Wednesday 28 November 2012

A Shopping Spree and New Skill

I have been away from home for a few days.  I've been lucky enough to be up in York visiting my family.  Well, that was a side benefit of the real reason I was there.  I was there to go to the Knitting & Stitching Show with my sister-in-law and her Mum.  Both of them are into stitching in a big way and have been my main influence in learning to stitch.  I've got to know my sister-in-law's Mum really well over the last few years through attending these types of shows, in fact she helped me choose my sewing machine, two years ago.  My sister-in-law, very kindly came to pick me up from and she drove from York to Leicester and then Leicester to York in the same day, with a 5 month old baby in the back!  She is a remarkable woman, my sister-in-law, I don't think I would want to do that.  As well as going to the show it was lovely to spend a few solid days with my family, as usually we have flying visits up North.

I had intended to blog about my shopping, at the show, a couple of days ago, but I caught a hideous cold when I was up North, probably at the Show!  I'm still feeling sorry for myself, but at least I can type semi-coherently.  To be honest it doesn't matter if I type drivel, you only want to see my goodies don't you ;-)

So here we are, first off I went to Twist Yarns, whom I have already bought from online.  They have a really interesting stock.  It was nice to see the gorgeous array of yarns there, and I indulged in some Skein Queen Oasis Grande, in Titanium.  It really is beautiful stuff.

Skein Queen 01

Recently I have been really drawn to neutral shades.  I think because I know they can be worn with any outfit.  I have several scarves and shawls that I hardly ever use because they don't go with anything in my wardrobe, except the black or cream stuff.  I know this yarn will be wearable with everything.  It is a 4-ply/fingering weight yarn in 50% camel/50% silk and it weighs 100g with a 400m put up.  This yarn is so soft and dreamy I can't wait to get it on my needles.  I have no idea what it is going to be, but it will definitely be worn around my neck.

My only other yarn purchase was from knitting4fun, another online store, but this time it is one I've not used before.  I was sucked into the stand because of the lovely bright felting yarn they had, but the yarn I took away was a different beast altogether.

Baby Alpaca Chunky

This is their own yarn and it is Baby Alpaca Chunky and it is unbelievably soft!  I love dark grey when it is a natural colour.  I only got two skeins which have 100m in each skein, but I 'm sure at the very least I can get a cowl out of that!  Again this yarn is going around my neck or on my head.

Next I bought some fabric.  I couldn't resist this pack of fat quarters.  I think it's from Michael Miller, but not all of the fabric has a selvedge with the name on it.

Michael Miller Fabric

These are some of my favourite colours at the moment, grey, lime and aqua.  I HAD to buy the pack simply because it had all my favourites together.  Isn't it funny how you have very clear favourites for a period of time and then you move on all of a sudden.  A year or so ago I would have thought grey a very dull colour and not worthy of my attention.  Now, I love it.

The other stall I got a multiple set of fabric from was the Japanese Fabric stall (I'm not sure if that is what it is called, but it is a good a description as any).  There was a lovely little kit using some owl fabric.  I found a solitary fat quarter of the fabric and put it together with a nice contrasting shot fabric.  I will make my own bag from it.

Owl Fabric

I love the winking one the best!  From the same stall, I bought some navy fabric with bright turtles.  Again, I think this will be perfect for a project bag.

Turtle Fabric

I will have to pair it with another fabric, but I think it will be easy enough to find a nice contrasting solid.  I just couldn't resist those tiny turtles.

My last fabric was another one that I wanted to get, just because it will make a fabulous project bag.

Sheep Fabric

I know it's a bit twee but that naked sheep just really makes me giggle.

In a continuing sheep theme, I also scored a great button from The Button Lady, which as usual was many people deep.

Sheep Button

It's about an inch and a half across and I couldn't resist it.  I've been thinking it would be a lovely adornment to a hat band, maybe on this pattern.

My final purchase was actually bought using my Christmas money from my Mum.  She has done this before, given me money before I go to the show so I can get something I really want for Christmas.  This year I found a doozy of a present!  I found a brand new product, to me anyway.  It is called a Bogway Handspinner.

Bogway Spinner

This Dutch invention is a different method of producing yarn, one that I can actually do.  I was initially drawn to the stand by some lovely looking dyed fibre, that once again made me wish I could spin.  As I moved around the corner to see the stand properly I saw the stall holder spinning on what looked like a football rattle.  My eyes nearly popped out of my head, and when the stall holder saw my interest he came over to show me what he was doing.  He assured me that he had managed to get a lady on crutches using the device, so I should have no problem using it, given that I didn't have my arms tied up with helping me stand.  He was right, I could do it sitting down and I didn't have to lean forward, or sit really upright.  He assured me I could do it in practically any position, and I have to say he is right.  Of course I bought it, along with some of the yummy fibre that originally caught my eye.  If you are curious how it works, here is a video on YouTube of someone using it, though she is speaking Dutch.

German Romney Fibre

The fibre I bought is German Romney dyed with Wilton Food Dyes.  It has lovely long sticky fibres that are making the spinning a breeze.  My new toy is wildly addictive, especially for a cold addled fool like myself.  I wouldn't trust myself to knit anything other than stocking stitch at the moment, so this is a great replacement activity for knitting.  I've nearly finished off all this fibre.

First Single

The spinning got faster as I went along and also thicker as I got a nice even draft going.  I have no idea what it is going to ply up like because the first ply is all over the place and the second one is more consistent.  Hopefully by Friday I will have my first Bogway yarn to show you!

Now I need to ask for advice.  I want to carry on hand spinning, so if you are spinners, please can you  recommend the sort of fibre I should try next?  I probably don't want anything too esoteric because I want to be able to buy enough to become more consistent in what I do, and I can't afford lots of money for yarn that may not be that usable when finished.  Oh, and remember I haven't got any carding equipment, nor would I have the strength or energy to prepare fibre even if I had the equipment, so I can't save money that way.

It is lovely to finally find a way to spin my own yarn.  I enjoyed using a drop spindle, but it was simply too uncomfortable for me to use.  The Bogway is just perfect for me.  Strangely enough, after getting home on Saturday, one of the magazines I subscribe to was waiting for me, with a picture and description of the Bogway in it!

I'm actually quite impressed with this little haul, because I stuck within my budget and didn't go overboard on all the lovely things at the show.  I could easily have spent an awful lot of money there, but I didn't.

So I hope you will excuse me whilst I go and ply my yarn, and if you want to look at some actual knitting, I recommend clicking on the button and taking a look there!

WIP Wednesday Button


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