Knitting and Stitching Show, RDS, Dublin, October 2009

Last year I had a lovely day out at the knitting and stitching show organized by Twisted Thread so I was looking forward to this years one. I was planning to go on Thursday and meet up with some ravelry friends but alas I was struck down with a cold. I recovered enough to go to the show on Sunday. It seemed to be a good idea as the crowds weren't so bad and I got to meet a friend there too. There was a corner of the show with bargain bags of wool so she dove in and got a bargain on some lovely Rowan. I'm glad I didn't pass that stall later in the day as I'm sure there were fights breaking out as ole wans fought it out over the last few bargain bags of Sirdar Crofter.  

There was much to see in the show and there were less irrelevant stalls this year. Although I'm not sure what was going on with the man who was demonstrating mops. Were they thinking it's a craft show so there will be lots of women there and they like cleaning? He wasn't getting much attention as This Is Knit's fabulous stall was across the way with plenty to distract any passing shopper from the joys of mops and cleaning. There were many Irish based shops exhibiting this year with The Yarn Room having a much bigger stand this time. Stephanie who runs this shop is such a lovely lady so I hope she did well. I convinced my friend's friend to buy a bag of merino for felting from her.  The Feltmakers Ireland stand convinced her to take up the hobby so I can't be blamed for that. Lola Rose were there with some yummy Colinette yarn, I thought the mohair was especially lovely.

One of the more interesting stands was Woolfish, they had balls of merino top which they had knit into dresses and bags. They look cool but I don't know if they're practical. Top is combed fiber, which is usually spun into yarn or felted. I'm not sure knitted up top would wear very well. When top is spun or felted it gains strength and the fibers stay together and don't fall apart. So anything made from top mightn't be able to take much wear and it might get bobbly. I couldn't help thinking that if you got one of those big balls of merino and spun it into yarn it would be much better value.    

This year I was disciplined with my limited budget and restricted myself to supplies for spinning. I have enough yarn to last me quite a long time so I don't need any more. A lot of my shopping was done at the Texere stall. They had lots of fiber and thread, dyed and undyed. The guy on their stand was very nice and helpful too. I got some glitter thread for plying and wrapping yarn, some lovely dyed silk noil fiber and some guanaco fiber. A guanaco is an alpaca relative with lovely soft hair. The bag from Texere was quite cheap so it may not be exceptional quality but hey it's worth it just to try it out.

I had an interesting conversation with another shopper at the stand who was also buying guanaco. She looked at me askance when I said I intended to spin it on a spindle. She seemed quite shocked that someone with a spinning wheel would even think of using a spindle. She also stated that as the guanaco was a short staple length fiber it would have to be blended before it was spun. I attempted to explain that I'd seen a good article about how you needed to spin really fast to draft short stuff like guanaco. Spindles are great for spinning fast and for spinning fine, even though I'm not a great spinner yet I can spin much finer on my spindle than I can on my wheel. Tahkli style spindles are always recommend for spinning cotton, cashmere and guanaco type fibers. People don't generally believe you when you say this and the lady I was talking to didn't seem to either. It's a pity really, I think lots of people have it in their head that wheels are the only way to spin and that spindles are inferior and fiddly and difficult.

That isn't true. Spindles are cool and people have been using them since we became people pretty much. Abby Franquemont has a wonderful article here about the history of spinning and why people shouldn't lose the ability to spin. When you have a small amount of a luxury fiber I think it makes more sense to spin it on a spindle. I think you'll get more value out of it as you'll learn more about spinning it and challenge yourself. Spinning these days isn't about speed and making yarn quickly because if you don't you won't have clothes. It's a hobby and done for pleasure. Wheels are great but they're not the be all and end all, there's a whole world of spindle spinning out there to master.

I suppose I better stop rambling on and get back to pretty pictures. This is a lovely dyed silk brick from Oliver Twists whose website I can't find. It was a complete bargain as it was half price. I'll spin this into something special. It could also be felted, I think it would make a fantastic shawl if you knew what you were doing. I also got some sparkly angelina fiber which I hope will liven up my yarns. I have some great plans for some blended yarns. They will have to wait until my exams are finished though. Real life is getting in the way of doing fun stuff with fiber.  

