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Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

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Plying

Summer is Ending

I cannot, for the life of me, believe that summer is OVER!  It seems like summer just began and here I am looking at my last Wooly Wednesday Class Tomorrow!  We are starting up “Fall Crafting” next Monday during the afternoon but this still seems like the end of an era.

Wooly Wednesday’s could not have gone better if I had tried.  I do have some plans for how to modify these classes for the spring and summer in 2018 so that they are more comprehensive, don’t rush my students as much, and cover more students and class time for the same amount of supplies (my boss will like that one).

LOOK AT ALL OF THE COOL STUFF MY LADIES CREATED THIS SUMMER!!!!!

 

 

 

This summer of Crafting ROCKED, so did my Wooly Wednesday Ladies. I hope to see you this fall, I miss you already!

Happy Crafting

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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!

Keeping the Spin Going

I have not been slacking off!  Ever since my guild meeting I feel like I have been slacking off, sure I’ve been working on weaving an eyeglass case, starting my tapestry, spinning at least 15 minutes a day, prepping for a crochet class and figuring out how I’m going to afford a weaving loom of my own, other than the one in the garage. but I still feel like I’ve been slacking.  Right up until I think about what I have been doing these past 22 days, I’ve done a lot.  I love English Leischester Longwool locks, they are such a dream to spin!  I’ve got three bobbins of ‘Art Yarn’ singles waiting to be plied with some acrylic I’ve got lying around.  I managed to ply the yarn for an experiment I will detail in a later post, I just have to knit it up and figure out the results.  I have the yarns caked, the patterns printed, and the hooks bought for the crochet class I’m teaching (fingerless gloves).

Remember to take the time and reflect on your achievements before pushing to achieve more.  It is wonderful to look toward the next project, but not when you forget to enjoy what you are doing right now.  Craft on, but don’t forget to look back and enjoy what you have created.

Spinning the Blues, Still

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These are my bobbins full of blues.  As you can see I spun a lot of blue.  I could not separate them out by color as I had originally intended…because I spun a LOT of blue, lol.  Also I do not have enough bobbins to separate them out by color.  The truth is I think this will work out better anyway.  I look forward to finding out how the different blues pool and interact with eachother.  It will be a blast to see what size this yarn winds up being and if I like it that size or if I will cable it in the end.  Yay, I cannot wait until I start this!

Plying Fun

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I finished spinning my fine blue singles! Yay!  Then I plied up the wool, bamboo, silk, etc, singles I had lying around.  The singles are composed of all of the little bits of batts I had lying around.  Essentially they are my ‘destash’ yarn. It was a lot of fun to spin, even more fun to ply!  I wound up with 212 yards of plied yarn pre-washing.  I haven’t gotten around to washing this yarn yet, I am enjoying the unwashed energy too much right now.

It is always so much fun to see how the yarn will turn out!  Happy Crafting!

WIP, Work in Progress

Whew, I am back to work at all 3 of my jobs. It is a good thing really, I still have at least 1 day off a week and there is only one day where I am out and about for work for 13 hours.  (okay so one week a month I’ll have 2 days with 13 hours but it could still be a lot worse).

Here is some of my spinning progress, I promise there is progress between the two bobbins, lol.  Spinning fine is taking a lot more patience than I thought it would.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wanted to switch my bobbins out for an empty one so that I can ply up some of the singles I have sitting around.  I’ve resisted!  I will prevail!  When I am done with these singles and have them wound onto bobbins then I will treat myself to some plying of other singles that have been resting for a while.

You’re probably wondering why I have to wind these singles, and to clarify both of these pictures are the same bobbin so I only have one bobbin of singles, onto other bobbins.  Well it is simple and complicated at the same time.  The bobbins that I will be winding onto are weaving bobbins, like the little ones in the bottom left of this picture:

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I have more weaving bobbins right now so it is more efficient to wind them onto these bobbins.  Why?

1. Since I tend to differ in thickness of spinning from one session to the next, no matter how hard I try, transferring my spinning onto bobbins gives me a chance to even these changes out over longer periods creating a more even yarn overall.

2. Since I am spinning long color changes transferring these singles onto smaller bobbins allows me greater control of how those color changes will occur, Will I ply 2 dark sections together? Allow them to ply as they like causing a bit of chaos?  Deliberately ply only dark with light, and similar decisions?  By separating them out I gain more control over my colors.

3. Since I only have 3 true ‘Schacht’ bobbins I have to use them sparingly and reuse them as often as I can.  Currently one is housing some silk that I have yet to finish spinning (that is my ‘treat’ spinning, I love it); another is empty; and this is the third that I am spinning the blues away on.

I hope that this post was illuminating and not confusing.

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.

Still Practicing

I purchased some Fluorescent fiber from Blue Barn Fiber and spun it up.  I then plied the resulting yarn with a Black Bamboo that I loved spinning.  This created a beautiful yarn that fluoresces under black light, I had to buy a little black light to prove this but it really is amazing.  Well, I loved the yarn but didn’t know what i was going to do with it.  Since I am practicing with my weaving I thought it would be the perfect fiber to practice weaving with.  I love how well, and proudly, my yarn stands out from the warp and the simple pattern is just beautiful.

I am really pleased with how this has turned out, and I will probably purchase more of the fluorescent fiber in the future.  I am very pleased with how my weaving and spinning are going.  I know that I am no where near expert in either craft but I am enjoying myself and learning all the time.

Happy Crafting!

2 Ply Silk

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On the left is my finished Monet Silk and on the right is some gold silk I  had lying around.  Both are 2 ply and just beautiful, the camera does not do their luster justice.  The Monet wound up being 32 yards and the gold just over 40 yards.  I am not sure what I am going to do with them yet though it will have to be something pretty special.

I love spinning silk, as soon as I get through this minor bout of obsession I am going to try and translate these skills to spinning my wool with a finer, tighter hand for weaving.

Happy Crafting

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