Monday, August 6, 2012


In the Harry Potter books, a NEWT is an exam that you take at the end of 7th year. In the HPKCHC game on Ravelry, it's a big project that you set yourself, based around the prompts they've set up for different classes. I've done four OWLs now, which are projects that are expected to take you 8-12 weeks. A NEWT is supposed to be the equivalent of two complex OWLs which relate to each other in some way.

One of the things you can choose for an Arithmancy OWL (which I did with my first one) is make 8 of the same thing. For my OWL, I made 4 pairs of mittens. In a NEWT, you need to make 10 things, just to add work :)

One of the things you can do for a Potions OWL is prepare raw fleece, wash, card, dye, spin.

I decided to combine these two, and make some handspun socks. I've been looking enviously at Pacasha's pretty handspun socks, and wanting to try a NEWT since starting this game. Before you can do a NEWT, you have to have 4 successful OWLs under your belt, so it took a while, but I finished my 4th one a few days before the end of July.

The Plan: get a Romney fleece from Bendigo, wash it, dye it, and card it. Then make three batches of fibre mixes as an experiment to find which mix makes nice strong sock yarn. Make three 150g batches, one with romney/mohair (80/20), one with romney/tencel (80/20) and one with romney/mohair/tencel (80/10/10). Spin these three batches as thin as able and make three big fat skeins of three-ply sock yarn. Then use it to make three pairs of socks. Because three pairs is not enough for the Arithmancy part, I'll take some other mixes that I've previously spun (a BFL/mohair, a merino/nylon and a BFL/mohair/merino/angora) and knit three other pairs of socks.

Basically, fleece to foot.

The three month term doesn't start until September, but NEWT students are allowed to start in the break month. So my NEWT was submitted first thing, Jessica (AKA NaturallyKnitty) gave me the ok, and I started washing!

1.4 kilo Romney fleece, a faded moorit color AKA 'Fawn'
Divided into 14 100g-lots and soaked in unicorn scour, rinsed and then soaked and rinsed again. (Some in the bath, but mostly in the big dye pot after this)

and one by one, dyed with Ashford dyes. (Kept three the natural 'fawn' color)
This lot has taken up the kitchen space over the last week, so Nathan will probably be happy that the dye pot has gone away again! Jasmine has been helping me, too. She "did" the orange, yellow and dark blue.

The next job is to card them all. Each lot is down to around 80-90g now, so I should be able to get away with two batts each. There is still grass to pick out, but that's easiest to do when it's clean and you're spreading the fibres apart to card it (I think that's called "picking"). When I have all my wool carded, I'll mix and match some batts for socks. The current plan is to make one with reds/purple/blues, one with the greens/browns and one with the black/natural. We'll see where the whim takes me :)

Then I have lots of spinning to do. Should be, hopefully, about 1500-2000m of skinny singles to ply.

Then I have 6 pairs of socks to knit.

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