Monday, May 12, 2008

I've been given a challenge! OOo I do love a challenge...

Went to the Devon Guild of Weavers, Spinners, Dyers meetup on Exeter last Saturday and met Norma. Norma was very kindly fiddling with some of the scoured Shetland fleece I bought at Wonderwool(fiddling=teasing out VM and combing). Norma had brought along a large paper sack filled with little paper bags, each in turn filled with beautiful (smelly) Black Gotland fleece. The challenge is to spin up this fleece and make an item however you like (knit, crochet, weave) and then write up a couple of hundred words on the process. I can do that. In fact I can't wait!

Copied from the British Gotland Sheep Society I found this:

"The breed was first established on the Swedish island of Gotland by the Vikings with Karakul and Romanov sheep brought back from expeditions deep into Russia and crossed with the native landrace sheep. The Vikings were great seafarers as well as sheep farmers and took these animals on their extensive voyages to provide meat
and skins along the route. Hence the spread of these Northern short-tailed sheep and the development into related breeds such as Goth sheep, Icelandic, Finnsheep, Shetland, North Ronaldsay and Manx. Primitive horned Gotland sheep still exist on the island of Gotland today. The Gotland Peltsheep (pälsfår) or modern Gotland has been developed in Sweden since the 1920's through controlled breeding and intensive selection, producing a true multipurpose long wool sheep, yielding good flavoured close-grained meat, furskins and soft silky lustrous fleece. In Britain we refer to these Gotland Peltsheep simply as Gotlands."

The fleece itself has a long staple and a slight crimp - and is a beautiful lustery (is there such a word?) black with hints of silver and grey. I spun the first skein on my drop spindle, without washing or carding - just teased with my fingers.
The next skein I carded lightly which did make the spindling slightly easier. I've yet to wash these two skeins, to set the twist.
It's very similar to the Ryeland to spin, except maybe not quite so soft. I'm trying to keep the single chunky as I've decided to knit another Woolly Wormhead hat from "Going Straight" - probably Candy Pi. I like Dulcie too, but I think the yarn will suit Candy Pi better. It's working out at about 8-10 wpi.

I'm using the drop spindle because it's so portable. I can spindle and walk the dogs at the same time (which is just as well, as Tilly is so sloooow).

I've finished the Sonnet, which is the first ever item I've spun on my own spinning wheel. It looks like a yak herder's jacket and I'm very proud of every lumpy bumpy bit of it. And it's lovely to wear too - soft, warm, cosy!

Pictures when I get DH to take one.

In keeping with my new obsession with Spinning, I've taken leave of my senses
I've joined the Yarn Yard's fibre club.
Look what arrived this morning!

Strawberries! And it's not even Wimbledon time!

I've been asked if my poor old Ashford Spindle still spins after it's encounter with the Jack Russell. It does, it does! But the yarn can catch on the rough bits if I'm not
careful. I can't sand it down as the wood used is so soft and I don't want to damage the balance or lose more wood, so I'm leaving it. But here is the compensation:

I'm proud to present the Goldring 'Sweetheart' and a little sweetie she is. She's very petite and light and spins like a dream. I've put some alpaca skeins (-the fleece was a pressi from Maylin along with other goodies, a while back) with it to show how excellently she spins.

And finally, I've had a severe bout of startitis of late. Must be because I've finished Sonnet and it went to my head. So I've started Bettna with the yarn I bought from Coldspring Mills. The colours aren't my favourite - the yellow reminds me of baby poo, but they're nice enough for half price noro. This is a lovely sit in meetings/watch telly/take to the pub and keep hands busy whilst mouth goes into overdrive project

Then I've also started the French Trellis scarf from 'Victorian Lace Today' - I've made a few mistakes already (I can see where I've forgotten a yo once and I seem to have added one in another place!)- but, after doing 5 repeats of the pattern I'm not frogging. THIS is why I don't knit lace. It's a scarf! I keep telling myself that it won't show! Here is a very bad photo so you can't see the mistakes...

I've also started another Wellington Hat for Seth's friend Oak, and a sock and I've got to knit another BSJ for a client who gave Tilly acupuncture - so it's a barter/payment - and I think I got a good deal. I'm not allowing myself to cast on anything else until I finish at least a couple of these WIPS. My friend Cath said this blog is getting boring. But then, she's not a knit


Must try and update blog more often - little and often is the key, nest'ce pas?

(We have been busy at work of late: The Group had four - yes, FOUR! - home births last week, and I've also been weathering a family crisis - pathetic excuses - I have found time to gallivant as well - but a spot of gallivanting is what keeps one sane methinks).


Pixie said...

Wow lots of neat things to see, you make me dizzy lol..
I can only have one, may be two projects at once..
I love the spinning and neat you can do that while walking the dogs.. Bless Tilly for being slow.. it comes to us all.. some sooner than others hehehe.
I love the strawberries fleece is that the right term?
Happy Knitting and spinning :)

Susie Hewer said...

Hmmm, this drop spindle mularky needs to be investigated as I keep reading about it...........

I like the idea of walking the doggies whilst doing it.

maylin said...

Your blog is so not boring! I am so impressed you have finished your Sonnet and can't wait tosee the pix. I envisage you drop spindling as you walk along on misty mornings in a long skirt as they must have done centuries ago (so impractical - it would get so wet). I have some Gotland I bought at Wonderwool in 2007 and haven't even looked at yet...

My UFOs are so out of hand that I think I ought to join the UFO Olympics on Ravelry.

You are right about the little and often as well. I have neglected my blogging of late.

Look forward to seeng more spinning soon.

The Imperfect Knitter said...

Your blog is not boring, I love your blog, it has so often brightened my day . Question, could a dumbo use a drop spindle ? The dumbo in question would love to ' have a go ' but is a bit worried she would make a complete c-ck up of it .

Anonymous said...

oh, what lovely spinning. I too joined the YY fibre club - LOL!!!

Emily said...

I'm so impressed by your spinning! The gotland looks beautiful, and I do love a multi-purpose sheep.