Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Seen any Pods?

Long time, no blogging. My excuse? The Olympics, and the Ravelympics. My entry this year was a small one. I knew I'd be away for a few days during the middle of the games (backdated blog post explaining where/why) and wanted something that wouldn't need working on every second but just during the evenings while watching the events on tv.

So, I chose a little sweater for Keegan, my great nephew--a Wallaby from Cottage Creations.
The yarn was Encore from Plymouth. I'd much rather have used a wool, but since he's only two, figured it was more practical to use something a little easier to wash. It was fun knitting this piece and improvising details on the fly. I added a tubular cast on, jogless jog stripes with no color blip in the ribbing, cables, intarsia edging as well as intarsia in the round for the placket, and grafting in pattern on the hood.

Started spindling this big batch of Columbia fiber I got last year at Michigan Fiber Fest. I'm using my large Swan Lake Golding--1.9 oz and spinning a woolen yarn. Can't decide if I'll leave it as a worsted weight single or ply it to make a super bulky yarn. Both samples are so soft and airy.
Isn't the spindle pretty when it's filled up with yarn.
Also have been spinning this cranberry colored roving from Hidden Valley Woolen mill on my Ashford Traveller. It's called Secret Garden and is 100% Coopworth.
It's spinning up into big fat scrunchy yarn. Spun woolen to about a heavy worsted weight size.
Two spinning projects making fat yarn and a knitting project using it. I know what you're thinking...have the body snatchers been around. I promise, I haven't seen any pods laying about anywhere.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Michigan Fiber Festival--2008

Braved the road construction around Chicago again this year so I could attend the Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan, MI

The Spinning Guru, Patsy Z, was teaching once again and this time I took her class on spinning Angora bunny.

Pictured here is fiber from four different breeds of Angora bunnies.
From left to right: Giant, German, English and French. All but the German are plucked fiber, the cut end on the German sample is clearly evident. Spinning samples from all four breeds really established their differences to me. The French and Giant definitely have more Awn fibers or the really long hair like fibers. The English basically had none and the German was somewhere in between.

Here are my class samples and a few more blends I tried after getting home.
A fun, fun class as usual, from a great teacher.

Didn't buy too much--guess going through and organizing the stash this summer helped after all.

Wasn't going to buy a fleece unless I saw one that stole my heart. And, this one, did.
It's a CVM from Moonshadow Farm of Chisholm, MN. Loved the two-toned quality of the lock and it's wonderfully soft and springy. Haven't decided the best way to spin it, yet.

Another stand out booth (for the second year running) was Yarn Hollow. She does wonderful hand painted yarns and rovings. This one is Alpaca/Merino/Tussah. Mmmmm! She has a shop on Etsy, but has everything down right now during fiberfest season. But, be sure to bookmark for later because her colorways are beautiful.
My other favorite booth for the second year running was that of a local shepherd. She raises Columbia sheep, dyes their fleece and then has it processed. This year she had pink!
She hadn't even had the chance to roll it into balls as the processor had just dropped off a huge bag of it before opening up Saturday morning. I happily waited for them to measure out enough for a sweater. Can't wait to get spinning on it!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Cardin' Party

Took a little blog vacation last week, so here are the pics from our cardin' party at Fiber Camp.

The first day, Roberta showed me her method for carding Cormo.

If the drum carder has a brush attachment, it needs to be moved up and out of the way.
The Cormo, from Riverwinds Farm, was carefully washed to preserve the lock structure, so it just took a little teasing to get them ready to card.
Catch the tips end of the locks on the teeth of the large drum,
and, while slowly turning the drum, draft back to lay down a thin layer of wool.
You want to keep drafting back until there's almost nothing left to hold onto. This prevents the lock from springing back and forming a nep.
It's a slow methodical process, but doesn't need to be finished in one sitting. Also, this is the one and only time they're going to be carded.
When finished, remove the batt from the drum. Later in the weekend, my friend Patty stopped by and told us about a great tool to use for this process.
Take a wooden dowel and tape a long strip of thick plastic to it. The plastic prevents the layers of the rolled up batt from sticking to each other.

Here is our first Cormo batt off the carder. What few irregularities it had, spun right out. I found it a much nicer preparation to spin than my hand combed top.
Later in the weekend, we played with some blending.

Kerry had given me a sample of one of her dyeing experiments. I'm pretty sure it's North County Cheviot. We teased open the locks and carded a thin layer of them.
Then, we added some locks from Patty's sheep, Lucy (aka Dolly) which is a Dorset Rambouillet. Our aim was a sock blend.
For strength and a punch of needed color, we added some magenta silk.
We dubbed the resulting batt, Peach Bud.
As you can see, this isn't a totally blended batt. But, it's the start of a continuing exploration. Fiber Camp was so much fun. Can't wait for next time.