Posts tagged ‘romney’

The last of the gray Romney fleece is finally scoured. I sorted out the shorter and more curly bits for carding and the rest is bagged and waiting for me to start on more Peruvian warp yarn. I even washed the rest of that questionable Dorset, although I still don’t know what to do with it. But the more wool I get scoured, the more I can seal in plastic bags and put in the storage unit. After the “M” incident, I’m not keeping raw fleece over there. Now I can start on the black Merino lambs.

I got this idea a few weeks ago that I should finally knit myself a sweater. I’ve avoided it because I’m actually not all that fond of knitting but I like to have handspun hats and scarves to wear. It’s great for small travel projects, something I am always in need of. I determined a while back that I am also in need of a “casual outergarment.” Something to throw on to run outside. I like the idea of a poncho, but I’m so over the whole “Celebrity Poncho” thing that I don’t want to touch it for fear someone will assume that I’m one of those kinds of people. I am decidedly anti-fashion when it comes to anything that involves People or Entertainment Weekly. Maybe in a few years when everyone has forgotten about it.

So, I think, I’ll knit myself a sweater. A nice classic cardigan I can nonchalantly drape over my shoulders. When somebody asks, I can respond “Yes, isn’t the yarn nice? I made it.” But since it will be of my usual 3-ply worsted, it will wear forever, never pill and be immune to the damp San Francisco evening breezes. And then I contemplate my sweater-making skills. Or, more correctly, the complete lack thereof. How will I get it actually fit my narrow shoulders and wide butt? Will I look like a stuffed sausage? None of those patterns have ever heard of bust shaping. I wonder if undertaking a first attempt in handspun is such a hot idea. What if I completely blow it? This leads me to the unthinkable: do I Buy Yarn?

I’m not sure I’m quite ready for this.

A little bit of spinning, a lot of paper today.

I did the Romney/mohair blend single, but I’m not happy about what the bamboo/tencel blend is doing so I scrapped that idea. I’m trying to come up with two more fibers to blend. I did my really sloppy punis from the Pima cotton, after taking out all the seeds and a pile of trash. I can see it isn’t going to all fit on the high speed bobbins, so I will have to do two. That’s ok, at least. I may just splice the ends anyway. I could use that for the cotton swatch, as weft. It’s textured, all right, but that also means it’s not very strong. I’d have to find something to use for warp and pull out the table loom, but it wouldn’t take much yarn.

I set up the printer, assembled a box and started dealing with packaging. I have to go get more file folders, but at least I can get going with the labels. It took hours to set up the templates because the ones I downloaded from Avery didn’t align correctly. And then I had to create all sorts of nested tables to get the layout right. But now I have them all ready. Even the two inch lines, one half inch from one short edge and one quarter inch from one long edge. What a pain. Still haven’t cut the cardboard tags that go with those, however. While I’m out getting file folders, I need to look at staplers and three hole punches. If they are cheap enough, I might get my own instead of trying to borrow them. I’ve been meaning to get new business cards just for the website, too. Three blocks away and I can’t manage to get the the office supply store.

After test printing a few things from the website, I was reminded how much I adore stylesheets. Since I have put things in a binder, I need a left margin on all the pages. So I changed one line in my stylesheet and there it was. I didn’t even have to mess with the website, I just created a custom version that I can tell my browser to use. The only other thing to do before I start printing for real is create a new blank page footer. I have to take out the SpinnySpinny part so nobody knows who I am. (As if.)

I plied the tiny cotton, I didn’t like how it looked as a two-ply so I’ve decided to take it and four ply that. So I gave it a lot of twist and wound it off to measure. I’m really close, so I have to wind bobbins by length to make sure I ply every last bit of it. And, yes, there is about 550m of two-ply there, about what I guessed. There is only a little bit of the original single left so I was even very close on that. This brown cotton is combed, but there is still a lot of short fiber and a little trash in there and that makes it impossible to get a really even yarn. And in a two-ply, every little bit of variation shows. I still had the other multiple ply medium cotton to do, so I decided to use it for that. With an eight-ply, it all evens out.

I did the spinning wheel yarn in a day, I just have to measure and wind the skein. It’s fine enough that I’d rather not put it on the swift, so I took it from setting the twist on the skein winder to a ball. It’s something like 60 wraps per inch, that makes it extra fine. It’s basically the same single as the Andean weaving yarn but with a little less twist. I didn’t sort the Romney for color this time and the lighter color fibers tend to be slightly longer than the dark, so the color gently shades from dark to light with each comb batch. It’s an interesting effect that makes a semi-random narrow stripe warp, but it’s not so good for weft. The shorter length of each back and forth pass of the weft means large blocks of color.

Next is going to be the blend two-ply, I think. I did the mohair and wool on the drum carder a few days ago, the bamboo and tencel has been sitting around for a while. I have a lot of things to finish, I’m going to do as much spinning as possible next week when The Boyfriend is out of town on business.

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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