Posts tagged ‘fiber prep’

Oh boy was that fun. Despite having to run back home to get forgotten spinning wheel pieces. A lot of people wandered in and out to see what the folks with the funny non-computer equipment were doing, some showed up with sewing machines, there were wedding invitations assembled and children throwing toys all over the floor. I spent most of the day carding and generally a good time was had by all. I took no pictures.

I finished the blending this morning, just to get it over with. I had a pile of junk fiber, both light and dark. I blended the mostly white stuff together, which included the last of the Grandma Wool, a collection of combing leftovers, a few things that Seemed to Be a Good Idea at the Time and some fleece that didn’t scour nicely. To improve the mix, I added odds and ends of fleece of decent quality but not enough or of a type I’d use alone for another purpose.

Here’s the finished pile:
crap mostly white wool all carded together

There are neps and VM a plenty and I’m just not going to worry about it. I wanted to spread around the still somewhat greasy fiber to avoid having to scour batts and then try to re-card a semi-felted mess. Since some was already carded, I was blending mainly by the “One from Column A” method and ended up with a little of the greasy stuff left over. It’s not enough to go through blending the whole lot yet again just to mix it in.

I’m working on more Merino lamb, I just pulled out another batch of fiber to start combing. I thought I’d post some pictures along the way. Here’s the first one. I’ve flicked all the ends so they aren’t nasty, taking most of the VM out along the way. Lamb is like that, having never been shorn, the tips are curly so it sometimes takes some extra work.

flicked Merino lamb fleece

More in the saga of the carder swap. With the other one off to its new home, I have the Fricke Petite. I wanted to give it a go before I committed to buying, on the off chance there was something about this particular model that totally irritated me. Well, as expected, now one of my chores for this weekend is figure out where I put the checkbook.

This model is intended for occasional use, which is fine with me. Since it takes so long to spin fine yarn, fiber prep only happens occasionally anyway and I’m certainly not getting rid of the combs. The key feature (and why I almost never used the other carder) is the ability to card fine wool. I will likely one day still get the DDD but this is quite serviceable for what I expect to do over the next couple years. It’s also smaller and less expensive. As much as I love Pat Green equipment, it doesn’t fit into my city life all that well.

I did some spinning the other day and thought I’d post something. I am working with some long staple, about 20 cm, Romney fleece that’s been sitting around for some years now. It’s not the nicest stuff so I haven’t been terribly interested in using it for a project. But right now I’m working on yarn for a weaving sample so random wool from the fiber closet is fine.

For singles warp I need to spin from combed fiber, but the big scary English combs that would work best with this fiber are still packed away back east. The Viking combs, or any hand-held comb, are difficult to manage with this stuff. So I’m using a dog brush to comb it out and spinning directly from the staple.

To keep the fiber under control I’m basically holding it against my leg with my left hand like this:

drafting long staple wool

It sorta functions like a distaff, holding the fiber in place so I can draft it a little bit at a time. I do have to stop and prepare more fiber frequently, but the wool itself is long enough that it’s a reasonable amount of fiber to hold at one time. If I were spinning thicker yarn that would be a problem.

Actually this yarn is fairly thick for me, and very inconsistent. I’m not really paying attention because for what I’m working on I’d rather get it over with than really work on getting good yarn. It’s more than stable enough for warp and will show the effect I’m after in the finished project. After I finish this bobbin I’m doing another twisted in the opposite direction so I can experiment with combining them together in woven fabric.

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.

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© 2004-2007 Andrea Longo
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