Hand-spun, ecru merino wool sweater – finished at last.


Well I did say I would post on the sweater I just finished, so here it is. Sorry I’m not smiling in the picture. I did smile but J took the picture before the smile materialised and beggars can’t be choosers!



Here is a reminder of where I was with it about 3 weeks ago. The weather has been so awful that I got a move on to finish it so I could wear it, despite the fact that we are nearly into June!


Originally I bought a kilo of the ecru merino wool and spun it up. I didn’t know if I’d have enough and I didn’t. I had to buy a little to finish the top of the sweater. Consequently I may dye the sweater at a later stage just to make sure the colour is consistent. On the other hand if I do that and mess it up, it will be worse than if I leave it be. Decisions, decisions.


So that project is finished. I enjoyed spinning the wool and knitting up the sweater and now I am free to start something new, which is always a good place to be. I can wear the sweater while I’m working on the next project or finishing two that I’ve already started, namely a lace-weight knitted shawl and a crocheted blanket for one of the beds. The blanket is almost finished and the shawl is about half way through.

More of those in a future post.



On my spinning wheel.


I’ve just finished spinning up the bag full of ecru merino roving. It was a a delight to work with. This will be spare because I have finished the sweater I was making with the bulk of it. I’ll show you how it turned out soon. This roving was easy to spin and easy to draft and the result was very smooth as you can see above and below.


Now on my wheel today is some more of Miss Babs blue faced leicester yarn, which you can see is much more woolly. It is more difficult to draft and I have to be very careful that the thread doesn’t break. Once I get in my stride with it, it will be just fine. I just have to take care because after using the merino, followed by the mixture of Alpaca and silk, this one is tougher to use.




and I’m pleased with the result so far ūüôā


Hand-spinning with Blue Faced Leicester Tops


This beautifully coloured roving was one of my Christmas presents and I’ve just started spinning with it. It came from Miss Babs, via The Yarn Haven shop in Knoxville.


I have no idea if it was expensive. I’ve seen Tops at all different prices, more and less. I look in the Etsy shop usually. Perhaps one of you could give me a guide price as to what you would expect to pay?

The colours are varied in this lovely roving. There is everything from purple to brown and I couldn’t wait to get started. After the last three months spinning with a mixture of Alpaca/silk and prior to that Merino, I had to practise a little. This yarn is much more woolly and more difficult to draft. I spent a while practising until I felt comfortable with it and then I started.


Here is the spun yarn. ¬†I’ll come back and show you later when I’ve done some plying.


As a contrast, this is the Alpaca/silk spun up.


and this is the Targhee:


All quite different.

I enjoy my spinning. ¬†It’s a great way to relax.

What do you do to relax?


Hand-spinning with alpaca/silk and a little bit of knitting.


I’ve been spending my time over Christmas and during the cold weather, spinning, knitting and reading. I made this pretty little dress for my new grandchild, who is bound to be a boy now that I’ve made a dress! However, I enjoyed using the fairisle wool. It is unusual in that it is designed to knit up like a fairisle jumper, just so long as you make it the right size. ¬†As you can see from the pictures, it works on the skirt part of the garment, but on the sleeves and the yoke, it goes all stripey. It gives an interesting look and it’s a case of ‘you never know what you’re going to get’ until you do it, of course.


When my own children were babies, the colours were mostly muted, but these days anything seems to go so these rather bold colours (to my eye) give a more modern look.


Now for the hand-spinning. I have been practising with the alpaca/silk combination. It is a dream to hold, very soft and silky, much like human hair, but not so easy to spin with. I think it requires a lot of practice. On the lazy kate below is a merino wool on  the left, alpaca/silk in the middle and a tarhee roving spun up on the right. All very different to spin with.


I think I got a bit too much twist in some of it, but that will work out when I ply two strands together (I hope).



I’m knitting with the merino yarn at the moment. ¬†It is very soft and so far, my favourite. I’ll let you see what I’m making in a future post.

After tea I have to clear out the kitchen, ready for the horrendous job booked for tomorrow (see previous post).

Wish me luck.


Roving to yarn!

This glorious Autumn-coloured roving was mine to spin recently whilst I was in America.

I began to spin and soon it filled the spool.

Here it is once plyed and hanging in skeins.

I brought it back to England with me and put it into balls, using my Swift and ball winder.

Now, what to make with it? Perhaps some mittens? or a pretty shawl.

Purple mittens waiting to be decorated.

I can’t decide yet but whatever I make, it will be more enjoyable for having spun it myself!

Fibre – Gorgeous Autumn colours to spin with.

I bought this beautiful Autumnal fibre last week at a local wool shop. Isn’t it just gorgeous? It’s Targhee fibre and feels quite fibrous to spin with especially compared with the Merino fibre I’ve been spinning recently. ¬†It is not difficult to spin with though, it just feels different.

