Posts Tagged ‘handknit sweaters’

Louet Spinning Wheels S90 and S45

I haven’t posted in March because I’ve just been too busy spinning my custom orders. This month required another wheel so we got out the S90 and dusted it off. It didn’t even need a tune up but it got a new drive band just because…

I’m reminded why I got this wheel in the first place and I really enjoyed spinning with it this month. I’ve been spinning everything on the smaller S45 recently. I switch over to the little S45 from the larger S90 because the S45 has Scotch tension and I can spin a yarn as fine and delicate as I wish with no drag or pull from the wheel. It’s perfect for spinning lace weight yarns in any fiber but it’s pretty much mandatory to have feather light tension when spinning the fine luxury fibers from Merino wool to Cashmere.

I got out the S90 this time because I wanted to spin 3 ply and I really like the lazy kate on this wheel. The S90 comes with 4 bobbins and a 3 bobbin lazy kate which is just what I needed. It’s built in and can be swung out to the side, with or without brake, right in line with where I want to pull from. I found the pull / tension of the traditional Louet drive set up somewhat difficult to deal with after having been used to the scotch tension. I tried everything I could think of to get it to lessen the pull onto the bobbin. As you can see from the picture I don’t even use the leather tension strap. I might if I was spinning a very bulky yarn or something thick and artsy but mostly I don’t even have it on at all. I don’t like to lubricate the brass cup that holds the orifice end of the flyer because it will produce a black gunk that is too close to my lovely yarn for my taste. I ended up padding the bobbin and threading the yarn through both of the flyer hooks. First over one side and then through the eye on the opposite arm of the flyer. It was probably a bit more abrasive to the yarn but the resistance caused by the yarn crossing over the bobbin of already spun yarn was just enough to lessen the pull and I was able to spin the yarn just exactly how I intended.

Highlights: A few of the Orders

For Breed Specific and Rare wools I had a commission the spin some Shetland Wool for a customer who is knitting Ranger by Jared Flood. I was challenged to spin a yarn that would give my customer the correct gauge, body and drape for the design. The yarn used by the designer for this project is “Shelter”.  First, I spent a few days of experimenting with small differences in the spinning technique and swatching, until I was able to spin a yarn that would behave just how I wanted for this design. Of course the choice of fiber was of paramount importance to this end and the Shetland wool was perfect. I see this cardigan needing a yarn with some body, not too soft and limp. It also needs to be bouncy and robust without being too scratchy at the neck and wrists. I worked a few more swatches to be sure I could get the gauge right and I had a plan 🙂  They love it!  Some Ontario Alpaca

For Kerstin at Alpaca Avenue – ladyolivia  on Etsy. I had the opportunity to spin some of Viola (fawn) and Lily( White), 100% pure Fine Ontario Alpaca fiber. It was heavenly. I did a 3 ply this time to make it thick enough to knit as a worsted weight. The fiber is so lovely and fine it kept wanting to be fingering weight 🙂 but with 3 plies it works beautifully. Kerstin has already knit these super mitts.

We are also working on a project in Eastport Alpaca. I’ve spun some fingering weight yarn for Kerstin to knit Winterberry Hood by Carina Spencer.  This yarn is a 2 ply and is also hand painted in shades of Garnet from the Gaywool dye collection of colours.

I thought it was time to post an update to “Spinning the Spotted Fleece”.

The sweater now has a name. It will be called Jacob. I will probably do a pattern for it after I’ve knit it in another colour pattern for variety.

I’ve had quite a few orders for handspun yarns so the knitting is coming along rather slowly. I’m at the neck shaping. We tried it on and it’s within an inch of exact measurements which makes me very happy. That can definitely be worked out with washing and blocking.

I am working really hard to get some of my special hand knits listed here on the web site and in the Etsy store.

Today I got 2 more really special Angora garments listed that would be perfect for baby gifts. One for a baby boy and one for a baby girl.

