As I promised I will tell you about my spinning exploits. Mum had borrowed an Ashford Traditional from her local guild and so I thought it would be rude not to visit her with my fleece and get her to show me how to spin it up. And so she did.
I was really surprised how much difference using different fleeces made. I tried with one of her e-bay fleeces (Cheviot possibly) which was in her words s***ty and it truly was a pain to spin with as it didn't seem to want to flow or spin with ease at all. So we switched to another fleece and the difference was noticeable straight away - more lanolin on the wool (Mum did say she may have washed the other fleece too much) and easier to draw out (using technical terms - I think!).
My fleece is a shetland merino cross and is a lovely deep chocolate colour and is full of lanolin and lovely to spin with. I was going to photograph my attempts but I'm sorry - after Mum-in-law said "What's that? Is it meant to be like that?" I'm too shy to show it to the wider world. It is rather rough and slubby but don't let all these spinners fool you - it isn't that easy to get a perfect yarn especially if you've only got a duff drum carder to card your fleece with meaning that all the knots and grass etc is still in the fleece as you try to spin it into some from of hand made loveliness.
And in connection to this I've just had a call from the Ranger at Tam O'Shanters Farm offering me half a fleece!! Have a look at this! This is my fleece, or at least the type of sheep it comes from but none of the sheep at the farm have four horns - too young perhaps? There are pictures here of the yarn knitted up as well. Will wait to see what state the fleece is in, hopefully no beasties or too much muck, after all these are sophisticated urban sheep we're talking about here!!
On the knitting front I've not had a great week. I borrowed a friends Colinette pattern book and it has a pattern for a tie front cardigan in Giotto and it only takes 3 hanks, just the amount I had in the stash pile. So I eagerly cast on and flew through the knitting up - a day for each front and back. Then came the sleeves. And worryingly the pile of yarn left was looking dubiously small for 2 sleeves. Anyway I cast on and knitted up the 1st sleeve realising that there was not going to be enough yarn for the last sleeve let alone sewing the thing up.
It was a lovely colour knitted up - such a lovely autumnal curry colour. Double checking my tension found that mine was out by an extra stitch and extra row. But still it must have been a close call to be able to use only 3 hanks - unless the yardage is not quite the same in the sale room yarns. So now do I:
a) try again on the same size needles;
b) try again on larger needles;
c) knit something else (even though I now really fancy a cardi in this colourway) or
d) try to get another hank that matches?
Answers on a postcard to.....