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Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

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carding

Days 5&6 of Tour De Fleece

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I have made some progress on my major spin for Tour De Fleece.  More importantly from my perspective, I have decided to take my time and enjoy the step I am working on.  My personality is such that I am usually looking toward the next thing.  The next project, the next skill, the next thing to learn, etc.  This means that I do not really spend much time, if any, enjoying the step that I am on.  Recently I have been reading where several spinners talk about the hours of enjoyment they have gotten from a piece of fleece/fiber.  I have, for me, a large project that I am spinning toward.

Paradise Fibers sent me 8 oz of their Merino Blend in Bloom.  I split that in half to perform a Monet Spin, if you’ve been following me you know this already.  At present I am spinning about 4oz of the top in a straight short forward worsted spin on my ladybug.  This is resulting in the finest and most consistent spin I have ever accomplished.  However, instead of relaxing and enjoying this spin I am eager to get to the next step, spinning up the carded fibers.  I am also eager to see what the final plied yarn will look like, I have done two ply back samples and I believe I will have either a lace weight 2 ply or a DK weight 4 ply.  (it’s pretty fine)

Right now, I have spend almost three hours spinning up this first part of my fiber.  I am only capable of spinning about an hour or so at a time, the fineness of this spin means that should my concentration waver too much I will lose my consistency.  In those three hours, I have barely made a dent in my top.  This being said,  I have made a conscious decision to do my best to enjoy this time creating this yarn.  Haste makes waste is very apt in this case.  I am spinning a fine consistent yarn, taking my time, concentrating on how I am spinning and the results that I am obtaining will be key to enjoying this spin.  At my current rate of spinning I should get another 21 hours of enjoyment from this fiber.  Let’s see how it goes!

Happy Crafting!

Class 2- Carding Wool into Batts and Rolags/Punis

My students are amazing, creative, industrious, and fearless!  They took to carding like ducks to water.  Once they had the skills mastered they began teaching each-other.  This was a glorious example of cooperation & creativity.  They wound up with such beautiful batts and rolags, I am almost more excited then they are for the wet felting class next time.  We used hand cards, a blending board, and a Brother Drum Carder.  Everything went smoothly, though I am certain the number of times I warned them to be careful if they weren’t up on their tetanus shot helped, lol.  Happy Crafting!

I’m Such a Card

I, very happily, carded a couple of batts from the fiber I dyed.  I have named the Pink Batt ‘Stormy day in a rose garden’ while the other batt is ‘Sunrise’.  Both batts are entirely compromised of wool.  Stormy Day was carded once while Sunrise was carded twice.  I love the look of each batt.  I am planning on spinning the batts and wet felting small portions of each.  I will show off my progress as they are completed.

Happy Crafting

Equipment! Ack!

A lot of the equipment needed/desired for fiber arts is quite expensive.  Part of this is exclusivity, supply and demand, and people into the fiber arts are willing to pay for quality.  However there are a lot of plans for free/less expensive versions of equipment also.

I created my own warping board, following plans from interweave press, out of pvc.  I love it, I did have to glue each joint together so it would stop slipping, but that was my only set back.  Now I am turning my sights to Wool Combs and Hackles.  I do have a slicing tool coming in the mail, it is made out of metal so I have high hopes for it.  If that should fail, I found these plans on the internet:

How to Make a Wool Comb

I hope that this winds up being a viable solution.
Making my own spinning wheel, I love my Ladybug but would rather not spend $300+ to get a bulky/plying head.  On the other hand, if I do wind up going that way I can get a Woolee Winder for the exact same price or less, so that is a consideration.
Oh well, Happy Crafting!

Week of Crafting

tapestry-sampler

I finished my tapestry sampler!  Alright there were supposed to be several trains, but there were issues with the first one, and the person that requested the tapestry decided that they prefer the periwinkle color to the original indigo.  But the sampler is finished!

These pictures constitute about 4 days worth of silk spinning, such fun but quite difficult to master.  These are part of my contributions to crafting 15 minutes a day every day for 365!  #spin15

silky-batt

This is my silk and wool batt.  There is a pretty white wool as the base and the colors are all silk.  I carded this together and cannot wait to see how it spins up!

What a fun week, 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!

A Study in Wool Part 1

I have been having a blast sorting thorough my stash (taking a quick break from another project).  While doing so I ran across a sampler kit I had purchased with different wool breeds inside.  All of the wool samples were washed, but they were still in their lock formation.  To simplify things, and make sure that the preparation and spinning was not different for each type, I decided to card them and spin from the resulting rolags.  The end products (once spun) were interesting.  I’ll show you as I go, after letting the yarn rest a day (and clearing off a bobbin to spin with) I navajo/chain plied the yarn to keep the breeds separate.  I also spun a bit of a commercially prepared merino in between most of the breeds.

