Archive for June, 2005

The past few days have been spent dealing with a mountain of fleece. No, I didn’t buy it at Spinners day at the Winery. (I’m negotiating that for later.) Long, long ago, like in February, I asked The Boyfriend’s uncle if he could get a little bit of wool from his neighbors. He lives in 4H land, and I was looking for meat sheep fleeces for the woolen stuff. I didn’t hear anything, so I went and found my own. Well, this week I get a cryptic email about Dorset fleeces. I go to the mailbox and there is a huge box containing two Dorset fleeces. Yikes. They are stinky and dirty and smell more like barnyard than sheep. They are also full of hay, burrs, dirt and all kinds of things. I went through both to see what I could use and out of two large garbage bags I got one small one of stuff I might be willing to do something with later. The fiber itself isn’t bad, it would be good for sock yarn or cold weather sweaters or things. But I have plenty of other fiber that doesn’t need nearly as much work. It’s very kind of him to go through the trouble to locate and mail me the fleeces. And at the time I did need such things. But Oh Boy.

In the middle of all that, I’m still trying to get yarn done. It’s getting to the point where I’m sick of pretty much everything and I want it to all be over with. I needed to ply the cotton for the fine two-ply, so I took a look at how much a nightmare that might be. Earlier attempts were a mess, so I decided to let it sit on the bobbins a while. It’s only a little better now. I finally wound the two singles together on a bobbin so I can ply without also fighting snarled, tangled yarn. It only broke about a dozen times in the process because I went r e a l l y s l o w l y. It took hours just to wind the bobbin and I still have to actually twist it.

I’ve decided to do the spinning wheel skein as the single from the Andean weaving yarn. It’s tiny, but it’s fast and it’s something I can do without much thought. I started flicking more Suffolk to do the spindle wheel yarn, I will drum card it if I can but there are several other things ahead of it in the queue. I am still avoiding the small supported spindle. I should just get the large supported spindle thing over with, but I don’t know what I want to do with that yet. Maybe more Suffolk. Whatever it is, it will be large. And I’m not doing it with the long “Navajo” spindle, either. I don’t like them for soft yarns because the part that spirals up the shaft gets mashed while you are spinning. I have other large spindles, or I can take that same huge whorl and put it on a shorter shaft. Any bottom whorl spindle becomes a supported spindle by setting it down. Nothing fancy about it at all.

I have a third millspun reproduction and the Andean swatch now. The swatch is drying, so it will be a while before I can get pictures up. But on the second attempt, it worked nicely. A little weird warp tension here and there, and I have no clue about the traditional way to finish these things, but it’s done. I spent most of the day weaving, once I got it warped the correct way, it went quickly. Even if I did forget where I was every other pick for the first two repeats. I even found a use for those 0000 double pointed knitting needles I foolishly bought — they work great as shed sticks for needle weaving the starting edge. I wove in various ends that could conveniently be woven in and neatly tied off the rest. The other end has a fringe, to show how the overtwisted warp works and also because I didn’t want to fight to open smaller and smaller sheds.

Tomorrow is another fleece-buying opportunity, err, spinning event. I’m sure I will see all kinds of things there that I just Must Have Right Now, but I will have to avoid temptation. I already have too much raw fleece sitting around the living room in plastic bags because I can’t put it in the storage unit like that and it takes forever to wash 400g at a time in the sink. I was going to bring the swatch to weave but once I got into it I realized it was too fussy because I didn’t know the pattern very well. But I did get the bread started for my potluck dish! I had to promise The Boyfriend that I’d make a little one just for him, he really likes bread and I don’t bake as often as I used to. (Yes, I did indeed make the trek west with my wagon full of household goods and a jar of sourdough starter. I haven’t used commercial yeast for about eight years now.)

Last night was the monthly get-together at the local spinning shop. I picked up a few things I’ve been needing: new drive band, shed sticks for weaving and FLYER CLIPS!! Finally I can replace the nearly-dead ones on the Insanely Fast Flyer. Plying this Andean stuff just kills them. I’ve been trying to locate some replacements for months. Was it last summer? I don’t even remember anymore. I also got some Egyptian cotton top, which I will try for the fine cotton yarn and see if I like it better than the Pima. I picked up some alpaca/silk, not normally something I am interested in, to try it with the supported spindle. Early results are mixed, I may end up with the cotton pencil roving after all and this turns into a holiday gift exchange goodie. I really didn’t want to do a whole skein of cotton on the supported spindle. I’d rather not do anything on the supported spindle at all, actually.

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© 2004-2007 Andrea Longo
spinnyspinny at feorlen dot org