Archive for the “Fiber processing” Category

Thanks for all the commiseration with my sock machine woes of the last post. Thanks also to those of you that pointed out the Houdini Socks. I’ve only glanced at the article/pattern so far, but it looks promising. I never would have seen it otherwise, so thank you!

I have yet to touch the sock machine again since last weekend. I know they say the older you get the faster the time goes, but I never thought it could be *this* true. I have no idea where the weekend went. We were cleaning for Thanksgiving, we went shopping, I did some dyeing (which I hope to show you soon) and then all of the sudden I was getting up for work! Huh?!? Guess it’s just going to be that kind of end of the year around these parts.

So it looks like this will be a post of many random things. I hope you’re ready because here it goes!

Random thing the first. My Dad went to Argentina recently by way of Chile. I asked him to bring me home an alpaca.

alpaca patch

He got close. ;)

Random thing the second. I finally got to wear my Annemor Gloves that I finished in the spring.

Finally got to wear them!

I’m usually far from the “matchy matchy” type but by sheer coincidence these happen to match the headband I made as my first Fair Isle project back when the first knitting olympics happened. And both these match my winter coat. HWJF tells me I’m cute. I’ll take his word for it.

Random thing the third. In between everything else I’ve got going on I’ve been working on cleaning the mohair fleece I bought at Rhinebeck.

mohair locks

I wish y’all had “Feel-o-blog” or something. It is taking quite a bit of doing to get these suckers clean but when they are? Soft and fluffy and just amazingly awesome. I can’t wait to start carding these into some sock yarn batts for the shop and myself!

Random thing the fourth. I had a local MLA chapter meeting last week and since my other knitting has too much patterning going on I decided to work a bit on my plain old stockinette socks.

I shouldn't be knitting this sock but I am.

Only the toe was done when the meeting started. I love being productive while listening to people speak, but part of me really wishes I’d been working on Christmas knitting. We will be having our Christmas with my parents early this year and I’ve only got about three weeks left to knit! EEEK!

And finally, random thing the last. I finished up another spinning order.

strawberry rhubarb yarn

Approximately 700 yards of fingering weight two ply merino yarn.

strawberry rhubarb yarn closeup

Strawberry Rhubarb Colorway. Squishy goodness. I really hope some of the folks that have been getting yarn for me will share what they’re making with it. I’m so anxious to see!

That’s about it from here. Happy Monday y’all. Think I’ll go watch me some football with the boy. :)

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Part one of many (no doubt).

But first, thanks so much for all the nice comments on the Bog Jacket in the last post. Your kindness has really bolstered my spirits with this one. I may even wear it out of the house again. ;) It’s amazing how the perspective can be skewed when you are “too close” to something and it takes the eyes of (somewhat) neutral parties to make you see again. It isn’t a horrible sweater. Just not what I expected. So thanks for making me see it a little bit differently.

Second, I want to share some finished spinning. The merino-silk I was working on finally got plied up last week. Here’s the finished skein:

Red Merino-Silk

And the closeup:

Red Merino-Silk closeup

I’m quite happy with how this came out. I just wish there was more of it. I only ended up with about 226 yards, but I’m sure I’ll figure out something to do with it sooner or later.

But the real subject for today is that I’ve begun my journey into fiber processing. You’ll remember that I bought my first fleece at Maryland this year, a beautiful 6 lb. cormo that I’ll be processing myself from sheep to shawl sweater whatever I decide to make with it. Before I started washing the fleece I figured it was high time I learned to use a drum carder. Luckily Risa happened to have one she wasn’t using and has been so very kind enough to let me borrow it for a while. It’s a Fricke finest and is quite a nice machine.

Drum carder side

For those that don’t know a drum carder actually has two “drums”. One that brings the fiber in and one that cards it. **Disclaimer** I am not expert in these things. I’m only relating my own experiences here. **End Disclaimer** I believe the smaller one is called the “licker in” and that holds the fiber as it drags across the big drum, carding the wool. You can see them a little better in this picture:

Drum carder top

There is a metal shelf where the wool is sitting, then to the left is the “licker in”. You can also see from that angle that there is a brush that sits on top of the big drum. This serves to push the fiber down as it is carded so you can put more into a single batt. What you also see here is rather improper treatment for preparing wool to be carded. I decided to do my first experiments with this BFL that I had dyed sometime last year. It was “black” BFL (which is actually a kind of light brown color) that I over dyed with red. The color didn’t distribute evenly (something that is good when kettle dyeing depending on your desired result) so I thought I’d let the carder redistribute and blend the color for me while I learned.

My first attempts weren’t too great as I was attempting to put way too much wool through the carder at once. After a couple of viewings of this video on Youtube (they seriously have a video for everything there, this one is pretty “interesting” in more ways than one) I had a lot more success. In the end I ended up with these three lovely fluffy batts:

First batts

I’ve managed to spin one up so far and hope to have the resulting yarn to show you sometime soon. Who knows. Maybe I’ll be able to make my own fiber blends for sweaters like the ones that are found in this book sometime soon:

Fine Fleece

Because I seriously want to make almost every single thing in there. One step at a time for now though.

The next adventure will be fleece washing!

P.S. Final registrations for the Summer of Socks ’08 topped out at 1582! If you aren’t on the Ravelry group, you really should be! It’s amazing what’s already been going on over there!

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