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Spinning Camel Hair

Last Christmas I bought some camel hair to spin.

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It sat in my fibre stash up until a few months ago when I decided I wanted to try spinning something more unusual than the usual fibre (silk, bamboo etc), so I pulled it out and had a go at spinning it.

This fibre is very long stapled which made spinning it rather difficult as I couldn’t get it as thin as I wanted to.

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It was also rather more coarse than I would have imagined it to have been, but the plied yarn came out quite even.

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What did surprise me was that it still had guard hairs in it even though it had been commercially processed, but it did give a lovely halo.

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I would definitely recommend this fibre to any spinner, even if it is just to say that you have spun it. It is also unusual to find camel hair ready to knit with, so if you are interested then hop over to my etsy shop via the link on the left hand side and buy some. If you’re not a knitter then it would make a great Christmas gift for someone you know that knits.

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Weiser Field Guides Reviews

Last year I was given a box of books from Red Wheel/Weiser Publishers for me to review.

I reviewed the first book and haven’t really gotten round to reading the others until lately (too many crafting books to read).

The three books I am going to review today are The Weiser Field Guides to Vampires, Ghosts and Witches.

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Whereas I realise that these books may not be of interest to many people, those of you into the paranormal will love them. They are full of facts and information on fictional characters and real people in the past.

I found them to be very enlightening and really enjoyed them. You can find information on many witches from Harry Potter through to Moses and the same goes for ghosts and vampires.

These books would be a perfect christmas present for the older teenager or adult who is into the paranormal and I would definitely get the set.

You can get the books either from Red Wheel/Weiser themselves or through Amazon (you can can search amazon through the Amazon search box on the left of this post and I get a couple of pence whenever anyone orders anything through this link, it doesn’t cost you anything extra so I would appreciate the help).

With Halloween coming up they would also be a good Halloween gift instead of all the sweets that you normally give out to children in the family.

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A Big Disappointment

Back in February of last year I decided to knit my hubby an argyle jumper. Not a normal argyle jumper but an Erratic Argyle Jumper.

I sent away for 100% alpaca yarn (which cost me an arm and a leg, but he is worth it), and then began knitting the jumper in the beginning of March (2010).

This jumper was black with a blue and gold argyle pattern on it which required me to use intarsia to knit it. Have a ever mentioned how much I dislike knitting argyle!!!

I knitted the front upto the armhole quite quickly and then the argyle pattern began….I took a deep breath and began knitting the intarsia. After around 6 rows I got fed up of the yarn getting tangled up, so put it down and carried on knitting on something else.

I sporadically knitted on the jumper until Christmas 2010 was approaching and I told hubby that I would get it finished for him for Christmas. Christmas morning came and there was no jumper under the tree!!! I explained to hubby that I had had many orders to complete so didn’t get as much time as I needed to work on it but promised I would have it for his birthday in April.

Yes, you guessed it, April came and went and the jumper hadn’t been finished. Hubby would bring up the subject of the jumper every now and then and I would reply that it was going great.

I finally finished the jumper at the end of last month, but there was a problem..it was too big!! I had knitted a gauge swatch, done all the measurements and calculations and it should have been the perfect fit, but it wasn’t. The 34″ jumper actually measured 50″!!!

I handwashed the jumper and it didn’t shrink, so I dried it and had a think…the only option I had was either to unravel all of the jumper and begin again or to try and shrink it. I knew the tumble dryer would felt it so I chose the option of machine washing it.

I delicately placed it into a mesh bag and sealed it. I then put it in the machine and set it to the wool wash with minimum spin cycle and cool wash. The jumper came out and looked a bit smaller, I laid it out to dry and measured it, 44″, still 10″ too big. I let it dry whilst I pondered what to do.

The jumper had washed perfectly and wasn’t felted or anything like that so I decided to put it back in the washing machine once it was dry and put it again on a wool/cool wash with minimum spin cycle, not forgetting the mesh bag to make sure it didn’t get out of shape.

That day I had been busy and didn’t think about the jumper in the machine until it was 5 o’clock, so I went to the washing machine and looked in…I was shocked when I put my hand in to grab the bag, it was quite solid..not very solid, but quite solid. I held my breath and pulled the bag out and gently unzipped it and took the jumper out.

As soon as I felt the jumper I knew it had all gone wrong, it had felted. Not a soft, snuggly felt but a quite stiff felt which would have made the jumper stand up on its own…I sat on the floor crying and shaking. It is fair to say I was distraught..Hubby and I tried to block the jumper out and it actually measured what it needed to be, but was much too stiff. I kidded myself and said it would be fine once dried.

A few days later the jumper had dried and I had asked some knitting friends whether they knew what I could do to soften the jumper so that I could save it. Someone mentioned soaking it in fabric conditioner. This sounded a good idea, so that is what I did, and just to make sure it would stretch a bit and be softer I hung it on the line to dry.

I am afraid to say it did not help, the jumper is ruined and I am still grieving over it. It has taken me a week to get myself together enough to photograph the jumper as I had hid it at the bottom of a pile of yarn.

This is the jumper I am left with…

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