knit | spin

The (Real) New Year

January 31, 2018

For me, the year doesn’t really begin until February 1st, just after the school year begins. From Christmas till then, the days are full of family, holiday trips and summer heat. This year we visited Tasmania and did some short walks at Cradle Mountain.

We also had some lovely river camping in north central Victoria.

I have enough energy to participate in family holidays now rather than just attend. I am still not doing everything but my strength and stamina grow gradually every month. And in between family activities, I was still able to get some small spins done.

This is 100g of a two ply, semi woollen sportsweight yarn, spun from Gotland and llama prepared top from Granite Haven Farm. This was going to be for a small shawl to knit on holidays but I took the wrong needles.  Now, I think it is rather too tweedy for a lace shawl so perhaps it will become a hat instead.

This is 100g of a two ply, semi woollen fingering weight yarn from First Editions prepared top, 80% merino and 20% camel. This was from deep stash and I’ve been meaning to make it up for ages.  Both these yarns were part of an exploration in increasing my spinning speed, finding a balance between the speed of a woollen draw and the durability of a worsted preparation. The commercial preparation of course reduces the time spent preparing from fleece.  This kind of yarn is perfect for low abrasion projects such as shawls, scarfs and hats.

Here you see 60g of a two ply, worsted lace weight from a Border Leceister x Merino fleece. I spun up 100 grams of this a few months ago and decided after spinning to use it for a Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I didn’t have quite enough yardage but thanks to the super nerdy documentation I have been maintaining recently, I had all the ratios and samples I needed to duplicate that yarn. I do feel a bit proud of that skein…it really does match the original yarn.

Being holidays and away from home, I got quite a bit of knitting done. I finished this beautiful shawl/ette/scarf in Tasmania from birthday yarn and needles. The yarn is Knitcraft and Knittery Fingering Weight Merino, grown and dyed in Tasmania from New Merino, an ethical, sustainable yarn base. The colour is Sandilocks and it is a luminous, slightly variegated shade of mustard, the colour of late summer in Australia. The yarn itself is a treat to knit, firmly spun with great stitch definition and very soft. The pattern is Old Vine by Knox Mountain Knit Co. I enjoyed the knit so much, I bought some alpaca fingering weight from The Alpaca Shoppe in Deloraine and knit up another birthday shawl for a friend.

I also made some headway on a large project for the lovely gentleman in my life, a CustomFit Helm by Amy Herzog in the deeply tweedy 58FC 2 ply Jumperweight by Jamieson and Smith.

The front and back and one sleeve are done and I’ve started the second sleeve.

Ooops, I also forgot to post these from last year…the sister pair to these Goldfields Mitts I posted way back in August last year. The fushia pink yarn is spun from merino top I won from the Australian Sheep and Wool Show some years ago and the white yarn is Paton’s Herdwick from an op shop. The pattern is Selbu Mittens from Norweigan Knits by Suzanne Pagoldh.

Phew! All caught up now and ready for a brand new year. More Tuff Socks Naturally, more fleeces explored, more dyeing, more knitting, more health, more vigour, more life.

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  1. Oh my, you have had a productive flurry! So glad to hear your strength is returning, and camping and hiking are such wonderful ways to pass time with family or friends, aren’t they?

    1. I think it might just look productive Kylie…it’s been six weeks since I last posted! Yes, being out in the wilds is a wonderful way to be with family and friends…out in the bush no one is asking for screens or fighting each other, it’s a big space, calming and exciting for kids and adults at the same time and filling us with ease and possibility. It is a good place to put some precious energy.

  2. I ADORE my birthday shawl! It was the most thoughtful gift I received this year. What can beat something so exquisitely made by my talented, generous friend? I simply can’t wait to wear this come cooler days….it’s goinv to be a winter staple for me for many years to come. Thank you for my beautiful treasure xxxx

    1. I am so glad you like your shawl CAM! I think that alpaca was destined for you…it was the right blue and the right weight for the only needles I had brought…pure Tassie holiday air knitted right through. Lots of love. Rebecca

  3. You have been so busy, Rebecca, and your spinning and knitting is beautiful!! Concerning the alpaca shawl….. do you know if it stretched? Is it 100% alpaca? I have some languishing here but am afraid to knit it for fear of stretching. A swatch would probably tell me!! I look forward to seeing more of your work and am so happy that your health continues to improve.
    Happy New Year to you and your lovely family!!

    1. Dear Elaine, yes the shawl is pure alpaca. I think alpaca continues to drape rather than stretch, it has no elasticity to keep a shape…but that is why it is wonderful for shawls, it just gets drapier and the lace keeps looking open and lovely. I wouldn’t make a sweater from pure alpaca but shawls, yes, every time! It is lovely to hear from you and be back in this place. I have high hopes for this year. Happy New Year to you too.

  4. Nice to hear from you and that you are recovering so well and busy with so many projects. Love your tweedy handspun yarns. The white is nice too. Amazing how different yarns look and how many uses there are for the softness/coarseness of fiber. We can make anything with what fibers are available to us. Nice spinning.

    1. Thank you Marilyn, I often joke to my family that I am having a craft-led recovery…it is my rehab! I think you have described why spinning is a lifetime’s passion…it is such a marvellous, curious world.

  5. Rebecca, it is so good to hear you are feeling stronger as time goes on. That is such good news. Your spinning and knitting is beautiful and I love the blue shawl. I put that in my favorites in Ravelry. I must write again soon, a real letter, to catch up on what has been going on in my life. Joanie

    1. Thanks Joan, lovely to hear from you too. Old Vine is a cracker of a pattern, I came across it by chance on Instagram. I couldn’t believe how quickly it took shape but when I knit it up, it really is a swift, happy knit. Oh, yes, very keen to hear what you have been up to!

  6. Your spinning is putting us all to shame and that is a good thing! we need to strive higher 🙂 I certainly DO remember that flaming pink fleece you won and you did an excellent job finding the right pattern for it. I really like the Sandilocks colour. will look up that pattern. Thanks.

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