Prepping For Class & Akerworks

This has been a very exciting week.  Let me start with the parts not mentioned in the title of this post:

  • My copy of “51 Yarns to Spin Before you Cast Off” By Jacey Boggs Faulkner has arrived, and I have submitted my ‘Default Yarn’ for her competition.  So far I adore this book, although I’m only about 20 pages in.  I plan on reading more today, and writing a review as soon as I can.  For my submission on Ravelry I used my current favorite skein from the Paradise Fibers Olympic Spin, and mentioned that I am more likely to crochet than spin.  Jacey Boggs Faulkner asked if I’d share what I crochet, *squee* so now I’m working like mad to crochet up a shawl using that yarn.  I’m loving how the shawl is turning out and really hope it will be done for Maryland.
  • I added a listing of my spindles owned/desired to my leather notebook I’m taking with me for MS&WF, trying to think of what else to put in there.
  • Ordered & received little presents for my Aunts who are hosting and hauling me for MS&WF.
  • Will finish ordering tickets for all three of us to get into the festival Friday.
  • My first guild meeting of the year we are going to start a lace project, it should be a ton of fun.

Okay, on to the titular subjects.

For my first dyeing class of the year I created samples.  Part of what I hope to get across to the students is that the dyeing is only the beginning of their fiber journey, it changes so very drastically from step to step that you cannot even begin to predict where your fiber will end up.  Not to mention that since it really is just wool, spinning is not the only place that your fiber can end up. wet felting, needle felting, or just using it as an applique.  They are all viable choices, but if you want to spin it, the results can be very different that your starting dyed fiber.  I know, that was almost like a mini class, lol.  I dyed up some samples and carded half of each color into rolags.  This shows how very different the carded rolag is from the original dyed fiber.  Then for one of the colorways, the pink at the top of the post, I spun one of the rolags into a mini skein of yarn.  I don’t have a photo of the mini skein yet, but it again shows how different the fiber is.  I am really looking forward to this first class!

Now the other half of my title, Akerworks Bobbin.  I received my collapsible Akerworks Woolee Winder compatible bulky bobbin for my Schacht Ladybug.  I absolutely adore it.   My minor, well for most people it would be minor but it was driving me insane, problem with the WooleeWinder bobbins was the rattle.  To be entirely fair and honest it wasn’t really a bad rattle, it didn’t shake the teeth out of your head or anything, it was just this noise while I was spinning.  Since I love the convenience of not having to stop to change hooks all the time and still wind up with a nice even bobbin, I thought I would just have to deal with the noise.  Not so!  I still use Lithium Grease on my shaft and orifice, but the rattle is just about gone.  I have a squeak that I think is due to either uneven foot height on my wheel or a loose screw at the back that I need to work on, but that tiny sound is not a problem at all.  The bobbin fills up evenly, it spins beautifully, I can see the fiber between the spokes when the bobbin is filled up more which is just pretty, they hold a ton of yarn, and there is no annoying rattling sound.  I honestly think I’m going to pick up at least 2-3 more of these bobbins once they are officially on sale.  (Probably 3 if a 3-ply is going to be my new default spin I’ll need something to ply onto).

That’s it for this past week, so much more to come next week!  Happy Crafting!

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

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.

Spinzilla Day 1 Totals

monday-before-work

Monday Before work, this is what my bobbin looked like!  I do not have any numbers since I will get my first yardage totals when I ply.

monday-when-i-went-to-bed

Monday before I went to bed, these were my bobbins.  The first two were spun using double drive.  Since that was driving me mad, which is why the middle bobbin is much smaller than the first, I went back to scotch tension for my third bobbin and probably the rest of Spinzilla.

I did some spinning during my break at work, on my bottom whorl drop spindle, and I hope to add those bits of spinning into my total.  (Yes, during my break…no one needs to know about the time I spent standing next to the car admiring how pretty the silk looks in the sunlight as I spun.  No one needs to know that I found out spinning in the drivers seat while waiting for someone to pump gas is really not very comfortable…yes, during my break.)  I am having an absolute blast, it is almost torture waiting to ply those first few bobbins to find out how much I have accomplished so far!

Happy Crafting!

 

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.

Carding and Spinning

I picked some fiber up from a destash group a little while ago.  I did try to spin it on its own without modifying it at all, but found the fiber to be sticky and akward to work with.

I decided to card the fiber and see what it would look like as rolags, the puffy pieces were so cute I had to spin them up right away.  I managed to get over 200 yards from these rolags once they had been plied with some white merino.  I did also card them with some merino, the results were pretty nice.  I like the colors a lot, but I prefer them plied with white rather than with themselves.

This was a lot of fun, it always amazes me how much I really do enjoy spinning.  Hopefully once I get the hang of it weaving will bring me similar joy!

Happy Crafting!

Rolags

Ever since I got my spinning wheel I have been spinning like a madwoman.  Prior to this I had purchased a variety of fibers from various sources, many from etsy, to try out different fibers.  One of the sources that I purchased little quarter ounce bags of various colors from was The Ross Farm.  They are a farm trying to preserve rare breeds of sheep, an amazing aspiration that I am happy my purchase went toward.  I bought some of the roving from the Chevoit’s they raise.

The colors were rich and beautiful, the hand was rough with short fibers.  If you like spinning and are good at spinning cotton then this is a great fiber for you to spin, if you want to get to know how to spin cotton then start with Cheviot.  I decided to use this fiber to practice my carding, I blended it with some Corriedale I purchased during the last Spinzilla sale.  The results were these beautiful cottony clouds, mom says they look like cotton candy.  They really do, they also spin up like cotton candy.

I had created about 9 rolags or rologs, and then spun 3 rolags onto each of 3 bobbins.  The picture about is from when I took a break, the resulting singles are just beautiful.  I cannot wait to ply them.  Unfortunately wait I must, not only because I already have another project on my bobbins, but because the singles need to rest a bit before I try plying.  I still have a few pieces of this Chevoit that I cannot wait to card up to spin another day.  Now that my leg has healed from my first attempts at carding (Always wear jeans or have a tough cloth on your leg when you are carding, ouch!).

Happy Spinning!