This was taken at Traditions in the Making, a Heritage Craft event at Stanmer Park, Brighton. With lots of volunteers from local community textile group Woolly Umbrella, alongside the CSM there were demonstrations of flax processing, lace making, weaving, inkle looms, wool fibre preparation (hand and drum carding), embroidery and wool and flax spinning.
The CSM is an Imperia with an 84 slot cylinder and gm here I am knitting a sock in traditional 3ply sock wool; no nylon. This was the nearest we could get that was most like the wool probably used originally on the machine. Although I have knitted on it with hand spun I felt that demonstrating required enough concentration without the worry of irregular yarn!
In a brave, but foolish, moment I decided to try a toe-up sock at one point. It wasn’t too bad at all, and I am quite pleased with the result.
I’ve just spent about an hour fiddling with the battery pack that came with my E-Spinner. The E-spinner was secondhand and was still unassembled and the battery never been used – the battery pack is not an Ashford one. I thought the details of the battery pack might be useful for anyone looking to buy one of these for their E-Spinner 3.
Super Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, YSN-N12V
Output: 12VDC 3800mAh, (this is the DCin/out outlet, a round plug that leads to the E SPinner power plug when being run on battery).
Other output is: 5VDC 6800mAh – (the usb outlet).
In my excitement I charged it rather haphazardly, but it has been working fine with the spinner. When I came to recharge it I found that it was not indicating charging as explained in the manual. However, a useful review on YouTube enabled me to understand what was going on. There is another lead with the battery, a round pin on one end (that is the same size as the outlet, and a much thinner pin on the other end – no idea what that is for). The lead from the battery to the E-spinner has the same sized pin on each end. It may have been purchased separately from the battery pack?
Basically the instructions were confusing about the charging process. The led on the plug the goes into the wall outlet is supposed to be red when the unit is plugged in to charge, and turn green when it is charged. The unit also must be switched on at its own on/off switch whilst charging, (if you leave it switched on when not in use it will discharge). The battery pack has five green lights on the top, one to show the pack is charged and four others labelled 100%, 75%, 50% and 25%. Nothing is said in the instructions about these, but trial and error showed that pressing the unlabelled button on the left side of the unit indicates the amount of power remaining in the unit using these lights.
I couldn’t find the battery pack on eBay or Amazon but did find it on AliExpress.
I have used the battery for about 4-5 hours spinning before it needs recharging, so am really pleased with the unit. I have also bought the cigarette lighter plug connection so that I can use it on the 12v in our caravan. May be overkill as the battery is working well so far. The battery takes about 8 hours to charge.
I haven’t really woven on a loom since I was a student at college. I have a Spears toy loom which I used for one project but the width is limited and the heddle is quite fiddly to work with. What I really wanted to do was to find a technique that uses up my small bits of handspun yarn my experiments and my texted handspun that I don’t think looks very good in knitting.
The Spears loom is actually quite good, and is very much like using a rigid heddle loom but with the shortcomings mentioned earlier. So I was really pleased when a friend offered to lend me 15 inch rigid heddle loom that she had in her attic. This now gives me the extra width and also the heddle is much easier to manipulate.
And so my weaving adventure has begun. Kindly she put a viscose thread warp on it for me to get me going and I’ve used this to practise using some acrylic DK yarn I had to hand.
Back problems have meant I need to avoid computers and knitting machines for a while, so I wanted a hand knit project to work on. Digging around on shelves, ( I can’t get at my stash boxes at the moment) I found a bag of knitting I had forgotten about. Inside was the first few rows of a top-down sweater. I remembered how long it took to work out the pattern, (yes I did it myself) and how carefully I chose the yarn. The notes with the pattern are dated 2013, which says volumes about my engagement with larger hand knit projects!
Luckily the moth had stayed away, thanks to ziploc bags, and I haven’t used the balance of the yarn for something else. This seemed a perfect opportunity to get on with my long-lost dream jumper.
I knitted a top-down jumper last winter with good results. Although it has dropped quite considerably due to the stitch I used, do is more a dress than a number. I like the method because you can check the shoulder fit, which is so important, and adjust it before embarking on the larger areas. Monte Stanley wrote about top-down knitting and as I am interested in integral knitting, I find the technique intriguing
I had obviously found fault with the stored knitting because there is an separate neck and shoulder be sample threaded into waste yarn in the bag. On reflection I seem to remember it was discarded because of the shaping finish rather than size. I will unravel it if I need the yarn later on, but at the moment it is useful for reference.
It’s knitted in DK alpaca/wool/silk blend yarn on a very pretty warm stone colour.
I’m using a 4mm circular needle from the KnitPro convertible system. These are very versatile so am using these for this project where they are separate ‘tubes’ to work on. Being able to change the length of the cable means it’s easy to work narrower sleeves as well as the larger circumference of the body.
The design is a raglan sleeve, generous fit jumper with cable panels running up front and back. Shaping is worked fully fashioned along the raglan ‘seam’ lines using lifted left and right increases. My initial sample was not fully fashioned, and clearly the fully fashioning makes a much nicer finish.
I’ve just finished one sleeve, (stocking stitch) with fully fashioned decreases along the underarm ‘seam’, and the fit seems good so far.
Working out the pattern was quite complicated even though I used Designaknit for the basic silhouette. It was easy enough to invert the shapes, but then I had to combine them in-the-round. Some maths later I had a picture in my head, and the numbers to match it on paper. I worked out the positioning of the cable panels manually because it was important to have plain stocking stitch for the raglan shaping.
If I get the next sleeve done I might even got to finish the cable front and back before 2025!
Update : OK, it’s now the end of December and I have completed both sleeves and am part way down the body. So far I’ve used one bag of yarn, (500g) and anticipate using another 200g, making the jumper quite heavy!
