Some of the most lovely posts written in the Hilltop Cloud Ravelry group are by the people just starting down the slippery path of spinning. Usually they're rather uncertain of their finished skeins, and a bit worried that they're not very good.
Of course their skeins are often far better than they think, and usually it's just a case of practise makes perfect. As I say on the insructions I include in the Learn to Spin kits... the sheep keep growing more wool.
Now no one could accuse me of not practising; in fact the amount of yarn I spin in an average month is usually pretty high, given I only spin in the evenings after I finished working, and I also knit and weave in that time as well.
However, sometimes, it just all goes a bit wrong, in fact it went wrong 2 skeins in a row.... oh dear!
This one is a skein of Cable Plyed yarn. You create a regular 2ply yarn with twice the amount of plying twist, then ply it back on itself. The fibre was some lovely BFL/Silk from Freyalynn, I bought it from her at Fibre East last year, but didn't really have any plans for it, so reached for it when I knew I wanted to try out something new. In part I hoped to jumble up the colours a little as it was all a bit stripey for my personal taste.
Well in places it all went swimingly.
Those lovely little bumps are exactly what you're meant to end up with, you get a very round yarn, but it doesn't have much stretch and give due to the way the fibres interlock.
In other places though... oh dear, it's kinky and over twisted and just a mess. I think from dissecting it that in some places I rushed the extra plying this yarn needs at the 2-ply stage. The temptation is to only ply a bit more than you would do normally, so when you ply it again in the opposite direction there's far too much twist, as you're plying in the same direction you spun the original singles.
However, all is not lost, this skein has gone in to the big bowl of odd skeins, and I'll probably weave with it at some point, and most importantly I know where I went wrong!
Then following close on the heels of that overtwisted mess, I then proceeded to do the exact same thing with the next yarn I spun. In my defence going from spinning uper fine high twist singles for the longest thread, and jumping staright to Aran weight lofty singles was probably a bit much for 8pm on a work night...
However in this case I knew how to fix it. I've read in a few places about fulling yarn like this really aggresively, and then you run the yarn back though the wheel in the opposite direct and take out nearly all the twist. Definitely not my original idea, but I can't for the life of me remember who I should credit with it.
End result, a lovely yarn. that should actually wear pretty well despite being a single due to the rough treatment it's already had locking down the individual hairs.
Whilst I am becoming a little frayed around the edges by preparing for it, can I also say how much I'm looking forward to Unravel!
It's the start of the show season, and I do love going to shows, I get to meet people who have been buying online, and see what they've been making, and talk to them in person about all the exciting things I've been coming up with.
New this year is the Friday preview, last year the show got really crowded on the Saturday, so this sounds like a great opportunity to browse in a slightly more leisurely fashion, and it includes a free drink, and an entry to the raffle they're running featuring prizes from the stall holders.
Of course if you can't make Friday, or want more than 3 hours shopping the show will still be running on it's usual Saturday and Sunday.
This year I'm in the Barley Room (head upstairs and it's the main room you come to), and with a bigger stall than last year so there will be lots of things to ooh and ahh over.
I also have 2 complementary tickets to give out, they're valid for either the Saturday, or Sunday, or for the full weekend (but not the Friday preview). If you would like one of these tickets please leave a comment here, making sure you don't do it anonymously so I can get in touch with you. Entries close at midnight (GMT) on 25th January, and I'll contact the winners for them to claim their ticket.
They also run a fantastic competition, last year the entries were really beautiful, the theme this year is Colour Work, maybe you've got something made from the Birds or Queens Collections that you could enter?
First of all, I am a throughly bad blogger, but in my defence the last couple of weeks have been pretty much non-stop. Holiday are great, but catching up on them almost destroys the good effect of the holiday! Add in a smidgen of club dyeing, and the start of preperations for Unravel and suddenly the evenings are spent propping open your eye lids with match sticks.
So with excuses made, I hope you'll forgive me when I show you this.
Yes that is indeed an egg, laid by Cav herself!
Of course she won't go in the main chicken house, so at the moment the eggs tend to get laid in random places. I'm hoping that wil change soon, because the chickens are getting an upgrade in their living accomodation.
8 chickens is a bit of a squash in their curent house, they'll think the new one will be palatial if they ever get to move in.
Cav has already inspected and approved the perches, but as of yet there is no chicken sized entrance and exit, and no nest boxes. We await an afternoon of dry weather so we can run an electric cable up there to use the power tools... and of course, this being Wales in one of the wettest winters on record they might be waiting a while.
When we get some dry weather there will also be a coat of paint applied, the orange stain they put on sheds is hideous in my mind, and I can see it from my window so it definitely isn't staying this colour!
If Cav could choose what to be I suspect she'd be a parrot... Mum is currently campaigning for her to become a house chicken. I suspect she'd be less passionate about this if it were her house she'd be living in. Cav however is perfectly happy to be picked up, will perch on my hand or arm, and as you can see on my shoulder, even while you're walking round. She particularly likes being hand fed, as that means she gets to eat as much as she likes without being bullied by the other chickens. Cav is bottom of the pecking order because she's different, and of course you can't tell the chickens not to be mean, their brains don't work like that. You'll see why I'm talking about this in this way if you carry on reading...
This year the Winter Olympics are being held in Sochi, Russia. As usual alongside the Olympics there will be the Ravellenics (formerly known as the Ravelympics), while the games are being held there's a giant celebration of all things yarn over on Ravelry. There are some who feel that Russia shouldn't have been given the Olympics due to it's human rights policies, and more reccently a law that was created regarding gay rights. However, like the Beijing Olympics in 2008, it's going ahead, and at this point there is nothing that is going to change that. I made the decision to sign up for a Hilltop Cloud team at the Ravellenics games on that basis. However, shortly after I signed up this post appeared, which made me regret my decision. I nearly sent the organisers a message requesting the team was removed, but then I did a bit more digging, and came across this post, whihc made me feel slightly better. Go read it, the person who wrote it is far more elquent than I could ever be.
So for now, there is still a Team Hilltop Cloud to craft alongside the Olympics. I'll be spinning a rainbow, if you'd like to join me, either crafting rainbows, or not, that's completely your right to choose, I'd love to have you. The Hilltop Cloud thread is here. After all, we are not chickens.