Pre-empting the Scheduled Post

I had another post scheduled, it will be out on Wednesday, but I could not wait to share this Month’s Paradise Fibers Monthly Club Box.  *SPOILERS*  If you do not want any spoilers, just skip this post.

Dyeing with highlighters step oneI was not going to go into the details of how to accomplish this but if you look you can find most of them.  In essence you are extracting the dye from the tubes of the highlighters, then applying it to the wool.  The more concentrated the dye the better the effects.  To get to this point you need to put on gloves, pry the back of the highlighter off, and pull out the tube.  I used scissors and pushed the end cap off, it is a wonder I didn’t break anything with the flying plastic.

Dyeing with highlighters step 2

After soaking for  a while it looks like there is quite a bit of dye extracted from the highlighter ink tubes.  The next time I try this, and I will be trying it again, I intend to just squeeze out the highlighter fluid instead of soaking it out.

Dyeing with highlighters step 3

I soaked the wool in the standard combination of water and vinegar to get the wool ready to accept dye.

Dyeing with highlighters step 4

I squeezed out the wool and put the dye on top.  Things looked good, until I looked down the side of the containers.

Dyeing with highlighters complication

The Dye did not reach the bottom of the wool.  Some adjusting fixed this for the pink and the orange, but the yellow was too light to be effective.  I took that piece of yarn and the left over orange and pink dye to form a variegated piece of wool.

Finished hIghlighter dyeing

When everything was dried the results were amazing.  I have not had them under sunlight long enough to tell if they do fluoresce, but even if not they are very pretty to look at.

This box, in addition to this neat new dyeing technique, came with a pencil pouch, sheep sticker, sheep pin, Paradise Fibers backpack, four mesh bags, and four bumps of shredded sari silk (intended to make a tweed).

The colors of Sari Silk that I obtained are pictured below.  These boxes are always an amazing value.  I love them, and cannot wait to see what is in them each month.

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Happy Crafting!

Spinzilla 2018

Elvira from Ellen's FlockEvery October the National Needle Arts Association holds an event that they call Spinzilla.  This year it will be held Monday October 3rd until Sunday October 7th.  The singular goal of this spinning time is to get as much yarn spun, and plied if that is your jam, within that time frame.  Nothing that has been previously spun counts toward your total yardage.   My personal goal is to spin a mile, or 1760 yards.  Fortunately plying is counted, so if you have 3 singles that you have plied together (and all of it has to have been spun within the week of Spinzilla) then you measure the yardage of the finished 3 ply skein and multiply it by 4 (spinning each of the 3 singles as well as spinning the ply).

September is when participants in Spinzilla can begin registering for teams, and paying their registration fees.  There is a minimal cost to join, 15 or 25 something like that, and the fee goes toward supporting programs that promote the needle arts among the younger generation.  There are prizes donated toward the winners in particular categories.  You can spin rogue, and not join a team.  If you join a team then your entire team works toward the goal of spinning the most yardage you can.  I believe that there are other prizes such as most creative spin, most individual yardage, etc.

This is a really fun event that promotes spinning in all different forms.  My only goal is to beat my spinning from the year before.  This year I believe that means that I will need to spin more than 2,240 yards.  To this end I plan on spending most of September plying off my bobbins, carding the wool that I have into rolags so that they are easier to spin, and ensuring that my wheel is in the best shape it can be.  I recently received information from the Schacht Spindle Company, who produced my wheel, about how to perform a minor repair which has my wheel purring.

I am getting really excited about Spinzilla, and will be posting more as I get my bobbins cleared off and spin some!

Current Spinning & Class Prep

I thought about not adding in the ‘service announcement’ portion of this post, but politicizing crafting irritates me to no end.  *I am boycotting Jo-Ann Fabrics.  They sent me an e-mail asking me to oppose the tariff because it would increase the cost of their supplies thereby increasing the cost of my ‘American Made’ crafts.  Shinybees podcast just recently mentioned something about that, how a yarn slaps the label on in Britain and calls itself a British Yarn.  Jo-Ann Fabrics buys most of its supplies inexpensively overseas, marks it up horribly so that they can put out their ‘40% off’ coupons all the time, and then sells it to crafters that then create something from those supplies.  If I oppose the tariff it would be for reasons other than to keep Jo-Anns making a fortune off of marking up foreign goods.  If I were to support the tariff I might say that marking up foreign goods may give some domestic products a chance to flourish, but I do not know enough about economics to make an educated guess.* End Service announcement.

