I made this skein for a mystery Valentine’s Day swap. I tried to disguise it as best I could with an anonymous label but, needless to say, I was caught out straight away!
Both the yarn design and the name were inspired by the iconic Pink Floyd album cover. This was a really fun yarn to spin and I loved the result.
Maybe dancing butterflies and bluebirds on your shoulder is not your thing.
Maybe it’s the hidden, the unknown, or the unwise that pulls you in.
The secret known to only two souls. The destructive pas de deux. The live fast, split young experience. The intensity of life ruled by wild impulse. The same basic instinct that drives many beings to seek out one who makes us realise we’re understood, and part of a greater whole. It’s just some like things to be … that little bit darker.
Title: Dark Side of the Swoon
Composition: Black Welsh wool, commercial glitter thread and beads.
Weight: 100g fibre weight / 13 WPI / DK
Length: 210m / 230yd approx.
Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat. Hand Wind
Date: February 2016
Skein code: 0087
Fibre: 100% natural Black Welsh wool
Source: World of Wool
I was commissioned to make some thick ‘n’ thin yarn in hot pink, lime green and white. I decided to spin a long-striping yarn in these three colours. The fibre was split into 5g sections and an irregular single was spun in a repeating colour pattern. I then used navajo plying to create this thick and thin textured yarn.
There’s a slice of paradise that I choose not to share.
Where the wild orchids grow, immodest in their radient pinks, standing proud against verdant greens.
I approach – request an audience. Their bobbing flowers acquiesce.
The lake appears as I crest the brow of the hillock. At the lakeside I dip my toe, and the water answers with ripples.
The orchids’ reflection is broken, like the turn of a kaleidoscope. Rippling pinks, whites, and greens. The world responds to my presence, and yet I am at peace.
Title: Orchid Ripples
Composition: 67% Merino, 33% Whitefaced Woodland
Weight: 100g / 12 WPI av. / Irregular DK
Length: 187m / 205yd approx.
Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.
Date: February 2016
Skein code: 0089
Fibre: 21 micron dyed merino and natural whitefaced woodland
Source: World of Wool
It’s only three years since I was a new spinner. I’ve reached the point where I find myself mentoring other new spinners as they start exploring this fascinating craft.
One of the most common complaints I hear (often offered as an apology for the perceived deficiencies of the new spinner’s own yarn) is about irregular yarn. It’s something I remember about my first efforts at the spinning wheel too. I thought my first yarn was quite ugly. But at the same time I was so proud of it because I made it all by myself!
There seems to be a common journey for spinners, with early efforts being thick and irregular, and subsequent yarn gradually becoming thinner and more consistent. Then you reach a stage where you want to spin thicker yarn again, and almost have to re-learn how to do it. And you may want to spin irregular, or thick and thin, or even more exotic yarn and so you go about learning those techniques, continually refining your knowledge, your practice and your control over the process.
What I’ve come to realise is that, as spinners, it’s not our job to replicate machine-spun yarn. When we judge our early efforts, that’s the yardstick most of us use for comparison.
But the thing is, if I wanted machine-spun yarn, I could just buy it! It has its place and I use plenty of commercially-spun yarn, but it is a different beast from handspun. There is a sense of satisfaction for the spinner to know that, if you choose to, you can replicate the fine consistency of machine-spun yarn. But my plea to spinners (new or otherwise!) is to see consistency as a design choice, rather than a value judgement.
I often think of handspun yarn as being full of life. And I think that relates to this question of what is my job as a handspinner. I see my job as creating something unique every time I go through the process, from inspiration to yarn design, to the final skein.
What commercially-spun yarn can never replicate is that sense of the unique creation of every millimetre of yarn: the possibility of a story in every stitch.
Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!
This month we are celebrating Collop Monday on the 8th of February.
Many of us may be looking forward to pancake day on Tuesday. Some of us may still use its traditional name of Shrove Tuesday, and remember the reason we like to cook and eat pancakes on the last day before Lent starts.
Lent is the traditional Christian fasting period for the six or so weeks before Easter. The word is of Old English derivation, traced back to the word for spring and possibly referencing the lengthening days at this time of year. Prior to Lent comes Shrovetide, and the old verb ‘to shrive’ means ‘to seek absolution via confession and penance.’
Part of preparing for the Lenten fast involved using up the rich food during Shrovetide. Shrove Tuesday’s pancakes use up the eggs, milk and sugar, but Collop Monday was the last day to eat meat before lent, and cooking the collops (traditionally made of bacon) provided the fat for the coming pancake feast. The traditional breakfast on Collop Monday consisted of the bacon-collops and eggs. It turns out this is a great excuse to create a whimsical “Full English Breakfast” themed rolag box!
With thanks to our guest makers, Sarah from Setting the Twist who has made this month’s mini skeins, and Kirsty from Buttons Be Good who has made us some beautiful mushroom-themed buttons.
I hope you enjoy it!
In this box you should find:
- 20g of rolags in “Flesh” – 70% Corriedale, 15% Faux Cashmere, 15% Soya Bean Fibre
- 10g of rolags in “Fowl” – 67% Romney, 33% Corriedale
- The story of Collop Monday
- A handspun mini skein from Setting the Twist in “Tomato”
- Mushroom buttons from Buttons Be Good
- Mini chocolate eggs
- Beans by Jelly Belly
- Tea in English Breakfast and After Dinner blends
- Knife and Fork stitch markers
“Flesh & Fowl” rolags – inspired by a traditional Collop Monday Breakfast.
Mushroom buttons by Buttons Be Good
Knife and Fork stitch markers, made by Imogen.
Tomato mini skeins by Setting The Twist