Monday, December 26, 2011

Yoga for Spinners and Knitters

Stiffness and limited movement can become a problem for many spinners and knitters. Extra exercise and movement will help to re-mobilise those stiff shoulders, wrists and joints.

I found this Yoga video when looking for something to re-mobilise myself and thought I'd share it with everyone. After only the one session, I already feel a difference and intend to work with it every day.You don't have to be 'Senior' to reap the rewards!

Esther is using a fold-up chair but I recommend using a dining chair or one that is solid. Fold-up chairs can be a little flimsy and tend to topple over. Once you know the moves, you can even practice this yoga in front of your spinning wheel while taking a break..

Give it a go, and if it helps do leave a comment so that we can let others share this excellent practice.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Handspun Felted Bag and Scarves

Its long overdue and somewhere, someone is wondering why I haven't added any posts to The Woolly Mother for so long - well, maybe someone is...

I decided to create a few handmade items to send overseas for Christmas pressies this year. Luckily, to save time, I already had the yarn handspun and ready to go. Settling on what to make was, of course, quite easy. Considering its always cold this time of year in the northern hemisphere, nice, warm, woolly scarves would be the order of the day. So, I proceeded to knit for both mum and dad.

This one I created for Mum - I balanced the blue with a lovely peachy shade, and drop-stitch pattern making the texture quite thick and warm, even though the yarn was only about a four ply thickness.

Dad's scarf I knitted in Fisherman's Rib, again giving a good thick texture and light in weight

The Knitted and Felt Shoulder Bag was a treat to make. I knitted the bag in stocking stitch, sewed it all together and threw it into the washing machine, on a hot wash. Twice. After that second round, it came out at the right size and texture. I then lined it with a contracting cotton fabric and added toggles so the bag could be closed - they are not in place when I took these photos.

To hold the lining in place I stitched around the outside with a handspun merino/possum yarn.

Hopefully, the recipients will love their pressies. I had a lot of fun making them.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Warm and Woolly

Finally finished the socks - and sooooo warm and comfortable

The second piccy seemed to come out blue for some reason

I have a feeling I'll be knitting lots more of them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A New East Friesian Fleece for Spinning

It has been a marvelous week, I've had the place totally to myself. And guess what? Fleece and spinning abound - spread from one end to the other!

If anyone is thinking about taking up spinning - beware. It's addictive! Once you pick up that spindle, or treadle that wheel, there is no turning back. Your home will become a vast fibre studio with stash hidden in every spare, or not so spare, space imaginable.

My new East Friesian fleece arrived earlier in the week and I've been boxing it up for safe storage away from any moths. Moths hate newpaper, so that is what my storage consists of. And it works, I've only lost one fleece in thirty years of spinning due to moths.

This fleece is absolutely superb, and about the best I've seen in a while. Its well grown, clean, strong, soft with a downy feel and will be excellent to spin. It is the first time I have tried Friesian and so far am very impressed. The weight would be about 3-4kilos (7-8lbs) - and enough for a number of items.

The whole fleece.

A selection of the staples - very clean, long and white.

Fleece being boxed, to keep it safe from moths. It also stops it from becoming 'creased', which makes it hard to find the tips of the staples as they tend to fold in and hide.

The preparation process will be minimal because of the good quality - it always pays to buy sound clean fleece and walk away from those which seem very dirty or heavy in VM (vegetable matter) - a mistake I made a while ago when buying some merino at a show. Two washes later and its still not clean, and now slightly matted making processing more time consuming, and frustrating.

Part of this fleece will most likely become a handspun and knitted jacket for me. I'm not sure yet whether I will dye it or leave it natural white. Being a 'down' type fleece, it will be hardwearing, springy, and therefore will hold its shape very nicely. The soft feel is a bonus.

Some of the fleece I will spin into yarn and have on offer in my The Woolly Mother store on Etsy. There will also be sock yarn spun with this fleece as it will be both soft and hardwearing, so keep checking in and be the first to knit a pair of socks with this unique wool!

Ok, back to the fleece - Oh dear, do I really have to waste time to eat and sleep? ...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Socks, and More Socks

Seems the 'sock bug' is going around. And I caught it. After recently completing one pair of socks, I immediately started on more - for my granddaughter.

Thank goodness they are a good fit, or Nana would be in trouble! And she loves them - especially for sliding around on the wooden floorboards...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Woolly Mother on

After much ado, I decided to open an Esty shop for my handspun yarns and, soon to come, spinning accessories. Setting up was pretty easy, though time consuming. is a oneline shopping site for handmade goods. All items on the website are made by the shop owner therefore making them quite unique and set aside from the commercially mass produced goods. There are some marvellous items and its well worth having a look, especially if you have birthday gifts to find. 

As I enjoy spinning, even more than knitting, the shop will give me an outlet for all the yarns I manage to produce and accumulate. Hopefully, my handspun will find a loving home and be well utilised instead of just sitting around doing nothing.

One yarn is a beautifully soft dusky Burgundy handspun  
It has been spun to accentuate the slubby texture of the yarn, enhancing the colourway with splurges of white and darker burgundy.

This 'Tweed Twist' is a bulkier yarn and very soft. It will knit up very well into a vest or hat and scarf. The yarn will blend perfectly with a white or brown contrast, which can extend the 200grams into a long-sleeved garment for warm winter wear.

Other items include a natural brown bulky yarn, and a pale grey singles which was spun from a very soft corridale fleece.

