10 July 2014

Total Splurge

Total Splurge

After my last post, one of my dear readers pointed me in the direction of Casbah a merino, cashmere, nylon blend, hand-dyed at Handmaiden Yarns.

What can I say? I was totally seduced by the idea of cashmere in my socks, fell in love with the crazy colourways, threw caution to the wind and splurged. Ten days and two skeins of yarn later, I'm so pleased I did - aren't they fabulous? Soooo soft ...

I'm sure there's a risk that such scrumptious, variegated skeins might end up looking a bit of a motley mess in stockinette but the pleasure I'm expecting from slipping such luscious yarn through my fingers, means I don't really care :)

My feet can't wait. Socks, here I come! The dreamy green, grey and lilac on the left is "lilypond" and the striking brown, cream, pinks and orange on the right; obviously "puffin". 

I'm all ears - any irresistible yarn you'd recommend?

27 June 2014

Still More Casting On Is Required

Still More Casting On Is Required
Still More Casting On Is Required

To be honest, the rate of knitting and generally making has gone downhill here at Truly Myrtle. I have been pulling out my knitting but it's not growing too much - just a row or two here and there.

This past couple of weeks has presented a few challenges that really needed me to be knitting something super simple. Instead of these very pretty pink socks with some of my newly hand-dyed yarn, I should have cast on a straightforward stockinette pair of socks, so I could knit and chat, or zone out a bit to the click clack of my needles.

I've had poorly kids around and managed to get a bit of their bug myself but mostly, my Dad hasn't been well. Sadly, after an initial stay in hospital and a few tests, we've just found out he has cancer. There will be more tests to figure out if it's spread and we're all feeling a bit shaken.

I'm not good at getting much done when I'm worried, especially things that require me to count, think, be very careful or follow a pattern. And since everything already on my needles includes lace or cables or both, I definitely need to start something new. 

So what to cast on? My new project has to be super simple, soft, warm and very lovely. With that in mind, I'm off to have a rummage in my stash for some sock yarn that'll make truly lovely vanilla socks. 

9 June 2014

Off The Wheel, On The Wheel

On The Wheel, Off The Wheel

If you've been following me on Instagram you'd have seen that I've had a lot of fun dyeing yarn over the weekend. I have lots and lots to tell you about my dyeing adventures, and I will soon - but I thought I'd wrap up some spinning talk first.

The green yarn is off my spinning wheel and wound onto my niddy noddy. I haven't had my niddy noddy long but I'm loving it and am relieved I'm no longer making skeins by winding my yarn around two chairs. I'm finding it quicker and a whole lot better on my back. Plus, I'm betting it's more accurate at figuring out how much yarn I've got.

On The Wheel, Off The Wheel
On The Wheel, Off The Wheel

My niddy noddy is an Ashford. I bought it here in New Zealand but they're available all over the world; Ashford is a huge brand in spinning accessories.

It's a funny contraption. The ends come off so it can be stored flat but you use it in a twisted position with the ends perpendicular to one other. It's pretty easy to wind yarn on to. I hold the middle stem and pull directly from my bobbin so the that yarn travels over each of the four ends making a long, bent circle. Apparently the end skein is 1.5m around, so when I count the number of strands wound around and multiply that number by 1.5 I will know, more or less, how many metres of yarn I've spun. (I haven't done that with my new green yarn yet - but I'm guessing it's going to be around 600m.)

The colours in my photo are pretty true to life (I try really hard to get the colours as close as possible!) and I'm liking it more now it's all stretched out. I've developed a crush on green lately and this skein is feeling both serene and fresh, if that's possible. Just what I need on this grey, wet, wintery day here today. 

I wonder how it'll knit up? Motley I guess. It's quite fine, probably a light fingering, so it might end up as a wrap or maybe even a hat... 

Once I soak it, thwack it (whack it around a bit to even out the twist) and knit a swatch, I'll know.

On The Wheel, Off The Wheel

Look what's jumped onto my wheel?!

This braid absolutely makes my heart melt and I have TWO. That's 250g of delicious BFL wool, hand-dyed by the very talented Beata from Hedgehog Fibres in Ireland. Lucky me!

I am adoring how it's spinning up. BFL is a lovely fibre to spin and the colour changes in the braids are pretty much the same and are beautiful. This is going to be the fibre I chain ply - don't worry, I've got a couple of bobbins with some old singles on them that I'll practice on first.

