Tag Archives: polwarth

Persist

The hat jag didn’t stop with those shown in the last post, but there came a day when I was ready to try something new and I chose Donna Druchunas’ Persist Hat. Well, mostly.  Needless to say I modified it a little.  The design features the word persist, naturally.  And the sign for infinity.  I chose to feature the word more and the infinity sign a little less.

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The first one made me think my colour knitting had improved a bit!  I used some lovely soft local Polwarth yarn I had spun from the stash, and some leftover equally soft alpaca rich commercial yarn that was lying about.

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After that, I made another one, because… repetition seems to be in my blood.  And “persist” is a concept I embrace.  And I liked the first one and had ideas for further mods.  I went with a contrast cast-on and a twisted rib brim.  I like it. One of these hats was always planned for the daughter of friends who is a high school activist.  I chose this pattern with her in mind. She has been in a protracted campaign to establish a gay-straight alliance at her school.  She and I talk about it every time we meet up, and I am constantly holding out for the need to build our capacity to persist in the face of injustice.  I hope she might enjoy a soft and snug reminder of that principle.

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Filed under Craftivism, Knitting

An outbreak of hats

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This is an oatmeal Blue Faced Leicester dyed by The Thylacine and spun three ply by me.

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It is rather fine, but I decided to knit a hat anyway and settled on one from Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the top, which is more of a concept plan than a pattern.  Perfect for handspun.  And then it turned out I could use the DPNs a friend surprised me by giving me a while back (I had helped her out with i-cord, and it was sheer pleasure, but I think that may have triggered the gift in some way).  They are a rather unusual size, delectably pretty and perfect for the job.

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While this hat was on the needles, I decided to cast on another in grey corriedale, dyed with eucalyptus and spun three ply and about 10 ply (worsted).  I made a rolled brim hat from Knitting for Peace. Easy and fast.  My picture taking was interrupted by our house guest, who turned out to be camera shy.

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At about this point, there was a hiatus and that first hat sat on the needles until holidays rolled around.  And then, there was an absolute outbreak that continued for some time after we returned from holidays.  There were some with oddments of experimental yarns (some early corespun in this case).

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Here is some handspun natural polwarth with some Noro sock yarn for contrast. Blocking wouldn’t hurt it a bit.

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Indigo dyes, logwood exhaust dye, eucalyptus bark dyes…

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Mohair, alpaca blend… you name it!  I even used up random commercial black yarn.

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I made some doll and bear hats. What else are oddments for?

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Then came the day I cast on with some super thick, super soft eucalyptus dyed wool of mystery and stopped.  Last night I managed to finish, finally.  I lashed out and blocked this one just to show I can.

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Most of these are Jared Flood’s Turn A Square.  More or less.  That first hat–I did finish it, and it was claimed by a friend while we were on holiday.  I don’t think she would really want her photo on the interwebs, so you’ll just have to trust me about it being finished.  However, half the skein remains so there may yet be a reprise. If I can ever bear to knit another hat!  I am the person doing all these repetitive series of makes, and even I find it hard to understand…

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Filed under Knitting, Natural dyeing

Stranded colourwork–just as cute as ever

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At last!  I have finished a larger version of the Rhode Island Red hat.  It took some doing.  I cast on at least three times. I was clearly having some problems with sizing, and thinking straight. Plus, inexperience with provisional cast ons.  I cast on once at home and knit the entire band… enormously…

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Then twice more in a hotel in Melbourne. It was a comedy of errors!  But I started to lose my sense of humour by the time I had knit the band three entire times, instead of knitting the whole hat!

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I may have put the hat in the naughty corner for some weeks at that point, as th0ugh the hat was the one creating the trouble.  But now, it’s done and it’s glorious!

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Last night it headed out into the world to warm the head of a delightful friend who is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a chicken fancier with an entire flock of hens to tend to in all weathers.  Plus, more plans for rare breeds.  And, it’s her birthday any minute now.  She has a wonderful chuckle, and this hat brought out the chuckling.  And she liked the softness of this lovely pet polwarth sheep a lot too.

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Filed under Knitting, Natural dyeing

For the love of chickens. And wool. And eucalypts.

In the latest issue of Knitty, there is a stranded colourwork hat featuring a Rhode Island Red chicken design by Pam Sluter. I don’t know Pam, but clearly we share a love of chickens, wool and knitting.  In short, I had one of those moments, and decided to cast on RIGHT AWAY!  Because, I have these handspun yarns.  Mmmm.  Polwarth, my friends.  Soft as anything. Perfect for a little hat.

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I had an early period of doubt, because provisional cast on, and then three circular needles in play for a while.  I held my nerve.  I consulted a  book on cast ons and bind offs.  I love a good book.

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I tried to talk myself out of taking it on the bus.  Because charted patterns are not really ideal for bus knitting and I have a perfectly charming sock on the go.  No hope of resistance.  I kept wondering if the woman on the other side of the aisle could really be staring at me as intently as she seemed to be from the corner of my eye.  How can my eye possibly be following the chart, keeping track of two yarns on the needles, and still noticing a total stranger?  Eventually as we neared our destination I looked over.  Yes!  She was utterly intent.  It appeared we didn’t share much common language so I showed her the picture. She grinned.

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Here is the finished hat, being blocked over a big jar.  But you know, not a jar as big as my head.

