken a liking to dragging the yarn cakes around the house, miaowing loudly as she sinks her teeth and claws into her 'trophy'!! So the yarn cakes have been put in a drawer to protect them from pussycat drool!! I think I'll have to knit her a little mouse with the leftovers, she certainly does seem very taken with this yarn!

I took part in a swap in the BareNakedKnitspot group on Ravelry recently. My swap partner was Bobbie, who lives in Alaska. We had fun getting to know each other. We decided to open our parcels at the same time, no mean feat when there are 9 hours between us! Some quick messaging on Ravelry confirmed we were both there, ready and waiting. It was almost bedtime in Alaska, while I had just eaten my breakfast the next morning!! I opened up a really lovely parcel containing two skeins of yarn (Woolen Rabbit Pearl and Sunshine yarns single ply merino), some stitch markers, a lemon and lavender soap, lip balm and lots of chocolate!! Bobbie also gifted me a Knitspot pattern, Curling,  to knit using one of the yarns. I think it'll be the pink merino, it's so soft.

BNK swap with Bobbie 007 (2)

I also received another parcel in the post this week. I was a runner up in a competition in the ThreeBagsFull group on Ravelry. You had to post photos of your bags 'in the wild'! This was my winning photo - sunrise over the North Sea, sailing to Holland in May.

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And this was my prize - a cute little notions case with a map of the Underground on it!

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So that it didn't get lonely on its journey over from the USA, I popped into Michele's shop and treated myself to a new project bag. It turned out that it was a perfect match for the two skeins that Bobbie sent me. What luck! I only need one more skein in there and it looks as though I might have a Color Affection brewing!! See you tomorrow for an update on the spinning. xxx

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Monday, 9 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 10

Well, I went stash diving and I surprised myself with what I chose - I thought that I'd go for something totally bright and colourful after all that natural coloured fibre. Instead, I went for some rather lovely fibre from Sweet Georgia yarns. It's a mix of superwash merino, bamboo rayon and nylon called Panda. (I have that 'sock thing' calling out to me again!!) The colour is a semi-solid pinkish, reddish colourway called Pomegranate and is a really lovely mix of shades.

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I have two 50g braids courtesy of my Canadian Ravelry friend,Cathy. We have been swapping yarn and fibre for several years now. She always manages to find me something lovely! The idea is to spin each braid up on a separate bobbin and then ply them together. I'm aiming for quite a high level of twist, just in case I have enough yardage for socks. Ever hopeful!! Here's how it's looking on the bobbin so far.

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Tomorrow is a rest day in the Tour de Fleece, but I'll still be blogging as I have some knitting to show you. xxx

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 9

The weather outside is miserable, so I haven't felt the slightest guilt for being sat inside spinning today! I have finished spinning all the yarns for my Sheep Heid hat! Firstly the white and Moorit Shetland that I started yesterday.

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The last two fibres were North Ronaldsay - grey and brown. They were fun to spin, very easy to draft.

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So here are my nine little skeins of yarn, all spun! I have to soak them all and will probably do that later today. I need to make sure I can identify them - as you can see from the photo below, they are quite similar (although they feel different!)

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Starting with the white Shetland at 11 o'clock and going anticlockwise, we then have black Shetland, grey Shetland, Moorit Sheltland, brown BFL, oatmeal BFL, grey North Ronaldsay, brown North Ronaldsay and grey Jacob. I'm really excited about this spinning and can't wait to start knitting the hat now.

In the meantime, here's a sheepy fact for you. The North Ronaldsay sheep live on the island of North Ronaldsay, the most northerly of the Orkney Isles. They live on the beach and eat seaweed for several months of the year.

I'm off to stash dive for something colourful to spin tomorrow. Pop back then to see what I've chosen! xxx