How's your spinning?

5 June 2014

Back On The Wheel

Back On The Wheel

It took me a wee while to get back to spinning. After such a big move it's taken me a bit to find my rhythm and actually, I'm still working that out. Initially, spinning just wasn't fitting into my day to day life. Then, like with most things, one day I started. No planning, no forcing myself to sit down, just boom! I just grabbed my fibre and got going. 

I'm not sure why I operate like that. At least these days I recognise that's "how I roll" (as my kids would say) so I try not to stress out too much that I'm not getting around to stuff. I'll know I'll get there eventually and when I do I'll be swept away and go like the wind. But can I tell when it might happen? No. All I know is that eventually it will happen. 

Back On The Wheel

I decided to start on this greeny/blue merino because it wasn't my favourite and I was happy to sacrifice it to a "getting back on the wheel" sort of spin.

Needless to say, it started out a bit thick then thin and over-spun then under-spun, but as I spun a little at a time over quite a few weeks, I slowly got back into my groove. So much so that now I'm finding it very tempting to ignore other things I should be doing and instead have a little sit at my wheel and enjoy some relaxed spinning.

Back On The Wheel

Funnily enough, even though I wasn't really in love with the fibre, I am liking the end yarn. Well, I'm liking the bits that haven't gotten muddy brown as the colours merge into one another. I'm plying two singles together to make a two ply and I'm happy with the barber-poling and the patches where the colours have stayed fairly vibrant but the gunky colours are a bit frustrating. 

Last year I bought and really enjoyed Felicia Lo's (SweetGeorgia yarns) Craftsy class on spinning dyed fibres but I haven't really put anything I learnt there into practice for this first spin back on my wheel. She talks about different ways to combine colours, create colours, get different colour effects and of course, how not to make muddy brown yarn. If you're a keen spinner but want to broaden your horizons a little, you might enjoy this class too. I think it might be on sale at the moment?

Anyway, for my next spinning project I'm planning on trying navajo plying or chain plying my singles instead of plying two (or three) together. Chain plying is a way to make a three ply yarn from just one single yarn. I am slightly nervous about the whole thing as it seems to involve some crazy tricky hand coordination but I'm determined to give it a go. I think it is sort of like crocheting a chain with your hand? I'll report back after I figure it out. Are any of you fluent in Navajo plying? Do you have any tips for me?

My first challenge will be to work out if I am a left hand or right hand "plyer" and then interpret the instructions to suit me. It turns out I spin left handed - did you know there was a difference? I hold the fibre out to my left, feed the fibre in with my right hand and hold the twist from rushing away into my fibre with my left hand. You might have to close your eyes and pretend to spin to work out which you are. Or if you're like me, you might have to go sit at your wheel to see!

I'm chuffed that so many of you have followed me over to Instagram - it is a fun community over there, very inspirational! I thought you might like to know I've just joined Pippit - it's a new social media site that seems to combine photos, blog posts and pins. I'm just figuring my way around but it looks interesting. I'm over there as TrulyMyrtle. See you there? 

29 May 2014

Three Winners & Hatching A Plan

Hatching A Plan

I've got some winners to announce from the Kelpie Vest giveaway but first I'll thought I'd give you a peek at a new design that's on my needles.

Isn't the yarn just stunning? It's a tightly twisted single spun sock-weight merino, dyed by my old UK neighbours, Sparkleduck called "Solo". The colourway is "Neptune". I was delighted when I discovered they lived only a trot down the road from me in Cambridge and managed to collect quite a tidy pile of Sparkleduck yarn for my stash.

As the weather cools off here I've been reaching for my scarves, shawls and cowls to give me a little bit of extra warmth over my sweaters and cardigans. It's not quite cold enough for a coat but something around my neck is perfect; cosy with a splash of colour.

So obviously, I need more woollies to wrap around my neck. Hence my plan. I've designed a funky wee wrap with a modern twist and I'm busy writing the pattern and knitting it up. Stay tuned for a cute wrap sometime soon.

Anyway, I do also have some winners to tell you about. 

I've randomly drawn three names from all the entries and congratulations go to:


You've each won a copy of Tiny Lovely's very cute Kelpie Vest!

Please drop me a line with your email and Ravelry details. You'll each receive a copy of the pattern straight into your Ravelry Library.