Tag Archive: locks

Nope, just…nope.

I finally sat down at the wheel to try and spin a nice boucle ply from those pretty Teeswater locks today. And nope. They’re just too tangled, too matted, and it’s just too, too hard. Now I’m shopping for an alternative for my boucle ply. Wish me luck.

I’m torn between feeling really annoyed at myself for failing at the challenge of spinning from those locks, and liberated for having made the decision to move forward with it, even if that means a change of plan. It’s difficult for me to admit defeat like this, but I knew going into this whole farce I mean, lofty and noble project, that there’d be times that things wouldn’t go quite according to plan. I guess I’ve been pretty lucky so far, so I’m taking this in good grace 🙂

Off to shop!

This is a quick one. I pulled this together today, after having the batt for a while. I wanted to thread-ply this sucker but didn’t have the right sort of plying yarn, so when I went to the Guild meeting on Saturday I kept a lookout, and sure enough, I found the perfect cone of tencel laceweight in a beautiful peachy-pink colour. So today, having got somewhat sick of spinning brown laceweight (ugh, it’s beautiful but there’s so much of it!) I thought I’d have a break and whip this sucker up.

The Discworld pantheon has some really interesting divine figures, such as Blind Io, who is the boss-man; Bilious, the Oh God of Hangovers; and Petulia, the Goddess of Negotiable Affection. Of course, she is the patron goddess of prostitutes, and while she’s not described in any detail, I’ve always got a distinct impression of the sort of blonde bimbo goddess played by Alexandra Tydings in the tv series Hercules, in her role as Aphrodite.

The yarn had to be pink. It had to be curly, and frivolous, skittish, silly and nigh on bloody useless. So when I saw this fantastic batt (called “Rosebud”, in, once again, Bohoknitterchic’s shop) I knew it was absolutely perfect for this yarn. And of course it had to be thread-plied, to emphasise the curls.

Bohoknitterchic batt with tencel laceweight

I spun the single roughly, with some effort to preserve those incredible locks so they’d come out and simulate the ridiculous hairstyle I was seeing in my mind’s eye. Then I plied with the tencel, keeping quite a lot of tension on the tencel ply and letting the single wrap around it generously (really, do I need to explain why?). I spun and plied on my Aura, which just takes almost anything I throw at it … I love this wheel. The result – a bulky weight yarn, 4-5wpi, and around 40m. See? Nigh on useless. But I adore it, and it’s making me grin every time I look at it. Success story.

Sucker For Punishment

As if this whole project wasn’t enough of a hare-brained scheme, I’ve had an idea that will make one of the next yarns a bloody ridiculous task.

BouclĂ©. Real, true, push bouclĂ©, not faux-clĂ© like you get when you thread-ply something (I’m going to thread-ply the next yarn, but that’s another story, for another post).

One of the yarns I’ve been really keen to do for ages now has been one based on the eighth colour of the rainbow in the Discworld, the colour of magic – octarine. The whole mythos surrounding the magical element in the books really appeals to the occult scientist in me, because there’s something approaching intellectual rigour in Sir Terry’s treatment of it, and the idea that magic has a colour, a colour that is beyond the reach of the normal human eye, really got my mind and imagination working.

Shortly after I started this project, I snagged a set of batts from Corgi Hill Farm, the colour of which seemed to totally encompass my mind’s-eye image of octarine.

CorgiHillFarm "Aurora" batts

AnnaMarie’s batts are stunning – smooth, generous and intricately layered, and her colour sense is impeccable. But I wanted my vision of octarine, of magical energy, to have a bit more texture than the ultra-smooth CHF batts allow. I wanted bubbles, I wanted haziness, I wanted complicated.

So…bouclĂ©? What makes a good bouclĂ© coil ply? A strong, inflexible, shiny fibre like mohair or Wensleydale does it really well, and it really has to be in top form rather than a carded prep (at least for a less experienced spinner like me). But I’m allergic to mohair, and I didn’t want to go with Wensleydale this time, as I work with it so much and I’m a little over it. Lately I’ve been trolling the usual suspects for a suitable substitute – I wanted a longwool in a multihued mix of purples, blues and aquas, with a touch of pink … and wouldn’t it be just ideal if I could have some sparklies in there too?? But nothing was just the right thing.

So, to cut this TL;DR* post shorter, I have decided to make my own combed top. I have combs. I have Teeswater locks, and I’ve already dyed them myself with food colouring (what an experience! Talk about magic!).

14-inch locks! Shiny and gorgeous!

Dyed with food colouring - can't believe I got *exactly* the colours I was going for!

I have ordered sparklies (at a prohibitive shipping cost, from a clearly misinformed seller).

I thought to reveal this grand scheme only when my attempt at making top had succeeded, but that’s not what this project is about. I want to share the journey with you all. So I’ll get on making it when I get the sparklies in the mail, but I wanted to bare my soul on this count. Wish me luck!

*Too long; didn’t read

It’s Tour de Fleece time at the moment, and I wasn’t wise and made some rookie errors in my planning for the great event. I planned to “get out of the way” a whole heap of “boring” spins, including interminable 3-plies and pounds and pounds of Wensleydale for a rug I’m going to weave. I’ve managed to get myself pretty down in the mouth about it, as things weren’t going according to plan; plus, I really felt the lack of thinking about, keeping up with, and generally plotting for this Project.

So I got home tonight and stood in front of the stash cupboard the way men stand in front of the fridge. You know, when they yell out to you, “Honey, what is there to eat?” while staring at the makings of any number of delicious things. Yep, that was me. All that gorgeous fibre (and I do have a lot, and it is beautiful), and not a yarn to spin.

Until, that was, my eye lit upon the batts I carded a while back, that I posted about on my other blog. They look, to me, like nothing so much as an impressionist landscape; all that blue and brown and green with the floofy white angora highlights.

I simply had to use them to illustrate the Discworld, even though I love the batts and want to keep them for myself (and the PP yarns are destined to be knit into FOs that I ultimately want to sell). Sir Terry’s intros into so many of the books start with “This is the Discworld…” and there is that vivid sense of scale, vastness, scope and perspective, of zooming in and seeing the wondrous sight of a flat world perched on four elephants that stand on a giant space turtle (yes, it will get its turn on the wheel ;)). I really wanted to spin it, and try to do it justice. I hope this has done that.

And just for an extra challenge, I wanted to insert “clouds” by making little twists of undyed top and coiling them around the single. I’m not sure if these are technically called “coils” or what – Jacey Boggs teaches them in her DVD, Sit & Spin, but I just lent that to a friend so I had to try and guess at the technique! I was really inspired by Carrie craftypuppylover‘s “Unicorn Farts” (rainbow yarn with white coils).

Soooo, anyway, after all that – no pics. Srsly, it’s nearly 11pm here and not only am I just Not Equipped Emotionally for camera -> puter -> internet -> blog, I just can’t get a good shot anyway. I’ve got the yarn draped on the heater to try and dry (freezing temps overnight here last night, and I reckon the same will happen tonight, so drying takes a bit of effort) and I’ll try for a good one sometime tomorrow, even if I have to take the yarn to the nice park down the road from my office at lunchtime. Promise. Well, I promise to try.