Posts tagged ‘flax’

I finished getting the notes online, plus a little more general housekeeping. Outside the computer, I’ve started taking skeins out of bags and hanging them to dry. The twisty linen told me it was more humid in North Carolina than here, so I thought I’d also air the rest of them. Then the box gets packed up for a while. I volunteered to do a guild program on the COE, but unless another speaker drops out there isn’t an opening until March. So seal it up with a packet of desiccant and off to storage it goes.

Before I started this project, I carded something maybe once a year. Once upon a time, when I had space for a drum carder, I would save up various bits and pieces and throw it all together for some random yarn for things like holiday gifts. I didn’t actually own a set of wool cards until recently and my cotton cards were mostly used as large flickers. I like smooth thin yarns and big pointy wool combs. I hate hand carding. But for most of these small skeins, it’s faster to hand card than go over to somebody’s house to use the drum carder. I’m only doing it if I really have to. I tried to hand card the Suffolk for the thick woolen, but I just can’t get a rolag big enough for the yarn I want. So I added it to the pile for the next drum carder visit.

Yesterday I was hand carding tow flax, of all things. I had saved up all the nasty bits from the Louet Superfine Top and I was thinking of using it for the thick linen yarn. So I made a pile of flax rolags. And I thought the llama was bad! The stuff gets all over the place, I don’t want to think about what I inhaled in the process. Then I sat down in front of a big pointy spike, err, the quill wheel, and spun a huge lumpy linen yarn. It was huge. And lumpy. Oh, and it’s fuzzy too. A little too fuzzy, actually. All that short fiber makes something that looks like burlap gone wrong. New content for the Misfits page! Well, at least it didn’t take very long. I’ll try it again after I do all the line flax, because I’ll have plenty of new tow from that. Better stuff, too.

This afternoon I started on one of the yarns I actually like. After that annoying cotton, I need a distraction. I’m doing Andean weaving yarn for one of the plying skeins. It’s a fine, high twist two-ply and not the least bit balanced. It’s not supposed to be. Since this is ignoring the requirement for balanced yarn, I’m also doing the plying swatch in Andean style weaving to show the results. The overtwist keeps the yarn from shredding — Peruvian backstrap weaving laughs at your wimpy yarn! This is my favorite type of yarn to spin and the Romney fleece I’m using goes fast. Of course, having the wheel set at 44:1 doesn’t hurt. The finished two-ply will be about 16 wraps per cm, or 40 wraps per inch. I ♥ Teeny Tiny Yarn!

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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