Tag Archives: Singles

Midnight Clear

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Midnight Clear

Background:

These mini skeins were spun as part of January’s rolag club. January’s rolags were inspired by the seasonal skies, and the “Midnight Clear” minis complemented the theme, inspired by the clear starry night skies that we are treated to on those cold winter nights.

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Story:

Watch the universe:

Star scenes play ancient dramas.

A winter night’s gift.

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Information:

Title: Midnight Clear

Composition: 70% Merino, 30% Trilobal

Weight: 15 WPI / Sports weight

Length: 40m per mini skein

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: January 2016

Skein code: 0084

Fibre: 23 micron merino and rainbow-dyed trilobal nylon

Source: World of Wool – “Glitzy Ocean”

Status: Sold

Unicorn Smog

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Unicorn Smog

Background:

I went to Fibre East for the first time in 2015, and picked up some beautiful grey Gotland fibre and this amazing rainbow trilobal from Adelaide Walker. The combination reminded me of interferometric patterns in a diesel spill, of light playfully interacting with a dystopian industrial world. They had to go together.

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Story:

Industrial landscape, grimy and gritty. Smoke belches. Factories consume the population. Is there any beauty to be had here?

Beauty and cruelty, hand in hand. The stark landscape has its own elegance. Monochrome scene, all shades of grey.

A splash of oil or diesel here and there – and suddenly – a break from the monochrome!

Rainbow patterns swirl in the industrial spill. A glimpse of a more colourful, maybe a kinder, world.

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Information:

Title: Unicorn Smog

Composition: 67% Gotland 33% Trilobal

1.

Weight: 81g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 167m / 183yd approx.

2.

Weight: 69g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 147m / 161yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0063

Fibre: Grey Gotland, Rainbow dyed trilobal nylon.

Source: Adelaide Walker

Status: 1. For Sale 2. For Sale

Tutorial: Spinning Seed Beads into a Single

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Tutorial: Spinning Seed Beads into a Single

December’s rolag club, seen here, featured ‘Evergreen’ rolags and ‘Holly Berry’ beads. I have done quite a few beaded yarns in the past and there are several ways to add these kind of inclusions into yarn. In a plied yarn it is easy enough to thread your beads or sequins onto a thread and ply that thread along with the singles, as in this yarn, or you may be able to thread your beads directly onto one or more of your singles, but sometimes you want to spin your beads directly into the yarn. Here’s how:

Assumed knowledge

  • Staple length of fibre: refresher available here.
  • Basic Spinning: refresher available here.
  • Park and Draft for the Wheel: refresher available here.

Materials

  • Fibre
  • Beads
  • A beading (or very fine) hook if you have one, and
  • Cotton thread if you don’t.
  • Something to spin on! A wheel or spindle.

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Method

I don’t have a hook fine enough for seed beads, so I am going to show you a method for threading beads onto fibre using ordinary sewing thread.

  1. Cut a length of cotton, around 20cm long.
  2. Thread the bead onto the cotton, just as if you were threading a needle.
  3. Pull a reasonable length of thread through the bead, so that the bead sits roughly in the middle of the thread.
  4. Now take the end of the cotton once more and, leaving a large loop, thread it back through the bead. Take it slowly at first, and leave yourself plenty of length on either side of the bead.
  5. Now you should have a seed bead threaded such that you have a large loop on one side, and two ends of the thread on the other side.

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Now let’s consider the fibre:

  1. Take the fibre you wish to spin and draft out a few fibres from one end.
  2. Pull out a few fibres. Just pinch at the very top as you pull gently, so that the fibres removed are a single staple length. Your bead will sit in the centre of this staple length.
  3. Twist them with your fingers, just as if you were spinning them, to make them easier to handle.

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  1. Carefully thread your twisted fibres through the loop of your cotton thread.
  2. Move your bead along the thread, towards your fibre.
  3. Pinch your fibre back on itself, such that your bead can slide from the thread to the fibre.
  4. Move your bead along and then gently pinch one end of the fibre, so that the bead cannot come off, and ease the other end of the fibre right through the bead so that the bead ends up placed in the middle of your staple length of fibre.

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Here is a close-up showing the bead being threaded into the fibre. You can see that, having twisted the fibres, they show a clear distinction between each end of the fibre, as if it were a thread. The loop which has just passed through the bead has distinct ‘legs’. As you hold one end of the fibre, pull gently on one of these legs. If you feel a firm tug on the fibres you’re holding, try the other leg. It should connect to the free end of the fibre and allow you to pull that free end right through the bead.

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Follow this procedure for each of the beads you want to spin into your yarn:

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Now put the beads aside and start spinning your fibre. Here I am attaching my fibre to my leader:

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I like to get the spun single established first before I think about spinning in the beads. Here I am checking the gauge of the singles yarn against the commercial yarn (a worsted weight single spun yarn) that I am using in my project.

