The Great Cataloguing Adventure 2015 – spinning edition


Fibre-East happens once a year. It is my favouritest yarn related event EVER! It’s only been going 5 years but I have been every year and been delighted to see it’s growth. What started out as a couple of large marquee’s in a field is now being held in a community college and 3 larger marquee’s. It’s fantastic. I think that the best part is the community – knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, and dyers all love to chat and we love to share our experiences and our knowledge. It’s also nice to watch the colour trends and how each dyer interprets those onto yarn and roving.

Being a regular attenders means that some sellers are starting to recognise me. Of course, being that I am very chatty certainly doesn’t hurt.

I was on a budget this year but I still brought home an excellent haul.

FibreEast 2015

Starting in the top left and going clockwise, the fibres are from – Sara’s Texture Crafts, Willo Fibres, Taylor Made Yarns, Yarns From The Plains, and Little Owl Crafts. I have bought from Sara’s, Willo and Little Owl¬†at Fibre-East previously.

These additions led to something of an organisational crisis because I obsess over this sort of thing.

Some of you will be familiar with the brilliance that is Ravelry. For those that aren’t, it is a site dedicated to fibre crafts, specifically knitting and crocheting. It has discussion forums, groups, pattern database of printed and online patterns and ways to organise your equipment. I catalogue my yarn, needles, books, patterns and even my unspun fibres and handspun yarns. I am not particularly fussy with most of these – I have a lot of stuff to catalogue – but I was nearly finished with my current spinning project and couldn’t decide what to spin next.

After looking at my handspun and fibre stash pages on Ravelry, I realised there were places where I had entries for handspun yarn but not for the fibre I made it from and there were fibres I knew I had bought that were in neither place. There was even one that I started spinning and have no entry for and can’t find anywhere and it’s driving me mad trying to remember when I last saw it and where I might have put it.

Anyway, I started with making sure that exisiting fibre and handspun yarns had corresponding and linked entries. From there I dug out the bag of my handspun yarns and made sure they were entered as completed handspun yarns and had fibre entries too. Then I started on the bag of unspun fibre.

It’s a big bag. And I was kinda drowned by its contents…

20150730_130009This was the best photo I could get – under all of that are my legs and most of my torso. My son laughed at how little of me was visible. I carefully made sure each braid of yarn-in-potentia was in a closed ziplock bag then dumped all of it on the floor!


The blue bag is mostly filled with handspun but you can see why I wanted to get the e-spinner working properly.

41 new entries came from this bag and while most of them are single 100g braids of spinnable fibre, some are more. In my defense, I started spinning in 2009 and sometimes knitting and crocheting distract me from spinning. Sometimes spinning distracts me from knitting or crocheting.

I can work through 100g within a week so this is about a years worth if I actually get through a 100g each week. Not sure if I want to make this a goal. I do a lot of crafts because I have to go where the muse takes me and making something into a goal is a good way for my contrariness to rear its head and decide that I don’t want to do that thing any more for a while. Any thoughts?

I’m still collecting donations for Macmillan Cancer Support as part of their Brave The Shave event. I am planning to shave my head on the 8th. You can still donate after that but donations before it will be extra fabulous. Please give if you can.

Day 83


Why, oh why, is the allure of a new project so much stronger than the satisfaction of finishing an existing project? And why is that allure strongest when you are within a handful of rows from finishing something?!

I’m going to blame Ravelry. I have always had many proverbial irons in the fire but they were each from a different craft style. Now, because of the database of patterns and member projects on Ravelry, I have more projects than I care to admit to but I can assure that each will get finished by me…. at some point.

The problem, specifically, is this shawl :

Suvi’s Sunburst Shawl

I adore Art Deco and this is based on an Art Deco stained glass window in a municipal building in New York.

Also, I have appropriate yarn so I can’t even talk myself out of starting the project because I can’t afford the necessary yarn….

