What is it about seeing someone demonstrate a project that can make me believe I can…oh…turn fancy woodwork or lay tile or put in that granite countertop I have always wanted?
I saw here that I, too, could make myself a fiber blending hackle (just what I always wanted, dontcha’ know…) using only hair lifting picks, screws, and a piece of wood.
And a circular saw.
And four hands.
And linseed oil.
I have to give it to Wonderful Guy. He’s some kind of wonderful.
He dutifully drove me to WalMart , then Target searching for the hairpicks (which I found at the beauty supply place). And he helped with all the dangerous implements of destruction…and by helped, I mean by doing that part himself.
Then when I got down to brass tacks and tried the actual fibery blending? And quickly realized I didn’t know what I was doing?
He just said, ‘well, I suppose it takes some practice…’ And left me to my efforts.
So I am back to checking my resources, by which I mean YouTube. And have some new and fresh ideas of what I was not doing right. Also I have some ideas about a DIY diz, for which I was using…well, a button.
Now Betsy is going to show someone else the peace (sometimes) and wonders (occasionally) that can come from spinning creatively.
If the stars align, Betsy the Lendrum, Molly the Matchless, and I are taking a roadtrip on Sunday so Betsy can meet her new fiber feeder friend. We are going to meet up at the Ravelry’s South Denver Spinning group. It will be a friendly place with good vibes all around for a new spinner, and for me to say good bye.
(And maybe to show off Molly just a bit.)
Betsy’s new fiber feeder is a relatively new spinner. Relatively. But hey. I don’t have that many years under my belt actually. I am pleased that she will be someone’s first wheel. I think she will be appreciated.
I am glad she gets to stay close by. You know, just in case…she gets homesick or something…
I am sure Betsy will be just fine. I am sending with her an assortment of wool so she won’t get hungry, after all.
Why does she have it an avocado green crockpot, circa mid 1970’s? (I know! It is just like the one the X and I received for a wedding gift lo, those many years ago). I searched 5 thrift stores before I found it. I bought it for $2.50 without a lid. I found the lid for 99 cents over at the pots-and-pans-loose-lid bin!
Oh. I love me my bargains.
Remember the garage yarn sale haul? Where I found the natural dyes? Well, when I went back, I got some acid dyes, too. (among other things….) I swear, they might as well have been free!
White wool top seconds? Check
Thrift store crockpot, otherwise known as a dedicated apparatus? Check
Dyes of all sorts? Check
How-to books? Check
I was all set and ready to go.
Now. For some free time…
Well, that happened last week when The Guy was down in Denver and I was, oh, just scouring fleece and otherwise twiddling my thumbs. I eyed that there crockpottedness, and pondered my past abilities of multi-tasking.
Just having set the twist in the fawn suri alpaca, and not being 100% sold on the result, I knew a test article in the waiting. ‘Checking my resources’, and by that, I mean reading one of many dyer’s discussion groups on Ravelry, and checking my books, and printing off four, count ‘em, four different sets of instructions from the dye manufacturers websites, Knitty.com, and Knitpicks, I embarked on the task, thusly armed with knowledge.
Not one of those founts of knowledge warned me against tying my yarn too tightly.
Yep. I tie-dyed my suri.
But. My dye mixed up well, and my proportions were spot on, and my dye bath exhausted beautifully. Where exhausted is one of the technical terms.
I love me my technical terms!
And overall….mostly…I ended up with blue yarn.
I dyed each skein twice in an attempt to cover up the blank spots, but…eh…not so much with the working excellently. And not so much with both skeins being the same blue. But...
(even with the spinning and setting the twist, and dyed twice? Still with the bits of veggie matter!)
(clicky to see rilly up close and big-like)
I would say I learned much, however, and am thinking already about the next test article.
The miraculously successful scouring of the kept way too long Jacob's fleece? (scouring is the technical term, and does not mean any scrubbing of the fibers by steel wool occurs...)
Here is the next portion to be cleaned. In separating out this section, I purposely selected a part that was mostly white. Just because when the white cleans up, it is such. a. rush!
And I am all about those rush-y endorphins.
Add Dawn. Enough that the water is a little slippy. Hot hot hot tap water combined with almost boiling water from the hot water dispenser. Too hot to keep hands in comfortably for long. Fleece in a netty-type lingerie bag.
Into the water. Lid on the pot. Timer set for 20 minutes. No swishy swishy.