Coming soon to the shop will be spinning accessories such as handcarder covers, spinning lapcloths, and fabric bobbin protectors. These invaluable accessories will be an asset to any spinner who would like to keep her, or his, spinning equipment in first class condition.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Handknitted Socks For Any Season

Hand-knitted socks are very warm and very snuggly, keeping toes warm and stopping legs from freezing in the cold weather.

My daughter decided she would like a pair of socks after I mentioned I was going to make myself some. So, onto the net I go and look up a few patterns, settling on a pair that have celtic twisted cables front and back.

This is a lady who has never knitted socks before - ever - attempting to work these complicated designs. I have knitted quite a few cable patterns but none as tricky as this one.

The socks were worked on five 2.5mm needles - matchsticks I call them, they are that fine. But once I got the hang of it, I was whipping around those needles pretty quickly and the socks grew rapidly.

They turned out well, with the verigated colours blending

Daughter is pretty pleased with them and has
already 'ordered' another pair!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Blogging and HTML

I like blogging, and having a website. It gets your words and ideas out to the rest of the world - if they can find it!

With having a blog comes the idea of lots of people reading your words, following your posts, and then wanting to add extras to your page. There are many standard bits to add, but if you want something a little different, or your own text, colours, and pictures, then that is where learning a little HTML comes in.

I found it very frustrating when I started looking and trying out a few blog sites. Each one is operated in a different fashion, and where one will have part of what you are looking for, another site will have the balance. Challenging! This is exactly what I have found with trying out Wordpress and Blogger. In the end, Blogger won as I could add my own HTML codes to my site to create a more personal page. But with Blogger, the tags are only 'site' orientated and do not get picked up by the search engines.

But I have added a few extra bits and pieces that would not have been possible without some HTML knowledge. How did I learn? Why, searching the net of course - and kept looking until I found what I wanted then gave it a whirl. It does take some trial and error, but with perseverance it will be very satisfying, and you will have a site that is a bit different from the run-of-the-mill standard blog.

To see the html on this site, click on Edit Html at the top of your post typing area. It shows the codes, including any pictures you may have added.

One very handy html code I use is the one for creating a website link

The other codes are very simple ones to use and can be very useful. There are many websites with html coding information and instructions, too numerous to mention here but a web search will bring up a multitude of pages to read.

As for getting people to find you, that is a whole different exercise but networking with other blogs, forums, linking to other sites is a good place to start...

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hand-made Knitting Bag

Nothing quite like Hand-Made. It's unique. And that goes for my new knitting bag, made for me by my daughter.

It's huge!

Remember Mary Poppins bag, with the never-ending bottom?  Meet bag number two. I could fit half a dozen projects into it, and then some. I have a feeling it might be wise to work on one at a time.

She made the bag from scraps of fabric left around from other projects but it turned out fabulous.

        There are so many pockets I don't know if I can fill them all.

But I can sure have fun trying!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weaving a Persian Rug

It finally happened. And quite unexpectedly. The knitting has taken a back seat while I explore the art of Persian Rug weaving.

This art form has fascinated me for many years and just recently I picked up a book 'The Root of Wild Madder' by Brian Murphy from the library, and that was it! I'm away and on the Persian rug weaving train.

Not being happy with just reading the book, I wanted to learn and create my own Persian style rugs. It's amazing how much information there is on the net about Persian rugs but not much on how to actually make them. After hours of searching, watching what videos I could find, a few written instructions on knots that I came across, I gleaned enough information to know what to do.

So, not having a rug weaving loom at my fingertips, my next stop was to find a suitable sturdy picture frame as a 'stand-in' loom. I did. At the local charity shop.

Well, who said I had to wait?

'Loom' now in hand, I go in search of wool for the pile - anything will do providing it's pure wool, of the same thickness, and I have enough to weave a 'practice' piece. Cotton for the warp and weft I also found, in my stash.

But, oh dear, it will be a 'piece of many colours'. I found a multitude of discontinued tapestry wool in a variety of colours at a craft shop to get me started. Authentic rugs are made with handspun wool and vegetable dyes, although some weavers now are using machine spun and commercially dyed wool, as this saves time and is much easier and cheaper.

Now for the 'tools'. After a little thought, out comes a crochet hook, embroidery scissors, kitchen fork for beating the weft, and I did buy a decent pair of scissors for cutting the pile. Ah, and a 30cm ruler sporting a hole at one end. It was duly 'shaped' with sandpaper to a rounded point at the other end and I now have a weft threader by attaching the cotton through the hole. Works very well too!

Armed with all my bits and pieces, I warped up my 'loom' and start knotting. All is going well, until...

Not being content with just 'knotting' I needed some kind of pattern or it would look very plain.

Out comes my Patternmaker for Cross Stitch program to design a simple, very simple, 'cartoon' (as the printed patterns are called) to transfer to my practice piece.

The pattern has started to show with the couple of rows so far knotted.

Rugs are worked with one row of knots and two rows of weft to hold the carpet firm. Some rugs are worked with more than two rows of weft, depending on the style and outcome desired.

As it grows, hopefully, the pattern will all sit in line and not turn out a mushy mess. It IS my first piece after all!
The first four rows were 'practice knotting' getting used to the technique, using different types of wool.

The back of the weaving looks very neat, although a little up and down. Using the different types of wool, the thickness varies creating an uneven line. This can be corrected by adding an extra row, or two, in the uneven area.

And as it grows, I will attempt to blend in the rich array of colours I have sitting in my box. There are already areas where improvement can be made on the next attempt, but I am happy with progress so far. Progress update I will add as I go.

Its an adventure that I will have lots of fun with for many years to come. The possibilities are endless, and leaves another opening for my spinning with handspun yarn and naturally dyed wool for my rugs and carpets.