My wheel is serviced and ready to go, prepared fiber is handy, I have supplies set up. The Feline Staff is fed, their litter box scooped, the trash taken out, and they have fresh catnip toys so this picture at left doesn’t happen as I’m trying to spin.
The washed fiber is still a bit damp, but I have my drum carder out and ready. It should be ready as soon as I get done with the current bobbins on my wheel.
The fiber is a Navajo-Churro lamb fleece. I have a single sock done from this fleece, so I need to get the second sock knit! There are some shade variations in the fleece, so I’ll have to work out the closest match. The colors in the pictures are actually very close to what I’m seeing in real life – so what is on the bobbin on the wheel is actually light and more red than what is on the older bobbins.
I know there is a foggy cast to the images, but the batteries in my camera are dead, so I’m using my cell phone.
I need to get some income work done before I can spin for a few hours, so I’ll end off with a picture of Jackson with his toys!
Here is the washing production for today – I’m guessing about three pounds of clean fleece. That is purely a guess, as I don’t have a kitchen scale, and the wool is still damp in any case.
With the fairly low humidity and the mid-90s temperature, it will dry quite quickly. I expect that I’ll be able to get going on carding it mid-afternoon tomorrow.
The top rack is a red-brown Navajo-Churro fleece. It is somewhat double-coated, so I am thinking I may use my wool combs to pull the longer guard hair off before I run it through the drum carder.
The bottom rack holds a soft and dense Corriedale x Navajo-Churro lamb fleece. It’s a lovely black. (or very dark brown)
Both are going to be a lot of fun to spin!
I am slowly – oh, so slowly – getting the studio assembled, and my office re-arranged. I got the sewing machines moved in there a couple days ago, and more of the fiber boxes moved in this morning.
I need to get my drum carder pulled out of it’s storage spot and set up to start working on the clean fleece. I also need to go through my papers and get them filed and off the work table, and my vacuum clearer needs to get fixed and off the table today as well.
Once I get the worktable cleared, I can put my spinning wheel on it for oiling and tune-up tonight to start in on the concentrated spinning starting tomorrow.
Somewhere along this week, I need to hang the completed blocking boards. Three will be in the living room, and the fourth will be in the studio next to the sewing machine. Once all that gets done, I’ll have room to put together the black bookcase for my office, and get all my knitting and design books properly set up.
I can start seeing how this will all work, and I’m quite pleased.
This is going to be fun!
I am thinking of all the fiber I will be converting from spinning stash into knitting stash over the next few weeks.
It is a substantial amount – Post 178 has the pictures. I’m washing the dark brown fleece at the bottom of the third picture right now, and next will be the black fleece that you can’t see in the picture. If I have time today, I’ll even wash the grey fleece, but I really don’t expect to until the other two fleece dry before tonight, so I’ll probably wait until tomorrow for the grey.
I already plan to do a camisole with the silk. I’m looking forward to something so light and soft as to be air against my skin.
The cotton will be a top, I think. I did v-neck t-shirt with a strand of crochet cotton and one of fingering-weight wool many years ago, and it was a very versatile item in my wardrobe. That was before I started spinning. I spun cotton and knit a top about twenty years ago, and it also has been a key part of my wardrobe. It’s gotten a little too worn, now, so I think a new iteration would be appropriate.
The Blue-Faced Leicester wool (that’s the two-tone wool in the bag to the right in the second photo) will become the hat my cousin has requested, and a couple smaller projects. Possibly some socks & gloves for next winter.
The bigger bag in the second photo will become the “Wings” shawl I’ve been working on the design for from time to time. This is an ambitious project! I am actually designing my own lace stitch patterns for this one, and I continue working these out in little samples.
The multiple fleeces in the bottom picture will produce a prodigious amount of yarn, and I am thinking of patterned cardigans, and possibly weaving fabric for a skirt and jacket.
The next six weeks will see a major burst of spinning activity.
First is the Tour de Fleece – this coincides with the Tour de France, and is a whimsical competition to allow spinners to spin their way through mountains of fiber while the cyclists spin their way through France.
I am playing with four teams – one is “Team Raw Power,” where the game is to take a pound of washed but otherwise unprepared fiber, and prepare and spin it during the tour. I have three raw fleeces to play with here, and am washing fiber right now.
The second is “Team I have no Idea What I’m Doing,” and while I’m something of a ringer here, as I do know what I’m doing, spinning-wise, I have no idea what the team goals are, so I am winging it in that respect. I’ll be challenging myself to spin at least a mile of yarn for this team.
The third is “Team Rookies.” This team is a bit more straightforward. The rookie name is in reference to the Tour de Fleece. I haven’t played this game before, so that is accurate. I’ll be spinning the Blue-Faced Leicester wool I got at DFW Fiberfest this year for this team.
