Week of the black shetland

Posted by caroline in Family, Knitting, lace, Spinning on July 4th, 2012

I was expecting to have a nicely hemmed tiny teatowel today but that isn’t happening. When I anticipated that I would get it finished in a week I hadn’t allowed for two Olympic torch processions or foreseen two days lost to a streaming cold. The cold was particularly trying, it was impossible to get under the loom to tie up the treadles because whenever I looked down I thought my face would fall off. I was fit enough to face the world on Friday and to go and stand in the rain to see the torch pass by. Having negotiated for junior to have the day off school he was going even if I had to lay down under a hedge when I got there. It rained, then the sun came out just in time to dry everything off before the torchbearer appeared. I did not have to lay under the hedge but I was in bed before 9pm.

I couldn’t set the loom up to weave due to the likelihood of my face dropping off into the treadles so there was more time for knitting. This is a shop sample, it shows what you could make with the three colour Shetland blend that I’ve been carding. I started with just over 600 yards of yarn which is my default spinning for three ply sock yarn made into a two ply. There was enough left for another few rows but the edging was so mind numbingly boring that I couldn’t bring myself to knit another row. I told myself that the leftovers would come in for something and cast off. It started and ended as a Zetor but I changed to leaves in the middle. It came out just as I thought it would, the colours merge one into another without a hard line and I’m pleased with the result. I know, it’s not often I say that but just for once I got exactly what I wanted. Maybe the transition between the white and grey could have been softer but that would be nit picking of the highest order.

This is Shetland too aklthough I can’t say that it was what I wanted because what I set out to spin was a laceweight silk. I sat down with a bag of silk brick that I’d bought some time ago but it was hard to draft, I had to wrench it apart. That makes for an uneven yarn and a pain in my thumb, both of which were good reasons to pack it away. The reason I bought it rather than dyeing it for myself is that the last one I dyed had spots that were hard and wouldn’t easily pull apart. I thought I’d buy one from another dyer and see how far I was off the mark in terms of the condition of the silk. It appears that my dyeing is no worse than other people’s, there was nothing to chose between them in terms of hard spots. This gave me over 200g of lovely unspinneable silk, I could make silk paper with it but I don’t have that much need for it (although the end of term is coming..new school, new teachers who don’t have silk paper pen holders already)

I found some black Shetland which was genuine black rather than the usual dark brown and carded that with the naughty silk. I spun it worsted with no attempt to take out the silk chunks, this is going to be a weft yarn and the lumps will add interest to plain weave. I now have just over 210 yards of interesting yarn and 30g less silk. More importantly the rest of the silk just escaped from the “useless” category. I have enough of the Shetland to make another skein the same and by then I’ll have woven it to see if it looks like I imagine. If it turns out to be a thing of beauty then I can buy black merino and make as much as I like.

Next time I’ll have hemmed the teatowel and have had time to decide why it is that it’s failed to meet expectations.

2 Responses to “Week of the black shetland”

  1. Carolyn says:

    The shawl is stunning!

    How exciting to have seen the Olympic torch – the Tour de France is coming through here in a couple of weeks and I’m hoping to see them all whizz past ;o

    Hope your cold is getting better.

  2. Laurie says:

    That shawl is gorgeous! And I cannot believe how fast it came off the needles. I expected to see something six months from now. (hangs head in shame)

    Exciting Olympics! Great thing for the boyo to have seen!

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