sampling for lace shawl

This is the first of some posts about my Ravelympics project (aka Ravellenics - come and get me IOC).

Briefly, inspired by josiekitten's Citron shawl, my project is a lace-edged shawl using dyed fibre spun as singles and set by slightly felting / fulling. Even though the event didn't start until the start of the opening ceremony, I thought that sampling would be ok beforehand!

Knitting with singles (a single ply) is ok if it's well set, and a recommendation was to full (slightly felt) the singles. I've not done this before, although I did mention the technique with a video in Hand Spinning news a month or two ago.

Prudent to practice beforehand I thought. Even better to make two skeins and set one as I would have done in the past and full the other.

After spinning the fibre from the fold, you use soap (I used Aussie Know How felting finish because it's what I'm using for all wool washing now), hot and cold water to shock the wool and then thwack the skein against a hard surface.

We usually handle fleece so carefully when scouring, this rough treatment doesn't come easily! But is fun when you get over that.


It's obvious from the pictures, the fulled singles (right) feel - well - fuller. The process seems to have plumped out the thinner bits and evened it all up a bit. It feels softer against the skin, and when knitted and blocked, I'm sure you'll agree it looks better.

Converting a single-drive Ashford Traditional to double-drive


A double-drive wheel is free-treadling because there's no friction from a brake band. If I take my foot off the treadle now, it will run for many revolutions before it decides to slow down and stop.

As with all Ashford double-drive wheels this one can now be easily switched between double and single-drive modes.

I converted mine in a lunch-break using only a double-drive flyer and whorl (and bobbins of course). There is a little bit of drilling and hammering involved.

If you're interested, I'll be putting together a kit including instructions. In the mean time, it's pretty easy to figure out how to do it and I do stock the double-drive flyer and the bobbins.

I've used a standard flyer here, but you could just as easily use a sliding-hook flyer kit and benefit from the 30% larger bobbins.

Note that if you're buying a new wheel, the double-drive version is only a few pounds more than the single-drive - cheaper than converting it later. But all the extra bits will add complication for a new spinner.

If you're buying a secondhand Trad, the chances are it'll be single-drive because there are so many more of them around.

Ravelympics project (and part of my Fibre-East haul)

The Ravelympics is a knitting and spinning challenge event and start in exactly one week's time. (I believe that there's a sporting event happening at the same time.)

It's officially now had to change its name to Ravellenics for bureaucratic reasons but it'll be Ravelympics to me.

If you've seen this month's Hand Spinning News you will have read me raving about josiekitten's Citron shawl. I was pleased to see the very shawl on show at Fibre East by Marianne of PicPerfic who dyed and supplied the fibre.

I love the pattern and I love the colour graduations (spiral dyed fibre) but I was particularly interested in the fact that she'd knitted with spun singles. This makes the most of the colour changes (although navajo would have achieved this too), it's finer than plied yarn and it gives the finished item a different look and feel. But any inconsistencies in the spinning will be more obvious than with plied yarn.

Much inspired by all of this I decided to make the same for my Ravelympics project.

I arrived early at Fibre East to have the pick of Marianne's fibre. This is the one I chose, called Sliced Denim. It graduates from strong blue to almost white.

I've changed my mind on the pattern because I like the idea of the white going into a lace border. I've chosen Oaklet.

This is it. It has the same stocking stitch body as the citron. I can repeat the lace pattern until the yarn is used up. If I happen to finish the yarn before the end of the repeat, I believe that some pure white will blend in perfectly to finish off with. I love the pointy effect you can achieve at the edge in the blocking.

Fibre East 2012

Thurleigh, Bedford, 14 & 15 July 2012

This was the second Fibre East and it has grown; exhibitors ranged from hobby dyers through to larger names such as Ashford. Spinning was well-represented with Schacht, Kromski, Spinolution as well as Ashford wheels on display.

One of the marquees was designated the 'have a go' tent, offering rugmaking and felting as well as spinning and knitting.
Michael of the Sheer Sheep Experience put on a show which told the story of British wool as well as demonstrating his skills with electric and hand shears.

The Woolsack project has had spinners and knitters, crocheters and felters busy making cushions from British wool as a gift for the athletes competing In London this year. A highlight of the show was seeing a team from the Maldives arriving at the Woolsack stand to choose their cushions.

Another update on the dark raglan

Progress is slow because of my habit for so many things on the go at once, and because I'm spinning a bit, knitting a bit etc.

But I'm almost at the bottom of the body. I'm at the point where I'm starting to measure my own torso and keeping an eye on the work to see when it's long enough. (An advantage of this pattern - you just keep knitting until it's long enough).

It's going well, the cable and braids are really popping out, it all looks good size-wise.