These are both one of a kind garments. There is no pattern available yet and I have not knit them again in any other form. Each was designed specifically for that particular special garment. They are both luxury items  which would be perfect heirloom gift.

Ok, enough talk, lets see the pictures!

Little Boy Blue

Whisper Angora and Silk Baby Shrug

Sneak Peek Angora baby sweater coming next week for sale here in the shop and on Etsy.

Angora Rabbit Fiber: Spun, Dyed, and knit by hand

Now Available to order

One of a kind Angora rabbit baby sweater handknit in the softest and finest handspun and hand dyed angora yarn. This is definitely next to the skin soft! An original design that I created just for this cardigan so it is truely a One of a Kind (OAK) garment. The front band features 5 handmade buttons. A very special little sweater that would make a wonderful heirloom quality gift.

SIZE: The sweater will fit a baby or toddler of approximately 6-12 months. It measures 21 inches around and 11 inches in length. weighs 144 grams or 5.1 ounces

order here

Choosing a fleece with contrasting colours. This one has just black and white in what seems to be equal parts – that’s very dark brown and cream, of course

The testing and planning for this project may just be the most fun part. I have now washed, carded or combed, spun and knit swatches (or small projects) from 4 of my stashed fleeces. I’ve been working with the multi coloured fleeces this time because I wanted some colour texture in my sweater. This one is a Jacob from Great Britain. It’s for Earl. I considered my choices for working with the stark contrast of the colours in this fleece. I could do a relatively homogeneous blending for a smooth mottled look, I could keep the colour separate and ply a white with a black for a ragg look, or I could try to keep the colours separate and use them to form some kind of colour pattern. I decided on the later and choose a random colour pattern as I felt it would be closest to the true nature of the fleece as it appeared on the sheep’s back. There are lots of grey fleeces out there, why make this one look like them?  In order to keep the colours separate they had to be plyed by the Navajo method. This produces a 3 ply yarn. I made mine a worsted weight (4 Medium) about 35 yards/ ounce and about 9-10 WPI. Although I love to card or comb by hand, I do use my roving carder for larger project where I really want to get on with the task of knitting it so that is how I’ve been preparing this one for spinning. I knew I had to be careful with any stark white areas as they would pop out visually so most of the white has some degree of black mixed in. Each time I load the carder it has some of each colour. It is in the carding, to a degree, but more so in the separating and arranging of the bats for spinning that the “painting” of the colour pattern takes place. I’ve been knitting each ball as it comes from the spinning wheel so that I have a feel for how I want the next colour pattern to work out. Updates Here

I reached a goal today with the completion of the Hoddie with Cable Trim pattern in Infant sizes. I now have 3 patterns finished but they still need to be posted with pictures and stories.

I’ll put them on My Own Web Site – Nancy Elizabeth Designs , on and Etsy and Craftsy as well as  Ravelry.

I really love the Hoodie, in fact I’m going to do one for myself to test the adult sizes. I think I will add an afterthough front pouch.

Ok, I just may be a little too “wide” in my product selection. Right now I am planning to offer hand knit articles of clothing and accessories for all ages, socks, blankets, shawls etc. (wide range, right?) PLUS hand spun yarn of any luxury natural fiber and size and my original design knitting patterns for anything I dream up.

So, I will probably have to narrow my focus quite a bit. Do I do that now or do I try to put up a selection bit of everything and see how it goes?

There really will be several things to consider but mainly it will be what sells and what I love to do.

So, here are some of the strategies I have decided to try

Social marketing, simply by having pages on and linking to some of the popular Social sites Watching what sells and what I enjoy the most and work on narrowing my focus get my work into the hands of some people who will really appreciate their value and help me to spread the word. Participate more on the Social Sites creating circles and jumping in on the forums Promotions? what and more importantly when (I want to have the handspun yarns and some patterns ready) put videos on YouTube maybe more handmade sites similar to Etsy?