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Now it’s time to start adding the beads into the yarn:

  1. In order to control the spin, I will stop the wheel when I get to the point of attaching the first bead, just as in the Park and Draft for Wheels video, seen here.
  2. When I want to attach a bead, I stop spinning the wheel and draft some fibre out to my desired thickness, just behind the pinched off twist.
  3. I take a pre-threaded bead. (It is easier to handle these by picking the beads up, rather than by picking the fibre up.)
  4. I hold the end of the fibre that passes through the bead with the thumb and fingers that are holding the twist in place, and lay the beaded fibre parallel to the section just drafted.
  5. I restart the wheel and allow the twist to run up the drafted fibres, capturing the bead and the fibre onto which it was threaded in the process.

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  1. Repeat as often as desired, and the result is a beautifully beaded singles yarn:

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Adding beads whilst spindle spinning

This is slightly trickier as you have to control the spin, as well as the beads, with your hands. Review the technique of Park and Draft on the Spindle, shown here. I would spin this sitting down so I could hold the spindle between my knees to keep it still when needed.

Follow the steps as above, to the point you want to add your first bead into your yarn.

  1. Stop the spindle and hold it still.
  2. Make sure you have your pre-threaded beads to hand.
  3. draft out a length of fibre to your desired thickness.
  4. Pick up a bead and lay the threaded bead alongside the freshly drafted fibre.
  5. Position your hands such that the finger and thumb that are pinching off the twist can hold one end of the threaded fibre in place, and you have other fingers available to stabilise the other end of the threaded fibre.
  6. Use your free hand to restart the spindle spinning and let the twist travel into the drafted fibres, capturing the bead as you go.

A video tutorial will follow as soon as possible and I will add it to this post.

Sunset over the flax field

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Sunset over the flax field

Background:

I made this rolag set as a sunset-inspired gradient, and decided to spin it as a single gradient yarn. Here you can see the process of selecting each colour to spin in turn:

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I love the addition of the linen in this yarn. Its bright white seems to intensify the beautiful, rich colours, and it adds an interesting bit of texture to the yarn.

Story:

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You may not recognise the golden flax from the field of blue flowers.

It’s hidden inside the stems, needing work from the hands and sweat from the brow to free the fine fibres.

The colours change as the sun descends:

Bright white at first, so the sights of the field are vibrant and clear.

Honey yellow matures to deeper shades.

Tangerine sky becomes cherry red,

As darkness creeps up to put flax to bed.

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Information:

Title: Sunset over the flax field

Composition: Merino/linen/angelina

Weight: 100g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 195m / 214yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0059

Fibre: 21 micron merino, linen, angelina

Source: Rolags by Story Skeins

Status: Sold

Champagne and Bouncy Castles

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Champagne and Bouncy Castles

Background:

This is “Champagne & Bouncy Castles”, so called because as I was spinning it all I could think of was parties. The fibre was unlabelled, but I suspect it is a merino/silk/angelina mix. There were so many beautiful colours blended together, I wanted to preserve that in the yarn and not over-complicate it. This is a lovely singles yarn, and the colours remain as clearly defined swirls in the twist.

Story:

Time to let our hair down

Time to have some fun.

Time to let our worries go now that the work is done.

Time to be a kid again,

Responsibility-free!

Time to do the things we do when nobody can see:

Rule the bouncy castle,

Dance like no-one’s there.

Realise what life is like without a single care.

Soon we’ll don the mantles

Once more of adult roles.

But for tonight be wild and free – those are our only goals.

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Information:

Title: Champagne and Bouncy Castles

Composition: Fibre Supplied

Weight: 60g / 15 WPI average / gently thick and thin sports to DK weight

Length: 196m / 215yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: December 2015

Skein code: 0083

Fibre: Supplied

Source: Gillian Gladrag

Status: Swapped

Orchard

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Orchard

Background:

This batt from Bits and Hobs was a joy to work with. It was called “Fruit and Flowers,” and inspired the idea of orchards. I spun it as a sports weight, gently thick and thin, singles yarn. As I wound the finished skein into a yarn cake, it transformed itself into a beautiful rose!

Story:

I grew up with orchards. They were, are, and always will be special, almost sacred, places. Like a secret garden, I could get away from everyday hustle and let nature envelop and balm. They took me through each season – from bare twigs to buds, from buds to flowers, from flowers to fruit, playing out the evolution of each year. Calm, peaceful and unforced productivity was a great model for life.

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Information:

Title: Orchard

Composition: Super-fine merino, Silk, Angelina

Weight: 100g / 17 WPI / Sports weight

Length: 318m / 348yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: November 2015

Skein code: 0079

Fibre: 18.5 micron merino, silk, angelina blended as a carded batt.

