Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Breed Sheets

Not too much spinning for projects has been going on around here lately. But, I have been filling out breed sheets for all the accumulated fleeces. Breed sheets? It's a way to document the different ways to process and spin the fleece. I can't take credit for it at all, as I'm just following Patsy's advice and using the form she gave us in her class. Quite honestly, I didn't fill out the card last year on the 2 fleeces I had--did the sampling but didn't write anything down and now can't remember a thing about it (except liking the results of flicking the Perendale). So, this year I decided to get busy so I could document the "year of the fleece".

Here are all the basic supplies used--handcards, mini-combs, flicker, a mini-niddy, crimp counter, notebook, WPI gauge and hole punch.
A dirty lock is saved so it can be examined and compared to the clean lock. Then basic measurements are written down. For each method of processing, at least 6 sample yarns are kept (2 ply--soft, average, and hard twists, 3 ply, 4 ply and cable). Sometimes I like to add a 2 ply in a different grist, too, just to see the difference. The WPI of the single is recorded (you can see I forgot to mark down what it was for the flicked locks) in case you want to duplicate a particular yarn. It usually takes about 1.5 hrs to fill out one of these sheets and I've found it a helpful exercise. Generally, one method of processing and spinning is clearly the winner. The only time that hasn't happened is with the long wools like the Gotland. They remain an enigma to me.
When I'm finished filling out the card, I usually spin a mini-skein with what's left on the bobbin. Here they are wound on a ring (another Patsy idea). From left to right are BFL/BL/Icelandic, Cheviot (this is really Kerry's fleece but she gave me a few ozs to play with), Corriedale (Hope), 3 skeins of Corriedale (Misha--unfortunately, the color didn't translate at all well because it's very, very silver grey and not brown at all. But, you can see the variation in the fleece, the first large skein is just randomly spun from all the shades, the middle one is the lightest silver, and the 3rd one includes the next darker shade), Gotland lamb, Icelandic/BFL, Perendale, Polwarth, Shetland from Shetland, Wensleydale.

Currently on the Traveller is some 80% Coopworth/20% Silk from Hidden Valley in a color called Moody Blues. This stuff is so nice to spin. I'm making a woolen singles (28 WPI) to use for a remake of the Faroese shawl I knit last winter.
Anybody know the name of the flower at the beginning of the post? It was a volunteer in my garden this spring. Guess the seed must have been dropped by a bird or something. It didn't have the look of a weed so I let it grow up and flower. Boy, am I ever glad I did.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Coming out to Play

It's been awhile since I've posted, but Mel tagged me for the 7 random things meme 'cause she said it was time I came out to play. I'm pretty boring and uninteresting, but, here goes.

1. I am a self taught knitter and though I can use (and have taught) many different styles of knitting, the one most comfortable and fastest for me is my original method which could probably be termed throwing with my left hand. It's been called bizarre, and painful to watch; but it works for me.

2. Even though I live in the middle of the country, I have a deep love for the ocean. There is a physical pull I feel every few years that drags me to a coastline, an almost spiritual call that needs to be answered in order to fill up the well.

3. I am a pansy fanatic! probably planting close to 9 or 10 dozen every spring. No matter where I am or who I'm with, I can't pass by a bed of them without exclaiming in a loud voice "Pansies".

4. I was born on the day I was due. My parents were shopping and it must've sounded so great and something I definitely wanted to partake in, that I made an almost immediate appearance waiting only until my mom was inside the hospital doors for about two minutes.

5. I am probably one of the shyest people you'll ever meet.

6. It can take forever for me to make a decision!

7. I've worn the same necklace every day since receiving it in college (or maybe it was before that, it was so long ago that I can't even remember). It's has a cross, anchor and heart which symbolize faith, hope and love. It serves to remind me that even when there are days without faith or love, there is always still hope.

I think every blogger I know has already done this meme, but if you're reading this and would like to play, consider yourself tagged.