Lift the bag to drain a bit. Set the bag on the lid. Dump the icky water(see above) in the mulchy, unplanted area of the yard. Repeat with less Dawn for 20 more minutes.
Repeat the drain/dump action. Prepare a vinegar solution by dumping a glug of white vinegar into the pot with hot hot hot water.
Add the bag of fleece. Lid on the pot. Timer set for 10 minutes. Never with the swishy swishy.
Repeat the drain action. This solution I dump down the drain. Rinse a last time in clear hot water for 5-ish minutes.
(before towel drying)
Lift the bag and let drain in the sink. Dump the water down the drain. Gently remove the fleece from the bag in one piece, and lift onto an old towel.
Spread it out to it's former shape, sort of, and roll it up to towel dry. I spread it out on another, dry towel overnight, picking out the obvious veggie matter, as I go.
(after towel drying)
I will flip it over from time to time. I took the first couple of portions outside in the afternoons when I got home from work, when it was so so nice out. Being small portions, these dried quickly.
I teased them, dislodging a bit more VM from the locks. This was really a pretty clean fleece, in my mind. Now it is ready for carding!
I have to admit that after working up the alpaca, I was hesitant to embark on this fleece with lanolin. There was so much VM in the baby alpaca, it was hard, hard work. I had it in my mind to eventually work up or get rid of the two raw fleeces (this and a partial alpaca) I had left and just stick with prepped stuff to spin.
Now I am not sure. Now I am thinking about the wool market, and what I might find there. I am spinning some BFL (blue face leicester) on Molly, and it is going really nicely. Really nicely. I am loving spinning on Molly the marvelous Matchless. (She might be my new boyfriend.)
(some washed, dried, and teased...ready for carding)
The other thing? I spun some Jacob roving I picked up at the farmer's market last summer, and the stuff was a bit...not so soft as merino. This seems softer. One other thing. This fleece? 2 pounds for $25. I know that I am cleaning alot of the weight off in lanolin, but still. A bargain.
Also, Jacob's sheep are multi-colored, so the fleece is all mixed grey, black-ish, and white.
Anyway. Whole worlds are opening up.
(Clicky on any of the photos to see them rilly up close)
The Guy has been down in the city this week. I have had cereal, a grilled cheese, and corn dogs for dinner so far.
The calendar held a couple of events that required my attention but other than that, I have been figuring out ways to occupy myself.
Monday was a day of waiting for others to tell me what were my priorities. I was worn through from doing not much and thought 'When I get home, I am going to do nothin (but on my own terms)' !'
And by nothin', I mean getting out Maggie Casey's Start Spinning and seeing about starting to scour that Jacob's fleece I have had since way too long. I had put it off being all fearful of the dreaded lanolin and what to do with disposing of it and the potential smell and on and on and on...
With the Guy gone, and checking out some Ravelry groups on fiber prep, I decided to go for it.
And by going for it, I mean I was hugely successful in the results. Magically successful, one might say. Portion #2 was scoured on Tuesday, and #3 is working as I write this. I might have the whole fleece done before the Guy comes home.
Today's Philly Flower Show photos are brought to you by the color families of oranges (and reds)...
This display was suspended from...above. And quite large. (I cropped to cut the photo bombers.) Maybe 12'x12'? Maybe it was larger. Also, it was multi-leveled. See how it climbs to the back.
This is what the individual units of the display were like, of various blooms and colors.
(photo courtesy of Eldest Daughter)
This handsome fellow (in the African savannah exhibit) was made of rebar and these...
In other news...I have not been knitting in New Jersey! Well, actually, I was. In-transit knitting, and only on socks, which stayed on the needles. None of my knitting is adorning public places, no matter what my family accuses DSis and myself of!
I heard today that I made it in the Spinning Workshop during the Estes Park Wool Market. Two days learning with Maggie Casey!
I. am. so. excited!
And so is Molly.
Tonight was my last 'beginning photography' class. I gained enough nuggets of knowledge to justify the time and money, I think. I am not rushing to enroll in the next class, however. I am going to play around with the camera for a while. I was pleased with my experience at the flower show. While my 'artsy composition' may be lacking, my technical skills are gaining ground.
So progress, and that is good.
And that's all there is tonight. I have had a really busy week, with knitterly peeps, and watching the grandbebe girls, and photog class. Which is all good, but on top of a cold, getting back into the swing of things at work, the timezoning and all...well, that's just all I have.
