Simple Art Yarn Neck Warmer

I am often asked about how to use, and what to make with, art yarn.

So I thought I’d share some ideas with you.

This cozy neck warmer uses a small amount of yarn and can be easily made if you can cast on and knit garter stitch. You’ll need about 65 yards of yarn and if you have several balls of smaller amounts, that’s great, you can knit stripes!

It fits snuggly around the neck and can be worn under your coat or on top of a jumper.

Ingredients

Approximately 65 yards of art yarn – the yarn I used here had approx 7 wraps to the inch, equivalent to a chunky weight commercial yarn.

1 pair size 10mm knitting needles

1 darning needle 

2 buttons

Gauge

Approximately 4 stitches and 4 rows to a 2 x 2 inch square

Method

Cast on approximately 16 stitches (should block to around 8 ” wide) and knit in garter stitch until you have around 25’’ of knitting. Cast off and weave in the ends. Soak in warm water for 20 minutes, dry between towels and block. When it is dry, drape it around your neck, position and sew on the buttons. Simple! You don’t even need to worry about knitting button holes. The buttons will slip between the stitches!

If you’d like some more inspiration for knitting with art yarn take a look at my Pinterest board ‘Knitting with Art Yarn’

http://www.Pinterest.com/Heritagehandspun/knittingwithartyarn

 

 

 

 

 

Art Yarn Christmas Baubles

bowl of baubles

These little yarn baubles make lovely festive decorations or a quick and simple last minute small gift.

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I used a minimum of 6.5 yards of hand spun art yarn, but any pretty decorative yarn would work. Wind it into a tight ball with your hands.

P1080462Fold a length of ribbon or sari silk in half and, using a large darning needle, thread it through the middle of the ball; leaving a large enough loop to hang the bauble up with. I found it easiest to thread each half of the ribbon seperately. Then thread a bead or circles of felt over the ribbon and put a knot in the top to secure it.P1080464.jpegThen thread another wooden bead or circles of felt to the lengths of ribbon at the bottom. You can also decorate with wooden or glass beads or little bells and leave some ribbon or sari silk as a little tassel too, if you like. P1080465

 

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Then finish them off with a band of ribbon, braid or lace around the middle. You can really go to town here and add sequins or decorative stitches as well. 

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Merry Christmas All.

See you in the new year xxx

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Halloween, Hubble-Bubble!

No, not tonights supper! . . . this is my last Fermented Suint Bath of the season and, as it is Halloween, I thought I would give you a little scare and share the murkier side of my production process with you . . . . . Woooaaahhhh!

A Fermented Suint Bath is the best way to clean the raw fleece of Primitive and Longwool sheep. Breeds that have naturally lower levels of lanolin. It uses less water and soap, making it better for the environment and it is gentler on the fleece, giving me a better product.

                  

I have cleaned all my raw fleece this way over the summer and now, as the frosts are beginning, this lovely Jacob fleece will be the last one that I process this year.

Once skirted, to remove all the dirty bits, the fleece is submerged in a container of cold water and left in the garden for a week or two, or three  . . .

Much of the earth, and other organic matter from the fields, floats out of the fleece and sinks to the bottom and natural bacterias develop which combine with the lanolin to form a kind of soap which begins to clean the fleece naturally – brilliant!

It is not necessary, but I then give it a final wash in hot water and eco-soap, just to be absolutely sure it is really, really clean and also smells lovely.

Once it is air dried it is ready to be carded or combed and spun into yarns like these . . . .

Happy Halloween all!

Experiments in Opalescence

I am captivated by opalescence, and it’s close sister iridescence, and it is something I return to in my work.

In the heat of the summer this shimmering quality appears all around. In the iridescence  of bubbles and sea shells and butterflies wings. And in the little opal pendant that I’ve had since childhood. I find myself wearing it most days and am fascinated by it’s qualities of colour and light.

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I attempt to make a yarn with opalescent qualities and gather materials in my mixing basket.

P1070383.jpgLustrous Angora goat curls in palest pink and white, a little wisp of turquoise merino, Cotswold curls in shades of lavender and pale blue Wensleydale curls, dyed with Indigo. I add a sprinkle of crystal Angelina fibre too and spin it all with some naturally pale golden Ryeland and  . . .

P1070446.jpg. . .  Voila! I’m quite pleased with the result, though the photograph of my opal shows more warm, golden tones than I can’t see with my naked eye. I think this might be due to the sunshine. There is no getting away from it at the moment!

Summer Job

And so it begins . . .

The sun is shining, the air is sweet and fresh and this is the perfect time of year for washing and drying raw fleece, from beautiful sheep like Bronwyn, a lovely curly Cotswold who lives near Bath.

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Once dried and separated her curls are soft and lustrous . . .

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Much of my inspiration comes from the garden and at present it is presenting me with roses  . . .

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and tiny Wild Strawberries . . .

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All these beautiful warm colours are finding their way into my work . . .

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Here’s a big basket of hand-dyed curls from Caradog a beautiful kid Angora goat.

I’m looking forward to getting back to my spinning wheel again soon and making some soft and curly yarns so, watch this space . . . .!