draught it is (and other follow-up stories)

Wool processing

The Lincoln Longwool locks are dry! What do you think, are they clean enough?

Lincoln Longwool fleece after washing

Lincoln Longwool fleece after washing

I’ve looked at and asked advice about methods to wash raw fleece: there seem to be a wealth of variations, some quite drastic – ranging from “wash in cold water” to “drop in piping hot water”, which leaves a beginner like me quite puzzled. I personally went for the cold-to-luke-warm option, paying attention to avoid any sudden temperature change that could felt the locks.

For those who have an interest in wool processing, I’m listing some more of the information I’ve come across (some of these came originally from Wovember’s discussion board on Raverly) and advice I have been given. I’ll leave the conclusions to you 🙂

  • Washing & storage advice provided by the fleece seller:

I recommend a very gentle soak (2-3 times) – I add liquid detergent for delicates and a little bit of washing soda into my basin – and of course it is important not to agitate and not to give it sudden change of temperature. It is important to make sure it is rinsed well and hasn’t got any soap left in it – otherwise some fleeces can become brittle in a few weeks. I have tried different products to wash the wool – and I found that detergent for wool/delicate fabrics works best – you can also use usual washing-up liquid. Never use biological detergents – they damage wool, fiber and silk. If you want to preserve the shape of Lincoln locks, the best thing to do is tie them up at the tips with a rubber band and then put in the warm water with detergent – for a couple of hours, you can leave them there for the night, then change water a few times; without moving locks – this way they won’t felt. If you have a plastic basket with holes, you can put them in the basket and then in basin with water – then you just take basket out and let them drain, and put it in new water. I don’t use very hot water for washing wool as it may felt – happened to me before – just normal hand-washing temperature. To store: it needs to be wrapped in a newspaper or -best- in a fabric bag (e.g. pillowcase), and have some ventilation (no tightly closed box).

Draught stoppers

Autumn has set in with its windy rainy days and the flat started featuring unwelcome draught again. I remember mumbling about draught (draft) stopper patterns a while back – perhaps it’s time to put my plans into practice?

For easy care it will be done in a machine washable yarn. I think I gave up the fancy for a snake theme, it’ll be either one of the free patterns from my old post, a simple striped thing or a mono-colour with stitch decoration (got the inspiration today while reading about Ganseys).

Elder Father knee caps

Little progress on the knee caps, with stitch-dropping seriously hindering my work. I’m going to move it from DPNS (too short) to a mini-circular (30 or 40 cm?) and that should solve the issue. More pics later…

IMG_3806_2

Vintage spinning wheel

Thanks to the Antique Spinning Wheels group on Ravelry, I found out that the type of wheel I received from my Austrian friend is also seen sometimes sold here in the UK (probably imported from the continent), but – important – it comes in two sorts: the decorative and the functional. The former may be a working wheel but more usually it is not; the latter is a normal working wheel. Apparently mine is of the working type (phew!) and is vintage (40-99 years ), not antique (100+). The investigation continues…

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more beginnings

With the first day of the week, I deemed it suitable to start a few new things: (another woolly post)

Fleeces

You may remember from this post that I talked about Bowmont and Lincoln Longwool. The washing of the raw fleeces has begun: being my first attempt and being new to the process, it will probably take ages to complete all; additionally I need to be careful to avoid felting.

The detergent used is a natural washing up liquid by Ecover. I started by rinsing the ends under running cold water, gently opening the locks up by pulling the fibres sideway – this way, most of the vegetable matter and natural dirt came off before soaking. I didn’t take many photos because my hands were too busy, but I snapped a few before sunset.

Lincoln Longwool fleece before washing

Lincoln Longwool fleece before washing

Lincoln Longwool fleece soaking

Lincoln Longwool fleece soaking

I will show more pictures once the fleece will be dry. The next, I will “only” need to figure out how to use my vintage spinning wheel!

New project: Elder Father knee caps

I started knitting some knee caps for my father, using a vintage pattern from KnitHeaven.com. The days are growing colder and something to keep joints warm can be really useful. As a tribute to Wovember (Raverly group here), I’m using a 95/5% merino-cashmere yarn.

Elder Father: knee caps from vintage pattern

Elder Father: knee caps from vintage pattern

Cashmere-merino yarn in beige-celeste

Cashmere-merino yarn in beige-celeste, used for the project

Other vintage free patterns for knee caps on Vintage Knitting Patterns and Vintage Knits, who very kindly also offers other free vintage patterns.

Fibre tutorials & TV programme

Recently, I came across some free tutorials on SpinningDaily.com:

KnitMyStash wrote a great post on knitting programmes finally making an appearance on the TV landscape:

  • Programme on the worl-record attempt (shear-to-product) by a Norwegian team, thanks to the “slow TV” format now being presented on Norwegian television. I watched the first part and found it very educational as I could see it all happen minute-by-minute. Another reason to love Norway! For the moment there is no English translation, but it’s not really needed as the images talk by themselves.

They’re a very interesting reading/watching if you want to start working with fibres, or are relatively new to it.

River Pebbles

At the moment I don’t feel like working on complex projects. Although I still love my Thistle WIP, I casted on a new work. The air is getting cooler, Christmas is approaching, thus it’s a great idea to work on small and quick knits… don’t you agree?

I’ve already winded some of my skeins in yarn cakes, which will make it easier to start a small project on the go. The first that I put to use is a BFL yarn from Skein Queen: Tweedore in River Pebbles.

The River Pebbles project is a small-sized cowl, the pattern is Tina-ease Cowl by Tina Turner, in the 4 ply (fingering) version. I’ll probably do 3 repeats, but see how it grows – ideally, it should sit snuggly around the neck.

My River Pebbles WIP

Skein Queen Tweedore in River Pebbles River Pebbles with real pebbles from my trips

Rowan Colourscape Chunky in Frosty

Rowan Colourscape Chunky in Frosty

Rowan Colourscape Chunky in Frosty

Fur Wool & Maxi Wool by Eirka Knight, kit for Welly Toppers

Fur Wool & Maxi Wool by Eirka Knight, kit for Welly Toppers

Fur Wool & Maxi Wool by Eirka Knight, kit for Welly Toppers

The Bowmont and Lincoln Longwool I ordered has just arrived… it definitely smells sheepy!!! It’s in its raw fleece state and needs thorough cleaning – I will have to be very careful not to felt the wool in the process. Bowmont is a very rare sheep, the result of a careful breeding selection that lasted years and there are only a few flocks in the world (all in the UK). The staple is approx 14-15 micron – I’m no expert, but apparently this is an exceptional quality. You can read more about their story on Devon Fine Fibres.

Bowmont sheep, photo from Devon Fine Fibres

Bowmont fleece_Devon Fine Fibres

Bowmont sheep and fleece, photos from Devon Fine Fibres

Bowmont raw fleece

Bowmont raw fleece

Lincoln Longwool is another rare British sheep. You can visit the official site for the Lincoln Longwool sheep breeders association to read more about it and for some cute sheepy pictures 🙂

Lincoln sheep

Lincoln sheep, photo from The Pagan Homesteader website

Lincoln Longwool raw fleece

Lincoln Longwool fleece, the locks are approx 30-32 cm long unstretched (!)

Oh, my recent trend of buying vintage has continued, but more on that soon 🙂