Camel colours

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Sometimes I really wish that I could convey touch over the internet, like right now, so that you could feel how amazingly soft and lovely this fibre is!

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I have two skeins to share with you today, both made from handpainted rovings composed of 40% baby camel, 40% Merino and 20% cultivated silk. The rovings were from Woolgatherings, an etsy store with an amazing collection of fibre and colour.

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(Tim got to this one before I did)

Normally I do try to buy my fibre from within Australia (Woolgatherings is American), but I’ve recently converted my friend Choni to spinning, so now I can add onto her orders with international suppliers :) And some things are worth making exceptions for… these are so very soft and beautiful! I think that it’s the baby camel that does it, while the silk adds a wonderful lustre.

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I decide that I wanted my skeins to follow the same colour sequence as the rovings, so I tried splitting the rovings into two parts, spinning them to different bobbins, then plying them together. This colour handling technique is tricky because it relies on you being able to split and spin the colourway evenly. It went okay, but there’s certainly room for improvement. I wasn’t helped by fact that one colourway had already been attacked by a cat.

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I spun my singles finer then I’ve been doing lately, going to a fingering-weight (4-ply) finished yarn. When spinning fine on my e-spinner I’ve found that it’s really important to make sure that I’m getting enough twist into the yarn.

The finer yarn is, the more twist it needs to hold it together. However, in general espinning lends itself to ending up with too much twist, so I always start with the spinner on a very low speed. This way I can take my time with drafting and make sure that the yarn I’m creating doesn’t have too much twist.

As I get the feel of the fibre, it’s easy to start drafting faster without taking the twist into account. And the trouble is… when the yarn is under tension while I’m spinning, it will often hold together with a level of twist that wont hold once the tension comes off. Meaning that I can be spinning along happily, drafting faster and faster, until finally the yarn gives out, and I find that I have to go back a fair way until I find a length with enough twist to get started again.

To combat this issue, I simply have to make sure that I’m increasing the speed of the spinner with the speed of my drafting. Which means paying attention to how fast I’m drafting and increasing accordingly. I also like to stop the spinner regularly, particularly in the early stages of spinning, as I’m finding my pace, to make sure that there’s really enough twist entering the yarn. Once the spinner has stopped, I let the tension off the yarn, and if everything holds together, I know that I’m going well :)

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Because this fibre of was so lovely and soft, I tried to keep my twist to a minimum… enough to hold the yarn together, and no more. Here the silk was a help, because it’s long fibre length and innate strength provided a solid base to the yarn.

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The two singles plied together pretty well, there’s still a decent amount of barber pole in the skeins (that’s when different coloured singles ply together), but there’s also a lot of matching ply. And I kind of like the variation it creates.

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And the two skeins are beautiful together. I’m debating whether or not to use them together in a project. My only concern is that it will end up looking ‘Christmasy’. Then again there’s a lot of blue in one and a lot of burgundy in the other, with the gold drawing them together. I think some test swatches are called for.

Notes on nails – Dirtball (+ getting lids unstuck)

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I have something really different (for me) today. I recently cut my nails super short, so decided I’d try something new. Dirtball, by My Ten Friends (which I picked up from Femme Fatale).

It’s a brown jelly with brown, blue and holographic glitter.

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I only used two coats, because with my nails this short, full coverage wasn’t an issue. I think three or four coats would work well on longer nails.

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When I grabbed for my bottle, I found that the lid was stuck tight… oh noes, what to do!? It’s easy, I wrapped an elastic band around the lid, which gave me the grip I needed to open the lid.

Mixed basket

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A couple of days ago I shared my Mixtape yarn with you. Today, I have my mixed basket :) I knew that I wanted to make some structured with this yarn, particularly because I spun it with a lot of twist, so that it would hold a shape well. And I only had a small, 50 gram skein to work with. So I decided to make a little basket that would be good for holding things like crochet hooks, pens and pencils (you might notice that Tim really likes my pencils).

My Mixtape yarn is around worsted-weight (10-ply), and I used a 4.5 mm hook with it to create a nice dense fabric. You could make this basket out of any weigh yarn, of course the size will differ, but make sure to choose a smaller hook then you normally would for a given weight. I like to try a few different hooks and choose the one that gives me the kind of fabric I’m looking for, here, firm and a minimum of space between stitches.

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The pattern is very simple. It’s worked in a spiral, so you don’t join rounds, just keep going. I like to use a different coloured piece of yarn as a stitch marker in this kind of project. I weave it back and forth as I reach the end of each round, so that if anything goes wrong and I have to rip back, I can keep track of where rounds begin for the entire project, rather then just the current round.

In a project like this, if we increase at the same points in each round, we’ll get a shape based on a hexagon forming, rather then a circle. Often I don’t mind the hexagon, particularly in ami patterns, it gives some nice planes to the shape, and keeps everything neat and easy to follow. But here I did want a circle, and so I’ve included stitch counts which will stagger the increases in the pattern.

