Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sink Screen

I figured out a way to help my fiber drain better.  I invert a sink screen over the drain.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Covered in Alpaca Fiber

yup. tis true.

Friday, November 5, 2010

More Alpaca

I took part in an auction and won more alpaca. That'll keep me busy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Final Rainbow Scarf Pictures

Just because. I won't see this again for a long time.
To showcase the color changes I decided to pack this up ridged. I had to sew the riges in but it is easily unsewn.
I think this plastic thing originally held shower curtains but I can't say. I guess it is slightly snazzier than a ziplock bag. Now I need to write up scarf care instructions.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

It's a rainbow

It's hard to show it all in one photo so here's 5. There is a bit of color overlap. I guess each color blend is about 3 bars but it's not quite consistent because of my inconsistent spinning but it averages out.
I think it will be dry by tomorrow. This is avery warm scarf, much thicker than my lace projects.
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Rainbow Scarf is done

Amazingly the yarn ended up ending where I estimated it would. I have blocked it to be exactly 6 feet 4 inches long because that is the height of the actuary. Supposedly scarves should be as long as the person is tall. It was 5'4" before washing but silk and alpaca tend to grow when wet and I went with it.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fifty Percent by Weight...

Maybe.  My plan to compensate the yardage discrepancy is not quite working out but I think I'll let it go.  If the second half is similar to the first this will be 52 inches long unblocked.  I anticipate that it will lengthen considerably when I wash and block it as silk and alpaca are wont to do.
I think it looks good though. The actuary should be pleased.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

First Ten Percent

What's cool about color transitions is that I can SEE how much yarns I have used by the color changes. I have 10 color transitions which are approximately the same length so I know that I am about 10% done. I decided to alternate colors every other row rather than every 2 rows. I guess the colors will be less distinct but I think that's OK. I also have a KYOPYO row followed by K2TP2T repeated at a 12 row interval to compensate for the spinning discrepancy. The 2 colors ended up both weighing 126 grams. The 'white' is 15% longer than the 'brown'.
You can kinda make out my correction as a subtle ridge about every 2 inches(5 cm)
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

All spun up and ready to go

All right now! I wound the yarn into skeins, washed each first in with synthrapol, rinse, then a pleasant mild shampoo, rinse twice, wrap up in a towel, thwack a bunch of times to even out the twist, then overnight on my sweater dryer.  As of this posting that link brings you to one on amazon retailing for 29.99 which is a great deal.  This thing has been an incredible boon to meOnce dry, I made these yarn cakes and now I can start my project.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Spun and Plied

Finally! All spun and Plied!First the one ply which looks quite shiny

Then the finished product, Navaho plied, a first for me. Navaho ply means making a giant crochet chain, spinning it up instead of tightening it. It allows one to maintain color transition from a single. Funny how it didn't make sense to me until I did it.
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Friday, October 1, 2010

Roving and Trader Joe Cookies

Yesterday I figured out that trader joe cookie bins make perfect containers for roving.
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

First rainbow single

I have my first single. I will most likely Navaho ply it. It spun up well except for the yellow parts which I tried combing before I came up with my system for drum carding.
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Next up is the brown single. I need to arrange the color transitions 3 batts off. Instead of starting with yellow I will start with blue/green.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Twenty Batts and One Cat

Here they are!
First up is the brown scurf.

Second is the Minnesota white.

Third is it all together arranged in the sequence that I intend to spin it.  I decided to step the hue contrast 3 steps.  It is imperfect as I did not dye any orange.
And finally Abe looking sweet.

I decided rather that carding the colors together to blend them to instead split the batts into strips and alternate them.

One thing that is a must, or at least helpful is a scale.  I used it to weigh out  the fiber to be equal before dying.  I weigh each batt after carding to make sure that the white and brown remained close to equal.  I used the scale to make sure that I blended the colors fairly equally.  The way things stand right now the brown weighs 127 grams while the white weighs 125 grams.
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I like being photo heavy

But I thought for a change I'd sorta explain what I've been doing and what I have  learned from this project so far.  I like silk blended with alpaca.

