Sunday, August 27, 2006

My favorite picture from SOAR last year

I can't believe that it's taken me almost a year to post this picture. But then again, I didn't have this blog last year.
From the left we have Alicia, myself, and Fudge. We had the best time at SOAR in 2005 and I can't wait for this year.

Spook is going with me this year and I don't think Alicia or Fudge are going. I hope it's as much fun. It's different for me when I am not sure if I will know anyone there or not. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sending things into the world.

This is going off into the world as a present to someone. It's light grey polworth with some dyed merino and a little glitz thrown in. Posted by Picasa

Trading batts

I posted on Spindlers that I would be willing to trade spinning batts for circular knitting needles and a woman asked for these colors.

I carded them up without any glitz cause she asked for none, but I think this combo cries out for a little sparkle. This is purple and red cotswold with white romney. 1/3 each .

I am hoping that I get a picture of the spun yarn.
Posted by Picasa

Maegan's shrug

Juanita made this little shrug for Maegan out of a pretty merino tencel roving that I got from Winderwood on ebay. It's spun to a baby weight yarn and then crocheted .

How cute is she? Posted by Picasa

Who needs an electric carder...

...when you have Maegan to help?

This is my practically 9 year old niece. She comes over almost every weekend and one of her favorite things to do is help me with my fiber stuff.

She is learning to spin and has felted soaps.

One of the things that Maegan does best is work the drum carder. She is very careful and turns at exactly the right speed for the fiber we are working on.

She wants to learn how to pick the fiber in prep for carding, but I have to have some control over my prep batts.

When she is drum carding batts from the dreck fiber, she gets to do it all. Pick, turn the drum and lift the batt off. Posted by Picasa

yellow cotswold curls

I've started the prep batts for the yellow cotswold. I think this is going into some batts with orange and red cotswold and the white romney.

I think I will go for keeping the colors separated in stripes in the batts with these ones just to see how that comes out. Posted by Picasa

The aqua cotswold blended up

Here is 12 ounces of gorgeous aqua cotswold and white romney with a little green firestar and a whisper of silk. I like the way this came out. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Aqua Cotswold blending

The far left is the aqua cotswold locks carded alone and the batt on the right is the blend with white romney, green firestar and a little bit of neutral silk.

Here is 6 ounces blended up, 6 more to go for this batch. Posted by Picasa

Dyed Cotswold locks

This arrived at my front door the other day. More dyed wonderfulness from Laurie at Frene Creek Farms.

I have been buying her cotswold locks for a few years now and am rarely disappointed.

Of course, I had to start processing some of this right away. I started with the aqua on the far left. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Green cotswold

14 ounces of cotswold prep batts. I'm not sure what I will blend with this, but they sure are pretty all laid out like this.

I am thinking about blending with some grey lincoln - DeVia wants a vest and I'd like to have 16 ounces or more to make sure that I don't run out.

The grey lincoln would give this more loft as the cotswold has hardly any crimp. The white romney has a fairly long staple and I could use it too. I think DeVia prefers a darker overall look - so will probably go with the lincoln.

I could use the light grey polworth - the charcoal polworth is too short of a staple to blend with cotswold.
Posted by Picasa

bulky merino

These pictures do not capture the subtle changes in this yarn. It's spun pretty bulky - 10 wpi. The roving was from Spunky Electric called "into the abyss".

I love her colorways. I am on her fiber of the month club and every package I get from her is a delight.

This was a challenge to spin this bulky - I had to go up to my slowest whorl and still ended up overspinning this skein in places.

It's only 160 yards for the whole 4 ounces. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 21, 2006

prep work

I carded a lot this weekend - but mostly just prep work. I like to card each of the fibers I am blending into 1/2 ounce batts before putting the colors/fibers together.

This weekend was a lot of that type prep. I have an idea about a set of greens that I would like to card up, perhaps to make DeVia that vest she has been hinting about. I have 3 different groups of green cotswold that would spin up very nicely at a worsted or bulky weight. Similar to the yarn I spun for Belinda's vest (that I never finished).

I caved this weekend and frogged Maegan's shrug. Her mom knit up a very cute one in another skein of my yarn. Jessica now wants one out of the salvaged yarn. I have it drying to get the kinks out of it. I may cast on for that this evening.

Juanita snagged two more skeins of yarn tonight - one for a shrug for Sarah and one for herself. The one for herself was a single and I ended up plying it back on it's self so that she could work with it a little easier.....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

First real fleece washing

It doesn't look like much - laid out like this. These pictures do not convey the dark charcoal and yummy softness of this fleece.