I haven’t done any crochet in many moons which was yet another temptation. You can see why I had difficulty not starting this project. I held off for 2 weeks though so I have some self-restraint. Yeah, I know. Pathetic. It’s going to be gorgeous though. See :


The yarn is the same brand and range as many of the yarns in my meditation blanket but not today’s one. I love this shade of green.

day 83

I have forgotten neither mum’s tablecloth nor J’s sweater. Mum’s tablecloth requires limited attention, J’s sweater requires none except to change colour every 4 rounds. Crochet always needs more attention. Knitting has all of your stitches in action and you can feel your way through the workings. Crochet only has one stitch in play at any one time. You need to look to see where the hook goes next and this pattern especially has a lot of counting. Small numbers but small numbers repeated 20+ times. So yeah, crochet isn’t something I can generally do if there are others around or if my attention is especially slippery. This is why knitters/crocheters frequently have so many projects on the go at the same time – each one requires something different from the knitter. There’s tv knitting and, travelling knitting, gift and, lace knitting. Then there’s the ‘it’s a new technique and I am determined to master it’ project that you want to take your scissors to over and over again but every time you stop to look at what you’ve already done you feel a inexplicable pride in your own cleverness. It’s awesome ūüôā

More BritPop today. I don’t know their origin but I kinda love these girls. Stooshe has been in my head today. I love the pseudo-’60’s feel of the music. Not all of it is like this but they’re a bit unique and I like their style.


Day 74


I had planned to show you some video of one of my yarn spinning devices but it’s not ready yet so tomorrow. I haven’t been doing much yarn spinning lately – too many knitted things to make, as much as no overwhelming desire – but the spinners of Ravelry are invited to participate in ‘Tour de Fleece’ each year which happens at the same time as the Tour de France. Basically, any day that there is cycling for the Tour de France, yarn is being spun by the Tour de Fleece spinners. I’ve used it to work through large quantities of my fibre stash in past years because I put aside my knitting or crocheting during this time.

This year is a little more complicated because I’m not satisfied with either of the wheels I have and we haven’t rebuilt my electric spinner yet. But last August, using a variety of sources, I devised and built several yarn spinners from various materials. I used pvc pipe (surprisingly awesome for this sort of thing), dowelling and a pram wheel, even Meccano. I made a wheel you would recognise, a kick spindle, a couple of charka style devices as well as a couple of electric devices. All of them work though a couple still need tweaking – or more glue.

So here’s a few of them –

handspindle - chopstickThis is the one that started it all. I needed a light weight spindle to spin some 10g fibre samples so I repurposed a chopstick and a small rubber plug. The plug had a piece in the middle to attach the chain to which was removable and the perfect size for the chopstick. I had the cup hook in a picture hanging kit.Cheap and simple and still in use today.

pvc wheelThis wheel is still being perfected. It needs a lighter weight, slightly longer treadle and some sand as ballast in the base to make it truly usable. It is based on the Babe PVC wheels though I’ve used a thinner pipe than they have. I may yet make another with wider pipe to see what difference it makes to the final product.



My pride and joy. This electric spinner (e-spinner) was made with motor parts from Maplin (electronics store here in the UK), a bamboo chopping board as the base, and a bamboo utensil holder as the motor housing,and the flyer unit (the bit that actually spins the yarn) from my Ashford spinning wheel. The flyer unit is not complicated in its purpose but balanced construction is important and we don’t have the equipment for that so I repurposed what I already owned.

e-spindle - meccanoThis is the device I am using at the moment.¬†I made an electric spindle with Meccano!!! It’s uncomplicated and hardworking and in that it reminds me of my grandfather so I’ve named it ‘Les’. It’s not the quietest of machines but it’s certainly not deafening. I am trying to devise some sort of housing for it but that will need a redesign so that I can still turn the motor off and on.

The motor is powered by 2 AA batteries, an elastic band acts as a drive band and a double pointed knitting needle (4mm) acts as spindle. I’ve since put a circle of cardboard at the motor end of the spindle to stop any yarn getting into the works. One of the best things about this device is that the motor works in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. I don’t have to do *anything* to the machine except to flip the switch in the opposite direction. For the large e-spinner, I have to twist the drive band to change the spinning direction. This is useful/important when you are both spinning single strands of yarn and then plying 2 or more of them together as spinning and plying twist in opposite directions.

