I WILL Get Better At This

You know, things dealing with fiber are generally pretty easy for me. For whatever reason, it normally just feels easy as soon as I get started.

That hasn’t been my experience yet with prepping raw fiber. I feel like I’m just fumbling around making a mess of things. I did a little more carding this week and feel a bit better about it, but I also ordered some combs and have been playing with them. Carefully playing.

combs

Those suckers are wicked sharp.

So you load them up with fiber like this (sorry about the blur, flashless)

combload

and then you comb the fiber and eventually wind up with a lovely little nest of fiber like this.

nest

They’re lovely airy little clouds, and I totally suck at making them. Part of it is I’m being so cautious because I really don’t want to stab myself on the combs, part of it is just plain awkwardness, and part is that I think I overprocessed my wool a little bit so it’s crazy flyaway. The bunch I washed this morning I eased off of a little and am hoping it’s clean enough to use without being quite so floofy. Not that I don’t want floof, but I need something a little easier to work with than what I have right now.

So no post last week because I went to Vegas with Mom. We saw Elton John in his very aptly named Million Dollar Piano show. It was 90 minutes of awesome. Mom was good, although her COPD is pretty hard on her. I took along the Ashworth

ashworth9

and the Sandbank

sandbank3

but I really didn’t do much knitting. Even on the planes I spent a great deal of time just staring out the window. I did finish the sixth Outlander book on the way home. Started on a Stephen King the next day – I’d forgotten how fast his books read.

Yesterday I was thinking about how many of the Rockin Sock Club kits I haven’t knit, and decided to look back at the last few years that have included a pattern other than socks and pick something out. I settled on a kit from 2013 and a hat pattern from Franklin Habit.

hippie1

Right now it’s a funny looking thing, but it’s going fast and will be a nice warm thing when it’s done.

What little spinning I’ve done has been with the Turkish. I’ve decided this fiber is a little too slippery for me and spindling, so the rest of it will be done on the wheel. So this is the cop (or turtle) on the spindle.

turtlefull

And this is what happens when you start taking the spindle apart.

turtleoff

When you take that last arm out, you’ve got a perfect little center pull ball to either knit, skein, or ply from. I’m going to go ahead and ply this, but I’m thinking about trying to spin the rest for a singles yarn. As much spinning as I’ve done, it’s all been plied.

Oh, and as for getting better with the fleece prep? I’d better hurry, because I’ve got a 5+ pound one coming next week.

Posted in Hats, Mia, Sandbank, Scarves, Spinning | Leave a comment

That’s One Way To Start

Storm season that is. There hadn’t even been a severe thunderstorm warning in Oklahoma since May 31 of last year, which is really unusual. So to make up for it last Wednesday we had a tornado about 1/2 a mile from here. And they didn’t issue the warning until it was well past us. We were standing looking out the window that direction when it was going on, but all we could see was “Well, the wind’s blowing really hard and look at that sideways rain.” We had no damage and my brother just lost a couple of fence panels and his power was out for a day or two. He was out of town so he didn’t care once he knew he had a house. We did get out and check on it that night. Didn’t realize how bad it was until we drove right through the damage path.

So I had no knitting time Wednesday between working late and all that excitement. Then Thursday I worked late and then had yoga, so no fiber work. Friday I worked until 10 pm, so no fiber work then either. But for two after work evenings and Saturday and most of Sunday I’ve actually got quite a bit done.

I’ve been spending some quality time with Mia. I’ve tried several washing methods with varying results. These are a few locks from the last batch, and I’m pretty happy with how they came out.

clean

Those dirty tips are still vexing me, and I’m not positive how I’m going to deal with them all the way through the fleece. This is what happens if I don’t open them up a little before scouring.

tips

I can just cut or tear that little bit off, and honestly I may wind up doing that. I’ve given every batch I’ve done two scouring soaks (scouring is the step using really hot – like 160f hot – and a special type of detergent to get the lanolin out of the wool) and three rinses. I think I may try just one scour with the next batch. It should keep it a little less dry and fly-away.

These are samples of two different methods to get the fleece in a final ready to spin state.

rts1

It’s not that yellow, I was noodling with the white balance on the camera. It’s actually the pretty almost white from the pictures above. Hopefully before the next post I’ll have a chance to spin those up and see if either prep is the one I want to keep working with.

Knitting wise I’ve worked on the Ashworth. I finally got into the second of the three hanks of yarn for it.

ashworth8

Also spent more time on the Sandbank. Like the Ashworth, it’s lace weight yarn on small needles.

sandbank2

I do occasionally crave some instant gratification, so this morning I cast on an Extinction out of some worsted weight yarn I got last weekend at DFW. It’s 200 stitches per row, but it just flies off the needles. I’ve made it through the first of three colors.

extinction1

I like the rhythm of the linen stitch in the transition zone. The little minis of buffalo/silk blend I got last weekend

sexylace

are destined to become a linen stitch cowl so the Extinction is good practice. But I really need to clear some other things off the needles first.

No post next weekend.

Posted in General, Mia, Sandbank, Scarves | 1 Comment

How To Get Your Mojo Back

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve not been doing a whole lot of fiber work lately. Just haven’t really been feeling it for some reason. But I had signed up for DFW Fiber Fest a few months ago so Thursday morning I loaded up and went to Texas.

First off I had a photography class with Franklin Habit. Really good class, now I need to play with what we talked about so things look better here on the blog. My little camera won’t do everything we talked about, but it will do a lot of it. I tried a couple of things while I was taking pictures for this post. Some worked, some didn’t. Because I have plenty on my plate today I chose to just use what I got and not get too worried about it.