Purchased from Sam and Nancy Ortman in Montana - this is 3.5 lbs of American raised Polworth.

I purchased a washed Polworth fleece last year at SOAR from the folks at and it has been a wonder to work with. I believe their Polworth is imported from Australia, but I have to check to be sure.

Anyway - I am not one to wash dirty wool - it just seems like life is too short to mess with that. I have lots of sources for washed and sometimes already dyed wool but the polworth from SOAR really got me hooked and I had to find some more.

This has quite a bit of veg in the tips, but underneath is very clean and there does not seem to be the amount of Lanolin that you find in the other fine wools like Merino.
The staple length of this is close to 4" and there appear to be few if any second cuts.
I washed up a little sample at first and then combed in on my Alvin Ramer combs. Here is the little bit of top.

I'll post a picture of the spun yarn a little later.

I think I may try for the longest thread competition with this, I may be able to spin it finer than the merino I tried with the first time. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It's bad when....

you get a big box on your doorstep, open it up and out comes massive amounts of glorious soft combed top and you have no idea who it's from, when you ordered it or how much you paid...

There was no invoice in with it - my only clue was the return address. I had to go look in my paypal account and then thru back emails to find out that it's 4 pounds of BFL top that I bought from a man on spin sales.....

My biggest fear was that it was sent to me by mistake and I might have to send it back - but nope - it's mine all mine Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Here is the beast revealed

It's a monster with great big sharp teeth - I already have poked one of my fingers.

And here is the result. I'm not sure I like using it or the result.

I think that with the small quantities that I card up, this picker just doesn't work well.

Also, this was a rainbow dyed fleece and it looks like the color blending is a lot more than I want it to be. I prefer to have the colors more separated and then do the blending in the finished batts. Posted by Picasa

mystery box

This came by DHL yesterday. I have been waiting for it patiently.

Can you guess what it might be?

That's right! my long awaited Thomas Creations Picker.

After all that waiting, I have still not uncrated it. I will wait until this weekend so that I can find a place for it to be set up and used without much moving around. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 14, 2006

The next color blending project

Here is the first color selection for the next set of batts. These are some dyed cotswold locks that I purchased from Frene Creek. Laurie is great with color.
I'm not sure what I am going to blend with this, but I like the orangey results of this so far.

I start out by carding the locks into 1/2 ounce batts.
I like this color combination - the colors are separated enough to give a variety, but not blended into one homogenous color.

I think I will use the white Romney with this and find a deep red to blend with it. Posted by Picasa
I started out with the same 3 colors of cotswold as the last batch, and the same white Romney (yes it really is that shiny) with the intention of doing a much larger batch than I usually do.
Here are the fibers carded into their starting batts. The really dark one is actually a deep purple - very cool color.

I then divided the colors into 12 piles. I decided that I would use the light purple in each batch, but do 8 of the batts with the pinky purple and 4 of them with the dark purple. This way all 12 batts go together, but there is some variety in them.

I didn't use any silk or glitz in this batch, but they really turned out well anyway.

Here are all 12 batts (almost 12 ounces) rolled into cinnamon bun shape and stuffed into a bag. (I love these zipper closing bags) You can see the difference in the batts using the pinky purple vs the ones with the dark purple.

I like this, but putting together a batch of this many batts that go together was harder than just doing 3 sets of 4. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Obscene stash photo

This is most of my fiber stash. What this does not show is my 3 looms, 10 spinning wheels and my new picker that's not here yet.

Also missing are 2 fleeces that are on their way.

I have to go and buy another 5 containers in order to keep it all out of my cats reach. Posted by Picasa

Todays triumphs

I started out with 3 colors of dyed cotswold locks, some great white Romney, two colors of dyed mohair top, neutral bombyx silk and a little firestar.

I wanted to end up with 8 batts of one ounce each with some of every item in each one.

I carded each color of the coltswold locks into their own batt and the same with the lincoln. I bought the lincoln on ebay from a great seller (have to look up her name) it was already washed and the fleece is just beautiful.

After every thing was precarded, I divided it all up into 8 batches and started layering the different fibers onto my drum carder. The cotswold and lincoln go on the feed tray, but all the other fibers do better if they are laid on the large drum by hand.

As you can see, I like to keep the layers separate. These batts spin up wonderfully split into thirds and then drafted into roving. I have 5 of the 8 batts done and hope to get the remaining done in the next 1/2 hour. Posted by Picasa