Wool Maker Lane

knitting, spinning and life with alpacas


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I’ve been busy ‘mitting’

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I just love these mitts.  The colour is fantastic although it’s really hard for me to capture.  I took pictures of them outside today (between the showers!) but just can’t seem to do the shade any justice.  I used Tivoli New Celtic Aran Wool which is soft and lovely and really stretchy….I had a chap with large hands trying them on yesterday and they stretched with no problems.  The cable pattern worked like a dream and I really love the way that the cables are framed by the two long bars of cables either side.

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The main part of the mitten is reverse stocking stitch which makes it quick to knit.  It is contrasted with the moss stitch (known as seed stitch to my North American friends) within the large cables.  I took copious notes as I knitted so I shall try my best to get the pattern up shortly.

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I managed to get the three and a half batts spun into singles, stuck the bobbins onto a Lazy Kate and plied them together.  This was a while ago and I have been waiting patiently for some decent weather to give the wool a wash and hang it out to dry.  Today is the day and as luck would have it I am staying at my mother’s house (she is recovering from an op) where there is an ‘all weather’ parasol in the garden which is perfect for today.  Not being sure exactly when the weather is going to change I have tied the skeins beneath it …  for peace of mind.

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I must say that Bert’s fleece is much cleaner this year.  Last year the water was filthy.  The water in the bowl was heated to 25 degrees Celsius and contained a small amount of washing up liquid.  I had another bowl waiting close by with water of the same temperature in order to rinse the wool.

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Up the skeins went ….  and now waiting for them to dry….

The time won’t be wasted though as the Ashford Traveller has come with me and will be spinning away for a repeat performance.

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carding

Last night I finished spinning the three batts of Bert’s fleece but having some more space on the bobbins I thought that I would have another session of carding this morning getting three more lovely thick batts.  Only last week my mother rooted out some hand carders from her shed and passed them onto me.  Being a lovely day I thought that it would be nice to sit out in the garden and have a go.  Despite being harassed by a load of horse flies I soon realised why I prefer to use the drum carder…

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And I think that I’ll stick with the drum carder although it is a pretty very heavy object to haul around.

I found a lovely link to a film, which I think is from the 1970’s, showing two ladies carding and spinning efficiently, accurately and without a cut or bruise in sight.

http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/history-heritage/traditional-crafts/traditional-crafts-of-ire/textiles/video-wool-spinning/

It is actually a clip from a programme about the sheep industry in Ireland which was probably made by RTÉ.  It really is a joy to watch.


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In the pink

Just back from a lovely walk in the woods…and lots of pinks and purples everywhere

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ragged robin

It’s such a joy to see all of these lovely colours everywhere.  The ragged robin is one of my favourites.  It only comes out for a few weeks of the year and it looks so dainty.


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Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scolb

Basically this means don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today (lit. a windy day is not for thatching).  The sun was splitting the stones today and this afternoon I grabbed an hour in the sun with my lovely spinning wheel.

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I have now spun two and a half batts and I am hoping that another hour will get the three of them done and ready to be plied.

Bit of a mishap occurred during the night.  Naughty pussy cat, known as Blackie, got locked in the shed where the fleece is stored.

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She decided to sleep on one of the pillow cases and ‘do her business’ on top of another one.  I was far from impressed but calmed down somewhat when I took out the fleece and noticed that it was the part of Albie’s fleece which could be considered as ‘seconds’ or indeed ‘thirds’  .

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It has now been saved and I’ll use it for stuffing cushions or soft toys (after washing of course)…there’s a small project I have in mind but will need to put it on the long finger for the time being.


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Mitts to go

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And here I go again starting more mitts only slightly different this time.  I’m starting with a K1 P1 rib and adding a couple of more small cables into it.  I feel like I’m on a roll at the moment where knitting mittens is concerned and should keep going while I’m the right side of Christmas…(people on my list you know what you’re getting).  You’d never believe it but the wool that I am using is actually a jade/emerald type of colour.  I don’t know where this shade of purple in the photo came from…although purple is my favourite colour.


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In a spin

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Two days ago I had three batts ready to be spun.  This evening I have two left.   I spun for an hour yesterday and again this evening for an hour and a half.  It’s lovely to come home after a day at work and take out the wheel.  The wheel that I use is an Ashford Traveller which actually belongs to my mother but since she has developed knee and shoulder problems I have been using it.  I love it as it is so easy to use and to care for.

I find spinning to be a very relaxing and therapeutic activity which can be done in many places.  One of my favourite spots is right in front of the t.v. which keeps me occupied.  The only problem is that nobody will sit with me when I am spinning as I am told that I’m being too noisy!

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Mmm.  Looks like it will be a fine day tomorrow!

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This is what one batt and two and a half hours can get you.  I shall start a new bobbin tomorrow and when I have three I shall ply the strands together using a Lazy Kate.  There is a function on the Ashford Traveller for plying but I haven’t ever used it… maybe one day I’ll be brave enough.