I am still down with the souvenir cold I brought home from my traveling. And the time zoning. I decided I better get on the stick before this weekend, when I will be whacked with the time changing. (Consider that a PSA. Don’t forget. Spring ahead!)
Rest assured, one and all, that Molly, the Marvelous Matchless is living up to my expectations. She is indeed a beauty, and together we are spinning ourselves some suri alpaca (in double drive!), and getting along famously. So famously, in fact, that I decided to take two days off in June, and have applied for the spinning workshop during the Estes Park Wool Market. Class size is limited, and I hope I get in. Second choice is a dyeing class, which will be fine, too. Wonderful Guy and I will be spending a long weekend up there. He will find something beside wool to distract him.
The February Lady Sweater is coming along, having had so much plane time of late. I started the first sleeve since I have been home. Knitting at lunch, spinning at night. Except for last night, when I had my knitterly peeps over. Eldest is quite taken with the pattern and wants one of her own, which I have promised. I like the opportunity (mostly) to knit a pattern more than once. It gives me the chance to work out the kinks. With my knitting, not so much the pattern. But sometimes the pattern, too, or at least my understanding of what the pattern is saying!
It seems I have been successful, though, at least to this point, in knitting a pretty sweet sweater. (I will get a photo when I get to getting photos of things...) And while I have another pair of socks on the needles, I hear the cashmere and Peasy calling.
In other news, Only Brother was at the Family Gathering. Seems he has himself a fancy new phone that allows him to keep track of Dearest Sister's and my blogs now. Seems he has read them both front to back. Reading them on his new phone threw me off. I was looking to see if someone was reading from the vicinity of where he lives.
His comment? Something to the effect that he had no idea there were so many different fibery pursuits!
Ha! HaHa! I haven't started dyeing yet, and neither of us have even given weaving a glance.
Things were seen. Places were viewed. Photos were taken.
Food was eaten. Slippers were gifted (and all but one pair fit).
A terrific amount of plane knitting occurred.
Tomorrow it's back to my routine. But!
Spring (and the garden) is a bit closer, and when I got home...
My first issue of Interweave Knits was awaiting me...
And Molly! Why...whoever could be Molly?
It's Molly, the Marvelous Matchless. New to me, she arrived Saturday, the day after I left, and has been cooling her heels at the post office until Wonderful Guy could retrieve her on his return from the job yesterday. (I may have sort of implied that he needn't bother picking me up from the airport if he didn't make it to the PO first...maybe...)
I unpacked her last night to ensure she arrived intact, then set her up this morning and spun some. Oh my goodness.
Fun fun fun! I barely tore myself away to let KitKatKnit (who generously let me have first crack at buying her) know she arrived safely, and to post here about my new friend.
Now, sadly, I must post that Betsy, the flying Lendrum is for sale. Sniff. She's been a good and true friend, but I cannot, I will not, start collecting wheels. Off to Ravelry I go.
(PS If one is interested, Betsy is 3 years old, and has been lovingly used. Comes intact with all parts, plus 3 extra bobbins (orig 16.50 each). I will include oil and roving as well. I have the original paperwork (such as it is) and the original box for shipping. I am asking $450, plus shipping.)
Bags are half packed and we've checked in on-line for our flights home tomorrow.
Alas. Vacation is winding down. But what a time we have had.
After an eight hour day at the Flower Show, we packed up and drove to NYC. Brooklyn, specifically, to see whereabouts Precious Niece is now living and working. While there, Mary met up with us at the Brooklyn General Store, where we bought vintage fabric and yarn.
Yes. Real life vintage fabric. And yarn. In the same store. DSis and I were not thinking such a place existed.
After shopping, we had a beverage down the block and chatted it up with Mary for quite a while. When we parted company, we wondered around the area until dinner, and stumbled across another yarn store named Casita. Where more yarn was bought.
Our time in the Big Apple was cut short. We are fighting colds, you see, and were just too punked out to do anything that took any energy.
With a day of rest, however we were good to go today, and made a trek to historic antique row,
the Italian Market,
and Independence Square.
So tomorrow it is time to head home. I am always sorry to say good-bye to DSis and Niece, and it is hard to leave my Eldest.
However, I do have something special waiting for me when I get home. Beside the Guy, I mean.