Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spinning puddytat fur The East Dartmoor Teashop Knitters (lor, there must be a shorter, catchier name for us?!) meet on the third sunday of every month in the Community Club in Moretonhampstead. However, when it's booked up, we decant to the Gateway Tearooms where we are well looked after by Gina and Jonathan, which is what happened last Sunday. Gina has a pedigree cat that looks a little like a miniature Bengal tiger. I'm pleased to report that this cat has now birthed three pedigree kittens - I've seen the photograph of the babies, and I've stroked and congratulated the mum, who looks very well and very proud.

Gina is enamoured of cats, as can be seen. We got to talking about spinning (as I’d brought the spindle along, with the latest soy bean fluff) and she got very excited about the possibility of spinning up moggie fur. She has a big bundle of dearly beloved (deceased) moggie’s cat fur all wrapped up in a silken handkerchief and had been planning to stuff a cushion with it or similar. It’s very VERY short staple and fairly matted from sitting around a while. Fool that I am, I said I’d have a go, but that I’d have to blend it with wool to make the fibre a bit more stable. I also said it would be verrrry expensive! (thinking at least £10 an oz - Gina’s mum has offered to pay me, as a christmas present for Gina - but I’ve no idea what a fair price would be?).

I’ve just plyed the first ounce or so with wool - and I reckon it’ll shed like beggary. Interesting experience though! It’s a light ginger colour and it’s turned a light fawn with the white falklands merino-cross I’ve blended it with. I’ve tried to use a modified long draw (modified coz I’m still a beginner at longdraw) and I added lots of twist to try and bind the fur (sort of double drafting).
It’s coming out worsted weight (very roughly!) and the plan seems to be working. I have washed and thrashed it which has given it a nice halo. It’s surprising how small an amount of wool is needed to help the cat fur along and make it easier to spin - I found I was using less wool to blend as I went along - although I’d say that first 3oz is still roughly 60% wool, 40% cat's fur. Interesting project to do and I’m learning loads: mind you, I wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t fascinated in puzzling it out, no matter how much money was on offer! and I liked the story behind it.
On another note - managed to upload pic by emptying recycle bin, temp internet files etc etc. This PC is getting so old and slow now. Thanks to Shannon Okey for the tip.
Life is delightfully busy at the moment - I'm starting a shiatsu course this Saturday, finishing my first module of the City and Guilds handknitting course, in the middle of Shannon Okey's online course "Designer101", refreshments coordinator for the Devon Spinners, Weavers, Dyers AND still working 4 days a week. Last week I managed to conceive, sketch out and knit up a design for a shawlette - I'm half way through writing up the pattern. I'm being assisted with the new Intwined software - which is making drawing up the charts much easier than doing them on excel! The Shawlette took one skein of Cherry Tree Hill supersock and looks fabulous - even though I say so myself.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

KNITNATION here I come!

I've just signed up for all three days:
Thursday afternoon: - Bias knitting with Cookie A
Friday morning: Spinning fine, and afternoon: popular wheel mechanics, both with Judith MacKenzie McCuin
Saturday: Camp pluckyfluff ALL DAY!

There's an amazing list of knitting royalty going to be there.

Damn and blast. My computer will no longer allow me to upload pics - I think it's something to do with the virus checker :-(
Whatever - it just goes into freeze mode when I try.
(Loaded the pic on the work pc :-)