I din’t have to buy anything special to make this though we do have a large Meccano collection anyway. Everyone, no matter what age you are, should have both Lego and Meccano to play with in their home.

There are several more in my collection and I’ll continue the list tomorrow.

day 75



A small, green square joins the previous 73 days worth of knitted patchwork.




And I’m going to apologise right now for today’s music choice but it’s been playing on a loop in my head as I wrote this post so I’m sharing the pain….


Day 44


On YouTube, I found the version of Caccini’s ‘Ave Maria’ that I listen to on the Swoon III CD. A beautiful, gentle, piece of music that swells and flows smoothly from beginning to end. It seemed an appropriate piece for a Sunday evening.

Sweater update The knitting for the button band, placket and collar are complete and work has begun on the right sleeve after yet another fussy edit to  the colour plan. Entirely my own doing.

I should be able to start the sewing in on Wednesday with a view to being finished (finally) by next weekend. Want it to be done so I can cast on the next sweater which will have a colour pattern/progression like this:

spring lines - test 2

So much pretty and it looks much better with the yellow stripes instead of the black we had originally been discussing. Yes, this is another sweater for my friend J.

The pattern is called ‘Spring Lines‘ ¬†(click the name to go to the page). It’s by a different designer to ‘Driftwood’ but has a similar construction – start at the neck and use increases to create the shoulders as well as the body before putting the sleeve stitches on a holder to finish the body. The sleeve stitches are put back on the needles then and knit. this is a seamless construction. There’s sewing in of ends but no sewing up of pieces. This is one of the advantages of knitting over sewing and is something that is finally becoming more common in knitwear design. Why do we have to knit the parts of a garment into the shape of pieces ¬†from a sewing pattern when it can be done with various stitches and stitch holders. It certainly makes it more easy to finish a garment. I *hate* sewing up! Nothing ever matches up neatly and I just can’t be bothered. And I know I’m not the only knitter out there who feels this way.

I began designing dolls in crochet because there is no reason to be sewing limbs onto body’s when they can be worked seamlessly together. (You can find my patterns here

day 44


Today’s piece is a trapezoid. We’re less than 10 days from finishing the first plan I posted. Anyone keeping up?


Day 16


Today I have worked almost exclusively on my Travelling Companion shawl. I have less than 30 rows to go until I’ve finished it! Mind you there’s more than 300 stitches in each of those rows… Regardless, I am determined not to start or return to a project I have not worked on this month until I finish a project that I have been working on this month. Cause, let’s be honest, if you’ve seen my project page on Ravelry you’ll know that I could really do with¬†paring down my collection of UnFinished Objects (aka UFO’s). So last time we saw this rainbow coloured shawl I had just started the second section of black lace knitting. I finished that today and have knitted the first row of plain coloured lace and it’s going to be gorgeous! I really love the plum colour with the black. The yarn is called ‘Coton Fifty’ by Bergere de France. It’s half and half cotton and acrylic and is so much softer to work with than I expected this 4ply yarn to be.

traveling companion 4

Despite my wandering attention, I have really been enjoying this project. I haven’t been exacting in following the the pattern – there should have been less in the rainbow section and more in the second black lace section but I prefer it this way. I’ve also added a few rows so it will be larger than the original. I knitted about 20 rows today already and will knit a few more tonight so it ought to be finished tomorrow.¬†I’m looking forward to wearing it this week.

My meditation blanket is a year long project that I had intended would be 365 of the small squares I started with. Obviously it hasn’t turned out that way. I have no regrets but now I need to do some planing for the layout. It’s subject to change of course but here’s what I’m intending for the first 52 pieces.

blanketplanYou can see in the photo that day 16 is another rectangle, attached to the remaining edge of Day 14’s trapezoid. Pick up 15sts along that side, then cast on 48sts to make 63sts on your needles, then follow the¬†pattern from Day 6. I used a Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Shadow Color yarn today in purple. I have already used petrol blue and red.