I am currently getting ready for a class that I will be teaching in October on Latch Hooking.  Over the past couple of years of teaching crafting classes my students have mentioned that I am willing to  work on just about any craft.  That is true, I love crafting and I adore that I can figure out just about any craft there is.  I’m not always good at them, and sometimes I get bored, but I can usually figure them out.  Latch Hooking is a very simple craft, take a small length of yarn use a tool to form a larks head knot over a piece of canvas  and repeat ad Infinium until you are done with the yarn, and pattern.  I will create a tutorial with step by step instructions and be done with it until the class in October.

More interesting I just received permission to do a Book Binding series of craft classes for NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month in November which is also National Family Stories Month.  The act of binding a book is really three acts that are rolled into one.  First the Cover must be created, then the pages to go inside the cover and finally the entire thing must be assembled.  Since there is considerable amounts of glue involved in the process these three steps need time to dry in between.  A week should do it.  So there will be three separate classes on book binding.

Among all of this I did manage to get some spinning done, Moon Rock Farm of Western NEllen's Flockew York has a sheep named Elvira.  I obtained about 8 ounces of Elvira, the wool spins like a dream, and managed to spin over 148 yards of a 3 ply yarn.  The yarn is 10 wraps per inch, so the yarn is considered a worsted weight yarn.

So I will leave you with a picture of a full bobbin and wishes for Happy Crafting!

Spinning with Nepps

For the August Fiber of the Month Club we were sent some beautiful fibers and Nepps to work with.  If you do not know, nepps are ususally bits of fiber that were caught in the teeth of the drum carder and became little wool balls.  Sometimes these are the weak tips, or if the fleece was too fine for the kind of carder you have it will result in nepps.  In this case it looks as though it were little felted wool balls dyed to go with this box.  They are a really pretty rainbow of colors and I was sort of excited to get them.  I sorted them out by color and used some of the little bits and some Perendale Wool I had to create little rolags to spin woolen for a fine, light, colorful yarn.

Nepps went everywhere.  I had not used a large amount to begin with, but what I did have went everywhere leaving few in the yarn.

Perendale spun Woolen with Nepps

I was undaunted, okay, I was a little daunted.  However I decided to persevere.  I used my drum carder and some Corriedale wool I had.  I put down a layer of Corriedale, then some nepps sandwiched under some Wool, and I kept going.  This resulted in a very pretty batt.

Corriedale Batt

I then proceeded to spin this into a thicker yarn.  The resulting yarn was neat and textured, but there were still a ton of nepps everywhere.  When I plied even more nepps flew off, and when I washed the resulting skein even more nepps wound up flying everywhere.  I sort of like how the skein turned out, but I really want to be able to spin a finer yarn with the nepps (I will probably never do anything with the bulky yarn).

Corriedale spun semi woolen from batt with nepps thick

I look forward to continuing this journey and seeing where I am taken.  I will keep you posted as I learn more about how to use nepps in spinning.  Until then, Happy Crafting!

Sheepspot Podcast by Sasha Torres

Sheepspot by Sasha Torres is a great podcast and an overall great spinning resource.  If you are looking for a podcast that will help you become a better spinner then this is the first one I would recommend.  She is very strict about sharing information and making it clear that each podcast is going to have a lesson to teach, but that there will be print resources available.  Even if you do not listen to the podcasts, subscribe to her newsletter.  You will certainly get more out of it if you do both, but even with just her newsletter you will gain access to all of the great resources she publishes.  At a wild guess I would say that Sasha is a librarian or otherwise involved in higher education, she gives detailed resource information for all of her podcasts and makes sure that the information is concise, clear, and readily available.  As of the writing of this review she is just working on six ways to get out of a spinning rut, her online course.  It does run a bit expensive, but I imagine it will be handy.  Since I have not taken it, nor will I have the means to do so in the immediate future, I cannot say it will be worth it or not.

Check out this great podcast/resource.  It is well worth the time.

Happy Listening.

June Box, Paradise Fibers

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This is my three ply from the June fiber box.  I was afraid I would not like how the fibers looked, too many colors making things muddy.  Instead I found myself falling in love with the almost tweedy look to the yarn.  Before washing there were 256 yards of this yarn, I think this is one of my largest spins yet.  I love how it looks, I did a 15 yard test ply before committing to this entire bobbin.  After I knit the test yarn up I decided to commit and ply all of the yarn I had, the results are stunning.

Really, if you were to only plan on getting one fiber box subscription I would definitely advise Paradise Fibers.  Sheepspot has a neat breed study I would like to try sometime, and Camaj Fiber Arts has a Spinning Box that gives you little samples of fiber to try, so this is not the only box out there.

Happy Crafting!

Alpaca Adventures and More

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!

Happy Crafting