Much of my crafting is around some secret projects that I will review in late July once they’ve been gifted to the recipients. I also cleared off some bobbins so that I can take place in Tour de Fleece this year. It was so much fun plying up some random bits and bobs, as well as using my drum carder to open up a bunch of fiber to spin in July. I plan on giving my wheel a spa weekend and hopefully making a dent in my stash this year. *I did not manage to give my wheel a spa weekend, too many other tasks too up my attention, I did however manage to spin for the first few days in Tour de Fleece clearing up 2 of the 6 batts I have carded out.
As a demonstration piece for some of the classes that I’m running next week I spun up some flax to create linen yarn. I then boiled the yarn with cream of tartar for about two hours changing the water once after an hour. Judging by the lack of changing color I need to either do this for another two hours or find some soda ash and use that instead of cream of tartar. I also pounded on half of the hank with a hammer and the resulting product was much softer and somehow whiter.
In addition to secret projects and spinning things I have been working on a personal health experiment, I’ve been trying to get another hour of sleep every night. Ordinarily I go to bed at 10 PM and wake up at 4:30 AM giving myself a solid 6 1/2 hours of sleep. Recently I have been trying to wake up at 5:30 AM. I am capable of sleeping that extra hour, however, it leaves me feeling worse during the day and I do not accomplish as much as I do when I wake up at 4:30 AM. Since I’ve been running this experiment for about two weeks I have decided that it is an abject failure. I have tried to return to my usual sleep schedule, however things like TikTok and an inability to fall asleep have not helped. I think that I may try to shift myself to falling asleep at midnight for a 6:30 wakeup to see if that helps at all.
My washer and dryer have finally arrived! After 8 hours I was caught up on my laundry and ready to face another week! I also have begun to migrate more items into my third floor for storage and realized that I cannot keep the carpets in the carpet if I ever want the cat smell to be completely gone from my house. Large leaps forward and small steps back are what make up the dance of life.
I believe that’s it for the week, I will let you know more as things progress! Remember to live life a little more abstract.
I really enjoyed taking the sock fiber from the February Paradise Fibers box and using coffee to dye it. I will have to wait until I can get a good photograph outside, because the color does not show very well at all in this photo. It was so much fun saving the grounds from my k-cups and turning them into a great fiber to spin. Should I decide to overdye this, the brown as a base will add a lot of depth to the new color. I cannot wait to spin this, but I have a couple of projects before I can get to this one.
Speaking of Spinning Projects I have made progress on my spin for a pair of anklettos/wristlettos. Using the Ezee Twist tool I managed to spin my yarn at about 16wpi singles which should be 8 wpi 2-ply yarn. I finished off the singles, they are currently resting.
I have also signed up to take part in the Paradise Fibers Spinlympics again this year, even though there are no winter olympics. I already had a grab bag of the merino fiber that they recommend using, I have carded up the yellow, orange, and blues with some silk I had around and made rolags. I hope to start spinning this since the spinlympics are ending by the end of February. This will put me, although I am already, behind on spinning for my hap. That is supposed to be knit up by the middle of March. I don’t think I will make the deadline, but I certainly hope to have the spinning done for that by then. I do not have any photos of my Spinlympics rolags nor my Hap rolags, so we will have to skip to sock progress.
I have the first two socks made from the pattern in Interweave Crochet 2011. I did not do any extra shaping around the ankle in the blue worsted weight yarn sock. However for the multi-colored fingering weight sock I added a few decreases before I turned for the heel. This causes the sock to be a much better fit around my ankle. Since I used the same size hook for both the fingering weight yarn is a looser fabric than the worsted, this will result in a sock that will wear out faster, but I have already noticed that the fingering weight sock breathes better on my foot. Right when I finished the fingering weight sock I started on the second sock. I am not too worried about the worsted weight one, but I really do want to have a pair of socks in this fingering weight yarn. I had also purchased two skeins of Felici in the Baker Street colorway from knitpicks. I adore the BBC show Sherlock (though I hate Mary) and so I had to have these Sherlock inspired socks. I went down a size in my crochet hook, and I am also making the ribbing a bit longer than previously. I have tried the cuff on, and 36 stitches should still be the right amount. I am very excited to see how these are going to turn out!
That is all of my progress for now, Happy Crafting!
I love the alpaca seconds I was gifted with.
Due to the time consuming nature of cleaning these bags of alpaca I have decided to give Tour De Fleece a miss this year. This is an event that lasts as long as the Tour de France and involves challenges, rest days, and more just as the bicycling event. More than that it involves spinning everyday. While that is an overarching goal of mine, I would also like to focus on ensuring that I have this alpaca clean and ready to spin for the fall and winter. During these warm days as well as these rainy days I hope to take advantage of the weather, setting the fleece out on my brand new sweater racks while it is raining to wash them in a natural way, as well as setting them out in the sun to make sure that they are as dry as possible before I begin the next step in processing them. I am also hoping to comb or card out the fleeces before the snow comes, this will allow me to dispose of the fluff I cannot use in an eco-friendly way. Putting it out to be used as lining for animal homes or to decompose as mulch.
Flicking open the locks where I am able to and carding what does not flick is a time consuming process. For some of the coarsest seconds I attempted to turn the fur into batts, I managed to get three batts done, but I do not know if they will spin up very well. I plan on trying to spin them in a regular manner and if that does not seem to work, core spinning them. If it turns out that I hate spinning these batts, I do plan on gifting them to whomever wants them from my Guild. I hope to do this before my next batch of fleece is dry, that way I will know if this is a viable option for preparation.
That may have to wait though, I am currently spinning my June Box from Paradise Fibers, I am spinning the last third of those singles. The first two are pictured below.
My original intention was to ply the three bobbins together, however it is possible that they will be too muddy when I am done. Because of this concerns I will probably do a test sample to knit up, once I decide if I like that or not I will either ply all of them together or spin up a white single to ply with these.
Whew, that will keep me busy for a while!
Using my Brother Drum Carder and my Howard Hand Cards I managed to create a really amazing set of fiber preparations. The rolags at the left are from my handcards, I really like how they turned out. The middle was carded as a striped batt on my drum carder, I put it through the carder once and added a lot of sparkle that is not showing up here.
The single color batts were put through the drum carder once, again with a lot of sparkle added. The final batt looks red on one side, purple on the other, and has every color in between (along with a ton of sparkle). I tried to show the colors using the spots where I ‘nibbled’ it off of my drum carder, but they don’t show too well.
I am really looking forward to spinning each of these yarns and then plying them to make an amazing 3 ply yarn.
There are a lot of resources out there for learning how best to use a drum carder, these past three articles are a great resource for introducing a lot of the concepts involved in drum carding. This blog is probably a good one to follow also.
With this article, I especially liked the tip where the author says to hand card some of your smaller bits of fiber first to spread it out a bit more. I had never thought of that before, but it makes perfect sense to keep things thin and even.
Again this is a great article!
I had a similar experience recently with a beautiful hand dyed top I picked up from a local dyer. I wanted to create a striped batt by separating out the yellow from orange from red. The colors blended a bit more than I thought I wanted, but the end result is two fantastic batts, with sparkle (I like sparkle so I added sparkle), that I plan on spinning separately and then plying together. As soon as I am done enjoying the fluffiness that is their batt form.
Happy Crafting, and read this article. Short but sweet!
I love the newsletters I get from Strauch Fiber Equipment. They always lead me to such wonderful places. In this case the article points out, in a very quick way, a method of adding in extra materials into a batt, that goes through a drum carder, without getting extra things stuck in the drum carder. Great article!