When I first saw Stephen West’s patterns in Ravelry, I was in love. I loved the colors used in his works and the photos were awesome. I came across this beautiful shawl, Dotted Rays, which looked really simple but had that little something to make it interesting.
Since I haven’t knit much else than socks and couple of sweaters, I wanted to do something simple with simple stitches. I haven’t been that good in following instructions on knitting. so I decided to take this one a challenge, to make it by following the pattern and not soloing it by myself without actually reading what is said…
And it became really beautiful! It is huge, but I love it, since I can already imagine how nice it is to wrap it around myself during winter.
I used Finnish yarn called Tukuwool Fingering in three different colors. They are dyed on grey base yarn, which gives nice tone to the colors.
A year ago, I had already tried spinning with my old Finnish Kiikkalainen spinning wheel. As I’ve already told you, that didn’t work out…
After that, I’ve been learning to spin with spindles and my Ashford Joy2 spinning wheel and gotta say, finally I got the result I actually wanted! Still far from perfect but already pretty, usable yarn coming out of my wheel.
Last year I also got into dyeing. On October, I dyed first time with Jacquard acid dyes and first attempt wasn’t as successful as I hoped. The green didn’t turn out green, but yellow, and I didn’t like to roving at all. It was hanging on my craft shelf waiting for something.
That something came this year: Stashdown 2017 Wheel Edition! I decided that it was time to use that roving in this project so it was the first one I spun with the wheel. And it actually turned out really nice! Colors blended nicely together and made a little fractal look when the colors didn’t match up while plying. But I’m really satisfied of the results.
Lately I’ve fell in love with spinning technique called POF-ing (POF stands for ply on fly), meaning that once you finish spinning the fiber, you get already plied yarn out of spindle.
Yes, I’ve been doing this with spindle, don’t know if it’s even possible to do with the spinning wheel, but I use my turkish spindles for this technique.
It feels quite slow, you don’t see that much progress, but actually I think it’s faster than first spinning the singles and then plying those. I learned to collect the single around the shaft of the spindle, and from the shaft as butterfly around my fingers, which makes it really easy to ply. Below, you can find links to videos that helped me, thanks to Spinning Sara for making those!
Both of these projects are still unfinished, but I’m not in a hurry with those so I just enjoy the ride!
So, behind the scenes, there’s been a lot of action! Last couple of months, many Finnish crocheters have been using their designing skills, myself included. We, meaning Sari Åström and I, have been preparing Finnish CAL called Kalevala CAL (with the help of all the designers), which will be published later this year.
The inspiration from Kalevala has given out many wonderful visual interpretations. Can’t wait to finally be able to publish all these to you all.
This CAL will be a blanket, consisting of 24 different pieces from different designers, plus joining and edging. It will be available in English too, so all of you can take part our journey to Finnish national epic!
We will be opening a Facebook group closer to publishing date, where you can find info and later patterns!
So prepare your hooks and stashes for Finnish crocheting adventure!
Since I bought my Ashford Joy 2 spinning wheel, I’ve already made several yarns with it. I just love the compact look of the wheel, the double pedals and the ease of spinning with well working modern wheel. It’s also lightweight, so it’s easy to grab along and take the spinning outside of the house.
I happened to find the Joy 2 cheaply via Ravelry spinning group, with many bobbins and the carrybag, so I didn’t have to pay a fortune to get it.
First yarn which I actually finished, was spun from Tale & Tendrils Elbereth, 100% merino wool. Merino felt quite different from the finn lamb, which was my “testfiber” in my first spinning attempts. In a way, it felt stickier and harder to draw, but once I got hang of it, it actually was really nice to spin.
The result was still lumpy, uneven yarn, with too tight spin, so if you try to knit or crochet with it, the result is really stiff. But anyway, you had to start somewhere, right?
I’ve bought most of the wool I’ve spun from Nunoco‘s Etsy store. When I first came across to their store, thanks to fellow spinners in Finnish group, I fell in love with the beautiful colors of the fibers.
