Monday, 9 November 2009

The spinning challenge bags

Our spinning group meets every second month, and has an annual spinning challenge. As I joined the group towards the end of last year, this is the first one in which I've taken part. At the beginning of the year, we were given merino rovings in four colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and white. The challenge was to blend the colours, spin them into yarn and make a bag. I started playing with it in April but didn't seriously get into the blending until June, here and here. I don't seem to have ever got around to blogging the spun yarns, so I must get around to doing that. I plan to write a post about krokbragd soon. Today though, I want to show you the wonderful variety that is the result of the challenge:

Most of the ladies in the spinning group are knitters, so naturally knitted bags predominated, although there were some woven bags, mostly on rigid heddles (I think mine was the only multi-shaft-woven bag), some Tunisian crochet, and some wonderfully felted productions as well. I'd love to show all the bags, but here are some highlights (apologies for the slightly blurry photo, these were all taken with my camphone).

This lovely piece was made in domino knit, and then fulled almost to felting to produce what the creator described as "the fibre equivalent of a potters 'vessel'" (ie beautiful to look at but with no apparent use). It was a good 2.5 feet tall, and stunning to see.

The creator of this wonderful knitted little piece said she'd had trouble with getting an even blending on hand carders so decided to make it work for her. I love it, it just makes me smile. The seagull latch was made for her by a friend.

Another piece was a wonderful tapestry turned into a evening-sized bag, which told a wonderful story of a landscape...and then there was yarninmypocket's *glorious* colour gamp messenger bag. The dullness of my camera phone takes the flourescence out of the images and gives an idea of how intricate the colour interactions are in the flesh. I'm especially blown away by the way she's managed to get the stripes to line up along the piece - this is one continuous piece, sewn to make the bag.

And here's my effort. It was the largest bag there and raised a lot of interest because most of the ladies hadn't seen this weave before. I made the blue tweed the base, sewed mitres into the corners and decided not to line it. Because I wasn't lining it I blanket-wove the top hem, adding handles made from the leftover piece of fabric from the blanket of delight, which gives it another touch of specialness to me. This is a very wide and shallow tote, which makes it the right size and length to fit a niddy-noddy (you can just see the tip of a niddy noddy poking out of the top right of the bag), lazy kate, several bobbins, fleece, lunch and perhaps a cone or two in. Yes, it's a spinning tote.

Just to cap off the day, one of the ladies brought one of her anogra rabbits along, spoke about how she raises and cares for them, and brought several items she'd made from angora along. I seem not to have got photos of the beautifully soft spun and knitted items, because I was distracted by the happy fluffy being groomed. Especially with its special little upside-down face.

Waaaaaant!!!!!!! (can't have. no time.)

The ears. The ears!!!!


  1. Wonderful bags! Thanks for sharing the results of the challenge. It's interesting to see how many different directions people went.

    Your bag is beautiful! I love that weave and look forward to more posts about it from you. Pretty please?


  2. I love how your bag turned out! When I saw the cloth for it in your last post, I thought the title "Life" referred to the woven piece, which seemed a really good name for it; the krokbragd looks so vital and folksy.

    You took great pictures, and your group's stuff is just lovely. Incidentally, your bag looks about the right size for angora bunny-napping, to me!

  3. Very interested in the bags, as our group's 09 challenge was to make bags out of our woven fabric - I've plenty of fabric but no idea which one to use to make what bag!!

    Oh, oh, until I scrolled down... That second to last pic is the pick of the year!!! (At first I thought, it's just the hide! Perish the thought, Meg!!)

  4. Is that just one bunny? It makes quite a lapful! I love all the bags, and have serious spinning-tote envy - which is not at all justified as my poor wheel is thick with dust from underuse...

  5. Lovely pictures! I like all the bags, and the bunny. I can't keep bunnies as we have too many foxes about :( however, always able to find a safe home for another bag ;) what a fun guild you have joined.