Monday, January 21, 2008

And so the spinning goes on...

It has been a lot of fibers and spinning lately. I have done one more dyeing-experiment.
This time I tried out the "kettle-dyeing". I was thinking having a shaded bright red, but ended up with a solid red. It is a nice color and the wool came out very nice and not so compact as the first time I dyed. I think I can get better at this with time.

Some new things has reached my home, too. Here is a new ball winder, from the fabulous Strauch Fiber Equipment Co. Along with it came a drum-carder:
So as soon as the kids where in bed I started exploring it.

First I tried out a 50-50 blend of blue merino with natural white alpaca.

I just did one pass trough the carder. It was so fluffy and weightless, that I just had to try spinning it right away. What can I say - I was in spinning heaven. My first batt of wool gave me stars in my eyes :-)

The single of alpaca/merino was plyed with two strands of the blue merino into a 3-ply.
But I was still very excited about the batt-making, so I dug in my wool-collection and found a horrible wool top from Lornas Laces that I bought almost two years ago. The reason for it just laying there was the colors and the fact that it was very hard to draft. So I separated the colors and spun up the parts with blue, purple and a little bit of yellow into this purple-blueish fluffy wool.

and the pink and yellow into this candy batt:
I used ´theredhead`s tutorial to make it into roving today:

I have spun some of both blends.

The purple colors does´nt come out right in this picture. I will be make a 2ply of this.

This color is not so accurate either. I will take some new pictures when it is a finished 2-ply.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My first handpainted spinning fiber!

So I have been planning on doing some dyeing with Jacquard dyes since November, but there just haven't been time for it. It sure takes some time getting all set up for the first time. If I am doing this a lot, I will set up a more permanent room for it. You will need a large table of some kind (my workspace in the kitchen is 1,8 meters long and 0,9 meters deep). This you will have to cover up with plastic unless you want to dye your table as well. Mixing the dyes involves mask and gloves and using cups, and teaspoons and warm water. You also need vinegar. I used only two colors this first time. Yellow and blue. To get the green I mixed equal parts of the first two solutions. I used a sponge to paint with. One for each color. I left some white between the colors thinking it would look nice, but it sort of disappeared when steamed. So if I want the white between I have to leave longer unpainted stripes. This is the first time, so I am supposed to learn from the experience.

So then I rolled the painted wool up and steamed it in a pot with a rack at the bottom. Left it there for about 45 min.

Then I soaked the wool in hot water with some liquid soap. I sure was happy to see these nice colors, because it sure doesn't look nice when you paint the wool.

Following some instructions on line I put the wool through a spin cycle in my washing machine.
It came out looking like it had gotten a perm....and I was worried that I had felted the wool.
This wool is blue faced leicester (BFL) and from what I read this is common for this wool - curling up.Finished drying and rolled up! I am looking forward to spinning this!

And I have done some spinning at the beginning of the new year, too. Here is a collection of some of my handspun! So far I just enjoy looking at it, but I will knit it up eventually.

This is a skein of 1ply Norwegian wool with lanolin. I think I probably need to ply!

I have not done much yarn-shopping lately, but I did order some Harmony Options! I still have not tried them. Soon, very soon, I will!

Knitting progress - not much, but I forgot to tell about my finished Koolhaas in Wollmeise worsted wool. It was finished at least a week before Christmas.

This scarf in Artfibers Kyoto (silk and mohair) is also coming along. It is half way done!