So from first Nunoco fiber order, I was able to spin a bit better yarn already. I wanted to make gradient yarn, without knowing how to actually do that. So I just spun 2 singles with all the colors split in parts and then plied those together. Looks more like fractal spun, but I loved the yarn immediately, and it will be a cowl when I have time to knit from it!
Second one turned out even better, you could see that learning had payed off and the yarn was already thinner. I spun all colors after each other and tried new plying technique, Navajo-ply, to get the colors in their own segments.
I have many projects going on at the same time, so while I spin with my Joy, I also spin with spindles. I actually was able to finish a yarn for my boyfriends daughters socks, which was made of cotton candy colored finnwool I dyed myself!
Also, from this yarn, I’ve knit for the first time from yarn I spun myself, and boy I feel proud! It’s so soft to knit, I hope the little girl will love her socks when they are finished, since of course, I spun too little of the yarn, so I gotta spin some more before getting both of the socks done.
To celebrate our beautiful country, in my region, they are giving a knit sweater for each of the babies born in the regional hospital. I’m taking my part in this process and I’m knitting one sweater to donate to the hospital.
I love the idea, that all the babies have something to remember when they are adults, something from the year when they were born, which is in the same time really remarkable year for all of us Finnish people.
Sweater is really simple to make, so pretty much anyone can do it. Everyone who’s ever held a knitting needles, is able to do this one, at least with bit of guidance from someone more advanced knitter.
I will add photo of my version when I’m finished, I’m already done over 50% of it so it will be ready soon! I’m knitting it from Drops Baby Merino, which is so soft and cuddly yarn!
This sweater will be nice addition to the hats and gloves they are already giving, in the Satakunta regional hospital,to newborns to take home with, all made by enthusiastic knitters and crocheters in Satakunta region, who donate their makings to the hospital!
Earlier this year, they had a campaign in whole Finland, when there was numerous of “safety octopus” donated to the hospitals to give to the premies to “play” with, to avoid them pulling the cords and hoses they are attached to.
So small, simple things we crafters can do with our hands, can help and make people happy easily.
I’ve wanted to learn how to spin my own yarn as long as I can remember. I remember myself spinning my grandmoms spinning wheel, which was used only as decoration, and I loved seeing the wheel spin fast and the feel of the pedal under my foot. Nobody in my family knows how to spin, so there was nobody to teach, so it took years before I got the spark and started to learn the art of spinning. Thanks to modern technology and YouTube!
I bought my first wheel a year ago. Over 100 year old fella, Finnish “Kiikkalainen”. He is really charming but has his own squeaks and tricks… He was in fine condition when I got him, you could see that he’s been kept in warm and neat place, only a bit dust on but otherwise nothing wrong.
So, with much determination, I started to learn how to use the spinning wheel. Well… the start wasn’t easy. You couldn’t even pedal this spinning wheel slow enough to be able to feed the wool fast enough. Tried to spin every now and then, and then again longer pause after getting really frustrated…
But since I was really determined, I was following a Finnish spinning group in Ravelry and decided to order a spindle so I could learn with slower pace how to feed the wool. Found pretty looking top weighed spindle from Etsy. And day after that, I found a modern spinning wheel cheaply from the spinning group group, just when I had given up the idea, that I will learn spinning with spinning wheel.
So last Tuesday, I came home with Ashford Joy 2 spinning wheel. Oh boy, how easy the spinning felt! So effortless and easy… It’s great that it fits to small space, since there’s not that much extra room in our apartment and it is really silent and looks nice to me.
So, now I’ve got 2 spinning wheels and one spindle to use. And wool. I’ve got many kilos of Finn lamb wool! Raw wool, straight from the sheep owners! In many colors too, and since I wanted to learn the whole process of making the yarn from the wool, I bought new hand carders too.
All this wool processing is so relaxing and fun! Love the feel of the wool in my hands and love to see how it transforms from a “lump” of wool first to fluffy batch to be spun and then to yarn!
Hopefully soon I can show you something I’ve made using the yarn I’ve spun!