6 Responses to "Knitting and Stitching Show, RDS, Dublin, October 2009" (Leave A Comment)

PlayingWithFibre says
November 7, 2009 at 4:29 AM

Thanks for sharing your pics - I, as usual, was too busy staring at the pretty things to think to do something like take photos. Also, thanks for the links - I'll read up on them later.

Spindles rock my world too.

Skuld says
November 8, 2009 at 7:09 AM

Really enjoyed this post. Hurrah for spindle pride! A nice lady at my knitting circle showed me some tricks, so I've managed to acheive a much finer spin with it now. Problem is I put in too much twist in some places, so when I took it off it corckscrewed up in places. Im hoping if I ply it and block it a bit that might ease is a little bit? Oh, I have a query you might be able t help me with. Ok, so I spun that stuff, and I've taken that off and wound it into a (corckscrewed) skein. I want to spin another colour and ply them together. So should I wash/block the different colour skeins before I ply them together or after? Hope you don't mind me being cheeky and asking questions......I had no idea there was a knitting show on in Dublin, I'll have to keep my eye out anymore. I'll definately go to any future ones.

Bionic Laura says
November 8, 2009 at 9:19 AM

Glad you guys liked the post and share the spindle pride!

To answer your questions Skuld... When you spin the single on the spindle it's supposed to twist back on itself.

When you take it off the spindle wind into it into a ball with tension on the single so that it doesn't kink back on itself. Or wind it off onto a toilet roll insert under tension so it doesn't kink up.

Then go spin your other colour single. Don't wash your other single before you ply it.
Now to plying your two singles together.

When you spin your singles you should spin both of them in the same direction. Usually you spin clockwise. Now you take your two balls that you wound off the spindle and you just keep them separate by putting them in mug or whatever. You tie them together ad tie them to the leader on your spindle. Then you spin them the opposite direction to which you spun them. Anti-clockwise usually. What happens is that by spinning them anti-clockwise the twist in each will cancel out and you'll end up with a balanced non kinky yarn. If you google plying you'll get lots of videos and better explanations than this.

Basically don't worry about a single corkscrewing up, it's supposed to be like that. If it doesn't it might not have enough twist to hold together.

After you ply your singles together then you can take it off the spindle as a skein, wind it around the back of a chair. Then you wash it and let it dry.

I'd recommend any videos from Abby Franquemont. Also search for her name you'll get her blog. She knows so much about spinning. Also google Ask The Belwether's blog too.

Hope that helps

Skuld says
November 9, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Cheers! That all makes perfect sense, thanks muchly. May I ask another? I've read various different tutes and such, and none seem to have the same way for washing the spun yarn. Some agitate it, some don't, some use hot, some lukewarm, some twist the yarn etc etc. What do you do?
I've washed one or two singles before, with lukewarm water and a little washing powder, then rinsed with cool water, pressed as dry as I could get it, then let hang dry with a couple of coat hangers hanging off. One I just let sit for a little while in the warm water, the other I agitated. The agitated one did seem to be felting a bit then, so I rewound it around a chair while still damp, it seemed to be ok.....oh man, I've rabbited on for ages. So, short version: how do you wash your yarn?

WorstedKnitt says
November 12, 2009 at 12:32 AM

That looks and sounds like a really nice show!

Bionic Laura says
November 14, 2009 at 1:51 AM

I usually wash my yarn in water that's at about 45 degress c. Basically hot but not so hot you can't put your hands in it. I use some wool washing liquid. I put the yarn in gently and don't agitate it at all unless I'm looking to felt it. I then take it out and gently press out the water. Then I use water at the same temperature to rinse it. If you put it into water at a different temp it might felt. Then I take it out and gently squeeze out the water.
When it's cool I usually hang it up over the bath.

I'm no expert that's just what I do. You can do what ever you want! I suppose I'm saying there's no one true way to finish yarn. Sometimes you might want the yarn to felt a bit. I felted one yarn a bit to hold it together better and to make it look fuzzy.

The way you finish your yarn all depends on the look you want.