Sunday, 29 April 2012

Spinning adventures in Lincolnshire

The Spinning Wheel
'Lazy Kate'

 Hi All, Fengirl has asked me to blog about my adventures into the world of spinning. This all began with a friend's Alpacas and an unused spinning wheel found in a relative's loft. I jokingly said I would learn how to knit then learn how to spin. That was about 18 months ago and since then I've joined St Edmund's Knit and Crochet Group and last weekend I went on my first spinning course.
It was a fab day spent with a great teacher (Kim) in a rather upmarket log cabin in the wilds of Lincolnshire ( It was tipping down outside but the woodburner inside kept us warm and cosy and so my adventure began.
We were spinning with Alpaca fleece which unlike Sheep fleece contains no lanolin and so can be a little more difficult to spin but first it had to be prepared. We were using fleece from 'Leo' a cream Alpaca and I was amazed that there was no odour with the fleece. Leo had been sheared last summer and his fleece had been kept in an old pillowcase under the stairs ever since. Unlike sheep fleece you don't have to wash Alpaca fleece before spinning, just make sure that it is kept dry and away from moths in either paper bags or cotton pillowcases.
To begin the fleece has to be 'carded' where small amounts of the sheared fleece are placed onto carding paddles (they look like large slicker brushes to those of you familiar with dog grooming). The idea is that you comb through the fleece so that all the fibres lie in one direction and become light and airy. Hand carding takes a long time especially when you consider how much fleece has to be carded before you get on to the process of spinning. Fortunately, my teacher had a drum carder which allows you to card a significant amount of fleece at any one time with minimum effort. We probably spent around 2 hours carding the fleece!
Finally, the time for spinning had arrived - I must go back to read my fairytales again as there was no needle on the spinning wheel, so no fear of falling asleep!
If you can pat your head with one hand whilst rubbing circles on your tummy with the other you can probably spin. The main idea is to treadle with your feet (propel the wheel) whilst feeding in the fleece onto the spindle. This takes a bit of getting used to as you have to be able to stop/start the wheel with your feet, and feed and separate the fleece with your hands at the same time, whilst making sure the wheel only spins clockwise. After what seemed like forever I finally managed to get the hang of it and ended up with a bobbin of what looked like a cross between rope and gardener's string. I was chuffed to bits and reliably informed that my 'wool' looked like most first timer's. Thinking that that was that, I then got to spin some of 'Alfie's' fleece, a brown Alpaca. Having finally ended up with two bobbins of 'wool' these were then fixed to a 'lazy kate' and spun together on the wheel counter clockwise to produce a two tone 2ply 'wool'. Wow! I was hooked. It was so amazing to think that the small ball of wool I was left with had started out as 'raw' fleece earlier that day.
My day was great and I'm definitely hooked. All I have to do now is put my spinning wheel together and try again. To be continued .......................

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

April's last Tuesday evening group

Another lovely laid-back evening last night. We welcomed four new ladies!! So that made 12 altogether, 13 with Bruno. Lots of different projects, including bunting for our Knit in Public Day on 14th June. Here are some pics from last night.

Monday, 23 April 2012

We can use the Town Square woo hoo

Letter received from Downham Town Council re our request to use the Town Square. The answer is YES! So, now my mind is galloping nineteen to the dozen about what we can do to FILL IT !!!!! Spinners, weavers, etc etc. Oh it could be wonderful! Please God let the sun shine all day long xx

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Keep Calm and Carry on Knitting

Good advice for a rainy Saturday afternoon. Busy week ahead. AGM on Monday, Knitting Group on Tuesday, concert on Wednesday (Robin Williamson and John Renbourn), Denver Mill Folk night on Friday and culminating in my husband's birthday next Saturday!!

I'm still knitting bunting ready for our WWKiP on 14th June. I'm getting adventurous now and have done a few stripey ones! It gets a bit obsessive, all these triangles.

I think I see a patchwork knitted quilt coming on after the big day :-)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Another (easier) Knitted Bunting Pattern

Double Knitting (or yarn of similar thickness)
4mm needles
K Knit
P Purl

  • Cast on 30 stitches.
  • Working in garter stitch (knit every row) knit 3 rows.
  • K2tog at each end of next and every following 4th row until 2 stitches remain.
  • On these 2 stitches, Knit 3 rows.
  • K2tog.
  • Knit last stitch twice more. Cast off. Darn in ends.

Monday, 16 April 2012

bunting, bunting, bunting,

I love this bunting I found on Ravelry (by yarnmantra)
Now that our WWKiP day has been booked, we will need to organise lots of bunting to decorate our venue. There's a wealth of bunting pictures available online, and a few patterns. My favourite pattern is this one by Karen Wessel. The picture here shows how it can look. There are little holes knitted along the top edge of each triangle so that they can be threaded onto tape etc afterwards. This would probably make the whole string of bunting more secure. The beads at the bottom of each triangle are pretty but not really necessary. There's also a very similar  pattern here,

I just found this pattern for crocheting triangles too.

If you want to support us locally in St Edmund's but are unable to come to knit on 14th June, would you consider knitting just one triangle? I'm using 4mm needles, DK acrylic, and casting on 35 stitches, decreasing at beginning of row 3 and 4. Knit until there are 3 stitches left.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Knitting in Public is LIVE on the website

We are now registered with Worldwide Knitting in Public Day, and are still the ONLY event happening in Norfolk to date. Woo hoo!

Here is how our listing shows up:

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Our new publicity poster

Here is our new publicity poster. I've tried to include everyone who has been to knit or crochet with us so far (apart from you Brenda!)

We are going to "Knit in Public" on 14th June 2012

We have had to rethink the date for this, and have now booked the Bar Room of the Town Hall for Thursday 14th June between 10 and 12. Parking available on the Market Place. Hoping to see lots and lots of  knitters from locally and a bit further afield. At present, we are the only event in Norfolk for this worldwide event. We are hoping to spill out onto the Town Square (if fine), but have to seek permission from the Town Council for this first.

For further details about Worldwide Knit in Public, here is the official website. I will register us there today.

Here is our poster for the day:

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

April's Tuesday morning group

Wow, what a great morning! Another three new ladies, Pat, Mary and Brenda, so nine of us altogether, with Florence, Dot, Sylvia, Mary, Sheila and Nik!  Brenda, where are you on the photos? Next time is Tuesday 24th April at 7.30pm.  Ravelry group here:

Sheila's cable jumper

Dot's scarf
The two Marys ;-)

Florence's crocheting
Nik's King Charles Brocade pattern

New member Pat with her cardigan
New member Mary is knitting a teddy, this is it's nose!

Nik brought along her two finished cushions.  
 Sylvia's rug project  

Mary's crown teapot