This is my bobbin before this concept seeped into my mind.  I started with some BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) a breed that most people rhapsodize about.  I have spun commercially prepared top BFL before and enjoyed it.  This fiber has a very soft hand, though this sheep must have had some tender tips or something because I wound up with some nepps in my rolags.  Rather than risk more appearing I stopped after 2 passes each rolag.  I did smooth this fiber down as I spun it (which should result in a less springy washed yarn).

The Lincoln had a well defined lock structure but once it had been carded the resulting wool was semi coarse.  This batch did not have many nepps, and actually carded out to pretty, lofty rolags.  I did not smooth this down much while I was spinning.

The Adult Mohair was a nightmare.  This batch had less than 1″ staple length and the guard hairs were still present.  This gave everything a slightly coarse feel but still quite silky.  The main problem is that when spinning the very short fibers either clump together resulting in huge bumps or fall out altogether resulting in a huge mess.  I nay be entirely wrong but I would like to say that the blame is either with the producer (it isn’t a very good fiber animal) and the seller that sold me such messy, useless fiber.  If you have the patience for it and a dropcloth under your wheel this might be usable.  I believe I will see if anyone can use it for felting, or something.

The very first thing I have to say about this Cross Breed fiber is: Whatever was used to wash this smells very sweet!  The fibers are springy and medium soft.  I would not use this as a next to the skin product like socks or a sweater but it might make a decent scarf.  Something you wear for a short while and then take off.  Maybe mittens?  Oh well, I did not smooth this down at all while I was spinning.  I am discovering that since I am not smoothing things down, I have a harder time getting an even yarn.  When I do what I see others doing, spin and then gently pull to pull out the bumps I just wind up with thin spots.  Something else to work on!

The English Gotland fibers had two different types of fibers.  The long springy gray fibers and the shorter less springy white fibers.  It carded beautifully but the differences in staples seemed to result in little clumps of fiber sticking up and falling out.  I did not smooth this as I went so it will be interesting to see how this washes up.

The Icelandic and Romney both carded up beautifully, the Romney seemed to have a lot more loft than the Icelandic.  Neither had many nepps but also neither spun up completely smoothly either.  Possibly an error of the operator rather than a fault of the fiber.  Neither seemed soft enough for next to the skin projects.  I did not smooth them down while spinning.

I had some Llama Fiber and Cashgora that I spun up as well.  I did not bother carding either of these fibers.  There was not enough Llama to bother and I felt that my hand cards would be too coarse to process the Cashgora.  Both of these fibers spun like a dream, the Llama was a little sticky (Probably due to processing oils).

I cannot wait to see how all of these fiber will turn out in the end.  I will say that one of the fibers, the English Gotland I believe, wound up splitting in a place and had to be tied back together resulting in a flaw in the skein.  This skein and the other that I plied to make room for the bobbin have both been soaked for an hour or so.  They are both hung up to dry and I cannot wait to see what they will look like when I dry.  (I also have some fiber drying that I washed and rinsed very thoroughly.  It came to me a bit sticky and so I hope it was lanolin that I have succeeded in washing off.  I only did about half of the batch if this does not work, or felts the fiber, I will have to see what else I can do.)

Happy Crafting, more information about the skein of samples and the sticky fibers in the next episode.  Dun, Dun, Dun.

Back at the Destash

I picked some more wool up from the Destash group, different breeds to try this time.  Clun Forest, Fine X breed, and Border Leichester.  They were a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed carding them and discovering what the different fibers were like.  As can be expected from a destash group they were not the finest examples of their fibers.  It is probable that I should have combed the fibers to get rid of the short second cuts (but since I don’t have the combs or the $100 it would cost for good combs that was not an option).

Despite the second cuts, or maybe because of them, these fibers are spinning up into lovely skeins that can be used for a nice outerwear project.  Maybe a throw rug since they are in similar colorways.  It is certainly not soft enough for next-to-the-skin garments but ti is very pretty anyway.  I am pleased that I was able to experiment with these different types of fiber and look forward to more opportunities to explore!

Gearing up for Spinzilla!

Spinzilla Fiber Stash pt 2 2016Spinzilla Fiber Stash 2016

I managed to get my Kool-Aid Fiber carded into rolags and ready for spinning!  These rolags are mostly Merino with some Bombyx silk, Bamboo Silk, and sparkly add-ins (angelina and firestar).

I managed to jam all of my rolags into a 40+ quart tub with a flip top lid, and there it will stay until October 3rd when Spinzilla Starts.  I am so excited, I was looking at all of the fun sales and things going on in preparation for Spinzilla.  By checking out what stash I already have I determined that I have more than enough to keep me busy for Spinzilla and practicing leading up to the event.  I have decided that preparing and participating in Spinzilla will equal my second big project this year, I might decide to do some big projects on my weaving loom but for now I am going to keep on with my excitement over Spinzilla!

Happy Crafting.

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