The body is slightly flared, just enough so that it’s not a straight tube shape. The increases are worked down where the side seam would be, and at the outer edge of the outer cables every 11th row.
Update January 2022
The jumper is now complete! First blocking fine, now test-wearing before sewing in the ends. Then I shall wash so that it matches the revision swatch and the stitches even out a bit more. Something I noticed whilst knitting was that although this is a lovely yarn it has a tendency to leave fine fibres on the needle so the stitches catch. At first I unpicked and reknitted some stitches, thinking I had miss-knitted the stitches and it took me a while to realise what was happening. Gentle tugging releases the fibres and opened the stitches, but from the tension swatch I can see that washing will even the knit out.
The neckband is a single rib with a rolled edge. The neck band was picked it up into the neckline so is integrally knitted which has a tendency to stretch on top-down sweaters. In the past I have sewn take along the back neck to stabilise the neckline, but Roxanne Richardson on her YouTube channel suggests making a line of crochet slip stitch along the back neck instead. She also suggests using this solution along raglan seams.
Because it’s knitted top down, seamless I’m going to watch the raglan ‘seams’ to make sure they doesn’t drop. If the jumper does start to drop I will also work a crochet slip stitch in the back of the seams to stabilise them.
I’m just hoping the weather stays cool so I can continue to wear my new jumper.
The fleece I am working with is not brilliant, but I am using it to practise making a balanced, soft spun woollen yarn for knitting. To do this I read up on Mabel Ross’ method, and with a little tweaking to suit my preferred yarn handle, it worked!
Mabel Ross worked it out for us and it is quite logical really. You do need to know your wheel’s ratios, work consistently with your draft and count your treadling to start with, so if thats not your style, don’t go there.
I was aiming for around 2tpi in the finished yarn, but actually increased this a little after the first samples.
The equation is to do with spinning the singles at the tpi you want and then plying them to get the final tpi you want. Its really helpful to remember that if you spin your singles Z, when you ply them S you will be unwinding some of the single’s twist. (update- I have subsequently spun some yarn at a much higher tpi using a 1:10 whorl that has come out soft after a similarly balancing plying method. Maybe I’m getting it…)
I worked backwards from my 2tpi goal.
For example: I was working with a 1:6 whorl, therefore one revolution of my wheel would turn the bobbin 6 times. I was spinning ‘Z’ twist with a long draw of 12″.
First of all I needed to know how many treadles to the 12″ draft would give me the tpi I required. Yes I know I’ve muddled metric and imperial, but it still works.
Number of treadles = (required tpi x planned draft length)/ divided by wheel ratio (which i know will be 6)
tpi of my singles = tpi of my plied yarn divided by number of plies
II reckoned that if I want 2tpi in the plied yarn, I needed to spin the singles at around 4tpi.
The equation I worked with using MR method to find out how many treadles I needed to a set draft length was:
tpi = (wheel ratio x treadles)/divided by draft length.
Go back to the earlier question of how many treadles?
Number of treadles = (required tpi x planned draft length)/ divided by wheel ratio (which i know will be 6)
which came out as
tpi (4) x draft (12″) = 48/6 = 8.
So 8 treadles using the 1:6 whorl to a 12′ draft should give me 4tpi. in my singles…
Well I wrote this post a while ago, and since then have done some spinning. It was not successful, way to soft and loose spun for my taste, but a balanced yarn – no twisting and it knits without bias.
I upped singles tpi a little and also the ply by a smaller amount and the yarn improved. and stayed balanced! A lesson learned.
A bit like outdoor anything – providing its not raining or freezing – spinning is enhanced by the open-air. I took my little Louet wheel with me whilst on holiday on the Pembroke coast recently. We were being careful and avoiding towns etc in our caravan sitting on a farm, so there was plenty of opportunity to spin in the lovely sunshine. It seems ages ago now, but was so refreshing.
I took a bag full of mixed colour Jacob’s fleece and sorted it into dark and light before hand carding it. Ifirst of all spun a skein of cream to test the tpi and grist I was aiming at and on a rainy day decided to dye it with the onion skins from our soup.
All very earthy!
I can’t resist a marl yarn, so plied the colours into variations on this.
I’m practising my red cabbage dye recipes for Friday because if anything can go wrong it will. At least if I test the recipes it’s only likely to be the technology that glitches.
Friday p.m. update Wow, I think that went well! My camera man was brilliant, he cued me to face one of the 3 cameras he was using according to the best view, and even made me a coffee!
We started with onion skins because as a substantive dye everyone could use these even if they had not mordanted their wool yarn. Some people used red skins only and got an olivey green whilst I used mixed and got a dark gold. Interestingly I popped a 50/50 acrylic wool skein in and got a brilliant yellow.
Second dye was another substantive material – avocado skins and pits. Some people mixed them, but I kept then separate. I soaked both overnight, in fact the pits were so hard I had to cook them overnight on a slow cooker in order to soften then enough to be able to chop them up and release more colour as they continued to cook this morning.
I added ammonia to the avocado skins as they soaked. I read somewhere that this develops the colour well – but maybe that was pits? The colour from the skins was a yellowy mid peach, and from the pits was a pinky deep peach.
Dyes four, five and six were red cabbage. But itself as for, but five had ammonia added to make it green whilst six had citric acid added to make it lilacy pink.
I have never had such great colours from cabbage before! Stunning, if fugitive as they will fade over time. I chopped half a large cabbage very small, layered it with 4 tablespoons of salt and covered it with water. Then cooked it to the boil and left it to soak overnight. Fab results!
The dark blues are amazing! See below…
I’m now soaking some fleece in mordant to use up the red cabbage baths tomorrow. Plus have dyed 4 hanks of handspun wool/alpaca in the onionskin and avocado baths.