Inspirational teacher

I'd like to give an overdue mention to Pam Austins who is a woman on a mission to teach longdraw.

I met Pam at Fibre East when I was spinning a small contribution towards the Woolsack cushions being made in the 'have-a-go' tent. She watched my own 'from-the-fold-not-really-long-or-short-draw' technique and in 30 seconds had me spinning longdraw - fun and fast - and had elevated me to 'star pupil' status.

She really has a gift. Details of her class and her blog are listed on Hand Spinning News and at the link below.

How to spin a braid in a single sitting

Continuing from the last post in which I tried thwacking a sample skein for the first time, here are the pictures from my Ravelympics (aka Ravellenics) Handspun Heptathlon.

The fibre is spiral-dyed fibre which I bought from Marianne / picperfic at Fibre East. The colour graduates from dark to light through the length of the roving and this graduation will of course be reflected in the finished shawl, to be knit using singles.

I didn't quite spin it in a single sitting; after the opening ceremony I went to bed and continued the next morning, so the next best thing. Here's what kept it interesting,
  • spinning singles is quick and fun - you don't have the benefit of the plying helping to even out the thickness but you end up with twice the length
  • the colour graduation keeps you looking for the next yard - you're constantly seeing new colour come through
  • a challenge or a time limit - in this case the Ravelympics but I know from others' blog posts that knit-a-longs (especially mystery KALs) or fibre clubs are a great way to keep you working
  • fibre that you love and can't wait to see knitted

I finished with 350yds after spinning, exactly right for my planned Oaklet Shawl. The whole 100g fit onto one bobbin - just!

Just as I'd practised (see sampling for lace shawl), I set the singles by fulling them. This involves switching from hot to cold water and bashing the skein against a hard surface. Everything you'd avoid doing when scouring / washing a fleece. But here, a little bit of felting plumps up and softens the yarn a little and sets it.
There are a lot of photos here so I'll split the knitting into a separate post.

Retail therapy

My New Year resolution was to finish more projects than I start. But shopping for fibre isn't starting a project, right?

(Woodland from Yummy Yarns, cinnamon/gold dyed silk from Cariad Fiber Art and Storm Beach handspun yarn from karmicdelight