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April Handmaiden Spinning Fibre Club

Hello friends,

Up until a few months ago, I got into a spinning rut. I didn't really have anything fun to spin, and so my yarn spinning fell by the wayside. After hearing about Handmaiden NZ's monthly fibre club, I decided to sign up for a couple of months, to see if it would help me get back into spinning. Every month Handmaiden, Amy Hughes, dyes a 100 gram braid of yarn in a new colour, and with a new fibre blend to try.

Eager to get back into spinning, I signed up for the fibre club and waited impatiently for it to arrive.

When April's fibre club showed up, and it was a soft and fluffy 100% merino braid, in pretty shades of white, green, blue, and purple, and it came with a small candle from the Bluebird Candle Company, in the scent Beautiful. The candle scent was very floral and pretty, and not too overpowering. Very excited about getting into spinning, I got to work. I unraveled the braid and split it lengthwise down the middle so I could make a two ply. In an experimental mood, I chose to spin each half braid from different ends. This would make the colours overlap in the middle.

I decided to spin the braid on my trusty Majacraft Suzie Pro, with the spinning wheel set up on the middle whorls, and aimed to spin at my default width, which would end up with approximately DK yarn once plied. It didn't take very long at all to spin up both singles and then ply them.

Once plied and rested, I set the yarn by washing it with wool wash. Unfortunately the wool wash we have at the moment has been making dye run, so the wash and rinse water was in shades of blue.


With the yarn fulled and washed, it was left to dry. I ended up with a total of 175 m of DK knit weight yarn at the end of spinning and processing. I don't know what I will do with it, but for now I'm just happy to squish it and enjoy the pretty colours. Have you been spinning anything pretty recently?

Have a wonderful day

Julie-Ann

Want to discuss my post? Feel free to chat with me on Instagram or Mastodon or Bluesky.

A Road Trip, A Fibre Festival, and A Raffle

Hello friends,

It's been a couple of weeks since my last blog post, but I've been busy, with a friend coming down from Wellington to visit us for a week. We got up to a lot of crafty things while she was here, and we spent many relaxing afternoons sitting on the couch watching disaster movies and knitting and spinning.

One of the highlights of the week was a road trip from Dunedin to Gore for the 45˚Fibre Festival in Gore on Saturday the 4th of May. We got up early on Saturday morning and headed off on our road trip down south.

It was cool but dry morning, and two hours later we made it to Gore, and excitedly found our way to the Gore Town and Country Club for the Fiber Festival.
Outside the venue we were greeted with some great fiber based art installations.

Once inside the fibre festival we were overwhelmed with a large number of yarn and fibre traders waiting for our patronage. There were local farmers selling raw and processed fleeces, indie dyers and yarn traders from all over the country, and other traders selling all sorts of yarn and fibre accessories.

After wandering around and getting an idea of what was for sale, it was time to shop. I had saved up a lot of crafty pocket money for this event, and it was time to fulfill my wish list.

First up was purchasing some more Unicorn Power Scour from Unicorn Fibre Cleaners NZ. I'm currently in the middle of processing two raw fleece projects (blog posts to come), and I've found that Unicorn Power Scour is the most gentle, easy, and efficient fleece cleaner I've ever used. I'll never process fleeces any other way now.

Next on my shopping list, was a skein of 4 ply yarn for making a pair of socks. After wandering around for a while, I found the perfect colour at Dye Studio 54, who had 100 grams of Sparkle Sock in the colourway Belladonna. It was a perfect combination of purple and sparkles, and I can't wait to knit it up so I can have sparkly warm feet for winter.

As a spinner I always like to pick up some dyed fibre to spin, and I found two preparations at the Handmade Fibre Crafts stall. I picked up 100 grams of dyed merino combed top with silk and viscose in shades of orange, white and pinks. I also grabbed 50 grams of dyed Corriedale combed top with mulberry silk in shades of orange. I figured the two preparations would work well together in a future project (unknown project at this time).

Next up it was time to check out two of my favorite fibre processors. I also love to dye my own fibre, so I headed first to Tally-Ho who prepare the most amazing combed white Merino. It's always so fine and white and clean, which makes it the perfect fibre to dye with. I grabbed a total of 500 grams of fibre, and was very happy with my purchase.

And lastly I stopped in at Fine Fibre Farms, where they were selling 500 gram bags of white Polwarth Combed Top, which I could not resist. Polwarth is my favorite fibre and yarn of all time to work with, and it is relatively hard to get as undyed fibre in New Zealand. I am very much looking forward to dyeing and spinning this polwarth fibre.

And with that done, I had spent all my crafty pocket money, so I visited the sheep and alpaca animals on display outside the venue, and even got to pat them.

After all that, we were quite hungry, so we enjoyed some Thai chicken noodle soup and wontons for lunch from one of the food vendors, and it was so perfect and spicy and warm to eat outside on a cool autumn day.

After lunch it was back into the venue, and we wandered around the traders some more. At this point we visited Purple Sprouting, where they had a wonderful selection of sock yarn. I fell in love with another sock yarn colourway, but had no money left to buy it. My wonderful friend then stepped in, and bought me a skein of 4 ply Bluefaced Leicester sock yarn in the colourway Meadow Mornings (Almost) as a thank you for me hosting her for the week. I was so excited about this, and the yarn is already on my knitting needles to knit a pair of socks.

And just when I thought it was all over, we happened to walk past Spinning Wood Designs, who handcraft spinning drop spindles and fibre tools in South Canterbury. And it was there I found the wrist distaff I've been searching for in New Zealand for the past two years. And before you could blink an eyelid, I'd picked out a distaff and handed over my credit card, overjoyed that I'd finally found one. I knew hubby wouldn't mind that I overspent my crafty budget for this, as I have been talking about getting a wrist distaff for a long time.

And with that done it was nearly time to go home. All that remained was staying for the raffle drawing, as I had used the $1 I had left in my purse to buy one raffle ticket for the spinning prize. And after telling my friend that I never, ever won raffle prizes, I won!

I was so happy and excited and grateful to win the raffle, as it was filled with lots of goodies I knew I would love to use. Once we got home, I unpacked the raffle prize, and shared my spoils with hubby and my friend.

I gave hubby the giant Toblerone chocolate bar gifted from Unicorn Fibre Cleaners, and I gave my friend the Purple Sprouting sock yarn pack, and kept all the spinning goodies for myself (my friend isn't a spinner). My prizes included a 1 kg bump of naturally dyed romney from Tally Ho Carding, a 1 kg Carousel Collection of Merino also from Tally Ho Carding, a packet of Ashford Angelina silver sparkles to add to fibre projects, and an Ashford Turkish drop spindle.

I was especially excited about the Turkish drop spindle prize, as it had been on my wish list of fibre tools for a long time. I can't wait to learn how to use it, and thanks to all the fibre I bought and that I won in the raffle, I will have plenty of fibre to practice on.

And with the wonderful fibre festival day at an end, my friend and I headed back home to recover, and play with all our new yarn and fibre goodies...

Have a wonderful day

Julie-Ann

Want to discuss my post? Feel free to chat with me on Instagram or Mastodon or Bluesky.

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