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

Getting Ready

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.

Happy Crafting!

Getting Ready for Ravellenics & SAL

I am getting myself psyched up for the Paradise Fibers Spin Along for the Olympics as well as Ravelry’s Ravellenics.  For the spin along I purchased the Brights package from Paradise Fibers, it contained a rainbow of colors as well as three other shades off of primary, burgundy, a blue, and a fluorescent pink.  I didn’t think that these colors would do much but I wanted to card them with some sparkle anyway.  I loaded my handcards, and away I went.

I tried going for a bit of a striped effect but soon discovered that I liked how everything looked when it was blended more thoroughly.  I decided to create punis from my carding, since they are so much fun to spin, and I really hope that when I spin them they create an amazing tweed effect.

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I decided, rather whimsically, to name them “Unicorn Fluff & Faerie Dust”.  They have a lot more sparkle to them in person than they do in this photo.

As for the primary colors, I will make that into another post when I have pictures.  I am very happy with how that turned out also.

As for the breed study, Heaven Help Me, I’ve decided to get a bit organized with it.  I managed to spin and knit 13 different breeds in January.  As stated in a previous post, I need to take more time with them.  Unfortuantely for my resolve to move onto something different until I find out what my guild is doing, Camaj Fiber Arts is selling Perenale Wool for $1 an ounce as their wool of the month (which might be different by the time you are reading this post).  So I have decided to look through the Field Guide to Fleece by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius to see what breeds I’m missing, which I already know are 90+.  This should be a blast to work through, and since I have created a spreadsheet I hope to minimize my duplication of effort.  In other words, I hope I’m not going to buy a bunch of breeds I’ve already spun, lol.  Back to listing breeds.  Later this week, or early next, I hope to post pictures of the pages I’ve already finished.

Happy Crafting!

3 Tips for Drumcarding Top

http://knittyblog.com/2017/08/3-tips-for-drumcarding-top/

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.

Happy Crafting!

Top to Batt: More Adventures in Carding

http://knittyblog.com/2017/08/top-to-batt-more-adventures-in-carding/

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!

The Sandwich Part of My Batts

http://knittyblog.com/2017/09/the-sandwich-part-of-my-batts/

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!

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!