Wool Maker Lane

knitting, spinning and life with alpacas


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Spinning a Sweater

This has to be my most ambitious project to date for a number of reasons but mainly because of the time involved.  Over the Christmas holidays (doesn’t that sound like ages ago?) I was listening to the AndreSue Knits podcast and she was chatting to a fellow knitter, Sue Stokes, about a Sweater spin.  This has been a goal of mine since the alpacas first came to live with us but anyone who has been near a spinning wheel will know the hours that it can take to spin even a small ball of wool.  Habitually I have a grand plan to spin ‘tonnes’ of wool and then produce a substantial pullover that would keep one cosy in a Force Ten gale but usually the moment that I have enough yarn spun for a hat or a pair of gloves…off I go and the amazingly grand garment gets put onto the long finger (this is a wonderful Irish phrase often used to describe the inactivity of procrastinators).

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So brimming with enthusiasm I signed myself up to this challenge.  And indeed where spinning is concerned challenge is the word.  My right foot, which still has a painful fracture, is redundant and the left has taken over.  It’s doing well and treadling beautifully however my body has to take on an awkward posture when I am on the Ashford Traveller as the ‘business end’of this spinning wheel is to the left of the treadle.  Slowly but surely I am getting there.

I am spinning Albie’s fleece, which I love to bits, into a two ply yarn.  This will be the last beautiful brown fleece that we get from him as over the winter he has started to grow a lot of grey hair on his fringe (which isn’t used) and down his neck (which usually would be).

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Also, this will show you how impulsive I am, I have no pattern in mind.  I have merely cast a sufficient number of stitches onto a circular needle and I’m going for it.   The plan is to knit up to the armpits and then decide what sort of a design the jumper will take.  I have been researching stitch patterns and pullovers from a number of traditions which I have to say is phenomenal fun but hugely distracting.  The good news is that I have about 45 more rows before a decision has to be made so there’s no rush really.  If possible I would like to use a contrasting fleece….but we’ll see!

 

Bristol Hat Fine and Finished

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On a recent trip to the UK I managed to finish this little lovely out of leftover Debbie Bliss yarn.  I had started it before Christmas and left it there to be finished off when I returned.  It’s always great to have a project waiting for you that you can get stuck into straight away.  On my next jaunt over I will have to apply myself big time to the great spin fest so that I can make more headway on the sweater spin challenge.  This means being highly organised and taking plenty of carded fleece and bobbins with me.

 

Broken Joint

During my last stint of spinning in the UK  I managed to break the conrod joint of the Ashford Traditional.  This is a piece of leather that attaches to the treadle.  I had a quick hunt around for some leather to replace it with and stumbled upon a pair of redundant jeans with the perfect label.  What could be better?

 

 


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Meet the Olympia Cardigan…the Olympic race that finally saw the finish line!

Early in July, during a weekend in Bristol, my husband and I decided to go to a sale in John Lewis to look at shirts…..Whilst perusing the menswear section it came to my attention that there was a sale on in the haberdashery area so I needed to investigate.  I was in so much luck as there was a large area brimming with various yarns and wool all with discounted labels.  A few of them had been bagged up as job lots.  This is where I came across the beautiful pinks and greys in the Debbie Bliss Elektra yarn…all ten balls of it (each of 50 grammes).  There and then I had to have it as I was sure that I would get a complete garment from it.  This was going to be my new project to accompany me during my Olympics viewing.

I knew that I wanted to make a large, cosy cardigan for the chilly evenings to slip over whatever I happened to be wearing.   Following a quick swatch using 6mm needles (the label suggests 8mm) and a few rudimentary measurements I got started.  I must say that this was the most liberating project.  No pattern was used other than a basic idea in my head of how I wanted the cardigan to look.  While the games on the telly got underway so did I.

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As everyone knows ‘Life is what happens when you’re making other plans’ and on a number of occasions both my cardigan project and my Olympic watching were interrupted with more pressing matters at work and home.  I was able, though, to pick it up easily and carry on when I was able to snatch a half hour here and there and it just grew and grew so quickly that it was very gratifying.

I knitted it all in one piece from the bottom up.  I split the stitches at the armholes for the back and the fronts and continued in stocking stitch up to the shoulders.  Next I sewed up the shoulders, picked up the stitches from the armholes and knitted the sleeves from top to cuff.  Finally I picked up and knitted the stitches around the collar using garter stitch and did the same for the button band.

I managed to finish it this week just when the Para Olympics started  (so I am still within the  Olympic timetable) and I love wearing it.

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