I actually did pretty well volume wise. This is all the yarn except for one hank of sock yarn I already cast on.

inthebag

Yep, it all fit in one bag. Here’s a little better look.

yarn

I also got a couple more Erin Lane bags. I had a Turkish spindle on my buy list, but wasn’t sure who I’d want one from. I wound up going with the person I figured I would, Jeri Brock. She makes great spindles with scroll work in the bigger arm. Like this.

jbturks

The bit of fiber on the center spindle is from the only fiber I bought(!). I only got it because I wanted to drive the spindle before I got home. These are different from my other spindles in that they’re bottom whorl, meaning the weight is down at the bottom instead of up at the top. Otherwise there’s not a whole lot of difference. Or there won’t be until I finish putting as much fiber on it as I want. I’ll show you what happens then when I get there.

But here’s a close up of the center spindle.

turtleclose

Yep. Sea Turtles. Like my necklace I wear every day. Like my shoulder tattoo. They’re kind of my thing, so when I saw a spindle with them I had to have it. The larger one in the background is a llama llama duck. Go search that on YouTube, but be prepared to say WTF. I’ll explain later if anyone is interested.

I actually started something else a few days ago, but hadn’t taken a picture yet. Here it is.

sandbank1

It’s called Sandbank and it’s from the same designer that did the NordNordWest and the Strandwanderer that I’ve knit. I’m using some of my WM Lace-Garn. Maybe by next time I take pictures you’ll be able to see how it shapes a little better.

Oh – and meet Mia.

mia1

That’s her fleece. I’ve never dealt with a raw fleece before, and I have a whole lot to learn. I’ve been mucking about with two bits of the fiber this afternoon, and already know something I need to do differently with the next batch. But check this out when you get up close.

miaclose

Isn’t that some lovely crimp? As long as I can get it clean without felting it, it’s going to be really nice to work with. I hope. The plan is to hand card rolags. We’ll see how this goes. It’s a small fleece (1.7 pounds), and I’ll be lucky if I get 3/4 of a pound of usable fiber out of it.

I did start a pair of socks while I was at DFW, because all the new sock yarn was calling and I wanted to try the set of Signature needles I bought.

wskrainbowsocks

Love the yarn (from Western Sky Knits). The needles are nice, but they’re not really worth the price. I have others that were 1/4 the cost that I like just as much. They’re not bad, but they’re stupid expensive. Anyone who knows me knows that while I like quality stuff I’m not obsessed with having all the name brand things. I don’t think I’ll be buying any more.

I also knit some on the Ashworth Scarf last night.

ashworth7

Quite honestly I hadn’t done much fiber-wise except a bit of spindling in the last couple of weeks. Turns out going to DFW did recharge my batteries a bit so I’m feeling excited about working on stuff again.

Oh – and I’ve heard before about cats and unwashed wool. The things I’ve heard are true.

clovesm

I’m having to hide the fleece, which means it’s in a dark closet. I don’t like that much, but at least it’s got a tile floor and there’s no carpet anywhere near it. Hopefully I won’t wind up with any pests.

Well, other than the feline one.

Posted in Mia, Sandbank, Scarves, Stash Enhancement | 2 Comments

Namaste

Namaste: a traditional Indian greeting or gesture of respect, made by bringing the palms together before the face or chest and bowing.

I don’t have a whole lot to show you this week. Not sure what I’ve been up to, but the only visible progress is on the Ashworth.

ashworth6

Survived the slippery roads last week. I did take advantage of the delayed report on Thursday morning and didn’t go in until a little after 8.

Thursday evening we started a 10 class Beginners Yoga series. We’ve had 3 sessions so far and are really enjoying it.

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A Very Good Reason

I have a good reason for being late with the post this week.

goh

That’s the beautiful guest of honor yesterday at a baby shower I helped with. The little one should arrive on or about April 5.

I’m not terribly happy with this but gave it to her anyway. At worst she can wipe the baby’s bum with it, right?

magblank2

It’s not THAT bad, it’s just shorter than I wanted and the fixes for a couple of skips are more visible than I’d like. Interestingly enough (to me at least) is that the white bit of patterning wasn’t planned. I still suck at getting even tension when I warp, so I got this kind of cool effect from it.

magblank1

I have been doing a lot of spinning still. I finished off the Fiber Optic braid. I am ASTONISHED. I got over 595 yards of chain ply from four ounces of fiber. Which means my single was 1,785 yards long. One single string. And I never did break it while I was plying.

fitsdone2

There’s way more orange and yellow in it than I realized though, so I’ll probably give it away. But I am quite proud of it.

fitsdone1

Knitting wise I worked a little more on the sock test knit, but I hit a problem and had to stop. The designer was out of pocket for a few days and just got back with the fix today. I’m not sure I’m up for working on it tonight though, maybe tomorrow. But I also worked on the Ashworth Scarf. Once again the marker on the edge shows where it was last time I took a picture.

ashworth5

And I did start my next spin. It’s an alpaca/Merino/silk/camel blend from Spotted Circus. I got two braids at SSK, and I’ve started one of them on the Reeves. I’m spinning it from the fold, and it’s pretty slow going. However I’m happy with it.

sc1

And finally, I had this last week but didn’t get it posted. It’s my new Trindle. This one is made from the 3,000 year old oak that was found in a bog. It almost feels like plastic. It’s beautiful and with these arms it spins like a dream. I’m really really happy I got it.

bogtrindle

Posted in Finished Objects, General, Gifts, Scarves, Spin the Bin 2015, Spinning, Weaving | Leave a comment