Posts tagged ‘drum carder’

This weekend I kinda got volunteered to host a fiber get-together, but that’s ok because it’s why the studio is the studio and doesn’t have a tv and other things usually found in a room of that sort. (Just because there’s a sofa doesn’t mean it’s the living room.)

I had good intentions to actually get a bit of spinning done, but instead did some sewing (and laundry) and hauled out the drum carder for a lesson. Unfortunately I managed to not get rid of the proffered junk fiber, my guests having better taste than mystery wool. (I still don’t know what some of it is, but I sure did end up with a lot of it.)

So fiber was carded and weavings were passed around and stuff like that. One person is a novice spinner and she was quite taken with the drum carder. It isn’t actually mine, being on semi-permanent loan, but its owner has expressed some interest in selling it. I need one that can handle finer fiber so although it’s been living at our place I have only used it on occasion. Now as it turns out, my other guest has a drum carder she never uses that is better with fine fiber, so I may well end up buying that one.

This is pretty much how things go, equipment wanders around here and there, settling in where it’s needed at the time. Although my textile closet has lately been hard to escape and many of those “seemed like a good idea at the time” items are still lurking. I keep thinking something would be good to have around for students, but when was the last time I had one of those? For someone who hates hand carding I have rather a lot of sets of them, along with various “gift” yarns and fabrics that are probably worth about what I paid for them.

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.

This weekend I borrowed the drum carder, so I could do a few things. One of those things was the Coopworth, which even scoured twice was still greasy. I tried to pick out the second cuts and VM and all those other annoying bits. What I wasn’t counting on was the tips to disintegrate in carding. So now I have carded batts with even more noils in them than before. And seemingly no less VM, despite cleaning up piles of it from the floor. Most of a day of carding produced six large batts.

I spun a section of one tonight. About ten minutes into it, with a lap full of junk I’d pulled out and a grungy-looking yarn on the bobbin, I skeined it off to wash. It didn’t look any better.

My original idea was to spin half S and half Z and do a striped warp. Not only do I not like this yarn, I don’t want to use it for warp either. It’s full of slubs from all the broken tips and then there’s still the VM. I’ll wait until morning and see how the skein looks dry, but this is seriously turning into a “Life’s too short” project. It’s one thing to go through hours and hours of work wondering if the end result will turn out like you imagined. It’s another entirely to do it for something you are certain is going to suck no matter what.

But I did finally get back to the Merino, I filled the last of the first bobbin. 132 grams. I could get a little more on there if I tried, but I’d have to stop and adjust it too much to be worth the bother. Now I just have to finish the other two.

Yesterday was Fiber Extravaganza, I went to go hang out with a friend I haven’t been able to see in a while and we did fiber stuff. Lots of fiber stuff. I finally learned some Peruvian weaving I want to use for one of my swatches and did a few things on the amazing electric drum carder. And a most excellent dinner, even. I like hanging out with my fiber friends. Everybody else is at our regional annual conference going on this weekend a few hours south of here.

Some of the stuff I’m working on really needs a drum carder. I wasn’t happy with blending the fiber for two of the spindle skeins with the equipment I have: one had too much variation in texture and color than I wanted to deal with on combs and the remaining llama down isn’t making nice rolags like the first batch. I still have the really short tow flax to card, if I’m not able to get down there for another visit I’ll just have to do it by hand and I’m not thrilled at that.

The second cotton/silk bobbin continues, I’m more than half finished now. I have a ball of trash from broken yarn collecting, I thought maybe it was just I would get better at spinning it after the first bobbin but it’s still breaking just as much. I’m trying to get a nice thick and thin mix of both fibers to contrast the colors and textures and it’s actually very difficult to get a good thick and thin yarn on purpose. If it weren’t for this short staple silk I happen to have, I would have never tried to blend combed silk and cotton. The staple lengths are usually very different. I think a uniform blend would be interesting also, but not even the fancy electric drum carder I used yesterday could do it. As nice as it is, it’s pretty mundane as fancy electric drum carders go.

I should finish the cotton/silk in a day or two and then comes the plying. That will take at least another two days. I have to think about how I want to handle it because I don’t know if it will all fit on the small high-speed bobbins. But it will take much, much longer to ply on the other flyer. Supposedly it’s ok to have two lengths in a skein if it’s because it doesn’t fit the equipment. I don’t know how much that is actually true other than for the small supported spindle or maybe something done on a charka. I’ll have to think about that.

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