January 25, 2014
Good morning, and happy Saturday! There’s nothing like a stretch of below zero and single digit above zero temperatures to make today’s highs in the 20’s seem downright balmy. I was hoping to get out of the house this afternoon to get a few things done, but the snow in the forecast might just keep me in for the day. The forecast is calling for just a dusting by my standards, which I really have no problem driving in. It’s the other drivers on the roads that I worry about. So it might be the perfect excuse to stay in and play with fiber all day.
I started some carding projects on the Monday holiday this week. Some of my fiber stash is things I’ve collected with the intent of carding them together with wool. I have some washed llama, various colors of alpaca, colored wool roving, silk, and even some bronze colored Angelina fiber. Using some of the washed Romney fleece in my stash, I set out to create some unique and luxurious blends.
I started with about half an ounce each of some brown llama and the Romney. My drum carder can hold a lot more than one ounce of fiber, but I find it much easier to blend things by working in smaller amounts of about an ounce total. As it was, each of the four batts I carded took three passes to blend them as thoroughly as I wanted. Three of the four batts have some of the colored wool roving replacing about an equal amount of the Romney to keep the wool/llama percentage at about 50/50, and all of them had a sprinkling of the Angelina fiber on the in-feed tray on their second pass through the carder.
With previous batts, I would remove the batt from the drum and either z-strip, or roll it up and gently pull it out into a roving. During a recent cleaning and organizing spree in my fiber room, I found my diz which had been missing for a good long time, so I decided to use that to pull a roving right off the drum. I think I like that technique a little better. The roving feels a little more even and consistent than when I pull it out by hand from the batt. There’s value to each approach though, depending on what I’m looking for in the roving, especially with color blends.
Since I had so much of my carding stash out on Monday, and I saw that there wasn’t very much left of that washed Romney fleece, I decided to be a little proactive about my next carding session. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening dividing up the remaining Romney into half ounce batches, then divided up four different colors of alpaca (about half an ounce each of white, black, chocolate, and silver) to be blended with them. I created four more piles with the same fibers and colors, and then added to each a bit of the colored roving, and a dash of silk. Just a dash is all I care to try and work with on my drum carder, and a little bit goes a long way. I bagged each pile individually and boxed them up to be put back in my stash, ready to go when I was ready to do some carding again, and I think today might be that day.
On my wheel this morning is about one more ounce of the Acorn long wool from Weston Hill Farm. I plied a few yards as a 3-ply earlier in the week, and while I love the yarn, it looked a little bit on the light side for the socks I want to make. I knit a small swatch with that sample, and although I do like the fabric, it did confirm my feelings about the 3-py yarn. I made a small sample last night of the 4-ply yarn, and aside from being a little over plied, I think it’s going to work out fine. I’ll still knit a swatch from that sample first though.
So that’s what’s on tap for my day.
Enjoy your weekend!