I think it’s going to make a lovely yarn for this time of the year.

Here’s a closer look. So many colours combining to remind us of fallen leaves and shedding trees.

That’s not all I’ve got to remind me the season is changing. Check out this wonderful pumpkin that leaped into my shopping cart last Wednesday.

Have a great week everybody.


Getting in a spin!

I’ve been spinning up a storm this week and now have enough of this cream-coloured merino wool yarn to make a garment.

I always admire the yarns I see on but quite often there is only enough available to make a scarf or a shawl or a pair of socks. These days I prefer to make something a bit more substantial, which takes at least 500 gms of yarn. I haven’t decided what to make yet, but it will inevitably be something for the winter months because this yarn is so lovely and warm.

Already there is just a touch of Autumn in the air and when I get that feeling I start looking out my knitting needles and sewing kit and planning what I’m going to do during the darker evenings.

I have all my knitting needles in this handy hold-all, which can be used for coloured pencils too. I love having them in here because I can find just the ones I want without difficulty.

Maybe I’ll even do a little quilting…

and a little wishing and cauldron lighting when the fancy takes me…

Have a great week everyone.

Miss Babs Hand-dyed Yarns & Fibers

In a previous post, I told you about thespinning wheel I got for Christmas. I don’t know how to like back to my previous posts so if anyone can advise me, please do? ¬†I also got two lessons. The first thing I made was a cushion cover. A picture of that is at the end of this post. Then I bought some roving and made some skeins. I’ll write more about making skeins later.

When I had a lot of skeins, I started knitting. ¬†Before you can start knitting, you have to check your tension, otherwise the garment comes out too big or too small. Since the skeins were made with wool I’d spun myself, I needed to see what my tension was so using size 4.00mm needles, I knitted up a sample square of 50 stitches to 50 rows and then counted the number of stitches and rows to one inch. That way I could make sure that the pattern would come out right. I found that the yarn I spun myself was very slightly thicker than the English double knit wool yarn I am used to knitting with so I changed to a smaller needle and then it came out just right. ¬†In America the usual thickness for yarn seems to be what they call Worsted. We don’t have that expression over here (that I know of) and it is slightly thicker to knit with than our D.K. yarn, so popular in England.

Back at Christmas time I bought some brown Worsted and made a garment with that. It felt thicker than I am used to.  So knitting with my own spun yarn is akin to the Worsted over there.  However, I would like to get it a bit thinner so I am working on that. With my spinning I am trying to make a thinner, finer yarn and I think that will come with practice.

So here we go…¬†This is the start of a sleeve for my cardigan.

This is the back of the cardigan. ¬†I think the colours are just gorgeous, don’t you?

This is the front. It’s not quite complete. I have to find some buttons in the right colour and then give it a gentle press.

The wool yarn is so soft to knit with and will be so warm to wear. Here in England we wear woollies all winter and our winter starts at the end of October and sometimes goes on till the end of March.

Because I am a bit wacky and I like things which are a bit different and individual, I spun in some of the roving from a cushion cover I made previously. Only a little mind, just enough to notice.

The roving for the cardigan was purchased from MissBabs hand-dyed yarns and fibers of Mountain City, Tennessee. It is composed of Blue Face Leicester (BFL) and Tussah Silk top. It spins and knits beautifully. It is 80% white BFL/20% Tussah Top.

It comes in 4 oz lots and for the cardigan I used 2.5 lbs plus a little of the plain green at the top of the sleeves.

Miss Babs has her own website at and a blog too. Click to visit her blog here.

A New Spinning Wheel

This is my spinning wheel, which my husband bought for me for Christmas (wasn’t I lucky!). It’s something I’ve always wanted since I love knitting and sheep and all things wool, especially woolly blankets around me during the cold of the winter! It’s an Ashford Traveller and it is just perfect for me. It has two treadles, which must be good for exercising my legs and keeping the blood flowing nicely and a rack (lazy Kate) for the spools of yarn once thread. There is room on the rack for three spools, plus there is one at the top which I am filling up.

When I get two spools of yarn finished, I can ply them together and make something with which I can knit.

I had two lessons in hand spinning from an expert (take a bow Kelhora if you’re reading this ever) and lots of practice between lessons and got the hang of it. I won’t say it was easy to learn – it wasn’t but I was determined to do it so I persevered.

I bought some gorgeous roving in the local yarn shop and put it in a bag to use when I got proficient enough!

What do you think of the colour? ¬†Isn’t it just so gorgeous. ¬†I really hoped I had bought enough because I had no clue how much I needed to make a cardigan for myself. ¬†I know that I usually buy 10 balls of 100g yarn and that’s enough so I had to do some simple arithmetic to work out the need.

Next time I’ll tell you what I did with it! be sure and call back to see. I’m so looking forward to showing you my very first effort at knitting up my own yarn.