Posts tagged ‘alpaca’

I haven’t thrown away the Coopworth yet, but I’m trying something different. I took some of the batt and combed it, and that gave something spinnable. The result still has some problems but most of the junk comes out and the yarn is strong enough for warp. It’s tedious, so we’ll see how long this lasts.

Today was hang out and do fiber at Casa Feorlen. Some friends came, we ate artichokes and chocolate, measured out a huge skein to dye self-striping sock yarn, made rope, wove little bands and warped the big loom. A friend of mine showed me how to warp back to front, a different way from how I usually do it and necessary for the bead leno gauze I want to experiment with. There was much confusion about this and that but eventually we got the warp beamed and I started threading. We’ll see how it goes after I finish. She also brought over a fancy fine fiber drum carder and left it behind for me to experiment with.

It’s a Pat Green Deb’s Delicate Deluxe, and I’ve got some serious equipment lust going on. I do usually like the result of combing, but using a carder is so much faster. I haven’t been able to experiment with the piles of Merino around here because the usual carder (borrowed from a different friend) can’t do fine fiber. With this I actually managed to blend Merino and Suri alpaca and the alpaca even mostly stayed in one place. The fine wool cards quite nicely, there are some neps but at least it actually forms a batt. On the other one it will hardly stick to the drum. I’ve been thinking about what to do with the gift alpaca and blending it with wool is high on the list. When I get a few minutes I’ll spin some of this blended batt and maybe I’ll do that while I have the spiffy carder.

In the weaving department, the back to front test project is some acrylic baby yarn. Slightly less nasty than Red Heart but still something I won’t be afraid to cut off if the experiment turns out to be a nightmare. It’s not designed to be weaving yarn, so you have to plan carefully to make sure you get what you are expecting. Since it’s so elastic, if the fabric looks good on the loom it will be like cardboard when you get it off and the warp relaxes. I’ll have to experiment with the tension to be sure I don’t beat it too firmly. I’ve had an offer for yet more baby yarn, as much as I hate acrylic knitting yarn I’ve been collecting sport weight or finer when I can find it cheap and/or free. It’s always good for something, just as long as that something isn’t knitting. It’s great for trying out new patterns or as waste yarn.

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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