Source: Bits and Hobs

Status: Swapped

Magma

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Magma

Background:

I love spinning batts as singles yarn. This beautiful batt from Habetrot fibres was called “Darkness” and inspired this Magma yarn, which in turn inspired its owner to design and make this “Queen of Hearts” ponchette. You can see the gradient yarn worked up into the pattern on the ravelry link.

Story:

You think the earth is dark and cold under your feet? Not a bit of it.

We are clinging to the skin of a boiling sphere of rock.

Heavy elements swirl below, occasionally breaking the surface to remind us of their presence, and power.

Land, that we like to think of as so permanent. That we like to possess, that through history we have fought over again and again, is destroyed and created constantly.

We seek permanence. Yet the stuff of life is change.

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Information:

Title: Magma

Composition: Merino, bamboo, firestar, angelina, tussah silk.

Weight: 100g / 14 WPI / DK

Length: 223m / 244yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0056

Fibre: Handblended batt of merino, bamboo, firestar, angelina, tussah silk.

Source: Habetrot Fibres

Status: Sold

Devon Memories

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Devon Memories

Background:

I ran a competition for one winner to receive a rolag set, with the offer to spin them if requested. The theme of the competition was food and drink. The entrants suggested their favourite teats as inspiration for their rolag sets. The lucky winner chose the theme of a traditional cream tea for her rolags, and asked me to spin them. I had such fun with this project.

Story:

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Long, lazy days in the precious summer break. Time to indulge: A famous cream tea.

Freshly baked scones, still soft and warm from the oven.

Made by hand as a labour of love, by hands that have worked the dough for a lifetime.

The same hands that took the time to pick, clean and boil the fruit into jam. To heat the cream, slowly and steadily until it gives up its richest, golden crust.

Exotic tea: not of this continent, but still picked by hands. Knowledgeable hands, searching out the tender leaves. Plucking, drying, roasting, packing.

To be brought back to life with freshly boiled Devon water.

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Information:

Title: Devon Memories

Composition: 50% Merino, 15% Milk protein fibre, 15% Soya bean fibre, 20% Ramie.

Weight: 100g / 17 WPI av. / irregular sports weight

Length: 224m / 245yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: October 2015

Skein code: 0073

Fibre: Merino, Milk Protein, Soya Bean, Ramie

Source: Wingham Wool Work

Status: Gifted/Won

Glorious Technicolor Part II

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Glorious Technicolor Part II

Background:

This was a repeat order of some beautiful thick and thin yarn. What I particularly love about this is the way my creations were sent out into the world and inspired more creativity.

Story:

Glorious celebrations of colour:

Lapis – an Afghan midnight

Onyx – dark and mysterious

Ruby – blood-red gem

Indigo – brought to life by the sun

Opal – beauty from scattering of light

Ultramarine – deep blues of the sea

Silver – pure, white elegance.

Teal – delicious blends of blue and green

Ecru – earthy white

Cyan – a colour primary! One of the ABCs of inks

Hazel – autumnal shades

Navy – uniform blue

Ivory – creamy white and musical

Coral – delicate pink of the sea creature

Ochre – ancient dye. A link to the past

Lilac – pale purple of the garden

Olive – deep, dark, savoury green

Rainbows – nature’s paint box

Video by Forest Valley Designs. Shared with permission.

Information:

Title: Glorious Technicolor part II

Composition: 100% merino

Weight: 200g / 9 WPI average / Worsted or Aran thick’n’thin

Length: 187m / 204yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: June 2015

Skein code: 0048

Fibre: 21 micron 70s merino

Source: Wingham Wool Work’s Yorkshire Range – Fangfoss

Status: Sold

Singularly Cheerful

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Singularly Cheerful

Background:

My daughter wanted to design a set of rolags, and chose simple, bright and bold colours with just a hint of purple sparkle. They became one of my favourite ever skeins.

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Story:

There’s something about those colours,

Those bold, bright, clear colours.

Primaries and secondaries.

Nothing else. Nothing in between.

No subtle hues, no delicate shades.

Just there. Bold. Shouting!

Shouting at you: “I’m here! Look at me!”

It seems to me the colours of childhood, the colours of play.

The bold inks of the nursery paint box, the pile of crayons, the picture books.

But above all else, what this happy palette brings to mind is an all-time favourite:

The upturned lego box!

Singularly Cheerful

Information:

Title: Singularly Cheerful

Composition: Merino with a hint of angelina

Weight: 100g / 14 WPI / DK

Length: 277m / 303yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0060

Fibre: 21 micron merino and purple angelina

Source: Wingham Wool Work

Status: Sold