Mixed basket pattern

1.      6 sc into a magic ring    [6]

2.      inc * 6    [12]

3.      (1 sc, inc) * 6    [6 sc, 6 inc = 18]

4.      (2 sc, inc) * 6    [12 sc, 6 inc = 24]

5.      1 sc, inc, (3 sc, inc) * 5, 1 sc    [18 sc, 6 inc = 30]

6.      2 sc, inc, (4 sc, inc) * 5, 2 sc    [24 sc, 6 inc = 36]

7.      (17 sc, inc) * 2    [34 sc, 2 inc = 38]

8.      6 sc, inc, 18 sc, inc, 12 sc    [36 sc, 2 inc = 40]

9.        2 sc, inc, 19 sc, inc, 17 sc    [38 sc, 2 inc = 42]

10.     20 sc, inc, 21 sc    [41 sc, 1 inc = 43]

11.     10 sc, inc, 32 sc   [42 sc, 1 inc = 44]

12.     29 sc, inc, 14 sc   [43 sc, 1 inc = 45]

13 – 17.     sc around

18.     sc around, cut yarn and join rounds

19.     join yarn at a new location, rev sc around

(Find this pattern on Ravelry)

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This basket can also double as a cat hat.

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Although Peekay doesn’t agree with my assessment.

Eternal serpent scarf

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(Can you spot Tim wondering what I’m doing outside the door?)

I call it my ‘Eternal Serpent’ scarf, my take on the infinity scarf. ‘Serpent’ because of the lovely green tone this scarf takes. I used my handspun lime sorbet yarn, as well as a skein of kettle dyed, extrafine Merino from Manos del Uruguay in the colourway Agua. Both yarns are worsted-weight (10-ply) and they complement each other wonderfully!

mobius strip

Single Sided by Wes Peck

And ‘Eternal’ because it’s a Möbius strip; a shape which is formed by adding a single half-twist to a band. A Möbius has only one side and one edge, so that if you draw a line around it, you would end up back where you’d begun, having traversed the entire surface.

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Infinity scarves and shawls are very popular at the moment, you’ve probably seen them around. However, most infinity scarves are made by crocheting the scarf in its entirety, then adding the half-twist when the two ends are joined together.

In contrast I made this scarf by first crocheting a length of foundation double crochet, then joining the ends of this foundation row with the half-twist. After that the scarf was made by crocheting around the Möbius strip I’d already created, which was really fun to do :) Though it took a bit of getting use to the fact that I had to go around ‘twice’ before I got back to the beginning.

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Here you can see the detail of the stitch pattern. The body of the scarf is made using only front-post double crochet. The two sides appear to differ because the Möbius shape means that one side (left) is showing the front of the stitch, and the other (right) the back. As a result we have these contrasting ridges or cables, which I edged with reverse single crochet.

The stitch pattern, combined with the fact that post stitches love to curl in on themselves, add to the ‘Serpent’ aspect of this pattern. For this reason I didn’t block the scarf, I didn’t want to reduce its natural movement, I just gave it a nice wash to let the stitches settle.

This pattern is simple and versatile, and I’m definitely going to share it here. However, it makes use of a lot of techniques that, while not difficult, might not be so well known. So first I’m going to spend the next several days going through tutorials to cover everything one would need to make this scarf :) being…

Mixtape

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Another day, another skein of handspun yarn.

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This one is made from a Mix’d tape batt by Wooldancer. These are one of a kind, 50 gram batts that Wooldancer describes as:

… a flavoursome mix of fun fibres and other elements such as ribbon, cassette tape etc, loosely blended on my vintage Fricke drum carder especially for texture-lovers!

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(Peekay loves it when I’m taking photos)

They contain:

… handdyed fleece, including mohair, wensleydale, finn, BFL top, ingeo, milk, silk noils, gobs of sari-silk, lashings of Angelina, sari silk yarn & ribbon!

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My batt certainly has some ribbons going on, as well as shredded american money! And a riot of different types of dyed fibres.

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For such a textured batt, I probably spun this finer than usual, it came to a heavy worsted-weight (10-ply). In doing so, I ended up removing the ribbons, and a lot of the shredded money which didn’t incorporate well into the yarn, though some of it made it in. But I’m sure if this was spun to the chunky weight these kind of batts are really designed for, everything would have spun in wonderfully.

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Tim helped.

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The finished yarn is wonderfully varied and textured, you really need to see it in real life!

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In the sun, all the colours!

And now I’ve turned it into a basket!

Forever in fibre – now with pages

You might (or might not) have noticed that a ‘pages’ section has appeared in our sidebar. As forever in fibre continues to accumulate content, I’m working to make everything as accessible as possible. There are still lots of options in the the menu bar, so that you can narrow posts down to specific categories, and now I’m starting to put together some pages.

We have Crochet tutorials, which is a simple index of tutorial posts; a place to go if you’re looking for information on a particular technique.

And Spinning colour, where I get my spinning nerd on, going into far too much detail about different ways to work with coloured fibre so that you can achieve the results you envision.

I’m planning on continuing to add to these pages… maybe a yarn bomb index? Please let me know if you have any ideas or if there’s anything you’d particularly like to see on forever in fibre :)

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Midnight rainbow yarn

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I have something really special to share with you tonight, I’m so very happy with how this yarn turned out. I’m calling it my midnight rainbow yarn. It’s so soft and luxurious, with such a riot of colour mediated by the black base.

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I purchased a pair of gorgeous matching batts from Wren & Ollie, the were called ‘Calligraphy’ and were composed of extra fine Merino, Merino, tussah silk, silk noil, mohair locks, bamboo, silk thread and banana silk. Wren and & Ollie make such wonderful batts, for more, check out my lime sorbet yarn.

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Just look at the colours when they’re both laid out! It was almost difficult to start spinning them, not wanting to risk destroying such loveliness.

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Tim liked the batts too.

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I tore off manageable portions of roving to spin from.

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And set to work.

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The finished yarn, in the sun, shimmering and bright and beautiful.

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And in the shade, where the colours really stand out.

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Peekay likes the yarn.

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