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!

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!

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

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.

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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

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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!