Winding Down

31 July, 2018
Winding Down

We are in the middle of winter in New Zealand, for me just the perfect time to slow down and unwind. As much as I love summer I also need the cooler season for a deep rest and to gather new strength, especially after months full of excitement and major efforts. This is the time when I usually simply spin. There is only my wheel, some wool and me - winding down.

When I came back from the Creative Fibre Education event in Gisborne I brought home a new accessory for my Aura spinning wheel: The Stylus. This amazing tool is basically a spindle which can be attached to a wheel and makes spinning traditional yarn for me very enjoyable. If you'd like to find out more go to

I picked a local Romney fleece and some white Corriedale/Alpaca roving from a friends farm and enjoyed spinning long draw with the Stylus and no project in mind.

After the yarn was finished I was still in the mood for just working with my hands without too much brain work - in other words carefree knitting. Leg warmers seemed a good idea and so I did.

When the time came to finish them off, there was this feeling something a little more playful needs to be added in. But that had to wait another few weeks until I felt adventurous again and found the perfect fleece for that - a Lincoln/Valais fleece somebody gave me earlier this year with the most amazing locks in it. Just delicious and perfect for a slightly crazy leg warmer look.

I decided to create a tail spun yarn from these locks which would match the traditional yarn in thickness and colour. Two years ago I learned a technique from Laurie Boyer where locks are added in the plying. The main advantage of this method is that the yarn can be spun relatively thin, something I found difficult with other tail spinning techniques. I also decided to spin in the grease to keep the locks intact.

Even though that worked well, some of the locks didn't make it as locks and washing before spinning would have made that obvious before they ended up in the yarn. Also, If you ever want to make one of these, make sure to use smaller knitting needles for the tail spun bit and for binding off to achieve a perfect fitting cuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process and love that my finished leg warmers are not only keep me very warm, but that my different moods are embodied in something I can wear and have fun with - let's say hula hooping in puddles after rainy days...

Tags: natural fibres, art yarn, knitting, handspinning, natural colours, tailspinning, long draw

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