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I did not do a gauge swatch.  Risk taking knitting, I tell you!  I went up a needle size as even when not using two colours, I tend to be on the tight side with knitting, and stranded colourwork has a tendency to mysteriously come out smaller than planned.  Especially in the hands of a novice.  Especially with long floats.  Well.  Not truly a mystery, then!  This is the medium size and I have to say, nowhere near fitting on my head.  I didn’t swatch because I was quite prepared to give this hat to whomever might like it and fit into it… and I am thinking of starting out with one of my very small friends.  Who would look cuter than any button in this…

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Winter dyeing

I had some rather pallid silk embroidery thread. That bag it is sitting on came from an op shop and has been through eucalyptus dye pots so many times it is a very deep shade now!

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I had some white and tan polwarth fleece.

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Eucalyptus cinerea leaves… I have sacks of them and decided it was time to get them moving!

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With wool going in a bit later…

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Then a gift of E Nicholii leavea arrived from a fried whose keen eye and quick wits diverted council prunings from going directly to mulch.  Thanks!

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Here they are after some serious cooking.

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My tour of the dye stash also uncovered these, sitting in a bag I used to use for gleaning the neighbourhood.  Perhaps I could use it again if it wasn’t storing these leaves…

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I thought I remembered them being unexciting.  They are clearly ironbark leaves, but presumably I confused my ironbarks.  I wasn’t sure and decided to try them out.

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There has also been E Scoparia bark dyeing.

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And here we have, fresh from the dye bath (a day later): E Nicholii at the top left; the unexciting ironbark, and E Scoparia bark at the bottom.

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Later still, some of that polwarth fleece sitting on the piano like a fluffy flame…

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First pass through the carder…

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Second pass… ready to spin!

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And now I have some thread with a bit more colour in it, too!

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Filed under Eucalypts, Fibre preparation, Natural dyeing

Happily spinning along…

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There has been actual spinning going on behind the scenes.  I bought this roving in a destash on Ravelry (along with some other treats…) a while back.  The roving image is taken under mood lighting (which is to say, after dark indoors).

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I think it turned out rather well…it’s corriedale, hand dyed by Hedgehog Fires

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I have also finished a huge skein of eucalyptus dyed local polwarth.

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And just could not resist taking pictures in the garden! One of my grandmothers used to have two huge pots of peanut cactus outside her front porch to match the two frangipani trees that framed her front door, and I am still mighty fond of peanut cactus.  And wool, but you know that already!

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Filed under Natural dyeing, Spinning

Eucalyptus bark dyepots—the outcome

Well, the outcomes are in– E Scoparia bark on the left and E Poyanthemos bark on the right.

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As I was rinsing my pots a sudden movement caught my eye.

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All those cuttings and seedlings and little trees are doing well, because, we have finally had some lovely rain!

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It’s lovely to see water pooling after the long dry of summer.

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And, a lovely pair of warm socks for the coming winter chilly toes have made their way off the needles!

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They have gone to their happy home already…

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Filed under Dye Plants, Knitting, Natural dyeing

Fibre preparation

There has been a breakout of fibre preparation.  I got to the end of all my carded fibre.  So I started going through what I had washed and otherwise ready to spin.  Grey corriedale dyed with Eucalyptus Nicholii: before…

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…after.

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Polwarth dyed with indigo.  Apparently overlooked last time I was carding…

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Here it is ready to spin.  Just one random batt.

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Then there was some angora (rabbit)–just a handful.  A Guild member was gifted this at the Royal Show last year by a rabbit breeder and since she couldn’t spin, I offered to dye it for spin it for her.  I dyed it prior to the workshop I ran along with a huge batch of fibres for the workshop participants.

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It was reeeeally short, and there was not very much.  So I carded it into some natural white polwarth.  Tweedy angora flecks?

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I managed to spin it into a singles before I went to Guild, then plied it up for her on the night.  Here’s a rough and ready photo.  She was delighted.  She is a tapestry weaver, so I feel sure this will find its way into a tapestry in due course!

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More workshop preparation: batts, batts and more batts!

I spent a lot of hours recently creating batts for my spinning workshop.  I had all kinds of bits and bobs, some gifted from Guildies, some fleece washed and (sometimes) dyed right here at home, some from here and there and all over the place.  Even recycled sari silk.

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Batts based on natural undyed polwarth; batts based on indigo-dyed polwarth; batts based on eucalyptus-dyed corriedale…

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And then some based on merino and crossbred roving from the Guild trading table in all manner of wild colours.  The pile kept growing….

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Textured spinning is the goal, so in went silk noil, silk roving, silk yarn scraps, viscose, sparkly bits, alpaca locks, mohair, you name it!  Phew.  There’s a lot to do to get ready 🙂

 

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Some endings

Before the end of the year, we had a trip to Melbourne and I finally finished some socks I’ve been carrying around for quite a while. the triumphant moment when I grafted them occurred in a wonderful tea house our niece took us to.  She humours me as much as her aunt, so I recorded the moment for posterity (that would really mean, your viewing pleasure).

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I should admit that I don’t drink tea, so was very surprised to find myself relishing an iced peppermint and liquorice tea.  It was a lovely afternoon.  I have also finished the last of 2014’s (or was it 2013’s?) indigo dyed wool.  The last was polwarth.  I seem to recall I ran out of patience, which is always bad when you are handling wet wool, worse with fine wool, and possible only made still worse if also dealing with indigo.  Let me further confess, some felting resulted, which will not surprise other spinners.  This was the last of it, and I decided to just card it up and spin it lumps and all.  I have been drawing batts through a diz to make a roving.

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Rolled up roving:

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Spinning in progress, including lumps as promised! I feel sure there are more felted slippers in my future…

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So, here they are.  The last 3 skeins… all different shades, some first dyed with coreopsis or osage orange, and some involving quite a bit better spinning and plying than others!

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Filed under Fibre preparation, Knitting, Natural dyeing, Spinning