The fourth is “Team WWW” – this team is a bit more tongue in cheek. The point here is to be drinking something while you are spinning. I expect a couple of the team members will be doing alcoholic refreshments, but I’m more interested in iced tea! I plan to do my brown Navajo-Churro fleece for this team.
This team also morphs into the “Team Fancy Fibers Farm” for the Ravellenic Games that coincide with the London Olympics. I’ll be “competing” in the “handspun heptathalon” for team FFF, and have the rest of my fiber swag from the DFW Fiberfest to keep me busy here. I also have my Work-In-Progress Lace overskirt for the “WIP Wrestling” competition.
So, a lot of fiber fun coming up!
This last six months has seen me do far, far more thinking, doing and writing about knits, spinning, design, and fibers than I have done in years. It’s a good project to do – and I look forward to the accomplishments in the next six months.
One of the key things I will get done prior to the close of the project is to get the designs I have been creating available for sale and download. The preparation process has been long and involved, but for the first dozen designs, at least, is nearing completion.
At the close of the project, much of these writings will be consolidated and edited into book form. The working title for the book is “Good Bones For Your Knitting – A Framework For Your Artwork,” and I will be giving a decision-making process to help you be your own knitwear designer.
The substantial number of projects I have going right now will be completed, and quite a few more will be begun, worked through, and completed.
In working on the dark teal ruana, I’m conscious of the limited amount of yarn I have for the project. It is becoming apparent that I don’t have sufficient yarn to do the size ruana I would like. I want a large, dramatic sweep of the simple garment. Since that’s not the yarn I have available here, I’m changing my direction a bit.
Instead of a ruana, I believe I can do a substantial sweep of a stole. My plan of a lace sampler remains, but since I don’t have to have enough to do the large “U” of the ruana, I can make the modules of lace into one large rectangle that is considerably larger than a scarf.
Everyone loves an enjoyable game. There is nothing like some friendly competition to get one’s interest and activity level up.
I haven’t been spinning nearly enough over the last few months, so I will be using the incentive of the “Tour de Fleece” to spin every day the Tour de France bicyclists are rolling. If they can push themselves over and through the French mountains and countryside, I can spin my way through my (small) mountain of fiber!
The first stage of the tour is tomorrow – and it’s called “pure power.” The teams are going to be putting the carefully-laid plans into action, and start positioning themselves for the long days of the tour.
I’ll be tuning up my wheel tonight, and getting everything laid out for a burst of spinning work.
Today I’m washing fleece on the patio. I have a hose from the kitchen sink, so I have hot water, an unused kitty litter pan, and an empty kitty litter bucket. The big wire rack has plenty of space to lay out wool to dry.
The washing process is quite simple. I fill the big pan with hot, soapy water, and place the fleece in it to soak for thirty minutes. Then I fill the bucket with clean water, and transfer the fleece to it for the first rinse & refill the pan with clean water and transfer it back. I repeat the transfers with clean water until all the soap is gone. I don’t agitate the wool. This avoids felting.
Felting requires four conditions to be met. Heat, moisture, alkalinity (soap) and agitation. Since the first three are also required to get the wool clean, all I have to do is avoid the agitation.
Once the fleece is dry – and with the temperature today expected to go over 100F again it won’t take long – I can card the wool for spinning.
More moving of items into the studio space since my last post on this subject. I’ve been moving my fabric covered boxes and other boxes and tubs of supplies, projects and tools into the room. The cat furniture has been moved in, also.
The good light from the three floor lamps with CFE bulbs has made me reconsider my plan to move the computer desk from the dining area. Instead, I intend to put the sewing machines in the room, and hook up my smallest computer for the space. The table I’m currently using for my printer will be tasked for that, and my printer will have a much smaller stand under the computer desk. My spinning wheel will then be able to take up residency next to my computer desk.
I’ve created a temporary fleece washing station on the patio with a couple buckets, a large unused kitty litter pan, and the hose and adapter I use from the sink to water the plants. Since it’s from the sink faucet, I have hot water on tap, and don’t need to carry pots of hot water from the stove! (This is very good news) I have three unwashed fleeces in my stash, and with the weather being so hot, this is an ideal time to do the washing.
Starting this week, I will be doing lots of spinning time on my wheel. I have my mountains of fleece to get through – or something like mountains.
I’ll be spinning this pile of silk “hankies” (properly mawata ) into very fine yarn.
And this pile of fibery goodness will be yarn for quite a few projects.
This pile represents several sheep – you can’t see all the pile in the picture, but it covers a queen size bed completely. It requires the most work, as it isn’t yet washed & carded. It will keep me quite occupied!! I’ll be putting pictures (and maybe videos) of me using my drum carder up for your entertainment.