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!

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

Kool-Aid Results

I still don’t have any sugar free kool aid, so the sprinkling has not been tested.  Darn life getting in the way!  Unfortunately the blue wool wound up getting some rust since the pan completely dried out and began to rust a bit. That’s what I get for buying cheap pans, but it is a good lesson for the classes I’m teaching.  Take your wool out to let it drip dry.  So I had to throw out the blue wool (I might have been able to scour it but didn’t really want to mess with it).  Before I did that though, I did try and rinse out the Kool-Aid, and it did not move an inch.   The dye seems to have stuck to the wool despite the lack of heat.  This makes sense since there are individuals that Ice Dye with Kool-Aid and then do not seem to add heat.  I’m very pleased, and I will have to try this again when I have a free weekend and can do all of the steps in a day or two instead of a few days later.

Result: You can dye with kool-aid and no heat.  It does remain in the wool, however you want to take it out of your pan to dry, and rinse within a day or two.

Kool-Aid Progress

IMG_0787As you can probably tell, two pouches of the strawberry-kiwi kool-aid did not do much for an 8″ round pan of soaked wool.  It only saturated a few places on the wool, I expected it to go much further.  I plan on seeing if this much color will adhere to the fiber without heat before either using more Kool-Aid or rinsing out the other pan of wool.  It does not show as clearly in this picture as it does in person, but this is actually a very pale green color.  While it shows up as a striking contrast in this picture it barely shows in person.

 

blue-koolaid-wool.jpg

The blue raspberry kool-aid on the other hand shows up as an amazingly vibrant blue, in the few places that the two pouches covered.  This is an example of trying to keep what color I did manage.  I am more willing to lose the little bit of green than I am this pretty blue shade.

It has been a couple of days and I am still chickening out on rinsing these out, tomorrow I will have to bite the bullet and see if the green has remained.  Wish me luck, I’ll post an update then.

Happy Crafting!

Easter Egg Dyeing

I had an absolute blast with my leftover Easter Egg Dye!  Since there was so much color left over in the cups I decided to use that water to dye some fiber.  My black turned out phenomenal and the others gave me such beautiful marbled effects.  I am very pleased with how everything turned out.  The eggs turned out well too, you can see the black one next to its corresponding fiber.  I had such a blast, Happy Easter!

Dyeing with Depth

I am having so much fun with dying techniques!  These are my first  4 attempts at dyeing with depth, using more than one color before putting in my main color so that the main color stands out more than it would have.  The first two braids, that I think of as Crows and Ravens are red & blue with black as the main color.  The reds and blues struck the fiber more than I thought they would leaving little room for the black to attach, I think I will have to use less of the first two and perhaps a professional black if I want to try this again.  The yellow is a light yellow overdyed with a stronger golden yellow.  I like the effect, it gives the yellows some depth without muddying things up too much.  The reds were an interesting experiment, between my cake frosting dyes, and my regular dyes I had about 3-4 shades of red/pink.  So I used all of them, the end result was supposed to be a strong red with pink undertones/depth.  Things didn’t seem to be working too well until I remembered a piece of advice where they said to use a contrasting color to emphasize the main color, so with a hope and a prayer I put in a drop of blue.  Much to my shock the red started to pop and the overall effect is that the colors deepened quite a bit.

I am very happy with these results and look forward to my next dyeing day!

Happy Crafting!

Spindle Experiments

IMG_1216

I love my Bottom Whorl Drop Spindle, the wooden one in the middle.  This is what I started with, adn I adore it.  I can get a good long spin, it looks cool twirling around and the hook at the top is perfect for catching on when I’m twisting my fiber.

IMG_1218Unfortunately within the concept of larger classes and getting people hooked on fiber arts, the price point is a little high for a giveaway.

On the left is a Babe Spindle without the whorl.  I needed to hit a price point to get free shipping on an order, the Babe Spindle cost less than shipping and allowed me to hit that goal so I ordered one.  It really is a neat spindle, allowing the user to decide if it is a bottom whorl or top whorl spindle in addition to allowing you to decide if you want to put one or two of the whorl discs on the spindle.  What I found neat is that if you keep the whorls off of the spindle entirely…or if they fall off because you didn’t put nearly enough tape on the shaft, oops, you can roll the shaft of the spindle down your leg and use the cup hook to hold the wool in place.  IMG_1219The shaft becomes a great little spindle, a bit awkward and no independent spinning like with my original spindle, but you have a lot more control over how the shaft spins, very neat.   This becomes a bit more of a reasonable price point, all a teacher would need to provide is a stick (dowel) with some cup hooks screwed into the top.  (also Wool)  Dowels are not that expensive, the cup hooks aren’t too bad price wise…I’d just have to find a way to get the cup hook into the dowel without it splitting.  I think I saw something about putting a nail in first to keep the wood from splitting, definitely worth considering.

Now, recently Mayan Spindles, I can’t really find out where the name came from as it does not seem to have anything to do with the Mayan Culture, have been showing up more in popular culture…okay, popular spinning culture.  This is a dead simple way of putting twist into fiber, attach the fiber on one arm, spin around, and voila yarn.  The spinning motion is very big and completely controlled by the spinner.  But the price point just went up again, a wooden Mayan Spindle (Spinner) is about $20, whew that’s a bit rich for a teacher.  However, doesn’t that spinner look a bit like a propeller?  I looked up plastic propellers on Amazon, lo and behold, they have 12 plastic propellers in a pack for under $5 with free shipping. IMG_1217 Okay, they came from China, and I’m washing them in hot soapy water before using because I’m a little paranoid.  (I didn’t realize that the Sari Silk from India might contain some really nasty diseases that are fairly rampant over there).  I try to Order American when I can, if you know of an American equivalent/retailer let me know, but these are fantastic.  They spin, just a tiny bit, on their own but allow for complete control.  They are lightweight and easily spun in one hand.  It is very easy for the spinner to see the twist as it enters into the fiber.  At about .25 each, they are cheap enough to be a giveaway that doesn’t hurt the pocket book.  I do think that I will glue the shaft to the propeller before showing these to anyone else, but it really does make for a great spindle alternative.

So, these are my Spindle Explorations!

Happy Crafting!