Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two-tone Suri Yarn

This is my 1st attempt at blending colors in the carder. I thought I'd try just mixing these colors. Here is the result.
And here is a batt that shows That I simply carded yellow on top of red just after carding each color separately twice. I can say that for this second batch I had technical problems because the fawn came from Zinn's fleece who has excessively long locks. They kept getting stuck on the licker drum which I would feed onto the main drum. I sorta think I should do something special with Zinn's fleece because it is so long but I don't know what.
I threw in this picture of the 'rainbow socks' which do not look like a rainbow now. They ended up being a little bit too large for Todd's feet so I shrank them slightly. Now they fit perfectly whehter he chooses to wear them alone or over another pair of socks. The colors became muted though, now they are blue with colorful flecks, better suited to Todd. I finally managed to make him something nice!
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Snake Scarf

We begin this post with Abe posing with a lock frim Zinn. Zinn produced an all fawn fleece that is cottier than alpaca generally is with very lovely LONG locks. I believe this is ideal for doll hair but imagine they will gum up my carder a little. I understand that industrial carders do not work with locks longer than 4 inches. Is this lock softer than Abe? Not quite but it's pretty close. I have met a few cats with fur less soft than this, like perhaps a certain feral cat, but Abe is just very soft.
This scarf came from Nikita's fleece which is fawn and beige. Hers is the 1st suri fleece I have worked with. This scarf is also shownbraided I thought I'd post a better picture because of all my hand painted experiments this one is the most successful.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Modular Shawls/Scarves

Considering that I am pretty much making a scarf in every color it is easy for me to play with them. I discovered this way of suspending a shawl.
I suppose that none I have made can really be called a shawl but it works as one. I could see this look being pretty sexy with a nice evening dress. I am not in tune with fashion, I was saddened to read somewhere that square toed shoes are not in style because they seem bearably comfortable compared with the pointy ones women wear.

Anyway, I can't imagine a world where an incredible soft and warm suri alpaca shawl is not in style.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Frisco Rainbow

Wow that sounds sorta gay. Hope I do not offend anyone by that observation but really! If I google "Frisco Rainbow" what images will appear.


Hmm, it's less exciting than I imagined. I like the poodle. This was by the way not a safe search.

For those who missed my previous post, Frisco is the name of the alpaca whose fleece made this yarn. I just dyed this and showing little restraint ended up with rainbow colored yarn. Now imagine how much brighter it would be if it had started out being white.
It was not white, it was fawn, actually it was this color. Below is, dare I say it, my mom contemplating eggplants from my garden. For those curious they are ghostbuster and turkish orange. The hat and scarf she is wearing both came from Frisco's fleece.I washed this hat and scarf combo about 8 times before it stopped feeling waxy. Yes, Frisco's fleece feels waxy, not quite greasy, more waxy but once it's clean it is pretty nice.
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4th scarf almost complete

Yup. I am going to experiment with some yarn painting today. I have a 2 ply huacaya fawn skein I spun up a while back. It came from a herdsire named Frisco who for some reason has a greasy fleece. After much washing the quality is pretty decent, though it does not feel as nice as what I've been working with for the past month or so.

I think I want to make a pair of socks for my sweetheart. I feel like I am neglecting him, though he is pleased with the scarves I've made.

It really amazes me how much fleeces vary from animal to animal, not just based on suri versus huacaya.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Scarf on the Wire

I decided it would be nice to post a scarf being made to show what I am doing. My idea was to make a hybrid between a scarf and a shawl. Most of the yarn I have spun has been pretty fine. I have been knitting it up on fairly large needles for its gauge so they can be pretty wide without being bulky.

So after 2 scarves I settled on doing a magic cast on to start it in the middle, its widest part. If you don't know the magic cast on, watch Cat Bordhi demonstrates Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On. It's how I really figured it out even though I did buy her book. So I have one 40"(100cm) needle which holds both the top and bottom. I knit a few straight rows and am now decreasing one stitch every other row.

I've been making each scarf a little wider and longer than the last. The 3 scarves in the last post were knitted with a fine fawn yarn then dyed after completion. The scarf in this post was fiber dyed, that is the fiber was dyed before carding or spinning. I suppose this could be "Barbara Bush Blue". While I was never particularly fond of her, though I think Laura Bush is pretty cool, I do like this color. I understand that blue is universally appealing to people. I want to do a red/orange scarf next.
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Braided Scarves

I wanted to use a cat to model this but it's damp and cats hate that. This looks like roving but as the title says, these are scarves. I made up a very simple tapered design. I've had a lot of fun using these in modular ways which I'd like to illustrate later.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Study in Suri

I have been experiementing with dyes. Nothing fancy but the colors make my brain go 'zing'. The cat enjoys the texture.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cats and Alpaca

I have a lot of affection for both cats and alpaca. I have personally met only a few alpaca but have been impressed.

This 1st shows the cheddarhead eating in my lap. I have broken the rules of taming a feral cat by picking him up and forcing him to eat in my lap. This is clearlyas you can see in this photo sheer torture! I have an alpaca shawl in my lap which protects my knees from his claws which he tend to dig into my knees no matter how many times I tell the Cheddarhead to stop. I made the shawl from storebought yarn.
This second images shows Abe wrapped up in a small suri shawl which I made from raw fleece. Yes, I carded, spun and knitted this all myself. The alpaca that provides the fleece is named Nikki and lived in Ohio. Perhaps s/he stills live there. I just know that the bag of fleece had Nikki written on it.
Believe it or not Abe likes being wrapped up in soft things. Sometimes he gets cold.
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Friday, September 4, 2009

Dyeing Suri

I have neglected this blog. Anyway, the bright colors here inspired me to share them. Here is my new experiment.

Previous to today, I have dyed twice. First with food color, 2nd with a professional dye but I think I have improved on it. That is to say that I am trying to have more slightly consistent results.

I start by washing my raw fleece. I might have done well to get some synthropol, a special detergent. Instead I am using dish detergent.

I weighed out 6 ounces of raw fleece, stuffed it into a one quart mason jar with some water and soap. This I did 4 times thus filling 4 jars. It helps for the fleece to soak.
This second picture shows raw fleece soaking on the left and washed fiber on the right. I started with the fleece of an alpaca named Nikki who had both white and fawn fiber, which I mixed to see how it would take the dye. That ran out so I rummaged through my stash and found one fawn fleece and one white fleece. For consistency I decided to continue the roughly half fawn half white fiber mix.

The fawn fleece is a bit cotty, that is it was showing its felting tendencies. I separated the fibers sorta like 'pulled pork' to mix them up a bit and also so that they take more dye. This I did during the washing process.
I did not separate the fibers yesterday and it shows, though it's sorta cool how parts got dyed deeply and others barely. I also put the washed fiber in the jar then added the dye yesterday. This also meant it got more unevenly distributed. This time I layered concentrated dye with fiber, topping it with water and some extra dye. Considering how packed these jars are, I still won't get even results but that's ok.
Here's my bright jars in the pot. I tried to keep the temperature above 100f but below 140f. I left them in there for several hours. I understand that alpaca does not usually take dye as well as sheepwool.
I'll post my varied results later. This was kinda tedious but fun.
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