Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fiber Goodness (Is it Fall yet?)

Now we have finished re-roofing, finished taking down plastic tarp, finished vacuuming etc. I have had time to take a few pictures of what I have been up to. I have tried out my lovely little mini combs that my sister got me from The Wheel Thing and I LOVE them. For those who already know how to use these, just move on to other pictures. My combs come with a stand/carrying case that can hold my combs in place while I work. I use C-clamps to fix the stand to a table and then position a comb with the tines facing UP (a pin holds the comb in place through a hole in the handle). I take washed locks and "lash" them onto the tines. The idea is to pierce the lock towards the base onto the tines so that they sit about an inch above the base of the tines. You continue to put locks on until you have a row of locks that span the width of the comb. I don't put a lot of locks on because once you begin to comb them, they expand taking up a lot of the space on the mini combs. Since I only knit/spin lace weight, I felt these combs would be big enough but anyone who needs to process a lot of fiber might want larger ones. Once you have the locks on what is referred to as the "stationary" comb, you un-pin the handle of the comb, turn it sideways and re-pin it so it stays in place. This comb now stays there while you comb the locks.You take the remaining comb and, swinging downwards, you comb through the very tips of the locks to catch some fiber and pull them loose from the mass. You continue to to comb in the same manner until as much fiber from the stationary comb is on the moving comb as possible. After this is done, you take the comb with all the fiber on it and put the fiber back onto the stationary comb. Take the full comb, tines facing down and catch the fibers tips onto the stationary comb moving from right to left. The stationary comb has not moved. You continue to replace those fibers until as many of the fibers can transfer back onto that comb as possible. If you are satisfied with the effect, you can now form roving by using your hands to pull off the fiber or by using a diz. If you get a lot of static, you can try a little water/oil combination on the fiber or just water, on the tines. My tines are stainless steel so this works out OK as long as you are not soaking the wood. Very pretty smooth fiber :-) I loved it so much I bought more fleece! I picked up some natural colored Rambouillet from Wind River Woolens . The staple length is pretty short compared to the Cormo but it is very soft. I also picked up some CVM in a light morrit from MaiMaiBB which is slightly longer. I washed both these fleeces in the washing machine in nylon bags to see how that would work out. You fill the EMPTY tub of your washing machine with hot water, add Dawn diswashing detergent and then soak the bags of fleece WITHOUT agitation. I let them sit 20 minutes then pulled the bags out of the washing machine, drained the dirty water and repeated the process. Total of 3 washes and 2 rinses with a spin-dry at the end. Worked really well though I would still do the Cormo in the bathtub using the kitty litter trays and boiling hot water due to the huge amount of lanolin in Cormo. As you can see, I got more silk from Habu and had them wind it onto cones for me. Considering the aggravation it saved me, it was worth the price. I've been to Lacis and bought more lace patterns and some small carved objects. I also went to the A Verb For Keeping Warm 1 year anniversary party on Saturday. I don't need more fiber but with Winter coming on, I tend to do less knitting and more spinning. At least, that's what I told myself when I got 8 ounces BFL in "Chance of Rain" colorway as well as 4 ounces of 50/50 Yak/Tussah Silk in "Magnet" and 4 ounces in BFL (to ply). Last but not least, I got an orifice hook at Chiwawa which is small enough to go through the holes for the Majacraft Rose Lace Flyer. Sure beats using a bent paper clip :-) That's it for now. I'm on row 93 of Goldregen. Not enough to bother to take a picture of that.

Until Next time. Happy knitting/spinning/whatever :-)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Goldregen Row 66

A few pictures of Goldregen now I'm on circular needles. I've had a few problems while knitting with this silk. I lost some stitches when a needle protector popped off. Much swearing ensued while I fixed it and I accidentally snapped a thread while trying to knit 5 stitches together. I did a fix and hid the ends but if you know where to look you can see that I did something a little different to get the stitches to come together as I didn't want to put more strain where the break had been. Still, I enjoy knitting with this silk and I always love knitting a Niebling :-)