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Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

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Art Batt

Progress, or not

So spinning every day was a great idea.  Unfortunately it did not take into account my being sick enough that dragging myself to work was about all I could do.  Therefore my spinning has fallen off track a bit, not irreparable though.  While I will not actually get 365 days of spinning this year, my goal was to take each month as it comes and deal with it that way.  January is sort of shot, I missed about 3 days, but I will finish strong and start up with February.

Speaking of starting up, Mom is almost fully recovered from her previous illness.  She has decided to see how many crafts she can finish with the supplies we already have laid in.  Essentially she has declared this her year of Stash Busting Crafts!  So far this month she has crocheted up 2 cowls from yarn she had on hand, I will put up pictures of those in my next post.

I have decided to accompany her on this quest, though for my major tapestry project I will need to purchase more wool in periwinkle, though I will admit to a desire to see how much of that project I can get done with the supplies I had already laid in.  (Warp threads, white weft, and some singles spun in periwinkle, with an addition of gold silk I hope to use to accent a particular portion).

I must freely confess I fear I am already making excuses for not following through, since my next thought is that I wanted to purchase some white wool to test dying techniques.  I suppose the best way of doing that would be to dig out what white wool I already have (alpaca, sheep, etc) and plan on using that to dye with until I have figured out which, if any, of the natural dyes get me the colors I want.  If the natural dyes don’t work the way I want then I will have just used some of my wool-stash anyway.  My next experiment is probably going to be centered around washing the batts that I carded containing ‘sticky wool’.  I am hoping that there is some lanolin or other processing oils contained in the batts that is making them sticky.  If that is the case then a good hot soak should loosen up the oils enough for me to wind up with a fluffy batt.  If not then washing with Dawn, if they start to felt then I might try to spread it thin and experiment with felting.

I am sort of excited to let the wool speak for itself and decide what it will become.  I am still spinning thin with the blues, now that I am feeling better.  So many exciting things going on!

Happy Crafting!

Last Week of Vacation

Last week I decided to take some time and spin up random fiber I had lying around.  As you can see I also carded up a really cute Watermelon Batt that I also spun.  This was mostly just spinning for the fun of it, and culminated in the bobbins at the top.  They are resting until I have decided how I want to have them plied, I did try to separate them out so that the different aspects of my experimentation were not muddled.  Part of my experimentation included filling my bobbin up as much as I could manage.  This was a great deal of fun, and I look forward to seeing what I will make of them!

Happy Crafting!

My New Drum Carder

My drum carder came!  My Brother Drum Carder finally arrived, and it is all ready to go!  As you can see from my ‘unboxing’ pictures my Brother Drum Carder arrived assembled and ready to go with instructions in a lovely plastic pouch.  The intake drum and larger drum are at the right depth, though there are detailed instructions for how to change that depth if needed.  I will admit I followed directions from another website, I cannot find them again to give them credit, and did some sanding.  I took an emery board and ran it in all directions across both drums of my carder, this was supposed to take out any little burrs left by the manufacturing process.  The emery boards were all chewed up at the end of the process so I hope it worked.  The carder itself works like a dream, but it really is a good idea to be up on your tetanus shot before working with something like this.

I am having an absolute blast playing with my new drum carder.  I am experimenting with corriedale, merino, and some other colored wools.  I will post later today or tomorrow about my new batts!

Happy Crafting!

Facebook Fiber Find Pt. 3

I am having an absolute ton of fun with my facebook fiber find.  Admittedly the quality is not quite what I expected, but the colors more than make up for it.  I am finding quite a bit of the fiber to be rough and in some cases sticky.  The locks pull apart and are a bit course to work with, but I am pressing on!

I turned the locks into a big pile of fluff that I then spun into 2 singles that I then plied!  This resulted in a coarse 2 ply yarn, about 64 yards, that I hope to make into a hat at some point, or weave into something!

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Once I had the fluff carded out it was a ton of fun to spin the fiber.  Look how pretty it is after being washed!IMG_0757

I think that this would make a great hat, or something similar.  I would want to be able to show the colors off, but it is not a good fit for a piece intended to be worn next to the skin.

Happy Crafting!

Facebook Fiber Find Pt. 2

I have been having so much fun spinning up my Fiber Find from Facebook!

IMG_0754Just playing around with the already created rolags, batts, and some sections of colored fiber created a beautiful single.   I then spun up a merino single which I plied with the colored single.

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This is 124 yards of merino and various before it was washed.  The pinks and purples are the sections of colored wool, with the rest being from batts.  I have it in the water now, I cannot wait to see what it looks like when it is washed.  I am so excited to start spinning my flicked open locks (I got impatient with some of the more difficult ones and wound up carding them instead).  Next post will probably be about my spinning from the cloud of locks!

Happy Crafting!

Facebook Fiber Find

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I recently joined a fiber ‘destash’ group on facebook.  I was a bit hesitant to buy anything from Facebook but when I saw 2 oz of mixed fibers for $5 I thought I would give it a shot.  When the bags arrived I was amazed, everything from flashing, locks, silk, wool, etc.  The colors are beautiful and I love everything I received.  In the 6 bags I ordered there was 1 beautiful mini batt and a couple of rolags that I just had to spin up right away.