The 1st silk I got was tussah noils which are pretty rough.  I looked at them but could figure out what to do with them.  Actually they sorta grossed me out.  Spider webs are bad enough but all the grain and wool moths I've seen over the years have left me with an icky feeling whenever I encounter a spent cocoon.  That bag has sat for a while.  Noils are not even close to as good as it gets with tussah.  Anyway, they do have their place but lots of folks do not want to be bothered with them.  I think I will try to mix them with more alpaca later on.  Maybe I'll give some away to a friend.  OK, I am not big on tussah noils.

Later on I got some bombyx roving.  Now that is very shiny and sleek.  I tried spinning a bit of that and it kept catching on every rough spot on my fingers.  It has a sort of crunchy feel that I am not into.  Oh and both tussah and bombyx have a strange smell.  It is vaguely sweet yet something I can't quite place.  I haven't been into knitting the little bit I spun.  I just don't like the texture.

But mix this stuff with some alpaca, especially after dying it some bright colors and it's a different story.  Mixing it is tricky.  For me my drum carder works best.  I have found it best to start by stretching out my raw alpaca into roving and feeding that through the licker to evenly coat the drum.  Then I feed the silk roving directly onto the drum and lastly the noils.  The batt from that 1st round gets split in half then stretched out into roving which I slowly feed through the licker to evenly coat the drum.  It doen't need to be carde a 3rd time.  A lot of silk ends up on the licker but it is still nicely mixed so it has a sugary sheen that is just luscious that neither alpaca nor silk has alone.

I tend to be impatient but I am learning that sometimes patience saves time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ten Batts, Two Cats

I always take advantage of Abe.  I twisted a purple batt around his neck, not tightly mind you, just enough to stay put for a photo.  He's such a good sport.The Cheddarhead however likes to pretend to ignore me.  His coat does not blend in with other colors like Abe's does, and like the lovely Sally's coat did so I don't see myself using him as a model as much, even if he gets tame.

I didn't mean to upload the 3rd photo but it's nice anyway.  I like the shape of this 4th photo better.

I'm not actually done carding.  I intend to divide them all in half.  One half will remain as is the other half will be divided in half again and carded once with its neighbor.

If that doesn't make sense tomorrow it should assuming I card it then.  At any rate, I am done with carding today.  If all goes well tomorrow I will have 20 batts.  If you click on either image of the batts to see them HUGE you might notice that the yellow is not smoothly blended like the others.  I experimented with combing it and in this instance the drum carder worked much better.


Here's all of what was in the green dye mason jar.  Considering that I stuffed it in there it is not dyed consistently.  I have come to like the effect that results.  Look at those crazy colors.  The green in this batch is the prettiest so that is what I am sharing with you. The silk on the bottom is bombyx silk roving while the stuff on top is tussah noils.  This will end up being about 40% silk.
I have carded the yellow.  I intend to spin up the brown separate from the 'white' each as a single ply  I tried using a comb on the white and I think I prefer the carding results I got with the brown.  I think I will stick with my drum carder for this project.
Last we have a photo trick taken with the macbook camera.  Pretend that my fingers are not holding that caterpillar sized swatch.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sample: spun, plied and knit

Abe makes a great backdrop.  I don't use a drop spindle much as it is not as efficient as a wheel but it's good for samples.
I probably will not ply the yarn I make. I plied it to see how the colors interact

And here is a sample knit up.

Looking at this I think I want to knit this up so the hues are 1.5 colors off, that is red/blue-violet, violet/blue/green, blue/yellow-green, green/yellow-orange, yellow/red-orange, orange/red-violet.  Though I did not actually dye anything orange.  I might fill in that gap with some undyed scurf brown.

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Post Dye Samples

I still find it very annoying that blogger does not let me publish more than 4 photos at once but anyway.
Here's some stuff I just dyed.

The stringy stuff is silk, the brownish stuff came from my scurfy chocolate fleece and the bright fluffy stuff is a gift from a farm in Minnesota.
Here they are arranged by dyebath
Combing silk and alpaca
A silk roughly blended with alpaca

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