June Box, Paradise Fibers

IMG_0957

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

Crocheted Shawl

It turns out that if you lock the cat in the computer room with you and let mom sleep in for a couple of hours you can crochet up a Half-Granny Shawl.

IMG_0815I love this pattern simply because it is so quick to crochet up and the results are amazing.  This is with the brights wool I spun up for the Paradise Fibers spinlympics & entered into the first week of the 51 yarn challenge by Jacey Boggs Faulkner.  This is my third shawl that I have crocheted with my handspun yarn, though it is the first using just one skein.

I’m really loving my yarn and handspinning, it is a joy when things get a little too busy in my ‘real life’.

Happy Crafting!

Olympics are Over

I am not including a photograph of my shawl for Ravellenics…because it has not grown since the last photo.  I have been plagued by these weird should and neck aches, I use a memory foam support pillow so I don’t get these anymore…so it was weird.  Then I was waiting in the doctors office for mom to finish her stress test, knitting away on my shawl, hunched up trying to get these tiny stitches to do what I want, and realizing, “Shoot, that’s why my neck hurts.”  So the shawl went into the, “When I get better at knitting I will try this again.” Or more Likely, “mess around with this every now and again until I deem it done.”  Either way the shawl is not going going to be finished anytime soon.

My Spin along went very well!  I am very happy with my 300+ yard skein of rainbow yarn.  It is beautiful and so very sparkly.  (I have to figure out how to photograph sparkles so they show up, I’m working on it.)  I also have my Unicorn Fluff and Faery Dust Skein spun and washed at about 150 yards.

IMG_0704

Again, I really love how this skein turned out.  Before long I hope to pick up my spinning for the breed study again with a combination of breeds and non-animal, non-plant material spins.  I recieved a Vegan Box not that long ago and I’ve used the fibers for demonstrations.  I have not taken the time to spin the vegan fibers to see how they work up.  I really am looking forward to adding that aspect to my explorations and sharing the results with my students.  I cannot believe in 6 weeks I’m going to be dyeing wool with students again.  Shoot, I’d better get started trying to figure out what went wrong last time I tested things with the commercial acid dyes.

Happy Crafting!

Back on Track…Mostly

IMG_0700

Since it is past the 15th, okay just past…boy I’ve been spinning like a dervish..I’ve started spinning my Brights Pack!

Mom likes to listen to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy or the Rosary (or both) and then Morning Mass using her EWTN App on her iPad.  Since I like to keep her company and feel the need for some quiet contemplation in the morning, but if I just listen I fall back asleep, I have been spinning while she listens to the meditations.  According to mom the sound of my wheel whirring away is very soothing.  I’m trying to tell her the fact that my wheel is making that whirring clunking noise is not a good thing, but since I cannot find the source right now we are at a standstill.  I suspect that I need to disconnect, clean, re-oil, tighten, and reassemble the footman that connects my treadles to my wheel.  But since that involves the wheel being upside down and empty it isn’t going to happen until this spin is completed at least.

Because of her quiet time I have between 90-120 minutes in the morning of almost uninterrupted spinning time I have gotten quite a bit accomplished.  I do not believe for a minute that I will be able to keep this pace up, especially since I’m usually running around doing other things in the morning also, but while it lasts I intend to enjoy it.  If, somehow, I manage to get the last of my singles spun tomorrow morning, probably not since I’ve still got almost half of my fiber to spin, then I can put each single on a bobbin, or bobbins, and ply from there.  I plan on having this be a three-ply yarn so I’ll have to see how much I can fit on my bobbins, first I think I’ll try and find my schacht travel bobbins and ply-up bobbins before worrying about putting singles on the smaller weaving bobbins.

With my extreme enjoyment of my spinning I Have not progressed very far on my knitting.  What I have gotten knit up is beautiful and I cannot wait to see the end project.  Thank goodness I cannot take my wheel to work, well I could but it would cause trouble, so I bring my knitting with me and get a couple of rows done while I am supposed to be on my lunch break, lol.  This is probably enough of an update for today, I am going to upload pictures of my breed study sheets to another blog post that I will schedule to release tomorrow.  I had a ton of fun creating them and I am already working on some variations as well as collecting some more breeds to spin!

Happy Crafting!

Miscalculation

It turns out that the Spin Along for the Olympics starts on the 15th, whoopsie.  Oh well.  The ravellenics knit along is going strong.  I’m working on my shawl, a little haphazardly but it will get knit.  I recieved my February 2018 Paradise Fibers box of the month and I really enjoyed the challenge.  They decided to advise that we create a crepe yarn from the supplies they gave us.  I decided to go with that choice.  I did change things up a bit, while they advised that we spin from the top, first one shade of blue then the other and ply them together from there I modified things.  I like carding rolags, not sure why I just get a kick out of them, so I carded the two blues together in a striped rolag formation adding sparkle along the way.  I also didn’t use their silk that they provided instead I spun up some of the silk blend I had left-over from december that I tried to dye black.  It wound up grey instead but I really like how the yarn turned out.  I am also pleased that I have some of the silk blend left.

For the technical side.  I spun the silk blend with the wheel going to the right.  Then I spun all of the merino blue rolags with the wheel going to the left.  Then I put the blues into a center pull ball and plied them with the wheel going to the right.  This means that I had a 2 ply yarn and a silk blend singles all from a wheel going to the right.  Then I plied the 2 ply with the single on the wheel going to the left.  This means that some of the ply twist came undone causing the plied yarn to bubble up a bit.

IMG_1506

The effect wasn’t as extreme as I thought it may have been, but truthfully until I work with it I cannot really judge it.  I am not sure if I am going to just use this as an example for my students and swatch the heck out of it. or try and make it into a project.  It might look cool as a woven purse for example.  Who knows.  I’ll post progress on my ravellenics and spin along later this week or next. ‘Til then, 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!