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The pretty blacks, blues, and purples with the bits of flashing that are stuck to them wound up just beautiful.  There are a pair of beautiful little bits of colorful batts that I am going to spin on this same bobbin (since I only have 3 that spin well on the wheel).  The rolags, toward the top of the picture, had a bit of what I think of as ‘sticky wool’ and wound up a little bit chunky but it should be very pretty when finished.  I plan on plying these with some merino to let the blacks and other shades just pop out at you!

In addition to the rolags and bits of colored wool I received a lot of dyed locks.  When I separated out the materials from the bags 3 of them were filled with locks.  Little, tangled up locks that looked impossibly matted down.  I was dreading working with these little pieces.  All I could think about were the long silky locks that characterize ‘lock-spun’ yarn that is a big artisan movement in spinning.  (These were not those kind of locks).  I remembered something about ‘flicking locks’, looked on YouTube, and found a way to not only save these locks but make them a joy to work with!

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Half a handful of locks, when flicked, created the beautiful cloud of fiber that can be found above.  I took a close up picture as they were sitting in an old serving bowl, so there is more fiber than it appears to be.  I am looking forward to flicking open all of the locks I received and discovering what beautiful colors they hold.  I have some personal debate about whether it would be better to card them with some merino to create a soft, light, lofty yarn with watered down color, or to spin the flicked locks up as a single and then ply it with some merino.  The merino ply should add some softness and bounce to the single colored fiber.  At this time I think I am going to flick open all of the locks and see how rich the colors seem.  If they are as pale as this green I will probably spin them up as a single and ply them with the merino since blending mutes the colors.  How very exciting to be spoiled with such beautiful choices!

Happy Crafting!

 

Spinning Along

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I have been having a blast spinning on my Schacht Ladybug!  In the beginning I thought that 3 ply yarns were all that I would create, but since then I have discovered the joys of 2 ply yarn.  While I still have consistency issues, the journey has been a lot of fun and created some beautiful yarns.  From the bottom up, the purple is a corriedale roving plied with a merino strand, the next skein is the same corriedale plied with itself.

From left to right the first ball is a pretty blue roving I got from Paradise Fibers (it has rose silk in it) plied with a white merino.  The second ball is the same roving plied with itself and a bit of a lighter blue roving I had from paradise fibers.  The third ball is a random batt I had lying around (It was  bit coarse and almost cotton like) plied with a merino.  All five have been washed so this is their final appearance.  As of the time that I am writing this post, I have NO IDEA what I am going to do with them!  Cowls, fingerless gloves, or weaving samples the possibilities are endless!  Such lovely dilemmas.

Happy Crafting.

Update

Okay, sorry it has been a couple of weeks since I have posted on this site.  Recently I have volunteered to teach a few crafting classes at the Public Library that I work for.  March 9 I will be teaching Crochet, March 23rd I will be teaching a Creative Journal Binding class for teens and up, then on March 30th I will be teaching a Knitting class using the combined continental knitting method that I am familiar with.

Of the three I am most concerned about the knitting class.  Apparently there are two methods of knitting, three if you count the combined version, but essentially there is the eastern method and the western method.  Most people in America and Europe use the western method.  I use a combination of the two, and it works well for me.  I enjoy it, though I find Crochet faster, I can do this craft quite well and easily.

Oh well, so I had to work on getting the powerpoint presentations together for them as well as supplies lists and a press release (it only needed minor modifications when I handed it off so that’s great!).  For the knit and crochet classes we will be working on creating a washcloth.  Not too exciting, but not too complicated either.

The public library will also be offering beginners computer lessons this upcoming week and a week in March in addition to possibly offering other classes (it depends on what the library system decides).  In another job I might be teaching a class on Library Research Skills, though I doubt it, but I will have a high-school class to teach the second week in March.

So, even though I have managed to almost spin 1/2 of a Quarter Ounce batt I received in my Phat Fiber box, I don’t have any crafting to post or to speak of.  Let me see how March goes, and if I have a few craft posts at once I’ll try to spread them out more!

 

Happy Crafting!

Phat Fiber Box

I managed to pick up a Phat Fiber Sampler Box, mixed yarn and fiber.  There was a huge variety of fibers and yarns to play with.  Between the stitch markers and the different cards from supply providers, each with some kind of discount, this box was a veritable treasure trove of goodies.

I am certainly not sad that I picked this up.  However, I am never going to get another box of this type again.  The wide variety of fibers does not offset the fact that the samples are only about 1/4 oz each.  I have been using my tahkli to spin these samples and managed to get them quite fine, then I triple plied them for strength.  I was able to get 5 yards from the iChing sample and about 8 yards from a colorful wool I already had.  Since it takes about 7.5 yards to create a Zoom Loom square, I was quite disappointed that I would not be able to create a sampler of Phat Fibers squares.  C’est La Vie.

iChing singles and plied yardage on my niddy noddy.

Colored Wool Singles with my Tahkli Spindle and the plied yardage on my niddy noddy.

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